RUGBY TOWN: Top of table

Skipper Robbie Banks
Skipper Robbie Banks

Leaders make trip to Hayes

Rugby Town hit the top of the Evostik Central Division after their midweek 2-1 victory over the most recent incumbents Royston.

It was their third 2-1 success on the trot as part of a seven match winning league streak – the first time Valley had achieved this in just short of twenty four years.

Not many – if any – of the hardy hundred plus souls that braved the wintry conditions on Tuesday evening could remember the last time Rugby proudly looked down on the rest of the teams in their division, but they all agreed it had certainly been a long time as they celebrated the achievement.

The Royston fixture was the only one in the Southern League midweek schedule to survive the weather, and goals from Fazel Koriya and David Kolodynski made it a cold night to remember at Butlin Road.

Next-up for Town is a trip to AFC Hayes on Saturday, with Dave Stringer’s side looking to maintain their excellent away form this season and keep their top dog status in the process.

It is tight at the top though, with just six points separating Valley from seventh placed Beaconsfield – and Slough also handily placed just below that with a number of games in-hand over all the teams above them.

Weekend opponents Hayes sit further back in eleventh after a mixed season so-far. They have twice been on the end of six goal hammerings – at Aylesbury and at home to Northwood – although they have also handed out one themselves at home to Beaconsfield.

In the four Central Division games between the two sides over past couple of years, Rugby edge the record with two wins to the Brooks’s one – with one game drawn.

With two games still remaining until their 2012/13 league midway stage, Valley have already racked-up just short of two thirds of their points total from the previous season , and their home form is now starting to match that of the one on the road.

Manager Dave Stringer should have Seb Lake-Gaskin, Richard Blythe and Sam Youngs back in contention this weekend after the trio were unavailable on Tuesday. However it would be a brave move to change a starting eleven that battled so impressively to down a Royston side – who had only lost twice in the league previously.

Stringer has also signed winger Joe French from Evostik NPL Stamford and the 19 year-old made his Town debut as a late substitute in last Saturday’s 2-1 win against Chalfont. French had started the season at Boston United, having started his career as a youngster at Burton Albion.

The club coach to Hayes will leave Butlin Road at 11 a.m. For information regarding availability, contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.