Harrogate team manager Graham Siswick is sensing the National Three North title after his side moved to within a point of the top of the league.
‘Gate extended their winning run to seven games on Saturday when they thrashed Lymm 54-5 at Claro Road.
And Siswick’s side were further boosted by the news league leaders Chester had fallen to defeat against Burnage, reducing their advantage to a single point.
Should Harrogate continue winning ways against Birkenhead and then Bradford, they will face the biggest game of their season when Chester visit North Yorkshire in two weeks’ time, now a clash of massive significance in terms of automatic promotion.
Siswick praised his players’ fitness as a key factor in closing the gap on the leaders.
“There is a real conviction about us and we are one of the form teams in the league,” he said.
“Winning becomes a bit of a habit. We have seen Chester faltering and that has been an added spur.
“It is becoming a reality as the weeks pass by. We have real belief that it could turn out to be a very good season.”
Siswick also welcomes a clean bill of health for his squad’s trip to Birkenhead Park this Saturday (3pm).
“We know, like most games, it won’t be easy. They are trying to stave off relegation,” he said.
“We had a convincing win against them last time and scored more than 50 points.”
“It is a happy camp at the moment. We don’t want to lose that belief and don’t want any banana skins.”
In an exhilarating first half against Lymm, Gate had almost complete possession and stretched the opposition defence with a stream of attacks.
Man of the match Jake Brady drove over for the first try before fellow forward Aarin Yorke added a second, both converted by Callum Irvine.
Sam Bottomley benefited from a powerful Kyle Dench break to cross for the third, before Oli Denton secured the bonus point on 25 minutes after a dazzling run from Peter Wackett.
The Wackett and Denton combination also created the final try of the half with James Audsley-Beck rounding off the move.
‘Gate’s dominance continued after the break and prop Jimmy Browne crashed over to keep the score ticking.
Lymm struck their only try after Gate forward Nathan Smith was sin-binned before Irvine set up Steve Maycock to restore a 42 point advantage.
Substitute Mike Aspinall then rounded off the win, dummying his way to a fine converted try.
Siswick added: “It was a good weekend and it was a good performance from the boys right from the start.
“We played somewhere near our best for 80 minutes and scored eight tries. It was a very good team effort.
“To hear Chester had lost was the icing on the cake.”
National Two North
Team pld pts
1. Chester 20 85
2. Harrogate 20 84
3. Sandal 20 76
4. Percy Park 20 59
5. Burnage 21 56
6. Billingham 21 53
7. Rossendale 21 53
8. Waterloo 21 48
9. Lymm 21 48
10. Penrith 21 48
11. Bradford & Bingley 20 44
12. Birkenhead Park 20 31
13. Kendal 21 27
14. West Hartlepool 21 20