Rugby Lions eventually overcame an aggressive Harrogate side
in this hard-fought cup tie between the two table-topping teams
in National League 2.
This was definitely the Tetley Match of the Day. Rugby are
the only team to have beaten Gate in the league and the
Yorkshire side were clearly intent on revenge.
Harrogate were much the quicker into their stride on a sodden
pitch and their penalty on 5 minutes was no surprise. Lions
worked hard to make their own mark on the match and prolific
fly-half Barry Muir kicked an equalising penalty on 18 minutes.
Handling errors by Lions allowed the dangerous Gate back line
chances to run at Rugby's defence and it took determined
tackling to keep them at bay.
A break by Lions full back Craig Quick led to another penalty
for Muir. But the Harrogate breaks soon achieved the
breakthrough they had been threatening - the impressive Ed
Smithies scoring easily. Lions were lucky however that the easy
conversion was missed to limit their half time deficit
Harrogate began the second half as strongly as they had the
first half. Rugby had brought on their returning lock Tim
Collier. He immediately conceded a penalty that Gate squandered
before rounding off irresistible Lions forwards pressure with an
unconverted try on 48 minutes.
Barry Muir scored one of his trademark jinking tries after
good work from Watson and Campbell to give Lions a somewhat
flattering 16-8 lead.
When Rugby lock Muckalt was sin-binned for a high tackle with
6 minutes left, Harrogate took advantage with a converted try.
However, the 40 minutes were up and another missed penalty kick
just before this try proved costly for Harrogate.
Rugby go forward into round 3 where they will travel to play
Liverpool St Helens who spoilt a prospective local derby by
surprisingly beating Nuneaton.
Quick, Saunders, Jasnikowski, Campbell, Watson, Muir, Becconsall,
Shadbolt, Woolrich (Dunn), Greenbury, S Smith, Field, Thompson
(Collier), Wingham, Muckalt
Subs not used: Bailey, B Smith, Porteous