Wilmslow vs Harrogate
By Peter Kitching
A vastly superior Harrogate side raced into a 0-42 half time lead.
The weather deteriorated badly in the second half and this, combined with Wilmslow’s never say die spirit, proved to be a bit of an equaliser. Wilmslow deservedly scored first after the interval but never seriously troubled Harrogate’s defence again.
The game opened with the Harrogate defence containing Wirral attacks until flanker, Hugo Tasker intercepted a wayward pass and raced clear to score a try converted by Nathan Wyman. Harrogate’s dominant scrum increased the pressure leading to still more possession and concerted attacks orchestrated by half backs Danny Matthews and Sam Fox. Telling breaks from Wyman, Oli Rossillo, Andrew Lawson, Luke Riddell and Matt Lansdall followed but it was a well controlled driving maul from a line-out which led to the next score. Outstanding No8, Jonny Coser scored the converted try.
Harrogate’s set piece dominance created a constant supply of good ball and individual Fox breaks sparked still more attacks. Coser, Sam Brady, Luke Watts and Martin Dodds repeatedly stole Wilmslow lines-out and the pressure mounted leading to the desperate home defence conceding a penalty try which made it 0-21 after 25 minutes. More forward drives led to the next Brady converted try then Dodds scored the next one after a powerful 30 metres run. The final first half score provided the game’s champagne moment. Watts broke strongly, Lansdall recycled the ball and Rosillo danced through the defence for a spectacular individual converted try.
The second half started with an excellent high “take” from Wilmslow’s Kyle Mellor leading to more attacks from the fired up home side. Harrogate went offside, an attacking line-out followed the penalty and prop, Robert Taylor crashed over to score. Driving rain and poor light led to a plethora of handling mistakes from both sides but Harrogate maintained control particularly after home scrum half, Sean Street was sin binned for dissent. Harrogate forward drives continued and the ball was quickly spun right for Riddell to beat the cover and score in the corner. Continued Harrogate forward dominance followed and created space for Tasker’s pace to take him through the cover for the game’s final converted try
Wilmslow: Day, Coulthurst, Hughes, Harding, Cutts, MacCallum, Street, Ayrey, Graham, R Taylor, Mellor, Hewitt, Masters, Lee, A Taylor. Subs:- Meek, O’Loughlin, Patch
Harrogate: Rosillo, Lansdall, Wyman, Riddell, Lawson, Fox, Matthews, Driscoll, Yorke, Ward, Watts, Brady, Dodds, Tasker,Coser. Subs:- Boyde, Purkiss-McEndoo, Cookland
Referee: Kieron Henry (Northern)