Rochdale v Skolars Play-Off Preview

5th September 2013

Skolars head north to take on Rochdale in the first round of the Kingstone Press Championship 1 play-offs on Sunday knowing that a win will see them travel to Oldham the following week to challenge for a place in the Grand Final at Leigh on the 29th September. A defeat would see Skolars host the winners of the Hemel v Oxford tie.

Ahead of the game Rochdale Hornets coach Ian Talbot has major doubts over Danny Davies and Dave Hull.

Talbot said: “I’m optimistic Danny will play, although he couldn’t train on Tuesday, but Dave might well not be available.” He added: “We’re hitting a little bit of form at the right time and we’ve done well at home this season. We fancy our chances against anybody on our own patch.

“London seem to be better at home and not as good on their travels, and hopefully we’ll take advantage of that.”

Skolars star Michael Worrincy faces a fitness on Friday before coach Joe Mbu can finalise his plans.

Mbu said: “There’s certainly been a change of intensity around training this week. There seems to be a lot more focus and there’s a good feeling about the place. “Rochdale always peak towards the back end of the season. Everyone’s had their ups and downs and they have too, but they’ll be looking forward to this game and it won’t be easy for us.
“A lot of things are riding their way, but we’ve got a game-plan and if we execute that then we’re confident we can get a result.”

Skolars are looking to finish off their best ever season as a professional club with promotion to the Kingstone Press Championship. The club go into their first play-off game at Rochdale Hornets on Sunday (3.00) full of confidence according to experienced back rower Michael Worrincy. “We were hoping to get a home fixture in the play-offs and we needed a win at Oxford to make that happen,” said Worrincy. “We didn’t do that. Hopefully we can go up to Rochdale, get off to a good start and win the game. It’s doable, we’ve just got to turn up on the day and do what we’re supposed to.”

Skolars lost 40-16 to Rochdale in the Northern Rail Cup and then 32-24 in the league earlier in the season, both at Spotland. However, it was a different matter when the two clubs met in June at New River Stadium with the Skolars winning their Kingstone Press Championship One fixture 32-16.

Worrincy believes that the experience of playing in the Northern Rail Bowl Final earlier in the year will prove invaluable to the squad in the play offs. “We went into the Bowl Final with a game plan and we stuck with it for a good 60 minutes,” he said. ”I don’t think the score line reflected our performance in the end but they had a lot of players who had played at the highest level and that experience saw them through to the end. “But having been there, the boys will now have that experience and be able to say ‘what did I do wrong last time’ or ‘how do I go one step further to try and get the win’. It’s all about experience and now Skolars are giving players that experience of playing in big games and finals. “This culture of winning more games is still pretty new to us and it takes time for people to work out what’s going on but we’re doing well. There’s a good feeling around the club, everyone is really positive. “Hopefully things will go well in the play offs. You never know, we could be in the Championship next year. The opportunity is there for the club.”

Tickets for Rochdale Hornets v London Skolars at Spotland on Sunday, September 8 cost : £12 Adults, £8 over 65s/NUS, £5 under 16s. The play-offs are not included as part of a season ticket, however, the club are offering a reduced entry of £10 adults, £6 concessions with under 16s free on the production of Special Voucher B from Rochdale season ticket books and Voucher A from Skolars season ticket books. All tickets can be purchased at the turnstile on the day of the game.

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