Gate eye a perfect ten at home to basement team

hsb  Harrogate v West Hartlepool. Number 5.   (121020M4c)
hsb Harrogate v West Hartlepool. Number 5. (121020M4c)

Top-of-the-table Harrogate host bottom side Birkenhead Park this weekend, looking to make it ten wins from ten (2pm kick-off).

However, they face a Park side fresh from their first win of the season against fellow Natioanl Three North strugglers Kendal.

Team manager Graham Siswick knows they need to be at the top of their game to cope with the cock-a-hoop visitors.

Harrogate beat Lymm 29-3 away from home on Saturday in their ninth win this season.

Siswick said: “Birkenhead got their first win and they will take heart from that.

“They have appointed a new head coach, Shaun Woof, who has played in the Premiership so they are obviously trying to get away from the foot of the table.

“We will start as favourites, but we do not anticipate an easy game.”

Siswick is urging his side to get the win on what will be centre Sam Bottomley’s 100th appearance for Harrogate.

He said: “We are in a determined mood.

“The boys are enjoying their rugby, and we are not going to give up our winning run.

“There could be some changes. Dan Metcalfe is available, and we will check James Spencer during training.”

Long-term injury Aarin Yorke could provide the team with a boost, and open side Martin Feyrs could get his first start for the club.

Peter Wackett is injured, however.

Harrogatecrushed Lymm 29-3 at the weekend, scoring five tries and securing a bonus point.

Siswick is concerned, however, that in some games Gate have allowed teams back into games.

He said: “The Lymm games was the best performance by our forwards this season and the defence were excellent.

“But in some games we have had lapses, and let teams back into the contest.

“We need to be ruthless like we were at Lymm when we get on top of teams.”

Number eight Max Lewis drove into the home defence from the start against Lymm and gaps started to appear. Lymm went offside and Callum Irvine booted a penalty to put ‘Gate ahead.

When Harrogate came in from the side at a ruck, a Cormack Nolan penalty kick levelled the scores. but after a succession of driving mauls, flanker Chris Wilson dived through to score a converted try.

With half time looming, Harrogate spurned a kickable penalty and went for an attacking line-out.

This time it was Tim Heaton who tucked in behind the driving maul for a converted try.

Lymm were relieved when the visitors were penalised for crossing but it was only a temporary respite.

More attacks followed and the growingly impressive Noel Minikin sped over for a fine try.

The final converted try came from still more repeated forward pressure on the home line.

Substitute prop Dominica Musetti squeezed over from close range for his maiden Harrogate try.