Harrogate Pythons travelled to Skipton hoping to consolidate their position of leaders of Yorkshire 3. Skipton kicked off and a nice catch and drive by Matt Leach followed by a booming touch find by Tom Breakwell set the tone for the day. With persistent drizzle making handling difficult, Gate employed a kicking game with Andy Mackay and Breakwell putting Skipton on the back foot. An attacking Gate line out was won cleanly by Ian Binns and driven forward by Leach. Ross Fallenstein was stopped short but Skipton were penalised at the breakdown, allowing Breakwell to open the account with a well struck penalty. 0-3 8 mins. Binns took the restart but this time Gate were penalised and Skipton went for the corner. Another penalty was conceded allowing Skipton to equalise with a penalty. 3-3 12 mins. Gate’s scrum began to gel with Dan Bird covering the hooking position and better scrum ball allowed Gate to start releasing the backs. A promising move saw Luke price gerrard link well but the pass to Jed Carr was dropped. A Skipton attack was ended by a high tackle on the 10 meter line, which the Skipton stand-off converted with a massive kick. 6-3 25 mins. From the restart Skipton were penalised at a scrum but Breakwell’s long distance penalty attempt fell under the bar. A driving maul from Skipton was disrupted by the Gate pack and a Skipton player was shown a yellow card. A Fallenstein kick was misjudged by Skipton and Ivan Drane managed to make a break. The ball went wide to Max Sharp who was tackled on the line and lost the ball. However the referee judged the tackle to be high and awarded a penalty try. 6-10 35 mins. Another Skipton driving maul led to a Skipton penalty which was converted to leave the half time score Skipton 9 Pythons 10.
Gate conceded another penalty at the restart but this time the long range penalty attempt fell short. MacKay made a break from a scrum and Ned Rutty made good ground up the wing. The ball was quickly recycled to the other side of the pitch but Jonathan Pickard was caught cutting inside. From the scrum Gate again went to Rutty who rounded his opposite number and sped away to score in the corner. 9-15 50 mins. Jack Clarkson and Steve Lennox combined well to put Skipton on the back foot and a Steve Smith pass out wide was deliberately knocked on by Skipton leading to another yellow card. Gate were now on top of their game and strong work from Sharp in a maul led to a quickly taken penalty, Sam Gibbs made the break and Jed Carr’s inside pass to Leach with the line open was knocked on. Skipton went for another catch and drive from an attacking line out but Gate forced a knock on. The resulting Gate scrum was put under pressure to leave Gate camped on their own line. A series of Skipton drives were repelled until Skipton were eventually penalised. However Breakwell missed touch and Skipton set off on a series of driving mauls which were superbly defended by Gate. Eventually Skipton were again penalised and this time Breakwell made no mistake to find touch and allow the referee to end the game. Final score Skipton 9 Pythons 15.
This was a hard fought victory for the Pythons who will need to cut the penalty count when they entertain 4th placed Leeds Corinthians at Station View next Saturday.