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York Acorn coach sees twists aplenty in title race
11:42am Thursday 27th September 2012 in Sport
York Acorn ARLC coach Scott Rhodes expects there to be a few twists as division one of the National Conference League enters its final few weeks – but he remains hopeful of a return to amateur rugby league’s top tier, writes Alex Finnis.
Acorn were relegated from the premier division last season, but currently sit sixth in division one with at least two games in hand over most of their rivals going into their home game with Stanningley on Saturday.
“There’s still loads to play for. We go into every game looking for a win, and that’s what we’ll do again this weekend,” said Rhodes, who stated ahead of the postponed game with Millom last weekend that his side needed to win at least four of their five remaining games to stand a chance of promotion.
“The situation is still the same,” added the Acorn coach, who fancies his team’s chances of getting the win against Stanningley. “Looking over their recent results they’ve not been winning in the league.
“They nearly got a result against Hunslet Warriors last weekend, though, and this will be another tough game. They’ll be looking to try and get some pride out of the season.”
Stanningley sit just one place above the relegation zone, and, with Stanley Rangers just three points back, they have it all to play for against Acorn this Saturday.
The same can be said of Milford Marlins, Acorn’s opponents the following weekend, who are currently fourth and also involved in what looks to be a six-team battle for the three promotion places.
“They look to be a form team at the minute – that’ll be a tough one and we’ll have to be on top of our game to beat them,” said Rhodes.
Acorn head into the game with Stanningley with concerns over their pack. Prop Adam Endersby remains sidelined with a broken thumb, while both Alan Willetts and Danny Caldwell join the unavailable list this weekend. Rhodes believes his side will cope with the losses, however. “We’ll go with what we’ve got, like we have done all season,” he said.
Heworth go into their game with Elland after picking up their first point in nearly two years against Featherstone Lions last weekend.
Since beating Waterhead in October 2010, Heworth had been heading towards a half-century of straight defeats, until coming from 24-0 down to secure the 28-28 draw against the Lions. However, club spokesman Ken Sykes was still disappointed not to get that elusive win.
“At 12-0 down we were still right in the game. We were attacking on their line until they got an interception and scored a 90-yard try to make it 18-0, then they scored again,” Sykes said.
“At half-time we probably would have settled for the point but as the game went on we looked better and if the game was five minutes longer I think we would have won.
“We’re still desperate for a win,” continued Sykes. “I think this Saturday is our best chance of achieving that but it’s going to be tough. They’re a different proposition to Featherstone but I think we can be encouraged by the spirit we’ve showed.”