Harrogate put in a strong defensive performance but this game was lost in the 10 minutes before and after half-time.
Otley spent most of the first period of the game on the attack, but Gate’s strong defence kept them at bay. However, they were reduced to 14 men after 14 minutes when Ethan Thiart received a yellow card.
During this period, Gate took an 8 – 0 lead. Firstly an Otley clearance was charged down from which Gate attached down the right and Ben Raubitschek was bundled into touch just short of the line. From the resulting lineout, Sam Brady won the ball and went over for an unconverted try. Then, Gate eventually won the ball after the re-start and the backs attacked down the left, culminating in a penalty on Otley’s 22 that Rory Macnab slotted over.
Otley regrouped and were held up over the line before Tom Spencer-Jones was yellow carded to reduce Harrogate to 14 with 10 minutes to go to half-time. Gate’s fine defence, with Otley once again held up over the line, kept them out, but they did not help themselves when not finding touch from a relieving penalty that enabled Otley to counter and keep the pressure on. They subsequently got their reward on the stroke of half-time when they were awarded a penalty try from which Josh Peace received Harrogate’s second yellow card.
Otley took the game away from Harrogate in the period after half-time when Gate only had 14 men on the pitch. Three tries during that time from Sam Waddington, Clark Wells and Gavin Stead, all converted by Joe Rowntree, meant they led 28 -8 with just under half an hour to go.
Gate attempted to get back into the game. On the hour, a penalty was won near to Otley’s 22 metre line, but in searching for the corner the ball was kicked dead in goal. This enabled Otley to go down field and Callum Irvine kicked a penalty to further extend their lead.
Nonetheless, Harrogate fought bravely to the end and it paid off when Chris Jackson went over for an unconverted try at the death to make the final score 31 – 13 to Otley.
As we now move into March, Harrogate’s game against Chester next Saturday at Rudding Lane is a 3pm kick-off.
Otley: Irvine, Wells, Stead, Morgan C, Morgan E, Crossland, Rowntree, Thiart, Gibson, Ward, Malthouse (capt), Mitchell, Preston-Routledge, Hodge, Waddington. Replacements: Nicholls, Cole, Gilmartin, Wickham, Dixon.
Harrogate: Macnab, Raubitschek, Rawlinson, Buckley, Yates, Steene, Olley, Elsayed, Maycock, Peace, Dodds, Brady (capt), Walker, Hill, Spencer-Jones. Replacements: Ridgway, Percival, Jackson, Jones, Fox.
Referee: Ben Davis (RFU)
27 February 2023