Rugby Union: Maroons rally to clinch first win in four outings

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Morley were forced to come from behind to secure their first win in four with a 20-17 success at fellow strugglers Burnage in National 3 North.

The Maroons kicked an early penalty but on the quarter-hour Burnage scored the first of three tries through No.8 Ralph Lawson.

Two further penalties from fly-half Luke Stevenson put Morley back in command by half-time, but they looked to have blown their chance in the third quarter when two further tries put Burnage 17-9 in front.

However, on the hour, left wing Tom Clough crossed in the corner to make it 17-14 and the scores were then levelled by stand-off Mark Chester’s drop goal with six minutes remaining.

A tense finish was in store until, with the clock in the red, a penalty went the way of the Maroons and Stevenson held his nerve to land the kick.

Harrogate ended their six-match losing streak with a hard fought 29-24 victory at Stockport.

Already doomed to relegation, Stockport played with skill and spirit and, had they won, Harrogate could not have complained.

Debutant prop, George Stuffins combined well with Ben Reaveley and Nico Nyemba to give Harrogate a solid platform. Willem Enslin picked up at the base of the scrum and drove over to score. Callum Irvine’s touchline conversion made it 7-0 in the second minute. From a Stockport penalty and an attacking line-out, prop Andrew Fuller crashed over from a well-constructed driving maul. Reaveley tucked in to extend Harrogate’s lead with a converted try from a driving maul.

Stockport were next to score when flanker, Sam Graham supported a Hall break and Ashley Platt-Hughes’ conversion made it 12-14 after quarter of an hour.

Stockport took the lead before half-time through Callum Baldwin’s converted try.

Stockport attacked from the resumption and Harrogate increased the pressure on themselves by conceding two yellow cards within two minutes.

With Danny Matthews and Andy Boyde “in the bin”, Harrogate defended well but couldn’t stop Hall overlapping to score in the corner. The introduction of Kyle Dench from the bench stiffened Harrogate’s midfield.

Although still down to 14 men, Irvine’s penalty kick reduced the deficit. And once restored to a full complement, Harrogate began to exert more control and a Dench midfield break led to a Bottomley try.

A Boyde converted try from a driving maul put Harrogate ahead with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, and good defence kept the lead intact.