Harrogate RUFC aiming to go on another winning run as 19-match sequence is ended by title rivals

Harrogate RUFC chief Dave Doherty says that his players are desperate to embark on another winning streak after their run of 19 straight victories was ended by Billingham.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 6:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 8:18 pm
Harrogate RUFC's fine winning streak was halted by Billingham. Picture: Richard Bown

The Aces’ North Premier title rivals came from behind to triumph 19-12 at the CNG Stadium on Saturday, inflicting a first loss on their hosts since early January.

“Obviously we are really disappointed that this run has come to an end, but it can happen, that is the reality of sport,” Doherty reflected.

“We have to learn from the Billingham defeat, however the big thing now is making sure that we have the character to bounce straight back.

“The boys are desperate to put another winning run together as we look to try and chase down Billingham and the other teams above us in the table, a narrative that we have enjoyed in the past.”

‘Gate began Saturday’s contest strongly and went 5-0 up through Ollie Rosillo’s try.

Billingham hit back with a touchdown of their own before a penalty out them 8-5 ahead.

Martin Dodds’ line-out steal then led to Sam Brady powering over to move the hosts back in front, Doherty converting for a 12-8 half-time advantage.

A second try, a penalty and a drop goal were however to swing the game the way of the visitors after the interval.

“Certainly in the first half we had the ascendancy, but we need to be more ruthless and keep our foot on the opposition’s throat,” Doherty added.

“We created two or three very good opportunities but unfortunately weren’t able to take them.

“In the second half, the referee’s interpretation at the breakdown meant that Billingham were able to enjoy much quicker ball than we were and they used it well. They attacked accurately and effectively, while slow ball meant that we became very predictable in what we were trying to do.

“We were still dominant in the set-piece, but again the referee’s interpretation meant that we were penalised heavily and that left us unable to exert periods of pressure. This was really challenging.

“It’s up to us to adapt quicker to how the referee is seeing things and also to take it out of his hands by being better at the breakdown because we are at our best when we are getting quick ball to our backs.

“Ultimately, we should have put more points on the board while we were on top. In the end we got what we deserved because we didn’t take our chances in what was a very tight game.”

Defeat leaves 'Gate fourth in the table, but with two games in hand on all three of the sides above them.

Their first opportunity to get back to winning ways will come at second-from-bottom Rossendale on Saturday.

“It’s the perfect game for us to have next up to try and put right what we did wrong against Billingham,” Doherty said.

“Rossendale away is always confrontational. They’re a very physical side, but our boys just can’t wait for the challenge.”