Pythons bounce back with home win over struggling Stocksbridge

Harrogate Pythons beat Stocksbridge at an extremely muddy Station View. Picture: Adrian Murray
Harrogate Pythons beat Stocksbridge at an extremely muddy Station View. Picture: Adrian Murray

Harrogate Pythons bounced back from the disappointment of last week’s defeat to relegation-threatened Baildon when they beat Stocksbridge at Station View.

The Sheffield outfit began the day bottom of the Yorkshire Three table, but put up a good fight before eventually going down 25-16 to Dan Bird’s men.

The Pythons made a positive start on an extremely muddy pitch, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring courtesy of a fifth-minute penalty.

Gate continued to try and play expansive rugby in the tricky conditions but were hindered by conceding a series of penalties.

They eventually won one of their own, however, and Ross Fallenstein was able to level things up at 3-3.

The hosts continued to press, and despite being a man down after Ollie Wheatley was sin-binned, they got their noses in front with 28 minutes on the clock.

Some dominant scrummaging by the Pythons pack saw Stocksbridge driven back over their own line and number eight John Reah was able to touch down.

Fallenstein converted for 10-3, but just before half-time ‘Gate received another yellow card and the visiting forwards took full advantage, driving over for a try that narrowed the gap to 10-8 at the break.

Just as they had done in the first period, the Pythons began the half well and another successful kick at goal by Fallenstein made it 13-8 just two minutes after the resumption.

Stocksbridge stayed in touch by landing a penalty kick shortly afterwards, but the home team were soon back on the front foot.

They again drove the visiting pack over their own line, but this time the referee adjudged Reah to have knocked-on as he attempted to apply the finishing touch.

The Pythons were not to be denied, however, and Max Sharp’s 70-metre dash following an interception led to a try in the corner for Sam Gibbs.

Fallenstein then added a superb touchline conversion for 20-11 after 68 minutes.

Stocksbridge hit back with their second touchdown of the day to set up a grandstand finish, however ‘Gate were to wrap things up in the dying minutes.

The Pythons won a penalty under the sticks, and although Fallenstein’s kick struck an upright, the ball bounced back into his hands and he was able to fling it wide for Stuart Illingworth to crash over.