EAST Retford Rugby Club hope to pull off a shock result or two before the end of the season, as they try to secure their Midlands Three East North status.
Coach Nick Brough says survival in a tough division is the club’s main aim, but he would like to see one of the top teams fall to his Retford men before the campaign finishes.
Weather permitting, the men in green and yellow will play host to Ashby on Saturday, a side who ‘thrashed’ them in a meeting earlier this season.
Brough told the Guardian: “We quickly realised that this division we came up into is split into thirds.”
“The top four or so sides are very strong, with strength in depth, including Ashby.”
“The middle third is where we’re wanting to compete, and although we’ve had a couple of devastating results, we’re trying to keep the lads focused and we’re aiming to survive.”
East Retford are still in the Notts Lincs Derbyshire Cup, with a quarter-final yet to be arranged, but in league competition Brough wants to see them punch above their weight at least once more this season.
“To survive in this league so we can build for next season is the aim, but if we can shock one or two of these top sides and show that we can play, that would be a bonus,” he said.
“We’ve won five games this season in the league and if we can beat Belper and Mellish away, like we did at home, then I think we’ll be untouchable and safe from the drop.”
Sitting ninth in the 12-team league at this stage of the season is somewhat of an achievement for the Ordsall Road outfit, after a summer of departures.
Brough explained: “We lost 11 first team players during the close season.”
“A couple went to Dinnington, several got new jobs in places like New Zealand and South Korea and one or two retired through injury, important players.”
“It’s been increasingly hard to rebuild a side, as the Colts and Under 18s have been a bit thin on the ground.”
“But we’ve managed to put a side together, with a reasonable squad of about 25 players, and if we consolidate this season we can put more of a challenge in next year.”