Rugby: Longton look to the future with Jack Corr signing
SECOND-ROW giant Jack Corr has been drafted in to the ranks as Longton think beyond their toughest assignment of the year.
The 6ft 5in, 17-stone forward is not expected to feature when Tony Wheat takes his side to National Three Midlands leaders Ampthill on Saturday.
But Longton hope to secure their status in the division over the coming weeks and Keele University second-year student Corr, who once played for Stoke, has been welcomed to Trentham Fields largely with next season in mind.
"Jack has been struggling with a shoulder injury for a couple of years, but he's been back playing over the last couple of weeks and all is looking good," said director of rugby Wheat, below.
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"He is highly rated by the other Keele lads and I know he was very well thought of during his time at Stoke.
"He takes his rugby very seriously and, for a student, he's not drinking too much! He's fit, strong, ambitious and has a good knowledge of the game.
"Hopefully we'll get a few games out of him this season, but he wants to play a couple of times for Keele to build up his match sharpness.
"We're very pleased to bring him in, and with Joe Newton-Taylor signing up a couple of weeks ago it makes a great couple of young additions."
Ampthill brushed Longton aside 51-17 in the reverse fixture in October, just as they have with any team they have come up against this season.
The Bedfordshire side have won 17 of their 19 matches, only slipping up 13-10 at title rivals Sutton Coldfield and drawing 20-20 against second-from-bottom Mansfield.
Revenge of sorts was dished out on Mansfield last time out when Ampthill racked up a 76-3 win.
And they go into this weekend as by far the division's top scorers and are expected to cross the 1,000-point barrier before the middle of March.
It all means there is probably a match further down the fixture list on Saturday which will have a bigger bearing on how Longton's season pans out.
Fourth-from-bottom Syston host third-from-bottom Scunthorpe in a game which could put more distance between Longton and the relegation battle raging below them.
Wheat said: "Our next two games are against Ampthill and Sutton Coldfield, so it was vital for us to win our match against Syston earlier this month to give us a little bit of breathing space.
"If Syston win it will give Scunthorpe a big challenge to climb out of danger, while if Syston lose it will keep them both in the battle to avoid the drop.
"I would like to think we could pick up three or four wins from our next 10 games to make sure we are safe, but we won't be taking anything for granted just yet."
Longton have an embarrassment of riches in the pack, but are struggling elsewhere with Chris Buck (shoulder), Luke Fowles (hamstring) and Chris Tennuci (unavailable) all missing.
That will hand another chance to Ethan Clowes, who shone in a try-scoring performance against Syston, while Tom Scragg, Fijian Taz Wara and student Alfie Karekaho could also feature.
LONGTON will hold their diamond jubilee anniversary dinner on Friday, March 15 (7.30pm).
Past and present players and members have been invited to join the club's 60th birthday celebrations in the Phoenix Suite at their Trentham Fields ground.
Only 90 seats are available, with tickets costing £20 each.
For more information, call Jez Moss on (01782) 594016, Mick Wheat on (01782) 616113, Bob Beckett on (01782) 750715 or Derek Walker on (01538) 361198.