Huddersfield YMCA are dreaming of kicking-off their massive Laund Hill double-header by turning on the style to beat Beverley tomorrow.
Victory over the East Yorkshire strugglers (3.00) will help player-coach Mark Whitehead’s men return to winning National III North ways, and also put them in buoyant mood to host Sunday’s ‘on the road’ British & Irish Cup clash between Yorkshire Carnegie and Ulster Ravens (2.30).
Both matches are vital in the YMCA’s continued bid to raise their profile.
After a couple of rocky weeks. the Huddersfield side have a golden opportunity to get their season back on track against bottom club Beverley and secure a win that will reignite their bid for a place in the top half of the table, while also putting the club on the wider rugby union map by putting on a great show to host Carnegie 24 hours later.
And Whitehead is confident both objectives will be met.
“It’s a massive weekend for the club,” he said.
“Tomorrow is the chance for us to get our season back on track – which we’re confident we’ll do – while Sunday’s Carnegie game is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our club to a wider audience.
“A lot of the boys will be playing on Saturday and have then volunteered to act as stewards the following day.
“And there’s no reason at all why they shouldn’t be carrying out their Sunday duties wearing winning smiles.
“Although we’ve had a tough couple of weeks and suffered some narrow defeats, we believe tomorrow’s game against Beverley is the ideal opportunity to put things right.
“Our downfall in recent games has been our defence. We’ve been conceding far too many points.
“Sorting that out is something we’ve been working on at training all week, and we know if we get it right we’ll have nothing to worry about this weekend.”
Whitehead admits not being able to field a settled side could have
contributed to the leaky defence, with changes once again having to be made.
Scrum-half Simon Wilson is
unavailable and is replaced by Josh
Willans, while fly-half Chris Clarke has been ruled out until Christmas with an ankle injury and Tom Wood steps in.
But with the return of strike centre Adam Ryder and the chance to field an unchanged pack, Whitehead knows there are no excuses for failure.
“Losing Simon and Chris is obviously not ideal,” added Whitehead, who has again named himself in the starting
“Simon’s been in good form, while Chris has been warming to the role with every game he’s played there, but we’ve got complete faith in Josh and Tom, who are two very good and talented young players.
“They should be helped by playing behind an unchanged pack, and if they can provide a good link with Adam then we know we’ll cause Beverley lots of
“We definitely missed Adam at Billingham last weekend.
“Another advantage of fielding the same set of forwards is that there should be better understanding, defensively. That’s clearly important.
“So we believe everything’s in place to make sure we get our weekend off to the best possible start.”
Huddersfield YMCA: Wrafter, Hill, Stu Dyke, Bell, Housley, Whitehead, Hodge, Lumb; Willans, Wood; Bentley, Van Rooyen, Ryder, Stead; Fletcher. Subs: Bulloch, Slater, Moore.