By Trevor Watson
MORLEY are hoping to play only their third game of the year when they meet Burnage in a crucial National Three North game at Scatcherd Lane on Saturday.
The visitors are five points ahead of Morley in the table but have played two more games and a win for the Maroons, who occupy the third relegation spot, would be a huge lift in their fight for survival.
Victory on Saturday is particularly important because while Morley have nine games remaining, only three are at home, which means they need a vast improvement in their away form if they are to survive.
Last Saturday’s game at West Hartlepool was a late victim of the weather. The home club held high hopes of the pitch being fit and Wests’ neighbours Hartlepool Rovers were able to play.
When the match was called off the clubs held talks regarding the possibility of re-arranging the game for Sunday but it was found that with players unavailable both would be struggling for forwards. The new date for the fixture is now March 17.
Team manager Peter Seabourne said: “When the ground had a chance of being fit we contacted all the lads and told them to prepare to play but also to bring their training gear.
“When the match was called off we had a full training session at the all-weather pitch at Batley Sports Centre, so the squad had a good work-out and it proved worth while.
“With so many games being postponed we have had to work extra hard in training and make it like a pre-season so the players will hopefully hit the ground running when we’re back in regular action and the artifical pitch is proving very useful. The lads are getting some running back into their legs.”
The various lay-offs have been frustrating but have also meant that players carrying injuries have been able to get back to fitness. The only one unavailable is centre Chris Hall, who has had an operation on his knee and is likely to be out for the rest of the season.
Seabourne added: “Hopefully we can get things right on Saturday and we can take full advantage of all our remaining home games. With six away matches to come out of nine, we are going to have to do it tough.
“Against Sandal we stressed the importance of starting quickly and we did that. We were 14-0 up and it should have been more.
“In the second half we faded a bit as the lack of match practice told but we held on well and it was a good win. We need a few more of those to lift spirits and get the season moving again.”
Full-back Jack Moon may not be available on Saturday as he is included in the Yorkshire team to meet Durham in the National Under-20 Championship at Ilkley on Sunday.
The match was due to be played last weekend but became another victim of the weather. His selection is at least a welcome sign that players at Scatcherd Lane are still catching the eye of selectors.
The club are holding an Irish night on Friday (7pm), with Tony Forde. Tickets are £10 per person, including food and entertainment.
NATIONAL LEAGUE THREE NORTH – BOTTOM EIGHT
P W D L PF PA PD TB LB Pt
Waterloo 19 7 0 12 441 424 17 5 8 41
W Hartlepool 17 8 1 8 274 298 -24 3 3 40
Sandal 18 8 0 10 364 350 14 3 4 39
Burnage 19 6 1 12 343 448 -105 4 4 34
Penrith 18 6 0 12 385 429 -44 5 4 33
Morley 17 6 0 11 274 396 -122 2 3 29
Altrincham K 18 4 2 12 233 439 -206 2 4 26
Beverley 18 5 0 13 243 546 -303 2 3 25