MIDLANDS FOUR EAST (SOUTH): Deepings v Birstall (at Linchfield Road, kick-off 2.15pm)
Deepings’ record in 2016 of three wins from four league games will be severely tested when unbeaten Midlands Four East (South) leaders Birstall visit Linchfield Road on Saturday.
We played Birstall once this season and lost when they got points over us, but it’s an away game for them and we generally play a lot better at homeDeepings 1st XV skipper Guy Cunningham
If the Leicester-based side’s record of 13 wins out of 13 league games wasn’t enough, Birstall can also boast an 84-12 mauling of Deepings last November.
For Deepings to stand any chance of handing the Green Dogs their first upset of the season, openside flanker Phil Trotman, scrum-half Lance Charity and second row forward Jack Rogers will all need to have the games of their lives.
Deepings skipper Guy Cunningham said: “The team isn’t looking bad and, although we still have a few people to confirm their availability, we’ll have a nice, balanced side out against Birstall.
“It’s going to be a big challenge against a side who are cruising through a lot of the games, winning by a lot of points.
“We’re clearly underdogs for the game but we’ve been playing some good rugby and we had a really good January.
“So if everything goes right, we could easily put pressure on Birstall.”
The Green Machine’s own attempts to go through January unbeaten came up short after a 30-22 defeat.
Cunningham said: “It hurt because we could have won, but it wasn’t gut-wrenching.
“We played Birstall once this season and lost when they got points over us.
“But it’s an away game for them and we generally play a lot better at home.
“Hopefully, we’ll have some old heads back for the game like Matthew Johnson and Peter Bradley who are both gritty, stubborn and hard-nosed second row men.
“Phil Trotman is up for a big game and we also have Lance Charity and Jack Rogers who, if those two play well, can really change the momentum of the match.”