Preston Grasshoppers 32 Harrogate 45
Preston Grasshoppers crashed out of National League Two North with a seven-try pounding by Harrogate – who are themselves still not sure of safety.
Once again, Hoppers squandered a useful lead as Harrogate ran in five second-half tries against a sometimes wafer-thin defence.
The hosts did score four touchdowns of their own, to claim their first four-try bonus point for almost six months, but left departing head coach Garth Dew admitting: “The inevitable has happened and we have got to get some pride back in the shirt and get some momentum for next season,
“In the first half, that’s the best we’ve attacked for a while, but in the second half it was the same old thing, giving away penalties and turnovers and inviting pressure on ourselves.”
Possession was a major problem for Hoppers, but when they did have the ball, they fashioned some nice scores as they took a 25-12 lead inside the first half-hour.
In fact, it was Harrogate who scored first, having a try after just 35 seconds disallowed for a forward pass, but making amends two minutes later through centre Keane Naylorl.
When winger Jacob Browne was taken out in a kick-chase, Preston kicked to the corner, won the line-out and got hooker Matt Beatty over wide after scrum-half Ryan Glynn’s switch of play, for Lewis Allen to convert.
The skipper added a penalty, then converted Sam Gale’s try.
Harrogate full-back David Doherty scored following a mazy run and Sam Fox converted, but Allen landed another penalty and flanker Matt Frings rounded off an attack started by full-back Niall Crossley’s break for the hosts’ third try and a handsome-looking lead.
After the break. Fox got Harrogate going with a try which he also converted. Then, with Hoppers lock Ally Murray in the sin-bin for a high tackle, the visitors scored two more tries, through Sam Brady and Ben Dixon, with one conversion by Fox to make it 25-31.
Olly Rosillo scored from a kick ahead and winger Luke Edwards had a clean run to the posts to round off a move started in Harrogate’s 22. Fox added one conversion and it was little consolation when Gale crashed over for his second try, converted by Allen.