RUGBY PREVIEW: West Hartlepool v Wheatley Hills

SCOTT TONIC: Scott Butcher returns for West against Wheatley Hills
SCOTT TONIC: Scott Butcher returns for West against Wheatley Hills

WEST Hartlepool will be looking to build on their best result of the season at Pocklington when they face more Yorkshire opposition tomorrow,

West ended Pock’s 100 per cent record at Feathers Field last Saturday and almost whitewashed Michael Watson’s side – the York club scoring in the dying seconds to make it 15-5.

But director of rugby Graeme Southern wants to see West move forward and not backwards when Wheatley Hills visit Brinkburn (kick-off 2.15pm).

“If we can produce last week’s performance on a consistent basis then we are a match for anyone,” Southern told SportMail.

“Pocklington had a perfect home record and they didn’t just win the games on their own ground, they won them comfortably.

“But it was a great win. Our defence was outstanding and the players have set a bench mark.

“We want to play like that again and avoid what we did the last time we had a smashing away victory down in Yorkshire.

“We followed up the win at Old Crossleyans by falling flat on our faces at home the week after against Ilkley.

“We can’t let that happen again and I don’t think we will.

“There’s a buzz in the club after last Saturday and we’ve had a good week on the training field – we had over 30 out last night.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.

“Wheatley Hills have always been a good and robust side at this level.

“They won’t take a backward step I’m sure but nor will we.”

West make only two changes to their winning formation tomorrow.

Former skipper Jonny Boatman returns to retirement after answering the club’s alarm call last week following a crisis in the midfield.

Scott Butcher is back after missing the trip to Pocklington and he slots in alongside Peter Youll.

Up front, Ian Pinchen is working so Ross Wood starts at prop.

“Jonny pulled us out of a big hole last week,” said Southern. “He played a blinder as well!

“He doesn’t want to play again but he’s willing to help us out if we ever need him.

“He’s a nice card to have up our sleeve.”

West’s win has increased the breathing space between them and the bottom three to 10 points and, more pertinently, are only three points from the top half of the table.

Wheatley Hills arrive on Catcote Road in confident mood – three bonus point wins on the spin have moved the Doncaster club up to third, just four points shy of the play-off spot.

But, for all they are challenging at the top end, they only boast two successes on the road so West should have no great fears tomorrow.

West: S Waites, M Tyers, S Butcher, P Youll, L Mallinson, Z Southern, R Painter, R Wood, A Rollins, A Coates, L Chapman, J Rafferty, D Boatman (capt), J Baggs, S Miller. Subs: J Angus, J Corbett, L Bailey