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Harrogate looked the sharper, more committed side throughout the match and were in complete control towards the end.
A dominant scrum gave increasingly good ball to the electric backs but it wasn’t an entirely one sided game. Bromsgrove set up some powerful attacks but found it very difficult to get through the outstanding Harrogate defence.
Bromsgrove made a mess of Harrogate’s kick-off and then went offside to give Harrogate a penalty. Joe Rowntree’s kick gave Harrogate an early 3-0 lead. More Harrogate pressure followed and another penalty opportunity was narrowly missed. An unfortunate back injury to Chris Wilson led to an early substitution Nathan Smith replaced him and proceeded to have a towering game in defence and attack.
A prolonged Bromsgrove attacking spell was well defended and excellent turnover ball led to a good Danny Matthews clearance kick. Creative back play gave Oli Denton some space and his incisive break was carried on by Sam Bottomley whose powerful running took him through the defence for a fine try.
A tricky Bromsgrove restart kick was then brilliantly taken by Rob Adair and the Harrogate pressure continued. Powerful drives from Smith, Tom Harvey and Steve Maycock had Bromsgrove defending desperately and they conceded several penalties which were narrowly missed. Just before half time, Bromsgrove again went offside and Rowntree’s kick gave Harrogate an 11-0 lead.
In the second half, prop, Jimmy Browne made a welcome return from a long injury break and the Harrogate scrum dominance was further increased. Aarin Yorke came on in place of Adair and his quicksilver break almost led to a try. Harrogate were then penalised for holding and a quickly taken Bromsgrove penalty led to centre, James Young crashing over for a well taken try.
A huge Benjamin Palmer clearance kick took play back into Harrogate’s half but Harvey’s powerful drive set up a counter attack. Jake Brady carried the move on and the ball was released to Bottomley who stormed through for his second try. Replacement scrum half, Phil Wickham then made a decisive break and a long Harrogate driving maul took them to the Bromsgrove line where the impressive Maycock crashed over.
An excellent Rowntree clearance kick proved to be his swansong before he was replaced by Callum Irvine. A well constructed attack from deep then gave Harry Parrish space on the left wing from which he outstripped the visiting defence for a spectacular individual try, converted by Irvine.
Bromsgrove continued to compete and set up an attack from well won line-out ball. Jonathon Critchlow’s run split the home defence for a well taken try which he then converted. The game ended with a succession of huge Harrogate attacking scrums on the Bromsgrove line. Several scoring opportunities were missed till the ball was quickly recycled to midfield and Luke Edwards darted through for the final try, converted by Irvine.
Denton, Parrish, Edwards, Bottomley, L MInikin, Rowntree (Irvine 51), Matthews (Wickham 51). Metcalfe, Maycock, Reaveley (Browne 40), J Brady, Harvey, Wilson (N Smith 6) Adair (Yorke 40), Heaton
Palmer (Bache 62), Bastock, Mortelmans, Young, Higgins, Critchlow, De Cothi, Abel (Belmonte 50), Glenn (Tsang 51), Salisbury, S Smith (Foster 65), Edgar, Hughes, Morgan (Crane 52), Hardwick.
Will Halford (RFU).
Bottomley 14 and 51. Maycock 55, Parrish 60, Edwards 80
Try Young 45. Critchlow 69
Rowntree 51 & 55. Irvine 60 & 80
Rowntree 2 & 33
Yellow/Red Cards Nil