Under-pressure Harrogate earn draw

NADV 1203044 H'gate Rugby. (1203044AM4)
NADV 1203044 H'gate Rugby. (1203044AM4)

Harrogate were held to a 17-17 draw at home to Huddersfield on Saturday in National Two North.

Having trailed for most of the match, Harrogate took a late 17-10 lead which seemed to be enough for a crucial win.

However, Huddersfield mounted a series of injury time attacks and Harrogate repeatedly conceded penalties to add 10 extra minutes.

In the last move of the game, Dave Hall finally breached the defence for a converted try to draw the match. Another interesting statistic is that 24 of the game’s 34 points were scored when sin-binning had reduced a team to 14 players,

Early Huddersfield pressure gave Chris Johnson two very kickable opportunities which he uncharacteristically missed.

He eventually atoned when Harrogate illegally held on near the goal line to give Huddersfield a 0-3 lead.

Harrogate mounted several attacks but the moves broke down through handling errors and a drive from a line-out by Huddersfield second row Gavin Rhodes was eventually checked just short of Harrogate’s line.

The ball was quickly recycled and No8 Nick Sharp powered over to score.

Still Harrogate threatened to score but still more handling and tactical errors abounded. A seemingly certain penalty goal was missed at the end of the half.

The same pattern continued after the resumption with continued Harrogate errors. A four to two overlap was wasted by a wild miss-pass but excellent forward pressure was thwarted illegally and Chris Johnson was sent to the sin bin. More Harrogate attacks followed and Ryan Peacey burst though the defence for a fine converted try. Almost immediately, aggressive Harrogate defence forced a Huddersfield midfield error and Kyle Dench sprinted clear for an excellent individual converted try. With the score at 14-10, Mike Aspinall seemed to have won the game for Harrogate with a smartly taken drop goal towards the end of normal time.

The injury time dramas then unfolded and Harrogate’s Ben Innes was yellow carded to give the crucial advantage which led to the equalising score.

Harrogate: Smithies, Ellison, Dench (Beaumont 78), Latus (Heylings 63), Gemmell, Aspinall, Hampson, Bergmanas, Yorke (Maycock 63), Fraser (Innes 63), J Brady, Harvey, Heaton, Tyson, Peacey

Huddersfield: Owen, Ryder, Clarke, Hall, Brooke, Johnson,J Hinchliffe, Stringwell, Entressengle, Davies,

G Hinchliffe, Rhodes, Hoyle, Lewis, Sharp (Hyde 71)