On Saturday we travelled over to Yorkshire to play Harrogate in our fourth game of the new season. They had not started their campaign well with heavy losses against three of the top teams. Despite this we were taking nothing for granted and knew that we would have to perform well in order to win the game.
Early exchanges were tentative, with both teams kicking to gain territory and play in each others half. Our first score came after sixteen minutes. Powerful driving by the forwards, and good possession, saw the ball moved wide for full back Andy Riley to score on the left. This was followed seven minutes later with well worked try for No. 8 Tom Ailes, after a line out catch and drive from the forwards. Steve Collins added the conversion and we were now 12-0 up going into the last fifteen minutes of the half.
Harrogate, to their credit, looked to stretch our defences whenever they had possession in our half, but must have been devastated when a pass was intercepted by Tigers winger, Rhys Henderson, who sprinted 80 metres to score between their posts. Steve added the conversion and the lead had now grown to 19-0. We were now pushing to get that fourth try and the bonus point before the break. This came on the stroke of half time with a try for man of the match No. 7 Tane Bentley, after another powerful line out catch and drive by the forwards. Steve added the conversion and it was 26-0 with seemingly no way back for Harrogate.
We started the second half really well with a lovely try for scrum half Jacob Tansey, after quick hands from Danny Maher and Oli Glasse down the left hand side. 31-0 with all of the half to go. Harrogate then had a really purple period of play, where they scored two good tries. Their first was from great hands down the right for their winger to touch down in the corner. Their second came five minutes later with a sound catch and drive from the forwards and they had now reduced our lead to 31-10.
We rang the changes and looked to bring some energy to the play and were rewarded after 68 minutes with a lovely try for back row debut Gabriel Sereki, who raced down the left wing and score in the corner. 36-10 up going into the last ten minutes. Our seventh and final try was a great one. A little chip behind the Harrogate defence saw tight head prop, John Blanchard, use his soccer skills to kick on, beat the chasing defenders and touch down from thirty yards out. The game ended 41-10 to the Tigers, seven tries scored, the bonus point secured.
This sounds like a great win for the Tigers but at times it was very scrappy and not our best performance. We gave far too many penalties away and squandered a number of easy chances. Also, Harrogate are a much better team than their record suggests.
This Saturday we are home to Hull Ionians who narrowly lost to Fylde 31-34 but who have already beaten top sides Rotherham and Wharefdale so far this season. We know that this will be the sternest test for the boys and will have to be on the top of our game to get a result. Please come down to Park Lane and support the Tigers in this top table clash.