Shield tie should be a Christmas cracker

Bridlington beat North Ribblesdale last weekend.
Bridlington beat North Ribblesdale last weekend.

Bridlington head to local rivals Scarborough this weekend with a place in the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Shield at stake.

The 2012 winners will start as underdogs at Silver Royd because of their poor away form this season, but recent results have pulled them up to eighth in the Yorkshire One table.

Scarborough currently lie fifth but league positions could count for very little in a local derby.

Bridlington director of rugby Rich Girking said: “The league is the most important thing but the Yorkshire Shield is a cup competition that we take very seriously.

“If you win it, you qualify for the National Cup and that can take you to Twickenham, so if any club says they are not interested in the Shield, we will tell them about the day we had at Twickenham last year.

“We will make a few changes to the side because we have a few players coming back from injury, and I am sure Scarborough will do the same. It is a local derby and a cup game so everyone will be putting strong sides out.

“I certainly don’t want to lose a game against Scarborough just before Christmas.”

Bridlington beat Roundhegians 41-3 in the first round back in August, and Keighley forfeited their second round clash because they couldn’t raise a team. Scarborough won at Barnsley in the last round.

Saturday’s other quarter-finals see Bradford Salem host York, Malton and Norton take on Pontefract and West Leeds travel to Yarnbury.

Bridlington have only won once on the road this season and Scarborough won the league match between the two sides at Dukes Park in October, but they travel up the coast buoyed by last weekend’s 28-11 victory over North Ribblesdale in Yorkshire One.

“We are looking forward to it. It will be a nice break from the league and Scarborough are always a very hospitable club so, win or lose, we will be stopping in the bar afterwards,” added Girking.

His opposite number at Scarborough, coach Lee Douglas, said: “We are looking to end the year on a high note with a win at home.

“The players want to win every game regardless of it being a derby or in a cup, but it’d be brilliant to give the club’s supporters a good game.”

After the Yorkshire Shield quarter-final, the next action for Bridlington is the traditional Boxing Day fixture against the Exiles at Dukes Park at 2pm.

Girking added: “It is a fixture which has been going for about 50 years. People travel back from all over just to come and play in this game.

“It is one of the most important fixtures in the season for many people and it is always played in good spirit.”

Their first game of 2015 is a league trip to relegation-threatened Old Brodleians.

“The new year sees a run of games which could make or break our season because they are all winable matches,” said Girking.

Bridlington v North Ribblesdale match report and pictures: See pages 68 and 69.