Harrogate rugby

Hull Ionians 24 Harrogate 17

5 December 2022

Saturday 3 December 2022

A much improved second half performance saw Gate, with a further 2 debutants, secure a losing bonus point for the second week in a row.

Ionians started on the front foot. Missed tackles in midfield saw them into Gate’s 22 from where they spun the ball left and Tyler Heelas touched down. Ben Smith converted to put them 7 points up.

Gate responded with some enterprising play but were unable to get any reward, before Ionians worked their way down field and Ben Bell scored a converted try by the side of the posts.

Bell got his second try 4 minutes later when Ionians once again broke through in the middle, but the conversion was unsuccessful.

Gate’s resolve showed. Firstly, they forced Ionians to drop out from behind their own goal line. Then following a tap penalty, the forwards hammered on the line, before the ball was released to the backs, which resulted in Will Yates crossing in the corner. With the conversion not being made, this meant the half time score was 19 – 5 to Ionians.

Ionians also started the second half quickly scoring their bonus point try within 5 minutes of the re-start. Unfortunately for Gate, a kick was charged down and gathered by Joe Makin, who raced in unopposed from about 40 metres.

From there, the rest of the half belonged to Gate. Will Yates broke in midfield and play was taken into the Ionians’ 22, with only a pass interception preventing a potential Gate score. Then Gate were held up over the line following a period of intense pressure.

However they were not to be denied. On the hour, Tom Baxter crossed and Rory Macnab converted to make the score 24 – 12.

Gate continued to press and had numerical superiority when James Sanderson was yellow carded for Ionians. However, Ionians defence continued to keep Gate at bay. By this time, the heavens had opened, and with just over 10 minutes to go, further yellow cards were issued to Will Hill (Gate) and Joe Makin (Ionians). Numerical parity was subsequently restored, before a further yellow card was issued to Declan Thompson, formerly of Harrogate, with 5 minutes to go.

Gate’s persistence finally paid off. Forward pressure saw them drive over and Tom Spencer-Jones scored the try that gave Gate the losing bonus point.

Next week’s game is the final home game before the Christmas break and is therefore the traditional Touchline Internationals’ Christmas lunch. In a vital game at the wrong end of the table for both teams, Gate entertain Blaydon, kick off at 2pm.


Hull Ionians: Pocklington, Evison, Britton, Townend, J Thompson, Smith, Kirk, Morton, Hudson, Bell, Makin, Heelas, Powell, Sanderson (capt), Mewburn. Subs: Laverick, Westwood, Campbell, D Thompson, Celella.

Harrogate: Rawlinson, Magee, Scrase, Troup, Yates, Macnab, Penistone, Derbyshire, Percival, Baxter, Fenn, Brady (capt), Jones, Hill, Spencer-Jones. Subs: Elsayed, Ridgway, Walsh, Jackson, Swanson.

Referee: Dan Woods (RFU)

Tim Thorley
Harrogate RUFC

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