Friday, 5 May 2017

Sunday's Coming: Fev

What was the winning margin at your place, Jon?
Since Hornets won 9-10 at Post Office Road back on the 5th March, ‘normal’ service has resumed at Featherstone Rovers, the flat-cappers grinding their way to third in the league with just three defeats to their name - having only slipped up to Toulouse, Hull KR and us!

Having shipped 30 points in their defeat at Hull KR a month ago, they come to Spotland on Sunday looking for a fourth consecutive win.

However, speaking in the Pontefract & Castleford Express this week, Fev Coach Jon Sharp is acutely mindful of what an on-song Hornets can do to a decent side

“Rochdale are a difficult team to beat,” he said. “They have beaten us this season and pushed some other top teams. They are well coached, they are well organised and they work hard for each other so we are expecting a tough one this Sunday.”

Having stuttered past  Sheffield Eagles by 25-14 last week, Sharp is looking for improvement on Fev’s 45% completion rate.  Again, from the Ponte & Cas Express: “We need to play a little bit better and for longer. We are making too many errors and conceding too many penalties.”

Whiile Sharp has been pretty objective in his analysis, it seems emotions are a little closer to the surface amongst his squad: their veteran prop Darrell Griffin seeing Sunday’s game as a ‘Revenge Mission’

He’s quoted in the Ponte & Cas Express as saying: “They beat us earlier on in the season and ended our unbeaten start to the year, which hurt us as a team.”  Ah, bless…

“We are under no illusions in terms of the task at hand this weekend. Rochdale went well against Hull KR last weekend and they will be looking to upset the odds by beating us.” Whereas: “We were poor against Sheffield and are working hard this week to rectify our performance”

Fev are likely to be without without  Frankie Mariano, Jason Walton and Andy Bostock (injured) and also  Luke Briscoe (suspended) but have got Michael Knowles and Anthony Thackeray back in the running for selection.

Sharp has also said he will check availability of dual-registered Leeds players after they have announced their the squad for Saturdat’s Catalans Dragons game. Last week’s team contained FIVE Leeds DR/loan players : Cory Aston, Josh Walters, Jordan Baldwinson, Jack Ormondroyd and Mikolaj Oledzki (whose name gets you 130 at Scrabble).

Hornets come into Sunday’s game off the back of a confidence boosting performance at a pretty ordinary Hull KR. Given a little luck and the flight of the ball, Hornets could have taken the runaway Championship leaders even closer. But for one ten-minute spell of Rovers pressure early in the second half, Hornets looked prety comfortable at Craven Park. Certainly, we’ve never heard the East stand so quiet.

With Hornets looking to break a frustrating run of narrow defeats - and Fev looking for revenge - this promises to be a proper contest. See you there.