Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Unlucky Breaks Forcing Changes for Billingham; LOCAL RUGBY

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Unlucky Breaks Forcing Changes for Billingham; LOCAL RUGBY

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Wilkinson Sports writer

BILLINGHAM make several enforced changes - two players have broken bones - as they seek a seventh win of the campaign when they visit a Percy Park side who have won only four times.

Hooker David Reay suffered a broken arm in the last game, before Christmas, though didn't realise until afterwards, while fellow forward Dan Burns broke a bone in his hand in a friendly game on Boxing Day.

Shaun Wallace plays at hooker, while Anthony Rumis takes the No 6 shirt. Winger Craig Shepherd is unavailable, so Tom Small returns, after an eight week injury lay-off.

Michael Evans is making steady progress after injury, and could play later this season.

Middlesbrough face a tough trip to third-placed West Hartlepool in North One East.

Boro need to get more points on the board, as they are one of five teams separated by just two points, with only Sheffield adrift below that pack.

Boro have no new injury concerns so expect to field a strong side, as they seek a win which will boost their bid to climb into mid-table.

Fourth-placed Guisborough host second-placed Darlington in Durham and North One, with just two points separating the sides - though Guisborough could lose five points for fielding an ineligible player in the game against Consett. Kevin Gray played his first game in almost three years, and while he had not played elsewhere in that time, he was no longer registered for Guisborough. It was an innocent error and the club have made a plea for leniency.

Stockton, in 11th place, host 12th-placed Bishop Auckland in a league game for the first time.

Stockton are keen to make amends for the 51-15 defeat suffered earlier in the season when their injury crisis was at its height.

After a bright start, Bishop Auckland's season has faltered, and Stockton showed some good form in pushing Middlesbrough all the way in last Saturday's Alan Todd Memorial game before going down 29-20. …

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