Backs rescue error-strewn Harrogate Rugby

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Harrogate RUFC gave a stuttering, mistake ridden performance but held off Birmingham Solihull 34-27 at Claro Road on Saturday.

Poor goal kicking cost BS 11 possible points during the game, some of which were relatively straightforward opportunities.

BS opened the game with a big driving maul which set the pattern for most of the first half. Excellent Harrogate defence kept the visitors out but a succession of handling errors ended attempted counter attacks.

Powerful Jake Brady drives were well supported by Tim Heaton, Tom Harvey, Nathan Smith & Steve Maycock but continued errors kept Harrogate in their own half for the first 20 minutes of the match.

A neat Adam Canning line kick set up a BS attack and a powerful Rob Connolly drive created a gap. The ball was spun left and Joe Mogaji’s strength took him over in the corner.

After 22 minutes, Harrogate eventually got into the BS half and a strike against the head sparked off a dangerous attack.

BS went offside and a long range Joe Rowntree penalty gave Harrogate their first points.

A BS penalty kick then bounced off the upright and Harrogate counter attacked from deep.

A Luke Edwards break was carried on by Kyle Dench and brilliant running from Harry Parrish saw him outstrip the visiting defence for a 40 metres try.

Parrish’s long run was shortly followed by a 40 metres BS driving maul and the ball was released to full back,

Ian Briggs whose corner try gave the visitors an 8-10 half time lead.

The BS pressure continued after the interval and centre, Steve Leach scored to put them further ahead.

A powerful Dench break out of defence then led to a spectacular defence splitting run from replacement stand-off Callum Irvine.

A period of Harrogate forward drives followed and Brady touched down with Irvine’s conversion evening the scores.

Another Dench break from deep was followed by an even more brilliant Irvine run which forced the desperate BS defence to go offside.

Driving mauls followed Harrogate’s quick penalty and, when the ball went loose, replacement flanker, Rob Adair darted through for a converted try.

Almost immediately, a defensive Harrogate kick was charged down by centre Ashley Elvers who followed through well to score and bring BS to within 2 points of Harrogate.

Another scintillating Irvine run set up Harrogate’s next attack and he was there in support to score and convert the try.

More Harrogate handling mistakes followed and they compounded this by losing a defensive line-out from which BS’s Harry Morley scored and Adam Canning’s conversion made it 29-27.

More BS attacks followed but Irvine made a brilliant interception and ran 60 metres for the final score of the match.

Harrogate:Denton, L Minikin (N Minikin 56), Dench, Edwards, Parrish, Rowntree (Irvine 40), Matthews, Metcalfe, Maycock, Reaveley (Browne 40), Brady, Harvey, Smith, Yorke (Adair 47), Heaton

Birmingham/Solihull:Briggs, Evans, Elvers, Leach (Harman 65), Mojaki, Canning, Petty, Long (Morley 54), Radburn, Bingham (Koziot 58), Spink, Goddard, Forder (Randall 70), Linnett (Stoddard 52), Connolly

Referee:Brendan McGaffney (RFU).