AN IMPRESSIVE Harrogate showed just why they are in second spot in the table as they ended Kirkby Lonsdale's fine run with victory at Underley Park.

On a gloomy and overcast but dry day, Kirkby put up a good show in both attack and defence but at the end of the day it was not quite enough as a very capable visiting side took the spoils.

There was some good early pressure from the home side and it eventually told when the visitors were penalised for not releasing in the tackle and Mike Fearon kicked the penalty from some twenty five metres to give Kirkby the lead.

A badly broken nose to Harrogate centre Sam Fox held play up for a while and he was eventually taken to hospital.

When play restarted, home scrum half Ben Walker made a break through the Harrogate defence.

He was tackled just short of the line but the forwards eventually drove over, prop Dan Thompson scoring the try and leaving an easy conversion for Fearon to make it 10-0 with half an hour gone.

But in the closing minutes of the half, Gate put a penalty to touch near the right corner flag and after winning the lineout, they worked the ball over to halve the deficit.

Then straight from the restart, Harrogate ran the ball back down the right touchline, tackles were missed and they were through the Kirkby defence to score by the posts.

The home crowd were stunned as the conversion put the visitors ahead after a half Kirkby had dominated.

But incredibly there was still time before the break for Kirkby to win a penalty when Harrogate didn’t roll away from a tackle and Fearon was on target with an excellently struck penalty from thirty six metres to put the home side back in front as the half time whistle went.

However, there had been a shift in momentum, Harrogate were revitalised by their change of fortunes at the end of the first half and began the second half with confidence.

With Kirkby prop James Thompson off the field, Harrogate drove them off a scrum to gain a penalty which they kicked to regain the lead, and they repeated exactly the same dose moments later.

Frustration and lack of discipline entered Kirkby’s game and when a penalty did eventually go their way the referee reversed it for ‘backchat’. Harrogate put the penalty into touch inside the Kirkby twenty two and duly caught and drove, Kirkby defended well and disrupted the visitors attack where a fumbled pass out of a tackle went way forward along the ground but unseen and unpunished.

Harrogate gleefully picked up and scored an unconverted try to lead 13 – 23 and the backchat punishment was complete.

It had been Harrogate’s half but Kirkby were by no means out of it and a period of possession in the visitors twenty two gained a penalty in the closing seconds which Fearon kicked to bring his side into losing bonus point range.

That bonus point would have been just reward for Kirkby’s attacking performance in the first half and tenacious defence in the second but it wasn’t to b.

And Harrogate clinched victory in the fifth minute of injury time with a converted score under the posts to make the final score 16-30.

Late knocks to skipper Dave Barton and Walker caused further concern as Kirkby head to the important Cumbrian derby game at Carlisle next week.

But on the bright side it was good to see former Kirkby prop Tyran Fagan, now a full Zimbabwean international, visiting the club as a guest of honour.