West Hull forced to play two games in two days

Sebastian Sternik
This weekend West Hull face a difficult situation as they are forced to play two games in a space of 48 hours. 
On Saturday, the Hull outfit take on local rivals Skirlaugh in a huge derby for a place in BARLA’s National Cup semi-final. The day after, their attention turns to Dewsbury Moor and the Challenge Cup as Mark Hewitt’s side look to progress to the 4thround. 
Speaking about this unusual circumstance the head coach said: “It’s not ideal. We were hoping that with the Challenge Cup taking priority we would be able to cancel our league game next week to play in the National Cup but, the NCL won’t let you cancel a game for a BARLA Competition. 
“We could have gone to our opponents next week and ask them to cancel that game but we thought they may be unreasonable to them so we decided not to do that. 
“We brought the team together and told them the situation. We’ve got a big squad within the first team so we decided to play both games.”
Playing two games in as many days comes with a number of player welfare question marks however, West Hull’s strength in depth should allow them to play two different teams in both games. 
That was a point backed up by the head coach who said: “It won’t be the same team in both games. We’re fortunate to leave some players out on Saturday so that they can play on Sunday. We are also going to bring in a lot of the younger academy players.”
Both games are of significance for West Hull. While the National Cup may not be as coveted as the Challenge Cup, the opportunity to play Skirlaugh in a Hull derby is a rare one with the last encounter taking place over two years ago. 
Hewitt said: “The Challenge Cup is the main one, it’s a game that all lads want to play in. It also gives us an opportunity to progress and hopefully get a good draw. But on the other hand, we have a major local derby against Skirlaugh so it leaves us in a situation where we are going to have a go at both.  

“It is what is it, I don’t get into the politics of it. We’re here to play rugby. I think from my point of view, we need a strong National Cup. It used to be a major competition. Perhaps something could be sorted out which would make it easier for NCL clubs to compete in the National Cup. I think if something could be done, it could make that competition big again.”