Mike Abbott Pre Rochdale (h)
August 25, 2023
Mike Abbott wants his Cornwall RLFC side to end their Betfred League 1 campaign in 2023 ‘with a bang’ when they entertain Rochdale Hornets on Sunday – 1.00pm.
The game, which incorporates ‘Military Day’ for the club, with all serving and former armed services personnel admitted free of charge, ends Cornwall’s second season as a professional club.
A win tally of four, an increase of three compared to last year, shows the club are making strides forward on the pitch.
And although the play-offs are now beyond the side’s reach, Abbott’s men were still in with an outside chance of making the top six before last week’s defeat at Doncaster.
The Mem chief began his preview with an injury update on his squad after the round 21 match in South Yorkshire.
Tom Ashton limped off with an ankle problem in the second half and despite an initially bleak prognosis, he could still play against one of his former clubs. Harry Boots is fully fit again and Cam Brown, who was withdrawn with a chest problem against Doncaster, has also come through a week of training with no ill-effects.
“Tommy is a big player for us so I think he has earned the right for us to give him until the last minute,” Abbott told cornwallrlfc.co.uk. “He’s been running on (his ankle) in the week so we are hoping that he will be fine.
“Harry Boots is back and that’s a big lift for us. He’s trained all week and gone well all week. As for Cam Brown, he had the wind knocked out of his sails against Doncaster and we took him straight off.
“We gave him a day to see if it was just a knock and at training on Tuesday, he was fine and he’s run well all week too.”
The Hornets, who can still reach the play-offs if North Wales lose to London Skolars and they win against Cornwall with a big points swing, were due to play three games in seven days.
However, the match against London was called off at the request of the Skolars and Rochdale were handed a 48-0 win.
“It would have been a tough gig to play Skolars at home on Wednesday because I can only imagine that like our lads, all of Rochdale’s players will have other jobs,” Abbott added. “They now have had the week off like us but we are confident. We have a gameplan and hopefully we will stick to it and give them something to think about.”
A solid showing at the Mem on Sunday would be in stark contrast to the fare Cornwall served up at Spotland back in May when they were thrashed 62-6 by the Hornets.
Despite the inclusion of a whole host of loan and dual registered players, the Hornets outplayed Cornwall in every department and Abbott is hoping that, with the support of the home crowd, a much-improved showing will be delivered.
“We never really got going at Rochdale and in the middle, we were pretty banged up even before we had started,” he revealed. “We lost a few players close to the kick-off but that said, it still wasn’t a good showing.
“We now have an opportunity with this being the last game at home, to go out with a bang, by getting the crowd nice and loud and behind us. If they do that, like they have at every game this season, then that will give us a boost to move on.”