IN a game where momentum swung like a wrecking ball, York RUFC played more of the rugby showing quality and courage in equal measure to secure a well deserved victory 28 – 22 over rivals Harrogate RUFC.

Demoted from National 2 last season, Harrogate arrived as undefeated league leaders keen to make a swift return to National Leagues.

York kicked off down the hill and had the better of the early exchanges, creating good territory and possession.

Early in the game, Composed handling took the ball to Ashman who had the pace to exploit the overlap and cross the line wide on the left despite the attentions of Evans, the Harrogate wing. York 5, Harrogate 0.

York defended well but were penalised for going ‘off feet’ at the breakdown giving Harrogate the opportunity to close the gap. MacNab slotted the ball neatly between the uprights. York 5, Harrogate 3.

York used their dominance to establish a good field position before another sweeping attack from the backs enabled Atkinson to force his way over on the right after good handling in the wet conditions across the back line. Shackleton, whose place kicking was to prove to be laser guided on the day, slotted the conversion from the touch line. York 12, Harrogate 3.

York had had most of the rugby, but Harrogate aren't undefeated because they fold under pressure.

Keeping their calm, they worked their way back into the game with hard yards up front, working field position and winning the penalty, a pattern we were to see a lot more of before the game was over. MacNab made no mistake with the penalty taking the half time score to York 12, Harrogate 6.

Harrogate resumed the second half the way they ended the first.

Successive penalties by MacNab brought the scores level at 12 - 12.

Atkin played a penalty quickly and went on a jinking run through the Harrogate pack before running into high tackle. The offending side suitably warned about high tackles and yellow cards, the game resumed with Shackleton kicking the penalty to take York into the lead again. York 15, Harrogate 12.

ork pressed their advantage of the extra man and extended their lead to 18-12. Harrogate dug in, helped by going to uncontested scrums for a brief spell and managed to pull a penalty back. York 18 Harrogate 15.

Quick second phase ball was moved neatly right to left with some balletic footwork from Du Boulay in the middle of the field, before Hessay came into the line at pace putting Ashman away for his second try of the game which was well taken. Converted again by Shackleton, a comfortable buffer of ten points, York 25 Harrogate 15, was surely enough to close the game out? Or was it?

Harrogate were making the most of the field position York had given them securing a line out 5 m from the York line. Clean catch and drive and excellent conversion by who else? MacNab and the game was back at 25 – 22 and the nerves were jangling.

The tension on the touchline rose as this pattern of play persisted. Surely it was a matter of time playing like this before Harrogate clawed their way to another league win. Barrick had other ideas.

Timing his follow up run to perfection he knocked the receiver into the middle of next week to ease the pressure. Shackleton eased the nerves a little further with another penalty to take York six points ahead, York 28 Harrogate 22.

A converted try was needed for Harrogate to remain undefeated. The last few minutes saw Harrogate using all their forward know how to assault the York line. Tackle after tackle repelled them. Closer and closer the attack got to the try line and the posts.

Courageous and selfless defence kept them at bay but eventually Harrogate managed to get across the line only for the referee to deem the ball held up. The final whistle blew, the touchline erupted.

York RUFC claimed their win and ended Harrogate's unbeaten run, with the final score York 28 Harrogate 22.