THE game might not have ended in another 99-point margin, but Harrogate were winners again over Rugby Lions, by 25 points to nil in National Two North.
Rugby conceded a record breaking 99 points to Harrogate in October but have recruited strongly since then so that score was never going to be replicated. In the event, Harrogate stuttered to an unconvincing 0-5 half time lead before taking complete control in the second half.
Harrogate attacked from the outset and Jamie Broadley seemed certain to score his 23rd League try of the season. He burst through some attempted midfield tackles and sped for the line with only the full-back, Matt Mountford, to beat. However, Mountford put in a try saving tackle to force him into touch.
Harrogate continued to attack with their outstanding flankers, Alex Rieder and Dan Harland at the heart of everything. With 10 minutes gone, Harland supported well and powered over for what proved to be the only score of the half. Shortly afterwards, prop, Jimmy Browne, had to leave the field with a cut ear which couldn’t be stitched as Rugby didn’t have a doctor on hand. He was patched up and returned to the field but had to leave permanently later.
The pattern of the game changed when second row, Jake Brady was dispatched to the sin bin. Rugby were then able to exert a bit of pressure themselves and, when Harland shortly joined Brady, the remaining 13 Harrogate players had to defend desperately for the last eight minutes of the half.
Rugby still had a two-man advantage at the restart and continued to attack. However, Harrogate countered and debutant winger, Arnie Ellison, outstripped the cover to score in the corner.
More Harrogate attacks followed and their best back of the day, Sam Bottomley, cut through the midfield defence to score an excellent try.
Replacement full back, Vaughan Going, was tackled just short of the line and later slightly miskicked an attempted chip which would have given Broadley a try.
A Mike Aspinall penalty extended the Harrogate lead before replacement forward, Chris Wilson, backed up a powerful Rieder break to score under the posts and gain a valuable bonus point. Aspinall’s conversion made the final score 0-25.