Percy Park clash now a ‘must-win’ says Siswick

3rd Novenber 2012.'Harrogate v Birkenhead,  Rugby Union.'Pictured Harrogate's Sam bottomley in the thick of the action'Picture by Gerard Binks.
3rd Novenber 2012.'Harrogate v Birkenhead, Rugby Union.'Pictured Harrogate's Sam bottomley in the thick of the action'Picture by Gerard Binks.
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Harrogate team manager Graham Siswick is backing his side to bounce back from their first defeat of the season when they host Percy Park on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).

Gate’s ten-match winning streak and top position in National 3 North were lost in the 30-19 defeat at Chester.

Siswick is now focused on overcoming the blip with a home victory against third-placed Park.

He said: “This weekend’s match is now even more significant.

“The necessity to get back to winning ways is paramount.

“Quite simply, we have to win it. We have been motivated to do that since the final whistle on Saturday.

“The hunger is still there.”

He added: “Percy Park are a good side, they have lost games but they are also the only team to have beaten Chester.

“They have former England player Michael Stephenson, and Leeds player James Ponton.

“They were only promoted last season, but they have recruited strongly.

“Any team who can beat Chester are a force to be reckoned with.”

This weekend’s match will mark flanker Tim Heaton’s hundredth appearance for the club.

Gate started well on Saturday, but squint throws and handling mistakes in lines-out limited the visitors’ possession.

An early Gate attack ended with a handling error, and Chester were able to kick through, and score a converted try.

An impressive Gate driving maul took them to the Chester goal line, but the backs were penalised for crossing.

Pete Wackett and Sam Bottomley troubled the Chester defence with strong, direct running but a midfield interception sparked another Chester attack, and the hosts raced into a 15-0 half-time lead.

After the break, Harrogate improved, pegging the scored back to 20-12.

Max Lewis powered over in support of a move from an attacking line-out, but a further Harrogate attack ended when the referee called up an incident off-the-ball.

Captain Jimmy Browne scored a try, converted by Callum Irvine.

Harrogate spent the rest of the match driving forward, but could not find the extra try needed to secure two bonus points.

After the match, Siswick said: “We were disappointed to lose and to lose the run, and we felt we didn’t do ourselves justice.

“We lost out to better opposition, which Chester were.

“One of our problems was a failure to take chances, if we are going to come top of this league we need to be more clinical.”

Sam Bottomley came off the pitch with an injury before half-time, and his replacement Arnold Ellison then suffered a knee injury.

Captain Jimmy Browne, Kyle Dench and Oliver Denton are doubtful for this weekend’s match.