Yorkshire Three: Quirk runs in hat-trick as Harrogate Pythons down Northallerton
Harrogate Pythons secured their first league points of the season in a pulsating 32-24 win against Northallerton at a windswept Penny Pot Lane.
After defeat at Halifax on the opening day of the Yorkshire Three season, the Pythons had the luxury of welcoming back several key players for the North Yorkshire derby.
The wind caused an instant problem to Pythons goalkicker Ross Fallenstein, who saw an early penalty kick was blow back into play.
North presented a huge pack which pressurised ‘Gate in a series of forward drives before being penalised by the referee. But the away side were restricted when Patrick Hebblethwaite was sin-binned for being off his feet at the ruck.
Pythons took advantage on 15 minutes when a quick tap was transferred for Andrew Quirk to round his man and score an unconverted try.
Pythons soon doubled their lead when Gareth Drane threw an outrageous reverse pass from the breakdown which bounced nicely to Ben Kernoghan whose missed pass put Quirk away on the outside.
North’s well-drilled pack then went through a series of pick and goes, eventually breaking the ‘Gate defence to bring it back to 10-7 on 25 minutes.
And the visitors took a two-point lead into the break when Jedd Bainbridge then put Patrick Joyce into a gap to score in the corner.
‘Gate made several changes at half time, but the second half continued in the same vain with North picking and going.
However, they were turned over and Drane threw out a quick pass to Fallenstein. His pass to Ben Kernoghan was flipped quickly to the support and back inside to Fallenstein for score a try under the posts which he converted.
More Northallerton pressure followed on and after the clean catch from a 5m line out there was no stopping their pack from trundling over.
‘Gate responded quickly and pressed the North defence with a series of penalties. Eventually the ball was spun wide for Tom Everingham to crash over in the corner for the bonus point try.
North came back again, though, and a series of penalties led to a 5m scrum, and with ‘Gate’s front row buckling with the pressure the referee awarded a penalty try.
The final shift of momentum went Pythons’ way, however, when Quirk went on a run from a scrum and was supported by Stu Illingworth who crashed through the North defence to put Quirk in for his hat-trick.
In the dying moments, North were penalised for crossing and Sam Gibbs completed the scoring for Pythons from the resulting scrum.
The Pythons travel to Leeds Medics this Saturday. The Medics have lost both of their opening matches, collecting losing bonus points in both games.