No play-off spot for Heworth ARLC

Gareth Singleton

Gareth Singleton

First published in Sport

HEWORTH ARLC have neither been offered nor requested a play-off place by default in National Conference League division three.

The top two go up automatically with the next four playing off for a third promotion place, and the Villagers, who have completed their fixtures ahead of everyone else, are certain to finish seventh.

That leaves them one place off the play-offs, but the club in fifth, Coventry Bears, are turning semi-professional at the end of this season to join the Kingstone Press League One (Championship One) ranks, meaning their place in the play-offs could have been left open.

When asked if Heworth had asked to take it, vice-chairman Ken Sykes said not. "It's strange one in that one of the teams above us won't be in the league next year, so in that sense what's the point of them playing off for promotion? I think they'll play on, though.

"We've certainly not requested to go into the play-offs instead of them, and we haven't heard anything to suggest any of the teams will not be playing. As far as we're concerned, our season's over."

Sykes was cheered by the late-season form - three straight wins - and reckoned it bode well for 2015.

"I certainly hope so," he said. "To be fair we were playing teams (Peterlee, Hindley and Eastmoor) we thought we could get results against, but we've definitely improved.

"The younger players have been gaining more in confidence. It will still take time (to be promotion candidates) but I think we're going to be okay."

Meanwhile, York Acorn go to Saddleworth Rangers for their penultimate game of the season thankful they are out of relegation danger.

Acorn's bad run continued with a home defeat to second-bottom Dewsbury Celtic, but results elsewhere mean they cannot finish below seventh. Saddleworth need points to avoid slipping into the bottom three.

Boss Scott Rhodes again has to make changes with players unavailable, but returning are Leigh Rientoul, for his first outing since an ankle ligament injury early in the season, and Gareth Singleton, back after hamstring trouble. Teenagers Jamie Stewart, Josh Mortimer and Nathan Hammerton - son of former York Wasps star Chris - are set to get more first-team experience.

Said Rhodes: "If we win our next two games we might go up a place or two which is where I thought we would be with our young team.

"I would've liked to win more over the last few weeks but it's not happened for us. It's a difficult time with lots of players unavailable through injury or other commitments, and making so many changes every week is probably why we've been so inconsistent."

He added: "Saddleworth are below us but they're a big side and need to win so it will be tough. It's always hard away from home and we haven't been travelling well."

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