Pythons well-beaten at Goole
Harrogate Pythons' New Year began in disappointing fashion as they suffered a 30-5 loss on the road at Goole in Yorkshire Three.
The hosts kicked off and the Pythons tried to run the ball out of defence, only to be penalised for hands in the ruck.
Goole forced an attacking line-out and although their initial rolling maul was repelled, they shifted the play wide and a missed tackle resulted in a home centre crashing through and offloading for a teammate to add the finishing touch for 5-0 after just four minutes.
The men from Pennypot eventually began to establish a foothold in the game and started to dominate in the scrum.
From an attacking scrum, Ivan Drane broke on the blind side but what would have been a scoring pass was dropped.
Harrogate then shunted Goole off their own ball and this time Drane went himself and darted through to level the scores at 5-5 midway through the first period.
Visibly boosted by their touchdown, Rob Lunn and Hugh Tatlow then combined to make good ground up the middle of the pitch, but when Goole attacked from deep, the Pythons were again penalised at the breakdown, allowing their hosts to re-take the lead with a successful penalty kick.
Both sides then had men sent to the sin-bin as the half ended at 14-a-side and with the East Yorkshiremen 8-5 up.
Goole were quickly out of the blocks from the re-start and cut through the Gate defence straight from kick-off, only to miss out on what seemed a certain try when the final pass of an incisive move was dropped.
The hosts were not to be denied, however, and their fly-half calmly slotted over a drop goal to stretch the gap to six points in the 43rd minute.
Gate again attacked from the re-start but following a turnover, Goole ran out of defence and great interplay resulted in a long-distance try. for 16-5 with 47 minutes on the clock.
The Pythons then enjoyed a period of pressure and a catch-and-drive by Tatlow was well defended by the home defence.
A great break by Max Sharp was ended by a crunching tackle from the Goole full-back, and from the line-out the hosts went wide at pace, allowing their winger to cross in the corner, for a well-converted touchdown which stretched the scoreline to 23-5.
As Goole began to turn the screw, one of their centres ran clear, but dropped the ball with no one near him.
The Pythons began trying to shift the ball wide quickly and both Andrew Quirk and Gareth Bass began to cause their hosts problems, but another turnover resulted in Goole breaking from deep again to score under the posts, rounding off a comprehensive victory at 30-5.
Dan Bird’s team will look to bounce back from this loss when they host Northallerton on Saturday.