This game had it all from York’s fierce rucking to Harrogate’s silky skills. You would have paid good money to have watched this one.
With all the ‘superstars’ away at Yorkshire trials, both York and Harrogate turned up light on numbers. However, this was a day of outstanding rugby from players keen to prove they deserve the starting shirt.
10 a side was the decision, with Barrington-Hirst who performed so well for Harrogate the week before stepping into a York shirt to ensure a fair game took place.
The game started quickly with both teams keen to make an early impression. It was Harrogate who took the first points through Beaumont’s break. The posts proved elusive for his conversion attempt, this time! He would be back to make an amends.
The game became so enthralling the report went astray. So I apologise now as there is no detailed review.
Harrogate piled on the pressure with running rugby, continuously testing York’s defence with Beaumont pulling the strings. Cleary was proving a nightmare for York with Dean and Ball helping to make things difficult for the hardworking York defence.
York took every opportunity to counter brilliantly. York had clearly identified the ruck as strength and committed numbers to every one, competing in a fierce and effective manner. Two deserved try’s came York’s way first through the industry of the pick and drive and the second an excellent running move finished off by Barrington-Hirst, I believe!
In Firth who proved an outstanding Captain, Addison and Broadhurst, Harrogate had their own contact specialists with Whitaker ‘the fetcher’ working over time to prove he is one of the best 7’s around.
The rugby became scintillating in the second and third sections of the game. Both sets of players should be proud of their efforts with big hits, great running rugby and competitive contact areas. There was some very inventive rugby too with Whitaker thinking he was on the football pitch dribbling the ball from the half way line just being tackled before he pulled the trigger in front of goal. Also a special mention; a beautiful tap tackle from the York winger stopped a certain try.
Special mentions to Beaumont for orchestrating, Ball for his evasive running, Frith for his work at ruck time but the two men who stood out were Broadhurst with a physical game with big defence, which only a transgression undermined and Cleary who collected points for fun and never stopped running. Cleary takes man of the match for the second time in three games!
Cleary took four try’s but brought so much more to the game, with Addison, Beaumont, Scott-Preston and Firth taking the other try’s.
Thank you to Ball, Wilkinson, Barrington-Hurst for playing for York to ensure a competitive and fair game took place.
Thank you to Damian Broadhurst for refereeing the game in such a way which allowed it to flow. I suppose a yellow card for his brother was always going to happen.
Harrogate 54 - 12 York