Wirral 3, Harrogate 0

AS the scoreline suggests defences were on top in a game which was played with a strong wind present, but both sides did not take advantage when the opportunity arose.

Playing against the wind in the first-half, Wirral had the territorial advantage but, in a game where there were no meaningful breaks, it was proving difficult to break down the opposition defence.

For 10 minutes, Wirral laid siege to the Harrogate line but last ditch tackling prevented tries on the flanks.

The penalty count was 10-2 in Wirral’s favour and there were a couple of occasions when penalty shots at goal could have been taken but the home side went for touch in the hope of scoring tries.

The score at half-time was 0-0.

The second half started more positively with Wirral looking to attack with ball in hand and the breakthrough came when a penalty in the 47th minute was slotted over from 40m by Jimmy Annetts.

For the next 20 minutes Harrogate had the territorial and possession advantages aided by the penalty count in their favour and for a period of 10 minutes were camped on the Wirral line but could not find away over the Wirral try line as the home team defended stoutly.

Harrogate, themselves, had the opportunity to kick for goal but in such a low scoring game went for a potential match winning try.

Around the 70th minute, Wirral finally extracted themselves away from their own 20m mark and at last an astute kick to the corner gave Wirral the chance to exert pressure on the Harrogate line but their defence was able to contain Wirral until the ball went wide and the right winger had a rare chance to score but a covering tackle denied Wirral 2m from the whitewash.

The final minutes were tense, as both sides strove for that elusive first try, but after 47 minutes the referee called time on what had been a great defensive display by both sides.

Wirral remain in seventh, but have now cut the gap on the teams immediately above them.