Harrogate vs Morley
This rearranged match was finally played in conditions far worse than those leading to the original fixture being called off.
As the conditions dictated, this was a forwards oriented match where Harrogate had the edge. A well organized effective defence contained Morley’s attacks throughout the game.
From an early penalty, Morley set up a forward drive but the ball carrier was held up by Jonny Coser to earn Harrogate the scrum. In the boggy conditions, debutant winger, Harry Jukes showed great pace in getting to a long cross kick but unfortunately knocked on. This was the first of many such scoring opportunities missed by handling errors from Harrogate players in exceptionally difficult conditions. Tom Harvey charged down and re-gathered an attempted Morley clearance and the home pressure continued.
Morley’s line-out was effective throughout the match with No8, Brandon Hannam driving strongly. This led to a catch weight contest between him and Danny Matthews, Harrogate’s scrum half. Matthews was certainly the overall winner. Morley went offside at a Harrogate driving maul and the penalty led to an attacking line-out and another driving maul. Guy Coser was in support to score out wide and Luke White’s conversion made it 7-0.
A crunching Andrew Lawson midfield tackle halted a Morley attack but they won possession at the breakdown. Full Back, Dante van der Merwe raced to gather Mark Chester’s attacking kick ahead but it was now Morley’s turn to knock on near the goal line.
The Harrogate forward pressure continued from the start of the second half. A great counter ruck won good Harrogate ball and Morley went offside. A driving maul followed the attacking line-out and Harrogate’s rejuvenated gazelle, Andy Boyde squeezed his delicate 18 stones frame over the line for what turned out to be the final score of the match.
The match continued to be highly competitive throughout and a midfield dust-up led to Harrogate’s Harry Butler and Morley’s Ollie Flegg being dispatched to the sin bin. The conditions limited the supply of good ball but wingers Oli Rosillo and Harry Barnard ran strongly and Luke Edwards made an excellent midfield break, chipped through but lost the chase for the touchdown. Some ten minutes of extra time were played leading to the exchanges between the sides becoming increasingly heated. In the dying moments Harrogate’s Sam Brady and Morley’s Chester were tussling on the ground leading to a yellow card for Brady and an unfortunate red one for Chester.
Harrogate: Lawson, Barnard, Naylor, Edwards, Jukes, White, Matthews, Purkiss-McEndoo, Maycock, Ward, Boyde, Brady, Harvey, G Coser, J Coser. Subs:- Butler, MacDonald, Rosillo
Morley: Van der Merwe, Turner, Kenneally, Ellis, Hogg, Chester, Sewell, D Percival, Chivers, J Percival, Smyth, Flegg, Griffin, Lawton, Hannam. Subs:- Jones, Brown, Walsh
Referee: Michael Hurdley (Yorkshire)
Match report by Bill Barracks