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Home > News > Red rose boost for Yorkshire's Bill Beaumont cup bid
Your News Red rose boost for Yorkshire's Bill Beaumont cup bid

Roses rivalry is never less than competitive and intense, so praise and positive predictions from the opposition camp always have added cachet.

Which is why Lancashire coach Mark Nelsons belief that Yorkshire can topple favourites Devon in Sundays Bill Beaumont Cup final at Twickenham is a welcome boost for the White Rose men.

Lancashire were beaten last season by the men from the South West, who will be appearing in the final for the fifth successive occasion, and Nelson does not underestimate the size of the challenge facing Yorkshire.

Theyre a difficult team to play against because its like playing a club side, he says: But I thought the current Yorkshire side is the best Ive come across in my time and I think they have a fair chance.

The Devon pack will be very strong and if they get away, I dont think Yorkshire will be strong enough to get back into it. But if they turn up and play like they did against us, theyve a decent shout.

Theres always a chance that after five successive visits to Twickenham complacency may be an issue for Devon. Its a final and it shouldnt be, but you never know. When we beat them a couple of years back, they were very confident and seemed to feel that they only had to turn up to win.

The view from the Red Rose side of the Pennines largely coincides with how Nelsons Yorkshire counterpart, Bob Hood, views the situation.

Hopefully well be picking from full strength, he says: All the injuries have rectified themselves and well be taking all our squad of 28 players down for the weekend.

The only doubt is flanker Neil Spence, who was honest enough to withdraw from the Roses game with a damaged sternum. He will have a check on Thursday night when we train at Morley and well select the side once we know whether hes in contention.

Spences fitness will not be a major issue on the basis that Matt Stockdale, who came into the side, did a good job.

The back row were completely outstanding and I dont know why Dan Hyde was the only player to get an England Counties call. No 8 Max Lewis has been very good. He struggled on the heat in the first half against Warwickshire, but came back really well and has been excellent for us.

The most pleasing aspect of the campaign for Hood and, he believes, a key factor in the success is the fact that the Lewis is one of 16 players who have graduated into the side from the Under 20 and Under 21 sides that have been so successful over the past decade.

This year the squad has gelled really well and theres been such good attendances at training and a great team spirit, says Hood: You can see the desire to do well because its something theyve had a taste of before. Theyve really enjoyed it so far and I know theyre really looking forward to the weekend.

And how important was the win over Lancashire? What we did a couple of weeks ago was not just to win after a couple of years when weve been nowhere, but to win well. says Hood: Lancashire were second best on that day, which was fantastic.

Well go down as underdogs with Devon having been around for the last five years, but we will give them a game thats for certain. Weve got some experienced hands and weve also got a mixture of flair and pace.

While the mood in the camp is up-beat, there were enough flawed moments in the season to ensure that complacency should not be an issue, especially when the crucial points that clinched the final appearance only came in the last minute of the game at Harrogate.

We were nave on a couple of occasions that cost us the game at Warwickshire and against Lancashire we had a 10-minute spell when our concentration wavered in defence. says Hood: We know we can do it, but we do need to concentrate.

With Plymouth Albion from National Division One supplying a major part of the Devon team, Yorkshire are definitely being asked to step up a level if they are to bring the trophy back to the Broad Acres. Whether the boost provided by their arch-rivals will be enough to get them home remains to be seen.

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