Saturday 9 September 2023
In a hard fought encounter, Harrogate scored a converted try to secure a draw against a Heath side fancied by many as potential champions this season.
In conditions currently being seen in France for the Rugby World Cup and necessitating players to have several water breaks, Harrogate took first blood when Rory Macnab, continuing his fine start to the season, kicked a penalty in the 8th minute. Not to be out done, Chris Johnson replied in kind in the 10th minute and then again in the 15th to give Heath a 6 – 3 lead.
Gate responded but strong Heath defence kept them at bay. However, Heath then took control and in the 24th minute broke Harrogate’s defence. The ball was kicked through, but was ruled to have run dead before it could be touched down. Immediately after, they broke in midfield, but a knock-on on Gate’s 22 stopped a promising move.
Will Hill broke from the back of the ensuing scrum and took the ball to halfway. Eventually, Heath conceded another penalty and Macnab brought the scores level.
Despite this, Heath’s forward power was creating some problems, and although Gate held out, Heath got a deserved try through Elliott Spiers, converted by Johnson, to give them a 13 – 6 lead.
Despite further opportunities for Heath, and Harrogate creating one of their own, there were no further scores before halftime.
In the second half, Gate started on the attack and a series of penalties saw them kick to the corner in front of the Clubhouse. Eventually, the forwards drove over, but the ball was held up resulting in a Heath goal-line drop-out.
Nonetheless, Heath went further ahead in the 54th minute as Johnson kicked his third penalty when Harrogate conceded a penalty some 35 metres out. They kept up the pressure and had the opportunity about 10 minutes later to stretch their lead even further, but Johnson’s penalty struck the post and rebounded into the field of play.
Although Heath sought to control the game with positional play, strong defence and a solid kicking game, Gate looked to attack and won a penalty with 3 minutes remaining. They went for goal in an effort to come out of the match with at least 1 point and Macnab duly obliged.
Then, in the dying embers, Gate had a series of penalties from which their forward power came to the fore and was rewarded when Jacob Percival crossed and Macnab converted to secure the draw and 2 league points.
Next week’s game, Saturday 16 September, is a local derby at Ilkley, kick off at 3pm.
Harrogate: Macnab, Katalau, Kaisia, Irvine, Raubitschek Steene, Olley, Percival, Leatham, Vaughan, Pritchard, Brady (c), Dodds, Coser, Hill. Replacements: Richmond, Phipps, Miller.
Heath: Fletcher, Spiers, Clough, Hinchcliffe, Harriott-Brown, Johnson, Walsh, Cook, Mcfadden, Crickmay, Boussaada, Marsden, Knight, Keighley-Payne (c), Stringer. Replacements: Cole, Downsborough, Moore.
Referee: Matthew Higgins (Yorkshire Society)
11 September 2023