Harrogate Pythons RUFC wait to discover their fate after tough debut season in Yorkshire One

Tommy Carswell goes over to score one of his two tries during Harrogate Pythons' final-day-of-the-season loss at Leodiensian. Picture: SubmittedTommy Carswell goes over to score one of his two tries during Harrogate Pythons' final-day-of-the-season loss at Leodiensian. Picture: Submitted
Tommy Carswell goes over to score one of his two tries during Harrogate Pythons' final-day-of-the-season loss at Leodiensian. Picture: Submitted
Harrogate Pythons RUFC suffered their 18th defeat of what has been a tough debut season in Yorkshire One, and must now wait to find out whether they will be relegated.

Saturday’s 49-25 loss on the road at Leodiensian keeps Dan Bird’s team second-from-bottom of the pile, and usually the bottom two would be demoted to Yorkshire Two.

However, the demise of Jersey Reds in English rugby’s second tier will have a knock-on effect further down the pyramid, with promotion and relegation slots to be decided by the Rugby Football Union based on playing records.

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Thus, the Pythons’ fate depends on whether two or one teams drop out of Yorkshire One, with local rivals Wetherby, who finished in second place, waiting to discover how many sides are granted promotion.

The fact that they managed to finish above basement boys Bradford & Bingley boosts ‘Gate’s chances of survival, though their 2023/24 campaign has been one that could and probably should have seen them rack up a far greater tally of victories than the three that they did manage.

Promoted for the second successive season at the end of 2022/23, the Pythons have been more than competitive in virtually all of their fixtures this term despite being without a number of key players for long periods due to injury.

Time after time, they have served up good performances, but ended up on the wrong end of the score-line, and Saturday’s clash with Leos was no different, with two interception tries during the last 10 minutes enabling the home side to pull clear late on.

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A Jed Carr penalty handed the visitors an early lead, and although Leodiensian hit back with a converted try to go 7-3 up, ‘Gate crossed themselves in the 15th minute when Ben Pryor broke through before offloading to fellow centre Tommy Carswell, who did the rest.

Carr’s conversion made it 10-7, and some excellent work by the visiting pack saw them go on to dominate the period of the game that followed.

It was however Leos who finished the half the stronger, adding three more tries for a 28-10 interval lead.

Touchdowns from George Booth, Carswell and Nick Bell brought the Pythons right back into the contest after the break, though those late interceptions then put a gloss on the score-line.

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