Harrogate Pythons RUFC triumph again to close gap at top of the table

A 12th consecutive victory saw in-form Harrogate Pythons edge closer to the top of Yorkshire Three.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 6:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 6:42 pm
Harrogate Pythons' centre partnership of Tim Evans, left, and Joe Bentham in action against Halifax Vandals. Picture: Submitted
Harrogate Pythons' centre partnership of Tim Evans, left, and Joe Bentham in action against Halifax Vandals. Picture: Submitted

Saturday’s 24-8 success at Halifax Vandals, combined with a rare loss for leaders Barnsley means that Dan Bird’s men now sit just six points shy of the summit with five fixtures remaining this term.

‘Gate kicked-off into a stiff breeze and were soon on the offensive with Jed Carr kicking through for the ever-aware Sam Beagrie to run onto, only for the ball to bounce into touch.

With the Halifax backs in the game and probing away, Tim Evans and Joe Bentham tackled well in defence before the advancing visitors were awarded a penalty at the breakdown. The shot at goal was however pulled just wide.

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Carr then found touch from the re-start, Hugh Tatlow stole the line-out and quick ball puts James Audsley-Beck in the clear, only for the referee to pull the game back for a penalty infringement in the Pythons’ favour at the line-out.

From there, Carr kicked to the 22, Calum Brock secured the line-out and Andy MacKay whipped the ball out to Evans.

He then set Audsley-Beck away, only for the referee to this time blow for a forward pass.

To make matters worse, the Vandals built phases from the resulting scrum and gained a penalty which was kicked for 3-0 on 16 minutes.

The home team continued to press, with Beagrie saving a certain breakaway with a fine tackle into touch.

With 21 minutes on the clock, Bird’s team managed to open their account. Clean ball again from Brock brought Scott Irvine into the game and he gained valuable yards.

He then fed Evans, who found Carr carving a great line through midfield to score. Andy MacKay added the extras to make it 7-3.

The Pythons began to work through some phases and gained ground through some determined ball-carrying by Nathan Wake and Will Butler. And, quick ball to Evans, then to Bentham saw Beagrie go over in the corner for 12-3 at half-time.

Early in the second period, the Pythons won a scrum thanks to a massive tackle by Jon Pickard in midfield.

Tatlow picked up at number eight, gaining 15 yards. Quick ball at the breakdown then found Nino Cutino, who fed Bentham, who located Audsley-Beck with a deft kick ahead and he touched down. Ollie Myers added the extra two points to open up a 16-point gap between the teams.

The Vandals won a scrappy line-out from the kick-off, securing possession and kicking ahead down the blind-side, where their winger finished off for 19-8 on 55 minutes.

From a penalty, Carr kicked to the five-metre line, Brock won the line-out and touched down, only for the referee to blow due to the initial throw not being straight.

A 20-minute period of relative inactivity followed, however in the final stages of the game, the Pythons earned themselves a four-try bonus point.

The visitors won a line-out and Carr fed Evans on his own 10m line, from where he rounded the Halifax defence and outpaced the covering full-back to round off the scoring.

The Pythons travel to Ossett this Saturday, with their 2nd XV entertaining Ripon 2nds at the Jim Saynor Ground. Both fixtures kickoff at 3pm.