Hemsworth Challenge Hard But Pythons Record 15th Successive Win.
Harrogate Pythons 1st XV win 12-40 away at Hemsworth and with Bramley not getting a try BP at Barnsley, second place is all but guaranteed for Dan Bird’s men by virtue a superior points difference with 2 to play.
The Pythons retained possession from the kick off and began their familiar phase play working the ball down field. Andy MacKay, starting at 9, channelled the ball through Jed Carr who was quick to bring in Tim Evans in mid field. The Hemsworth defence was well drilled putting at least two players on each of The Python’s strong runners. Nathan Wake and Hugh Tatlow continued the move forward then quick hands at the breakdown fed Scott Irvine on half way breaking tackles down the touchline until cutting inside towards the posts. An outrageous side step leaves the home defence on their heels and Irvine dots down next to the posts. Carr with the extras, 0-7.
Pythons possession from the kick off with MacKay controlling the game. Valuable yards from Jon Pickard and Wake. Carr spots Harry Parrish in the open but the referee deems a forward pass. Scrum Hemsworth but the sheer power from The Pythons pack wins a penalty. Carr opts for the points, 0-10.
Hemsworth were finding it difficult to get into the game, starved of possession as The Pythons retained their discipline and the ball. Working the wide channels, Tatlow carries the ball to half way, MacKay to Beagrie who with ‘trade mark’ determination uses his pace and strength to breach the opposition and score. 0-15.
The referee calls a forward pass once again just in the Hemsworth half. As the home front row are all forced to stand up under pressure, The Pythons drive over the ball. Irvine picks up feeds Max Sharp who spots a gap and glides over for the score in the corner. 0-20.
Captain Will Butler secures the ball from the kick off. Carr and his mid field move the ball across the field, great recycling from Jordan Payne and Marcus Fotherby moves successive breakdowns closer to Beagrie’s wing. A catch and pass within one stride and Liam Kernaghan puts Beargrie away on half way. Only one outcome for the club’s record try scorer, 0-25 half time.
The Pythons needed to defend a slight slope and the breeze in the second half. Some tactical changes by the home team made their intentions clear. From the first breakdown Wake spotted their over size runner and knocked him backwards – game on. The home side recycled the ball well but could not gain ground as The Pythons’ Matt Leach and Sandy Dunlop more than matched the home team in the physical encounters. The home 9 and 10 started linking effectively and a well placed kick put them into The Pythons 22. The home 9 gathers a bobbling ball and steps through the defensive line to score 7-25. Some direct words used by Captain Butler under the posts and The Pythons were back on it. Gaining possession from the kick off, Calum Brook made ground on the narrow side to feed Kernoghan who put that man Beagrie in for his hat trick. 7-30.
Back to using their big runners, Hemsworth piled the pressure back on. Evans and Ed Challis gave no ground. Challis gathers a loose ball, breaks tackles in mid field, feeds Evans who puts Sharp in for his second, 7-35.
Hemsworth come back again with their big runners. Undeterred by The Pythons defence the home team show great patience advancing the ball. A slick move between 10 and 12 and the centre exploits the smallest of gaps to sprint into the corner, 12 – 35.
A well worked line out move sees the home side’s mobile second row in space. Felled by a superb crushing tackle from Irvine, the ball goes loose to be gathered by Brock, the phases begin again. Challis and Evans working well, Payne and Pickard supporting and retaining the ball. Breakdown on the 5m line and MacKay spots the gap, 12-40 full time.
“That game needed winning”, sighed a relived Bird, ”They never gave up, their ball retention and defence was superb and doesn’t reflect their league position at all. A lack of concentration on our part for their first try, Will Butler sorted that and what a line from their 12”, he added.