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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Windermere anticipate exciting derby day

THERE is a hint of derby fever in the air as Windermere prepare to take on Kendal 2nds tomorrow.

It is the first time in several seasons the two South Lakes sides have gone head-to-head in competitive action at Dawes Meadow and Mere captain Dan Harrison is relishing the prospect (2pm kick-off).

With his side sitting second in the Cumbria League and determined to keep up the pressure on unbeaten leaders Hawcoat Park, Harrison is hopeful of victory against the men from down the A591.

It will not be an easy task, but Windermere can carry confidence from their 21-8 win in the reverse fixture at the end of September and a home record with only a single blemish all season – unsurprisingly against unbeaten Hawcoat.

“It’s a local derby and it’s a long time since we played Kendal at Windermere in a competitive game,” said Harrison, who missed the win at Kendal due to a holiday..

“It will be very fiercely fought. It will be a typical local derby and a tough game, but we should win.

“We won at their place at the start of the season and we will be hoping to win again this time.

“We want to keep as much pressure on Hawcoat Park as we can and keep a nice gap between us and the teams behind us. We can’t afford to lose.”

Bertie Hodgson continues to be absent for the Amber and Blacks tomorrow with a dislocated shoulder, while Jack Holmes is unavailable due to his commitments as a firefighter.

But they are the only players missing for the home side, with Chris Lightburn back after a week’s holiday and Mark Ireland also returning to the pack, where he will join flanker and key man John Sheasby.

A big boost comes in the shape of scrum half Dan Neale, who has returned to the club after spending a year in Bermuda and goes straight into the squad.

Victory is seen as vital for Windermere as they look to maintain their place in the top five in the Cumbria League and keep up the pressure on Hawcoat.

The former is the main target, with the division split into two at the end of January and matches against the likes of Hawcoat, Furness and Millom being preferable to trips to Kirkby Lonsdale seconds, Carlisle Crusaders and Netherhall.

“We’re pretty much back to full strength now,” added Harrison.

“Our goal all season has been to be in the top five come Christmas and have guaranteed a top-five spot by then for when the league splits.

“If we can get to that goal, then we will reassess the season from there and start again.”

With the pitch at Dawes Meadow in fine condition despite the recent downpours and ideally located to catch the sun in the event of a frost in the Lake District tonight, the game is set to go ahead whatever the weather.

“The pitch is looking fantastic,” said Harrison.

l Windermere will be holding an open day tomorrow based around their first-team fixture against Kendal.

Anyone interested in playing, refereeing, coaching or helping out at the club is invited to attend from 11.30am.

There will be a barbecue and mulled wine available, with the club thanking Clayton’s Butchers and Windermere Wine Stores for their help.

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