YMCA coach Jamie Marsden is looking for some ‘Dunkirk spirit’ as his struggling young side tackle Yorkshire II leaders Wheatley Hills at Laund Hill tomorrow (2.15).
With the season less than a third of the way through, YM already have their backs to the wall and Marsden knows tomorrow’s opponents will be a very hard nut to crack.
But he’s aiming for a positive performance from his side.
“We know Wheatley will send a big set of forwards over, and it will not be easy, but it’s a home game and I want to see us continue to make progress,” said Marsden.
“We have two props out injured which gives Academy player Stephen Dyke a chance to step up and stake his claim, and I know he’ll not let anyone down because he is a quality prospect.
“We’re also missing winger Chris Beever this week (groin injury) and second row Ross Housley, who suffered an eye injury against Ripon and is due to see a specialist.”
One bright spot could be the inclusion of new arrival Alex Whittaker in the near future (he is getting a run-out with the Seconds tomorrow). He could provide a major input, having previously played for Lydney in the National III South.
Whittaker has moved into the area, and although out of action for a while, the hooker or wing forward should bring a boost to the pack, which is where YM have been struggling this season.
“Obviously I want to see a big showing from the lads tomorrow, but at the same time I’m just hoping we can come through injury-free, because we have a massive match the week after at Yarnbury which, quite simply, is a must-win game.”
YMCA have the worst defensive record in the League, having coughed up 169 points, but in attack they are rated joint third with 110 points.
Wheatley, meanwhile, are unbeaten so far and their miserly defence have conceded just 35 points, while notching 192 at the other end.
YMCA: Stead; Taylor, Morton, Clarke, Ryder; Swift, Wilson; Watson, Lyon, Dyke (Stephen), Hellawell, Scholes, Leonne-Mazza, Walker, Housley (S). Subs: Nyahoda, Dalton, Marshall.
Winger Hosea Gear believes a Test debut against Australia will stand him in good stead for a successful New Zealand career.
The 24-year-old, whose brother Rico played 19 Tests, was the leading try-scorer in the Air New Zealand Cup and Graham Henry is handing Gear a first cap in tomorrow’s Bledisloe Cup clash with the Wallabies at Hong Kong Stadium.