Rugby preview: Horden v Stockton

GREAT SEASON: David Heckles (right)
GREAT SEASON: David Heckles (right)

HORDEN can’t allow one drop of complacency to seep in to their promotion machine.

That’s the warning from head coach Glenn Bowman as the Durham Northumberland One leaders prepare to take on Stockton at Welfare Park tomorrow (kick-off 2.15pm).

After seeing off two promotion challengers on the last two league Saturdays – and scoring two 30-point totals into the bargain – a visit from their near neighbours from down the A19 does not sound too demanding.

But Bowman said: “After a couple of good wins against City and Guisborough people will think it should be a pretty straight forward fixture for us.

“If we start to think that then we leave ourselves open to falling flat on our faces.

“Our attitude has got to be right.

“In team meetings we’ve spoken about one game at a time and that’s the way were approaching things.

“It is dangerous to get ahead of yourself.”

Horden have used their old strength,. the pack, to good effect in the heavy conditions in recent wins.

But Bowman says the side are keen to get the ball further out, though the weather forecast suggests they may not be able to do that just yet.

“The weather has meant that we’ve had to change our style a little over recent weeks,” he said. “We’ve relied more on the power in the pack and the midfield, so we’ve not gone wide as often as previously.

“Craig Jones wants to get back to firmer ground so he can get his try tally going again.

“We’d like to, but with the dominance we’ve had up front, especially at scrum time, we’ve had a great platform to play from.

“We’ll be looking to do the same this week.

“The lads are playing for each other and it’s more than one player having big games week-in, week-out.

“The two second rows, Michael Thubron and Paul Malcolm, have been excellent this season along with the likes of Porky [Paul James] and Davy Heckles at full-back.

“There is a strong spine to the side and hopefully we can keep that going until the end of the season.”

Horden have named an unchanged XV, with Chris Wood joining the two Michael Ts on the bench, Turner and Thompson.