NOTHING but victory over hapless Harrogate in tomorrow’s Yorkshire Inter-Union League match at Bradley Park will satisfy Halifax, Huddersfield team manager Chris Mear.
Though Iain Powell, Jim Fairhurst, Danny Stocchero and Frazer Scholefield are missing, Mear is still able to field a side that should be capable of overcoming a Harrogate side that has gone down in every match this term and props up the table.
Big guns in Union champion Richard Broadley and Graham McLean return to a side that should add a bright note to a disappointing season with a second win of the campaign while tipping the balance from home fixtures – Bradford won at Ogden in May before Teesside were beaten at Bradley Hall in June.
Andy Shaw, Frank Greaves and Ben Crowther – he shot level-par 71 36 for sixth place in last weekend’s rain-reduced Astbury Jewel, a Mitsushiba Northern Order of Merit event – add to the experience in a team that has a blend of talented youth.
For a match that provides a good chance to give youngsters further experience, Meltham junior Jamie Bower rightfully retains his place after impressive shows lately, notably his two wins in the last league match at York, and West End youngster Ryan Greenwood also keeps his place.
Mear will also be keen to learn the result from Eaglescliffe where he will be rooting for Leeds against Teesside.
“If we beat Harrogate and Leeds win, we’ll get away from second bottom as we’ll leapfrog Teesside,” said Mear, whose men have a superior individual wins record than the North East side.
Leeds, however, have selection problems. Though captain David Appleyard is not in Yorkshire’s side defending the EGU Northern championship on the Isle of Man today, county champion Richard Law is. And with five other first choices engaged elsewhere or injured, Leeds will be weakened.
While Sheffield are expected to maintain their 100 per cent record at the expense of York at Doncaster Town Moor and tie up the title before they visit Halifax, Huddersfield at Meltham in the final round of fixtures on September 7, East Riding seek to cling on to second place but will face a stern test against Bradford at Shipley.
Team – Richard Broadley (Huddersfield), Jared Ellison (Huddersfield), Andy Shaw (Bradley Hall), Andy Appleyard (Bradley Hall), Sam Bridges (West End), Frank Greaves (West End), Ryan Greenwood (West End), Jamie Bower (Meltham), Graham McLean (Meltham), Ben Crowther (Dewsbury), Mathew Colcombe (Longley Park), Mark Birkett (Halifax).