Harrogate rugby

Preston Grasshoppers 34 Harrogate 17

12 March 2023

Saturday 11 March 2023

Against the side immediately above them in the table, Harrogate suffered a significant blow in their quest to remain in National League 2 North next season.

In the 6th minute, Hoppers won a lineout on Gate’s 22 from which Jacob Browne broke through in midfield to score their first try, converted by William Hunt. Gate responded almost immediately as Martin Dodds won the re-start and Simon Ridgway broke through but a wayward pass halted a promising move. Nonetheless, Gate won a couple of penalties, from the second of which Rory Macnab reduced the deficit to 7 – 3.

Having been forced to dropout from their own goal line, Gate then had a period when they were in the ascendency. Dodds and Sam Fenn were dominating the lineout and disrupting Hoppers’ throw. However in the 18th minute, an offside penalty was conceded that Hoppers kicked to the corner, won the ensuing lineout and Jake Maher went over for a try converted by Hunt.

Hoppers’ third try came through Alastair Murray in the 27th minute. This was again converted by Hunt, who stretched the lead even further with a long range penalty in the 35th minute.

Harrogate looked to rally. Will Yates ran the ball back, and Gate eventually moved right before Ben Raubitschek was bundled into touch by Hoppers’ strong defence as the half ended.

The second half started scrappily, but Gate got back on the scoreboard in the 53rd minute. Forward pressure saw Jacob Percival go over for the try converted by Macnab.

Hoppers were then reduced to 14 men when Murray was yellow carded. However their strong defence prevented Gate scoring whilst having the numerical advantage, and they extended their lead shortly after through a Hunt penalty.

Gate continued to compete through their strong forwards and lineout, with Sam Brady driving over for a converted try in the 70th minute.

Hoppers attacked in search of a bonus point try, and made Gate attempt their own attacks from deep inside their own 22 as they tried to seek something from the match. Gate was unable to break free, and Hoppers secured the bonus point as time ran out when Ben Pearson went over for the score, converted by Hunt.


Preston Grasshoppers: Pearson, Clapham, Browne, Maher, Spence, Hunt, Moulding (capt), Mabaya, Trippier, Woodward, Naylor, Murray, Norrington, Dorrington, Richardson. Replacements: Thompson, Guest, Procter, Squirrell, Swarbrick.

Harrogate: Macnab, Raubitschek, Rawlinson, Fox, Yates, Steene, Swanson, Elsayed, Ridgway, Peace, Fenn, Brady (capt), Dodds, Hill, Spencer-Jones. Replacements: Walker, Derbyshire, Jackson, Percival, Troup.

Referee: Dan Woods (RFU)

Tim Thorley
Harrogate RUFC

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