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Acklam Park opener to be savoured by Pocklington RUFC
Pocklington RUFC haven’t been to Middlesbrough for more than 20 years but they will take the trip to Acklam Park as they kick off their new life in North One East.
It couldn’t be a tougher test for the Percy Roaders against a Teesside outfit who have traditionally been one of the North’s top clubs.
Middlesbrough, who have always been above their East Yorkshire rivals in the league structure, were relegated from National Three North at the end of last season and so the two clubs now share equal standing.
In good form following their 24-3 friendly win over Driffield, scrum-half Ben Rees has returned from holiday to come into the Pock squad and forms a new half-back partnership with ex-Hull FC Academy stand-off Josh Britland.
Jack Helme is another former junior to come through the ranks to join the seniors and, while there are a quartet of regulars still unavailable, 14 of the 18-strong squad played in the final game of last season.
Pock finally got their hands on the Yorkshire One trophy last week as, in one of his first official duties, Steve Watson, the new Yorkshire RFU president, presented the prize to skipper Mat Webber, who actually received two trophies.
A Yorkshire One championship plaque will have a permanent place in the Pocklington RUFC clubhouse at Percy Road and the club are also the first recipients of the Yorkshire One Champions’ Cup, which the league winners will now hold for a year in a new RFU initiative.
The Gannock-based club are looking to maintain their standing in the division following a successful fourth place finish in their debut year – a showing largely based on their home form.
They will be looking to get off to a good start on their travels but are relying on youth to see them through. Adam Turnbull and Duncan Foster are awaiting the harvest, head coach Chris Creber is out and the Newitt brothers, Henry and Tom, are also unavailable.
It means Malt will stick with the same squad that defeated Old Crossleyans in the Yorkshire Cup last week and, on that performance, club spokesman Bill Laidler believes the team have a lot of potential.
“We are confident enough,” he said. “They did well enough against Crossleyans to think they can step up to the plate. The game will probably be won up front. We were very good in that department last year and, while our second row is a bit different, the front three are the same.”
A new coach has taken the reins at York RI. Dan Coates, formerly with Malton & Norton, has arrived as a player-coach at New Lane and leads his charges into battle at Baildon in Yorkshire Three.
The Railwaymen have recruited a number of new faces, including props Darren Lonsdale and James Taylor, along with wing-forward Ben Schofield. Club spokesman Nigel Lowrey said: “There’s a good feeling around the club. We haven’t lost any players and we’ve a couple of lads back from university so we need to finish in the top four.”
Elsewhere in the Yorkshire Leagues, York kick off their Yorkshire One season with a trip to Barnsley while, in Yorkshire Two, Selby are at Hullensians.