Pythons drop into bottom three after Medics defeat

Joe Bentham in action for Harrogate Pythons against Leeds Medics
Joe Bentham in action for Harrogate Pythons against Leeds Medics

Harrogate Pythons dropped into Yorkshire Three’s bottom three following their latest loss, a 31-19 reverse at Leeds Medics & Dentists.

Dan Bird’s side have plummeted down the table following a solid start to the season and have now lost nine of their last 10 fixtures.

They did however begin Saturday’s match well and pushed the Medics off their opening scrum of the afternoon.

This allowed Liam Kernoghan, playing at scrum-half for the first time, space to make a break before full-back Max Sharp made good ground, only for the move to break down when the ball was spilled.

The Leeds outfit retrieved possession and quickly went wide to their flying winger who burst down the outside and passed inside for his full-back to touch down for 7-0 after just three minutes.

The Pythons responded positively and began to dominate territory through their powerful scrum.

The Medics were penalised within kicking distance of their own posts, but Ross Fallenstein’s effort was off target.

The hosts made a hash of tidying the kick up, however, and Harrogate were awarded a five-metre scrum, from which they drove their opponents over their own line, allowing number eight Hugh Tatlow to apply the finishing touch for 7-5.

When Leeds were then penalised for hands in the ruck, a Fallenstein kick resulted in a five-metre line-out.

Matt Leach was stopped just short but laid the ball back for Tatlow to pick up and crash over for his second try, converted by Fallenstein to put his side into the lead at 12-7.

From the re-start Tatlow made decent progress until the ball was turned over and the Medics looked to clear their lines.

Joe Bentham appeared to be on the receiving end of a high-tackle as he fielded the kick but the referee allowed play to continue.

His clearance kick was returned by the home side’s back three, resulting in their winger going over in the corner to make the score 12-12 in the 35th minute.

The teams came out for the second period with all to play for, but it was the Medics who started the better and pressed straight from the resumption.

Some excellent interplay between the home forwards and backs resulted in a try under the posts and a 19-12 lead in the 46th minute.

Max Sharp then joined Dan Shortman in having to leave the field of play due to injuy, and from a turnover, Leeds broke from deep to score a converted try.

A quick tap-penalty saw the Medics add to their tally and put the game beyond Harrogate at 31-12 in the 72nd minute.

The Pythons kept going, however, and went through the phases before forcing a ruck on the home try-line.

Sandy Dunlop picked up and touched down, with Fallenstein adding the extras to round off the scoring at 31-19 with three minutes remaining.