North Ribblesdale RUFC 20 – Harrogate Pythons RUFC 1st XV 26
Match Report & Pictures by Julian Tatlow . . .
Harrogate Pythons keep their 2nd place spot with a 20-26 win at North Ribblesdale. Only a bonus point win at home to Wensleydale on 8th April will guarantee them second spot in Yorkshire 2 with Baildon and Wath still in the chase.
This was the first ever trip to North Ribblesdale for The Pythons and what a game it turned out to be. Ribb opened the scoring with a penalty after just 2 minutes. The home side had a great home record and piled the pressure on from the whistle. The Python’s defence was up for the task and some superb tackles kept Ribb at bay. A clearance from Jed Carrand The Pythons win the line out and Will Butler drives for the line. Held short the ball is recycled through Jon Pickard, again just short. Carr receives the ball, steps and releases Max Sharp to stride over from 5 yards, 3-7 on 13 mins.
George Booth’s uncompromising tackle causes the ball to be lost but a technical offence gives the home side possession back. A well practiced catch and drive at the 5m line out and Ribb power over, 10-7 on 30 minutes. Booth and Nathan Wake drive the ball from the kick off and James Audsley-Beck playing scrum half gets the ball wide to Harry Parrish. Turn over at the breakdown and The Pythons give an off side penalty 30m out, 13-7 on 35 minutes. The Pythons seemed to lose their intensity and allowed the Ribb centre to run a great line to score under the posts, 20-7 half time.
Clearly captain Butler and Coach Dan Bird worked well in the team talk. The Pythons began the half with greater determination, retaining the ball, moving it wide using the penalties given away by the desperate opposition. Carr takes a quick penalty on 5m, 2 phases and Marcus Fotherby crashes over, 20-14 on 65 mins. Playing with confidence and some expansive rugby, Sam Considine hacks the ball from half way, out paces the defence and patiently follows the ball’s bounces to gather just ahead of the line and dive under the posts, 20-19 on 75 mins.
Ribb were clearly running out of steam as The Pythons came back from the kick off. Tim Evans breaks tackles on half and releases Louis Dabhi Green tackled agonisingly short. Ribb clear their lines but are soon defending against Jordan Payne and Wake getting driving phases going again. Ed Challis and Parrish are both held up short, Ribb clear their lines only to Butler who feeds Booth gaining yards, Carr’s characteristic accurate pass finds Evans who breaks two tackles to round the defence and score, 20-26 full time.