Waterhead hoping to clinch promotion

WATERHEAD Warriors are looking to maintain their strong finish and to snatch a promotion play-off place in division three of the National Conference League.

Warriors, one place and one point adrift of the top six, head into their last three league fixtures in a rich vein of form.

They have won five of their last six fixtures, the one loss 23-18 at home last Saturday (Aug 31) to Hunslet Warriors who that afternoon clinched one of the two automatic promotion places.

Three of the wins were on the road in Cumbria at Hensingham, Gateshead Storm and Leigh East.

Warriors’ run-in begins at Dewsbury Celtic on Saturday (Sept 7) and is followed by a home game against Eastmoor Dragons (Sept 14) and visit to Drighlington (Sept 24).

“Drighlington are one place and one point better off so it could possibly winner takes all in our last game,” explained joint coach Jon Perks.

He pointed out a watershed moment came after a 24-22 defeat to Batley Boys having been 20-0 ahead at half time.

“After that we took stock, thrashed out what went wrong and went on to win our next five games,” he said.

Perks added it is exciting to be challenging at the opposite end of the table rather than being at the foot of the table.

Warriors finished bottom in 2017 and had to apply for re-election and were third bottom last season and posted only 10 wins in those two campaigns.

Perks set an objective of winning more games than losses for 2019 which looks like being achieved as Warriors have 13 victories and 10 losses with three games left.

He said: “We weren’t expecting to be challenging for the play offs this season but it is very pleasing after the struggles of the last couple of seasons.

“When Keith Brennan and myself tool over two seasons ago we thought it might take five years for us to benefit from the fruits of our youth system.

“We knew we had players coming through and some are now in the first team. They have stuck with us and have been rewarded for their loyalty.”

Perks believes Warriors proved against promoted Hunslet they can compete with the top teams.
He continued: “They are vying to be champions and we pushed them all the way.

“We didn’t take our chances and just fell short but proved we can mix it with the best.

“If we are not promoted this season, I am hoping we can have a proper go next year.”

While the younger players have broken through, Perks paid tribute to a couple of the veterans, loose forward Dale Lowe, who is back in action after recovering from a broken arm, and 36-year-old stand-off Terry Fitzgerald.

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