Tuesday, 09 February 2016

Dalton look to cross Moor and march into play-offs

DALTON have until Saturday March 23 to cement their place in the top eight of the North West Counties League, and they make a further push when they entertain Widnes Moorfield at Kelland Park tomorrow (kick-off 2pm).

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BACK IN THE FOLD Adam Nicholson (with ball) returns for Dalton against Widnes Moorfield tomorrow

The top eight teams will take part in the play-offs, in a season cut short due to adverse weather prior to and after the Christmas break.

Postponements have forced the league management to scrap their plans to split the 15 teams into two divisions and now time has run out to fulfil the league programme.

Several teams joined the winter set-up from the summer league in late October and now concerns are that they could opt out as early the opening week of March to return, affecting the play-offs.

Dalton lost 28-10 at Golbourne Parkside last week, in their first outing since December 15, but are fifth in the table with games in hand on those teams above.

Returning for the clash with Moorfield – victors in the away fixture – are BARLA international Adam Nicholson, who played in the win over Keighley under-23s last weekend, Stu Tippett and Scott Worsley.

Work commitments rule out Dan Sayle and Ross Peoples, while Joe Watson is rated very doubtful with a shoulder injury.

Assistant coach Owen Richards said: “Home advantage and a wide pitch should see us win this one.

“When we lost away it was on a small pitch against a big side, so it is up to us to stretch them.”

Dalton have received a bye in the BARLA National Cup, which has attracted a record low 23 entrants, dominated by Yorkshire clubs.

The once prestigious competition has failed to attract teams (Leigh East and Leigh Miners apart) from the National Conference or any top North West Men’s League sides.

It will be interesting to see who the two Leigh clubs put out on the park, as Conference rules do not allow a league game to be called off due to a National Cup tie.


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