Yorkshire Cup test for ‘Gate

Harrogate RUFC are in Yorkshire Cup action this weekend. Picture: Richard Bown
Harrogate RUFC are in Yorkshire Cup action this weekend. Picture: Richard Bown

Harrogate RUFC switch their attentions to the Yorkshire Cup this weekend as they host National Three North outfit Hull at the semi-final stage of the competition.

Dave Doherty’s side are currently embroiled in a tense battle to avoid relegation from National Two North, but Saturday’s clash at Rudding Lane offers a distraction from that task as well as an opportunity to make history.

“If we can win this competition again this season then that will be three years in a row, something that has never been done before,” director of rugby Doherty said.

“It’s something that we are really keen to achieve, but we know that Hull will offer a tough test.

“They’re a very good side who have recruited well this season and are not to be taken lightly, despite the fact that they play in the division below us.”

Doherty was also full of praise for his players for their ability to deliver when it mattered, following their crucial victory over Preston Grasshoppers last time out.

The Cockerels went into the fixture just a point above the National Two North relegation places, but now sit four points clear of the drop zone with two games of the season remaining following a 45-32 success.

“This was another must-win fixture and I’m proud of the boys, they’ve come away with a huge result,” he said.

“Just like they did away at Sheffield Tigers and at Scunthorpe, they won a game that we couldn’t really afford to lose.

“They’ve handled the pressure well, and credit to them for that.”

Preston led the game 25-12 at half-time and Doherty admitted that his charges struggled during the opening period before going on to dominate the second 40 minutes.

“I was a bit concerned by the scoreline at half-time,” he added.

“We’d had some good chances but not taken them, but I told the boys that we just had to keep playing the same way and the points would come.

“Preston started very well. Obviously they play on their 4G pitch on a regular basis, but it took us some getting used to.

“Once we got going and got in front in the game there was only going to be one winner. We were ruthless in the second half, which was pleasing to see.”