Gate keep pressure on ahead of Lymm’s visit

hsb  Harrogate v West Hartlepool. Number 8 Chris Wilson  (121020M4a)
hsb Harrogate v West Hartlepool. Number 8 Chris Wilson (121020M4a)

Harrogate welcome Lymm to Claro Road on Saturday, targeting their seventh win in eight (3pm kick-off).

It’s been a good week for the club, who heard on Tuesday that council planners have approved plans for their proposed new home at Rudding Lane.

Before then, and back on the pitch, Penrith were the latest to fall at Harrogate’s hand by 12 points to 35.

But team manager Graham Siswick is conscious they will be facing tougher opposition this weekend.

“Lymm beat Chester at Chester not so long ago and they have it in them to put in a big performance,” said Siswick.

“We think it’s a game we can win and we’re confident, but we still have to be wary.”

Player-coach Mike Aspinall welcomes back leading try-scorer, centre Peter Wackett, and back row Chris Wilson to face Lymm, after both were absent for the Penrith game.

And with only Max Lewis out long term, there could be a selection headache for the Claro Road gaffer after a string of impressive performances on Saturday.

“Penrith was a tough place to go but we delivered and put in an outstanding second half,” said Siswick.

“We scored five tries, Mike Aspinall kicked 20 points, so it was happy days.

“Aarin Yorke at hooker is putting a real marker down, Sam Bottomley in the centre is also playing extremely well, Sam Brady came off the bench for a try and it’s what we want at this stage of the season with seven games left.

“Everyone knows what they have to do and is responding accordingly.”

Harrogate had the lion’s share of possession throughout the match. However, Penrith’sdefence held firm and they made the most of every hard earned scrap of ball. In the first half hour they scored twice to go into a 12-7 lead

After 15 minutes, a sharp Oli Denton break nearly put Arnie Ellison in for a try. The ball was recycled and Jimmy Browne drove over to score from a forward drive, Aspinall adding the conversion. Harrogate attacks continued with some probing breaks from scrum half Phil Wickham but Penrith counter-attacked from a Harrogate knock-on. Full back Ed Swale dived over and Steve Wood landed a touchline conversion.

Penrith set up a succession of driving mauls and Ian McDowell crashed through to score. Wood was faced with another touchline conversion which unluckily bounced away off the upright. Just before the break, Aspinall scored a converted try to give Harrogate a narrow 14-12 lead.

The same pattern continued in the second half but Harrogate’s superior fitness started to tell and gaps appeared in the home defence. Ferocious midfield tackling, from Sam Bottomley, snuffed out any Penrith attacks and the forwards won several crucial turnovers through Browne, Aarin Yorke, Tom Harvey, Tim Heaton, Dan Metcalfe and Nathan Smith. Aspinall scored his second converted try after prolonged pressure and the fourth, bonus point try came from substitute forward Brady on his return.

The fifth try eventually came from a great Bottomley midfield turnover.

Kyle Dench carved a hole in the home defence and Heaton supported to race clear and score.