19th July 2012, 10:04
North Wales Conference Week 10 Preview
By Ryan Gould
Flintshire Falcons v Wrexham Bradley Raiders – Deeside Leisure Centre, Saturday at 2pm
Flintshire Falcons will be out to get revenge for their 36-28 defeat to the Raiders at the start of the month, but both sides’ preparation leading up to this fixture has been halted – as they have both had contests against the Prestatyn and Rhyl Panthers abandoned due to serious injuries, within the last week.
The Falcons played host to Prestatyn on Wednesday night, but that didn’t last due to a dislocated ankle for one of the visiting players, meaning that he couldn’t leave the field of play, and therefore the game had to be abandoned.
Likewise, this was the outcome when the Raiders went to face the Panthers, but unfortunately for them it was their player who picked up the serious injury – Wayne Jones dislocating his knee.
This has left Raiders coach Dave Cottom with somewhat of a headache in terms of his injury list, with Steve Richards still out with a long-term injury and Chris Blythe nursing a hamstring problem. However, the visitors are hoping that Rob Morris and Alun Gilpin can overcome knocks to be available on Saturday.
Despite all the problems that are facing the Raiders, Cottom knows the importance of the game and wants the best from the squad that he’ll have available to him. “This is a big game for us on the weekend, with the winners being likely to qualify for that final play-off spot. We need to do as we did the last time we faced them”, he said.
With the Raiders in a spot of bother on the injury front, this could be the perfect opportunity for the Falcons to strike back. Falcons coach Matt Pritchard explained: “We’re looking forward to this game. It will be tough, as the Raiders are a good side, and they did very well last time we played them”.
“The pressure isn’t on us, it’s on the teams around us. We’re at the bottom, so it would be nice to get a result. We just need to go out and enjoy ourselves, and hopefully we’ll get the result we need”.
Pritchard is hopeful that he’ll have a decent squad to choose from, with around 20 players up for selection. That strength-in-depth compared to the Raiders’ low capacity squad could prove crucial when the meet on Saturday afternoon.
Prestatyn and Rhyl Panthers v Dee Valley Dragons – Meadows Playing Fields, Saturday at 2pm
The top two go head-to-head in what is a fixture of real significance, and both are continuing their impressive form as they look to be victorious in the inaugural North Wales Conference competition.
Dee Valley Dragons are playing some exciting rugby league lately, currently on a three match winning streak and racking up the points at the same time – in those three fixtures they have accumulated an impressive 220 points.
Their last defeat however, came at the hands of their opponents, so they will be looking to get one back on the Panthers in this game, which is bound to be a real arm wrestle.
Prestatyn head coach Jonathan Burgess will have a strong squad to chose from, with exception to the injuries they picked up in the abandoned game on Wednesday night.
This has been a big week for the Prestatyn-based side, and a victory on Saturday will secure top place. Burgess reflected on this and said: “The players are up for the big challenge that they face this week. We knew both games this week were going to be very difficult, especially this one on Saturday”
“Dee Valley are at full strength and have some wonderful players in their side – they are going to be well up for this on Saturday. It’s going to be an exciting match, and our lads can’t wait to get out there and put in another solid performance to reach our main aim of finishing top"