Cleckheaton 30 Harrogate 37
Saturday 18 November 2023
Harrogate maintained their lead at the top of the table in a game that saw both sides score 4 tries each.
Harrogate came quickly out of the blocks and from forward pressure, Orisi Katalau went over for his 6th try of the season, converted by Rory Macnab.
Cleckheaton responded. Firstly, Dale Breakwell kicked a penalty. Then Jack Marshall scored a try in the left hand corner to give them the lead, though the conversion was missed.
Gate’s forwards took over resulting in a try for Captain Sam Brady, which was again converted by Rory Macnab. He put Gate further ahead in the 27th minute with a penalty following a Richard Kaisia break in midfield.
Having missed an earlier penalty, Dale Breakwell dropped a goal for Cleckheaton, before Rory Macnab kicked another penalty to restore Gate’s 9 point lead. This was extended further when Gate’s forward power enabled Will Pritchard to score his debut try, converted by Macnab.
Cleckheaton finished the half on the attack, but Gate’s strong defence meant there was no further score. However on the stroke of half time, Will Hill received a yellow card following a strong tackle that saw a skirmish between the two sides.
With a player advantage, Cleckheaton sought to get back into the match. Initially, they thought they had scored but with the ball deemed to be held up, a 5 metre scrum ensued. However, from this, they were not to be denied as Tom Hainsworth went over for a try converted by Dale Breakwell.
Restored to full numbers, Gate forwards applied pressure. However, Cleckheaton’s defence kept them out until the 60th minute. Reduced to 14 men when Joe Flanagan was sent to the bin, they were unable to prevent Harry Butler driving over for Gate’s 4th and bonus point try, which Macnab again converted.
Cleckheaton suffered another yellow card shortly after when Jack Marshall knocked down a Harrogate pass in the right hand corner. Rory Macnab kicked the resulting penalty to keep up his 100% record on the day, and give Harrogate a 37 – 18 lead with just under quarter of an hour remaining.
With Cleckheaton hammering on Gate’s line, Martin Dodds made a timely interception and was looking to go the length of the pitch but play was brought back with Harrogate having transgressed in the middle of the pitch. This was one of several penalties being conceded at this stage, and shortly after, Tomas Phipps received a yellow card.
Against 14 men, Tom Hainsworth went over for a converted try that reduced the score to 37 – 25 to Harrogate with 3 minutes to go.
On the restart, Gate conceded yet another penalty that saw play in the Harrogate 22. However, good defence and a kick through from Josh Peace enabled Gate to edge clear, but the ball was immediately returned as Cleckheaton sought their 4th try and losing bonus point. This duly came when, against 13 men as Peace was yellow carded, Tom Hainsworth completed his hat-trick, though Dale Breakwell was unsuccessful with the conversion as time ran out.
With no game scheduled for next week, Gate return to action on Saturday 2 December at Rudding Lane against Doncaster Phoenix, kick off 2pm.
Cleckheaton: Brambani, Marshall, Hainsworth, Lillycrop, Lightfoot, Breakwell D, Breakwell T, Jackson, Bennett, Piper A, Plunkett-White, Frear, Marsden, Flanagan, Piper R (c). Replacements: Cheney, Thrower, Hunter.
Harrogate: Macnab, Katalau, Miller, Kaisia, Magee, Steene, Olley, Percival, Maycock, Vaughan, Pritchard, Brady (c), Richardson, Dodds, Hill. Replacements: Peace, Butler, Phipps.
Referee: Simon Park (Yorkshire Society)
19 November 2023