Harrogate RUFC lost out on the road at local rivals Wharfedale in Saturday’s National Two North derby encounter.
A deserved win for the men from Threshfield moves them further away from the relegation zone but, although results elsewhere went Dave Doherty’s side’s way, defeat leaves the Cockerels just a place above the league’s bottom three.
Stand-off Sam Fox’s early departure through injury was undoubtedly a factor but, although Harrogate enjoyed complete scrum domination throughout, Wharfedale managed the heavy pitch conditions better on the day.
The hosts began the game with waves of attacking rugby and full-back Harry Bullough came into the line as the extra man to squeeze over in the left corner for the opening try after just four minutes.
Further home raids broke down and, at the subsequent scrums, they were driven backwards by Harrogate and penalised. This proved to be the pattern of the match with tight head prop Will Dennis the cornerstone of the visitors’ scrum.
Despite this, Wharfedale added a second try, which came from a succession of driving mauls with George Hedgley crashing through in the right corner to make it 10-0.
Harrogate then mounted a series of their own attacks during the remaining 15 minutes of the half, but were unable to penetrate the home defence.
From the re-start, Wharfedale’s Josh Burridge made a powerful 40-metre run from defence to get his side back on the front foot.
Five minutes into the second period, a Jamie Guy cross kick was well-taken by winger Scott Jordan who cut inside and touched down to leave Guy with a straightforward conversion which made the score 17-0.
Harrogate’s dominant scrummaging continued to give them possession, but they still failed to breach the home defence.
Wharfedale were penalised for going offside at a visiting scrum and Doherty’s successful kick made it 17-3 but this was as good as it got for the Rudding Lane outfit and proved to be the final score of the match.