This was a thrilling match and a great advertisement for Level 4 Rugby. Harrogate stormed into a 12-33 half time lead but Tynedale have come from behind in all their wins this season. The “come back kids” almost did it again in mounting a 2nd half recovery which left the result in doubt till the very end. However, Harrogate held on to record their first away win of the season and Tynedale fully deserved their 2 losing bonus points.
The match opened with waves of Harrogate attacks and a Sam Parry try, converted by Kit Keith, put them 7 points ahead after 3 minutes. There was more to come. Harrogate set up a driving maul from an attacking line-out and the ball was quickly spread to Harry Barnard who outpaced the defence for another converted try. A Harrogate scrum was then penalised leading to a Tynedale attacking line out, a driving maul and a David Batey try. This made the score 5-14 after 7 minutes play and a great match was obviously in prospect.
An even period of play followed with both sides testing each other’s defences. Winger Will Yates was put under pressure by a towering Tynedale clearance but took it brilliantly and Harrogate’s back row supported well to turn it into good ball and another attack. Tynedale’s defence was penalised and, from the subsequent attacking line-out, veteran hooker Steve Maycock crashed over to make it 5-19. A storming 50 metres Guy Coser run then burst through the home defence forcing them into a high tackle resulting in a yellow card for Will Nankivell. It also resulted in a Harrogate driving maul from an attacking line-out and a Fraser Kitching converted try to put them 5-26 ahead.
Full back Parry gathered a Tynedale kick under pressure, eluded attempted tackles and put in a brilliant attacking chip. The move was skilfully developed and Harry Yates scored his debut Harrogate converted try to make it 5-33 with 10 minutes of the half remaining. A high tackle from Tynedale’s Graeme Dunn saw him replacing his 2nd row partner in the sin bin but Harrogate lost the subsequent attacking line-out and home winger, Guy Pike’s run turned defence into attack and a Seamus Hutton try converted by Cam Grant to make it 12-33 at the break.
Tynedale opened the 2nd half with their trademark attacking recovery. From an attacking line-out, flanker Rob Stanwix scored a converted try to make it 19-33 and start the Harrogate spectators to worry. Home attacks continued but Barnard gathered under pressure and set off on a searing run out of defence which took play into Tynedale’s half. The Harrogate pack then took control with powerful running from Sam Brady and Declan Thompson crashed over for what proved to be a decisive try.
Both sides continued to attack at every opportunity with both defences putting in some superb tackling. A Harrogate line-out offence led to a Kitching yellow card and the home pressure mounted but centre Sam Fox marshalled the defence superbly and Harry Yates relieved the pressure with a huge clearance kick. Tynedale upped the pressure as the game was drawing to a close and scored 2 late tries. Replacement forward Adam Moloney’s converted try made it 26-38 and then, in the dying moments, another replacement, Joe Mills squeezed over to earn Tynedale their second losing bonus point.
This was a really wonderful Harrogate team performance in which every player, including the replacements, played a full part. Young prop, Jacob Percival was chosen as man of the match but, as he knows, this is a team game and today’s match was an all inclusive Harrogate team result.