BEN Rhydding lost to Harrogate 5-3 in a tense and fiercely contested opening league match.

Rhydding conceded early after some defensive confusion led to a Harrogate player getting a free shot.

The home side found themselves 2-0 down when a second easy goal was scored after defensive errors.

Rhydding pulled it back to 2-1 within minutes when a great back hand from Ross McMillan was skilfully deflected by Charlie Smith.

Smith continued to cause problems for Harrogate throughout the match and was the stand-out player of the game.

The drama began to unfold as out of the blue, for an innocuous challenge, the umpire awarded a penalty stroke for Harrogate. Now 3-1 up by a turn of bizarre fortune, Harrogate’s tails were up.

However, Charlie Smith took matters into his own hands, slicing through the defence with Will Musgrave galloping alongside to gobble up the pass he was given to slide it into the goal.

With the game was back on, Musgrave stormed through and smashed a delightful backhand home to level the scores at 3-3 and Harrogate looked broken.

However, a corner given against the run of play for Harrogate gave them the chance to take the lead again at 4-3.

It was a cruel blow for Rhydding that an interception by Matty Birch was penalised as a foul and a corner given.

This put the game to bed as Harrogate converted to take the match out of Rhydding’s reach.