Pythons tamed by Otliensians
Harrogate Pythons RUFC welcomed Otliensians to a muddy Station View, looking to avenge a heavy away defeat earlier in the season.
The visitors’ kick-off was collected by Matt Leach who set the tone with a strong driving run.
‘Ensians’ first possession was well dealt with by winger Dorian Ennequin who wrong footed his opposite number to clear the danger.
The away side then forced an attacking line-out which was won by Hugh Tatlow and Jed Wolfram cleared his lines.
From another attacking line-out, ‘Ensians this time went for the catch-and-drive but strong ‘Gate defence resulted in the visitors being penalised for holding on.
Joe Bentham then made a break from a scrappy line-out, which was carried on by Tatlow and Steve Smith, but in the horrendous conditions the move ended with a knock-on.
Tatlow then broke again and shipped on to Luke Price-Gerrard, however his pass was intercepted by the ‘Ensians winger who got bogged down in the mud and was eventually caught by Matt Halpin.
‘Ensians were then penalised in midfield but Wolfram’s penalty attempt fell short of the posts.
Max Sharp next made a break, again carried on by Tatlow, but again the Pythons’ progress was hampered by a knock-on.
‘Ensians went for another catch-and-drive from an attacking line-out, but were this time penalised for obstruction in the maul to leave the half -time score 0-0.
‘Gate started the second period on the front foot with driving runs from Leach and Jack Clarkson.
A grubber kick from Bentham was defused on the ‘Ensians line by the alert away full-back, who scrambled away a clearance.
Having weathered the Pythons storm, ‘Ensians worked their way up the pitch, keeping possession well, until ‘Gate conceded a penalty on their 22 which was well kicked by the visiting stand-off.
The away team then went wide and their winger put in a grubber-kick towards the Pythons’ line.
Home full-back Halpin and the ‘Ensians winger both dived to touch down, but the referee ruled the visiting man got the vital first touch and awarded a try, which was superbly converted from the touchline for a 10-0 lead on 65 minutes.
‘Gate responded with their best spell of the game, but were met by ferocious defence by ‘Ensians.
Despite taking a couple of scrums against the head, the Pythons could not breach the away defence, and their hopes faded when Clarkson was shown a yellow card for diving into a ruck, the visitors being able to see the game out.