BRADFORD & Bingley’s season would look very different if only they could win their close matches.

The Bees, who are eighth in North One East, have won six and lost six, but four of their defeats have been by seven points or less.

The latest setback was an 18-12 loss to Cleckheaton last Saturday, and Bees coach Hugh Gumbs said: “Only 15 points separate us from leaders Morley - that is three bonus-point wins.

“Every team can beat everyone else in this division but we are still developing as a team and maybe lack some knowhow and experience.

“We may take a line-out close to the opponents’ line and drive in as individuals for example rather than doing it as a team.”

The Bees welcome back hooker Sam White for the trip to fourth-placed Scarborough tomorrow - a match that Gumbs calls a tall order, despite the hosts losing 21-12 to Pocklington in their last home outing.

However, he added: “If we win there it will send a message to the rest of the league that we will always be in the game and that teams will have to play very well to beat us.”

Cleckheaton, who have risen one spot to fifth, are at home to 10th-placed Kendal and rest Joey Carley, who was on the bench against the Bees despite not being 100 per cent fit. Chris Piper replaces him.

Elsewhere, Bradford Salem hope to avoid giving out the gifts that they handed Dinnington last week in Yorkshire Division One.

Salem lost 45-26 in South Yorkshire and their chairman Neil Klenk said: “You can’t expect to give a side four tries, which is effectively what we did, and hope to win.

“It was a mirror image of what happened there last December when two of our players collided at the kick-off and had to be taken off. We conceded a try within two minutes then on the way to a 38-12 defeat.”

Klenk added: “Once we had settled down last Saturday and got a bit of possession we could have won the second half 19-0, but gave away an interception try and a try from a line-out that went wrong.”

Keighley face a tough ask at leaders Heath, who suffered just their second defeat of the season (15-10) against Old Crossleyans last week.

Old Grovians, who are third in Yorkshire Division Two, host Northallerton, who are ninth and have lost five of their six away matches this campaign.

Grovians rather threw away victory last weekend in a 24-23 defeat at Wheatley Hills, with Grovians coach Andy Hinchliffe saying: “We lost concentration when we had done so well for 30-35 minutes.

“Wheatley Hills are a big side and when they get possession they keep hold of it. They sneaked a win but we handed it to them on a plate.”

Meanwhile, Ilkley’s head of rugby, Rhys Morgan, jovially claimed that a win against eighth-placed Kirby Lonsdale at the weekend, would be more of a Christmas present for his wife than himself.

The Dalesmen have had a rough ride this Yorkshire North Premier campaign, only winning one in their 12 games so far.

Injuries have played a big part, with Ilkley having to field a number of youngsters in their 25-3 defeat to Sandal at the weekend.

Morgan praised the impact that the young players have had on the squad and says that the recent results have caused him to become miserable at home.

He said: “I harp on about how we have lost players, but we have also had injuries.

“We are without Oli Holtam, one of the leading loose forward props, Joe Lowes and Harry Harrison, who should be back this weekend.

“A few decisions are not going our way, it’s just been an unlucky season. Everyone is in there fighting, we are not a million miles away.

“We had three 18-year olds out there on Saturday; Archie Elgood, Matty Sheard and Eddie King, who are doing a great job.

“If the boys can just muster a win at Kirkby Lonsdale, it will be a very happy Christmas.

“It will be a better present for my wife because it is fair to say I have been moping around the house.

“I think she would like a bit of cheer around the house, it will be a present for her and not for me.”