Yorkshire One rivals set to square up at West Vale

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Rival coaches Kevin Plant and John Cole agree on one thing ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire One derby between Heath and Old Brodleians at West Vale: The formbook means nothing.

Brods have picked up three league wins in four starts to Heath’s one so far this season but coach Cole is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “Heath are a good side who are well organised and have strengthened. They will put up a good fight.”

Cole believes home advantage is important, even though Brods won at West Vale late last season, having lost the home fixture.

“Our win down there was during our resurgent period, by 21-20,” recalled Cole. “They had a chance to win it in the last five minutes but missed a kick.”

Plant, whose side lost out 35-20 at Selby last weekend, echoed his opposite number, saying: “They’re won more games, but we’ve had some close shaves and we’re not far off.

“In a lot of these games form doesn’t count for anything; it’s a local derby, their players will be desperate to win, our players will be desperate to win.

“I think everyone is looking forward to it.

“The scoreline at Selby didn’t really reflect the game; we were the better side for long periods but didn’t take our opportunities when they came along.

“We were 13-5 up, then 13-13 at half time, but got caught out with a couple of long range tries early in the second half.”

Brods should have Callum Thompson back at prop but if playmaker and goalkicker Danny Wood fails to recover from a shoulder injury, Liam Scott is likely to continue in the No 10 shirt.

Cole is pleased with his side’s promising start to the season, which has been aided by the contribution of overseas pair Sam Deacon and Tipiloma Kivalu.

Strong-running Kiwi centre Deacon has given the backs much more of an attacking threat while Tongan prop Kivalu has looked a powerful performer in two appearances so far.

Kivalu was replaced, along with powerful Luke Scrimshaw in the early stages of the second half of last week’s 30-20 home win over struggling Keighley.

Brods were 25-6 up at the time, thanks to tries from Joe Armitage, Kris Sharples, Deacon and Matty Hoyle, who added one conversion and a penalty.

However, the pair were hastily brought back into the action after Keighley had hit back with two converted tries in nine minutes, hooker James Brown’s try with five minutes left enabling Brods to breathe more easily.

Heath will be without Mark Hallett, who is unavailable, paving the way for Sam Pollard to deputise at full back.

Former rugby league professional Cayci Pearson will return in the centre.