THEY lost to one Hull side on Saturday, and Harrogate player-coach Mike Aspinall is desperate to avoid a similar result at home to Ionians tomorrow (3pm ko).
’Gate’s mini league revival was cruelly ended by Hull at Claro Road 34-25, six days ago, a result which left Aspinall downhearted.
With their trip to arch-rivals Otley coming up next weekend, Aspinall wants his squad buzzing with confidence.
Ionians are just two places above ’Gate in the National Two standings, with five points separating the two Yorkshire rivals.
“When you look at the table, it’s a massive game for us,” said Aspinall.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that we’re down there, but it’s a home game for us, and we need to start winning our home games.
“Hull recruited heavily before Christmas when they came into a bit of money. When you look at it they’re probably one of the form teams in the league.”
’Gate have seven games left to cement their place in the division for another season.
With the uncertainty surrounding their ground situation, Aspinall knows they face a tricky few months ahead on and off the pitch. But he’s relishing the challenge.
“When we’ve been down there I’ve really enjoyed it and the players have,” he continued.
“Our backs have been against the wall, but the lads have really worked hard together, there’s been a great focus, one of the best I’ve known down here.”
Back rower James Tyson should return tomorrow.
Aspinall will also come back to play at fly-half but admits he may not play much of the run in with Leeds Carnegie in the Championship play-off mixer.
On Saturday Hull held a narrow 20-24 half-time lead and edged further ahead with a penalty before Harrogate gifted them the softest of tries from a bad knock-on.
The opening score came from an electric 40 metre break by Harrogate’s Callum Irvine. He showed pace and balance to dance through the visiting defence for a brilliant individual try.
His conversion gave Harrogate a five minute 7-0 lead. Hull responded immediately and James Cameron kicked a penalty goal after Harrogate went offside. More visiting pressure followed when Harrogate again conceded a penalty and Rob Devonshire tucked in behind a driving maul to score a trademark Hull forward’s try.
Harrogate produced a series of attacking moves with Sam Bottomley a constant threat and Tim Heaton excelling in attack and defence.
A forward drive was taken on by Jimmy Browne who off loaded brilliantly to Jack Bergmanas, who split Hull’s defence to score.
An even period of play followed until Harrogate conceded another penalty to give Hull an attacking scrum and Oliver Cook burst through for a crucial try.
Hull were then penalised for coming in from the side and Harrogate attacked from the subsequent line-out.
Ed Smithies made the extra man and gave a scoring pass to Noel Minikin. As half time approached, Hull attacked again on the left and Jim Wigglesworth squirmed over.
In the second half ‘Gate continued to attack at every opportunity but a string of handling errors kept denying them scores. Eventually, Smithies came into the line to make an overlap and score. But mistakes led to Hull scoring another ten points to claim the win.