Harrogate finally returned to National Three North action after a weather-enforced break against visitors Rossendale, and what a return it was.
Gate used their potent back line to devastating effect, running in nine tries, five without return in the first half alone.
They took their foot slightly off the gas in the second stanza, but Rossendale to their credit upped the ante and a fine score of 56-29 showed it wasn’t all one-way traffic at Claro Road.
The hosts showed their intentions early on, Callum Irvine selling a fine dummy before scything through the Rossendale line.
Unfortunately he chose to continue the run instead of pasing to Oli Denton, the early chance for a try going begging.
But after Rossendale were pulled back for an infringement, from the resulting penalty Harrogate gained an attacking lineout and number eight Tim Heaton powered over from the driving maul.
Irvine tagged the conversion to push Harrogate 7-0 ahead.
That became 12-0 when after another attack, centre Kyle Dench blazed through the middle to receive a perfectly timed dummy from Irvine, touching down for Gate’s second try.
Conversion successfully added, and Harrogate had their visitors well and truly stretched.
Winning every ball, efficiently recycling, Harrogate were comfortably in their element as Rossendale looked utterly lost.
A brilliant move through the middle saw the ball reach pacy winger James Audsley-Beck, who beat the cover and fired across the line for the third of the afternoon, Irvine adding the extras.
Shortly afterwards, flanker Chris Wilson got on the end of an impressived drive, popping over in the left corner to secure a crucial bonus point try for the hosts.
Rossendale’s efforts only seemed to lead to repeated mistakes, gifting Irvine an easy penalty.
Further errors, this time for holding on in the tackle, earned them a warning from the referee.
And that was to cost them dear as Harrogate opted to set up another attack, centre Sam Bottomley spinning the ball wide for winger Noel Minikin to cross near the far post as the first half ended Harrogate 32 Rossendale 0.
And the rout continued after the restart.
Continued efficient recycling in the tackle allowed scrum half Phil Whickham to break away, a deft pass releasing Heaton who surged for the line before a last minute pass saw full back Denton cross for a converted try, leaving his opposite number stranded.
Two penalties given away in defensive positions slightly blotted Harrogate’s copybook, as from a set of driving mauls Rossendale pulled back a try from Matt Smith who barged through a host of tackles. Fly half Steve Nutt was fortunate to see his kick bounce off the post and over.
Straight away, Harrogate responded, Audsley Beck flying down the wing to catch his own kick ahead.
He just got a fingertip to the touch the ball down before momentum carried him and his tackler over the deadball line.
Irvine’s touchline tconversion made it 46-7.
Rossendale weren’t giving up however, and applied their longest spell of pressure in the game so far.
It paid off with a try by forward Paddy Pole.
Harrogate coach Mike Aspinall brought off hooker Steve Maycock and Irvine after 55 minutes, in favour of Aarin Yorke and Peter Wackett.
Wackett, returning from hamstring trouble, crossed the whitewash shortly after, put over via Denton’s inside pass after another barnstoming drive by Heaton.
Taking over kicking duties, Denton’s first kick off the match was booted wide, but it was now Harrogate 51 Rossendale 12.
Another beautiful backs move after Whickham shipped the ball wide from the scrum almost saw Audsley Beck gain his third.
He was tackled but typical of the afternoon’s efficiency, the move ended with Denton touching down for the ninth and final Harrogate try.
Rossendale hit back with an interception touchdown for Nutt out wide,as a tired Harrogate started to look ragged.
From here on, the only points scored were by the visitors.
Rossendale were taking them on in the front row, and scrummaging much better.
Their work was underlined when after a mistake in the scrum, Harrogate gifted them a penaltry try converted by Nutt as the visitors made the score look a more respectable 56-24.
Harrogate then lost flanker Nathan Smith to a yellow card for preventing playing the ball within 10 yards as the hosts threatened to end the match on a poor note.
Rossendale were pushing again, and got their next try through an interception by full back Danny Harrison after a bungled Harrogate pass.
By the final whistle, Rossendale’s vastly improved second half had given the final score of 56-29 a definite gloss.
Harrogate: Oli Denton, Noel Minikin, Kyle Dench, Sam Bottomley, James Audsley-Beck; Callum Irvine, Phil Whickham; Dan Metcalfe, Steve Maycock, Jimmy Browne, Tom Harvey, Jake Brady, Chris Wilson, Nathan Smith, Tim Heaton; Subs Peter Wackett, Aaarin Yorke, Rob Johnson.
Rossendale: Danny Harrison, Wynand van Zyl; Tom Bedlow, Tom Albinson, Same Lowthian; Steve Nutt; Jamie Albinson; Danny Greenhalgh; Paul Keys, Thomas Short, Paddy Pole; Tim Fourie, Simon Walker, Andy Dauncey, Sam Greenwood; Subs; Ian Marshall, Matt Smith, Roger Dennison.