Unbeaten Brods face first real test

UNBEATEN Old Brodleians take to the road on Saturday for their first serious trip and test to the north east with a game against relegated Middlesbrough (3pm).

The home side, who play at Acklam Park, also the former county home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, were in National Division Three North last term and relegation hurt the proud club now currently lying fourth in North East 1.

Brods go with confidence after a great comeback and grinding out a narrow result over Percy Park last Saturday at Woodhead.

Out of Saturday’s encounter is back-rower Ollie Hawkins who is getting married on October 7 and has opted to avoid injury and a black eye for the big day.

Also missing will be fellow forward Ollie Davidson who tweaked a knee at Broomfield against Crossleyans and was due to have a scan yesterday now the swelling has gone down to assess the damage.

Experienced Steve Shaw is also out injured and Calum Thompson (knee cartilage displacement) is also out.

One bonus for coach Ian Armitage is that hooker Rob Jennings, described as a class act already this term, is back after injury and is likely to replace Joe Fee who made his debut last week.

Former rugby league centre Chris Hartley was in the back-row last week where he prefers to be now, but may have to revert to the three-quarters with the injury problems.

Halfbacks Danny Wood and Joe Armitage are available but winger Martin Jackson, having his first start last week after good performances in the reserves, cannot travel.

Louie Butler is available and expected to take his place while man of the match last week Liam Scott will be in the centre. Also set to retain their places in the backs are Matty Hoyle and Aaron Fowler.

Such is the strength of the senior squad, players are queueing up for a shirt and now back in training after injury and unavailability are backs John Hotham and DD Martin.

The second team after their 31-13 reverse last week at a strong Hull Ionians, when two late converted tries did not lend to a true scoreline, entertain Otley Seconds (3pm).

Second team captain and club spokesman Adam Standeven said: “Everyone at the club is delighted with the start made after such losses during the summer, and everyone called upon has stepped on the plate and done a great job.”

Coach Armitage, taking match by match, will not yet think that should Middlesbrough be another scalp, then when bottom of the table Team Northumbria visit Woodhead on October 8 it could well be six out six.