VIDEO: Aspinall relieved at Harrogate’s promotion joy

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Coach Mike Aspinall saluted his triumphant Harrogate RUFC heroes after they surged to promotion at the weekend.

‘Gate overcame National Three Midlands runners-up Sutton Coldfield 28-15 in their promotion play-off on Saturday before returning home to celebrate into the night at Claro Road.

For a full report on the pivotal game turn to page 99.

The victory lifts Harrogate back into National League Two North, a year after they were dramatically relegated from the division on the final day of the season.

Promotion follows the council’s decision earlier this year to grant ‘Gate a move away from Claro Road.

Aspinall admitted he would enjoy the victory celebrations before settling down to focus on moving the club forward.

He said: “We have done it the hard way this year. It will definitely make us stronger as a group of players.

“The club are on a high and we want to continue that.

“It’s been tough times for Harrogate with the ground dragging on but we see a bright future for the club.

“I understand the town. “Who wants to get behind a club that doesn’t own its ground, that doesn’t know where it’s going?We have been rotting at Claro Road not knowing our direction.

“But now as a club we have a direction.

“We are back where we belong.

“We have a more certain future at a nice new ground that the club and the town can get behind us and show us some support.”

The season included a club record win streak of 11 games and captain Jimmy Browne also enters the club’s record books, scoring the most tries from prop with 10.

Team manager Graham Siswick said he was delighted Harrogate have jumped straight back from their disappointment last year.

“The team has improved as the season has gone on,” he said.

“There was a determination to bounce back and the boys showed that determination. It was a great day for the club and we are now looking forward to a break.”

Siswick said three new players have verbally agreed to join Harrogate next term but changes will be kept to a minimum.

“We’ll be selective in what we add to the squad,” he said.

“It will be quality over quantity. This team isn’t finished yet. It has potential.

“The boys have been together for two or three seasons and haven’t peaked yet. I am confident we can make a good fist of it in Division Two North.”