Harrogate struggle in poor conditions

Westoe gave Harrogate an object lesson in how best to play the heavy conditions, with the hosts’ policy of wildly adventurous attacks costing them dear.

From the kick-off, a Harrogate attack was turned over and Westoe set up a series of controlled driving mauls. Mark Bedworth ghosted through a gap and then turned on the power to score between the posts and make his own conversion a formality.

After this early setback, Harrogate defended valiantly for the rest of the half. Their efficient line-out play won a succession of good ball and the ever-efficient back row of Ryan Peacey, Tim Heaton and Chris Wilson combined well to counter-attack regularly.

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Midway through the half, Peacey showed great control behind a driving maul to score and a close game was in prospect.

But the conversion was missed as was a subsequent penalty, which would have given Harrogate a half-time lead.

Westoe attacked from the restart but Harrogate won excellent turnover ball near their own goalline.

However, Toby Quarendon’s attempted clearance kick was charged down and John Younghusband won the race for the ball to score a converted try.

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Harrogate counter-attacked but knocked on in the tricky conditions and Westoe quickly released centre James Clark, who sped clear to score with a spectacular dive.

The conversion made it 21-5 to the visitors and, almost immediately, another Harrogate mistake surrendered possession and it was Tom Banks’s turn to take full advantage and score.

Wilson then made a well-timed interception for Harrogate and his powerful run opened up the visiting defence.

From the subsequent maul, Younghusband was red-carded for dangerous use of the head and the Harrogate pressure continued.

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Quick ball was recycled from a scrum and Sam Bottomley squirmed through Westoe’s defence for a fine try.

This was Harrogate’s last good moment of the match, however.

Further interceptions led to two more Westoe tries from Ryan Beattie and Peter Phelan which just served to confirm the visitors’ dominance and superior ability to handle the poor conditions.

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