Walney and Ulverston aim to bounce back as Askam carry momentum

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Return: Mike Whitehead is set to feature for Walney Central against Ellenborough LEANNE BOLGER
Return: Mike Whitehead is set to feature for Walney Central against Ellenborough LEANNE BOLGER
21 April 2017 9:04AM

THE two Furness clubs left to fly the flag in the Cumbria Men’s League – Walney Central and Ulverston – have crowd-pleasing home fixtures tomorrow as they try to put Easter defeats behind them.

Both travelled up the coast last weekend and returned empty-handed, but home advantage tomorrow could be crucial.

Free-scoring Askam and improving Barrow Island are also likely to draw good crowds for their National Conference League games against high-flying opponents Crosfields and Dewsbury Moor respectively.

Millom hit the road to Saddleworth, while Hindpool Tigers are at Farnworth Hornets.

WALNEY CENTRAL v ELLENBOROUGH

(Central Drive, 2.30pm)

WALNEY are aiming to get their Cumbria League challenge up and running after two away defeats left them stranded at the bottom of the table.

This is Cents’ first home league game of the season after trips to Seaton and Wath Brow, where they suffered a 30-20 defeat last weekend, and coach Jan Elliott will be looking for a big improvement.

“We were poor on the fringes but we have worked in training to put that right on Saturday,” said Elliott. “There was nothing wrong with the effort and we are not that far off.”

Walney will be without Liam Finch, Jamie Ralph, Mike Elliott and Connor Pearce, but Mike Whitehead, James Finch and Adam Pearson are likely to be included. There could also be a surprise return from Mike Backhouse.

ULVERSTON v DISTINGTON

(Dragley Beck, 2.30pm)

THERE is no let-up for Ulverston following their hard-fought Barton Townley Cup win over Hindpool Tigers on Wednesday.

They take on reigning Cumbria League champions Distington, and coach Phil Atkinson is hoping that any bumps and bruises his players suffered in the cup tie will not keep them out of action.

Matty Storey, Joel Smith, Mark Wilkinson, Marc Storey and Ryan John were the try-scorers in the 25-16 win over the Tigers. Connor Saunders kicked two goals and Marc Storey added a drop-goal.

Ulverston’s impressive home form could be a key factor against a side who went through the whole of last season undefeated.

ASKAM v CROSFIELDS

(Fallowfield Park 2.30pm)

ASKAM coach Mike Wilson is counting on his side’s rock-solid defence to halt the free-scoring NCL Division Two leaders when Crosfields are the visitors.

The Soapmen, from Warrington, have won five of their six games and they are averaging almost 40 points a match, but Askam are on a big-scoring winning streak, with 168 points in their last three games.

But it was the defensive strength of his side in their Barton Townley Cup win over Millom that impressed Wilson, and he is called for a repeat performance.

“We took our chances but I was pleased with our defence and how we managed to keep our line intact under pressure and we will need a similar effort against Crosfields,” said Wilson.

A hand injury suffered in the win over Millom could keep winger Ben Lewney out of the side, while Kristian Tyson has a slight hamstring worry. Dan Sayle is in the reckoning for a return though.

BARROW ISLAND v DEWSBURY MOOR MAROONS

(Rating Lane, 2.30pm)

APART from their recent heavy defeat at West Bowling, Barrow Island have been showing week-by-week improvement and are hoping to continue that form when they take on one of NCL Division Three’s high-fliers.

But they will have to face the Maroons without their in-form forward Carl MacBain and winger Jonathan Walsh, who has been a revelation in defence.

“This is a division where anybody is capable of beating anybody else and we have been getting stronger as the season goes on,” said Island coach Joe Elliott, whose side are also benefiting from the programme of weekly fixtures and having competition for places at Rating Lane.

“Although we lost heavily at West Bowling, we had a bit of a scratch team with a young bench and we don’t think we have anything to fear when they come here.”

SADDLEWORTH RANGERS v MILLOM

MILLOM’S mixed season takes them to Oldham to face mid-table NCL Division Two rivals Saddleworth Rangers, hoping they can turn the corner after a series of away defeats.

Home form is not a problem, but they are still looking for their first win on the road following losses at East Leeds and Bradford Dudley Hill.

FARNWORTH HORNETS v HINDPOOL TIGERS

TIGERS must be wondering if their fixture list in the North West Men’s League is arranged by a London bus company – none for ages and then they come thick and fast.

They were in action on Wednesday night, losing 25-16 in the Barton Townley Cup, and tomorrow they travel to Widnes to face Farnworth Hornets.

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