STRUGGLING St Joseph’s will be hoping a home clash against a major Halifax rival will help kick-start their Pennine League Championship Division campaign.
After finally opening their account 13 days ago with a hard-earned win at York side New Earswick All Blacks, the Fartown-based side were brought back down to earth a week later as they suffered a heartbreaking 7-6 home defeat to the same opposition.
Joe’s will now be looking to bounce back tomorrow when they host mid-table King Cross Park to prove all is not lost in the 2012-13 season – although the club always knew it could prove a challenging time.
Following their relegation from the Premier Division, several of their established first-team players took the decision to focus all their attention on their summer National Conference club Underbank Rangers and rest up during the winter months.
As a result, the decision was taken to run just one team, with some of the players from the second team who were playing in Division V being promoted up to the Championship.
A new coach, Simon Hagger, was brought in from an assistants role at Dewsbury and the re-building process began.
But the signs are clearly suggesting Joe’s are becoming more competitive.
Last week’s one-point defeat to New Earswick followed an equally close reverse at Moorends Marauders a few weeks before and a narrow two-point Holliday Cup defeat to in-form Emley Moor.
As a result, the spirit among the players remains as high as ever, knowing a change of fortunes could be just around the corner.
The club have also received a major off-field boost, with Ricky’s Bar on Leeds Road having come on board as a major sponsor, and they are now looking for a new kit sponsor. If interested please contact Mark Wells on 07939 493695.
And Joe’s know that if they can start picking up the wins – beginning with victory at King Cross tomorrow – then getting the backing will prove a lot easier.
Like every other club this weekend, Joe’s will be taking a good look at the weather forecast, with the current frozen spell expected to claim its fair share of victims.
But hopefully those won’t include the fixtures in Division II, where all three Huddersfield sides are at home.
Second-placed Emley Moor have an eye-catching top-of-the-table clash against third-placed Boothtown Terriers, while Lindley Swifts host Dodworth and Underbank Rangers entertain Brotherton Bulldogs.
Moor should be refreshed for their big game after their Holliday Cup semi-final clash against Meltham All Blacks was called off.
That was also the case in the other last-four clash between Newsome Panthers and Slaithwaite Saracens, who will be just as keen to get back on the field this weekend.
Premier Division Slaithwaite face a tough test at Drighlington, although coach Marlon Billy’s second-placed men know they could return to the top of the table if they beat their third-placed hosts and leaders Queen’s lose to Sharltson Rovers.
And the Panthers will be hoping the chance to get over any niggly injuries will pay off when they travel to Bentley Good Companions.
There are also home assignments for Huddersfield’s three Division V sides, with Meltham All Blacks facing Whitkirk Bulldogs, Slaithwaite A against Crofton Cougars, and Newsome A take on Hunslet Old Boys A, while Division VII side Underbank A travel to Illingworth A.