Bass grabs hat-trick as Pythons end losing sequence

Gareth Bass on the way to the try-line for one of his three touchdowns against Baildon
Gareth Bass on the way to the try-line for one of his three touchdowns against Baildon

Gareth Bass helped himself to a hat-trick of tries as Harrogate Pythons ended their five-match losing streak with a comprehensive 33-7 victory over Baildon.

Dan Bird’s side started the Yorkshire Three clash strongly, retaining the ball though their forwards and making plenty of ground through Joe Bentham and Liam Monaghan in the centres.

While the men from Pennypot preferred to play with the ball in hand, any mistakes were punished by the Baildon fly-half, whose strong kicking kept the hosts pegged back.

The home pack started to dominate at the scrum, and their line-out was also functioning well thanks to some accurate throwing by hooker Sandy Dunlop.

A long clearance from the visitors was returned by Bass and Baildon were then penalised in defence close to their own line.

The Pythons opted for a scrum and started to push the visiting pack backwards towards the try-line.

In desperation, a Baildon flanker kicked the ball out of the back of the scrum and the referee awarded a penalty-try which was converted by Ross Fallenstein for 7-0 after 16 minutes.

Baildon worked hard to get back into the game and their fly-half made a useful break and was pulled down just short of the whiteash by Max Sharp.

Ivan Drane went in to contest the ball and was penalised, despite home claims that the visiting player was holding on.

The away team then took a quick tap and, in the confusion, scored under the posts, levelling the scores at 7-7 30 after half an hour.

There were no more points registered before half-time, but following a rousing team-talk from Bird at the interval, the Pythons began the second period with real intent.

Having forced another penalty deep in Baildon territory, the hosts again opted for a scrum and Matt Leach picked up at the base and crashed over, Fallenstein adding the extras for 14-7.

Baildon then pressed the Harrogate line, but an interception from Monaghan saw him race clear.

He began to run out of steam, but a great offload saw Bass race away to score under the sticks, the try again converted by Fallenstein as Bird’s men made it 14 points in just seven second-half minutes.

With the introduction of Nathan Wake at prop, the Pythons’ forward dominance continued, with the visitos seemingly at a loss as how to cope in the scrum.

Another attacking scrum saw Steve Kirkpatrick break to the blind side and pass to Bass, who bounced his opposite number out of the way and crashed over the whitewash for a bonus-point try and a 26-7 lead.

A Baildon move then broke down in the Harrogate 22 and good hands saw Bass go clear from long distance to claim his hat-trick try, converted by Fallenstein to make the final score 33-7.