Struggling Gate lose out at Sale

Harrogate RUFC suffered another National Two North defeat when they visited Sale
Harrogate RUFC suffered another National Two North defeat when they visited Sale

Harrogate RUFC remain rooted to the bottom of National Two North after conceding 24 unanswered points in the second half at Sale, on Saturday.

Dave Doherty’s side went in level at 13-13 at half-time, however this scoreline was a poor reflection of the visitors’ forward dominance.

Sale stiffened their scrummaging after the interval and made good use of the extra possession that this allowed them to finish the game as comfortable victors.

An early Noel Minikin midfield break was checked and Sale went offside at the subsequent ruck, 30 metres from their goal line.

Charlie Morgan’s penalty attempt bounced off the upright but the hosts knocked-on and a scrum was awarded to increase the Harrogate pressure.

Sale were driven backwards and penalised at the scrum, Morgan duly kicking this one to put the Cockerels three points ahead.

A Harrogate offside offence then led to a penalty to the home side and an attacking line-out for Sale.

From the subsequent driving maul, prop Joe Kelly burst through some poor defence to score a try converted by Liam McGovern.

Sale’s Ben Curry was then yellow carded for a blatant offside offence and Morgan’s penalty kick reduced the arrears at 7-6.

The home team were then penalised at a succession of Harrogate driving scrums.

Skipper Jake Brady opted for a scrum on each occasion until the referee’s patience finally ran out and a penalty try was awarded, converted by Morgan for a 13-7 advantage.

From the re-start, Doherty’s troops fell foul of referee Mr Cooke for holding, and McGovern’s kick closed the gap at 13-10.

On the stroke of half-time, Harrogate’s scrum was penalised and McGovern’s penalty levelled things up.

Soon after the interval, a wild Harrogate midfield pass was well tidied by Morgan but the visitors were then penalised at the resulting maul and McGovern kicked Sale into the lead.

Harrogate’s re-start kick went straight into touch and Sale’s improved scrum won them possession. The ball was quickly channelled to centre Jack Moorhouse who scored a converted try from an excellent outside break.

Jonny Giles then had to tidy yet another Harrogate midfield fumble, but the home pressure continued and powerful centre Scott Rawlings went over for another converted touchdown.

Sale’s bonus-point converted try followed from an attack on the left, finished off by number eight Tom Ailes.

Despite finding themselves well behind, Harrogate continued to mount attacks from well-won possession but failed to break through the home defence and add to their tally.

Harrogate RUFC: Morgan, Giles, Nesbitt, Minikin, Edwards, R Davies, Matthews, Ward, Maycock, Dennis, J Brady, S Brady, J Coser, G Coser, Heaton.

Replacements: Larder, Peace, Nwanazia, Armiger, Wickham.