Harrogate rugby

Harrogate 54 Doncaster Phoenix 26

1 April 2024

Friday 29 March 2024

Harrogate met Doncaster Phoenix for the second time in a week; this time the game being played on the artificial pitch at Yarnbury with Rudding Lane being unfit.

Harrogate started quickly. Martin Dodds scored in the 4th minute, with Tom Steene converting. Then after further attacking opportunities, Tom Steene broke through for a try in the 9th minute that he also added the extras to.

Doncaster came into the game, and after Gate conceded a couple of penalties, a cross-kick was caught by Tom O’Brien to open their account in the 25th minute, but he missed the conversion attempt.

Harrogate’s third try came in the 28th minute, though Doncaster had cause to feel aggrieved. Orisi Katalau received the ball tight against the touchline in front of the Doncaster bench. Evading would-be tacklers, Orisi’s feet were in touch, but Doncaster’s touch-judge did not raise his flag, allowing him to race through and score, which Steene converted.

Doncaster fought back and reduced the deficit in the 33rd minute. Jamal Khalil-Ibrahim scoring for Tom O’Brien to convert and make the score 21 – 12.

Doncaster finished the half strongly, putting the Harrogate line under pressure. However, two strong scrummages from the Harrogate pack and strong line-out play prevented any further score.

Harrogate started the second-half just like the first, and scored their bonus point try within a minute of the re-start, when Will Hill went over for an unconverted try.

Further scores ensued in the 48th and 58th minutes. Firstly, following forward pressure, Josh Peace drove over the line. Then, with the ball being moved right, Gate broke through and Kristan Dobson scored the 6th try. Tom Steene converted both to give Harrogate a comfortable 40 – 12 lead with an hour of the game gone.

Both sides were then reduced to 14 men with 12 minutes left. Doncaster’s captain, Matthew Drennan, saw yellow, with Harrogate’s Fijian winger, Orisi Katalau, receiving a red card for punching.

Doncaster scored their third try in the 69th minute through Fraser Leiper and earnt a bonus point in the 74th, when Kieran Phillips scored. Tom O’Brien converted both.

Harrogate nonetheless ended the game on a high. Sam Brady scored in the 77th minute, converted by Tom Steene. Then, with Doncaster having kicked the ball out on the full from the re-start, quick thinking and a quick throw on half-way allowed Cam Edgar to score Gate’s 8th try. Steene’s successful conversion brought the game to an end.

This result puts Gate back at the top of the table, and in pole position for promotion back to the National League. A win against Driffield at home on Saturday will achieve that aim, but a tough game can be expected and nothing should be taken for granted. Kick-off is 3pm.


Harrogate: Brook, Miller, Dobson, Kaisia, Katalau, Steene, Horberry, Percival, Butler, Peace, Dodds, Brady (c), Coser, Leatham, Hill. Replacements: Edgar, Garrett, Toomey.

Doncaster Phoenix: McColl, Phillips, Gomes, Tobeyaweni, O’Brien, Brooke, Drennan (c), Leggott, Sengelow, Beck, Donk, Wilkinson, Leiper, Malpass, Khalil-Ibrahim. Replacements: Cox, Briggs, Fenton.

Referee: Jordan Wakeham (Yorkshire Society)

Tim Thorley
Harrogate RUFC
31 March 2024

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