Rugby League: Mayfield Preview

Date published: 07 March 2019

Saturday offers up a massive game for rugby league fans with Rochdale Mayfield travelling to face St Helens based Thatto Heath Crusaders.

Both teams play their rugby in the Kingstone Press NCL Premier division and have had some classic battles in recent years.

Last season saw the honours even with both sides winning their home fixtures although Thatto eventually finished in third spot in the final league placings going out to Underbank in the first round of the play offs.

Mayfield could not have asked for a better start to their season this year under new coaches Sam Butterworth and Steve Wood.

With three competitive games under their belt, all away from home, and all against premier division opposition, Mayfield have posted three victories.

From Kells to Thornhill to Underbank, Mayfield have played some great rugby, strong, self-assured and improved on discipline.

They will have to bring all those qualities with them if they want to overcome a very good Thatto side.

Thatto have a wide flat pitch, which couldn't be more in contrast to last week at Underbank, this should suit Mayfield and give them their first chance to play their open expansive game.

The space on this pitch should make for an open game with Butterworth's young side having the speed and guile to exploit this.

Sam Butterworth said: “The lads are ready to go they can’t wait for kick off. We have talked in training and are all aware that this is the toughest test so far. We are also aware that we have improved week on week and we will be going out to carry that improvement on this afternoon. “There will be no need to motivate the squad, this is the Challenge Cup this is what you dream of at this level, a third-round game with the strong chance of a big home draw in the next round.

“We've lucked out so far with three consecutive away draws so we if we come through this we will surely get a stroke of luck in the draw for the fourth round which will be made on Tuesday evening.”

“John Foy will be missing after sustaining a facial injury in last week’s victory but apart from that there is a strong squad to select from.

“Everyone else came through ok and have all trained hard this week. The backs are looking good and have really gelled in training.

If the forwards can do what they have done in all the other games and dominate their opposite numbers, this will give the quick lads a chance to shine.

“Players like Dec and Lewis Sheridan, Lewis Butterworth, Munya Samanyanga and the inform Zac Hartley revel in the big pitches, while Zac Baker, Aidan Gleeson, Jimmy Connaughton and Mark Biggins have the utmost confidence in their own ability when pitted against a tough pack.

“I think we are in for a cracker; the game is to be screened live by the BBC on their BBC sport website but if you can make it get to St Helens and watch rugby league live.”

Fixtures 9 March 2019

Coral Challenge Cup Rd 3 Thatto Heath v Mayfield KO 2pm

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