Hancock forced to shuffle pack again
PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 March 2010
RUGBY UNION: One third of the Ipswich team, so successful in their last game with a huge victory over Bishop's Stortford, will not be in the side at home to Shelford tomorrow with an early kick-off at 2.15pm.
ONE third of the Ipswich team, so successful in their last game with a huge victory over Bishop's Stortford, will not be in the side at home to Shelford tomorrow with an early kick-off at 2.15pm.
Injuries and unavailability have robbed Direct Motor Line-sponsored Ipswich of five of the first team squad.
In addition at least another seven players have said they are not available for selection this weekend.
"It is a question of shuffling the pack once again," commented Mike Hancock, Ipswich's director of rugby.
"But we have got used to that now because it happens every week for one reason or another."
The one good piece of news is that former club captain Jeff Searle makes his long awaited return.
He plays his first game of the season in the first team after successfully coming through a Magpies fixture against Shelford seconds last Saturday with no ill effects from the injury problems that have dogged him since before the end of last season.
Ipswich are currently eighth in the London League Division Two North, two places above tomorrow's Cambridgeshire opponents.
"It is a crucial game for us because if we win it will give us a bit of a points cushion from the bunch of clubs below who could be facing relegation," added Hancock.
As well as Searle, Adrian Skipper also comes into the side, both in the back row.
Danny Reeve and Alex Brigginshaw both have work commitments so Martin Holland plays at hooker and Rob Shurety is called up into the second row.
The other changes from the side that comprehensively beat the league's pacesetters Bishop's Stortford in the last game a fortnight ago, sees Ollie Hall at scrum half and Nick Holly, the Magpies' captain, on the wing.
Bryn Kerr is still ruled out with bruised ribs, John Eley has a groin strain, and Alex Coker, who took a knock during a Colts game, faces a late fitness check to see if he can be included on the replacements bench.
Ipswich Magpies, captained by Dave Edwards, are also at home tomorrow.
On Sunday Ipswich Ladies travel to play at Wimbledon and the Under 13s are scheduled to have a home fixture against Braintree.
Ipswich squad: Clarke, Holland, Williams, Shurety, Price, Searle, Skipper, Primmer, Hall, Hughes, Novosad, Johnson, Brotherton, Holly, Harding. Replacements: Aylott, Kerr (A), Coker.