Harrogate RUFC punished by Bournville RFC for failing to capitalise on strong start

Harrogate RUFC failed to build on a strong start at Bournville as they slipped to a second heavy National Two North defeat in as many outings.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 11:46 am
Dave Doherty, Harrogate RUFC's director of rugby. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Beaten 51-21 at home by Sedgley Park on the opening weekend of 2021/22, a poor second half saw the Aces finish up on the wrong end of a 47-20 scoreline on Saturday.

But, leading as they were by 10 points early on, director of rugby Dave Doherty believes his players could and should have put the game out of their hosts’ reach before they had even come to the party.

“We started like a house on fire but couldn’t capitalise on that early pressure,” he reflected.

“For the first 15-20 minutes were were in the ascendancy but we probably left four or five scores out there.

“We missed a penalty and few opportunities at set-pieces to really turn the screw. If we had taken our chances we’d have had something like 30 points on the board and I think that takes the game away from them.

“They got a try and grew in confidence from there and because of the fact that they were under a lot of early pressure but came through it still in the game. They grew a third leg and got better and better.

“That’s a learning moment for us right there. We have to capitalise when we’re on top. We need to make sure that when we get in the opposition 22 we are coming away with points. We just weren’t ruthless enough.”

Unfortunately for ‘Gate, it wasn’t just their attacking play that cost them on Saturday. They also shipped seven tries, meaning that they have now conceded 98 points in just two matches since promotion from the North Premier.

“The number of points against is 100 per cent a concern,” Doherty added.

“We gave up some soft scores. There were some defensive system errors. Our low-tackle competency wasn’t there and we got bumped off too many times.

“We have got a lot of work to do on those aspects of our defence, we have to be better.

“But, if you allow the opposition to continually get into your 22 through giving away penalties and making errors, they are going to come away with plenty of points. This is where our problems stem from.”

Harrogate return to action on Saturday when they entertain Blaydon at Rudding Lane, 3pm kick-off.