Derby match is back as Blues and Boro collide

Kettering will host tomorrow's derby match with county rivals Wellingborough in Midlands One
Kettering will host tomorrow's derby match with county rivals Wellingborough in Midlands One

Kettering coach Doug Bridgeman admits there’s a confidence crisis at Waverley Road.

The Blues welcome Wellingborough for a Midlands One East derby on Saturday – and the visitors go into the match as the side in form.

Last week they powered to a 65-3 win over Old Laurentians – running in 11 tries – while Kettering have gone three matches without a win.

Their latest setback was a 31-13 reverse at Ilkeston last week.

The Blues points came from a Steve Fraher try and the boot of Joe Daniel boot.

The result leaves Kettering six points behind second-placed Derby.

And Bridgeman explained: “I just think we’ve lost a 
bit of confidence after losing at Bedford Athletic a few weeks ago.

“We won our first six games and haven’t suddenly become a bad side.

“We haven’t been playing that well and, as happens when you’re struggling a bit, we haven’t been getting the rub of the green either.

“We’ve just got to work our way through it.

“This is a big game against Wellingborough and I’m sure whoever wins the game will take a lot out of it.

“It could all come down to whoever turns up in the right frame of mind.”

Bridgeman reports Shane Ling and James Aldwinckle are back in contention for places in the front row, while Boro coach George Shipman reckons there may be a couple of changes to the side that thumped OLs last week.

Shipman said: “Laurentians have picked their game up in recent weeks and I was pleased to see us do a job on them.

“We had been a bit disappointed with a couple of results recently and wanted a good result going into the Christmas fixtures.

“We were happy to put 60 points on the board and, more importantly, we didn’t concede a try.”

Boro ran in 11 tries with Luke Gardiner (4) and Tom Bryan (3) leading the romp.

The other scores came from Ryan Mackie (2), Kieran Checkley and Paul Lambert.

Should Boro claim another bonus-point win at Waverley Road this weekend, they could leapfrog their hosts.

Shipman added: “Kettering are at home, so the pressure is on them.

“We haven’t played them in a proper, competitive game for a couple of years, but when I’ve been involved in matches against them it’s always been a real battle.

“We both like to play expansive rugby, but when we play each other, it tends to be a tighter, more physical battle.

“I can’t see this game being any different.”

The sides last locked horns in the league in 2010-11 when Wellingborough won two tough encounters – 7-5 at home and 7-3 at Waverley Road.