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Skipper Baldwin misses Wharfedale's opener
6:30am Thursday 30th August 2012 in Sport
Four years ago Wharfedale opened their National League One season at Cinderford.
The hosts were celebrating their promotion into the division, and had laid on a brass band with the local mayor in attendance.
On Saturday the Greens travel to Richmond, one of the great names of English rugby.
They have just clawed their way back into national rugby and will be in celebratory mood.
The match may not be graced by the London Symphony Orchestra and Boris Johnson, but Wharfe-dale can nevertheless be sure of the noisiest of welcomes.
Coach Tom McGee is optimistic.
“There will be a huge crowd, and they will be expecting a lot from their players.
“That will pile enormous pressure on the home side, which we will try to exploit.
“Our players have been in this situation many times before and will relish it.
”That said, Wharfedale’s record in and around London over the years has been poor, and last season’s total return of only two away wins all season is their worst ever.
“We need to change this,” said McGee, “and this could be the match to do it.
” But he is aware of the size of the task, especially as the Greens will be missing some front-line players.
The squad travels without captain Rob Baldwin and Simon Horsfall who have family commitments, and Dan Solomi, who was injured scoring in last week’s warm-up match.
Salomi is not expected to be out for long but he will be missed.
Newcomers Joe Donkin and Pierce Phillips will be on the bench.
The captain’s role goes to prop Chris Steel who missed much of last season through injury.
Among those players who will be in the reckoning for selection next week is Aaron Myers, who returns after being with England Sevens.
Wharfedale: Dan Hart; Nick Taylor, Andy Hodgson, Lloyd Davies, Christian Georgiou; Luke Gray, James Gough; Chris Steel (c), Steve Graham, Adam Howard, Richard Rhodes, Alastair Allen, James Tyson, Chris Howick, Richard Brown.
Replacements: Mark Tampin, Ian Larkin, Pierce Philips, Will Bell, Joe Donkin.