Rugby Union: Harrogate’s thrilling comeback stuns Caldy

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Harrogate pulled off a memorable comeback to knock the stuffing out of Caldy and win 38-24 at Claro Road.

From the kick-off, Steve Parsons took the ball just inside the Caldy half and outstripped the defence for a brilliant under the posts try.

Harrogate then proceeded to invent more and more ways of coughing up possession for the rest of half.

A Harrogate line-out offence led to a quick Caldy penalty and a strong Matt Van Sertima break was well supported by Richard Vasey who scored in the corner. His conversion put the visitors 5-7 ahead.

Harrogate’s Tom Harvey had just returned after a long injury lay-off and impressed with his powerful drives. After half an hour, he had to leave the field with another unlucky injury and his controlled aggression was badly missed. Van Sertima crashed over to score a converted try after a strong Alec Smith break sparked off sustained Caldy attacks. Harrogate attacking play followed but the ball was spilled and Craig Ross sprinted 60 yards to score another converted try.

The second half started evenly but Harrogate obviously had a mountain to climb and a Vasey drop goal made it even steeper.

A quickly taken Harrogate penalty was illegally impeded by Stuart Cross but the referee played advantage and Will Dutton powered over for his maiden Harrogate try.

Crucially, Cross was dispatched to the sin bin and Harrogate had drawn level by the time he returned.

A midfield loose ball was snapped up by Callum Irvine whose dazzling run took him over the line from 50 metres and Joe Rowntree converted.

Powerful running from Jake Brady and Tim Heaton punched holes in the Caldy defence but it was Nathan Smith who took the eye with great close quarter work and abrasive attacking runs.

Kyle Dench broke strongly after a great Harrogate turnover and passed to Parsons whose strength and speed took him over for another converted try which levelled the scores.

Yet another Harrogate turnover led to yet another Dench break and this time he finished the move himself.

Dench also started the move which led to the final converted try and Irvine carried on the move with a defence splitting break.

His well weighted cross kick was gathered by livewire hooker Aarin Yorke who sprinted clear for the match’s final converted try

Harrogate: L Minikin, Parsons, Dench, Edwards (Rowntree 45), Parrish (Audsley-Beck 45), Irvine, Matthews, Metcalfe (Browne 45), Yorke, Reaveley (Dutton 45), Brady, Harvey (N Minikin 28), Wilson, N Smith, Heaton

Caldy: Soutar, Van Sertima, Roberts, D Kohler, Ross (C Kohler 74), Vasey, Gaines (A Smith 6),

Grant-Butler, Jones (Dowridge 72), Salisbury (Lowes 53), Mackin, Gerrard, Cross, Sewell,

Smithson (Dowler 59).

Referee: Will Halford (RFU)