Helstrip return gives Selby Warriors timely boost

York Press: . .

Selby Warriors ARLC have received a major boost as they look to kickstart their campaign at home to Dodworth (2pm).

Former player and head coach Paul Helstrip, who led the Warriors on an unprecedented run of success and rise up the Pennine League, is returning to the ranks to help out present player-boss Matt Stevenson.

The move comes as the Warriors look to escape division one drop-zone danger come the turn of the year.

Said club spokesman Dave Sowden: “It has been difficult for Matt this season as the team were promoted into the very competitive first division and he is having to combine the role of coach and prop forward.

“Paul can now oversee things from a coaching perspective while Matt is on the field, and hopefully it can help the team to gain enough wins to stay clear of relegation.”

Selby sit in the relegation zone but will be favourites this Saturday against a side with seven defeats from seven outings.

Sowden said: “All the Selby players are keen to stay in the first division. After a tough start they are getting to grips with the faster pace and are all enjoying playing at a higher level.

“Now, with Paul re-joining the coaching staff, their chances have greatly improved.”

All players are urged to attend training tonight at the Foxhill Lane (7pm).

Selby Warriors ‘A’ travel to local rivals Moorends ‘A’ in division seven.

Meanwhile, Jack Stearman is hoping home fires burn for New Earswick All Blacks as they get back to playing at White Rose Avenue.

Only two of the All Blacks’ seven matches this season have been on home turf and a run of four straight league defeats has dumped them into the bottom two of the Pennine League championship.

That sequence has been pierced only by an away victory at Ossett Trinity in the league’s President’s Cup, and Stearman is confident they can return to winning form – as well as White Rose Avenue – on Saturday, when they face Eastmoor Dragons (2pm).

“The weekend off last week (due to the World Cup final) probably came at a good time for us – and so has a return to playing at home,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of away games and it knocks rhythm out of your team. We need to be going into Christmas on a high.”

Eastmoor also play in the summer-based National Conference League, amateur rugby league’s foremost competition, and so have a good pool of players to pick from. Their form is patchy, though, with two wins from four league games to date, and Stearman maintains his men can win any match at this level, notwithstanding their own league run.

“It’s like any team – it’s 17 against 17 and if we play our game we know we’re good enough to win,” he said.

All Blacks could be boosted by the return of veteran packman Carl Barrow, left, following a broken toe. Playmaker Liam Gargan, out after dislocating a shoulder, is nearing a return but is not expected back this weekend.

“Carl’s a big miss when he’s not there, with his experience and leadership,” added Stearman. “It’s good to have him back. If Liam makes it, it would be a bonus.”

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