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Reality check for Selby RUFC as Yorkshire One campaign begins
SELBY RUFC chief Richard Nicholson isn’t setting his side any promotion targets as their return to Yorkshire One gets under way against North Ribblesdale at Sandhill Lane tomorrow.
The Swans boss leads his men into league action on a high – having won the Yorkshire Two championship and EDF Senior Vase final last season and doling out a 64-0 thumping to Moortown last week in the first round of the Yorkshire Shield.
Nicholson said the scoreline of the cup clash flattered his side a little bit, adding Selby had to work very hard to get on top.
Without a number of first-team players from last season, Selby gave a run-out to Neil Francis at scrum-half, under-19 player Alex Oliver in the second row and new Kiwi signings Tom Cobley and Teihana Brown.
The tries came from Ben Lunt, a hat-trick from Jacob Robinson, a brace from Brown and Stephen Clark, along with scores from Charlton McCoy and Alex Arthur.
But Nicholson insisted neither he nor his squad were under any illusions about how tough life would be in a higher league.
“It’s going to be a big challenge,” he said. “We haven’t played North Ribblesdale for two or three years and they are one of the clubs that we really enjoy playing.
“We haven’t been too specific in terms of targets. We want to try to be as competitive as we can and go and play like we can.
“Hopefully that will be good enough to trouble some teams.
“Other clubs have come up from Yorkshire Two and gained promotion again but I don’t think anyone is talking about that here.
“It’s about playing our kind of rugby. We’re not that arrogant to start saying that we are going to be promoted. That would be silly.
“We will target home games and just make a nuisance of ourselves, making sure we can turn a few sides over.”
Dan Porter and Ian Adamson return for Selby after holidays but Rob Bourke broke a shoulder against Moortown.
Martin Protheroe is also unavailable but Nicholson said he still expected to be able to call on a squad of “reasonable strength”.
Coach Chris Creber watched his team lose 64-17 in the preliminary round of the Yorkshire Cup but absences caused by farming and cricket commitments meant he was forced to field a “very weakened side”, said club spokesman Bill Laidler.
With Henry and Tom Newitt, George Harrison and Simon Thompson just a few of the players returning this weekend, Laidler is hoping for much better things as Malton look to steady themselves in the division.
“We could end up very much in the top half,” he said. “If we can do that, and maintain that, then we will be more than happy. Home form is going to be the key.
“Cleckheaton will be a tough start but, on past seasons, it is a winnable game.”
Pocklington host Sheffield in the same division.
The two sides met in April in the final league encounter of last season in South Yorkshire when Pocklington ran out 37-21 winners.
But it was Sheffield that took the points at Percy Road with an 18-14 success earlier in the campaign and Sheffield will be much changed on Saturday with a raft of arrivals and departures over the summer.
For Pocklington, regular prop John Paul Kelly returns after being unavailable in last week’s last-gasp cup loss against National League side Bradford & Bingley.
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