National Two North: Harrogate 29-13 Huddersfield

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Harrogate won for a fourth straight match before Christmas with a 29-13 win over Huddersfield at Claro Road.

Gate’s end of season form means they have finished 2014 in fourth spot in National Two North, one point behind Caldy in third.

Harrogate’s wrecking ball, Willem Enslin took Huddersfield’s kick-off inside the 22 and scattered visiting players like ninepins to set up attacks.

However, Huddersfield then drove a Harrogate scrum backwards and scrum-half Joel Hinchcliffe kicked a smart drop goal to put them 0-3 ahead.

Harrogate persisted with their attacking patterns and Luke Edwards supported a Lewis Minikin break from deep for an under the posts try, converted by Joe Rowntree.

With a strong wind behind them, Huddersfield were also playing an attacking game but were well contained by Harrogate’s resolute, well organized defence. Making his 150th Harrogate appearance, hooker Aarin Yorke tackled exceptionally well and made several telling breaks.

Lewis Boyce won crucial turnover ball in defence to launch another counter attack but Chris Wilson, Harrogate’s main line-out forward then had to leave the field with an ankle injury. The home attacks continued and, when Huddersfield went offside, Rowntree’s penalty extended the lead.

A Callum Irvine break was then taken on by MInikin who drew his man to create space for Barry Frost’s to score his maiden Harrogate try. Huddersfield upped their game for the remainder of the half and a Hinchcliffe penalty made it 17-6 when Harrogate went offside.

A series of early second half Huddersfield driving mauls pressurised the Harrogate defence and No8,

Nick Sharpe crashed over for a converted try. This made the score 17-13 and Huddersfield seemed certain to bring the difference down to a point when they were awarded a very kickable penalty which also resulted in Sam Bottomley being despatched to the sin bin.

Hinchcliffe unluckily missed the kick and Harrogate were stung into raising their game.

A 20 metres Harrogate driving maul was excellently organized by Kerry Wood and scrum Half, Danny Matthews darted over to score in the corner. More home pressure followed and Huddersfield’s increasingly desperately defence led to Gareth Lewis visiting the bin.

Wood then masterminded another driving maul but this time the ball was released for Irvine to put in an attacking chip from which Minikin scored the game’ final converted try.

Harrogate: Rowntree, Bottomley, Minikin, Frost, Edwards, Irvine, Matthews, Boyce, Yorke, Scholey, Brady, Smith, Wilson, Wood, Enslin. Subs (all used):- Nyemba, Kirkley, Dewsnip, Coser, Morland

Huddersfield: Hall, Hodgson, Mitchell, Owen, Clark, Bell, Hinchcliffe, Battye, Walker, Sanderson, Thompson, Rhodes, Malthouse, Hoyle, Sharpe. Subs (all used) Thornton, Lewis, Martin, Purcell, Jeffrey.

Referee

Mick Harris (RFU)