Harrogate Pythons RUFC 1st XV 32 – 18 North Ribblesdale RUFC 1st XV
Match Report by Julian Tatlow (Pictures: Julian Tatlow & Si Womersley).
This was the first meeting, at 1st team level, of these 2 clubs. Ribblesdale bought vocal support and combined with The Pythons’ usual crowd the touch lines were packed.
Ribb were quickly into their stride from the kick off but robbed of the ball by Jordan Payne. Jed Carr clears deep into the Ribb half and the return punt goes straight to Sam Beagrie only too willing to test his opposite number. Secure ball on half way and Carr drills a perfect ball into The Ribb 22. Offside at the maul and The Pythons are moved a further 10m down the pitch for some words of advice to the referee. Ribb secure the line out ball and the ref spots an off side in mid field, 0-3 on 10 mins.
Some scrappy play in The Pythons’ half but strong tackling from Ed and Adam Challis frustrate North Ribblesdale. Carr keeps the pressure on with some accurate kicks out of hand, The Pythons’ forward pressure tells. Will Butler is held 5m out, Nathan Wake continues the charge. Quickly recycled ball and Gareth Drane feeds Carr to touch down. Carr converts, 7-3 on 20 mins.
Carr carries from the restart releasing Ed Challis who makes 15m. Jack Hall, on debut, is quick to secure the ball giving Bailey Bromberg the chance to show his pace. Pulled down on the 22 and The Pythons recycle the ball to Ed Challis tackled on the 5m line. The home side control the phases and Carr feeds Beagrie to cross the line in the corner. Carr adds the extra, 14-3 on 25m.
Ribblesdale come back hard and set up phases in The Pythons’ 22. Solid defence from Joe Bentham at full back keeps the away side out but some over determined defence gets Drane a yellow card. Off side earns the away team a shot at goal, 14-6 on 30 mins.
A line out offence and Carr puts Ribb on their 5m line. Secure ball and The Pythons set 2 phases before Tatlow crashes over under the posts. Carr with the extras, 21 -6 half time.
North Ribblesdale were straight on the offensive. Quick ball and The Pythons are defending with some indifferent tackling changing the score line to 21-18 in minutes. Butler rallied his pack and got them back into phases. Ribblesdale’s indiscipline and Carr slots 2 quick penalties, 27-18. Clean breaks form Bromberg and Bentham keep the game in Ribb’s 22. Secure ball from the line out and Carr whips the ball to Tatlow who breaks through the defensive line to feed Liam Kernaghan into the corner. 32-18 full time. Whittaker’s Gin man of the match went to Joe Bentham for his high tackle count.
After the game Coach Bird said, ”This was an all round squad performance today and other than a short period at the start of the second half the lads kept at it. It’s up to us now to consolidate our position at the top through consistent performances .“
With former leaders Wath losing at Wensleydale The Pythons lead Dale by 2 points.