One more victory will secure safety: Boss

One win from their four remaining games should be enough for Old Brodleians to ensure they won’t suffer a second successive relegation.

That’s the opinion of coach John Cole, whose side get a deserved weekend off following their latest gritty success in Yorkshire One, by 28-10 at home to Pontefract last Saturday.

It was the Woodhead side’s third win in a row and moved them a dozen points clear of bottom pair Barnsley and Knottingley, who were both well beaten.

Brods face a tough trip to third-placed York next Saturday before rounding off their campaign against three lower sides, Barnsley (h), Bridlington (a) and Dinnington (h).

Cole has welcomed a chance for his players to rest their aching limbs this weekend and was full of praise for them after they had continued to turn around the club’s fortunes by completing a double over Pontefract.

Cole said: “We’ve had a good day and it is testament to the efforts of the lads.

“They are all working hard at training - they don’t miss and they are all up for the challenge.

“It would have been easier for them to turn around and walk away in October/November but they didn’t and they are now reaping the rewards for their commitment.”

Cole singled out prop Callum Thompson, who has been battling on with a dodgy knee, as an example of the determination within the squad. Thompson had been keen to play the previous week, only to break down in the warm-up, but was back at loose head for more than an hour on Saturday before finally having to be helped off again.

Brods were again very slow to get going in the first half hour down the slope and trailed to a 22nd minute Andy Dean penalty before scoring 15 points out of the blue in the last seven minutes of the opening period.

An impressive forward drive from a lineout enabled Thompson to touch down, Danny Wood converting, and some clever play close to the left touchline enabled centre Rob Jennings to drive past two tacklers and score.

Wood was unable to convert but added a low, straight penalty from 30 metres in the last action of the half.

Pontefract’s scrum dominance yielded a penalty try, converted by Dean, to make it 15-10 early in the second half and the visitors arguably looked favourites with the advantage of the hill.

Remarkably, however, the visitors never remotely looked like adding to their tally as Brods built up a head of steam, two Wood penalties and a converted try from replacement prop Jamie McLaughlin in the closing seconds securing a valuable four points.

Halifax Vandals’ game in Yorkshire Four was postponed when visitors Marist were unable to raise a team.

Joe Launchbury has passed a late fitness test and will start for England in their Grand Slam showdown with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The Wasps lock injured his elbow in England’s 18-11 win against Italy but he has improved to retain his place in a side that features four changes for the RBS 6 Nations title decider.

Tom Croft will start at blindside flanker in only his seventh appearance since returning to action after recovering from a broken neck that almost left him paralysed.