Rugby Union: Harrogate win at West but ponder performance

3rd Novenber 2012.
Harrogate v Birkenhead,  Rugby Union.
Pictured Harrogate's Callum Irvine looks to set up another attack
Picture by Gerard Binks.

3rd Novenber 2012. Harrogate v Birkenhead, Rugby Union. Pictured Harrogate's Callum Irvine looks to set up another attack Picture by Gerard Binks.

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Harrogate earned a bonus point from their 29-8 win at West Hartlepool but by their standards this season it was a below-par performance.

Mike Aspinall put the team through a punishing beasting session on the pitch before allowing them into the changing rooms after the game.

Harrogate’s first try came from Noel Minikin after West’s possession had been turned over and creative back play opened a gap for him.

West scrummaged adequately throughout the match but they had little else to offer and Harrogate should have made more of the opportunity to improve their League score difference.

Callum Irvine, Sam Bottomley and James Audsley-Beck all showed flashes of brilliance and Kyle Dench was at his imperious, physical best throughout the game.

Forward domination led to the next try.

West were penalised at a Harrogate driving maul and the ball was spun wide from the ensuing attacking line out.

Prop Jimmy Browne was in support to crash over and make it 0-10 after 15 minutes.

Valiant West attacking efforts were foiled by resolute Harrogate defence. Bottomley and Dench put in bone crunching tackles and Browne efficiently organized the forward defensive blanket.

West opened the second half by stealing Harrogate possession at the back of a scrum. Harrogate went offside and a Stu Waites penalty kick gave West 3 points. The Harrogate pack was very much in charge of the physical exchanges with abrasive performances from Tom Harvey, Jake Brady, Tim Heaton and Nathan Smith.

Chris Wilson dominated the lines-out and, although the attacking machine was spluttering, Harrogate’s superiority continued.

Substitute centre, Pete Wackett then made a dazzling break, the ball was shipped right and Heaton was in support to score.

West’s hooker Andrew Dixon verbally abused a touch judge after this try, was duly yellow carded and the game restarted with a Harrogate penalty.

Lineout possession was quickly delivered and Dench crashed through West’s midfield defence for an under the posts try, converted by Irvine.

The Harrogate pressure continued and hooker, Steve Maycock scored their fifth try.

West’s consolation try came in the final move of the match from good scrum possession which was quickly delivered to centre, Colin Cheslin .

West Hartlepool: Southern, Butcher, A Cheslin, C Cheslin, Edwards, Waites, Painter, Pinchen, Dixon, Coates, Robson, Hogan, Myers, D Boatman, J Boatman, Wood, Mallinson, Atkins.

Harrogate: Denton, Minikin, Dench, Bottomley, Audsle-Beck, Irvine, Wickham, Metcalfe, Maycock, Browne, Harvey, Brady, Wilson, Smith, Heaton, Wackett, Innes, Johnson

Referee: Dean Lythgoe (Northern Division).

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