After Okera Simmonds snatched a late point against Manchester Polonia last weekend, Stretford Paddock look for a first victory in the 2020/21 Rhodes Cup group stages as they host North Walkden this Saturday (2pm KO).

Okera Simmonds scoring from the spot late on to make it 2-2 against Polonia

North Walkden were part of Lancashire and Cheshire’s AFL Division One this year alongside Stretford Paddock before COVID-19 restrictions drew the competition to a close.

North Walkden sat sixth in the division having only played five matches with the best points per game – three matches and six points less than Paddock – and opened their account with a 2-2 draw against Signol Old Boys on Saturday.

Stephen Howson’s side recorded the same score-line as ex-England youth player Okera Simmonds scored a brace in a feisty affair which saw two red cards, one of which was issued to the Paddock manager.

“I was not happy with our own performance,” said a disgruntled Howson, “I thought there are gears and levels to go through for us.

“I think that North Walkden is going to be a tough game. Certainly starting this group with a bit of a baptism of fire.

“We’ve just got to be equal to it, or better than it. I think the positives to take from this are that Manchester Polonia said on the way out said that we’re one of the best teams we’ve played.

“I could take a little bit of solace from that but ultimately I’m not happy taking a draw and I wouldn’t be happy with anything less than a win next week neither.”

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Will Hobson

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