Ball: We were caught cold

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Old Rishworthians coach Damian Ball admitted his side were caught cold by Sheffield Medicals in last weekend’s Yorkshire Two opener at Copley.

Rishies, who romped to the Yorkshire Three title last season, were 22-0 down after 20 minutes against the South Yorkshire students, effectively ending their chances of kicking off life in their new division with a win.

“It was a case of ‘welcome to Yorkshire Two’,” said Ball, who takes his team to West Leeds tomorrow.

“We made a game of it for the next 60, but the damage was done by then.

“We were caught cold, but the encouraging thing was that when we got up to the pace of the game we competed well against a team that finished fourth last season.

“I think tomorrow will be a different kind of challenge for us; Sheffield are a young, athletic student side, where West Leeds are an older, more experienced team.

“We are still probably five players short of our best side, but if we improve on a few things we’ll give ourselves every chance.”

Rishies, who are missing points-machine full back Aaron Canning with a knee injury, will give a debut to Ball’s former Halifax and Hull KR rugby league teammate Frank Watene tomorrow.

“Frank will give us some presence in the front row and I think he’ll give everyone a lift,” said Ball, who expects to be fit to play after leaving the field against Sheffield with a pectoral injury.

“It’s not just about him though; it’s a learning curve for him and we’re not putting unreasonable expectations on him.

“There are going to be another 14 players on the field who need to make sure they contribute to our improvement.”