Kingstone Press Championship One
Sunday May 5th
Gateshead Thunder v Gloucestershire All Golds (3.00pm)
Jarrad Williams could be included in Kevin Neighbour’s Gateshead Thunder squad as they prepare for the visit of Gloucestershire All Golds on Sunday.
Neighbour was encouraged by his pack’s display against North Wales last week, insisting there are plenty of encouraging signs for the Thunder.
Neighbour said: “We had a good dig last week and our pack is getting better and better every week.”
He added: “Getting a result from any game is achievable in this competition, as has been proven already this year.
“Everybody else is very capable of beating everybody else. This is a definite opportunity for us to get three points, take a step forward and start looking up the table rather than down.”
All Golds coach Brad Hepi is aiming for his side’s first victory in Kingstone Press Championship One.
London Skolars v South Wales Scorpions (3.00pm)
London Skolars coach Joe Mbu has a fully fit squad to pick from after three weeks without a competitive game.
Mbu said: “I’d have preferred us to have been playing, but we’ve made good use of this time. We’ve looked at a few things we needed to work on and been able to train hard without the added worry about whether people are fit for each weekend.”
On the Scorpions, Mbu said: “Every team will look to improve as the season goes on.
“I never underestimate teams and every time we play someone we know they’ll be stronger than the last time we played them. We’ll give them all the respect that’s due.”
Courtney Davies returns to the South Wales Scorpions squad after missing last week’s win against Rochdale Hornets through injury.
South Wales coach Dave Clark said: “Our structure is now there and we showed against Rochdale that we can compete against the sides that are tipped for the top.
“We’ve only been in the competition for three years and some of our guys have only played rugby league for two or three years, so we’re learning all the time.”
He added: “Playing London at their place is always a very tough game, no matter where they are in the competition.”
Oxford v Hemel Stags (3.00pm)
Brett Robinson, Danny Halliwell and Martin Roden are all expected to feature for Oxford, despite the trio being withdrawn in the final quarter of last week’s win over Oldham as a precautionary measure.
Oxford coach Tony Benson has only two injury absentees – JJ Baird and Alex Thompson – as he tries to plot the end of Hemel’s 100 per cent record in Kingstone Press Championship One.
Benson said: “I’ve been impressed by how Hemel have started, but I haven’t been surprised. They were top of their division last year, they’ve got some strong dual-registration players and Troy Perkins is a very capable coach.”
Jack Molloy (thumb) remains sidelined for the Stags ahead of a month that Hemel coach Troy Perkins believes will reveal much about his side.
Perkins said: “It’s still the honeymoon period at the moment, but we’ll know a bit more about how we’re going by the end of May.”
He added: “The majority of Oxford’s squad is experienced at this level or higher and that’s something we maybe lack, but hopefully Gareth Honor and Jermaine Coleman will help on that front.”
Rochdale Hornets v North Wales Crusaders (3.00pm)
Rochdale Hornets coach Ian Talbot knows the importance of Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One fixture with North Wales Crusaders.
Talbot said: “It’s not far from being a must-win game if we want to get anything out of this season.”
He added: “You’d expect North Wales to be the team to beat this year. They’ve cherry-picked the best players from the competition from the past few years, and we’re under no illusions about how tough they’ll be.”
Hornets’ only injury concern is Alex Trumper, who is struggling with a knee injury.
Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths has warned his side against complacency after their impressive start to the season.
Griffiths said: “If we don’t come out all guns blazing I’ll be a bit disappointed.
“We’ve made a good start, but my feet are on the ground. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got 13 tough games to go, so it’s daft to start thinking ahead. That’s a dangerous game.
“We’re in the final of the Northern Rail Bowl and top of the league, but I know it can turn on its head. You’ve got to keep working and moving forward. We’ve won a few battles, but the war is still raging out there.”
Edited by John Drake, 03 May 2013 - 12:45 PM.