Kendal next as ’Gate hunt three wins on the bounce

Coaches Mike Aspinall and Rob Rawlinson.
Coaches Mike Aspinall and Rob Rawlinson.

It’s two wins out of two so far and Harrogate go for their third on Saturday, when old foes Kendal come to Claro Road (3pm).

Life in National Three North has been pretty good to Mike Aspinall’s men so far, although they were made to sweat for a 25-16 win at Burnage on Saturday in blistering conditions that saw the game stopped twice so players could take on water.

Team manager Graham Siswick is more than happy with progress, but aware this weekend presents a trickier test.

“Kendal were relegated with us and we did the double over them last year but they are an awkward side to play with a big set of forwards,” he said.

“But we’re determined to make this a good season with a relatively new team, and have two home games to come.

“We need half a dozen wins to assess how we’re doing.”

Back row Tim Heaton returns this weekend, and Frenchman Martin Seyrês also comes into contention. Leading tryscorer for the Georgians, James Audsley-Beck is expected to appear on the wing.

“Max Lewis at number 8 was man of the match last week and Callum Irvine’s kicking was excellent,” said Siswick.

“Last week gave us a lot of confidence .”

Burnage attacked quickly with Harrogate’s old adversary, Ross Winney, orchestrating the home midfield.

However, an incisive Rob Almond counter from deep sparked another Harrogate attack, Burnage went offside and Irvine’s penalty opened the scoring.

Pressure on a home scrum led to a powerful Harrogate driving maul, Burnage again went offside and Irvine extended the lead.

Harrogate’s first try then seemed to have been scored but the referee called play back for a home offside offence and Irvine’s kick made it 0-9 .

Harrogate went close through Max Lewis but were 3-9 at half time.

Irvine’ added another penalty before a dazzling Pete Wackett midfield break was supported by fellow centre Kyle Dench, but a high tackle prevented a try. An Irvine kick extended the lead.

A Winney penalty made it 6-15 but Wackett scythed through the midfield and Aspinall was forced into touch in the act of scoring

Eventually, Harrogate stole a defensive home line-out, the ball was spun left and Almond scored the game’s first try. Winney just about kept Burnage in the game with another penalty but a storming Lewis run set up quick ball, before Irvine set up Wackett for a converted try.

Burnage added a late try through Adam Knight.

“It was a good result against a side who will be challenging this year ,” said Siswick.