Last time out Caldy recorded a sparkling win away to close rivals Chester with a comprehensive 7 try performance to end the calendar year unbeaten at the top of the National 2 North league table. The firmness and pace of Chester’s 3 G pitch suited Caldy’s running game with forward’s Adam Aigbokhae and JJ Dickinson together with the league’s top try scorer Nick Royle each picking up a couple of scores each and former Chester player Callum Bennett providing the final score.
Such has been Caldy’s recent fine run of form, in the last three outings the Wirral side has averaged more than 50 points a game which is contrary to what would normally be expected in mid winter conditions as Caldy’s Head Coach Matt Cairns acknowledged.
“Winter pitches and difficult weather conditions do have a big impact on the type of game we can play. At this level there are no poor sides. We work extremely hard to establish a platform up front and the squad knows they have to capitalise on chances when they arise. Each of our last three games have been competitive but we have perhaps just been a bit more clinical when the opportunities have presented themselves”
Cairns is hoping that the Christmas break hasn’t upset the rhythm of his squad.
“The first half of the season has gone very well for the club’s senior sides. The 1st xv remains unbeaten and our 2nd xv has swept all before them, winning every game with a 4 try bonus point. It is difficult to imagine a much better start, but the Christmas break is always a challenging time. The first game back will be a tester. We are up against 4th placed Sheffield Tigers who are always very competitive. We are somewhat fortunate that the first game back is at home and we have to make home advantage count.”
Sheffield Tigers are in a good run of form themselves with a recent win over 2nd placed Fylde and a thumping 56 point win against Scunthorpe. When the two sides met earlier in the season at the Tigers’ sunny and temperate Dore Moor ground, Caldy ran out winners 37-7 but as Cairns explains it was Caldy’s defence that provided the foundation for that win.
“Sheffield Tigers have some of the best attacking talent in the league. They nearly broke through on numerous occasions last time and we had to be at our very best to keep them out. If you give talented players like Jamie Broadley, Peter Swatkins and Mark Ireland time and space they can put you to the sword. On Saturday the first 20 minutes is going to be crucial. We have to establish a platform if we are going to keep this winning run going.”
Matt Cairns has selected the following squad for the match against Sheffield Tigers
1. John Whittaker, 2. Ted Stagg, 3 Derek Salisbury, 4. Martin Gerrard, 5. Tom Sanders, 6. Harrison Crowe, 7. Adam Aigbokhae, 8. JJ Dickinson 9. Cameron Davies, 10. Lewis Barker, 11. Ben Jones, 12. Mike Barlow, 13. Gavin Roberts, 14. Nick Royle, 15. Rhys Hayes 16. Jack Collister, 17. Callum Bennett, 18. Nyle Davidson, 19. Jack Parker, 20. Ollie Hearn
The match kicks off at Caldy’s Paton Field at 2.15 p.m.