Harrogate survived stormy weather and a storming performance from a desperate, bottom of the table Bromsgrove to secure a 23-16 win in National Two North away from home on Saturday.
Harrogate kicked off into a fierce wind and after just six minutes second row Chris Wilson won a lineout in the opposition half to set up a driving maul.
A speedy service from scrum half Phil Wickham and slick passing from Callum Irvine, Kyle Dench and Sam Bottomley set up just enough space for winger James Audsley-Beck to squeeze in at the right corner for a well worked try.
Joe Rowntree only just missed the conversion into the teeth of a howling gale, but ten minutes later succeeded with a 30 metre penalty to extend the visitors’ lead 0-8.
Bromsgrove were throwing everything into this game as though their lives depended on it.
They were able to gain both territory and possession, which eventually led to a penalty kick for their No. 9 Higgins.
Against the run of play, with 20 minutes gone, it looked as though scores would be hard to find, when Harrogate fly half Irvine skilfully intercepted a Bromsgrove passing movement in the Harrogate 22.
He evaded several despairing tackles to run the length of the field for a spectacular individual try to complete the first half scoring at 3–13.
Just before half time the storm arrived with rain, wind and hailstones and the players raced to the changing rooms for shelter on the half time whistle.
Four minutes into the second half, the weather was easing but Bromsgrove continued and their driving maul produced a converted try under the posts for their prop forward Salisbury.
Harrogate added to their score with another penalty from Rowntree.
With the horrendous weather, play was extremely difficult and it was another 17 minutes before Harrogate created the next opportunity.
Irvine made a break just inside his own half and made 30 metres before he passed to flanker Rob Adair inside the Bromsgrove 22. Ad
air skipped past several defenders for Harrogate’s third and final try under the posts, which Rowntree converted. 10 – 23.
With three minutes remaining Gate’s replacement 2nd row Rob Johnson was yellow carded for a blatant offside in his own 22.
From the resulting penalty Bromsgrove took advantage of their extra man to force a penalty try which gave them their consolation score and a losing bonus point which they well deserved for their tenacious play.
Harrogate Team: Rowntree, Audsley-Beck(Aspinall 75), Dench, Bottomley, Minikin,L., Irvine, Wickham(Matthews 57), Metcalf, Yorke, Browne(Musetti 69), Brady, Wilson(Johnson 69), Adair(Minikin, N. 69), Smith, Heaton.
Bromsgrove Team: Bache, Atkin, Bastock, Crane, Palmer, Copson, Hoggins, Norris, Glenn, Salisbury, Smith, Dacres, Hughes, Morgan, Hardwick. Replacements: Green, Tsang, Meadows, Mahony, Osaki.
Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick. (RFU) Report by Brian Forshaw