NORTH Ribblesdale narrowly lost a well contested affair as promotion seeking Harrogate sought a second consecutive rise up the league structure on Saturday.

Harrogate opened the scoring after an evenly balanced opening to the contest, with a well taken penalty from Jed Carr.

As usual Ribbs’ forwards were in the ascendency and amid a purple patch, the hosts scored several tries in quick succession. Teenager Elliot Marklew, a sterling effort from the elusive full back Ben Coultherd and a welcome try for Jack Depledge but Ribb in control with a 20 - 7 lead.

Heading into the last quarter the willing troops ran out of steam and the lively Harrogate side scored three tries from full back Harry Parrish, number 8 Hugh Tatlow and winger Sam Considine, two of which were converted by Jed Carr to give the visitors a just about deserved 26-20 victory. They have only one fixture to play and it is a must win game against runaway leaders Wensleydale to ensure promotion.

Ribb were somewhat weakened by player unavailability but they go again next week when they face old friends Ripon in the final game of the season.

Heading into the fixture the two clubs are only separated by one place in the league table, with Ripon currently sat in sixth while North Ribb remain in seventh.

The first meeting between the two sides, which was the season opener, ended 24-17 in Ripon's favour - as the home side showed a great deal of grit to see themselves victors that day.

In other news, Keighley recently sent a second team to play Ribb in the "Gordon Throup" celebration game to remember one of Ribbs’ finest players. Despite losing 41 -21 it was a day that was enjoyed by all, and the Keighley faithful were still enjoying the hospitality long into the evening. Gordon would have raised more than a smile.