Ovenden look to build, Elland want response

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Ovenden coach Gareth English is setting no expectations on his young side after they opened their Division Two National Conference season with a 14-0 win over Elland.

Tries from Matt Dawson, Chris Geoghegan and Sean Smith sealed success for the Four Fields side, who host Dudley Hill tomorrow.

“We played really well,” said English.

“Defensively, I don’t think we’ve played like that since I’ve been in charge.

“We thought we might struggle a little bit because Elland have had three games and we’ve had none, but they stood up really well.

“It’s great for the morale, so we’ll just take one game at a time and see how we do.

“We thought it was going to be another year of consolidation, but if they play like that I’m not so sure.”

English has made minimal additions to his team over the winter, with Dawson and Niall Brady returning to the club and young prop John-Paul Morrow leading the graduates from the club’s junior ranks.

“Morrow went really well and he’s going to get better as the season goes on,” said English.

Elland’s Karl Fairbank takes his side to Oldham St Annes looking for a positive reaction to last week’s derby nilling.

Fairbank admitted he was left bemused by last week’s 14-0 reverse, which came a week after his young side had pushed Premier Division outfit Wath Brow all the way in a 12-6 Challenge Cup loss in Cumbria.

“It was one of those games where things just don’t go for you and we’ve made things a bit harder than we needed to,” said Fairbank.

“There were high expectations after the week before and we seemed a little bit overawed by that.

“We were all over them early on, then they scored from an intercept and we never recovered.

“We could still be playing now and we wouldn’t have scored.

“We got what we deserved in the end, which was absolutely nothing.

“We’ve not dwelled on it; I just told them not to do whatever they did last week this week.”

Fairbank will welcome back Cayci Pearson, absent last week, although both Gareth Webb and Oliver Fairbank are injury doubts.