SCOTT RHODES insists his York Acorn ARLC team are “not far away” from a run of victories that will propel them up the National Conference League division one standings.

Acorn host Ince Rose Bridge on Saturday (2.30pm) sitting second bottom with three points from their opening fives games, following a 30-6 loss at Milford last week.

But head coach Rhodes remains confident they can get back into the promotion race, believing even last week’s encounter offered positives.

“The result didn’t reflect the game - it was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests,” he said. “We had plenty of chances but just weren’t clinical enough and they got a couple of late tries that took the game away.

“But we are making chances. Not being clinical enough is costing us as these are games we should be getting something out of. But I think overall we’re not far away from picking these wins up. We’ve just got to stick it out.”

He added: “Ince Rose are around the same area in the table as us.

We’re second bottom but only three points from fourth. Everyone is beating each other at the minute.

We could easily have had four wins. That’s how close it is. We’re just not getting the calls or the bit of luck you need.

“It’s not quite happening for us but I’m pretty sure over the next few weeks we will pick up good wins.”

Last week’s game saw the return to first-team action of pack leader Tom Hill after a long-standing groin/pelvic injury, and Rhodes was hoping the forward will overcome apparent soreness and play regularly again, starting on Saturday.

“He came off the bench and did really well,” said the coach. “He’s had a bit of a setback in training this week but we’re hoping it’s not serious because having him in there is a real boost.”

Heworth go to Crosfields in division three looking to write off their last match - a 34-4 loss at Hindley - and instead build on their previous away trip, the wellearned draw at Coventry Bears.

“We were excellent that day against a good side and can take lots from it,” said coach Tim Rumford, who is boosted by the returns from university of outsidebacks Christian Pollock, a former rugby union under- 18s international from Whitby, and James Farnsworth.

Last week’s friendly against Jarrow was called off as the visitors had too many injuries and absences, but Rumford added: “It’s been a bit of a broken start to the season for us which isn’t helping with combinations but we’ve done some good work in training and I’m pretty confident we can more than compete this week.”

New Earswick All Blacks coach Jack Stearman is confident his side can give a buoyant Upton a run for their money in their penultimate Pennine League championship outing.

Upton, with only two defeats all term, became the first team to beat leaders Methley in the league this season when they won 20-18 a fortnight ago, and they followed up by seeing off third-placed Chequerfield 27-8 last weekend.

They need to also beat All Blacks to give themselves a chance of toppling Methley in the title race, but Stearman said: “We went to their place with only 13 men on the first day of the season and ran them close and we’ve improved a lot since then.

“We can pull off a victory and push for fourth spot. Fourth was our aim at the start of the season and there’s no reason why we can’t do that with two games to go. If we stick to our game-plan we can push them and get the result.”

Selby Warriors ‘A’ host leaders Illingworth ‘A’ in division seven.

Illingworth have only one defeat all term.