Harrogate RUFC 'ready for another dog fight' with title rivals Macclesfield

Harrogate RUFC chief Dave Doherty says that his players are “ready for another dog fight” when they visit title rivals Macclesfield on Saturday.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 6:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 7:39 pm
Harrogate RUFC's director of rugby Dave Doherty. Picture: Caught Light Photography

A run of six consecutive victories has taken the Aces top of the North Premier at the expense of Billingham, who are yet to win a game in 2020.

Macclesfield are however breathing down the necks of the division’s top-two, and with a bonus-point success at the weekend potentially enough to see the Cheshire outfit take over at the summit, Doherty is all too aware that the stakes are high.

“It is a really, really big game and the lads are excited. We can’t wait,” he said.

“It’s similar to the Sandal fixture that we won a few weeks back. They are the best team that we’ve played this season so we’ll need to match that performance and maybe even improve on it if we are going to get a result at Macclesfield.

“Historically they’re a very successful club. They were a National One team not so long ago and have kept a lot of their players from when they were up there.

“They are on a great run of form. Their pack is very strong and they’re a powerful side, but we are ready for another dog fight.”

‘Gate beat Macclesfield 18-13 when the sides met at Rudding Lane back in October, and another win for the Aces could see them go as many as eight points clear at the top.

Doherty, however, insists that his players are keeping their feet firmly on the ground and will not make the mistake of starting to look too far ahead.

“We can’t afford to start looking too much further than the next game,” he added.

“There’s still a long way to go and plenty of rugby left to be played. If we beat Macclesfield then that will leave us in a very good place, but even if that happens, Billingham and Blaydon are both extremely good teams. I still think that Sandal are in the mix as well.

“What we are saying to ourselves is that if we just concentrate on winning the next match, then the league table will look after itself.”

‘Gate do have a couple of injury concerns heading into Saturday’s showdown, but won’t be too far away from full-strength.

“We had 38 boys at training on Tuesday, so we do have a lot of players to choose from this week,” Doherty revealed.

“It’s a selection headache, but a nice one to have. We’ve got competition across the squad and that’s what you want.”