Morley RFC aiming to move out of bottom three

Morley RFC's James Davies takes on Lymm defenders. Picture: Dennis Elam
Morley RFC's James Davies takes on Lymm defenders. Picture: Dennis Elam

The Morley RFC survival show is up and running after a battling 40-38 victory at Lymm revived hopes of avoiding the drop from National Three North for the Maroons.

After winning their opening game of the season the Maroons had suffered 11 consecutive defeats so there was relief as well as celebration when they came home from Cheshire with five points after claiming a try bonus as well as the winning points against a Lymm side five places higher in the table.

The result enabled Morley to climb a place up to third from bottom as they leapfrogged Firwood Waterloo who suffered a 34-21 loss to Sandal last Saturday.

They are now targeting Doncaster Phoenix, who are one place and five points above them in 11th place, and local rivals Cleckheaton, who have six points more and stand in tenth position with the league season now at the halfway stage.

Despite a mounting injury list, Morley’s performances had been improving in recent weeks and the way they took the game to a Lymm side that had only lost twice at home this season was further encouragement with two more big games left in 2016.

The Maroons now travel across West Yorkshire to play Ilkley this Saturday (kick-off 2.15pm) with confidence renewed, although they will face opponents not short on belief themselves as they are fresh from a 70-0 hammering of bottom club Stockport last weekend.

With a home game against Cleckheaton to come the following week Morley do have the incentive ahead of them of possibly climbing out of the relegation places by Christmas if they can reproduce the improved clinical finishing at Lymm.

They will be hoping to have players back for the key clashes after a mounting injury list has not helped their cause this season.

The Maroons suffered yet another injury blow on the morning of the Lymm match when attacking full-back Dante van der Merwe failed to recover from a leg injury and had to become a late withdrawal.

But Henry Shiell moved from his usual centre place to full-back and despite playing first-ever game in the position he responded by putting in a man of the match performance.

Former Featherstone Rovers captain Tim Spears and James Davies formed a new centre partnership with Richard Knowles getting a late call-up for bench duties. Student scrum-half Ben Bowen, meanwhile, showed his sharpness when he latched onto two loose passes to score two crucial tries.