HARROGATE lost out 20-7 away at Sheffield Tigers on Saturday in National Two North.
Two strong defences dominated the match, which was a much more even contest than the score suggests.
But the Tigers’ scrum gave them better quality ball and they also had significantly more penetration in their backs.
Sheffield kicked off and Harrogate efficiently drove forward and recycled until Callum Irvine adventurously chipped ahead from defence.
Home winger, Peter Swatkins, snapped up the loose ball and showed great pace to score a converted try.
Sam Bottomley quickly equalised for Harrogate. A Harry Hannan drive set up successive attacking mauls and the ball was quickly moved to Bottomley.
The Tigers’ defence seemed to have everything covered but he showed great strength to carve his way through and score under the posts.
Sheffield’s stand-off, Jonny West, distributed well throughout the match but their next try came from his first half break which was carried on by centre, John Buchanan.
Full back, Tom Pearson, supported well to score.
More Harrogate attacks followed and a Chris Gemmell interception almost resulted in a try.
The Tigers gave away three successive penalties in front of their goalposts but Harrogate spurned the straightforward penalty points and puzzled most spectators by opting for attacking scrums instead. A West penalty goal put Sheffield further ahead just before the break after Harrogate came in at the side of a breakdown.
Harrogate mounted continuous attacks for most of the second half with flanker, Tim Heaton, again outstanding in linking forwards and backs. However, a well marshalled Tigers defence kept them at bay.
Harrogate came very close to scoring on a number of occasions but a knock on near the Tigers line spoiled a seemingly certain try. They also had the worst of some borderline refereeing decisions though this is what always seems to happen to teams who are having a difficult run.
Sheffield’s final try denied Harrogate even the consolation of a losing bonus point. Quicksilver scrum half, Alex Drage, broke incisively to create space for Swatkins. A silky dummy from him opened the gap still further and he accelerated away to score.
Sheffield Tigers: T Pearson, Broadley, Outram (Feeley 65), Buchanan, Swatkins, West, Drage, Ross (Cone 62), Thomson, Chivers, Joel, Cook (Price 65), N Pearson, Mackenzie (Smyth 62), Barnes
Harrogate: Smithies, Gemmell, Bottomley, Quarendon, Heylings, Irvine, Wickham, Bergmanas, Maycock (Yorke 62), Fraser (Innes 41), Harvey, S Brady, Peacey (J Brady 58), Heaton, Hannan (Beaumont 62).