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Home > News > Westoe v Stockport preview
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Your News Westoe v Stockport preview
21
JAN

WITH festivities and, hopefully, frost-bound pitches now things of the past, Westoe belatedly resume their quest for league honours on Saturday.

Because of the Christmas break followed by a cold snap there has been a five week gap since their epic 40-19 victory over Hull which enabled them to steal the North One top spot from their opponents.

Since then Gareth Nesbit’s men have put in some rigorous training and fitness stints, including running up and down the concrete steps at Marsden Bay to the bemusement of seafront strollers.

But now it is back to serious business with Stockport coming to town to kick start the league programme which has ten of the 22 fixtures remaining. The visitors, too, have been without a match of any sort since being beaten 30-26 at West Hartlepool on December 20.

Nes said: “You could tell by the hard work the boys have put in to keep in good shape that they have a real desire to get back on the field and carry on winning. In fact, because it is so long since we had a game there is a real feeling of excitement.

“Being top dogs means that we are up there to be shot at, but that doesn’t intimidate us, rather it is something to thrive on. Everyone knows what the challenge is and it is now up to us individually and as a team to be equal to it.”

Westoe have been beset by a spate of cry-offs: fly half Sam Rasch has not yet returned from a visit to his New Zealand homeland, bustling play anywhere James Fitzpatrick has not recovered from a rib injury sustained against Hull and number nines Chris Judson and Peter Nichols have work commitments.

So it is fortuitous that new recruit Gavin Charlton, 20 next month, has arrived from Blaydon this week and will fit into the vacant scrum half spot if his registration is completed in time.

Stockport have had a pretty indifferent campaign since their return to the league after a season in North Two (West), seven defeats in the 12 matches so far putting them in the lower half of the table, and Westoe beat them 41-24 on their own turf back in early October.

But Nesbit, keenly aware of the dangers of complacency, shuns the “favourites” tag and has instilled into his squad the need for total commitment and ruthlessness in each and every game. .

Certainly Willy Moala will be keen to enhance his own impressive record that has put him on top of the league’s try scoring table.

So far the speedy Kiwi has totaled 17, failing to score only in the games at Hull and Cleckheaton - making amends for that first lapse with a hat-trick in the crucial table-topping clash - and one in each of the three National Trophy ties.

The game is being sponsored by international industrial tools suppliers Cromwell.

*The Fourth XV - formerly the Senators - begin their defence of the Durham County Fourth Team Shield, which remarkably has resided at the Wood Terrace clubhouse for the past seven years, when they entertain Seaton Carew - who they beat in last season’s semi-final - at Oakleigh Gardens.

They have had problems raising a side this season but it is hoped some of the old guard will rally to the cause of retaining the handsome trophy the club has rather come to regard as its own.

*The Thirds are also in cup action against visitors Darlington while the Seconds travel to Alnwick for a Northumberland League clash.

*There is a chance to cheer on the young ones of Westoe when the Colts play Leeds-based Moortown in the Northern Division quarter final of the National Under-19 Cup at Wood Terrace on Sunday (kick off: 1pm).

A most encouraging crop of talent has emerged since this teenage team was resurrected three seasons ago by coaches Steward Farrar, Ian Etchells and Raymond Bays who are also now being assisted by the experienced Craig Stephenson and Tony Everett.

And the lads certainly showed their mettle in the previous round when they went as rank outsiders to fashionable Otley and shocked the home team - with two Leeds Academy players in their ranks - by winning 8-3 in a fiercely-fought game.

Stewart Farrar said: “This is an opportunity to see and support youngsters who are bound to play a major part in the club’s future.” The game is being sponsored by Chris Marlow and the Westoe Senators.

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