Wharfedale quartet miss tough test

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: CUP DUTY: Christian Georgiou is one of four Wharfedale young players who have been called up by Leeds Carnegie CUP DUTY: Christian Georgiou is one of four Wharfedale young players who have been called up by Leeds Carnegie

Wharfedale have lost the services of four of their talented young players for tomorrow’s National League One showdown with leaders Doncaster Knights at The Avenue.

Leeds Carnegie have called up Christian Georgiou, Jack Barnard, Ben Hooper and Josh Burridge for their British & Irish Cup clash at Aberavon the same day.

The loss of the talented quartet is a big blow for Wharfedale as they prepare for their toughest home challenge of the season.

But on the plus side they do have Aaron Myers and Phil Woodhead returning after playing in the Dubai Sevens.

The versatile Woodhead will deputise at full back for Georgiou, while Myers comes into a new-look back row alongside Rob Baldwin and Dan Solomi, who capped his first game of the season with a try last week.

Also back after being forced to pull out of last Saturday’s 32-29 home win over Old Albanians is centre Joe Donkin, who has shrugged off the leg injury which saw him replaced at the last-minute by Will Bell.

Bell reverts to the bench along with young hooker Dan Stockdale.

They will be joined there by fit-again prop Adam Howard, Nathan Myers and Nick Taylor.

Coach Jon Feeley said: “Obviously it is disappointing to have to reorganise our team after returning to winning ways against Old Albanians.

“However, it is something we have to cope with and I am sure the players coming in will have every incentive to do well.

“This is a big match and I am hoping that our vociferous home crowd will play their part.

“They love us being cast in the role of the underdog, it is something we have thrived on in the past and our supporters certainly let the opposition know what they think about the game.”

Wharfedale: Woodhead; Jordan, Donkin, Davidson, Prell; Barrett, Dudman; Steel (capt), Larkin, Armstrong, Brown, Rhodes, Solomi, Myers, Baldwin. Replacements: Howard, Stockdale, Myers, Taylor, Bell.

Otley, fresh from their 23-17 win at Luctonians which ended a run of five straight National League Two North defeats, face a tough home test against second-placed Darlington Mowden Park.

The visitors had an impressive 38-8 win over fellow promotion challengers Stourbridge last week but Otley’s director of rugby James Tiffany believes home advantage can play a crucial role to the benefit of his team.

He said: “We fancy ourselves against anybody, especially at home.”

Simon Raper, a player who has worked his way up from the third team, is set to continue at No 8 after featuring in the win at Luctonians.

Tiffany said: “Simon has worked hard and earned his chance. It is our aim as a club to bring players up through our own ranks.”

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