‘Pivotal’ clash awaits in Wetherby promotion bid

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Wetherby RUFC chief Wayne Pawson believes his side are well on course for promotion from Yorkshire Four.

The Reds travel to Old Otliensians on Saturday for a vital top of the table crunch clash.

Otliensians are unbeaten this campaign having won 13 of their 14 matches, and beat Wetherby 23-8 at Grange Park in November.

But, with a strong squad at his disposal, Pawson backed his third-placed side to topple the pacesetters.

He said: “This weekend’s game is pivotal. If we win it, it would send shockwaves across the league.

“If we can put on a fireworks show, then let the best team win.

“Both teams have a similar attacking style of play.

“Hopefully it will be a dry day to allow for a great game of rugby.”

A win for Wetherby would put them back on the coattails of Sheffield-side Stocksbridge, who occupy the second promotion spot.

And Pawson said the club was focusing all its efforts on promotion to mark the renovation of their clubhouse at Grange Park.

Wetherby were knocked out of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy on Saturday as they found Yorkshire Three side Northallerton too strong.

However the depleted Reds put up a spirited showing, and led 8-5 with 20 minutes to go, before eventually losing 29-8.

Nine first-team players were missing for Wetherby which left them short of weight in the pack.

With the wind behind them early on, both Tom Edwards and Jack Kaye made attacking plays before Alex Dus slotted over a penalty for the game’s first points.

Northallerton hit back on 15 minutes when their forwards drove over after sustained good pressure.

But Wetherby re-took the lead shortly before half-time when good use of rare possession by Stu Wrigglesworth and Edwards put young Will Jefferson in for a try.

The wind got up stronger in the second half and Northallerton used it to good effect.

Their domination of possession allowed them to kick to the corner where their forwards won most of the ball.

And the hosts’ glut of possession brought three further tries.

“We ran out of steam against a well organised pack,” said Pawson.

“But there’s no disgrace. I had hoped we could give a good account of ourselves as a Yorkshire Four team.

“We managed that.

“But they brought on as many substitutes as they were allowed whereas two of my influential players had to come off.

“Whilst it would have been nice to have a cup run, promotion has always been our priority.

“The defeat allows us to focus on the league in our last six games.”