Harrogate RUFC's Sam Fox confident that 'results will follow' if performance levels are sustained
Harrogate RUFC player coach Sam Fox believes the Aces are making gradual progress in each game they play.
The Rudding Lane club have endured a tough start to life back in National Two North following a four-year absence, losing four of their opening five fixtures.
Ravaged by injuries to a host of key players, they began the campaign with heavy defeats to Sedgley Park and Bournville before registering a morale-boosting 17-12 home win over Blaydon.
A severely depleted ‘Gate side was then thrashed 80-22 at top-of-the-table Fylde, before delivering a much-improved performance against a strong Hull Ionians outfit at the weekend.
The hosts more than matched their visitors for the majority of the contest, taking a 13-8 lead early in the second period, only to then lose their focus during the closing stages and eventually end up on the wrong end of a 36-13 scoreline.
Fox was however encouraged by Saturday’s performance and insists that there are some promising signs.
“Saturday’s performance was a massive improvement on what happened at Fylde. The fact that we were ahead early in the second half after a tight first 40 and so in the game for the majority of the contest is really encouraging,” he said.
“I was very happy with 65 minutes of that performance, unfortunately the last 15 let us down - but there are some learning moments there for our players.
“The combination of some poor decision-making at the breakdown which led to penalties and allowed them to keep their score ticking over, plus us not being clinical enough when we got into their 22 eventually cost us.
“But, there is still a lot to be positive about. What we saw on Saturday shows that we are improving in a lot of different areas game by game.
“Overall, our performances have been okay and I think they’re getting better. I’m a believer that if you keep delivering in terms of your performance level, then results will eventually follow.”
Up next for Harrogate is a trip to Luctonians, a team who lost their opening four matches of the season before edging past Huddersfield last time out to secure a first victory of 2021/22.
The Aces, who were boosted by the return of wingers Harry Barnard and Luke Edwards, plus flanker Martin Dodds against Ionians, are hopeful of welcoming a number of other key players back for the trip down to Herefordshire.
“Jonny Coser [back row], Mason Knowles [centre] and Marcus Mercer [centre] could possibly come back into contention on Saturday,” Fox added.
“They’ll train this week and be putting their hands up for selection. They are all leaders in their own ways and are certainly good options to have.”