Stour to test Fylde’s unbeaten start

Fylde meet Stourbridge at Woodlands on their 100th year anniversary
©Chris Farrow

Only Caldy and Fylde are yet to taste defeat in National Two North this term, but the latter’s fine start to the season could be put to the test in Round Six.

Warren Spragg’s side are currently second in the league standings, but they welcome fourth placed Stourbridge to Woodlands this weekend and the Midlands club will provide a tough challenge.

Fylde have been excellent thus far as have league leaders Caldy, who travel to Hull on Saturday with the aim of extending their winning streak to six matches.

Third placed Sedgley Park will be keen to stay in touch with the top two when they host Hinckley and an in-form Chester travel to Otley in search of a fourth consecutive victory.

Elsewhere across the division, Wharfedale entertain Sheffield Tigers and Preston Grasshoppers face Huddersfield whilst Loughborough Students visit Luctonians and Tynedale take on Scunthorpe.

Hull v Caldy

Caldy would have been targeting a fast start to life in National Two North and Gareth Davies’ side have certainly set their stall out for this season. The Wirral outfit have secured five straight wins and currently lead the way by one point as they prepare to travel to Hull this weekend.

The hosts, who were promoted from North Premier, have begun this term well. Gary Pearce’s men were unbeaten after their first three games back at this level, but consecutive defeats have just taken a little bit of the shine off their positive start. With this in mind, the Yorkshire club will be keen to response quickly, however, facing the table toppers will be a tough challenge at Chanterlands Avenue.

Fylde v Stourbridge

With five games to go in 2018/19, Fylde may have been feeling the weight of expectation as an immediate promotion back to National One was still very much alive. However, four defeats in a row ended their chances but Warren Spragg’s men have completely put that disappointment to bed. The Lancashire club are currently unbeaten this season and their top two credentials will be tested this weekend against Stourbridge.

The second-placed side welcome Stour to Woodlands and the visitors will be keen to bounce back after falling to a late defeat against Sedgley Park last weekend. Neil Mitchell’s men have now suffered successive home losses, but on the road, the Midlands club boast a 100 per cent record. Another away triumph against a possible top two rival would certainly be an excellent result for Stour.

Sedgley Park v Hinckley

Scott Barrow would have been pleased to see his Sedgley Park side snatch a late win at Stourbridge in Round Five, but he will be seeking a much more polished display from the Tigers this weekend. The head coach admitted his side ‘gifted’ Stour points last Saturday so Sedge will be aiming to keep things tight in defence when they host Hinckley.

The Manchester-based club did lose their last home outing against Tynedale and they will have to be wary of their opponents on Saturday, who have won two of their last three games. Hinckley were minutes away from a trio of victories only to be denied by a late Otley penalty in Round Five, but things are beginning to fall into place for the Hornets as they go in search of back-to-back away wins this weekend.

Otley v Chester

Chester are likely to continue with a winning formula this weekend as three straight victories has got Jan van Deventer’s side firing again. After reaching the National Two play-off back in May, the Cheshire outfit seemed to be suffering from a hangover at the start of this campaign, but the men from Hare Lane have clicked into gear since the middle of September.

They will be in high spirits when they arrive in Yorkshire and the hosts will also have smiles on their faces after securing their first win of the season last Saturday. Joe Rowntree’s late penalty saw Otley narrowly beat Hinckley and now Charlie Maunder and Tom Casson will be hoping to see their side build on their opening victory as they look to put a frustrating September firmly to the back of their minds.

Wharfedale v Sheffield Tigers

After losing successive games against Sedgley Park and Fylde, consecutive wins have got Wharfedale back on track. Victories over Scunthorpe and Preston Grasshoppers has lifted the Greens up to sixth place and they will now be eyeing a third straight triumph when Sheffield Tigers visit the Avenue.

The Tigers have won just two games so far this season and the duo of victories came at the beginning of September. Since then, Jamie Broadley’s side have slipped to three defeats in a row but they did show their fight and character to nearly pull off a remarkable comeback against Loughborough Students last time out. Sheffield Tigers won this fixture 35-26 last year so can they repeat that feat this weekend?

Preston Grasshoppers v Huddersfield

Preston Grasshoppers entertain Huddersfield this weekend and Paul Arnold will be demanding a reaction from his side after ‘poor decision making’ cost them in Round Five. Hoppers were beaten by Wharfedale away from home, but back at Lightfoot Green, the Lancashire club will be gunning for three victories in a row.

However, a dramatic 25-24 win against Scunthorpe last Saturday gave Gareth Lewis’ side their first win of the season and a welcome boost following a frustrating start to the campaign. Field will now want to harness that positivity and turn it into another victory as they aim to move out of the relegation places as quickly as possible.

Luctonians v Loughborough Students

This a meeting of two teams who joined National Two North at the start of this season after Loughborough Students suffered relegation from National One whilst Luctonians gained promotion from the fifth tier. In terms of the Students, their indifferent start to life back at this level took a positive turn in Round Five as they managed hold on to secure an excellent win away at Sheffield Tigers.

The Midlands club are on the road again this weekend and the home side come into this fixture searching for their first victory since the opening day of the campaign. Luctonians were humbled by league leaders Caldy last weekend and Ryan Watkins’ side will be desperate to claim their second win sooner rather than late to reignite their season.

Scunthorpe v Tynedale

Following their excellent win over Sedgley Park in Round Four, Tynedale were unable to back that victory up against Fylde last weekend. However, Ben Woods’ side did mount a spirited revival to collect two bonus-points at Corbridge but now they have a chance to add a second victory of the season to their name away at Scunthorpe.

The hosts are still fighting for their maiden win of the campaign and they were minutes away from getting off the mark against Huddersfield, only for Will Milner to snatch a victory for the Yorkshire club with a late penalty. Tim Robinson’s side will refocus once again this week and they will be hoping their luck can change as the division’s bottom club aim to finally get their season up and running.

2019-20 National League 2 North