Harrogate Pythons RUFC sign off with 17th straight win, but promotion still yet to be confirmed

Harrogate Pythons RUFC signed off for 2021/22 with a 17th consecutive victory, beating Bramley Phoenix 42-19 on Saturday afternoon.

By Rhys Howell
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:15 am
Harry Parrish on the attack during Harrogate Pythons' 42-19 win at Bramley Phoenix. Pictures: Submitted
Harry Parrish on the attack during Harrogate Pythons' 42-19 win at Bramley Phoenix. Pictures: Submitted

That result keeps Dan Bird’s team top of Yorkshire Three, though both the destination of the league title and the division the club will be playing in next season are still to be decided.

Second-placed Barnsley still have one game left to play and will overtake the Pythons should they beat fifth-placed Halifax Vandals.

Finishing as runners-up would ordinarily be enough to guarantee the Station View outfit a spot in Yorkshire Two next term, however with the Rugby Football Union still yet to confirm its restructuring of the leagues for 2022/23, the club faces an anxious wait to learn its fate.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

The influential Tim Evans was once again among the Pythons' try-scorers in their final outing of 2021/22.

Regardless of how things pan out, head coach Bird is understandably thrilled with the efforts of his players, who last lost a league match on November 13.

“What a great season this has been for us”, he reflected.

“I can’t say enough about this squad, we’ve had some great performances and some noticeable improvements throughout the campaign.

“There are some tough sides in Yorkshire Three and Bramley are certainly one of them. You can see why they’re third in the table.”

And although hosts Bramley did present Bird’s men with the sternest test they have faced in some time, it still did not take the Pythons long to get their noses in front.

Harry Parrish put Tim Evans in the clear and his 40-metre burst was stopped by a high tackle. Will Clough took the resulting penalty and found Liam Kernaghan, who was pulled down just short of the line.

But, the ever-alert Scott Irvine was quick to follow up and bullocked over line before Clough added the extras for 7-0.

A converted try for the hosts then saw them level the scores, though parity was fairly short-lived.

At a Pythons scrum on the home 22, Clough spotted the gap down the narrow side and raced over next to the posts, converting his own touchdown for 14-7.

From another scrum on the Bramley 22 later in the half, the visitors were able to extend their lead further.

Irvine picked up from the base and advanced on the open-side where Evans was in support to receive the ball to finish under the posts.

Clough again made no mistake with the boot, making it 21-7 at the interval.

The opening quarter of an hour of the second period saw both sides demonstrate some decent phase-play before Pythons’ Will Smith aggressively returned a goal-line drop-out.

Andy MacKay spun the ball wide to Callum Brock and he put Parrish in at the corner. Carr drop-kicked the extras for 28-7 on 60 minutes.

The dominant ‘Gate scrum then turned over a Bramley scrum, enabling Irvine to pick up the ball, break two tackles and score under the posts. Carr’s conversion opened up a 28-point gap between the sides.

A second try for the hosts narrowed the gap slightly before Irvine found James Audsley -Beck racing down the wing and he then passed to Evans to apply a finishing touch and make it 42-12.

Bramley had the final say with a late converted try, but the Pythons had already done more than enough.