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Home > News > Westoe weekend preview
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Your News Westoe weekend preview
27
FEB

WESTOE tomorrow travel to confront Sheffield Tigers who have made a habit of mauling those who venture into their lair.

Although their away record is poor, they share with the Shieldsmen the distinction of having won all but one game on their home turf.

In each case the victor was Kendal whose colours have yet to be lowered as they seem to be marching relentlessly towards claiming the North One crown.

But Gareth’s Nesbit’s men will make the 140-mile trip with confidence boosted by the fact that, with strong, pacey backs Mark Olugbode and James Fitzpatrick having recovered from leg injuries, his squad is at such strength that he has an embarrassment of riches.

That is why a late decision was being made on the final make-up of the 15 who will start - and the reason that Big Nes is undaunted by Sheffield’s record.

He said: “They are obviously a very good side at home but we don’t mind that because it gives us the chance to see what we can really do now we are at full strength.

“We like to test ourselves beyond our comfort zone and now that everybody is fit and raring to go we can at last see at just what level we can play and just how good we are as a team.

“I don’t want to seem to be making excuses, but for so much of the season we were unable to achieve anything like our potential because of the injuries were carrying and that was very frustrating.

“But in recent weeks when we didn’t have major injury problems we have played good rugby and really enjoyed it. We expect a tough game at Sheffield and we are looking forward to it.”

Beacon Electrical (NE) Ltd-sponsored Westoe have won all five games since the turn of the year to move into third-top spot with 12 victories and a draw from their 17 games, which is fine record particularly in view of those injury set backs.

But they know they must carry on with their winning ways if they are to have any hope of wresting the runners-up place from Huddersfield and so have a play-off chance of promotion.

Even so, with just five games remaining and five points separating the two teams, the chances of the dream of attaining national league status coming true remain remote.

What is certain is that a little bit of club history will be made when Nes leads his side onto the field because Westoe have never before made the journey to the club based on the fringe of Sheffield which has won promotion in all the past three years and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this season.

Supporters wanting to share the occasion are welcome to occupy vacant seats on the team coach which will leave the clubhouse at 10.30am - all games from now on reverting the later 3pm kick off time.

In the inaugural game between the sides at Wood Terrace back in September the Tigers gave a good account of themselves and, having scored a try in the first few seconds, were winning 15-11 until just four minutes before the final whistle.

Then sustained pack pressure ended with doughty number 8 Graeme Smith being powered over the line and touching down under a pile of bodies, centre Johan Saaiman converting to make it an 18-15 victory.

*For the second time this season Alnwick has called off its second XV Northumberland League game against Westoe which, to put it mildly, is very disappointing,

*But supporters have the choice of cheering on the Thirds in their Durham County Cup semi-final clash against Mowden Park at Wood Terrace or watching the burgeoning talent of the Colts in an Under-18 League game against Wigan at Oakleigh Gardens.

*Certainly, much interest will surround the clash away from home of Derek Tighe’s men in the semi-final of the Fourth Teams Shield against Seaton Carew Seconds.

That handsome trophy has become almost a fixture in the Westoe clubhouse where it has resided for seven successive years, a truly remarkable achievement.

If the Vic Young-sponsored side overcome this hurdle they will play the winners between Gateshead, with whom they share top spot in Northumberland 3B League, and Blaydon in the final.

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