A record-breaking crowd at Harrogate’s new Rudding Lane home saw the home side squeeze a narrow 15-10 victory over their closest neighbours, Otley, in National League Two North.
Defences were on top – the teams were scoreless at half-time – but Otley had to do that significantly bit more, though the result was in doubt right up to the final few minutes.
Lewis Minikin and Harry Parrish scored Harrogate’s tries with Minikin landing a penalty and a touchline conversion. Freddie Watson touched down for Otley with Stephen Depledge converting and landing a bonus-point-winning penalty two minutes from time.
National Two North newcomers Sandal kicked off their season in some style, seeing off visiting Luctonians 34-7 at Milnthorpe Green.
Simon Frewin, James Briscoe, Alex Edler, James Stewart and Mark Pease scored the tries for Sandal with Greg Wood kicking three conversions and a penalty.
New-look Morley picked up maximum points in the first game of the season with a 29-15 home win over Wheatley Hills.
Following relegation at the end of the last campaign, three of four debutants came from the juniors and the team’s first-half performance showed promise with first lock Tom Richmond going in for a try and then hooker James Dinsdale crossing, and skipper Mark Chester converting both.
The visitors pulled back tries either side of half-time and a penalty put them one point ahead for a matter of three minutes until Morley regained their composure. Two tries by full-back Karl Bradshaw in the final quarter made the game safe and secured the bonus point with Chester adding a penalty and conversion.
Wharfedale’s National League One encounter at Coventry never really got started for the Yorkshire side.
Wharfedale lost 40-14, but it was all over by half-time when Coventry led 36-7 having rattled up five tries to the visitors’ one, scored by Huw Morgan and converted by Jamie Guy.
Mistakes by the Dalesmen were punished clinically by the hosts, but when Wharfedale reduced the error count in the second half they also kept the deficit in check. And they were rewarded with a further try by Maxime Labass, converted from the touchline by Lloyd Davies.