UNDERDOGS Harrogate clinched a first Yorkshire Cup triumph in 12 years after surprising Wharfedale 16-12 in a feisty final at West Park Leeds last night.
Sam Bottomley’s second-half try proved decisive as Harrogate outbattled their higher league opponents and claimed their 10th county triumph – 110 years after their first.
Dan Solomi’s piercing run left Harrogate standing still for the opening try on six minutes.
Lock Sam Brady was then sin-binned for a late hit on Wharfe captain and playmaker James Doherty, whose match was ended by the heavy impact.
Callum Irvine kicked a penalty for Harrogate, but Wharfe fly-half Jamie Guy missed two attempts.
Harrogate gained confidence from the misses and Irvine slotted over two penalties before half-time.
Wharfedale No 8 Josh Burridge was sin-binned in the second of those infringements, leading to dominance by National Two North side Harrogate.
Sam Bottomley darted in from his wing for a try after Luke Edwards carved the space, but Kerry Wood infringed at a driving maul and, from the line-out, Wharfe’s forwards forced the ball over, but again, Guy missed the kick.
After Wood returned, Willem Enslin looked destined to score, but he was taken into touch on the left wing a metre from the try-line.
Harrogate pressure followed as they ate away at the closing minutes and, despite a late surge forward from Wharfedale’s back Lloyd Davies, Gate’s victory was secured.