Harrogate claim bragging rights and place in semis

Sam Bottomley
Sam Bottomley
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Harrogate ran out 22-20 winners at Yorkshire rivals Otley in a Yorkshire Cup quarter- final and National Two (North) double-header at Cross Green and now play Doncaster Phoenix in the semi-finals on May 12.

Harrogate began to exert pressure after early even exchanges with Jonny Coser well to the fore supported by his fellow back-rowers Tom Harvey and Willem Enslin.

Quick ball put stand-off Callum Irvine into space and his smartly taken drop goal opened the scoring.

The pressure continued and a home offside offence resulted in a Harrogate attacking line-out. A powerful driving maul took the ball over Otley’s line for a Harvey try converted by Lewis Minikin.

But Otley hit back when a quickly taken Stephen Depledge penalty opened the smallest of gaps for centre Mike Coady.

His power and pace took him through the Harrogate midfield for an excellent 35-metre try, converted by Depledge, who added a penalty soon after to level things up.

Harrogate continued to attack but moves broke down from too many handling errors. They then went offside after a scrum to be punished by another Depledge penalty which gave Otley a 13-10 half-time lead.

From the restart, Harrogate mounted high octane attacks but repeated handling errors ended the moves. However, the pressure had to tell and, after two attacking scrums, quick ball to Bottomley led to him powering through to score a converted try under the posts.

This restored Harrogate’s lead and the best move of the match soon made it 22-13.

Full-back, Minikin took a high ball in defence and glided through Otley’s defence. Danny Matthews carried the move on and passed to replacement hooker Tom Larder whose powerful run took him close to the line.

Having initiated the move, Minikin then backed up to score in the corner.

Harrogate went offside after a scrum and another quickly taken Depledge penalty created a gap for the supporting Will Rigg to score a converted try and make it 22-20.

But there will be one less Yorkshire side in the division next season after Sandal’s 35-12 defeat at Luctonians condemned them to the drop.

Fly-half Greg Wood scored all of Sandal’s points through four penalties.

Promotion hopefuls Morley suffered their first home defeat of the season when they were edged out 26-24 at home by sixth-placed Dinnington in their final North One East match.

Dinnington’s young side scored four tries to two to avenge a 21-19 defeat on their own ground in November, Morley relying on four penalty goals to keep them in touch.

The visitors opened with a try by flanker Josh Kohika from a catch and drive in the Morley 22 and, although Morley levelled the score at 21-21 shortly after half time, Dinnington held out after centre Chris Williams had squeezed over in the corner 12 minutes from time.

Morley, who had beaten champions Doncaster Phoenix two weeks earlier, need to beat North One West runners-up Kirkby Lonsdale to gain the third promotion place to National Three North.

West Park Leeds, who have finished bottom in Yorkshire One, salvaged two league points in a rousing final match at North Ribblesdale, where both sides ran in six tries and the hosts scraped a 42-41 win.