Stephens' men face 500-mile round trip in semis bid

By Tony Harber POWERGEN Intermediate Cup holders Morley are set to hit the road in a big way in defence of their trophy and expect to face their toughest test so far on Saturday.

A 510-mile round trip awaits the Maroons players and supporters for the quarter-final tie as they venture to Sussex to face a Haywards Heath team that was playing national league rugby this time last year.

"I've been reading up on Haywards Heath and there's no doubt it will be a massive challenge for us, especially having to travel so far," said coach Colin Stephens.

"But we're in a positive frame of mind and looking forward to the game.

"Obviously getting back to Twickenham would be a great thing for the club, but for now my main job is to keep the lads focused on what we have to do on Saturday. We'll need to be on our game, there's no doubt about that."

Haywards Heath have had a bit of an up and down time with seven wins, one draw and six defeats in London League One. They suffered defeat by 28 points to 10 against famous old name London Scottish last weekend.

But they showed their ability in beating Truro 54-3 in the last round of the Intermediate Cup. And in previous rounds of the competition, Haywards Heath beat Marlow 17-13, Sutton & Epsom 21-5 and Sidcup 37-7.

They are also defending a proud record of having won all five home matches they have ever played in the Intermediate Cup.

"We're not going to go up so we can concentrate on this a bit," said coach Ian Davies, who is also the Sussex county coach.

"It would be fantastic to get to Twickenham and it's probably the best chance these lads are ever going to have."

Haywards Heath tumbled out of the national leagues last season, but are re-shaping their team round New Zealand fly half Daniel Morath and highly rated teenage back row forward Jamie Redmayne.

"We've got a younger team this year and now the players have bedded in we're going in the right direction and generating a bit of a feel good factor," added Davies.

"Daniel's been a fabulous player with ball in hand for us and is very exciting at 10, while Jamie's a 19-year-old who played for Sussex under-20s last year and has made himself our first choice open side with some great performances."

Morley, of course, have some key players of their own, but could be without one of them after main line-out jumper Simon Chippendale suffered an Achilles injury last Saturday.

The tall second rower was taken off against Huddersfield as a precaution and now faces a race against time to be fit for the big cup clash.

At least the Maroons have a couple of experienced men on stand by in the shape of Jon Kite and Ben Wade, but "Chippy" would be a big miss as he has had a very consistent season.

Morley are taking a supporters' coach with them to Sussex, setting off at 7am from Scatcherd Lane. Anyone who would like to go should get their name down on the noticeboard in the club as soon as possible.

The Maroons go into the cup tie on the back of another league boost last weekend when they comfortably beat Huddersfield while Westoe, who were shaping up as their biggest rivals, suffered a surprisingly heavy defeat at Chester.

The 50-12 defeat to the only team to have beaten Morley this season was a huge blow to Westoe who are now eight points behind Colin Stephens' men and have a vastly inferior points difference.

West Park St Helens re-discovered winning form, beating struggling Caldy 64-12, but they remain five points behind in second place and have the hardest run-in of all the leading sides.

It all means that the Maroons can lose two of their remaining eight North One games and still be crowned champions.

Powergen Intermediate Cup quarter-finals taking place this Saturday are:

Dudley Kingswinford v Weston-Super-Mare; Haywards Heath v Morley; Stockport v Tring; Scunthorpe v Cheltenham North.