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Pocklington RUFC aim to storm Rochdale fortress
POCKLINGTON RUFC put their unbeaten North One East record to the test when they make their first ever visit to Rochdale tomorrow.
The East Yorkshire outfit, who claimed their sixth consecutive win in a derby day demolition of Malton & Norton last time out, travel to Lancashire to meet a team who have a perfect record on their own turf.
Rochdale have won all their three home games by a convincing margin and briefly headed the table in the early weeks of the season.
They were transferred to the division from North One West by the RFU to balance the league numbers on either side of the Pennines and were then deducted eight points after being found to have allowed an under age player to take part in a fourth team game.
West Hartlepool, Alnwick and Driffield have all gone to Rochdale and lost, and Pock will be keen to break their resistance to keep top spot.
They again name 19 players to cover all possibilities. Three-quarter Joe Holbrough, who was unavailable against Malton, returns to the squad, allowing his brother, Jack, to switch back to his preferred place in the back row of the pack.
Malton believe a couple of returning stars could help them turn the corner when they host fourth-placed Old Crossleyans at The Gannock in North One East.
After a vastly altered side, hit hard by injuries, lost 34-5 to Pocklington, head coach Chris Creber will be able to call on Henry Newitt, Alex Whitaker, George Harrison and Ali Coe tomorrow.
Their return has shifted expectations at Malton, with club chiefs now expecting the team to be challenging for a victory – rather than just trying to limit the damage.
“This is a game we feel we can win,” said spokesman Bill Laidler. “We have the opportunity to do something now. But what has come out of the last few weeks is that we have some young lads who have come in and we now know that, individually, they could come into the team again at any time.
“Lads like James Butler and Harry Owston showed that there is something there and we can see the positives from what has been a fairly negative time.”
York will be hoping head coach Sean Bass can recreate his magic when the Clifton Parkers host Keighley in Yorkshire One. The Shipton Road side won their first four games but lost the next two with Bass away on holiday.
Edged out by Doncaster Phoenix, they were comfortably held at Wath last weekend and Bass will need to work fast to ensure his side’s bright start is not wasted.
“We had a good training session in the week and hopefully that put a smile back on our faces,” he said.
“We have to recognise what’s gone wrong and put it right.
“We have to remember how we felt and how we played when we won. We’ve also got to be able to play in all kinds of weather.
“At Wath it was miserable and rainy and they wanted to win. We are at home this weekend, but it is always a dogfight with Keighley.
“They haven’t had a great start but we don’t expect them to be near the bottom of the league for the rest of the season. They have got some good players.
“It is a massive game for us – a game we need to win. This league is very open and, for the top six or seven teams, everyone will beat each other. We have to turn Keighley over and I am looking for us to bounce back. I expect massive commitment from the players and they know this.”
Bass has made a couple of changes from the Wath defeat with Ben Johnson coming in to play at fly-half and Hugh Nicholson returning to the wing along with Billy Cakaunitabua.
Selby host Scarborough in Yorkshire One looking to bounce back from their 25-17 loss at Ilkley and York RI, who lost 12-11 at Hornsea, have no game in Yorkshire Four.
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