Morley relegation battle starts against Waterloo
The national Three North season may still be in its early stages but Morley are already facing a '˜must-win' game.
Tomorrow the Maroons host Firwood Waterloo in a match that both sides will see as an important one in the battle to avoid relegation.
Morley are third-bottom of the league having suffered their eighth straight league loss last weekend when they were defeated by Hull.
That result leaves them seven points adrift of Cleckheaton in the standings ahead of the encounter with second-bottom Waterloo.
The Merseyside team picked up their first win of the league campaign last weekend when they prevailed 42-14 at home to rock-bottom Stockport, who also provided the opposition for Morley’s solitary league triumph, on the opening day of the season in September.
There are still plenty of games left of course, but Morley can’t afford to lose any more ground on the teams above them.
It is a much brighter story for Morley Colts, who have booked their place in the Yorkshire Cup final after a thrilling semi-final against Old Brodleians last week.
There was nothing between the rivals and the game had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Elsewhere in National Three North, third-placed Sandal entertain mid-table Kendal, who are four places but only two points adrift of their Milnthorpe Green hosts.
And Cleckheaton, in 11th, will be looking to put more daylight between themselves and the bottom three when they entertain sixth-place Hull.
Meanwhile, Harrogate RUFC’s derby-day victory over local rivals Wharfedale last weekend was a “big psychological boost” for the club, according to Dave Doherty.
The Cockerels’ director of rugby scored all of his side’s points in a 20-17 National Two North success, and believes that the result will prove to be a catalyst for a climb away from the foot of the league table.
Harrogate and Wharfedale occupy bottom and second-bottom on the league ladder.
“This was a massive win against one of our biggest rivals and it should galvanise us going forwards,” Doherty said.
“At the start of the season we were throwing games away and struggling for form, but in the last four or five weeks we have produced some good performances.
“We’ve been playing well, but not quite getting the results. This is our second victory, however, and I think we’ve turned the corner.
“The Wharfedale match was a dogfight and there was a lot of pressure on us, but we won the mental battle and came through it which is a big psychological boost.
“I think that we’ll see this team start to grow now.”
Wharfedale welcome back Tom Barrett at stand-off with Jamie Guy moving to centre, and prop Toms Asejevs from international duty with Will Lawn retained at scrum-half for the visit of second-placed promotion chasers Sale FC.
Another of the side’s Latvian internationals, Robbie Davidson, will start on the bench.
Mid-table Otley have a chance to close the gap on Luctonians, who sit just one place above them in ninth, when the sides meet at Cross Green tomorrow.
Matches kick-off at 2.15pm.