Derby foes on weather watch

Heath v Rishworthians'Fraser Swarbrooke
Heath v Rishworthians'Fraser Swarbrooke

IT is fingers crossed that tomorrow’s big derby between Old Rishworthians and Heath can take place at Copley tomorrow (2.15).

Both sides will be keen for the game to go ahead before the Christmas break and both will feel they have something to prove against their neighbours.

If the Arctic weather proves too much, the game will have to be postponed until February 24.

The games that were postponed last week have been rescheduled for two weeks earlier – Rishworthians at Bradford Salem and Heath at home to York.

“We were disappointed that last Saturday’s game was called off because we were looking for three wins in a row,” said Rishworthians team manager Dan Ingham.

“Training has been difficult because of the weather, but we are up for it. We know Heath will be gunning for us as we are one of only two teams to beat them this season,” he said.

Heath lie in second place, while Rishworthians are eighth in their first season in Yorkshire One, but they beat the promotion contenders 29-18 at West Vale in the second game of the season.

“Form goes out of the window in these derby matches so we will be looking to do the double,” said Ingham.

Two of Rishworthians’ teenage stars will be missing this weekend as both winger Kian Stewart and scrum half George Wright have been called up for Yorkshire Carnegie’s Academy side.

Two other young players who are home from college for the Christmas break and have made a significant impact previously, Richard Bullough and Jacob Bower, are in contention for places.

Heath’s selection was being finalised at training last night but back in contention are Jordan Bradbrook and Richard Brown, who missed the 38-20 home win against Wheatley Hills at the start of the month.

Heath were below par for the first meeting in early September, when an injury to Ben Maxwell at the start of the second half saw the game moved to the smaller second team pitch and Rishworthians adapted better.

Dave Harrison, the Heath coach, is happy with his side’s preparations. They have trained indoors but were planning to move outside again last night.

OLD Crossleyans’ latest signing from Siddal RLFC, Freddie Walker, is expected to be in the squad for tomorrow’s home game against Yarnbury.

Walker has played at full back for the leading National Conference League club. He is safe under the high ball and an exciting counter-attacking runner.

He joins Chevinedge teammates Scott Caley and Ian Davies at the Broomfield club. Ex-Siddal coach Gareth Greenwood will coach Crocs’ backs in the New Year.

Crocs are fourth in the table but have lost the last two in a sequence of close contests. They went down 24-22 at Barnsley last week in the only game in the section to go ahead.

Yarnbury, who had been due to host Thornensians, are second and were unbeaten until crashing 43-15 at Pontefract on December 2. They beat Crocs 17-13 at Horsforth on September 9.

Crocs chairman Howard Cooper said Crocs were “disappointed but not downhearted” after successive narrow defeats to Wath and Barnsley in games they were in a position to win.

“It’s a very close and tight division this season and we need to start coming out on top in these close encounters if we are to stay in touch with the leaders,” he said.

“The players put in a performance in the first half at Barnsley that was as good as any for the past couple of years and I believe that we are progressing. Already we are miles ahead of where we were last season and once the new players recently signed settle in, we should move further forward.

“Competition is starting to hot up in certain positions, but due to unavailability and injuries we could do with strengthening the front five.”

OLD Brodleians will look to get back in action after a postponement at home to Middlesbrough last week with a trip to Hullensians this weekend (2.15).

The Hessle-based club are always tough opponents, especially on their own ground, but Brods enjoyed a league double over them last season, although they were beaten in a Yorkshire Shield tie earlier in the season.

Hullensians are ninth with 27 points, below Brods who are fifth on 39 points.

After a bright start to the season, the Hipperholme side’s form has been patchy in the last couple of months with five defeats from seven games.

Tomorrow’s hosts most recently lost 27-20 at home to Keighley, following a 54-0 hammering at Moortown. However, they did beat Rishworthians 29-20 at home having previously gone down 29-17 to visitors Scarborough.

Brods seconds host Morley (2.15) and are looking into the possibility of playing their fixture with Doncaster Phoenix, postponed from last weekend, prior to the new year.

HALIFAX VANDALS host West Park Leeds in Yorkshire Two tomorrow and will be looking to build on their 32-31 win at Wetherby 13 days ago.

West Park Leeds ended Ripon’s winning run with a 20-18 home win last time out and have won three out of their last four.

HALIFAX have a tough trip to Burley in Yorkshire Fourth North West.

They lost the earlier home meeting with the second-placed side by 20-17, one of several narrow defeats this season.