Snakes alive! Vandals host in-form Pythons

Old Rishworthians coach Damian Ball has identified setting his side increasingly ambitious targets as the key to continued success in Yorkshire Three and beyond.

Ball’s runaway leaders are now 15 points clear at the top of the league ladder after trouncing second-placed Goole last weekend.

And while the 26-game league season is only at the halfway mark, the margin of their lead has forced the former rugby professional to concede the title is now theirs to lose.

“It’s in our hands now, definitely,” said Ball, who only took over at Copley last summer.

“I think the key is continuing to change the way the players’ mindset, not just for the rest of this year but potentially for next year and Yorkshire Two as well.

“All the improvements we have made this season are down to them.

“I brought some new ideas, but it’s the lads who have bought into them and been more and more professional about how they approach things, on and off the field.

“I have deliberately been over-critical of them at times, but you can see now that they are adapting and being a lot harder on themselves if they fall below the standards we have set ourselves.

“We were pretty poor before the break last weekend, but I didn’t need to tell them that, they recognised it themselves and did something about it.

“If we continue to do that, then I am sure we will continue to make progress, not just this season but beyond that as well.”

Rishies will be hot favourites to pick up another five-point haul tomorrow when they host Leeds Medics and Dentists.

The students have already been dispatched once this term, although predictably Ball was reluctant to take victory for granted.

“They’re obviously a young, athletic team and they like to shift the ball and play some rugby,” he said.

“That probably suits the way we like to play, but we need to make sure we turn up and perform. If we do that, there is no reason why we won’t get our rewards.”

Rishies will be at near full strength, with Anthony Shoesmith the only absentee.