Halifax 20 Harrogate 34
A poor second half cost Halifax dear as they slipped to a home defeat against Yorkshire Four high-flyers Harrogate Pythons
Halifax began badly as from the kick off the ball was spilled and confusion about retrieving the ball led to an immediate try and conversion for the visitors.
Despite that set back Halifax seemed well up for the battle and took the game to Harrogate resulting in a rapid response to the setback.
Halifax won a scrum in their own half where Nick O’Connor came into the line from fullback and fed Heppenstall on the left wing.
He proceeded to beat several men before chipping over and evading the defence for a magnificent touch down.
Halifax were in control at this stage with Michael Perrett prominent with some comprehensive tackling and both Ian Morriss and Joe Gallagher adding good handling touches
Gallagher put Halifax on the offensive in the 18th minute when, from a Morriss take in the line out, he kicked skilfully to 10 metres from the Harrogate line. A scrum ensued which Halifax took and No8 and captain Tony Curtis picked up and powered over in the corner. Gallagher hitting the post with his kick.
From the kick off Morriss was again well to the fore as he burst down the right touchline before kicking long and accurately causing Harrogate to touch down behind their own line. Another attacking scrum was won and from the drive Curtis doubled the dose by picking up again to score. Gallagher’s conversion produced a confidence inspiring score line of 17-7.
Honours were even for the remainder of the half although Halifax were penalised on a significant number of occasions, but fortunately Harrogate’s kicker had an off day.
The period ended on a sour note as Luke Sturman was yellow carded.
The second half went from bad to worse for Halifax as possession dried up. There was some good defensive work as Harrogate dominated territory and brought their three quarters more into play.
A quick free kick saw the 17-7 lead whittled to a fragile looking 17—14. That was imporoved temporarily when Gallagher claimed a penalty goal but then, as Halifax frustrations mounted, Harrogate established dominance and ran in three tries in the space of 10 minutes.
Halifax had lost their shape, an aspect magnified as they also conceded two penalty goals in the last 10 minutes.