The All Golds host North Wales Crusaders for the third time this season on Saturday evening.
The home side won the first meeting in February, a comfortable 36-18 win saw Lee Greenwood’s side book a place in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup. However, the Crusaders gained their revenge just a fortnight ago with a 37-28 triumph in the semi-final of the League 1 Cup. With both teams in desperate need of league points the importance of Saturday’s game cannot be underestimated.
The All Golds could be without a number of first team players after several were unable to finish last Sunday’s game against York. Josh Ward, Joe McClean, Phil Cowburn and Graham O’Keeffe all suffered knocks during the game and are doubtful for Saturday along with long term absentees Ben Stead and Alex Gaskell.
All Golds head coach Lee Greenwood says he wants to see a better performance from his young team, after two disappointing efforts on home soil. He said: “We certainly haven’t been anywhere near our best in the last two performances. We know when we play well that we can beat most teams in this division but the last two games we’ve been poor.
“We’ve got a number of players who could miss out on Saturday. I’m not too concerned though because the lads who could come in are good enough and will want to prove a point. We went up to Workington with a fair number of players missing and managed to beat them so we won’t be using injuries as an excuse.
“Of course the last couple of games have been disappointing. It’s probably a mark of how far we’ve come that we’re disappointed to lose to a strong side like York last weekend. As bad as we’ve been the last two games there’s still signs that we can be a decent side. Myself, Anthony and Dan will have a look at what we can do as coaches to help the players and we’ll look forward to Saturday. Crusaders are a strong side and we know we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.”
Like the All Golds, the Crusaders have saved most of their best performances for the cup competitions. They had impressive away wins at York and Newcastle before their semi-final win over the All Golds a fortnight ago and will face unbeaten high fliers Barrow Raiders in the League 1 Cup final later this month.
Kick-off 7pm, Saturday 13 May.
Prince of Wales stadium, Cheltenham