Wirral 51 Harrogate 28

A SUPERB kicking display by James Annetts combined with two well-taken tries gave him a match haul of 31 points as Wirral dispatched promotion candidates Harrogate at the Memorial Ground.

Playing against the wind in the first half, it was Wirral who raced into a 13-0 lead with two penalties from James together with a defence splitting run to score under the posts following a well weighted pass from captain, Craig Harvey.

Harrogate then came into the game through their forwards when after pressure on the Wirral lines were awarded a penalty try reducing the deficit to 13-7.

In the final 10 minutes of the first half, Wirral worked the ball out to the their backs and made much ground, with the territorial pressure resulting in two tries from Chris Crowley and Ryan Stead (a rare event), both converted by James to extend the lead to 27-7 at half-time.

The second half started with the Harrogate forwards with the full intent of reducing the deficit and mindful of their coaches comments ringing in their ears and they were soon rewarded with a try from close range through Sam Brady and converted by Luke White to reduce the deficit to 27-14.

A further penalty by James Annetts in the 62nd minute took the score to 30-14 thus putting Wirral over two converted tries ahead.

In the next eight minutes the spectators saw inspired play from the Wirral team led by James Reeve and Ryan Higginson and blitzed Harrogate with three stunning tries, through James Annetts again, James Reeve and Mark Williams, all converted to give the home side a 51-14 lead.

In the final four minutes, Wirral took the foot off the pedal and allowed Harrogate to get back in the game, giving them the opportunity to score two tries both converted by Luke White through David Doherty and Tom Heaton (this was the last play of the game) but more importantly a try bonus point earned.

Many of the home spectators commented that this was one of Wirral's finest performances against such a strong, well organised opposition, who are looking to earn promotion at the first attempt back to the league from whence they came.

Next week Wirral are away to Lymm who have also made an excellent start to the season- this should be an intriguing game.