ASHBOURNE RFC are hoping to build on their current run of form and start 2014 with victory over promotion and local rivals Bakewell Mannerians this weekend.
The teams placed third and fourth in Midlands 2 East (North) face off at the Showground on Saturday, with on-field rivalries likely to take precedence over off-pitch friendships.
“It’ll be ugly,” said coach Martin Farr.
“Both teams are on a bit of a run of victories.
“There’s a bit of local rivalry, and a lot of lads played each other at school.
“Their pitch will be muddy, and we’ve just got to hope it doesn’t get waterlogged.
“We’d rather have a nice, dry pitch, but I fancy they wouldn’t.”
Ashbourne are on a run of four consecutive victories, and have already beaten the three teams above them in the table – including a 15-12 win over Bakewell in September.
“Neither team played well last time,” said Farr.
“That was an ugly game and I suspect it will be another ugly game on Saturday.
“We’ve beaten everyone above us, and so the defeats we’ve had have been quite frustrating.”
Ashbourne need to finish second to have a hope of promotion to Midlands 1 East, and Farr said: “The difference this season is we’ve been at full strength all the way through.
“We’ve got 20 quality players rather than 16 or 17.
“If we’re going to get promoted and survive there, we need 24 or 25 players, and so some people think we can’t do it.
“Personally, I think we’re in the best position we’ve been in for a long time
“We’ve found a decent kicker in Simon Wint (pictured), which can make a huge difference.”