Pythons secure first win at new home

Jon Pickard on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' triumph over Hemsworth
Jon Pickard on the charge during Harrogate Pythons' triumph over Hemsworth

Harrogate Pythons returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 32-0 victory over newly-promoted Hemsworth in Yorkshire Three.

After back-to-back defeats, Dan Bird’s side produced a dominant display to register a first success at their new Station View home.

The Pythons were off the mark quickly after Ian Binns won a line-out. Ivan Drane carried well before Jon Pickard took over and was stopped just short, however Drane followed up to apply the finishing touch.

Drane then added the extras for a 7-0 lead in the third minute.

The hosts then destroyed a Hemsworth scrum which led to an attacking line-out on the five-metre line, but this time Sandy Dunlop’s throw was ruled not straight.

The visitors looked dangerous themselves in patches, intercepting a pass and breaking 60 metres up the pitch where Gate were penalised at the breakdown, however the attempted penalty kick was pulled wide of the posts.

A break from the scrum by Hemsworth’s powerful number eight was stopped on the line by a John Reah tackle and Drane then cleared the danger.

Dunlop stole the resulting line-out and the away team were penalised for a high tackle on Jack Clarkson, allowing Drane the opportunity to extend the lead to 10-0 with his boot.

Hemsworth frustration then boiled over and one of their props was yellow-carded for an offence at the breakdown.

Binns again provided ball off the top of the line-out and Drane chipped over the onrushing defence for Joe Bentham to kick over the line and touch down for a 15-0 half-time lead.

The Pythons started the second period strongly and quick ball at a ruck saw Bentham expose the blind side and put Ollie Wheatley over in the corner. Drane converted from the touchline to move his side 22 points in front in the 42nd minute.

A Hemsworth scrum was then taken against the head and although Reah was stopped just short of the line, Rob Lunn picked up the ball and muscled over for a bonus-point touchdown.

Full-back Andy Quirk was causing chaos with his runs from deep, but a series of Pythons knock ons in crucial areas kept the score down.

The hosts did however manage to get over the whitewash once again when the ball went wide from a scrum, Quirk breaking the line and passing to Sharp who offloaded brilliantly for Jed Wolfram to score in the corner.

Hemsworth finished the game well and were camped on the Harrogate line during the closing stages, but strong defence kept them at bay and sealed a fine shut-out for Bird’s men.