WESTOE will hold a pitch inspection this afternoon to decide whether or not tomorrow’s visit of Otley gets the go-ahead.
The Shieldsmen are hoping to use the Wood Terrace to lift themselves out of the bottom three in National Two North, but director of rugby Andy Howells admitted the prospects of play are far from certain.
“The pitch at the moment is frozen, and with the rain coming down, God knows what will happen,” said the Welshman.
“We are going to make a judgment on it later today, but until then we just don’t really know because it is a nightmare with the weather at the moment.
“If the game goes ahead we are in pretty good shape with some players coming back. Scott Powell, Charlie Rayner and James Clark are all due to return, and our training has not been disrupted because we use the synthetic pitch at Harton School in any case.”
Tynedale offered a more upbeat assessment ahead of tomorrow’s National One visit of Esher, chairman of rugby John Shotton stating: “I think it will be all right. I have a referee on standby to inspect it 24 hours before kick-off as per the RFU protocols, but Esher are travelling up this morning in any case and the forecast isn’t too bad.
“We have trained OK and we are hopeful it will be playable. Graham Steadman from the Falcons put on a defence session earlier in the week for us, and the ground was fine.
“The only player who won’t be available from our last league game is Scott Wilson who will be with the Falcons in Newport, and other than that we will be roughly the same group we pick from.” Blaydon will be without Gavin Jones for tomorrow’s National One trip to Coventry, with the back-five forward away on a skiing holiday.
The third-placed side are also without James Hallam (ankle) and Andy Davies (leg), with director of rugby Micky Ward hopeful a rare rest weekend will have his charges brimming with energy.
He said: “We had a few tired bodies at the end of our last game against Cambridge.
“Mentally as well as physically I think having last weekend off will allow them to come back fresh, and hopefully we will see the benefits tomorrow.”