After a month without a game, Harrogate Pythons returned to action at Leeds Medics & Dentists, eventually losing out in a high-scoring contest.
Dan Bird’s men found themselves 17-3 behind at one stage in the first half, and although they rallied after the interval, they couldn’t quite make up the deficit, losing out 29-20 in the end.
Despite not having set foot on a pitch in four weeks due to the recent bad weather, ‘Gate began the match brightly and caused their hosts some problems during the opening 20 minutes.
An attacking Medics scrum then saw the Pythons penalised, and while the referee was explaining his decision, the hosts took a quick tap-penalty and went over to open the scoring at 7-0 in the 22nd minute.
The men from Station View came straight back and a Ross Fallenstein penalty narrowed the gap four minutes later, however, from a turnover following a line-out deep in home territory, the Medics went almost the length of the pitch to touch down for a second time.
With the home team’s tails up, they put ‘Gate under real pressure, going over for 17-3 in the 38th minute following another quick tap.
The Medics were then penalised at the re-start, allowing Fallenstein to boot over a penalty just before the half-time whistle.
The Pythons made a strong start to the second period, and with the home fly-half in the sin-bin for dissent, a Fallenstein cross-kick was well taken by Matt Halpin and recycled to the opposite wing for Hugh Tatlow to crash over.
Fallenstein added the extras from the touchline to make it 17-13 after 53 minutes.
The ‘Gate momentum was then checked as they lost an attacking scrum against the head and a Medics centre broke through several weak tackles to extend his side’s lead at 24-13.
Undeterred, the visitors came again, John Reah making a good break before being stopped in front of the posts where the hosts fell foul of the referee.
From the resulting scrum, Joe Bentham drove over and Fallenstein again coverted.
At 24-20 with 10 minutes remaining, the Pythons could smell victory, but unfortunately for them, the next score went to the Medics following a kick-and-chase, ending any hopes of a comeback.
The result sees the Leeds outfit leapfrog Bird’s men in the Yorkshire Three standings, leaving ‘Gate 12th ahead of this weekend’s trip to Castleford.