OLD Brodleians hope to be in the rare position of having plenty of competition for places when they resume North One East action after a weekend off at home to Durham City tomorrow.
The Woodhead men’s lead over Old Crossleyans, who occupy the third relegation place, was reduced to six points last Saturday and there are now only four rounds of fixtures left.
Tomorrow’s game, and the home contest with Morpeth on April 14, are in the “must win” bracket for Brods.
Coach Ian Armitage has been checking on the fitness of captain Luke Scrimshaw (ankle), his scrum half son Joe (shoulder) and stand off Liam Scott (ankle).
Ian Mallard and Richard Holborough are on stand by for the half-back roles, Holborough having recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss the 18-14 defeat at second-placed Wheatley Hills 13 days ago.
Brods should be at their strongest up front with props Dave Skinner, Callum Thompson, Alex Dawson and Jonjo Ward all competing to start and Lee Scrimshaw, Kyle Millward and Olly Hawkins available in the second row. Chris Hartley, Stevie Shaw and Jordan Shiel are back row alternatives to Luke Scrimshaw, but Brods would dearly like to see their talismanic No 8 back in action.
Durham won the first meeting at Hollow Drift by 37-15 in November, long-serving back Adam Standeven scoring two tries for the visitors.
Durham drew 20-20 at home to Cleckheaton last week and are seventh in the table.
Brods seconds are at home to Hull in the Yorkshire Premier League. They produced another fine display last week against Huddersfield, Eddie Carter’s four tries being the highlight.
They are likely to include James Marshall, Jonny Hotham, Danny Melia, Shaw, Joe Fee and Andy Skinner.