Harrogate RUFC blood new faces during first match in 14 months

Harrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty was thrilled to see three of the club’s sides return to action on Saturday.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 8:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 8:44 pm
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby, Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby, Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography

The Rudding Lane outfit’s 1st XV, 2nd XV and Colts team all entertained York RUFC in friendly fixtures played under Covid-19 compliant rules, which have essentially outlawed scrums and mauls.

The 1st XV won 26-14, the 2nds triumphed 32-0 and the Colts also came out on top, emerging victorious by a 46-10 scoreline.

“It was amazing to see the boys back and finally playing something resembling competitive rugby,” Doherty said.

“As you would expect after 14 months off, the first 10 minutes of each game were fairly chaotic, but there was a lot of good stuff played by both teams.

“York really moved the ball well and the adapted rules mean that the game flowed better and I was very encouraged by what I saw.

“It was a good run-out and played in good spirit, just a great day, really. It was nice for all three of our teams to do well and win the games, but the scorelines weren’t important.

“It was more about getting boys back out on the pitch and socialising together once again.”

Doherty included a number of new faces in his 1st XV squad including ‘Gate academy products Jack Whiting and Kit Keith,both 18.

“Jack came through Ashville College and our academy and went on to captain the Colts and did well at inside centre on Saturday,” Doherty added.

“Kit Keith got a chance at scrum-half and I’m sure that both of them will be in and around the first-team this coming season and will feature in National Two.

“We’ve got so many talented boys coming through the juniors. There are another five of our Colts who I would say are ready and certainly good enough to make that step up as well, but unfortunately they are still too young, so we will have to wait for them to turn 18.”

Joining Whiting and Keith in Harrogate colours were a trio of new recruits.

Tight-head prop Will Dennis has returned to the club following spells higher up the rugby pyramid with Rotherham Titans and Hull Ionians, while fly-half Cail Cookland is back following a spell at Huddersfield.

Powerhouse number eight Declan Thompson also featured having agreed to make the switch from Sandal for the upcoming 2021/22 campaign.

Doherty and his troops are back in action this Saturday when a mixture of 1st and 2nd XV players host local rivals Wharfedale at the Stratstone Stadium, 3pm kick-off.