National Two North - Round Two Preview

Preston will be hoping for their first win of this campaign when they face Sale FC on Saturday
©Preston Grasshoppers

Sedgley Park & Caldy sent out an early message last weekend that they want to be in the promotion hunt come April, while newcomers Sandal got off to a flyer.

Tynedale and Macclesfield are just two of the teams that will be hoping to get off the mark as everyone begins to find their feet in this new season.  Here is what is in store for us this weekend in National Two North.

Round Two Preview

Broadstreet v Chester

It wasn't the best start to the new campaign for Broadstreet. A thumping 51-18 defeat away at Sedgley Park put them bottom of the table, but that really doesn't mean anything at this stage of the season. They welcome Chester to Ivor Preece on Saturday, looking for their first win. Broadstreet won 11 of their home games last season which was key to their 7th place finish.

As for Chester, they began with a hard fought victory over Preston Grasshoppers and will look to replicate the start which they had last year when they won eight of their first 10 games. They won  just five games on the road last campaign, but did do the double of 'Street last season.  

Preston Grasshoppers v Sale FC

Preston lost out narrowly to Chester last weekend and Garth Dew's side will be looking to bounce back with a win against newly promoted Sale FC this Saturday. The Hoppers finished in a disappointing 12th place last season and 7 of their 11 wins came at Lightfoot Green.

In terms of Sale FC, they are certainly the next up and coming side in the National Leagues. After promotion from North West 1 two seasons ago, they were crowned champions of National Three North last year and will want to continue their climb up the national leagues. Sale showed early season rustiness in their 11-23 home defeat to Caldy last weekend, so will hope for better this time around.  The last time Preston faced Sale competitively was in 1991 which Sale won 30-4!

Macclesfield v Caldy

After being relegated from National One, defeat to Stourbridge last weekend would've given Macclesfield the feeling that it will be difficult for them to bounce straight back up. It was a tough first assignment for the Blues, but they now turn their attention to a  first Cheshire derby of the season when they host Caldy this Saturday. Macc won just three games last season, but have beaten the Wirral outfit in their last four competitive meetings.

As for Caldy, they began in the perfect fashion with a professional performance against Sale FC last Saturday. After finishing 6th and just five points off third last season, they will be hoping that they can push for promotion this time around. Caldy won just four games on the road last season, but their win away at Sale will surely have boosted their confidence heading into this encounter.

Luctonians v Harrogate

It certainly wasn't the start the Luctonians would've wanted last weekend. A heavy defeat to new boys Sandal leaves them 15th the table and now they will be looking to respond at home to Harrogate. The Lucts won 8 games on home turf last season which was key in them surviving in this division.

Like Caldy, Harrogate will be pushing for a promotion spot after finishing in 4th place last season - level on points with third place Sedgley Park. They beat Otley last week which was a great start and now they are fully focused on their trip to Herefordshire this weekend. They won their last three away games last campaign which took their tally to eight wins on the road overall. They did beat the Luctonians  29-34 at Mortimer Park in December but lost at home 27-30 in April of this year.

Otley v Leicester Lions

With just one win in their last 10 National Two North matches, Otley will be hoping to wipe the slate clean this weekend when Leicester Lions travel to Cross Green. The home side were edged out by Harrogate last Saturday so will want to claim their first win this weekend. Otley won 8 times at home last season.

As for the Lions, it was a superb opening day for them as they beat newcomers Tynedale, who were relegated from National One last season. A last gasp 27-30 win came on the road for them so they will be looking to keep up their winning start on their travels. Leicester finished 11th last season with just three away wins to their name. They also lost to Otley 31-22 in this fixture last season.

Sandal v Stourbridge

It was a cracking start to life in National Two for Sandal as they picked up that excellent bonus point win against the Luctonians. They now host Stourbridge this weekend which will be a tough task for the new boys. Sandal have now won 14 of their last 15 games at home.

In terms of Stour, it was a good start to the 2015/16 season as they look to put a difficult 2014/15 behind them. Hampered by injuries, Stourbridge were nowhere near their 3rd place finish of 2014 and having recruited well in the summer, they will be looking to be at the right end of the league this season. Stour won five games on the road last campaign.

South Leicester v Sedgley Park

South Leicester will be wondering why it took them until the 70th minute against Huddersfield to show what they can bring to this division. They scored twice in the final 10 minutes to secure a losing bonus point on the opening day, but now host their first game of National Two against Sedgley Park. South Leicester have won 12 of their last 13 home matches.

As for Sedge, they proved to us last weekend why they are tipped for promotion this season with that stunning display at home to Broadstreet. They finished third last season - which was still some achievement considering Hull Ionians and Ampthill were a class above the rest - and will be hoping this is their season. Sedgley won just six times on their travels last campaign.

Tynedale v Huddersfield

Andy Buist's opening game as Tynedale Head Coach ended in defeat last weekend as a late penalty from Leicester Lions stole the points. Tyne will want to bounce back this Saturday when they welcome Huddersfield up north in for their first win since their first ever relegation. The hosts won just eight times last season, but are tipped to be in the National Two North promotion hunt by April.

In terms of Huddersfield, they picked up from where they left off last season - in terms of their home form - with that win over South Leicester, but they will want to improve on their four away victories which they achieved last campaign. 

National League Rugby