Old rivals prepare for tough battle

Craven Herald: Wharfedale's Steve Graham is among those who have been dropped to the bench Wharfedale's Steve Graham is among those who have been dropped to the bench

Something has got to give in Saturday's SSE Yorkshire Division Four top-of-the-table clash at Woodhouse Grove School.

Hosts Old Grovians head the standings on points difference from Harrogate Pythons, while visitors Old Otliensians, who like Pythons have lost only one game, have a 100 per cent away record.

Also Grovians have the meanest defence (67 points), while third-placed Otliensians have the most potent attack (271).

Leaders Old Grovians welcome back skipper Chris Blackhall after he was rested for the Yorkshire Silver Trophy win at Halifax, and he’s joined in the front row by James Trenholme.

Veteran lock Dave Roberts drops back into the second row, allowing Tom Dalton to play at No 8.

Anthony Cadman makes his seasonal debut at fly half, while Gaz Phillips is back at inside centre and the pacy Kyle Hawkins is on the wing, Ben Brown dropping back to full back.

Wharfedale travel to Coventry in SSE National League One knowing that only their best will do if they are to win.

The Midlanders, once one of the top clubs in the country, have a proud home record this season, their only blemishes being a defeat against Ealing and a draw with Richmond.

On the other hand, Butts Park was one of only two venues where Wharfedale won on the road last season.

Wharfedale coach Tom McGee said: “Those who came off the bench last week played very well and it is good to be able to reward their patience with a start.”

Lock Richard Brown is unavailable so Dominic Barrow is in the second row.

Will Bell, Lloyd Davies, Ian Larkin and James Tyson, who impressed as replacements last week, all start.

Otley hope to back up their excellent 29-23 home victory over Sheffield Tigers in SSE National League Two North by winning at Hull Ionians.

It would certainly help sales at Otley Beer Festival, which is being held at Cross Green (noon-11pm) if they did!

Baildon hope to include Connor Ward and Andy Pollard at Northallerton in SSE Yorkshire Division Three.

Wharfedale (at Coventry): C Georgiou; J Donkin, D Clark, A Hodgson, L Davies; W Bell, J Gough; A Mason, I Larkin, M Tampin, R Rhodes, D Barrow, J Tyson, A Allen, D Solomi. Replacements: S Graham, A Howard, J Mason, L Gray, N Taylor.

Old Grovians (from): C Blackhall, M Worrall J Trenholme, D Gullick, C Cockshott, D Roberts, S Robinson, D Foster, T Dalton, T Adams, T Whitehead, L Downes, M Lister, A Lesur, J Bradley, A Cadman, A Magee, A Griffin, G Phillips, K Hawkins, B Brown, J Hinchliffe.

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