Visitors will be fancied to avenge heavy derby losses

James Clare in action for Rishworthians. Picture: Jade Smith.
James Clare in action for Rishworthians. Picture: Jade Smith.

Old Rishworthians host Old Crossleyans tomorrow (2.15) and league placings and the form book suggest the visitors will start strong  favourites.

The pair last met in Yorkshire Two a couple of seasons ago when the Copley side registered a double, winning 39-7 at Broomfield in October and by 58-10 at home in February.

Rishworthians went on to gain promotion while the ailing Crocs, sliding down the league ladder in alarming fashion, were set for another relegation.

However, a reprieve marked a turning point in their fortunes. They gained promotion last term and have maintained the momentum under coach Gareth Greenwood this autumn. They are currently Halifax’s highest-placed team at the head of the table.

Rishworthians impressed many when they established themselves in Yorkshire One last term but their second season is proving more troublesome as injuries bite.

Chris Stone’s men currently lie 12th. Last week at Dinnington they started in style but then seemed to lose confidence and cohesion and will definitely have to raise their game against the leaders.

“We been working hard in training to sort things out, especially with tackling which seemed to drop off last week and which had been one of the strong points of our game,” said team manager Dan Ingham.

“But it’s a local derby and we are definitely up for it,” he said.

Crocs spokesman Howard Cooper was pleased with the way his sidebounced back from their first reverse of the season last week.

“To get a bonus point victory against a good Pontefract side, coming off the back of the disappointment at being well beaten at Moortown the game before was a testament to the character of the side,” he said.

“Although we need to find a greater consistency in our play, for 20 minutes we blew Pontefract away, scoring some outstanding tries, but the rest of the game was spent on the back foot.”

Cooper said that Joel McFarlane had moved in from the wing to centre in the absence of injured former skipper Jack Hammond and showed up very well. Boj Sembi, in for prop Jack Pilcher, had rolled back the years.

Pilcher is back tomorrow in place of Roland Marki and Cooper believes the return of the abrasive Mark Boothroyd, delayed last week, should give Crocs more ‘go forward’.

“What has been particularly pleasing so far has been the form of the youngsters Joe Stott and Sam Ives,” said Cooper.

“Both have shown a maturity to their games far in advance of their years.”

Cooper believes his side can take nothing for granted tomorrow. “Derby games are what they are, a great leveller. League positions tend not to count, so we need to be at the top of our game in all areas.”

Elsewhere, Heath are at Guisborough, Old Brodleians host Selby while Halifax Vandals host fourth-placed Leeds Corinthians in Yorkshire Three. Halifax are at Bramley Phoenix in Yorkshire Division Four North West.