Harrogate denied by last-gasp Leicester Lions try in tense National Two North fixture

Barry Frost in action against Leicester Lions (Photo: Richard Bown)
Barry Frost in action against Leicester Lions (Photo: Richard Bown)

Harrogate 12-13 Leicester Lions

Devon Constant’s last-gasp converted try downed Harrogate as Leicester Lions did the double over Mike Aspinall’s men in National Two North.

Willem Enslin makes a tackle (Photo: Richard Bown)

Willem Enslin makes a tackle (Photo: Richard Bown)

Harrogate dominated play for large parts of the match but, in the conditions, Leicester had the better wet weather game.

Dominant Harrogate scrummaging created early pressure and a Callum Irvine half break led to quickly recycled ball to Sam Bottomley who scored the opening try.

Continued home pressure followed but, after 20 minutes, they went offside and William’s penalty opened the Lions’ account.

The pattern continued with Charley Purkiss-McEndoo held up just short of the line as Harrogate mounted continued driving mauls. A Leicester turnover set up their first real attack but Harrogate’s defence held firm.

The National Two North table

The National Two North table

Lions number eight Joe Collingham was sin binned for a defensive offence but Harrogate failed to take advantage during his 10 minutes absence.

From the penalty, they crucially opted for a touch kick and attacking line-out rather than go for a scrum against the weakened visiting pack. Collingham’s return inspired the visitors to raise their game with flanker John Murray a constant threat.

Harrogate’s defence held out to give them a 5-3 half time lead.

Harrogate continued to have the lion’s share of possession after the break but an offside offence led to a William penalty giving Leicester the lead.

Good Leicester defence kept Harrogate out until Irvine gathered a 22 drop out and set off on a mesmerising 40 metres run to score wide out and Lewis Minikin’s conversion put them 12-6 ahead with 10 minutes remaining.

Leicester’s winning try came from a strong run from substitute flanker John Hargraves. Constant supported well to score and William’s conversion was the final nail in Harrogate’s coffin.

Harrogate: L Minikin, Bottomley, N Minikin, Frost, Edwards, Irvine, Wickham, Purkiss-McEndoo, Maycock, Reaveley, J Brady, S Brady, J Coser, G Coser, Boyde. Subs:- Larder, Ward, Harvey, Enslin, Aspin.

Leicester Lions: Nixon, Constant, Veebel, Boden, Benjamin, Williams, Shaw, Spokes, Taylor, S Murray, Dallavalle, Tuckey, Rudkin, J Murray, Collingham. Subs:- Allen, Nairn, Spittle, Byrom, Hargraves

Referee: Andy Taylorson (RFU)