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Bradford & Bingley don't want to meet their Waterloo
Bradford & Bingley don’t want to be sucked into a relegation battle in SSE National League Three North.
They are currently 12 points above the last demotion place but have a key match on Saturday – at Waterloo, who are one place and five points above the Bees.
Were the Bees to lose this weekend and Birkenhead Park, who are third from bottom, win at Percy Park then things could get really interesting.
“We have been playing pretty well recently,” said Bradford & Bingley’s secretary Nick Patterson, “but we don’t want to leave it until the last day of the season to be certain of staying up. This is certainly a ‘ten-pointer’.”
The Bees’ record against Waterloo is good as they had won five and drawn one of the six games played prior to Waterloo’s 19-18 victory at Wagon Lane in October.
Definitely out for the visitors is winger James Morton, who will need surgery on his nose after a clash in taking a crossfield kick last Saturday.
Cleckheaton are buoyant after defeating top two Wheatley Hills and Morley in successive weeks in SSE North One East, and they keep faith with their troops at Malton & Norton.
Spokesman Alan Bentley said: “Prop Andy Piper has been influential in the scrum and loose, while scrum half Jack Bickerdike is making all the right decisions at scrum half and looks like a future captain.”
Keighley may have lost 30-14 at Morpeth last weekend but director of rugby Graeme Sheffield said: “If that is a mid-table North One East side then I will be very disappointed if we go down.
“I would have taken that score beforehand and we had some third-teamers making their first-team debuts.”
The visitors are without skipper Leigh Sugden on Saturday.
Bradford Salem will not be at their strongest for the home match against SSE Yorkshire Division Two leaders Doncaster Phoenix.
For a variety of reasons, they will be missing locks James Cunliffe and John Morrell, scrum half Dave Howcroft, centre Tony Williams and prop John Bradbury.
In come Dean McNicholl and Sam Leach to the second row and Jordan Ashworth into the front row.
Promotion-chasing Baildon are at Hemsworth in a repeat of last season's Yorkshire Silver Trophy semi-final in SSE Yorkshire Division Three.
Cleckheaton (at Malton & Norton): R Hayden; M Woodhead, C Blackburn, Matt Piper, J Wilson; I Gordon, J Bickerdike; P Turner, B Thrower, A Piper, R Piercy, G Turton, O Akroyd, R Piper, R Bennett. Replacements: S Worsley, M Sergeant, L Queeley.
Keighley (at Sheffield): H Titley; S Walker, B Blackwell, M Ferrazzano, A Sutcliffe; A Brown, L McGee; C Spencer, W Armitage, P Sinfield, R Clarke, A Waligura, P Rossi, S Inman, S Dyson. Replacements: S Minikin, S Brown, O Sugden.
Bradford Salem (home to Doncaster Phoenix): D Belcher; D Thomas, J Robinson, S Gardner, S Savage; A Robinson, I Woodwiss; J Ashworth, S Markey, S Davies, S Leach, D McNicholl, R Green, D Pearson, D Hutton. Replacements: D Luxton, A N Other, S O Else.
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