OLD Brodleians make the short trip to derby rivals Cleckheaton tomorrow with plenty in their favour.
Ian Armitage’s side have made a much better start to the season than their hosts and were 20-19 winners at home to Sheffield last week while Cleckheaton were going down 24-12 at lowly Northern.
However, Brods have suffered heavy defeats on their last two away games, at Middlesbrough and Malton and Norton, and were beaten in last season’s fixture when they were outmuscled on a heavy and snow-covered Moorend pitch.
There is every chance that the young Brods side will find it hard going up front again tomorrow and they will need to be patient before bringing possible superior fitness and mobility into play.
Brods should have powerful skipper and No 8 Luke Scrimshaw back after an ankle injury and his younger brother Lee, who made his first team debut from the bench against Sheffield, could deputise at lock for Kyle Millward, who was forced off last week by a heavy blow to the head. Stevie Shaw or Rob Bradley are other candidates for the second row slot.
Rob Jennings is likely to go back to hooker after impressing at flanker last week, meaning Joe Fee misses out.
The backs could be unchanged although ex-Cleckheaton player James Marshall may come into the mix.
The reserve string have a big test in the Yorkshire Premier League against unbeaten Scunthorpe at Woodhead. They lost 18-0 at Bradford & Bingley last week after a below-par first half.
Gareth Moger and Nick Womersley return along with prop Andy Skinner.
HALIFAX Vandals’ tough start to the season continues when they face top of the table Roundhegians at Warley.
Much has been made of the potential within the Vandals ranks but their bottom placing in Yorkshire Three fails to support this notion.
Coach Chris Davis recognises that victories before the Christmas break are crucial in the Vandals’ quest to avoid the drop and would not be surprised if his team caused an upset this weekend.
Recent defeats have usually come from Vandals’ errors or indiscipline while a more calm and calculated approach by the half backs could also make a huge difference.
Craig Sim makes a welcome return to the starting line up at No 8, giving Frazer Carrington to chance to cause havoc at open side. The experienced Jon Isherwood completes the back row so Aaron Carrington, Liam McDonald and Andy Hoyle make up a strong bench.
In the backs, Tony McAspurn earns a start ahead of Tom Crowther, having impressed last week.
The seconds make the short trip to play Cleckheaton fourths.