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Home > News > Westoe to face Birkenhead Park this weekend
Your News Westoe to face Birkenhead Park this weekend

ITS a harsh fact that despite Westoes winning streak their promotion dream has receded game by game.

Gareth Nesbits men began 2008 knowing it was virtually certain that - with Kendal clear leaders - they had to be victorious in all ten outstanding North One matches to stand a chance of stealing the runners-up spot from Huddersfield.

Since then they have beaten Darlington and Cleckheaton at home and come away from Middlesbrough and Penrith with both points and, almost injury free for the first time this season and with influential newcomer Sam Rasch in the crucial fly half role, they are playing their best rugby of the campaign.

But unfortunately, Huddersfield have also marched on unbeaten to keep Westoe stuck in the third top place as each week the opportunities remaining to wipe out the five point deficit have receded.

Though just six games remain, it is, of course, still possible for the improbable to happen, especially as the two sides, who in combative clashes in recent seasons have developed a robust regard for each other, will slug it out at Wood Terrace in the second last match on April 12.

But otherwise, a study of outstanding fixtures hardly inspires the hope that the Yorkshiremen will slip up the three times that might just enable Beacon Electrical (NE) Ltd-sponsored Westoe to leapfrog ahead and so win the right of a play-off chance of elevation to National Three (North).

They will expect to win their home games against Cleckheaton, Birkenhead Park and Altrincham Kersal and will travel as favourites to Penrith and Sheffield Tigers.

The Shieldsmen, who entertain Birkenhead Park tomorrow, have a pretty similar task ahead with Altrincham and Liverpool St Helens still to come to Tyneside and away games at Sheffield and Hull.

So there is growing resignation among supporters that for the third successive year Westoe will be the bridesmaid and not the bride, Nesbit - though ever an optimist - conceding: We know that if we lose one more match it will be the end of our promotion hopes.

He is not one to make excuses, but in view of his teams present fine form he must rue the long-term injuries to key players which have blighted the season.

Happily able to announce an unchanged squad for the third week, Nes said: We have clearly shown in recent games what we can achieve with a full-strength side.

We are playing good rugby and enjoying it with everybody is fit and raring to go. We are not going to stop there but intend to get even better.

*There will be many who will welcome the return of the traditional hooped Westoe jersey readopted by the Fourth XV in a new set of strips donated by long time sponsor Vic Young, well known local vehicle firm boss.

Satisfaction also, that the teams original name of the Westoe Senators - officially forsaken this season when young players had to be drafted in - is alongside the club badge. It is appropriate that they will be worn for the first time on Saturday when captain Derek Tighes team play Barnard Castle at Oakleigh Gardens in the first round of The Durham Fourth Teams Shield which has adorned the clubhouse for a remarkable six years. Team manger Lol Calvert said: Vic has sponsored the team since the Senators were formed in 1984 and at times it was only his conspicuous generosity that kept it going. As a small gesture of gratitude we surprised him by presenting him with one of his own jerseys!

Vic is pictured with Lol, captain Derek Tighe and former Senators captains Raymond Bays and Mark Morris.

*The Colts may have been beaten 37-7 by visitors Old Coventrians in the National Under-19 Plate on Sunday but earned much praise for an undaunted, never-say-die performance against older and bigger opponents. Centre Chad Reay scored the consolation try, converted by fly half Stuart Woodhouse, while scrum half Michael Booth was singled out for special mention by team manger Raymond Bays.

*The Seconds and Thirds are also in Durham County Cup action tomorrow, respectively away to Mowden Park, and at Oakleigh Gardens against Stockton.

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