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Bees aiming to get away from the scrum
Bradford & Bingley, still miffed about the unfairness of uncontested scrums that contributed to their 57-42 defeat at Penrith last Saturday, are aiming for only their second victory of the season on Saturday.
The Bees, who are second from bottom, host Rossendale, who are four places higher in the SSE National League Three North table but only four points better off.
However, the visitors, who include former Bees players Paddy Pole and Danny Greenhalgh, are used to being higher up the table, finishing second and third in the last two campaigns.
The Bees will be without Matt Robinson (head cut) and James Morton (suspended) but have Adam Wellington, Adam Malthouse and Richard Scull back in contention.
Keighley, who face Morpeth at home, are third from bottom in SSE North One East but director of rugby Graeme Sheffield states: “Our aim isn’t to finish there but to end up consolidating in mid-table.
“We are struggling with injuries and unavailabilities, mainly injuries, but I cannot fault the effort of the lads who are playing at a higher level than they are used to.”
Otley’s player-coach Tom Rock is looking for his side to pick themselves up at SSE National League Two North leaders Stourbridge after last Saturday’s disappointing 32-30 loss at Hull.
It was the manner of the defeat that upset him after they had run in four tries in the first half. he said: “We switched off and lost our focus and as they came into the game we made more and more unforced errors.
“We didn’t execute our plans properly and we got ourselves penalised around the tackle area and that really hurt us. “Hull kicked six penalties and that proved decisive.” h
Rock, who was forced to play at fly half after Ben Cooper pulled out in the warm up with a rib injury sustained while training with Scotland under-20s the previous week, has a number of players doubtful for Saturday.
Cooper is expected to be missing again, along with second row Simon Willett and number eight Daniel Temm who were also absentees for the Hull match.
There is also a doubt about the availability of back-rower Rob Ofoa Peterson, whose wife is expecting a baby any day.
Rock said: “We have players who are looking for the chance to come in and show what they can do and Stourbridge is a good place to see what they can do.
“It is also a chance for us to measure the progress we have made as a side. We mustn’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
“It is a sign of how things have changed that we are now disappointed to lose an away game rather than be happy that we only lost narrowly.”
Keighley (home to Morpeth): D McGee; J Hill, B Blackwell, H Titley, M Phillips; A Brown, D Lester; G Fletcher, C Dyson, C Spencer, A Waligura, J Hannah, S Brown, L Sugden, S Dyson. Replace-ments: S Heal, R Wilkinson, S Minikin.