Huddersfield YMCA are set for an exciting finish to the season as they bid to seal back-to-back promotions but have been warned not to drop their North I East standards against Sheffield at Laund Hill on Saturday.
Coach Jody Shaw’s side confirmed their place in the April 26 promotion play-off final with a hard-fought victory over West Hartlepool, so they’ll have a shot at reaching national level for the first time in their history whatever happens from now.
Shaw, however, is keen not to let momentum slip in the final three matches of the regular season and plans to give some of the fringe squad members chance to put pressure on those who have guided the club to second place in the table behind champions-elect Cleckheaton.
That starts against Sheffield (3.00) when there’s a big reshuffle of the pack and some new faces on the bench.
“April 26 will be the climax to our season, but we have a job to do against Sheffield and it’s all about building consistency up to that date,” said Shaw, who is awaiting the results of further scans on Tom Sharrock’s eye-socket injury.
“We don’t want anyone dropping their standards and then trying to lift them in a month’s time. We have to build a platform between now and then which will ensure we are in the best possible shape for the play-off game.”
It’s likely YM will face Birkenhead Park on the 26th for a shot at promotion to National III North, as they are now favourites to finish runners-up in North I West after losing to Wirral (although there are also three games left on that side of the Pennines as well).
“When you look at the fact we’ve come from the bottom reaches of Yorkshire II, through Yorkshire I and are now at this stage in a division where people thought we would have to scrap just for survival, then it’s a fantastic prospect to have the play-off final to look forward to,” added Shaw.
“We don’t want to let all our hard work go to waste, though, so it’s important we stay focused and realise we have a job to do against Sheffield.
“Yes, we can look at different combinations and different personnel, giving people a chance to stake their claim at the business end of the season, but the important thing is we build on our momentum and don’t think we can step off the gas.”
Josh Wrafter is in at hooker against Sheffield, Sam Slater steps up to the front row and Josh Lumb goes in to No8 with Mark Whitehead at flanker, Sharrock missing out with his suspected fractured eye socket.
Stuart Dyke gets a starting shirt in the second row because James Bell (knee) is being rested, while Jack Housley is back after injury on the bench, alongside Tom Bulloch and Omar Sharaf, who will make his debut at senior level.
“Omar joined us last June and has played a lot of rugby in the Thirds and Seconds, so now he’s got the chance to taste what first-team rugby is about,” added Shaw.
“He is a big, strapping lad at 6ft 4in and solid build and he has a chance now to stake his claim, not just for the remaining games this season but for the future as well.”
YMCA – Johnson, Stead, Ryder, Barber, Bentley, Wood, Wilson, Slater, Wrafter, Dyke (Ste), Robertson, Dyke (Stu), Whitehead, Hodge, Lumb. Bench: Bulloch, Housley, Sharaf.
Click here to take you back to more Sports news.
Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here, the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here
To follow us on Twitter click here
Nine match unbeaten run ends with home defeat by Sheffield
Squad must stick to game plan for Laund Hill match
Huddersfield YMCA Under 19s ready for derby against AFC Emley
Netherton racer Josh Caygill ends 2014 campaign with battling display
Huddersfield Town Supporters Association backing moves for fans to have more say in running of their clubs
Marsh Conservative Club is new home of the Huddersfield Table Tennis League
Loaned-out Huddersfield Town duo Matt Crooks and Danny Carr aim to build on debuts
Live: Huddersfield breaking news updates, sport latest, travel and M62 traffic news, plus weather on Oct 23
Read the latest edition of the Huddersfield Examiner's property guide here
Part of fire West Yorkshire fire HQ could be razed to make way for housing
Standard Wool appoints new directors
For the latest local news straight to your Twitter, Facebook feed or e-mail inbox.
Is there something happening in your area you would like us to report on?
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner is the leading morning title read throughout the Huddersfield and Holmfirth areas.
With a daily circulation of 18,241 (ABC July-Dec 2012) and every issue read by 49,374 (JICREG 1/10/12) we are the area’s favourite and most trusted newspaper.
Our www.examiner.co.uk website is the number one local news website in the area with 250,000 unique users and almost 2,000,000 page views a month*, 44% of who are in the desirable ABC1 socio-economic groups.
For more advertising contacts email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01484 431111.
*Source: Omniture (UK 6 month average Jan-Jun 12)
Editor, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Roy Wright was appointed editor of The Huddersfield Daily Examiner in 2002. Prior to this he was assistant editor of The Liverpool Echo for three years. He has also worked at the Hull Daily Mail as well as a number of Press agencies.
Roy grew up in Burnley, Lancashire and has worked in the local newspaper industry for 25 years.