Doherty keen for ‘Gate to turn Rudding Park into a fortress

Harrogate RUFC's Dave Doherty in action against Preston Grasshoppers. Picture: Richard Bown

Harrogate RUFC's Dave Doherty in action against Preston Grasshoppers. Picture: Richard Bown

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Harrogate RUFC’s director of rugby Dave Doherty is determined that his players make Rudding Park a fortress as they bid to climb away from the National Two North relegation zone.

The Cockerels moved off the bottom of the table following Saturday’s 28-26 success over Preston Grasshoppers, securing their fourth win in their last five home games.

And Doherty believes that it is crucial that ‘Gate maintain this form if they are to continue their ascent up the league standings.

“It was a massive result for us in terms of where it leaves us in the table, but it’s also big psychologically because that’s three wins in a row at home,” he said.

“All of our victories have come at Rudding Park, and if we’re going to continue to progress then we need to keep this up and make the place a fortress. We want our ground to be a very difficult place for every team in this league to come to.

“You can see that our lads are very relaxed when they play at home in front of our great support. They love playing here, which obviously helps in terms of us picking up results.”

A fine start to Saturday’s encounter saw ‘Gate storm into an 18-0 lead and Doherty felt that the display featured his side’s best rugby of the season to date.

“The first 25 minutes was the best we have played since I’ve been at the club,” he added.

“I was delighted with the lads and happy for them that they were able to get a result in the end.

“It was hugely dramatic the way we came back to win the game late on, but when we got into their 22 with six minutes to go we were confident that we could still get a result.”

Not for the first time this season, it was Doherty himself who plunged over the line to register a decisive score and win the game for his side.

“It felt fairly epic, but more than anything I was just delighted for the boys,”he continued.

“Luke Edwards and the forwards had done brilliantly to get us in a great position and I was just in the right place at the right time to finish it off.”

Doherty and his troops travel to ninth-placed Otley on Saturday for a Yorkshire derby encounter.