Harrogate Pythons RUFC thrash Burley to record a tenth win on the spin

Jordan Payne on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' thrashing of Burley. Picture: SubmittedJordan Payne on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' thrashing of Burley. Picture: Submitted
Jordan Payne on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' thrashing of Burley. Picture: Submitted
Another 50-point haul for Harrogate Pythons saw them to a convincing home victory over Burley, their 10th consecutive Yorkshire Three triumph.

Saturday’s 55-10 win saw Dan Bird’s team consolidate second position in the table and leaves them nine points clear of third-placed Bramley Phoenix.

It took the hosts just five minutes to break the deadlock, scrum-half James Audsley-Beck jinking over following a scrum.

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A second try arrived when a visiting player knocked-on under pressure on his own 10-metre-line. At the resulting scrum, Hugh Tatlow picked up from number eight and fed Audsley-Beck, who found full-back Harry Parrish.

He then rounded the Burley defence before passing back inside to the supporting Audsley-Beck, who sprinted clear. Jed Wolfram added the extras for 12-0.

The combination of some savage tackling by Steve Smith and Sandy Dunlop followed by some direct running from Tim Evans had the home team back on the attack almost immediately. Quick hands from Parrish found Max Sharp, who fed Evans to power over from 15 metres out.

The Pythons then won a scrum on their own 10-metre line. Evans carried the ball forwards before showcasing his passing ability with an inch-perfect long ball to Sam Beagrie, who raced down the touchline and set up the supporting Parrish to finish. Wolfram added the extras to make it 24-0 on 25 minutes.

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Following a turnover, Evans was able to carry the ball forwards and then offload to Tatlow. Five metres further up the pitch, the ball was secured at the breakdown for Audsley-Beck to hoist a box kick for the advancing Parrish to race onto and touch down.

The next ‘Gate score arrived when Will Butler spotted Tatlow making a run towards the posts from 10 metres out and delivered a great offload for the home number eight to reach out and touch down on the line. Another Wolfram conversion made the score 36-0 at half-time.

Burley began the second half with more intensity and were quickly pressuring the home line, but to no avail.

The ball eventually back in Pythons hands, Evans powered into away territory and Jordan Payne’s quick pass put Audsley-Beck under the posts to complete his hat-trick. Wolfram added the extras for 43-0 on 55 minutes.

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Evans was then once again too fast and too powerful for the away defence, eventually being hauled to ground on the visitors’ 22. Quick recycling from Payne enabled Smith to release Audsley-Beck to sprint under the posts.

Wolfram booted over the extra two to extend the hosts’ advantage to 50 points.

An offside at the breakdown eventually gifted Burley some possession and they began to move through phases of possession which featured some strong running. The pressure eventually told and the home defence was breached in the corner, reducing the deficit slightly at 50-5.

It was however not long before normal service was resumed, the Pythons regaining possession from the kick-off and beginning to build some momentum. Sharp cut a dangerous line across halfway and put Beagrie in the clear to dive over for 55-5 on 70 minutes.

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A knock-on from the kickoff then gifted Burley possession, from which they won a penalty where the visiting scrum-half showed some quick thinking to scamper over and make the final score 55-10.

The irrepressible Evans was named the Whittaker’s Gin man of the match as Bird's men finished the afternoon with a tally in excess of 50 points to their name for the fifth match running.

This weekend the Pythons face a crunch clash with fellow promotion-hopefuls Castleford at the Jim Saynor Ground.