Harrogate Pythons overturn sizeable deficit to secure seventh successive victory

Harrogate Pythons Jedd Carr kicks for field position during his side's victory over Leeds Corinthians
Harrogate Pythons Jedd Carr kicks for field position during his side's victory over Leeds Corinthians

Yorkshire Three leaders Harrogate Pythons fought back from 17 points down to beat Leeds Corinthians at Station View.

Dan Bird's men looked to be on their way to a first defeat in seven matches after making a poor start to Saturday's encounter.

The visitors kicked a second-minute penalty then added a pair of converted tries to put themselves in a commanding position.

It took until a minute before half-time for 'Gate to get up and running, Max Sharp reducing the deficit to 17-3 with a penalty.

From the re-start, Hugh Tatlow broke down the touchline before the ball was moved quickly through the hands to Ivan Drane on the opposite flank, however he was tackled into touch and the half-time whistle then followed.

'Gate started the second period with renewed confidence and as the rain began to pour, the home pack took charge, Matt Leach and Tom Everingham making some strong runs.

A no-arms tackle by a Leeds man was then penalised and 'Gate kicked for the corner where Tatlow won good ball before Luke Price-Gerrard was stopped just short of the try-line.

Scrum-half Ned Rutty was however quickly on the scene, flicking the ball up to the supporting Tatlow who crashed over, Sharp adding the conversion for 17-10 in the 55th minute.

With the Pythons now in control, more pressure saw Everingham and Leach both stopped short by some resolute defensive work.

Jedd Carr then picked up and appeared to have crossed in the corner, though the referee awarded a scrum to 'Gate.

The home pack were halted right on the Leeds line, but the ever-alert Rutty quickly grabbed the ball and dotted down.

Sharp then levelled the scores at 17-17 by successfully booting over the resulting conversion with 65 minutes on the clock.

In typical fashion, Bird's men conceded a penalty immediately from the re-start, allowing Corinthians to to edge back ahead at 20-17.

That was however as good as it got for the West Yorkshiremen, a good break by Joe Bentham leading to an attacking scrum for the hosts.

Leeds were penalised as the Pythons drove towards the line, and 'Gate again elected to scrum.

This time, a visiting prop stood up in the scrum and the referee awarded a penalty-try, plus a yellow card for the offender, leaving the Pythons 24-20 up against 14 men.

The points were then sealed when 'Gate's forwards marched the Corinthians back over their own line at another scrum for number eight Kris Starkey to touch down and round things off at 29-20.