Pythons inflict first home defeat on Otliensians
The Pythons made the short journey to Otliensians to face a team 1 position below the Pythons in the league at a ground where the Pythons had not had much success in the previous seasons. The Pythons kicked off into a strong wind and after the long return kick was dropped by Ollie Wheatley, the Pythons scrum pressurised Ensians onto the back foot. Strong runs by Steve Lennox and Hugh Tatlow forced Ensians to concede an early penalty and Rob Cooper stepped up to open the Pythons account. 0-3 6 mins. With the Pythons adopting a strong running game in the forwards the momentum was stopped by a big tackle on Grant Weatherston which forced a home scrum. The clearing kick was well returned by Steve Youngson and a great turnover by Luke Price-Gerrard kept Ensians pegged back. Harry Parrish made good ground from a scrum and Ensians were caught offside. Cooper increased the Pythons lead from the tee. 0-6 119 mins.
The restart was collected by Price-Gerrard who broke to halfway and the move was carried on by Adam Challis and Will Butler before strong defence forced a knock on. Ensians now pressed and James Audsley-Beck did well to win the chase to a long Ensians kick. A Cooper cross kick was well collected by Max Sharp to win an attacking line out. Tatlow won the ball and a good line from Jon Pickard resulted in another penalty which Cooper stroked over. 0-9 25 mins. Tatlow picked up from the base of a scrum and the ball went quickly through hands to Wheatley who picked the ball up from his toes and Ensians were again penalised for offside. A quick tap from Audsley-Beck led to a powerful maul from the Pythons with Ensians been driven over their own line for Challis to emerge as the try scorer. 0-14 35 mins. Ensians came right back and following an attacking line out their centre powered over between the posts and a successful conversion brought the score
back to 7-14 after 36 mins. Then disaster for the Pythons as some weak tackling out wide saw the Ensians winger touch down in the corner. 14-14 38 mins. A strong drive from the restart from Challis saw Sharp held up on the line but the referee brought the half to an end at Ensians 14 Pythons 14.
The second period started badly for the Pythons with the influential Challis having to leave the field with a head injury. An Ensians penalty attempt was blown back by the wind and well taken and cleared by Rich Paterson. More good work from Youngson was taken on by Joe Bentham and Nathan Wake but Cooper’s kick ran dead. With the Pythons scrum now dominant good work from Tatlow and Price-Gerrard led to a defensive Ensians line out. The ball was stolen by Sam Beagrie and Ensians were penalised in midfield. Again Cooper put the ball between the posts. 14-17 60 mins. The Pythons were now conceding too many penalties, but with Ensians line out misfiring, they elected to take scrums which played into the Pythons hands. The string of penalties led to Paterson been shown a yellow card for dissent, but the Pythons were holding strong, helped by powerful tackling from subs Dan Bird and Dan Shortman. Beagrie gained good territory with a jinking run but was penalised for holding on. With time running out another Ensians attack broke down and Sandy Dunlop picked up the loose ball. He raced away and linked with Tatlow and Butler before Tatlow put Sharp away in the corner for the winning try, converted by Cooper. 14-24 79 mins. There was just time for Ensians to restart before the referee brought proceedings to an end. Final score Otliensians 14 Harrogate Pythons 24.
This was an excellent win for the Pythons who became the first side to win at Otliensians this season. Next weekend the Pythons entertain Ossett at Station View.