Saturday 4 November 2023
Harrogate’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end at Clifton Park against a York side that showed more ambition, desire and determination. Nonetheless, Gate still holds a 2 point lead at the top of the table.
York scored first in the 10th minute. Having run the ball, Mitchell Ashman scored in the left hand corner, but Liam Hessay was unable to add the extras.
Gate response was a Rory Macnab penalty in the 16th minute, but a further chance went begging 5 minutes later.
York was showing greater desire, dominating in both the forwards and backs, and putting Gate under pressure. Justifiably, they extended their lead when following a 5-metre scrum, awarded for Gate carrying the ball back over their own goal-line, they moved the ball for Jonathan Ashman to score in the 33rd minute in the right hand corner. Harry Shackleton (no relation to Harrogate’s Chairman of Rugby, Roger) took over kicking duties and added the conversion.
Just before half-time, Rory Macnab reduced the deficit to 6 points when slotting over another penalty, in the process taking him past 100 points for the season.
Harrogate was a different side after the break, and Macnab brought the scores level with 2 early penalties. Shackleton put York back in front 4 minutes later with a penalty of his own, before Barnaby Vaughan was yellow-carded reducing Gate to 14 men.
During this period, Shackleton and Macnab exchanged penalties before Mitchell Ashman scored his second, and York’s third, try. With Shackleton’s successful conversion, York led by 10 points with 20 minutes to play.
Gate responded with a converted try from Jacob Percival to move within 3 points with 15 minutes left. However, Shackleton’s final penalty, in off the far post, meant Gate needed another converted try if they were to win the match. This nearly came in the final minute, but the ball was ruled to be held up by York’s defence, and it was they who finished as deserved winners.
Next week’s match at Rudding Lane is against Blaydon, who were also relegated from National League 2 North at the end of last season. Kick-off is at 2pm, and those enjoying pre-match lunch will be treated to the humour and bonhomie of former football referee, Kevin Lynch.
York: Hessay, Atkinson, Barrick, Fordy, Ashman, Shackleton, Atkin, Westaby, Mills, Scholey, Fothergill (c), Stockton, Goulding, Simpson, Du Boulay. Replacements: Jackson, Hayes, Davies.
Harrogate: Macnab, Katalau, Kaisia, Fox, Haydock, Steene, Olley, Percival, Gray, Peace, Pritchard, Brady (c), Phipps, Dodds, Hill. Replacements: Richardson, Vaughan, Toomey.
Referee: Kristian Garland (Yorkshire Society)
6 November 2023