Aspinall: Harrogate will relish Sedgley challenge after end of win streak

Harrogate Rugby's Callum Irvine against Ampthill (1502072AM4)
Harrogate Rugby's Callum Irvine against Ampthill (1502072AM4)

Harrogate director of rugby Mike Aspinall was eager for his players to put Saturday’s defeat to Ampthill behind them as soon as possible.

National Two North leaders Amphill overcame a stubborn Harrogate 26-9 at Claro Road, largely thanks to their powerhouse pack.

The match ended Gate’s seven match winning run and dropped them below Caldy and Chester into fifth.

The bruising encounter has taken its toll on Aspinall’s squad, with star man Callum Irvine a doubt for this Saturday’s trip to Sedgley Park after suffering a knee injury.

Harrogate beat the Northern side, who sit directly below them, by two points earlier in the season. And Aspinall anticipates another gripping contest this time around.

He said: “We squeaked in for a win against them early in the season. When they’re running hot, and everything is clicking, they are a very dangerous side. But the guys will thrive off that.

“When they get over this one, they will be ready for the next challenge to put things right. They would rather do that against a real dangerous enemy which Sedgley will be.”

Saturday’s defeat was only the fourth time Harrogate’s players have had to deal with defeat this season, but the second against the promotion-chasing Bedford side, who beat Gate 53-7 in October .

But against a pack which averaged more than a stone heavier per man, Aspinall took heart from the rugby club’s performance.

“There was certainly a pride in the shirt”, he said.

“26-9 is a hell of a lot better than at their place and still the lads are frustrated because they feel they could have done that little bit more.”