Injury returnees will aid Cleckheaton, says Barnard

Injury returnees will aid Cleckheaton, says Barnard

CLECKHEATON RUFC coach Thiu Barnard believes that results will continue to improve as his side escape their injury crisis.

The side have had a mixed start to the season, winning just three of their opening nine games and losing all five on the road to leave them down in 12th place in the North One East division.

They finished sixth last season in Barnard’s first year in charge, but the large number of absentees has left them struggling early on in this campaign.

“We’ve been a bit unlucky with injuries at the moment,” the coach admitted.

“We’ve not had two weeks in a row where we’ve had the same team out. It’s always been five or six or seven changes and consistency is hard at the moment, but we’re getting most people back now.”

Cleck have recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season in the past two weeks, narrowly beating Pocklington 20-17 at Moorend in the league before a 24-19 triumph at York in the Yorkshire Cup last weekend.

Barnard admits that it is good to see the side returning to form.

“It’s good to get that winning feeling back and we just need to get that consistency going now,” he said.

On the win at York, he said: “It was a good win. (We gave) a couple of first caps for four or five players from the second team, and they all stood up and played really well.”

Cleck will aim to make it three wins on the bounce tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel to Driffield, who sit only two places above them in the league table.

Barnard says that the East Yorkshire side will provide a tough challenge, but is boosted by having most of his players available to him again after their recent struggles.

“I think this will be the second league game in a row where we’ve only made one change in the team, so we’re getting consistency and you can see in the results on the pitch that it’s coming,” he said.

“(Driffield) are a good side. They’re playing well at the moment and beat Scarborough in their last game and they’re near the top, so it’s going to be a tough one. We’ll just have to dig deep and play well.”

Barnard says that the club aren’t thinking too far ahead in their aims, but taking it game by game instead.

He admitted: “That’s something we learned hard last year, that looking ahead too early wasn’t a good thing.”

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