Rugby Union: Morley see a chance to close gap on Phoenix

Harrogate director of rugby Mike Aspinall.
Harrogate director of rugby Mike Aspinall.
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Morley RFC’s first team could close the gap on North One East leaders Doncaster Phoenix this weekend.

The Maroons travel to Pocklington tomorrow hoping to pick up points that will eat into Phoenix’s substantial 19-point buffer at the top of the table.

Second-placed Morley are in good form, having dispatched Morpeth 2nds 3-0 last weekend, and they will be keen to replicate the 24-18 home success over Pocklington last October.

With the season approaching its business end, Phoenix host third-placed West Hartlepool, who will not only aim to upset the table toppers but also hope for a Pocklington win as they look to overhaul the five-point deficit on the Maroons.

Elsewhere, Harrogate RUFC were likely to slap a lengthy ban on the head of flanker Tom Harvey after his dismissal in the 27-23 win over Chester on Saturday.

Harvey was shown a red card midway through the second half after stamping on a Chester forward.

Harrogate were in control of the fixture at the time and managed to hold waves of pressure in the final moments to record a fourth win in a row over their rivals from the west coast.

Harvey attended a club disciplinary at Rudding Lane on Tuesday and must wait to find out whether the RFU will take further action.

Director of rugby Mike Aspinall branded the actions as “a bit daft” and admitted the in-form flanker would be a big miss in the pack over the next month.

“There wasn’t malice in it per say, it was a bit clumsy from Tom Harvey,” Aspinall said.

“He will be regretting it for the next six to eight weeks. He apologised to the players and staff in the changing room afterwards. When you’re a physically dominant number six, you’re playing with high levels of aggression and you’re playing on the edge. Every back row will say they have stepped over someone at some point in time but you have to be careful.

“Thankfully the Chester player wasn’t injured.”

Harrogate host Sale tomorrow in National 2 North, kick-off 2pm. Elsewhere, Otley host Preston Grasshoppers, while Sandal are at home to Macclesfield.

In National 1, fourth-from-bottom Wharfedale host Rosslyn Park.

Tomorrow’s selected fixtures:

National 1: Wharfedale v Rosslyn Park.

National 2 North: Harrogate v Sale, Otley v Preston Grasshoppers, Sandal v Macclesfield.

National 3 North: Cleckheaton v Ilkley.

North 1 East: Pocklington v Morley.

Yorkshire 1: Bradford Salem v Selby, North Ribblesdale v West Park Leeds, Old Crossleyans v Bridlington, York v Yarnbury.

Yorkshire 2: Castleford v Ripon, Knottingley v Moortown, Old Rishworthians v West Leeds, Pontefract v Roundhegians.

Yorkshire 3: Aireborough v Rotherham Phoenix, Bramley Phoenix v Wetherby, Goole v Harrogate Pythons, Leeds Medics v Halifax, Leeds Modernians v Baildon, Old Otliensians v Stocksbridge.

Yorkshire 4: Burley v Hemsworth, Leeds Corinthians v Halifax Vandals, Ossett v Sheffield Oaks.

Yorkshire 5: Thirsk v Knaresborough.

Richard Mayhew

Mayhew honoured to lead Carnegie