Harrogate vs Kirkby Lonsdale
After a final late Pitch inspection, both captains agreed that the match could be played and, despite the conditions, the crowd was treated to an enthralling game of high quality rugby.
KL had beaten League leaders Preston last week so were probably the pre match favourites. However, Harrogate’s tactics were to utilise their forward superiority and this proved to be just right for the occasion. Each and every one of the Harrogate pack played outstandingly well and both half backs were in complete control. The conditions limited scoring opportunities for the backs but they all defended well and showed occasional flashes of their attacking potential.
Flanker, Guy Coser fielded the ball from the KL kick off and ran strongly to set up position for a driving maul from the supporting forwards. The ball was spread from an attacking scrum and it was again Guy Coser who was in support to sprint through the cover and score a try converted by Luke White. KL were next to score after a free kick was awarded for a Harrogate line-out offence. The kick was taken quickly and scrum half, Ben Walker darted through for a try to make it 7-5.
Harrogate won a penalty from a KL offside offence and a 15 metres driving maul followed good line-out ball. KL knocked on in defence and, from Harrogate’s attacking scrum, Charley Purkiss-McEndoo drove over for a converted try. KL attacked at every opportunity but Harrogate’s defence held out in spite of a succession of penalties against them. Any tackle above the nipple line was adjudged to be high today. Home full back, David Doherty put in a great attacking chip from defence and the follow-up forced KL to go offside. In a replica of the previous try, a Harrogate forward drive followed the attacking line-out and Purkiss-McEndoo scored another converted try.
A fired up KL side attacked from the start of the second half but Harrogate’s defence held firm. A great Jonny Coser turnover set up a strong Keane Naylor run and attacking chip but the KL defence won the chase to touch down over the goal line. Tom Harvey charged down a KL attempted clearance and managed to regain possession to set up a Harrogate counter attack. Second rows, Sam Brady and Andy Boyde ran strongly at the KL defence to continue the momentum and the pressure continued. Stand-Off, White tucked in behind a driving maul to score a bonus point winning try and his touchline conversion made it 28-5.
To KL’s credit, they never gave up and continued to attack. No8, Alex Rogers ran strongly to set up an attacking position. Harrogate’s defensive scrum drove KL backwards but they were penalised and more KL attacks followed. Jonny Coser was yellow carded and KL went for a succession of scrums but the 7 man Harrogate pack held them out. By this stage, Connor Ward and Steve Maycock had been replaced by Harry Butler and Aarin Yorke but Harrogate’s front row superiority continued. A Harrogate clearance missed touch and KL set up a counter attack. Good handling created a space for David Maka to score a consolation try.
Harrogate: Doherty, Naylor, Lawson, Edwards, Rosillo, White, Matthews, Purkiss-McEndoo, Maycock, Ward, Boyde, Brady, Harvey, G Coser, J Coser. Subs:- Yorke, Butler, Barnard
Kirkby Lonsdale: Cittadini, Bargh, Ralston, Armstrong, Huddleston, Picthall, Walker, Fagan, Armistead, Thompson, Gore, Hughes, Galbraith, Rogers. Subs:- Maka, Storey, Brown
Referee: Jack Le Feuvre (Northern)
Match report by Bill Barrack