National Two North: Harrogate 20-5 Sheffield Tigers

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After a scoreless first half, Harrogate raised their game to put in a workmanlike team performance to earn a comfortable 20-5 win over Sheffield Tigers at Claro Road.

A torrential pre-match downpour led to difficult conditions for both sides.

Harrogate’s pack largely dominated proceedings to create a succession of good ball with Jake Brady, Tim Heaton & Nathan Smith well to the fore.

Callum Irvine’s breaks were a constant threat as was Sam Bottomley’s incisive direct running and Lewis Minikin gave a commanding performance from full-back.

Powerful running from Steve Parsons also tested the visiting defence which held out well.

Tigers went offside soon after the restart and Joe Rowntree’s penalty opened the scoring.

More home attacks followed with substitute prop Jimmy Browne making his presence felt and Brady powered over for a converted try.

An intercepted pass sparked off a succession of Tigers’ attacks but the outstanding home defence held firm. Sheffield went offside after a Harrogate counter attack and Rowntree’s penalty kick extended the lead.

Consistent Tigers pressure led to Harrogate conceding a penalty inside their 22 and Nathan Smith was consigned to the sin bin. Sheffield decided not to go for a scrum against the 7 man home pack but set up a series of forward drives.

Dan Metcalfe won a crucial home turnover and drove strongly to take play away from the danger area.

Bottomley broke strongly to set up a forward drive and Aarin Yorke was in support to score.

Tigers continued to contest strongly and their efforts were rewarded when substitute prop, Tom Coates crashed over for a consolation try.

Harrogate: L Minikin, Parsons, Dench, Bottomley, Rowntree, Matthews (Wickham 50), Metcalfe, Yorke, Reaveley (Browne 40), Brady (Dewsnip 57), Wilson, Smith, N Minikin, Heaton (Adair 57)

Sheffield Tigers: Swatkins, Wallace, Thomson, Parker (Buchanan 40), Broadley, Outram, Holmes,

M Bradford (Coates 57), Buxton (Ward 55), Joel (Spencer 40), Redfern, Barnes, D Bradford, Pearson.

Referee: Chris Bennett (RFU)