'Gate U11's had to wait until the very last act of the final to score the only points of the game and secure victory over an excellent Tynedale side.
It rounded off an unbeaten run in the Harrogate Festival in which they did not concede a single point and scored 110.
A hazy sunny day and soft pitch created perfect conditions for the boys
to play some good rugby watched by families and friends in a round robin
format with teams from Tynedale, Wetherby and Bradford & Bingley.
If the final was close, so too was the first group match between the
same sides. Forward play dominated as each side sought to gain ground.
Some tough tackling by the front row of Jacques Haddleton, Robert Woods
and the ever-inventive Callum Cardwell was matched by some flying
tackles in the backs from Freddie Wright and Hugo Tasker to keep
Tynedale out. Eventually as the forwards got the upperhand the backs led
by their little general George Hampson at scrum half began to test out
the Tynedale back line. After a few runs down blind alleys a neat
interchange involving most of the backs saw Jonathan Ashman put Henry
Lennon in to space. Wrong footing his opposite number he just managed to
touch the ball down for a try allowing George Hampson to gain the extra
2 points with the conversion. Despite Tynedale pressure, Dan Stott, Jo
Smith, Harrison [ ] Aidan [ ] and Josh Belward defended stoutly to shut
out the opposition and help Harrogate run out 7-0 winners.
In the other group matches Tynedale went on an impressive run beating
Bradford & Bingley and Wetherby 24-7 and 31-0 respectively. Not to be
outdone, Harrogate demonstrated that they meant business and in their
match with "The Bees" ran in 10 tries, winning 68-0. This was a match
where the backs were able to run freely with the pick of the tries
coming from Ed [ ] and Angus Reid. George Hampson converted 9 of his 10
conversions and kicked well all day.
In the final group match for Harrogate a rejuvenated Wetherby side provided some tough opposition especially in the forwards. It was Harrogate prop Rob Woods who surprised everyone with his pace to fall just short of the try line.
However a brace of tries from Freddie Wright and one each for Jonathan
Ashman and Henry Lennon (following a fantastic interchange involving
miss moves and excellent support play) saw Harrogate home 28-0 with all
tries converted by George Hampson.
With barely a burger eaten by the boys and ice creams remaining the
preserve of the crowd, Harrogate and Tynedale, as group winners and
runners-up respectively, roused themselves one last time for the
final:And what a match.
It was difficult to pick a winner as the boys fought it out. Both defences remained resolute with forwards Jacques Haddleton and Rob Woods particularly busy tackling and recycling the ball. It looked like a draw was on the cards when, with one last effort, the ball was recycled from a ruck and passed down the backs to centres Hugo Tasker and Freddie Wright who fed full back Jonathan Ashman to crash over the line in the corner for Harrogate's try. George Hampson made the conversion. And with that act the referee blew up and Harrogate celebrated a desperately close but well deserved win.
Both teams were presented with their medals by tournament sponsors CNG. By now the boys'attention was firmly on the burgers and ice cream.