Dave Doherty reveals that bonus point was the aim as he takes 'full responsibility' for Harrogate RUFC's mauling at Fylde RFC

Dave Doherty said he takes "full responsibility" for Harrogate RUFC's National Two North thrashing at Fylde.
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light PhotographyHarrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography

The injury-ravaged Aces suffered their third defeat in four matches this term on Saturday afternoon, conceding 12 tries as they finished up on the wrong end of a 80-26 scoreline.

But, they did end the afternoon with a try bonus point having made it over the whitewash four times against the league leaders, and director of rugby Doherty has explained that their pursuit of that goal contributed heavily to the damage suffered at the opposite end of the pitch.

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"Obviously we have leaked a lot more points than we would have liked. Saturday was a tough day at the office, but I take full responsibility," he said.

"When you go away from home to a top-five club in this division with the amount of injuries we're contending with at the moment, you're asking yourself 'how can we realistically make sure that we get something out of the game?'" he said.

"We knew that our best opportunity was the four-try bonus point and that was our objective. We went for it, we kept trying to play expansive rugby, we kept moving the ball and that undoubtedly cost us some points against a very good, very clinical Fylde side.

"You can't have it both ways. You can't tell the boys to go out and play and go for it and then criticise them for the amount of tries scored at the other end. We threw caution to the wind, but that was my decision, so for everything other than the individual mistakes and the missed tackles, I'll take the blame.

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"To get that fourth try in the 78th minute was very pleasing. Ultimately we got what we wanted. We were well into double-figures in terms of the number of senior first-team regulars we had missing, so if you'd offered us a point before kick-off we would definitely have taken that."

On his ploy of going all out for the four-try bonus point, Doherty added: "You look around the division and you see some of the other scores where teams have played sides near the top of the table.

"There was a 30-5 [when struggling Tynedale visited second-placed Stourbridge], a 66-13 [second-from-bottom Wharfedale at fifth-placed Bourneville] and a 49-17 [winless Blaydon at home to third-placed Rotherham] and yes, these teams have all conceded less points than we did, but they've only scored one or two tries and so they've ended up empty-handed.

"We could have been much more pragmatic in our approach at Fylde and kicked the ball more, slowed the game down, eaten up time at the set-piece. The scoreboard would have looked quite different, but we've ended up with a point that could prove very useful come the end of the season.

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"Of course I'm not happy with 80 points against, but I am pleased with something to show from an extremely difficult away game when we had almost a full first team missing."

Flanker Matt Landsall and lock Sam Brady scored Harrogate's tries in the first half, keeping them in the game at 31-14, before full-back Sam Parry and replacement Fraser Kitching touched down in the closing stages.