Harrogate Pythons see off Baildon RUFC to stay in touch at top of the table

Ram Ismail on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' home win over Baildon
Ram Ismail on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' home win over Baildon

Harrogate Pythons kept themselves in touch at the top of Yorkshire Three courtesy of a 19-15 home victory over Baildon.

Dan Bird’s side’s shock defeat to Aireborough in their previous outing saw them knocked off top spot by Wensleydale who now lead the way by five points, albeit having played a game more than the men from Station View.

Gate began Saturday’s contest strongly, taking a scrum against the head before Tom Breakwell was off target with a kick at goal.

Max Sharp was stopped just short of the away line before Baildon intercepted, kicked clear, then won turnover ball before  making it across the whitewash themselves to take a 15th-minute lead against the run of play.

The Pythons responded well to falling behind, Hugh Tatlow stealing line-out ball for Luke Price-Gerrard who  made it to within touching distance of the try-line . 

The ball was then recycled quickly allowing Andy MacKay to pick up and dart down the blind side to open the home account and level the scores at 5-5.

A disastrous re-start saw ‘Gate immediately penalised for having players in front of Breakewell’s clearance kick and the Baildon scrum-half took a quick tap and darted clear to dot down by the posts.

The Pythons again recovered from the disappointment of another sucker-punch, and from a scrum, MacKay linked with Jed Carr whose long pass found Ned Rutty in space to dart over in the corner. 

A fine touchline conversion from Breakwell sent the hosts in 12-10 ahead at the interval.

‘Gate turned around in confident mood with a strong wind behind them in the second period, but barely 60 seconds had elapsed following the resumption when the Baildon scrum-half made an interception and again ran away to touch down.

Breakwell hit the post with a penalty attempt as Bird’s men pressed for a way back into the game, however the visitors managed to keep their noses in front.

That was until the 70th minute when a scrum infringement led to the sin-binning of a Baildon forward.

Ram Ismail broke from the resulting scrum and Breakwell fed Rutty to crash over and put his team back in front. 

Again, Breakwell converted from the touchline, wrapping things up ahead of Saturday’s home meeting with Sheffield Medicals.