‘Gate off the mark with thumping Hull triumph

hsb  Harrogate v Otley. Number 8.    (130914M6c)
hsb Harrogate v Otley. Number 8. (130914M6c)

Resolute defence inspired Harrogate RUFC to their first National League Two North win of the season as they battled past Hull 30-23 at Bishop Burton on Saturday.

Tries from Tim Heaton, Oli Denton and Sam Bottomley put ‘Gate into the ascendancy.

And they held off a nervy final 10 minutes with 14 men to end a run of four straight defeats.

However, victory came at a price for the Claro Roaders as prop Andy Boyde dislocated his ankle in the dying minutes.

‘Gate host struggling Bromsgrove this Saturday (kick-off 3pm), another side that have just won one match this campaign.

Director of Rugby Mike Aspinall was glad to get up and running after a torturous start.

“It’s nice to knock the monkey off our back,” he said.

“The performance was really pleasing. Certainly defensively we were better.

“Some of the shots put in were pretty special. I wouldn’t have liked to have been on the end of them.”

Aspinall pinpointed Luke Edwards for special praise after the centre picked up his second man of the match award in as many matches.

Fly-half Joe Rowntree produced a strong display alongside half-back partner Danny Matthews on Saturday and both are in line to keep their starting jerseys at Bromsgrove.

Boyde has been ruled out until after the new year after dislocating his ankle in Saturday’s 30-23 win at Hull.

The make-shift prop had surgery on Monday to pin his ankle and was told he would be in cast for three months.

Aspinall bemoaned his absence as a “massive loss” to his side.

“He’s gone from strength to strength in his scrummaging since moving to prop,” said Aspinall.

“He’s one of the most experienced players. We won’t be able to replace him like for like that’s for sure.”

Club captain Jimmy Browne could ease Aspinall’s worries at prop as he nears a return to match sharpness after knee surgery.

The coach hinted Browne could be brought back into the set-up earlier than expected.

“With the position we are in, it will be interesting to have a conversation and find out how he feels about it,” he said.

Aspinall expects the visitors to pose similar threats to Hull with a heavy pack and tough physicality.

“We said the wins would come. We have to make them stay,” added Aspinall.