Crocs and Brods seek home boost

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NORTH One East pair Old Crossleyans and Old Brodleians haven’t managed a win between them in six games this year.

They look to get up and running again with home tests tomorrow but it will be tough against sides from the top four.

The Crocs, who are too near the relegation zone for comfort, entertain second-placed West Hartlepool, who thumped Brods 34-0 in the north east last week.

The Brods, seemingly losing their way after some fine results in the first half of the campaign, host a Wheatley Hills side who are fourth and have won 10 out of 13.

The Crocs at least will go into their contest encouraged by a bold showing at Team Northumbria six days ago.

They collected a losing bonus point from a 28-23 defeat to the fifth-placed club and skipper James Wainwright thought they deserved more.

“We played a lot better last week and were a bit unlucky.

“They had one very dubious try which came at a crucial point in the second half and if that hadn’t been allowed we would probably have gone on and won the game.

“The other sides around us in the table lost at home so it was a useful point for us.”

The Broomfield men have a couple of key men back tomorrow.

Mark Palmer returns at prop and Chris Seymour at fullback.

Rory Davis switches from the front row to lock, to partner Kevin McGill, while Seymour’s reappearance allows Leigh Thomas to revert to the wing.

Simon Normanton switches from the second row to the back row and will play alongside Dan Temm and Boj Sembi as Manny Riaz is working.

Young back Tom Hammond, who did not let the side down last week, drops to the bench.

Wainwright said West Hartlepool were going well and Crocs would have to play well to beat them.

He added: “Although we lost 23-3 against West Hartlepool in the first match we had three players sin-binned which did not help. It was a closer game than the score suggests.

“Last week was a massive step up for us and we have plenty of very winnable games to come.”

Brods will be trying to recapture the form they showed in the first meeting with Wheatley Hills.

A Matt Hoyle interception try allied to some determined defence helped them win 11-10 at Doncaster.

Brods also won the last Woodhead meeting between the sides when an Adam Standeven double helped them to a 24-10 win in the 2007/08 campaign.

The second row will be a focus for attention when it comes to selection.

Kyle Millward was going well until breaking a metacarpal at Hartlepool and he will be in pot for six weeks. Tom Hanson also left the field with a deadleg but Brods have experienced locks Matt Willis and Ollie Hawkins as possible replacements.

Coach Ian Armitage is unlikely to make many other changes but will want his side to show more spark in attack and a return to their defensive solidity.

Wheatley Hills have had a couple of postponements since flattening bottom club Hartlepool Rovers 50-10 on January 15.