WHARFEDALE'S head coach James Doherty admits that it is a relief to prepare a side that have fought and won their battle against relegation.


But that does not mean that National Two League North champions Caldy will be facing a side at The Avenue that are blasé about the result of Saturday's match – far from it.

"I would be lying if I said that I am not relieved," said Doherty, whose side staved off the last lingering threat of dropping into National Three North with a losing bonus point at Chester on April 8.

Caldy were beaten 16-13 at Sedgley Park in the opening game of the campaign in September and drew 21-21 at South Leicester in October, but have won the other 26 matches and lead the table by 13 points from Sale with two games left.

Doherty added: "It is remarkable what Caldy have achieved in our division, given that they lost their first game.

"However, that does not mean that we are going to let them leave The Avenue in fancy dress having drunk beer from their boots.

"We want to be the second team to beat them, and I would much rather us finish the season strong having started it weak than start the season strong and finish it weak as some teams are doing.

"Doing it my way means that we can hopefully carry some momentum into next season.

"Don't get me wrong, we have under-performed this season, and the squad know that, but we lost a lot of players over the summer and then lost prop Joe Altham (anterior cruciate ligament) to injury.

"Players from the Foresters had to step up, and some found it more difficult to adjust than others while some thrived, but all of them will be better for the experience and better for it next season.

"We have been thinking about retention for a while now, and I would like all of the squad to stay, while we would also welcome others to join.

"I intend to talk to all of the existing squad over the next ten days or so."

Wharfedale will be without the Davidson brothers Tom and Robbie for the clash with Caldy.

Centre Tom has switched sports and is leading Settle’s cricketers as they open their Ribblesdale League campaign while his younger brother Robbie was injured playing for Latvia last weekend.

With stand-off Tom Barrett unavailable, Wharfedale switch Jamie Guy from centre to the number ten role while Huw Morgan makes a welcome return at centre and Josh Prell is recalled on the wing.

Morgan, finally free of injury, will form a new centre pairing alongside the recently returned James Tincknell.

Scrum half Phil Woodhead is fit again and takes over from Sam Gaudie who featured in Wharfedale’s last two matches. Will Lawn is on the bench as cover.

There’s just one change in the pack as Richard Rhodes returns to the side in the second row and will provide a boost in the line-out.

He takes over from the versatile Adam Howard who is going to be used as an impact player off the bench.

The powerful forward has played in the front, second and back rows this season and provides the pack with great cover.

Wharfedale Harry Bullough; Scott Jordan, James Tincknell, Huw Morgan, Josh Prell; Jamie Guy, Phil Woodhead; Joe Altham, Dan Stockdale, Toms Asejevs, Richard Rhodes, George Hedgley, Rob Baldwin (c), Lewis Wilson, Josh Burridge. Replacements Jordon Poole, Ian Larkin, Adam Howard, Simon Borrill, Will Lawn