Aspinall laments ref’s unprofessional show

The Harrogate pack put Dudley Kingswinford under pressure
The Harrogate pack put Dudley Kingswinford under pressure

Harrogate director of rugby Mike Aspinall will contact the RFU to complain about referee Brendan Fitzmaurice’s performance on Saturday.

Aspinall questioned Mr Fitzmaurice’s professionalism during Gate’s 38-7 win over National Two North whipping boys Dudley Kingswinford on Saturday.

Fitzmaurice sent Gate centre Sam Bottomley to the sin-bin in the first-half, and Aspinall said the referee’s “lacklustre” display was one reason the match became a “non-contest”.

The last time the same referee officiated a Gate match, he handed out five yellow cards to the Claro Road side.

When asked what the referee got wrong, Aspinall replied “What did he get right?” before adding: “I am not a coach that gets involved with the referee that much.

“But, he was very poor.

“We are all there to do a professional job. I don’t feel he did a professional job.

“All sides deserve for someone to come and do a professional job.

“It’s a tough gig but there does need to be some accountability. I will chase it up.”

Gate had Saturday’s win wrapped up by half-time at Claro Road.

Four first-half tries put Aspinall’s men 26-7 up by the break, with the win and bonus point pocketed.

Noel Minikin, starting his first match at flanker, crashed over from a driving maul to open the scoring, Joe Rowntree converting.

Steve Parsons’ strong run then fed Sam Bottomley to double Gate’s try-count, and Rowntree again added the two.

The home side’s attacking pattern followed and Aarin Yorke tucked in behind a driving maul for the next try before Bottomley was dispatched to the bin.

The ball was spread left from the penalty and winger Liam Marshall scored a good try converted by Gareth Bown.

Chris Wilson then stole a DK line-out ball and the ball was fed to Parsons who powered through to score a converted try from 30 metres.

From the restart, a dazzling Callum Irvine break was carried on by Parsons and Rowntree.

Bottomley, who’d returned to the fray, then burst through for his second converted try before Harry Parrish showed speed and tenacity for the game’s final score.

Aspinall added: “It was quite a frustrating game. The league points were great, but it wasn’t a great game of rugby.

“It was a pretty rubbish day at Claro Road. I was very pleased with how we went about our business in not the best of circumstances.”

Gate travel to Birmingham Solihull this weekend, should the match pass a pitch inspection, on the back of five wins in their last six matches.

Rested duo Kyle Dench and Rob Adair will return as Aspinall eyed a bonus point victory to lift his men up to sixth.

Gate edged the Birmingham side 34-27 at home in November.

“We have improved a hell of a lot since then,” the coach added.

“We have had a good start to the second half of the season but we have some really tough games coming up.

“We have to prepare for a muddy pitch and go down with a game plan to deal with it.”