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Renewal of Wharfedale v Otley rivalry is fillip for Yorkshire Cup
They may be in different divisions nowadays after Otley’s relegation but Wharfedale and Otley resume an old rivalry tomorrow night in the Centurion Yorkshire Cup.
They meet under floodlights at The Avenue in a first-round tie (7.30).
After last week’s heroics in beating SSE National League One leaders Rosslyn Park, the Wharfedale selectors are taking advantage of the blank league weekend to rest some key players in the hope that when league hostilities resume next weekend at Macclesfield, more of the squad will be available.
At the same time they are giving some of their promising youngsters a taste of first-team rugby, making room on the bench for Tom Whyte, Simon Crabtree, Jimmy Bullough and Josh Prell.
Seven of the team that started against Rosslyn Park are rested.
In the back division, just Lloyd Davies, Matt Clark and Nick Taylor remain, and although half-backs James Gough and Luke Gray are unchanged, only Adam Howard, Richard Rhodes and Richard Brown get another run out in the pack.
Otley player-coach Tom Rock is expecting a great atmosphere for a derby that should draw a good crowd.
The visitors are also resting some regulars but he said: “We are looking for-ward to the game because matches at Wharfedale always generate a lot of excitement.
“Playing under floodlights always seems to boost the atmosphere, and I am sure our spectators are looking forward to going up to Wharfedale again.”
He added: “We are likely to rest a couple of our play-ers who have featured in all our league games.
“I think a break will do them good, and in their absence other members of the squad will get a chance to perform.”
Rock’s men will go into the tie buoyed by their hard-earned 22-20 win over Preston Grasshoppers.
“The win was a reward for a really determined effort,” said Rock. “The lads really tackled well to protect our line.”
Winger James Wood scored two tries but Rock revealed that he will be out of action for at least a month after breaking a hand during the game.
“It’s bad luck for James because he was our man of the match against Grass-hoppers and deservedly so. In addition to his two tries he had a fine game.”
Wharfedale (home to Otley): L Davies; J Druce, J Donkin, M Clark, N Taylor; L Gray, J Gough; A Mason, I Larkin, A Howard, J Mason, R Rhodes, J Tyson, R Brown, C Howick. Replacements: M Tampin, S Graham, J Altham, T Whyte, J Bullough, S Crabtree, J Prell.