Rainworth MW eager to compete first NCEL double of the season

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Rainworth will have two chances to complete their first Toolstation NCEL double of the season within the next few days, but will not find it easy.

Standing in their way at Kirklington Road on Saturday will be manager Julian Watts’ good friend Brett Marshall and his in-form Staveley MW, while on Tuesday visitors Albion Sports will also be looking to avenge an early-season Wrens victory up in Bradford.

Staveley’s 4-0 victory at Armthorpe saw them leapfrog Rainworth in the table, and the Trojans will arrive on the back of a run of seven victories in the last eight games. They are now three points ahead of the Wrens in sixth place, with two games also in hand.

The Wrens were 2-0 winners at Staveley back in August thanks to late goals by Matty Sykes and Liam Morris, both of whom were making their league debut - in Morris’ case as substitute after recovering from an injury picked up in pre-season.

Rainworth themselves have not played since their 6-0 trouncing of Central Midlands outfit Sherwood Colliery in the Notts Senior Cup quarter-final on Tuesday of last week, this after they had belatedly started 2016 by twice coming from behind to beat Garforth Town 4-2.

Watts said: “Although we’ve had a couple of good results it’s been a bit frustrating to be missing Saturdays out, but at least having no fixture on Saturday meant I could go and watch Staveley and do a bit of homework.

“But I’m looking forward to getting another 90 minutes of football, and if we can get the right result we can carry that into a run of decent fixtures coming up, starting with Albion on Tuesday.”

Looking back to that early season win at Inkersall Road, Watts continued: “It was a good result there from a tight game. I remember we had young Fraser Hampson from Mansfield Town in goal, and although he didn’t have that much to do, what he did was outstanding.

“In contrast their keeper was quite busy but we finished strongly and got what I felt we deserved on the day.”

Looking further ahead, Watts said: “After a fairly quiet spell the fixtures are now starting to build up, as they will do following one or two cancellations, and it will be good for us after that to get some games in on a more regular basis.

“We’ve also got our League Cup third round tie at Yorkshire Amateur to fit in, and now a tough draw in the semi-final of the Notts Senior Cup at Evo-Stik League opposition against the holders Basford United. It may be seen as the toughest possible draw, but I’m not particularly concerned because we are in the last four and you have to come up against these clubs if you’re going to have a chance to win it

“We thought Sherwood would be a banana skin in the quarter-final, and although they had the better of the first 20 minutes it didn’t turn out that way. We had to be strong and stay solid through that spell and they created little in the way of clear cut chances as a result. Then we showed how clinical we can be at the other end, as we have done for most of the season, and that made the difference.”