Harrogate Rugby

Harrogate Festival

by Peter Kitching

'Gate U11's had to wait until the very last act of the final to score the only points of the game and secure victory over an excellent Tynedale side.

It rounded off an unbeaten run in the Harrogate Festival in which they did not concede a single point and scored 110.

A hazy sunny day and soft pitch created perfect conditions for the boys

to play some good rugby watched by families and friends in a round robin

format with teams from Tynedale, Wetherby and Bradford & Bingley.

If the final was close, so too was the first group match between the

same sides. Forward play dominated as each side sought to gain ground.

Some tough tackling by the front row of Jacques Haddleton, Robert Woods

and the ever-inventive Callum Cardwell was matched by some flying

tackles in the backs from Freddie Wright and Hugo Tasker to keep

Tynedale out. Eventually as the forwards got the upperhand the backs led

by their little general George Hampson at scrum half began to test out

the Tynedale back line. After a few runs down blind alleys a neat

interchange involving most of the backs saw Jonathan Ashman put Henry

Lennon in to space. Wrong footing his opposite number he just managed to

touch the ball down for a try allowing George Hampson to gain the extra

2 points with the conversion. Despite Tynedale pressure, Dan Stott, Jo

Smith, Harrison [ ] Aidan [ ] and Josh Belward defended stoutly to shut

out the opposition and help Harrogate run out 7-0 winners.

In the other group matches Tynedale went on an impressive run beating

Bradford & Bingley and Wetherby 24-7 and 31-0 respectively. Not to be

outdone, Harrogate demonstrated that they meant business and in their

match with "The Bees" ran in 10 tries, winning 68-0. This was a match

where the backs were able to run freely with the pick of the tries

coming from Ed [ ] and Angus Reid. George Hampson converted 9 of his 10

Get Adobe Flash player

conversions and kicked well all day.

In the final group match for Harrogate a rejuvenated Wetherby side provided some tough opposition especially in the forwards. It was Harrogate prop Rob Woods who surprised everyone with his pace to fall just short of the try line.

However a brace of tries from Freddie Wright and one each for Jonathan

Ashman and Henry Lennon (following a fantastic interchange involving

miss moves and excellent support play) saw Harrogate home 28-0 with all

tries converted by George Hampson.

With barely a burger eaten by the boys and ice creams remaining the

preserve of the crowd, Harrogate and Tynedale, as group winners and

runners-up respectively, roused themselves one last time for the

final:And what a match.

It was difficult to pick a winner as the boys fought it out. Both defences remained resolute with forwards Jacques Haddleton and Rob Woods particularly busy tackling and recycling the ball. It looked like a draw was on the cards when, with one last effort, the ball was recycled from a ruck and passed down the backs to centres Hugo Tasker and Freddie Wright who fed full back Jonathan Ashman to crash over the line in the corner for Harrogate's try. George Hampson made the conversion. And with that act the referee blew up and Harrogate celebrated a desperately close but well deserved win.

Both teams were presented with their medals by tournament sponsors CNG. By now the boys'attention was firmly on the burgers and ice cream.

Team Sponsors