Fond farewell to Claro Road but no fairytale for barnstorming ‘Gate

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Harrogate’s final game at Claro Road did not have a fairytale ending as they lost 29-18 to Hull Ionians.

However, they put in a barnstorming performance and were within one score of defeating the leaders before Ionians edged ahead late on.

It was the club’s final home game at a ground they have been playing at since 1896.

Ionians took an early lead after Harrogate possession was turned over. Centre Joe Barker’s break was well supported by Mike Bateman who dived over. However, Harrogate soon went ahead when Callum Irvine’s dummy took him through midfield for a converted try.

A penalty try answered by another Irvine penalty gave Ionians a 15-10 interval lead.

Sam Wilson crossed to stretch Ionians’ lead but Harrogate continued to test the visiting defence with powerful forward drives from their outstanding pack. Luke Edwards then seized on Matthews’s clever chip to score for ‘Gate.

An Irvine penalty narrowed the gap to four points but the last score of nearly 120 years of rugby at Claro Road belonged to Luke Thundercliffe who crossed for the game’s final converted try.

A sloppy second-half display saw Huddersfield succumb to a 33-24 defeat at home to Sedgley Park.

The visitors took a 10-0 lead before a penalty from fly-half Joel Hinchliffe and a converted try by full-back Tom Hodson pulled Huddersfield level. Sedgley crept ahead with a penalty to take a slight advantage into the second period. However, they were soon 23-10 to the good after some loose play from Huddersfield allowed them in for two tries.

They then extended the advantage to 33-10 but the hosts fought back with tries from flanker Nick Rhodes and replacement Nick Rawsthorne.

Hull battled hard to record a 27-21 victory over a resilient Stockport side.

Hull fly-half Greg Lound scored two early tries to give them a strong platform.

Stockport managed to score two converted tries before half-time to make the score 14-12 to the visitors at the break.

Joe Stafford made an immediate impact for Hull as he re-established their lead with a try. Flanker Ollie Cook went over late on to seal the win.

Otley blew a 12-point lead in the final nine minutes to lose 
22-20 against Broadstreet.

Jeffrey Gregson punctured Otley’s strong defensive structures before captain Stephen Depledge levelled with a penalty and a conversion to Freddie Watson’s try.

Depledge and winger Nazir Karim, who raced the length of the field to score, gave Otley a handsome lead that they could not defend in the final throes.