MIKE Aspinall left Claro Road with a heavy heart on Saturday after an emotional swan song at his home fortress.
Saturday’s 54-24 victory over Manchester on the final day of the season saw ‘Gate finish sixth in National Two North.
Job done as far as Aspinall was concerned who has now hung up his boots due to a persistent shoulder injury.
Now he is planning for a season in the stands next term.
“I must admit it was great for me to be out there for one last time,” he said.
“It was good to get some closure on it for myself. I’m indebted to the players and indebted to the club. They made it a really special day and it’s something I will definitely remember.”
Aspinall has revealed he will be spending more time next season helping with the coaching team at Leeds Carnegie.
However he is still going to oversee events at ‘Gate with Andy Rock and Ryan Peacey taking a more active role on the sidelines.
“That’s always been something we’ve been looking at in the long term,” he added.
“We are planning for next season. Me and the club haven’t reached a contractual agreement yet.
“But we’re in discussions with Director of Rugby Graham Siswick. If he says it’s good to go then it is. I’m sure the contracts will be drawn up and we’ll be fine.
On Saturday the RFU, through the NCA, had relaxed the registration requirements for the day to enable Manchester to field a team and these much criticised bodies also deserve enormous credit. The opening try was scored by Arnie Ellison with Aspinall converting but nManchester came back into contention with a Danny Carlton penalty.
Ed Smithies scored next for ‘Gate.
Fraser then grabbed Harrogate’s next try. Peacey was next on the scoresheet after a powerful break from the base of a scrum but Manchester continued to compete. James Spencer ran strongly for them and James Rothwell burst through the home defence for a fine try to make it 29-10 at half time.
After the break Ellison scored his second try. Rothwell scored his second. Peacey, Rob Almond, Aspinall all scored before scrum half, Phil Wickham, then made a scintillating break to put Doug Day in for the game’s final try.