Kendal game is massive for Bradford & Bingley

Wharfedale Observer: Steve Brimacombe returns for the Bees, which should add stability to their backs Steve Brimacombe returns for the Bees, which should add stability to their backs

Having lost 24-7 at Burnage last Saturday and been leap-frogged by the victors, Bradford & Bingley face an even more critical match on Saturday against Kendal.

The Bees are only five points above the drop zone in a very congested lower half of SSE National League Three North but host the division’s bottom side.

“It is a massive game for us,” admitted the Bees’ first-team manager Benji Pickin.

“We are without the unavailable Henry Paul and the injured Stewart Brewer and Richard Hughes but we could have Steve Brimacombe back to add stability in the backs, while Martyn Mitchell should return from a shoulder injury in the pack.”

Second-placed Baildon, who have Kiwi newcomer Shawn Stewart available, face a huge game in SSE Yorkshire Division Three.

The Jenny Laners, who have the best defence in the division, are at leaders Old Rishworthians, who have the best attack in the section.

Old Grovians, who host Ossett, are seeking a fourth straight bonus-point victory in SSE Yorkshire Division Four.

However, the home side make several changes to their squad. Flanker Brad Williams is still unavailable and director of rugby Martin Whitcombe loses the services of back-rower Harry Cody-Owen.

But Old Grovians do welcome back Ryan Brown in the pack, along with the experienced, Mark Lister and Matt Kelly.

Although Joel Bradley is unavailable, pacy winger Kyle Hawkins returns – welcome news after it was revealed that Ricky Hopkinson will need a late fitness test on the knee injury he sustained last weekend against Leeds Corinthians.

Bradford Salem welcome back Sam Gardner (virus), Simon Markey (‘dead leg’), James Cunliffe (trip abroad) and Dan Wyness for their SSE Yorkshire Division Two home derby against West Park Leeds.

Cleckheaton will be without long-term injury absentees Ollie Marns (nose) and Jonno Marshall (dislocated collarbone) at Morpeth in SSE North One East, where the visitors have a good record. Keighley continue their dogged fight against relegation from the same division at Middlesbrough.

Cleckheaton (at Morpeth): R Hayden; M Woodhead, James Marshall, Matt Piper, J Wilson; I Gordon, J Bickerdike; P Turner, S Worsley, C Piper, R Piercy, D Nolan, R Piper, O Akroyd, R Bennett. Replacements: B Thrower, J White, C Blackburn.

Keighley (at Middlesbrough): H Titley, L McGee, B Blackwell, M Ferrazzano, A Sutcliffe; D McGee, A Brown; C Spencer, W Armitage, O Sugden, R Clarke, A Waligura, S Inman, S Dyson, L Sugden. Replacements: P Sinfield, P Rossi, S Walker.

Bradford Salem (home to West Park Leeds): D Belcher; D Thomas, S Savage, S Gardner, C Walker; A Robinson, D Howcroft; J Ashworth, S Markey, S Davies, J Cunliffe, J Morrell, R Green, D Pearson, D Hutton. Replacements (from): I Woodwiss, D Luxton, J Bradbury, D Wyness.

Old Grovians (home to Ossett) from: C Blackhall, M Worrall, D Roberts, J Trenholme, C Cockshott, J Baker, R Brown, D Foster, S Robinson, M Kelly, T Dalton, T Whitehead, M Lister, A Lesur, A Weaving, L Downes, K Hawkins, A Griffin, G Phillips, J Sowden, B Brown, O Boggie.

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