HARROGATE’S final game of 2011 will bring to an end a topsy-turvy start to the new season at Claro Road.
The club, who celebrate their 140th anniversary today, welcome Westoe tomorrow (2pm ko) with team manager Graham Siswick looking to finish the year on a high.
Currently sitting just one point above the relegation places, Siswick knows the next few games are going to be crucial in ‘Gate’s quest to stay in National Two North.
Saturday’s 41-15 thrashing by Bromsgrove did little to help their position.
But Siswick is confident they have the ability to beat the drop and knows what they need to do to rise out of the mud.
“A consistent side is the most important thing,” said Siswick.
“We’ve struggled all season with that. I don’t think we will go down, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Westoe will be a tough nut to crack but Siswick hopes his players dig deep after the Bromsgrove result.
“Westoe beat us back in September,” he added.
“It’s going to be tough as they’re pushing hard for promotion. But we were disappointed with the performance down at Bromsgrove. We need a reaction from the players. We need a performance to get some personal pride after last week.”
On Saturday Bromsgrove opened the scoring with a penalty goal. The offence had also put Nick Beaumont into the sin bin for ten minutes. But ‘Gate went ahead when Ed Smithies created space with an outrageous dummy and scored. A straightforward penalty opportunity was then fluffed.
But Bromsgrove’s powerful pack took complete control and an avalanche of tries followed. The first one came from a steepling up and under which was missed just inside Harrogate’s half. Caolan Ryan showed great control in kicking on and scored to give Ben Copson a straightforward conversion.
Harrogate were still very much in the game at this stage but Toby Quarendon was penalised and another attacking move broke down. Just before the interval, Ryan Peacey was “binned” for preventing a try by coming in from the side and Copson’s kick gave Bromsgrove a 16-5 lead. Bromsgrove took full advantage, scoring with a driving maul before Toby Wilson touched down, converted from the touchline by Copson.
Warren Oliver was then penalised for a spear tackle and lucky to escape with only a yellow card. Mike Aspinall duly kicked the penalty.
But Harrogate immediately went offside and Copson’s kick restored the gap. Nigel Burrows, then crashed through to score and secure the bonus point before ‘Gate grabbed a consolation try through Noel Minikin.