Harrogate vs Blaydon
By Peter Kitching
Second placed Blaydon were completely outplayed by a rampant Harrogate team.
Blaydon’s game plan is now based on the conditions on their home artificial grass pitch but it is much less effective on a proper rugby grass surface. It’s unfortunate that Harrogate’s win had an adverse effect on the town’s economy. Blaydon’s planned celebratory trip to Wetherspoons was cancelled.
The Blaydon lines-out were put under pressure from the start as Sam Brady, Martin Dodds and Jonny Coser stole a succession of their balls. Quickly spread ball led to Andrew Lawson touching down but the referee called play back for an earlier technical offence. Powerful forward drives continued the home pressure and dynamic young flanker, Hugo Tasker clearly touched down over the line. However, although this “try” was also disallowed, the pressure had to tell. Another well controlled driving maul led to Jonny Coser scoring a try converted by Nathan Wyman.
The restart took Blaydon into home territory, Harrogate set up a defensive driving but were penalised and Jamie Guy’s kick opened Blaydon’s account. Spurred on by this, Blaydon mounted attacks which were well contained by Harrogate’s defence. The ball was cleared and Blaydon came in from the side at a Harrogate driving maul. The penalty led to an attacking line-out and another driving maul from which hooker, Aarin Yorke burst through to score another converted try.
Blaydon mounted attacks from every opportunity including quickly taken tap penalties. They did come close to scoring a try in the left corner but the move was ended by a crashing Oli Rosillo tackle. The Harrogate defence eventually went offside and Guy’s kick reduced the Blaydon deficit to 14-6. Defensively and in attack, Harrogate were in complete control for the rest of the half though, on the stroke of half time, Blaydon did manage to win a Harrogate line-out.
It was Harrogate who went on the offensive after the interval. A searing Rosillo break from deep was well supported by Tasker and half backs, Danny Matthews and Sam Fox cleverly orchestrated further attacks from forwards and backs. Another well controlled driving maul led to yet another Yorke try which put Harrogate 19-6 ahead. A crunching tackle ended an attempted Blaydon counter and Lawson kicked the loose ball on but just lost the chase for the touchdown over Blaydon’s goal line.
Harrogate were not to be denied their bonus point winning 4th try. Repeated forward dominance had to tell and old warhorse, Sam Brady crashed over to score. The game was now effectively over and the Harrogate dominance continued though Blaydon No8, Keith Laughlin did score a consolation converted try towards the end. Blaydon knocked on the Harrogate restart kick and that was that.
Harrogate: Rosillo, Lansdall, Wyman, Riddell, Lawson, Fox, Matthews, Driscoll, Yorke, Maycock, Brady, Millington, Dodds, Tasker, J Coser. Subs:- Boyde, Watts, Cookland
Blaydon: Bailey, Cooney, Marshall, Clark, Appleton, Guy, Taylor, Harvey, Bell, Eastwood, Borthwick, Davidson, Wilson, Jenkinson, Laughlin. Subs:- Fearn, Marwick, Horsfall
Referee: Elliott Lewis (Northern)
Match report by Bill Barrack