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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Plenty at stake as Furness and Windermere lock horns

A POTENTIALLY huge reward is on offer to the winners of tomorrow’s anticipated blockbusting encounter between Windermere and Furness.

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FULL OF RUNNING Windermere winger Chris Lightburn is set to face Furness at Dawes Meadow tomorrow CHRIS WEST

The clubs lock horns at Dawes Meadow as the battle to clinch second spot in the Cumbria League heats up.

Defeat for either team is out of the question as Silloth, with games in hand, are lurking ominously close in the shadows like a pantomime villain, ready to pounce.

Whoever finishes second, and Furness hold that position at present, will go into a play-off against the team which finishes second in the North Lancashire League.

The winner of that match will gain promotion into the North Lancashire and Cumbria League.

Windermere defeated Furness 22-10 at the Strawberry Grounds in the first game of the season, in a match where the home side felt they didn’t do themselves justice.

Tomorrow’s match has already been called off twice but, according to Mere captain Dan Harrison, the game looks “99 per cent certain”, to go ahead – barring a change in the weather conditions.

Furness are on a revenge mission to even matters and claim the prize and have a strong squad to select from. However, player-coach Gaz Pritchard is unavailable, as is Jack Clements, while Andrew Bannon is injured.

Windermere are missing the influential John Sheasby and Bertie Hodgson, who dislocated his shoulder in the 11-5 defeat against Millom.

Pritchard said: “They did us a bit of a favour not having the game last week because we had a lot of guys missing.

“It’s going to decide second place, which is where we want to be.

“We set our sights on the top five and obviously as high up as we could go, so finishing second would be a great finish to the regular season.

“We felt that we didn’t do ourselves justice when we played Windermere at our spot. We took the game for granted a little bit.

“The lads are working really hard, so I think we have got the beating of Windermere.

“There’s only been a couple of upsets this year, and that’s been one of them, so we want to put that right.”

Harrison said he was hoping it would be third time lucky and that the game goes ahead.

“Furness are lying second in the league at the moment, and if we beat them we go second in the league and whoever finishes second goes to a play-off for promotion, so it’s big,” he said.

“We have got a couple of injuries, but we are there or thereabouts.

“We beat them first game of the season, so hopefully we are in with a good chance.”

Mere will be looking to players like Lee Wood, a flanker and vice captain, for a big game, while equally important for the team will be Dan Nield and Mike Procter, plus winger Chris Lightburn and centre Jack Walker.

Their meeting with Millom attracted a crowd of 300, and with so much at stake in tomorrow’s match, the club are keeping their fingers crossed that decent numbers will once again turn up.

Windermere A have no game, but Furness A are at home to Keswick seconds in a re-arranged match.

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