More than bragging rights at stake at Scatcherd Lane

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Morley will aim to climb out of the bottom three in National Three North and scupper Sandal’s push for a place in the top two when the two local rivals meet at Scatcherd Lane tomorrow.

It will be the first derby clash of 2017 for Morley, who are only one point behind Doncaster Phoenix in the table and could overtake them should they get one over their neighbours this weekend.

The Maroons have shown an improvement in form in recent weeks and, after losing 11 games on the bounce, recorded wins over Lymm and Cleckheaton during December.

Although they lost 17-10 last Saturday, Morley will be encouraged by the performance and a well-deserved bonus point at high-flying Rossendale.

It was a particularly good display given the number of players missing from their line-up and van der Merwe, Bradshaw, Clough, Funnell, Hannam, Jones, Watts, Flegg and Richmond were among those not available for the trip across the Pennines.

Ben Bell, who left the Maroons to join Sandal last month, could go up against his former team-mates tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Dave Doherty says his Harrogate RUFC players must start turning good performances into results following their latest National Two North defeat.

The men from Rudding Park remain in the relegation zone after losing a match they really should have won at South Leicester by a 19-15 scoreline.

And the Cockerels’ director of rugby has acknowledged that if his side don’t develop a ruthless side sooner rather than later, then they will struggle to beat the drop.

“We’ve come a long, long way from the start of the season and have really improved, but too often we are reflecting on games that we ought to have won but have narrowly missed out in,” he said.

“We’ve played well in a lot of matches, but slight inaccuracies and a failure to take our chances has seen us fall just short.

“If we are to avoid relegation then we need to begin to convert good displays into points on the board.

“At South Leicester we produced our best attacking performance since I came to the club, but we’ve still come away with just a losing bonus point.

“We had a lot more penetration about our game, especially in the backs, but once again failed to capitalise when we were on top.”

Third-bottom Harrogate will be looking for an improved show when they host 11th-placed Luctonians tomorrow.

Comfortably in mid-table, Otley travel tomorrow to a Chester side sitting three places above them in the table. Otley have a decent record against Chester and will fancy their chances of completing a seasonal double over Saturday’s hosts, having edged the early-season contest 15-10.

Wharfedale, who are four points clear of third-bottom Harrogate, keep faith with the bulk of the team that played so well away at Hinckley.

Tom Barrett resumes his duties at no10 after being stuck in Poland, Jamie Guy moves to centre and Scott Jordan will start from the bench. Matt Hall is also available for the Foresters.

Tryscorer Will Homer. PIC: Varley's Picture Agency

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