Harrogate take advantage as Chester’s title bid stumbles at Sandal at Sandal

hsb  Gate v Rossendale. Scrum half Phil Wickham  (130209M1c)
hsb Gate v Rossendale. Scrum half Phil Wickham (130209M1c)

Harrogate are closing the gap on promotion rivals and National Three North leaders Chester.

Second-placed ‘Gate beat Rossendale 56-29 on Saturday, and, as Chester lost at third-placed Sandal, the gap now stands at ten points.

‘Gate have played one game less than both Chester and Sandal, and are yet to welcome both sides to Claro Road this season.

Team manager Graham Siswick insists his side can maintain their push when they travel to basement club West Hartlepool on Saturday (kick-off 2.15pm).

He said: “The gap is closing with these teams, it is a very interesting time.

“Every game needs focus and attention, however, and we are prepared for West Hartlepool to throw the kitchen sink at us, we are not underestimating them.

“Sometimes the teams at the bottom can be the most committed, we will need to put in a good performance to beat them.”

Peter Wackett made a surprise return from injury on Saturday, and is in contention to start this weekend.

Wing James Audsley-Beck also impressed upon his comeback from a knock.

Centre Kyle Dench has a back injury, and coachMike Aspinall will report on his fitness before the weekend.

Match report, p92.