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Trio return to boost York Acorn promotion aim
10:36am Thursday 20th September 2012 in Sport
YORK Acorn need at least four wins from their last five games to stand a chance of winning a place back in amateur rugby league’s elite tier – but their cause has been boosted by the quick return of the “three muscateers”.
That was the verdict of coach Scott Rhodes ahead of their long trek to Cumbrians Millom on Saturday.
The Blue and Golds, relegated from the National Conference League premier division last season, lie fifth in division one after last week’s loss to promotion rivals Bradford Dudley Hill but are only two points off top spot with at least one game in hand on three teams above them.
The recent departures to semi-professional outfit Montpellier of young guns Jordan Hyde, Antony Chilton and Chris Rushworth did not help Acorn’s promotion push, but the trio have aborted their French adventure, citing job problems and broken promises.
Said Rhodes of the challenge ahead: “Millom have a good record at home and it’s a long way to travel. But it’s nothing we don’t know about and we know what we’ve got to do. We know the things we need to put right.
“We know we’ve got to win at least four of our last five games to have any chance of going up. I don’t target specific games – I go to win every match. We’re still massively in the hunt and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
He added: “I was more disappointed with the performance last week than the result. We seemed to sink back into giving silly penalties away and making silly errors. It was totally different to Hunslet Warriors away. I sometimes can’t put my finger on it but with a young team you’re not going to get that consistency – that’s where we’re suffereing at the minute.”
To that end, the loss of prop Adam Endersby to a broken thumb, allied to other absences, has been a big blow but the club hope he will return before the end of term.
In the meantime, Nick Speck comes back into contention this week as does Hyde, and possibly the other muscateers. Johnny Waldron, a prolific try-scorer but plagued by injuries, also did his call-up chances no harm with a hat-trick in the second team’s Yorkshire Men’s League play-off win last week.
Rhodes will pick his side after training tonight but added: “I’m expecting a full squad to be available – two squads in fact as the second team have no game.”
Winless Heworth go to Featherstone Lions in division two – with genuine hopes of finally breaking their 22-month duck.
The Lions, like the Villagers, conceded a game last month having had too few players available, and a much-depleted side crashed 90-4 at East Leeds last week. A number of their players have reportedly returned to winter rugby.
Heworth, meanwhile, have been buoyed by their spirited display at second-placed Waterhead.
Spokesman Ken Sykes said: “We don’t really know what to expect from Featherstone but we were lifted by our gutsy performance against the top point-scorers in the division.
“We held them for the first half and it was only 10-4. We were bound to tire but 36-8 was a creditable effort. We’ll go to Featherstone with a similar spirit and might have a chance of sneaking it.”