Derby foes clash at West Vale

Heath v Brods'Alex McFadden tackled
Heath v Brods'Alex McFadden tackled

THE derby action comes fast and early at West Vale on Saturday when Heath entertain Old Brodleians.

The clubs’ seconds meet at noon and the firsts at 2.15 with particular interest in the later game, which involves the third and fourth-placed teams.

Both have lost only one league game in seven outings this season, Heath at home to section newcomers Old Rishworthians and Old Brodleians at Scarborough next week.

Dave Harrison’s hosts will feel that they have the momentum, having put together a useful winning run while Brods have had some of the wind taken from their sails by successive cup and league defeats against Scarborough, who are now second.

Heath also won both meetings last season, although they looked likely to lose at home until a serious injury to Brods’ Dom Georgiou caused an abandonment and forced a replay.

Harrison said the Heath camp were really looking forward to two “fascinating games” in front of a likely bumper crowd.

“It really is a special time for both clubs as they look to keep the pressure on the top two in Yorkshire One, York and Scarborough.

“W our visit to the east coast next Saturday it is important we get the right result against Brods. Our seconds are also going well in the Championship Merit League and it will be good to test ourselves against a team who play in the Premiership Merit League”.

Heath have won at Bradford Salem for the last two weeks, more handsomely in the league last Saturday than in the Yorkshire Shield before.

Harrison added: “I thought that Salem played better last week and were a much more solid unit which we had to break down. But we stuck to the task, rose to the occasion and turned in a superb all round performance and fully deserved our bonus point win.”

Harrison has retained his starting 15 and was finalising his bench after training on Thursday. Seiffe Boussaada, Cameron Ramsden, Richard Dance and Dave Skinner are contenders.

Brods will travel in determined mood after their frustrating visit to Scarborough last weekend. They will certainly have to eradicate the ill-discipline they showed.

No additional injuries have been reported to the long term absentees and Brods will hope to have talented back Phil Town available again after work commitments last weekend.

The battle up front is sure to be important to the outcome. Heath have one of the strongest packs in the section, headed by talisman and skipper Ian Downsborough and powerful No 8 Richard Brown. Brods’ task must match them at scrum, lineout and the break down and hope their backs can provide a cutting edge.