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Selection dilemma for York Acorn boss Scott Rhodes
SCOTT RHODES has some selection headaches as his York Acorn ARLC side look to continue their National Conference League division one promotion push at Eccles on Saturday – but he has warned whoever gets the nod to expect a fiery battle.
Acorn were missing half a team last weekend due to captain Tom Hill’s wedding but youngsters came into the breach and helped the Blue and Golds to beat Rochdale Mayfield 38-34. It was the side’s best display in weeks following some stuttering form and kept them within a point of top spot.
The man of the match that day, Johnny Waldron, is unavailable this weekend, while Steve Mackley could now be out for the season due to work and family commitments, but Rhodes has a number of key players back for the trip to Salford, including attacking weapon Leigh Rientoul, Mike Embleton, Timmy Elliott and Danny Caldwell.
Rhodes said: “With the players we had out, especially the senior section, I was over the moon with the performance. Our discipline was a lot better and that helped us throughout the game.
“The average age must have been 20 or 21 and they (Mayfield) thought they should be putting teams with that number of players out to bed, but credit has to go to our lads. They executed the game plan and it worked.
“We’ve got quite a few options this weekend but we’re fairly happy with what the young lads produced.”
As reported by The Press last week, former York City Knights second-row John Smith was a timely boost to the ranks, while there was also a welcome return last week for veteran schemer Andy Gargan.
The latter, with only a few first-team and second-team games behind him this season, is set to continue in a role off the bench, able to slot into hooker or half-back as appropriate, with praise from Rhodes.
Said the coach: “He steadies the ship. He’s a very good player to have when he’s available so I try to use him when I can. He was one of the reasons we did so well last week, especially in attack.”
Meanwhile, Rhodes said his players should not read too much into Eccles’ mid-table position. “They’re a very good team,” he said.
“They’re probably the biggest team in the competition. They played very well at our place even though we beat them. They can handle themselves and they’re really strong in contact. We’ve got to front up in the forwards like last week and try to exploit their edges in attack.”
Heworth will be hoping their apparent improvement in form will bring about the elusive first victory since October 2010.
The Villagers, fresh from a week off, play host to one of the teams they should be looking to finally end their awful run against – Askam, who lie third bottom of NCL division two and traditionally do not travel well. The Cumbrians did, however, win at second-bottom Eastmoor Dragons last week so will be keen to add to their tally of six victories this season, while Heworth will now be without top teenager Tyler Craig following his promotion to York City Knights first-team ranks.
Heworth players are to meet at 1pm and if unavailable phone Stuart on 07859 885327.
Troubled York Lokomotive are still seeking their first win of the year after crashing 40-16 in a hastily-arranged friendly at development club North Yorkshire Stallions last week. The Catterick outfit are similarly winless in the Yorkshire Men’s League (YML).
The Lokos are due to go to Birstall Victoria this weekend in a new-look YML entry level competition match.
Heworth ‘A’ have no YML game and York Acorn ‘A’ likewise have no fixture scheduled.