Harrogate RUFC's narrow defeat to Chester RUFC was 'painful' for Dave Doherty

Dave Doherty described the manner of Harrogate RUFC's narrow National Two North defeat to Chester as "painful".

Monday, 1st November 2021, 8:04 pm
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 8:06 pm
Action from Harrogate RUFC's National Two North defeat to Chester. Picture: Richard Bown

The injury-ravaged Aces were edged out 14-11 by their visitors at Rudding Lane on Saturday, a result which comdemned them to a seventh loss in eight matches this term.

Trailing 7-3 at the interval, a second Doherty penalty and Matt Landsall's try moved 'Gate into an 11-7 lead before the visitors touched down inside the final quarter-of-an-hour to re-claim the ascendancy.

Having squandered several scoring opportunities earlier in the contest, the hosts spurned another at the death, leaving the club's director of rugby to rue what might have been.

"It's a painful one, we desperately wanted to win that game and I feel that we probably deserved to," Doherty reflected.

"We had so many players unavailable through injury again but we definitely enjoyed the majority of possession and dominance in the set-piece.

"We got ourselves into a winning position, however we weren't ruthless enough. There were a number of opportunities that we didn't capitalise on and then, right at the end, we passed up a great chance to win it.

"We advanced 95 metres, we did all the things we discussed pre-match, we were patient, we moved the ball well, manipulated the opponent and were on their try-line on the last play of the game.

"We squeezed them and worked a three-on-one overlap, but instead of just keeping it simple and moving the ball through the hands, we tried to overcomplicate things and the ball ended up in touch. It's a tough one to take."

Pleased though he was by the vast majority of his side's performance, Doherty believes that 'Gate would have won the game had they done the basics better.

"There are plenty of positives to take, but the thing that we have to learn from this defeat is that we need to get the basics right. If we had done that, then we win this game," he added.

"There was some bad decision-making, there were moments where instead of keeping things simple, we tried a pass out the back of the hand, or a miss-pass.

"At this level, the best players do the simple things very well. Too often we overcomplicated things when just nailing the basics would have got us over the line."

And with 'Gate still rooted for the foot of the table, Doherty again used his post-match debrief to stress to his players that they need to discover a way of converting promising displays into positive results sooner rather than later.

"Again there was a progression, even though we had to make numerous changes to the team," he continued.

"And, as I say, there were so many positives to take - games like this will help us learn and grow. But we want to do more than just challenge and compete in this division.

"We want to be winning games, not just competing in them."