Harrogate Pythons 31 v Ossett 10
Harrogate Pythons welcomed Ossett to the Jim Saynor Ground looking to make it 3 league wins in a row. The early rain had relented and the unexpected sunshine attracted a large crowd down. Ossett started strongly and an over keen Pythons defensive line was penalised for offside in front of the posts and Ossett took an early lead. 0-3 2 mins. The Pythons response was immediate, with front row Steve Smith, Sandy Dunlop and Will Butler overpowering an Ossett defensive scrum, big carries from Sam Beagrie and Scott Irvine were repelled but quick ball saw Ross Fallenstein dummy and step his way over for the try. Will Clough added the conversion. 7-3 7 mins.
George Booth dealt with the restart and Ossett were pinned back by some precise Fallenstein kicking. Clean line out ball from Hugh Tatlow saw the Ossett defence drawn in by Matt Leach and Irvine, and Beagrie hit the line at pace to burst over by the post. Conversion again added by Clough. 14-3 12 mins. The Pythons were now playing their best rugby of the season so far, with Jordan Payne and Jon Pickard making nuisances of themselves at the breakdowns, and returning full back Joe Bentham solid under the high ball and in defence.
The Pythons lost hooker Dunlop to an Achilles injury but Nathan Wake came on at prop and Butler move to hooker and the scrum continued to be dominant. Irvine made another powerful run and found the supporting Bentham whose quick release gave winger James Audsley-Beck the space to stand his man up and speed off under the posts. Clough again added the extras. 21-3 35 mins. Another pin point Fallenstein kick gave the Pythons an attacking line out. Butler threw to Wake at the front, who took the tackle and fed back to Butler to crash over in the corner and secure the bonus point. Half time Pythons 26 Ossett 3.
With the bonus point secured, coach Dan Bird ran the changes at half time, but the Pythons carried on where they had left off. Another sweeping move saw Ollie Wheatley get the ball in space and he rounded his man to score in the corner. 31-3 43 mins. Ossett responded well and put the Pythons under long sustained pressure only to be met by a brick wall defence with Bentham relishing his return. However one tackle by Bentham was deemed overzealous by the referee and Bentham received a yellow card. Ossett’s persistence was finally rewarded with a late converted try to make the final score Pythons 31 Ossett 10.
This was a solid bonus point win for the Pythons which puts them up to 3rd in the league, however Dan Bird will be unhappy with the drop off in performance levels in the second half, after the game was won.