Yorkshire One: Crunch test for Rishworthians at Brodleians

Morpeth 55 Consett 7
Morpeth 55 Consett 7

THE last of 12 derby games involving Calderdale’s top four sides this season takes place on Saturday when Old Brodleians host Old Rishworthians (3.0)

It is a particularly-important clash for the visitors in a campaign which could see the area’s presence in the section halved for 2019-2020.

While Heath are pushing for promotion, Rishworthians are in danger of being relegated, although there is always the chance of a reshuffle of leagues, which might save sides in the bottom two.

Brods have picked up more than twice as many points as Chris Stone’s Copley side this season and visiting teams always reckon Brods’ knowledge of how to play their sloping pitch is worth a few points start.

However, there is only three points difference in the scores between the sides in their last three meetings.

Rishworthians have won two of those games and at Brods in the final game of last season they snatched a win in the closing seconds with a try by Anthony Shoesmith.

Brods are continually plagued by unavailabilty while Rishworthians are confident after an excellent win over Selby, in which two-try Fraser Swarbrooke gave a captain’s display.

They will be without flanker Jacob Bower and will also be missing Ben Waud, who looked so effective at centre. Scrum halves Ed Cockroft and George Wright are available and will be vying for the starting berth.

Rishworthian supporters will also be keeping an eye out for the Middlesbrough v Hullensians result as the Hull men are their main rivals in the battle for survival.

HEATH make the short journey over to Keighley on Friday evening (8.0) buoyed by last weekend’s hard-earned win over Old Crossleyans which secured a play-off spot.

Keighley lie 10th, having recovered from a difficult start to the season, and are one point from safety.

Coach Dave Harrison was pleased with last weekend’s latest derby win. “It was a tough encounter against the Crocs, between two very good sides who gave a good account of their potential.

“As expected it was a physical game but I felt we always had the upper hand and deserved the win.”

Ezra Hinchliffe misses the game against Keighley, which will be played on an artificial surface under lights.

The goal-kicking centre has a back injury, so Sam Gill and Chris Robinson come into the reckoning in an otherwise unchanged squad.

Old Crossleyans host Bradford Salem on Saturday in their final game of the season at Broomfield.

The Crocs finish with a tricky trip to Dinnington on Saturday week and will be keen to hold off Beverley and finish fourth, which would be a fine effort following promotion.

Salem are ninth and were beaten 19-17 by Gareth Greenwood’s side in the first meeting in December 8.

hey lost 20-17 at home to Dinnington last week having beaten bottom-placed visitors Guisborough 33-27 seven days earlier.

Crocs spokesman Howard Cooper said: “It looks like another tough battle ahead, but if the players put in a similar commitment to last Saturday I’m hopeful that we can finish at home with a win.

“We do congratulate Heath on making the play-offs. It’s well deserved, and I’d like to think that considering this is our first season back into Yorkshire One we can follow them in the forthcoming seasons.”

Last Saturday’s 27-3 defeat at next-to-bottom Baildon may have set alarm bells ringing for Halifax Vandals near the foot of Yorkshire Three.

The Warley men need to beat mid-table visitors Hemsworth on Saturday to ease relegation fears.

Halifax return to action in the Yorkshire Four Shield at home to Sheffield Oaks.