MALTON & Norton RUFC’S relegation clash with Northern tomorrow has been described as a “must-win” game by club chiefs.
The Ryedale side head into the fixture at the Gannock just two points ahead of third from bottom Morpeth in the North One East table.
After three consecutive defeats, including last week’s 35-26 loss at Old Crossleyans, Malt are a point and a place below their Newcastle-based opponents and are starting to look nervously over their shoulders.
Club spokesman Bill Laidler said: “We have now been sucked into the relegation battle.
“We are fourth from bottom. Fellow strugglers Northern visit the Gannock tomorrow and a win is a must.”
Pocklington go up the road to their nearest rivals, Driffield, in North One East.
When the sides met at Percy Road last October, Pock enjoyed a comfortable 36-10 victory but a much closer encounter is expected this time around.
Pocklington select a squad of 20 which includes four players not involved last week – three-quarter Nick Bennett, locks Tom Peters and Dan Wilson and back-row Marcus Britland, who has returned to the club from York.
Selby face a “challenging” trip to Old Brodleians in Yorkshire One.
The Sandhill Laners are unbeaten so far this year and picked up a 28-18 victory at Scarborough a week ago.
But their opponents have won seven of their ten games on home soil this season and Selby head coach Richard Nicholson believes a tough task awaits his squad in Halifax.
“It’s a challenging pitch, a challenging team and a challenging atmosphere,” he said. “With the weather we probably won’t throw the ball around too much but we can still play rugby if we are accurate.
“You have just got to adapt on the day. We have options and can change how we play. It’s about picking the right method.
“We have done well since the start of the year. We worked really hard over Christmas and we tried to cram in as much as we could.
“It was not always popular but it is paying dividends. We are always stronger in the second half of the season and the break allowed for a couple of players to return from knocks.”
Charlie McCoy is unavailable for the Swans, while Teihana Brown is also missing with an ankle injury.
York will be happy to just to get back on to the field.
Having yet to win a game this year, the Clifton Parkers have been frustrated in two efforts to play their Northern Division Intermediate Cup tie at Consett.
They will be hoping the weather, and the Shipton Road pitch, can hold up for the visit of Heath in Yorkshire One.
Key players in the promotion race earlier in the season, coach Sean Bass’ men are now 23 points off top spot.
Ben Hepworth will be a vital part of the front row with veteran Andy Kay in at number eight.
John Dawes and Billy Cakaunitabua man the wings.
Heath, who have won just six games all season, should give York a good opportunity to end their losing run.
York RI, defeated 24-8 by Stocksbridge last week, will aim to get back on track when they travel to Ossett in Yorkshire Four.