Struggling Harrogate Pythons RUFC give good account during home defeat to high-flying Bradford Salem RFC
Dan Bird’s men ultimately lost the game by a 34-17 score-line and remain mired in the division’s bottom two, where they now find themselves six points from safety despite having played a game more than 10th-placed Old Rishworthian.
But, the men from Station View pushed their high-flying visitors hard at the Jim Saynor Ground, prompting head coach Bird to hail what he described as a “never say die” attitude.
“There were many positives to take from the weekend’s performance, notably the problems we continue to pose teams when we have the ball in hand,” he said.
"The opening score from Nick Bell on debut was one example of this. But, despite strong spells in the game, our transitions and first-up tackling cost us the result we were pushing so hard for.
"But, I’m really proud of the playing squad and their ‘never say die’ attitude. One thing that is certain, is that nobody visits the Jim Saynor Ground and gets an easy fixture.”
The Pythons showed greater intent during the opening quarter of the match and were rewarded after just five minutes.
At a scrum on halfway, Ed Challis picked up from number eight and fed Mike Adams, who showed quick hands to find Max Sharp, whose perfectly-weighted grubber kick was collected by Nick Bell.
The debutant then outpaced the away defence to score in the corner, Jed Carr adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
The Pythons kept up the pressure, however a catch-and-drive from a line-out saw Salem go over to level matters.
A second touchdown saw the visitors edge ahead, though a Carr penalty soon narrowed the gap at 12-10.
Two more tries materialised before half-time leaving Salem in control, and they registered another couple after the break to make the score 38-10.
‘Gate would however have the final say as Luke Price-Gerrard was held up three metres out, with the evergreen Steve Smith regaining the ball and driving over for a score which was converted by Carr.
Next up for the Pythons is a home fixture against sixth-placed Pocklington this Saturday.