Harrogate challenged to celebrate club’s new Rudding Lane home with promotion

Mike Aspinall.
Mike Aspinall.
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Harrogate begin life at their new home on Saturday – with director of rugby Mike Aspinall urging his side to challenge for promotion as the ultimate celebration.

After 119 years of history at Claro Road, the North Yorkshire club has moved into a £3m purpose-built ground at Rudding Lane on the outskirts of the town in readiness for 2015-16.

Their National Two North campaign starts against fierce rivals Otley on Saturday, undoubtedly a fine way to finally kick things off after the long-mooted ground switch was delayed earlier in the year due to planning and building issues.

Having won the Yorkshire Cup last season and finished fourth, Aspinall feels they can somehow move up to National League One.

“We know what it takes but it’s something that has never been done,” he said. “All these guys have jobs; the £40 they are getting does not make rugby the priority. You can’t prioritise rugby for that type of money, therefore nobody gets promoted on that sort of money.

“We are not naïve to the challenge but that’s not to say we shouldn’t set it and go and have a dig. That said, I think we are in the best position we have been in since I have been here.

“We have a very large squad of seemingly very motivated players so will cast that goal out there and have a bash at the top-two.”