Pythons progress in Yorkshire Vase with home succes over Skipton
Harrogate Pythons got back on track following back-to-back defeats, seeing off Skipton by an 18-12 scoreline in the first round of the Yorkshire Vase.
It was the visitors who started the stronger at Station View but their robust pack was met by some determined Harrogate defence, led by the impressive Peterjack Stubbs.
Skipton eventually ran out of ideas and, after they kicked possession away, the ball found its way into the hands of Ollie Wheatley.
He ran across field, only to see his offload intercepted by a visiting centre who touched down for a 7-0 lead in the 10th minute.
The Pythons responded strongly and another Skipton kick was collected by Wheatley.
This time he linked with full-back Andy Quirk and great interplay between Hugh Tatlow and Liam Kernoghan put Max Sharp in under the posts.
Jed Wolfram added the extras to tie things up at 7-7 after a quarter of an hour.
Skipton then spurned the chance to go back ahead when they missed a kick at goal from a penalty.
There were no more points scored before half-time, but the Pythons got their noses in front 15 minutes into the second period.
A huge hit by Steve Smith halted a Skipton attack from a line-out and Dan Shortman burst out of defence before Stubbs took the ball on and made good ground.
The visitors were then penalised, the resulting lineout was well won by Shortman and quick hands put Wheatley over in the corner for 12-7.
Two Steve Kirkpatrick penalties put the Pythons in control at 18-7, and although Skipton’s forwards forced their way over the whitewash in the closing stages, Dan Bird’s men had already done enough to set up a home tie with Hemsworth in round two.