Harrogate RUFC chief Dave Doherty not too downbeat despite heavy opening-day loss to Sedgley Park
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty refused to be too downbeat despite his side suffering a heavy defeat to Sedgley Park on their return to National Two North.
The Aces, who were promoted from the North Premier at the end of 2019/20, went down 51-21 at home to Sedgley Park on Saturday.
Trailing 20-0 at the interval, the Rudding Lane outfit scored three converted tries in the second half, but failed to stem the flow at the opposite end of the field.
Doherty, however, regards Park as one of the best sides in an extremely competitive division and says his team were always going to be up against it.
"It was a tough day. Sedgley Park are a very good team, I expect them to be right up there this season, so it was a big challenge first up," he said.
"Shipping 50 points is concerning, but they were extremely well organised, well drilled, powerful in the contact area and very, very clinical.
"It was quite a humbling experience how quickly they kept putting points on the board, though this is a great opportunity to learn from a fantastic team at this level.
"The boys held up well and their heads didn't go down. We just need to sharpen up. We struggled to keep possession of the ball, which means we couldn't put them under sustained pressure, but I think we did enough to show that we can score plenty of tries at National Two level."
Guy Coser, Brandon Hannam and youngster Jack Haydock went over the whitewash to register tries for 'Gate, with Doherty particularly pleased to see the latter making an impression.
"Jack is a young boy who has come all the way through our juniors and come into the first team via our colts side," he added.
"It's great to see a Harrogate boy progressing like that and playing on Saturday and scoring a good try.
"It bodes well. We are going to need to rely upon some of the younger members in our squad at times this season. Kit Keith came on on Saturday as well and also did okay.
"We were missing a couple of players through injury so we weren't quite at full-strength, but that's something that every team has to cope with over the course of a season."