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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Ruddy hoping to go out on a Challenge cup high for Millom

THERE are just two amateur rugby league fixtures due to be played this weekend, but both look exciting affairs.

50040891B000.jpg ruddy
FITNESS RACE: Millom forward Wayne Ruddy is battling to overcome injury and face Blackbrook in Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie at Askam

Millom aim to progress in the Challenge Cup at the expense of Blackbrook at Fallowfield Park, Askam, on Sunday.

But before that clash, Dalton take on Blackpool Scorpions in a North West Counties Winter League match at Kelland Park tomorrow.

MILLOM v BLACKBROOK

Fallowfield Park, Sunday, 1.30pm

OLD warhorse Wayne Ruddy is facing a race against the clock to line up for the Woollybacks in what will be his swansong as, come 3pm, he goes into retirement.

The former BARLA international prop forward has been battling to overcome a groin injury and is rated 50-50, but this tough-as-granite forward will do all in his power to get on the park and help his club into the second round proper of the Challenge Cup.

Ruddy, 37, well known throughout the amateur game, will form a tremendous front row against the North West Men’s League Premier Division champions alongside another BARLA international Craig Wilson and baby of the pack Marcus O’Brien, the Great Britain Under-18s Lions skipper.

Coach Anthony Murray said: “It would be great if Wayne was to be declared fit. He is a top forward and it will take something out the ordinary to stop him playing.

“He is a valuable part of our pack, one that we feel will see us through to victory. It will be a massive bonus if he gets on to the field as we face a tough 80 minutes.

“It will be good to see the top North West Men’s League side up here, a team that has lost only one league game this season. They go into the Conference third division next season, so they will want to be on top of their game as it will give them a guide of what lies ahead next term.

“Blackbrook have several good players. Loose forward Lee Marsh is a handful, he has the craft of a stand-off and the body of a loose forward. He played for Rochdale and Blackpool.

“Tony Chambers is a strong attacking full-back and up front Shaun Richardson is a strong lad. On top of that they have a quality coach in former Salford player Mark Lee. I played under him at Chorley before he went to Salford as academy coach.”

A big blow for Murray is that county forward Paul Carter is ruled out with a broken thumb sustained in Cumbria’s victory over Yorkshire two weeks ago, while Anthony Green is out with a shoulder injury and BARLA youth full-back Chris Warren is holidaying in Australia. Due to the switch to Sunday, Midge Dixon and Ian Armstrong are unavailable.

However, the Woollybacks will still field a strong side. BARLA Under-18s forward Ethan Kelly will join the squad along with 16-year-olds Hanley Dawson, Joe Moyes and Josh Banhan while Jamie Sandham will revert to full-back.

The expected line up is: Sandham, Dawson, Donaghue, Brooks, Moyes, Evans, Murray, Wilson, O’Brien, Ruddy, G Carter, Sibley, Edmondson. Subs: E Kelly, D Kelly, Clarke, Banhan.

DALTON v BLACKBROOK SCORPIONS

Kelland Park, 2pm

DALTON give debuts to summer rugby players Tom Wilkinson (Ulverston) and James Duerden (Askam) as they take on the Scorpions.

But the Kelland Park side will not risk Chris Reid, who is troubled by a hamstring problem, while Dan Sayle has work commitments.

Assistant coach Owen Richards said: “It will be good to have Wilkinson and Duerden in the side, they are two very good players.

“Scorpions are always a tough side to beat, but they have lost their coach and I believe there is a little unrest in the team.

“But they have started the season quite strong so it won’t be an easy game.”

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