HEWORTH ARLC go from the frying pan into the fire in their National Conference League division three campaign - but with head coach Tim Rumford hailing their spirit.
The Villagers - down to the bare bones so much that Rumford was forced out of retirement to play his first full game for almost a decade - lost 34-14 at Crosfields last week, a team with three wins and a draw in their four league fixtures.
This Saturday they host a rejuvenated Featherstone Lions, who finished fourth-bottom last year but have won six from six this term under the guidance of former Super League star Jamie Rooney.
Said 36-year-old Rumford: "It will be tough. They're a team in form. I don't think the personnel has changed quite so much but Jamie Rooney will have them well-drilled and, knowing him as a player, they will be quite formidable in attack.
"But our defence at Crosfields was superb for an hour or so. We faced sustained batterings on our line but kept them out for long periods until we just ran out of numbers."
Heworth had already been depleted due to injuries and the fact their under-18s had a Yorkshire Youth League division two play-off final the following day so were not asked to double-up.
Danny Simpson and James Farnsworth departed crocked in the first quarter too.
Among those available again this week are Daryl Fogg, Chris Taylor, U18s ace Liam Richmond and George Wilkinson, while centre/half-back Jason Smith has rejoined the club.
"We were down to the bare bones and I had to don the boots, playing a half-back - it was just a matter of guiding them around the field and organising the young lads," said Rumford.
"It worked quite well for a while, and it wa a real tough performance given we had only two fit subs and an old bloke on the field.
"We can build on that, with a few of the troops back. We can only get better, plus this is only our second home game of the season."
In division one, Acorn have the chance to climb into the top half for the first time this term.
They follow their confidence-boosting 38-12 victory over Ince Rose Bridge with a trip to Myton Warriors, who sit only a point above in sixth place. Myton putt 66 points past struggling Millom last week but the Blue and Golds should be a different proposition.
Acorn 'A' host Skirlaugh Bulls 'A' in the Yorkshire Men's League premier division.