Malton & Norton facing uphill battle against drop

York Press: Mark Benson gets a chance to impress for York RUFC at Old Brodleians in Yorkshire One tomorrow Mark Benson gets a chance to impress for York RUFC at Old Brodleians in Yorkshire One tomorrow

NORTH One East survival is out of Malton & Norton RUFC's hands, admits club spokesman Bill Laidler.

The Gannock club travel to Sheffield tomorrow knowing they can win their final four games and still not be safe from relegation.

They require teams in and around them to slip up and, with them having to travel to high-flying Cleckheaton and Rochdale while also entertaining Driffield at home, the Ryedale side have got their work cut out to climb out of the division's bottom three.

Laidler said: "We have to rely on other things and Sheffield have had a bit of a resurgence of late. They beat West Hartlepool in Teesside a couple of weeks ago. In the last couple of months they have had some good results.

"We have to go out against everyone hoping we are going to get something but, realistically, it is down to us doing well against Sheffield and Driffield.

"If we can get four points against Sheffield it will be a boost. Five would be even better and it is the same against Driffield."

York head coach Sean Bass will ring the changes as his side go to Old Brodleians in Yorkshire One.

With the Clifton Parkers suffering cup defeat last weekend, and in no danger of being either promoted or relegated, Bass wants to look at some of the fringe players in his squad ahead of a renewed charge next season.

It will see James Hartley start at tight-head and players like Lewis Husband, Mark Benson and George Davies come into the squad.

"We want to see what they are made of," Bass explained. "But we don't want it to be a mockery. There will be some good old heads in there as well like Andy Kay, who has had a great season for the club and I hope I can convince him to play another season."

On Brods, who are a place and five points ahead in the table but have played two games more, he added: "We've got to a get a pick-me-up. We were beaten at home by them and beat them away (in the Yorkshire Shield) so it is 1-1."

Pocklington are back in North One East league action at Percy Road against Wheatley Hills.

The Doncaster outfit are two spots in the table behind fifth placed Pocklington. When the clubs met in November, Pocklington edged an 18-15 victory and another close encounter is on the cards as the two sides have had very similar results since Christmas.

Pocklington welcome John-Paul Kelly onto the replacements bench. The experienced prop, with more than 300 appearances under his belt, has missed the last two months with an ankle injury.

Selby, who crashed out of the Yorkshire Shield semi-finals last week, look to have the perfect opponent in Yorkshire One.

They entertain an Acklam side that haven't won a game all season.

York RI have enjoyed a steady season in Yorkshire Four. They are out to pick up their ninth win of the campaign at Halifax Vandals.

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