Tynedale ready for Sale FC dual

Ash Smith has starred for Tynedale this season
©Tynedale RFC

Tynedale will come into the second weekend of October in a positive mood after a faultless start to the season, but they face a tough challenge in Round Seven against Sale FC.

Tyne have won all six of their opening league games which leaves them second in the table and a point behind Stourbridge.

But they welcome third place Sale FC to Corbridge who are hot on the heels of the top two following an excellent run of recent form.

While the Tyne and Sale do battled in the northeast, the aforementioned league leaders Stourbridge take on Huddersfield as they aim to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season while South Leicester and Hinckley face off in a Midlands derby and fifth placed Sedgley Park go to Otley.

Elsewhere in National Two North, the improving Leicester Lions travel to Luctonians (who will be wearing pink this weekend for the charity Breast Cancer Haven) while Chester go to Sheffield, Macclesfield host Sheffield Tigers and Blaydon take the trip to Wharfedale.

Stourbridge v Huddersfield

Stourbridge are yet to put a foot wrong this season. Neil Mitchell’s side have rarely been troubled in their opening six games of the campaign and their performance away at Blaydon last weekend was just another statement of intent from the Midlands side. The table toppers are flying at the minute and they return to Stourton Park tomorrow aiming to maintain their 100 per cent start to the term.

Stour have won 13 of their last 17 games on home soil, but their opponents this weekend will travel to the Midlands without any fear. Newly promoted Huddersfield are also going through a purple patch of form as they are unbeaten in their last three matches and Gareth Lewis’ men will not be short of confidence against the league leaders. They were narrowly beaten by second place Tynedale in Round Four so that does give us a slight indication that Field will be a good match for Stour this weekend, but they will have to be at their very best to continue their unbeaten streak.

Tynedale v Sale FC

While Stourbridge negotiate their home fixture with Huddersfield, they will no doubt have one eye on proceedings in the northeast as second take on third when Tynedale host Sale FC. Like Stour, Tyne have won all six of their matches so far this season and have come through some tough tests against the likes of Sedgley Park, but the visit of Sale FC will be their most tasking examination thus far.

Scott Lawson’s men have put themselves in an excellent position, but a result against Sale FC would send out a huge message to the rest of the division that Tyne mean business this term. Sale, who finished runners-up last season, are really starting to click into gear after their defeat to Sedgley Park and head to Corbridge unbeaten in their last four games. In fact, the men from Heywood Road have lost just five of their last 36 matches, but Sale will be purely focused on gaining their first away win of the season as they look to close the gap to the top two.

Hinckley v South Leicester

While second take on third this weekend, we also have a clash between the two sides occupying fourth and sixth in this division as South Leicester visit Hinckley in a Midlands derby. The visitors are once again having a fine season and are well worthy of their position in the top four after six rounds. Richie Williams’ side have already secured some excellent results against Sale FC and Sedgley Park and the men from Welford Road will be aiming to add to that when they take the short trip to Hinckley tomorrow.

Like South, Hinckley are building in the right direction. After promotion in 2016, the men from Leicester Road finished last term in a very credible ninth place and this year under the reign of George Chuter, they are progressing. Hinckley have suffered two defeats from their opening six matches and both came against sides above them in the table (Sale FC & Sedgley Park) so a fixture against South provides the perfect opportunity for them to put that record straight.

Otley v Sedgley Park

Sedgley Park are challenging towards the right end of the table, but once again, the northwest club are struggling for consistency. Over the past couple of seasons, a patchy run of results has been Sedge’s downfall when competing for promotion and new head coach Matt Bebbington will be eager to stamp out the same sort of results this time around. Sedge have won three and lost two of their last five games which will have been frustrating, but a trip to Otley presents the chance for them to secure back to back wins for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.

Sedge are currently eight points behind second placed Tynedale, which isn’t catastrophic by any stretch of the imagination, but they could really do with a win to keep pace with the front-runners. Otley stand in their way and they are a side who would love to taste victory as well. The Yorkshire outfit welcome Sedge to Cross Green having not won any of their last three matches and it is their flaky form which is holding them back from progressing up the table. However, Peter Clegg’s side seem to be stronger at home and another triumph in front of their own supporters could be a catalyst for them.

Luctonians v Leicester Lions

Last weekend, Ryan Watkins and Luctonians would have been disappointed following their loss to Huddersfield at Lockwood Park. It came on the back off an impressive win over Blaydon, but all in all, the Herefordshire side will be satisfied with the way they have begun this term. The Lucts are back at Mortimer Park this weekend where they have won both of their matches this term so they will be confident of gaining a result against their visitors, Leicester Lions.

Having said, the Lions seem to have found their roar once again. After a dismal start to the season for the Westleigh Park outfit, Jack Heald’s men come into this fixture having won their last two matches which has seen them move from rock bottom to eighth in the table. Victories over Macclesfield and Otley have breathed new life into their campaign and a third triumph on the bounce would see the Lions leapfrog their hosts in the table.

Also this weekend, Luctonians will be wearing a pink strip to support the charity, Breast Cancer Haven, so if you are in the area please go down and show your support for a great cause.

Sheffield v Chester

Chester travel to Sheffield this weekend after yet another home victory. The Cheshire side edged out Wharfedale at Hare Lane in Round Six to back in three straight wins on their own turf and now the job for Nick Joseph’s men is to translate that form into their away performances. Chester have lost all three of their matches on their travels so far, but they may fancy their chances of breaking their duck this Saturday against a Sheffield side desperate to get off the mark.

The Yorkshire side remain winless after promotion from National Three North last term, but they are showing a number of signs that they can turn their fortunes around. They may well be bottom of the table, but they have certainly been competitive in all six of their matches thus far and considering Chester don’t travel well, this could be a good opportunity for Sheffield to claim their maiden win of the campaign.

Macclesfield v Sheffield Tigers

Life back in National Two North hasn’t been straightforward for Macclesfield since relegation from National One. Two wins from six matches is not what Giles Heagerty and his side would’ve had in mind at the beginning of the campaign, but the Blues have struggled to recapture their form of 2015/16 when they deservedly won the title. They welcome Sheffield Tigers to Priory Park on the back of three straight defeats, but the Yorkshire side are also desperate to find some form.

After finishing with a flurry last term (which confirmed their survival in this division), Sheffield Tigers have failed to really kick on and they once again find themselves down at the wrong end of the table. The Tigers have won just twice this season and they have conceded the most points in the league following heavy defeats against Sale FC and Hinckley. However, they did put in a spirited performance away at Tynedale last weekend. There were positives to take from the second-half display and they will be hoping to carry those into this weekend against Macclesfield.

Wharfedale v Blaydon

Two seasons ago, both Wharfedale and Blaydon were competing in National One. Dale were relegated in 2016 and struggled last season to make their mark in National Two North and 12 months later, it looks as though Blaydon are embarking on the same journey. Both of these sides have had difficult starts to the campaign with both picking up just one win apiece so far.

The hosts Wharfedale were excellent at home last term which is the reason why they stayed in this division so they will be aiming to clinch a first triumph in this campaign on their own patch while after a humbling by league leaders Stourbridge last weekend, Blaydon will be aiming for their maiden away win in this division as they look to put a stop their problematic start.

National League 2 North 2017/18 - Points Table