Rugby Union: Aspinall happy with Harrogate’s National Two North return

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Mike Aspinall believes Harrogate RUFC have established themselves as a major player in National Two North, after a rollercoaster campaign back in the division.

The Claro Roaders finished their campaign in ninth on Saturday after losing 41-19 to Stourbridge.

Harrogate achieved one of the director of rugby’s three season goals, finishing as the top team in Yorkshire. Despite failing to land a top-five spot and a positive net points difference (-35), Aspinall said: “We set the goals to stretch us and it did that.

“To finish ninth is a bit of a shame but it was really tight. We are in a great place with solid foundations in National Two.

“The feeling of the season will be the player development of people that have come through the club.”

Stourbridge needed to beat Gate for a chance at promotion and they raced into an early lead.

But tries from Aarin Yorke, Noel Minikin and Sam Bottomley led a Gate fight-back to within ten points of the visitors.

However, club captain Jake Brady and visiting forward Ben Hughes were red-carded for a clash in the second half, giving the visitors the ascendency to surge clear again.

Aspinall added: “I wanted us to finish the season with a performance to take fond memories from. To run out and score three tries, I was pleased.”