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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Maryport ready for stern Cumberland Cup semi-final test

Maryport reckon they have been handed the toughest possible route in to the Cumberland Cup final – and anyone who has seen semi-final opponents Kells of late won’t be arguing.

Kells warmed up for tomorrow’s meeting with a 14-try demolition of old rivals Hensingham on Wednesday night, to extend their lead at the top of Division One to three points, ahead of Seaton, after 12 games.

And after suffering a heavy defeat at Kells earlier this term, just a few games in to new coach Gary Murdock’s tenure, they know the size of the task.

“We couldn’t get a tougher draw, it was probably the one no one wanted,” said Maryport secretary Paul Williamson. “But in a cup competition, you have to play the best at some point.”

Kells will not be taking Maryport for granted as they have looked stronger this season than for several years and lie third in the table, just two points behind Seaton, who have a game in hand. Their only defeats this term have been against top four rivals.

“We are competing with the top four,” Williamson added. “It’s due to discipline and organisation.

“Because of the light nights, we are getting steady numbers in training. Gary has had that luxury, which our previous coaches didn’t have. And we have also been strengthened by some lads coming in from rugby union in their off season.”

Maryport will be without the injured Mark Foster and Mark Lister, who is on holiday.

Glasson travel to mid-table rivals Cockermouth in the second semi-final, which could be a close-run affair.

Distington could take advantage of Maryport’s absence from league action to move in to third place in Division One. But to move up they must take at least a point at Seaton, who have lost only twice in the league this term.

Wath Brow showed their battling qualities last week when overturning a 12-8 half-time deficit to beat fancied visitors Ince Rose Bridge 18-16.

And they can maintain their top four place in the National Conference Premier Division with a home win over relegation-threatened Oulton tomorrow.

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