Josh Love - back in the reckoning
NEWBURY BLUES aim to seal a home promotion play-off with Clevedon next week by wrapping up their 26-match regulation South West One East programme against visiting Reading Abbey on Saturday.
Needing only two points to secure second place to Maidenhead and home advantage in the promotion decider, on paper the task is relatively straightforward against an Abbey side already doomed to the drop to Southern Counties rugby, but Blues head coach Lee Goodall is wary of the Berkshire neighbours, who will have nothing to lose on Saturday.
“They will want to come and spoil the party, I’m sure,” he said, “and we’ve got to be completely on the ball.
“They are a threat. They have won 10 games this season are are still relegated, which shows how tight this league is. It may be 13th versus second, but we’ve got to be on the money if we want it.
“I think it’s a shame they’ve been relegated bcause I think they are a good side. Their number 15 Gavin Dampies is class, they’ve got a good pack and good half backs. They’ve got threats across the whole pitch and we’ve got to concentrate, do what we do well and put a game plan in place to beat them.”
Blues have only hooker Robbie Drysdale missing from their regular rabks with a shoulder injury, and eitehr Graham Stewart or James Macauley will deputise with Aaron Johnston and Paul Sayers stepping up to fill the front row gaps.
Josh Love, Josh Bartlett and Kyle Doel are all available again, while Rory Jones has been away this week but returns at the weekend, giving Blues’ coaching team the headache of selecting from a near full-strength squad.
Newbury are holding their annual 'Pink Day' in aid of Cancer Research on Saturday.