Harrogate RUFC under some pressure but still looking forward to visit of Chester RUFC

Dave Doherty admits that there is some pressure on Harrogate RUFC heading into Saturday’s home clash with Chester, but insists his players are very much looking forward to the challenge.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 9:07 am
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby, Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography

The Aces find themselves bottom of the National Two North standings having lost six out of seven so far this term following an extremely tough run of fixtures.

Back in the fourth tier after a four-year absence, injury-hit ‘Gate have played five of the division’s top six already, but faced just one of the other seven sides currently occupying the bottom eight.

And with this weekend’s visitors to Rudding Lane currently sat mid-table with three wins from seven, Doherty says that his team have to be targeting a much-needed victory.

'Gate hope to have fly-half Sam Fox back available for selection when they entertain Chester. Picture: Gerard Binks

“There is a bit of pressure, we always feel pressure to try and deliver results but the boys are really looking forward to playing Chester on Saturday,” he said.

“We have had an extremely tough run, however we are back on home turf this Saturday for what is a crunch clash, really. It’s similar to the Blaydon game that we won here earlier in the season.

“There is a split in this division with the clubs with professional players and big budgets at the top end and then clubs like ourselves at the other end. Chester are like us in that they are a community club who will use players from their second team or their colts in the 1st XV.

“They have some really talented individuals and can be a real threat. But, having watched all the footage of their games this season, we believe there are ways in which we can hurt them.

“They are used to playing and training on a 3G pitch, but they’ll be on grass here, so that’s one thing that we have to try and use to our advantage as we look to try and win the game.”

One area where Doherty feels his side will have to improve from their loss to Hull last time out is their decision-making in the attacking third.

“There was some naivety on Saturday where we turned down kickable penalties because, as a team, we want to score tries – that is how we play,” he added.

“But building scoreboard pressure is key. If we want to get a result against a team of Chester’s quality, we have to make sure that we make the right decisions and come away with something when we get into their 22.”

‘Gate hope to have fly-half Sam Fox back available at the weekend after he pulled up in the warm-up at Hull. Centre Marcus Mercer is also expected to return.