Yorkshire One: Vital game for Copley men

Morpeth 55 Consett 7
Morpeth 55 Consett 7

Old Rishworthians travel to Middlesbrough on Saturday (3.0) knowing a good performance could lift them out of the relegation zone.

Hullensians, who have two points more, visit Old Crossleyans and Rishworthians are keen to snatch a result which might save them.

Last season they just lost out in a close game at Middlesbrough after a travelling with a weakened side, then beat them at home in the semi-final of the Yorkshire Shield, so they know they are capable of taking the points.

After a two-week rest they will be hoping that forwards Fraser Swarbrooke and Harvey Keighley-Payne have recovered fitness along with Ed Cockroft.

They will be boosted by the return from college of lock Richard Bullough and the form of prop Josh Crickmay, who scored two tries on his return in Rishworthians’ last game after five months sidelined with injury.

Middlesbrough won 29-14 at Copley in late November but have been inconsistent this season.

They even lost to bottom club Guisborough in February, so Rishworthians will travel in confident mood, even though training this week has been limited because of flooding from last weekend’s heavy rain.

Heath head to South Yorkshire on Saturday to take on a Dinnington side who sit in mid-table and have an enviable home record, having lost only to Old Brodleians in 2019.

The second-placed visitors will have to be at their best if they are to maintain their eight-point cushion over Pontefract.

Heath beat Salem at North Dean 13 days ago and coach Dave Harrison was pleased with his side’s second half display in that game.

Dinnington rely on a big pack and stand-off Jonny West, who Harrison knows from his time coaching at Cleckheaton.

“It wasn’t long before he was off to Rotherham to play in the Premiership, where he did really well,” added Harrison.

Jason Merrie (ankle) is still out so Harrison keeps faith with Alex Patrick in the back row alongside Jonny Cole. Dave Skinner starts at prop in Chris Piper’s absence.

Eddie Cartwright returns at fullback for the luckless Chris Robinson, who returns to the seconds. Mark Puttick joins Jack Crabtree and Seife Boussadda on the bench.

There are places for supporters on a coach leaving at noon.

Heath seconds are at home to Keighley, who have stormed into second spot in Championship North Merit league (3.0).

The ground was flooded last weekend but thanks to volunteers, the pitch is perfect and the downstairs of the clubhouse cleaned.

Old Brodleians will entertain league leaders Moortown on Saturday.

The club from north Leeds are runaway leaders of Yorkshire One with 20 wins and just two defeats in accumulating 99 points. They are 15 points clear of second-placed Heath with four games remaining.

Ollie Akroyd’s side will be keen to avenge a 20-10 defeat at Farr Moss in November and will hope to have several players returning from injury.

Resources have been stretched to the limit recently but wins at Hullensians and Guisborough have showed the club’s strength in depth.

The seconds will travel to Moortown and the Beavers will be enjoying the sunshine in Spain where they will be playing Denia in their tour game.

OLD Crossleyans have picked up more than twice as many league points this season as Saturday’s visitors Hullensians but the Broomfield men are expecting a far from easy challenge.

Hullensians are fighting for their lives in Yorkshire One and Crocs spokesman Howard Cooper pointed out the close contests the Hull side had been involved in against other Calderdale sides.

“It is interesting to note that their games against Heath and the Brods were lost by only one point and we scraped home over at Hull by two points earlier in the season courtesy of a last minute penalty,” he said.

Tony Oxley and Joe Stott, both absentees at Guisborough through injury last weekend, will come back into the reckoning.

Cooper was pleased with Crocs’ performance in difficult conditions at Guisborough last Saturday.

“We showed that we are still determined to finish the season strongly, even though any hopes of going up have virtually disappeared, unless the RFU decide to change the league structure,” he said.

Saturday is a Community Day at Broomfield and Cooper said Crocs had invited local residents to have a look around at the club. Crocs’ successful under-15s girls side would play a curtain raiser against Sandal and the first team game would be followed by a race night.