Rugby: National Two North - Harrogate edge derby crunch

Picture: Richard Bown (s)
Picture: Richard Bown (s)

Harrogate are scheduled to move to their new Ground in January so this nail biter was their last Claro Road local derby against Otley.

They went into a 13-0 lead after 17 minutes but Otley came back strongly and had by far the better of the 2nd half.

In the last move of the match, Willem Enslin drove over from a driving maul to score and give Harrogate a win by the smallest possible margin.

Two successive early Harrogate turnovers led to Kerry Wood breaking strongly and, when Otley went offside, Joe Rowntree’s penalty put Harrogate ahead.

Andy Boyde, who had an immense game, then powered through the midfield.

Support was on hand and the ball was spun to man of the match, Lewis Minikin who outstripped the defence to score.

Rowntree’s conversion made it 10-0 and he soon added 3 more points after another searing Boyde break forced the desperate defence to go offside.

Otley began to assert themselves and Stephen Depledge kicked a straightforward penalty when Harrogate went offside.

Second Row, Sam Cook inspired the Otley pack to raise their game and their backs carried on his powerful burst to put Harry Hudson over in the corner for a converted try.

Just before the interval, a Boyde drive created another attack and Minikin’s second try made it 18-10 in the final move of the half.

Harrogate started the second half by making a mess of Otley’s restart kick and Jack Scott-Paul took full advantage to score.

The straightforward conversion attempt was missed and this turned out to be crucial.

An Otley high tackle was then penalised and Rowntree’s 45 metre penalty extended the home lead.

More Otley attacking play followed and Hudson was put away on the right for his second converted try to put them ahead for the first time.

An even period of play followed but Harrogate went offside to give Depledge 3 more penalty points and extend Otley’s lead.

A final Harrogate attack was ended by a high tackle and they went for an attacking line-out from the subsequent penalty.

Enslin, festooned with tacklers, drove over to score and give Harrogate a 1 point victory


Frost, Bottomley, L Minikin, Morland, Rowntree, Irvine, Matthews, Boyde, Yorke, Reaveley, Brady, Harvey, Wilson, Wood, T Heaton. Subs (all used) Metcalfe, Enslin, Smith, Edwards, Aspinall


Taylor, Hudson, Mackie, Coady, Sharples, White, Depledge, Moss, Chivers, Blades, Cook, Dunn, O’Donnell, M Heaton, Sutton. Subs (all used) Burkinshaw, Scott-Paul, Stannard, Wales, Ellison


Claire Daniels (RFU)