Harrogate RUFC's failure to keep scoreboard ticking over proves costly at Hull RUFC

Harrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty feels naivety on his side’s part cost them a result at promotion-chasing Hull on Saturday.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 7:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 7:56 am
Harrogate RUFC director of rugby, Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography

The Aces were on top for the majority of the opening period, turning down several opportunities to take three points and instead opting to kick to the corner in an attempt to get over the try-line.

But, having failed to breach the home defence, 'Gate fell behind just before half-time, eventually going on to lose 25-0 as Hull moved through the gears after the interval.

"It's a tough one to take after how well we played in the first half, but we've been a little bit naive," Doherty reflected.

"We asked the boys to build phases and they did that, however we just couldn't break through their defensive line when it came down to it.

"In hindsight, what we should have done was built a lead. If we'd have gone three, six, nine and kept going with those penalties then that would have built the pressure on Hull.

"If you keep the scoreboard ticking over while you're in the ascendancy then that forces the opposition to come out and try and chase the game a little bit, and then you do more get more opportunities to play and to hurt them as a result.

"It is something we have to learn from. We should have had a decent lead at half-time in that game, but instead we come in 8-0 down. You could see Hull start to grow in confidence as the scoreboard remained blank."

Despite seeing very little of the ball in Harrogate territory during the first half, Hull managed to score a penalty and an unconverted try just before the interval, then went on to add a further three second-half touchdowns.

Thus, Doherty was once again left to rue his side's lack of killer instinct inside the opposition 22.

"Hull are very effective at what they do. They don't play a lot of rugby, however they are a team full of professional players and they have the organisation, know-how and power to squeeze the life out of teams," he added.

"They were physically dominant in every area really, so as the smaller side you have to look to try and manipulate them, try and move them around, play quick rugby and hurt them that way.

"They are very good and slowing the pace of the game down, but we did play some decent stuff. We should have scored at least three tries in that first half.

"We maybe could have played a little bit wider at times and made the pitch bigger, but once again there were some errors that cost us, a couple of forward passes, some dropped balls.

"What you saw on Saturday was one team who were very clinical, and one team that needs to learn from its mistakes in attack."

Saturday's result leaves Harrogate bottom of the National Two North standings following six losses from their opening seven matches of the campaign.