Dave Doherty scored all of Harrogate RUFC’s points in their derby day success over Wharfedale in National Two North.
In a game where a strong, end-to-end wind was to prove a significant factor and ‘Gate’s forwards once again produced a dominant display, director of rugby Doherty kicked five downwind penalties in the first half before grabbing a crucial late touchdown.
The opening score of the afternoon arrived when the visitors gave away an early penalty following a powerful ‘Gate scrum and Doherty booted the hosts into a 3-0 lead.
This scenario was effectively repeated on a further three occasions to make the score 12-0 after 25 minutes.
Local rivals Wharfedale only made it into the home 22 twice in the first period, but managed to score a try on each occasion.
A mix-up in the Cockerels’ midfield turned possession over to the away side and they set up a strong drive from which Josh Burridge powered over to score.
A fifth Doherty penalty followed but ‘Gate were then penalised for a high tackle, Wharfedale won the attacking line-out and Ian Larkin drove over and touched down to reduce the arrears at 15-10 at the break.
Shortly after the resumption, injuries to the visitors’ front row led to the match going to uncontested scrums and Jamie Guy danced through for a converted try to put the Skipton club 17-15 ahead.
The uncontested scrums led to much more possession for Wharfedale, but the ‘Gate pack gradually took control in the loose.
Sam Brady and Willem Enslin stood out in particular, while debutant centre Scott Irvine also impressed as ‘Gate began to mount concerted pressure.
Wharfedales’s defence held out until just minutes from the end when the ball was quickly released to Doherty who squeezed over to score in the corner and win the game at 20-17.