Rugby Union: Broadstreet 24-28 Harrogate

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Mike Aspinall joked that his Harrogate RUFC side was turning his hair greyer by the minute after a second successive last gasp victory on Saturday.

The director of rugby paid testament to captain Jake Brady for inspirational leadership as Gate turned misery into ecstasy in similar fashion to last week’s derby win over Otley.

Callum Irvine’s 80th minute dart into the corner handed Gate a 28-24 victory at Coventry side Broadstreet and took Gate sixth in National Two North.

“It certainly added to my grey hairs. It’s pretty amazing really,” said Aspinall.

“There’s a real belief and character in the side to know that you’re never beaten. That’s invaluable.”

Late front row withdrawals had left the Harrogate pack at a serious disadvantage against a side with only one win to their name since joining National Two.

Broadstreet made front row substitutions throughout but the heroic Harrogate trio of Andy Boyde, Nico Nyemba and Ben Reaveley played the whole match.

Ben Cooper’s penalty put Broadstreet ahead early but minutes later, Harrogate won turnover ball and a crisp passing movement ended with James Morland cruising through for a try converted by Joe Rowntree.

An attacking Broadstreet chip ahead seemed to have given them a scoring opportunity but Callum Irvine won the chase to touch down. Almost immediately, there was a reverse situation but Harrogate’s kick through was picked up by Noel Minikin who crashed over to score, Irvine converting.

Broadstreet responded strongly and mounted a series of attacks from which No8, Jack Gibbons scored a converted try.

The home pressure continued a driving maul resulted in a converted try for Jamie Harrop to put Broadstreet 17-14 ahead at the interval.

It soon got worse for Harrogate after the restart.

Continued pressure resulted in Broadstreet being penalised but Harrogate spurned a straightforward equalising kick and opted for a running attack.

The powerful Broadstreet winger, Jeff Gregson intercepted a pass near his own line and outstripped Harrogate’s defence for an outstanding converted try.

Broadstreet’s defence just about held out until, with five minutes remaining, Harrogate’s forwards won another crucial turnover. Sam Bottomley’s strength and pace took him over to score with Rowntree’s converting.

Jake Brady’s inspirational captaincy spurred Harrogate on and, in the last move of the match, Irvine squeezed through desperate defence to score in the corner. Rowntree’s conversion put the icing on the cake.

Aspinall added: “The things that are hardest to teach is that belief and character that we seem to have. It doesn’t happen by accident but it also doesn’t happen overnight.

“As captain, Jake Brady pulled the guys together and gave them a real steely focus.

“We had to go three quarters of the pitch to get that last opportunity. I really commend the guys.”