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Rugby Union: Blues can get back on right track.

Byline: ANDREW STRATTON

NEW BRIGHTON look to regain winning form against Longton at Hartsfield in National Three North League tomorrow.

The Blues, fifth in the table after suffering six defeats in fifteen outings, face opponents heading for a speedy return to Midlands One League with just one victory this season.

New Brighton were not exactly convincing in the away game in November but did win it 19-8.

Prop Dan Naylor (shoulder injury) is likely to be replaced by Tongan Waitangi Halatanu in his home debut after figuring for part of last week's match at Halifax.

Birkenhead Park and Caldy have a free weekend but Chester have fixed up their Thwaites Cheshire Cup semi-final away to Stockport and Hoylake host Novocastrians in the Powergen Vase.

Victory over their Northumberland/Durham Two League opponents will put the Melrose Avenue outfit into the last sixteen in the countrywide competition and raise hopes of a Twickenham return.

Hoylake have reeled off sixteen successive league victories in a highly successful campaign which sees them clear at the top of South Lancashire/Cheshire Two League.

That run was interrupted,however,by a recent Wirral Floodlit Cup match against Ellesmere Port when they fielded a second team and fell 10-12.

They have a full strength squad available. First choice place kicker Simon Robinson and prop Dan Gleeson, who missed last week's success over Ormskirk, are likely to resume.

Forward Rob Kurton, son of club President Jack Kurton, said: ``We are really looking forward to this tie. We are not taking anything for granted but we are very confident we can reach the sixth round. We enjoyed playing in a Twickenham final in 2001 and would love to return.''

Chester, not at their best recently in North One League, will need to guard in the County Cup against Stockport, a side who play in a league below them.

The Hare Lane outfit have yet to put their name on the trophy and would love to do so.

They are unlikely to make much change from the side which gave championship chasing Cleckheaton a good run in North One last week although Colin Ellis could get a start at scrum-half and there could be a forward switch around.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 16, 2004
Words:369
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