National Two North: Party poopers Harrogate eye top half spot

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Harrogate RUFC will close out their season on Saturday (3pm) bidding to secure a top half finish.

Claro Road will play host to Gate’s final match of the year against promotion hopefuls Stourbridge.

Stourbridge beat seventh-placed Harrogate 20-7 when the two sides met in National Two North earlier this season.

And a second victory this weekend could seal a rise into National One for the visitors.

Gate lie seventh on 72 points, but need one point to stave off Leicester Lions and Caldy and finish in the top half.

Director of rugby Mike Aspinall said: “It will be a massive challenge but it’s nice not going into the game with the pressure of having to win.

“We will go all out for a four try bonus point. If that puts us into a position to win, then great.”

Harrogate put themselves in a strong position for a top half finish after beating sixth-placed Birmingham Solihull 33-24 away on Saturday.

Injuries hit the Claro Roaders before the trip to Birmingham for the rearranged clash. And the Bees raced into a 12 point lead in front of their home crowd.

But hooker Aarin Yorke’s 11th try of the season and Phil Wickham’s tap-and-run put Gate ahead. Birmingham struck back with a powerful try from lock Chris Goddard before James Audsley-Beck danced under the posts.

The hosts again struck back through Mike Stephens to move within four points. However, Luke Edwards sealed the victory for the visitors with a late burst.

Aspinall added: “It was a really impressive performance. Everybody had a part to play.”