Victory a must against rock bottom students

OLD Crossleyans are hoping the North One East table will look considerably better from their point of view by tomorrow night.

The third-from-bottom Broomfield men have a home “banker” against divisional whipping boys Team Northumbria (2.15) while some of their rivals to avoid relegation have tricky contests.

Crocs’ recent improvement stalled slightly last Saturday in a 26-3 defeat at third-placed Middlesbrough, when they were in contention for much of the first half.

Skipper James Wainwright said the withdrawals of scrum half Ed Cockroft and flanker Danny Booth had been a big blow and the display against a Middlesbrough side back to full strength had been better than the scoreline suggested.

Team Northumberland look booked for bottom place if last week’s 43-8 home defeat by the Brods is anything to go by and Crocs are unlikely to show them any mercy in pursuit of a bonus point victory.

Wainwright said Crocs had to guard against complacency and stamp their authority from an early stage against the students side.

He said: “They are there to be beaten and points difference could come into it at the end of the season.

“It should be a fairly straightforward task but we do need to turn up.

“If they get a taste for it, it could be difficult but we should be dominant. The scrum is going well and we should be able to bully them up front.”

Cockroft, a busy player and the team’s first choice goalkicker, returns tomorrow along with Booth.

That means Wainwright can revert to the wing and Simon Normanton, pressed into action a week earlier than ideal after injury at Middlesbrough, drops to the bench.

Prop Mark Palmer, who came out of retirement off the bench last week, is unavailable tomorrow but Crocs have no worries with regards to starter Dave Maloney, who was one of their better players six days ago.

There is no place in the backs for centre Neil Richardson, who will be asked to make an impact off the bench, as he did in the first meeting against Team Northumbria which Crocs won 34-13 in mid-October.

A handsome victory tomorrow could move Crocs level on points with Northern, who host Sheffield.