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York Acorn ARLC kick off home campaign
PROMOTED York Acorn ARLC kick off their home campaign on Saturday “desperate” to get National Conference League premier division points on the board quickly.
Boss Scott Rhodes says the Blue and Golds’ Thanet Road form will be vital this year as they look to consolidate in amateur rugby league’s top tier, and an opening-day defeat at East Hull leaves them even more eager to begin well at home.
Their task, against a Wigan St Patrick’s side also looking to get off the mark, will be made harder by the absence due to work commitments of former York City Knights prop Davey Burns, while Joe Budd (flu) and Ash Robson (hand) are doubts. But Rhodes hoped enthusiasm would more than make up for it.
“It’s important to get that first win, especially for confidence,” he said. “We haven’t got a massive squad. There is a difference in quality between the first and second teams and we might struggle in this league when we miss two or three first-teamers. Last year we could get away with it a bit more but this year is a big step up in class.
“We always seem to step up at home, though, and we need to get off the mark this week. We’re looking forward to the game and, talking to the players, we’re all desperate for an early win.”
Heworth, on the other side of town, fell back down to earth with a bang last week in division three, but boss Tim Rumford was not too disheartened – saying his side pick themselves up and become a match for anybody in their tier if they can fix up “teething trouble”.
Rumford’s reign began in style with a 58-6 victory at Featherstone Lions – ending the club’s 29-month wait for a win – but they followed up with a 28-6 defeat to National League Conference newcomers Kells.
They go to another new team, regular Summer Conference high-fliers Underbank Rangers, this Saturday.
“I was quite encouraged on reflection,” Rumford said of last week’s loss.” Rather than being beaten or dominated for large periods, we actually beat ourselves.
“It might sound strange but the amount of ball we dropped coming off our own line was what beat us. We had 14 sets coming off our line and we dropped it ten times – if you give a team of under-12s the ball all the time, even they are likely to score against you at some point.
“If we get that ironed out and people gel a bit more and get used to their roles, hopefully these things will stop happening.
“I’m sure if we get our fair share of ball and respect the ball coming off our own line, we will be a match for anybody in our division.”
Rumford was hoping to sign an unnamed former Castleford Tigers academy prop in time for the trip to Huddersfield. He will have another prop, Dan Walton, back in contention and hopes another, Sean Brough, will also return from injury. Veteran outside-back Gavin Grant (hamstring) is a doubt.
Rumford said: “Underbank have had a couple of narrow defeats. They’re good defensively – only conceding two tries against one of the top teams, Pilkington Recs, so we will have to go through the processes to break them down.”
York Acorn ‘A’ host Oulton Raiders ‘A’ looking for a third win in three Yorkshire Men’s League Cup group games.