Harrogate RUFC will benefit in the long-term from young players' exposure to National Two North rugby

Dave Doherty believes that the first-team experience which he has been able to give to some of Harrogate RUFC’s emerging young talent this season will benefit the Aces massively.

Saturday, 13th November 2021, 10:59 am
Updated Saturday, 13th November 2021, 11:00 am
Harrogate RUFC youngster Jack Haydock touches down. Pictures: Gerard Binks

The Rudding Lane outfit have been ravaged injury by during the early months of 2021/22 and really struggled for any kind of consistency in selection.

As a result, a number of young players and academy products who Doherty had earmarked for 2nd XV duties in a bid to get them used to senior rugby have been thrown in at the deep end.

And, while he admits that it is a “big ask” for some of these prospects to continually turn out in National Two North week in, week out he has been thrilled to see the likes of Kit Keith, Frazer Kitching, Ben Raubitschek, Fred Yates, Jack Haydock, Rory Wurzel, Jordan Cummins and Jack Kennell taking their opportunities with both hands.

'Gate full-back Ben Raubitschek on the charge.

“I’ve never seen anything like the injury and unavailability issues we’ve had this season and while it would undoubtedly be nice to be able to field a more settled side, the positive is the opportunities that have been created for the young boys,” Doherty said.

“These players getting exposure at National Two level certainly bodes well for the future, although in an ideal world, we probably would have liked to have eased them into it a bit more.

“Usually, we’d be looking to bring these boys through after they’ve found their feet in senior rugby playing with the second team. But, this is the situation that we’ve found ourselves in and we’ve backed these boys to come in and do a job.

“We are a club who wants to develop our own talent. Bringing players all the way through the juniors into the colts and through to the first team is our model.

“Nobody is going down this season due to the restructuring of the leagues, so there’s no pressure of relegation meaning that this really is the best time to be blooding these youngsters because the experience they gain now will leave us in a better place for next season.”

Currently bottom of the National Two North standings following six defeats from their opening seven matches, Harrogate return to action on Saturday after a weekend off from competitive action.

They visit 11th-placed Tynedale, who have won three out of eight thus far, including both of their last two games.