Injury-hit Harrogate gear up for tilt at top five

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Director of rugby Mike Aspinall has challenged his Harrogate squad to match his expectation of a top-five finish in National Two North.

Harrogate have been plagued by injuries throughout an indifferent first season at their new base, Rudding Lane.

But a run of three straight victories, including Saturday’s 19-6 win over Sale, has put ’Gate back into the top half of the table and in the reckoning to repeat last season’s fourth-place finish. Tomorrow, Harrogate host struggling South Leicester.

“We have a lot of injuries at the moment but I think we have a top-five squad,” said Aspinall.

“We do need to focus on getting the next win. If we keep doing what we are doing, when everything evens up at the end of the season, I’m sure we will be a top-half side. We haven’t necessarily set a goal for it, but there’s no reason why we wouldn’t be in the top five if we knuckle down and find consistency.

“We’ve had three wins on the bounce, so clearly we are finding that bit of consistency. There’s still 10 games left to play. That’s a lot of rugby.

“We are getting better and better and I’m nor sure everyone else is. I expect us to improve even more when the tracks dry up towards the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, new arrival Nick Green bolstered the Morley RFC first-team squad when he made his debut in the 17-10 defeat at Pocklington last weekend.

The forward, who formerly played at Blackburn, Fylde and Preston Grasshoppers before a spell in Middlesbrough, arrived at Scatcherd Lane at the start of the season when he moved to Leeds for work.

Green progressed from the third team to the reserves, where he caught the eye of the Morley selectors and subsequently earned a call-up to the Maroons’ squad for tomorrow’s North One East home game against Guisborough.

Green came on in the second half as a tactical replacement in the back row and made an impressive start to his Morley career.

Tomorrow’s selected fixtures:

National 2 North: Harrogate v South Leicester.

National 3 North: Huddersfield YMCA v Ilkley.

North 1 East: Morley v Guisborough.

Yorkshire 1: Old Brodleians v West Park Leeds.

Yorkshire 2: Castleford v Wath Upon Dearne, Keighley v Pontefract, Old Grovians v Knottingley.

Yorkshire 3: Aireborough v Thornensians, Harrogate Pythons v Stocksbridge, Leeds Modernians v Old Otliensians.

Yorkshire 4: Ossett v Leeds Corinthians.

Yorkshire 5: Knaresborough v Hornsea.

Yorkshire Five Cup: Garforth v Stanley Rodillians.

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