Harrogate Pythons made their first visit to recently promoted Burley RFC. In glorious sunshine The Pythons defence kept the home team in their own 22 with some fierce tacking from Sandy Dunlop and John Ward. Under significant pressure Will Clough was soon lining up his first penalty attempt, pushed just wide. The home side retained the 22 restart with The Pythons continuing to pin them back. Once again the pressure on the home team resulted in a penalty, Clough just wide again.
Burley were awarded a penalty from the restart. James Audsley-Beck was quick to carry the ball to half way with some sharp work by Jordan Payne taking the ball into two phases, releasing the ball through quick hands to Audsley-Beck out pacing the opposition to score. 0-5 on 12mins. The home team were able to retain the ball from the restart carrying hard to The Pythons 22. But, some hard tackling and a great turn over from Calum Brock gave Gareth Drane the opportunity to clear to Burley’s 10m line. The resulting line out was won by the home side, moving the ball quickly into mid field. An attempted kick ahead was charged down by Sam Beagrie and Max Sharp won the race to the ball touching down with inches to spare. 0-10 16min.
The restart was won by Matt Leach, Jon Pickard carried well and the ball moved wide to Ollie Wheatley who made a strong run being bundled out to touch on Burley’s 22. A knock on in the line out gave the home side a scrum with Drane penalised for pressurising his opposite number at the base. Payne was quick to gather an overthrow at the resulting line out feeding Sharp who was stopped metres short of the line. Beagrie was on hand to recycle the ball to Drane who found Liam Kernaghan delivering a great pass Hugh Tatlow breaking tackles to score with an outstretched arm by the posts. Clough added the extras 0-17 25mins. The remainder of the half was scoreless with both sides carrying and tackling hard.
The 2nd half started with a Pythons scrum on the home 10m line. Brock picked up at the base to feed Drane who put Audsley-Beck into the clear. Stopped 10m short of the line the home side was penalised for hanging on. Drane quickly took the penalty passing to Tatlow who was tackled short of the line. Butler powered over from the breakdown and Clough added the extras, 0-24 45 mins. Quickly back on the offensive, runs from Marcus Fotherby and Leach put The Pythons 5m out, Drane showed why his nickname is Zippy diving over for the score. Clough slotted over the conversion 0-31 50mins.
Pythons pressure began to dictate the game following another turnover from Brock. Determined carries from Nino Cutino gave both Audsley-Beck and Beagrie opportunities to make ground in the mid field. Play was paused for a serious injury to one of the home players. The re start scrum put The Pythons close to the line with the home side conceding a penalty. Opting for a 5m line out, the resulting catch and drive saw Cutino agonisingly short. A penalty gave the home side the chance to clear their lines. Butler stole a scrappy line out ball and Clough’s pace and elusive running gained 40m. Ed Challis was now the mid filed battering ram, tackled just short with the home side penalised again. Opting for the scrum quick ball to Kernaghan who popped a pass to Audsley-Beck darting over for his second. Clough again did the honours 0-38 70 mins.
Burley need a strong defence to stop The Pythons crossing again. Fotherby held up short, Ward spilling the ball following a powerful run and Challis loosing the ball with the line beckoning. Their defence held firm, full time.
After the game Coach Dan Bird said”, A performance to be proud of. There were improvements to be seen in every facet of our game with stand out performances from Jon Pickard, Jordan Payne and Sam Beagrie”.
The Pythons face league leaders Barnsley at home on Saturday 18th.