Ovenden keen to retain top place

OVENDEN travel to Eastmoor Dragons tomorrow (2.30) in the unaccustomed position of looking down on the rest in Division Two of the Conference.

The Four Fields men and Shaw Cross Sharks show the way at this early stage of the season. The pair drew in Halifax 13 days ago but have each won their other two matches.

Ovenden were 46-6 home winners against Heworth last Saturday, beginning really well and having the points in the bag at half time.

Player-coach Gareth Jones made changes in the second half, to give other players some game time at this early stage of the campaign, and Ovenden lost their way.

However, it has generally been a very positive start and Jones is looking for more of the same against a Dragons side who finished well above them last season but haven’t been quite the same force since their playmaker Kevin Brown went to Australia.

Ovenden won away to the Wakefield side late last season and Jones is hoping his skipper Matt Turner will be fit for the repeat bid. The hard-working second rower picked up a deadleg against Heworth but Jones expects him to be fit.

Jones has had 16 men for the last couple of games, and left 16-year-old Jack Sutcliffe with the seconds last weekend to ensure that side had enough players. He should have more bodies as his disposal when the Pennine League season ends.

Ovenden A are away to Heworth in their third game of the campaign tomorrow.

ELLAND face Conference newcomers Askam at Greetland tomorrow (2.0) and will be looking to make amends for a 36-8 defeat at West Bank Bulls last week.

The scoreline was a big disappointment after the opening day win at home to Featherstone Lions and although there were some mitigating circumstance, coach Karl Fairbank wasn’t ready to accept excuses.

Elland were hit by several late withdrawals due to a sickness bug, surrendered the lead to a try on the stroke of half time and were then killed off by a score when the visitors thought play should have been brought back for an earlier Bulls knock on.

“We need to get back to winning ways this week, especially at home with them having to come a long way,” said Fairbank. “We want a flying start when they may be ‘still on the bus’.”

Marc Shickell, Miles Fairbank and Jake McCarthy are among the players who should return tomorrow against the Cumbrians, who have two points from three matches and were beaten 32-12 at home by Shaw Cross Sharks last Saturday.