Harrogate Pythons RUFC 1st XV vs. Old Rishworthian RUFC 1st XV

February 24, 2024 2:15 pm13:24The Jim Saynor Ground, Station View, Harrogate, HG2 7JA
Started on February 24, 2024

Last quarter sinks Pythons in crucial game

Harrogate Pythons created more chances, had more possession and gave away fewer penalties than their opposition Old Rishworthian but let the game slip away in the last quarter losing 13 – 24.

The Pythons started well when returning Will Clough broke down the blind side making Rish give away a penalty 10m out.  Opting for the scrum the ball is passed across the pitch and set up.  Clough feeds Jed Carr who pops a perfect pass to Nick Bell running a great line to touch down next to the posts.  Carr with the extras, 7-0 on 2 mins.

Rishworthian settle into their game and create an overlap from a set piece, 7-7 and then drive over from a short line out 7-12.  The Pythons then entered a period of intense pressure on The Rishworth line.  In the space of 10 minutes Hugh Tatlow, Luke Price-Gerrad, Matt Leach and Clough were all held less than a meter from the line.  Rishworth were able to clear their lines when Sandy Dunlop, winning his 100th cap, was deemed to be held up over the line.  Half time.

The Pythons maintained their pressure at the start of the second half with Tim Evans battering through the middle of the field.  Rishworth are penalised at the breakdown and Carr narrows the gap, 10-12.  The onslaught continues from the re start with Tatlow, George Booth and Evans continuing to make ground.  Desperate in defence, Rishworth concede another penalty and Carr’s kick puts The Pythons back in the lead, 13-12 on 65 mins.

Rishworth lose a player for a high tackle but re group with their Number 8 breaking tackles to score, 13-19.  Rishworth lose another player to a yellow card and turn the ball over on half way.  Some very fast hands puts the winger in the corner, 13-24 full time.

After the game Coach Dan Bird said,” The result is going to be tough one to digest. To get our noses in front twice and let the result slip away hurts. In parts of this game we were absolutely outstanding. We were once again an exciting team to watch with ball in hand. The opening 10 minutes of this fixture was a real glimpse what we are capable of.

Unfortunately, scattered amongst high quality, were passages of unforced errors and tactical blunders that really put us up against. At this level our game management has to be better if we’re going to get over the line in this tight fixtures.”

The Whittaker’s Gin Pythons’ player of the match was awarded to Nick Bell, for the second week in a row, by Rob Thickett of Harrogate Architectural.

The Pythons remain 6 point ahead of bottom place Bradford and Bingley with four games left to play.  The RFU will not decide how many teams are relegated or promoted until the season ends and adjustments are made at each level up to The Championship.  Hullensians and Beverley are both 12 points ahead of The Pythons with all to play for.  This Saturday The Pythons travel for a ‘derby fixture’ to Wetherby, kick off 3pm.


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