Harrogate 45 Driffield 27

Saturday 6 April 2024

For the 3rd consecutive “home” game, Harrogate was unable to play at Rudding Lane. However, the pitch at Knaresborough failed an inspection on the morning of the game, and the match was transferred to Driffield.

Harrogate played with a strong wind and the slight slope in their favour in the first half. However, it was Driffield who scored first in the 3rd minute through captain Adam Brankley, converted by James Watts.

Harrogate responded in the 13th minute through Will Hill, converted by Tom Steene. However, they fell behind 3 minutes later when Watts kicked a penalty, conceded for offside.

Gate took the lead in the 22nd minute when Kristan Dobson ran in his first try, having broken through in midfield. Tom Steene was successful with the extras.

Driffield then scored 2 unconverted tries. First Adam Brankley got his second in the 26th minute before Tom Sowersby crossed in the 31st.

There were no further scores in the first half, though Gate was held up over Driffield’s line resulting in a goal-line drop-out.

With Director of Rugby Martyn Wood and Head Coach Dan Scarborough both missing, whatever was said in the dressing room by Richard Wade and Aled Jones had a devasting effect.

Within 5 minutes of the re-start, Gate took a 26 – 20 lead with 2 tries and a conversion. Oli Toomey, who came on at half-time, cross-kicked for Kodie Brook to catch and score. Then Kristan Dobson scored his second – Driffield kicked the ball dead on the re-start and from the scrum on halfway, he ran straight through for Tom Steene to convert.

Not to be out done, Driffield took the lead again in the 50th minute. Following forward pressure, Robert Rix scored and James Watt converted.

Gate took the lead in the 56th minute. Will Hill ploughed over for his second try of the match, taking his total to 10 for the season as Gate’s leading try-scorer. Tom Steene unfortunately missed the conversion.

Driffield then hammered away at Gate’s line. However, strong Harrogate defence, befitting the best defence in the league, kept them out before Gate scored 2 further tries through Kristan Dobson to secure the win.

In the 69th minute, a deft chip through by Tom Steene allowed him to collect and score. Then, 2 minutes later, he ran from halfway for his 4th try of the match. Steene converted both.

With no further scores, the result ensured Harrogate secured promotion back to National League 2 North at the first attempt. Congratulations should go to all 41 players who represented the team during the season, and to the coaches, support staff and supporters who made this possible.

Finally, we should extend our grateful thanks to Driffield for being able to host the game at short notice.

Gate’s attention now turns to the Papa John’s Community Cup. First up is another fixture against Driffield, who won this competition at Twickenham last year, at home on Saturday 13 April.


Harrogate: Brook, Miller, Dobson, Kaisia, Abram, Steene, Olley, Percival, Butler, Peace, Dodds, Brady (c), Coser, Leatham, Hill. Replacements: Edgar, Garrett, Toomey.

Driffield: Watts, Scurry, Rix, Sowersby J, Brankley T, Murray, Sowersby T, McKinnon, Ramsden, Thundercliffe, Hughes W, Grant, Johnson, Webster, Brankley A (c). Replacements: Furbank, Hughes H, Rowbottom.

Referee: George Ounsley (Yorkshire Society)

Tim Thorley
Harrogate RUFC
8 April 2024

Harrogate Informer