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All this week’s matches previewed

The league fixtures for this coming weekend throw up some games which would be quite easy to predict, where top sides are playing bottom sides, but there are a few which could go either way. With all the clubs in the division still having to play their final six games we are getting very near to what some folk call the ‘business end of the season’ and what others, to paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson, call the ‘twitchy bum time’.
Hull RUFC have their two consecutive home games to look forward to, the first of which is the visit of Yorkshire rivals Ilkley to the Ferens Ground. The two clubs have met seven times since the Dalesmen joined the division in 2015-16 and Hull have won four, Ilkley have won two and one game was a draw. Ilkley have yet to win at Hull although they went very close last season when the only lost by 31-25. Earlier this season they gave Hull a very hard game before losing 23-8 and the home side will be treating this fixture very seriously indeed.
Billingham at home to Kendal sees second play twelfth and few would see any further than a home victory here. Billingham are slight favourites to be runners-up in the table at the moment, although their tussle with Blaydon seems to change on a weekly basis, but the odds on Kendal springing a surprise must be very long indeed. The same can be said for the Harrogate v Vale of Lune fixture where fourth meet thirteenth and as ‘Gate still have a chance of making the runners-up spot they will not find the opposition strong enough to give them many problems.
Lymm v Alnwick is a must win game for Lymm if they are to stay clear of the bottom three sides but they will find Alnwick a very tough nut to crack. Alnwick had won six games on the trot before losing at home to Hull two weeks ago and from what they showed that day they could have the beating of Lymm. Rossendale v Wilmslow should be a home win but Ross had a big 61-10 defeat at Blaydon last time out, will they still be suffering from that or will they be keen to take it out of Wilmslow to make up for it? Wilmslow’s very poor record this season suggests that Ross will win with something to spare.
Sandal v Kirkby Lonsdale sees seventh take on tenth. Sandal are on 54 points and KLon are on 44 but half of Sandal’s tally is from a superior bonus point total and the playing records are quite similar so it seems likely that home advantage will swing it for the Yorkshiremen. Finally we are left with fifth-placed Wirral v Blaydon who are third. Despite their high position Wirral have had a hard time against teams in the top four, losing five and winning two and with Blaydon still having a good chance of the runners-up spot they should start favourites despite Wirral’s home advantage.
Norman Angell

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