Siswick urging better ahead of Penrith trip

hsb  Gate v Burnage.  Pete Wackett  (121215M2a)
hsb Gate v Burnage. Pete Wackett (121215M2a)

Harrogate team manager Graham Siswick hopes to bolster his squad before his side prepare to launch their final assault on promotion from National Three North.

’Gate beat basement club West Hartlepool 29-8 and picked up a bonus point on their travels last Saturday but the side’s lacklustre performance frustrated Siswick.

Harrogate travel to the Lake District this Saturday to face Penrith in a rearranged league tie (2.15pm) but will be without back row Chris Wilson and centre Peter Wackett who are both away.

Second row Sam Brady has returned from playing at Leeds Met University and is in contention to play alongside his brother Jacob.

Siswick said he may also offer some second team players a chance to shine.

“Some have put their hands up,” he said.

“There are going to be some difficult decisions to make and we have competition for places.

“The transfer window closes next week and we might bring in one of two people. We want a bit more competition for places.”

’ Gate beat Penrith at home 34-7 earlier in the season and Siswick feels his side can continue their five match winning streak.

“They are a good side and Cumbrian sides at home are always a handful,” he said.

“We have proved we can play away. We are going to have to continue in the eight remaining games.

“It is all to play for. It is going to be an exciting run-in and the boys are determined.”

’Gate struggled in the first half against Hartlepool and only led 10-0 at half time thanks to tries from Noel Minikin and prop Jimmy Browne, although were bolstered by a strong performance from centre Kyle Dench who was back to his imperious best.

West notched a penalty after stealing possession shortly after the break. But Tim Heaton, Dench and Steve Maycock then struck three late blows to secure the bonus point in the final quarter as the home side were reduced to 14 men when hooker Andrew Dixon was sent to the bin.

Siswick said: “We were well below par. It was a low key game that will be easily forgotten.

“Because it was frustrating we maybe tried to force it and dropped a few too many passes.

“We played well as individuals but as a unit we didn’t play.

“We made some good breaks in midfield but for some reason we didn’t finish them off.

“Credit to West Hartlepool. They tackled like demons. We failed to control the breakdown area and they slowed the game down.”

After the match, coach Mike Aspinall dragged the players back onto the pitch for a 15 minute workout.

“I think the boys appreciated it as they were disappointed too. We felt a bit unfulfilled on the day,” Siswick added.