Harrogate RUFC recorded a first away victory of the season when won 19-14 at Sheffield Tigers on Saturday.
The result boosts the Cockerels’ hopes of beating the drop, keeping them 12th in the National Two North standings and four points clear of the relegation places.
Harrogate had first use of the considerable slope at Haversage Road , but the Tigers’ first foray into the visitors’ 22 led to a penalty after just five minutes.
Fly-half Mark Ireland converted for a 3-0 lead in his first game after back following a long injury lay-off.
The hosts then found themselves under pressure in their own 22 with Harrogate’s Coser brothers, Guy and Jonny, constantly testing the home defence with some powerful carries.
With 15 minutes gone, Sheffield were penalised for holding the ball in the tackle and Sam Fox sent the ball between the posts for 3–3.
Both teams were having difficulty complying with the tackle law and the game’s next penalty was awarded to the Tigers and again coverted by Ireland for 6–3.
Fox replied for Dave Doherty’s side with another three-pointer, but with one minute of the half remaining Sam Brady was yellow carded for what referee Ben Davis interpreted as a high tackle.
The Tigers had the advantage of the slope in the second period, and with Harrogate down to 14 men, Ireland’s kicking moved his side them into the away 22. From a line-out they set up a driving maul to put prop Ed Simmons over for a touchdown and an 11-6 lead.
The Cockerels came back, and with centres Keane Naylor and Noel Minikin making good ground supported by wings Harry Barnard and Oli Rosillo, they put Fox within range for another penalty opportunity, which he again took to reduce the gap to just two points at 11-9.
Ireland’s next influence on the game then took Sheffield back into the Harrogate half to set up his third penalty for a 14–9 advantage.
Despite still being behind, Doherty’s men seemed energised as the game moved into the final quarter.
Replacement number eight Tim Heaton was finding gaps in the Tigers’ defence, and one such break set up Guy Coser for Harrogate’s only try of the match. Fox’s conversion put Harrogate in the ascendancy for the first time on the day at 16-14.
Yet another holding in the tackle offence gave the visitors a fourth kickable penalty, and Fox duly obliged once more to round the scoring off at 19-14.