Some you win, some you lose and some you feel hard done by.
Sheffield Tigers will doubtless have experienced the latter as they suffered a narrow 19-15 defeat at National 2 North rivals Harrogate but had two tries disallowed late in the second half.
Skipper Andy Barnes, who turned in a Man of the Match performance, was justifiably disappointed with the outcome which made it three defeats out of four for his side, albeit three of them being away from home.
“There were certainly a few controversial decisions but we can’t dwell on them; what’s done is done.
“It was a real disappointment as this was one of the games we had targeted to win and in all honesty we could and should have done that.”
At times Barnes felt that Harrogate were almost trying to play Sevens such was their expansive style but that will certainly not be the case at Dore Moor on Saturday when Tigers face leaders Luctonians (3pm). The Herefordshire team are the only undefeated side in the league with a four out of four return, their latest being a 20-14 win over fellow promotion favourites Westoe.
“They’re unbeaten, they’re top of the league and they’re a big forward dominated team, so we know we’re in for a hard afternoon,” added Barnes. “Then again we never expected an easy ride at this level. We’ve lost three but none of them were by huge margins. There’s been a lot of close games already in the league and a lot of teams are capable of beating one another.” One player missing from the action is prop Mark Chivers who broke his hand against Harrogate and that could clear the way for Simon Bunting to come out of ‘retirement’ once again.
Tigers had been given an early boost at Harrogate when full back Peter Swatkins went over for an unconverted try after nine minutes. The home side responded with two quick fire penalties and a third soon followed.
Tigers were forced to reorganise when Jon Buchanan suffered an ankle injury with Gareth Morley coming onto the wing and Broadley moving to centre. A good run by Broadley saw him beat half a dozen defenders but the attack couldn’t be converted into points and the four point deficit remained at half time. Alex Drage replaced Jamie Clark at scrum-half and Anthony Ross came on for Chivers at prop but within four minutes Tigers found themselves 12-5 adrift.
Then a Harrogate forward was yellow carded for pulling down Andy Barnes at a lineout and the Sheffield side took full advantage as a catch and drive resulted in a try for Gregor Hayter. Jonny West failed to land the conversion but three minutes later Tigers took the lead when another catch and drive saw Jon Feeley bag the try. Shortly after came a game turning decision. From a move off a scrum Swatkins burst through and passed to Feeley to touch down but it was ruled out for a forward pass. Feeley was again in the thick of the action minutes later but this time he was adjudged to be offside in the defensive line and was harshly yellow carded. This time it was Harrogate’s turn to make the extra man count with a converted try.
Drage took a quick tap penalty and scooted over the line for what would have been the winning score. Although the referee awarded the try, it was overturned on advice from his assistant.
Tigers: Chivers (Ross), Thomson (Gidlow), Cone (Chivers), Hayter, Joel, Cook, MacKenzie, Barnes(C), Clark (Drage), West, Broadley, Buchanan (Morley), Outram, Feeley, Swatkins. Replacement not used: Wragg.