Injuries and unavailabilities led to Harrogate fielding an under strength team against League leaders Fylde. The result was probably inevitable but the score margin was a reflection of Harrogate’s inexperience in key positions. However, Harrogate’s pack, shored up by veterans, actually dominated tight play during the match. Prop Ben Reaveley was recalled from retirement and did a sterling job with “old heads” Steve Maycock and Tim Heaton also showing their effective experience.
Fylde 80 Harrogate 26
Fylde opened the scoring from Harrogate’s kick-off with scintillating back play supported by flanker Tane Bentley who scored a try converted by Greg Smith. Minutes later, a quickly taken penalty led to a try from winger, Tom Grimes. A converted try from flanker Phil Mills made it 19-0 after 6 minutes but Harrogate at last responded with a powerful scrum drive from which Fylde were penalised. A driving maul was set up from the attacking line-out and flanker Matt Lansdall touched down with Sam Fox adding the conversion.
More Fylde attacks followed but Harrogate’s defence won a turnover then unfortunately knocked on and winger Henry Hadfield sored their bonus point converted try from scrum ball. A Fylde offside offence was penalised and Declan Thompson drove strongly from the ensuing scrum for Sam Brady to score a converted try and make it 24-14. Harrogate continued to attack and wingers Will and Freddie Yates both tested the Fylde defence. However more Fylde attacks were contained until full back Tom Carleton made the extra man to score another converted try to make it 31-14 at half time.
Fylde attacked from the restart but Brady won a great turnover and a long Fox clearance relieved the pressure. However, Fylde countered from deep, kicked on and a Harrogate defensive fumble led to a converted try from centre Tom Forster. Yet another Fylde long range attack was supported by Adam Lanigan for a converted try. This made it 45-14 and 2nd row Matt Garrod soon made it 52-14 by crashing over in support. Still more Fylde attacks followed but were halted by a tremendous high take and a powerful run from Thompson. The pressure continued and two Bentley converted tries made it 66-14.
The Harrogate pack were still competing manfully and won a scrum against the head. Further Harrogate attacks followed but they lost possession after a dominating scrum drive and Hadfield scored a length of the field converted try for Fylde.
A Sam Parry counter attack was checked just short of the Fylde line but Harrogate quickly regained possession and he darted over to score and make it 73-19. Another Grimes try followed and the touchline conversion made it 80-19. In spite of the score, Harrogate continued to dominate up front and a Fraser Kitching converted try in the dying minutes secured a Harrogate bonus point.
Carleton, Hadfield, Forster, Rawlings, Grimes, Smith, Lanigan, Kyle-Clay, Gregory, Bowker, Parkinson, Garrod, Bentley, Mills, Partington. Subs:- Barrow, Ashcroft, Blake, O’Ryan, Jordan
Parry, F Yates, Abram, Cummings, W Yates, Fox, Keith, Baxter, Percival, Maycock, Hannam, Brady, Heaton, Lansdall, Thompson. Subs:- Dennis, Reaveley, Seymour, Fradgley, Kitching
Tim Allatt (RFU)