Conditions were wet and extremely muddy from the off, but this didn’t prevent the hosts from taking an early lead.
Rachel Demoraes made a break down the wing and despite her being tackled just short of the line, her offload to the supporting Olivia Howarth was timed perfectly, allowing the former to cross the whitewash.
When play resumed, Barnsley were a menace in the middle of the pitch, causing major problems for the ‘Gate forwards.
As a result, Lucy Barnett’s team adopted a pragmatic approach and looked to spread the play wide whenever they could, however, their next two tries owed much to the hard work put in by their pack, who made tackle after tackle and contested every breakdown in order to win back possession.
With the ball eventually secured, it was shipped out wide, allowing metres to be made by the home wingers before captain Lauren Bolger was twice able to apply a finishing touch.
Although Barnsley had managed to kick over two penalties, those touchdowns, converted by Bolger herself, left ‘Gate very much in control at 19-6 when the half-time whistle blew.
When the game restarted, Rose Jay continued to control proceedings effectively for the most part, but the visitors pushed hard for a way back into the contest and upped their game in attack, making some powerful runs.
Impressive tackles were made by flanker Neive Jones and replacement Allysia Hine, who made an impact instantly, helping to keep Barnsley at bay.
Harrogate retaliated with Georgina Holmes and Charlotte Warriner making ground on the charge. It was Lucy Richardson however, who scored the rest of Harrogate’s points, in the form of two outstanding tries.
The second of these required Richardson to run the length of the pitch before touching down herself, with Howarth in support.
Barnsley penetrated the defence eventually and were able to score a touchdown of their own before the full-time whistle, narrowing the deficit slightly.
‘Gate’s player of the match awards went to Maisie Barnett, Demoraes and Richardson.
Harrogate Ladies 2nd XV were in action at the same time, suffering a narrow 12-5 loss to Doncaster Demons.
Their match was competitive from the start, with ‘Gate camped out in the opposition’s half of the pitch for the first quarter.
Particularly strong runs were made by the forward pack, and serious impact was made by Emily Attwood, Kirstie Plummer and Rebecca Reeve-Burnett.
The home back line sound found its groove, with some impressive link-up play led by scrum half Lizzy Choong.
The hosts’ defence was relentless and prevented a determined Doncaster from crossing the whitewash until the very end of the first half.
With the second period underway, Harrogate were quick to respond to Doncaster’s try, Clodagh Porter touching down to close the gap to two points at 7-5.
Despite them continuing to work hard both with and without the ball, ‘Gate were unable to prevent the South Yorkshire club from grabbing a decisive second try.
Player of the match awards went to Emily Attwood, Porter and Lois Marks.