Harrogate RUFC pull further clear at top of the table, but can still improve, says Martyn Wood
The Aces pulled five points clear at the North One East summit when they beat Pontefract 32-20 on Saturday, chalking up their sixth win in seven matches this term.
And while ‘Gate’s director of rugby is happy with their unbeaten start to 2023/24 following last season’s relegation from National Two North, he is refusing to get carried away.
"I am definitely pleased with where we are sitting in the table at the moment,” he said.
"We’ve made a good start to the season, however there is still room for improvement. Results have been pleasing, things look good in training and there's real competition for places in the squad.
"But there is a hell of a long way to go and, as cliche as it sounds, we are just taking it one game at a time.
"We’re in control of our own destiny as things stand and all we can worry about is ourselves.
“We’ve maybe painted a target on our own back with the way we’ve started and because we are at the top of the division, but we’ve just got to keep turning up and making sure that we perform each Saturday.”
Harrogate made a fast start to their clash with Pontefract, prop Jacob Percival powering over in the fourth minute for a try that Rory Macnab converted.
A Liam Kaye penalty narrowed the gap to 7-3 in the 10th minute, but Jack Haydock’s touchdown, converted by Macnab, extended the home lead soon afterwards.
Sam Millard’s try and another Kaye penalty brought Pontefract back to within a point of their hosts at 14-13 on 37 minutes, though it was ‘Gate who had the final say of the opening period when Sam Brady drove over on the stroke of half-time, Macnab again adding the extras.
The Aces grabbed their fourth try and secured a bonus point shortly after the resumption, hooker Dylan Gray showcasing his pace as he gathered his own subtle kick through to claim his first try for the club.
With Pontefract down to 13 men following two yellow cards, Macnab then kicked two penalties to take the score-line to 32–13.
Millard did cross the whitewash for the second time late on, with Kaye converting to reduce the deficit to 12 points, however ‘Gate had already done more than enough.
This Saturday, Harrogate make the short trip to tackle second-placed York.