Bramley Phoenix RFC 19 – Harrogate Pythons RUFC 1st XV 42
Harrogate Pythons’ bonus point win at 3rd place Bramley Phoenix, 19-42, their 17th consecutive win, puts them on top of Yorkshire 3 points ahead of Barnsley who have a game in hand. With Barnsley gifted a 5 point walk over win against West Park Leeds they need a win against mid table Halifax Vandals to take over the top slot. With The RFU still not publishing the final re structure of the 22/23 leagues The Pythons have an agonising wait to see if they’ll play in Yorkshire 2 next season.
The Pythons kicked off into the wind at a packed Warrels Rugby Ground and were quickly setting up their phase play. Tim Evans showed his power with a 20m run breaking through the home defence. An early penalty gave Jed Carr a kick to Bramley’s 10m line. Hugh Tatlow takes clean line out ball and quick hands from Will Clough and Carr gives Scott Irvine the chance to crash towards the home 22m line. Penalty at the break down and Clough pushes it just wide. Shortly afterwards the home 10 is fooled by the wind and pushes his attempt wide. Harry Parrish puts Evans in the clear and a 40m carry is stopped by a high tackle. Clough takes a quick penalty to Liam Kernaghan who’s pulled down just short of the line. The ever present Irvine is quick to follow up and bullocks over the recycled ball for the first try. Clough adds the extras, 0-7.
Bramley were back into the game from the kick off showing why they were a secure 3rd place in the league. Moving the ball quickly through the phases they tested the Pythons defence. A penalty offence at the breakdown, quickly taken and the home 10 threads through a perfectly weighted kick for the winger to punce on. 7-7 on 20 mins.
The wind holds up the kick off and Bramley knock on. The Pythons dominance in the scrum and Irvine picks up to feed Jon Pickard to Carr who puts Tatlow in the open only for the referee to call a forward pass. Bramley win the ball in their retreating scrum, move the ball wide only for Ed Challis to bounce their centre into touch. Bramley clear their lines – only as far as Carr who combines with Evans to move play 40m down field. Pythons win a scrum at the breakdown 22m out. Clough sees the gap down the narrow side and races over next to the posts, converts his own try 7-14.
Marcus Fotherby takes a clean line out ball and Jordan Payne breaks through mid field. A high tackle earns the home side a yellow card and The Pythons a penalty. Carr finds touch and Tatlow claims the ball driving through the opposition line and Nathan Wake continues the move forward. A knock on at the breakdown results in a free kick awarded to Bramley for a Python’s scrum offence. The alert home 9 quickly takes the kick and finds the home full back running a superb line. The Pythons defence was deemed off side. Bramley are penalised at their line out and Carr boots the ball down field. Bramley work their way back into the Pythons territory but loose the ball to a crunching Irvine tackle. James Audsley Beck secures possession gaining some 20m delivers a perfect inside pass to Parrish who carries to mid field. The home side offend at the breakdown on their own 22 and The Pythons opt for the scrum. Irvine picks and breaks open where Evans receives the ball to score under the posts, Clough with the extras 7-21, half time.
The second half began a 15 minute period of phase play from both sides. Steve Smith carried hard for The Pythons with the home back row putting in some determined tackles. Penalties from both sides meant the play was kept between the 22m lines. Tatlow picks up at a scrum in his own half, Carr uses the wind to place the ball into the home 22. Some great chasing and the breakdown is on the Bramley 22. Mat Leach drives for the line but is denied as the referee calls a knock on. Will Smith aggressively returns the goal line drop out and the phases begin again. Andy MacKay spins the ball wide to Callum Brock who puts Parrish into the corner. Carr drop kicks the extras, 7-28 on 60 mins.
Pickard returns the restart and Irvine and Evans work well to return the ball into the home 22. Bramley win a scrum but the dominant Pythons pack overturn the ball. Irvine picks up the ball, breaks 2 tackles and scores under the posts, Carr with the conversion, 7-35.
The retreating Bramley pack win a scrum close to the Pythons line, 2 phases in and home team drive over for a well deserved try, 12-35. Quickly back into the game Irvine once again gains ground feeding Audsley – Beck racing down the wing with Evans in support who touches down under the posts, Clough slots the extras, 12-42.
The game started to loose momentum in the closing stages. A quickly taken Bramley free kick following another scrum offence and their number 8 walks through some lacking defence to score next to the posts, 19-42 final score.
“What a great season this has been for us”, commented Dan Bird. “There are some tough sides in Yorkshire 3 and Bramley are certainly one of them. You can see why they’re third. Great shame West Park couldn’t raise a side today, would like to have seen Barnsley work for their points. Can’t say enough about this squad, we’ve had some great performances and some noticeable improvements throughout the season and we’ll look forward to the beers tonight”, he added.