Sheffield RUFC skipper Jimmy Pearson wants his side to build on their momentum of a comprehensive 47-21 home victory over Northern last weekend, after a string of disappointing performances.
Despite sealing their 18th win of the season against Northern, Sheffield are precariously placed at the top of the North One East table - just one point ahead of title rivals Ilkley.
For the next two weeks, the experienced fly-half has called for a return to a more assured and dominant performance. The Abbeydale Park-based side face a tricky task against ninth placed Driffield away on March 21, and Pearson said: “Strong words were said before the game against Northern because of recent performances.
“And the players responded excellently, especially in the first half on Saturday playing into the wind. We were unlucky not to score two or three more tries. We got the basics right, particularly in the line out and the scrum and we kept the ball and made sure to run the patterns and moves that we know work for us.
“We did slip a bit in the second half but the side must take the confidence from this game. The break this week has come at a bad time really but we have to push through it and make sure we are raring to go in two weeks.
“Players need to stick to their jobs and not make silly runs on the pitch or think they can go it alone. If we are going to win this league we need to have an overall fantastic team performance every game.”
The Sheffield side have a further testing three games left to play in their league campaign as they must also face Pocklington, third placed Percy Park and West Hartlepool.
And it looks set to go right to the wire as title rivals Ilkley are in fine form; regularly picking up wins with bonus points.
Pearson added: “We have to make sure we play to our strengths in every game. It is crunch time now but hopefully come the end of the season we will have something to really celebrate.
“We’ll be working hard on our patterns of play and making sure we are completely switched on at kick-off against Driffield.
“We also need to improve our defence which has dipped in the last few performances.”
“I’m not prioritising any of the matches as they are all tough opponents - there is no room for error and we all need to step up and give everything.
“This really is the toughest part of the season and it would be heart breaking to throw a title away now because of silly mistakes. We can’t focus on how Ilkley do in their games because that shouldn’t have an effect on us.
“It’s just about the team getting the job done.
“It’s crunch time, no doubt about that, but hopefully come the end of the season we will have something to really celebrate about and, fingers crossed, a well-deserved trophy.”
Elsewhere in the city Sheffield Tigers are on a roll in the challenge for a promotion place as they recorded their 17th win of the season, and eighth in a row, as they beat Cleckheaton 27-20 away from home last weekend.
Tigers also have a week break and star Peter Swatkins said: “I’m incredibly lucky to be playing with such a talented side.
“It’s such a competitive league this year that every team is dangerous and could hurt us if we are not on top form.
“Huddersfield will not give us an easy ride and they too like a lot of sides in this league have a very strong forward line which we have to watch out for.
“I strongly believe we can be right in the mix come the end of the season but we have to win all of our next games and get those bonus points and the rest unfortunately is out of our hands.”
The Sheffield team will also face league strugglers Morley, Lymm and Burnage this league campaign and must win all their fixtures, whilst collecting bonus points, to be in with a realistic chance of promotion.
Peter, scorer of 18 tries this season, said: “This league is incredibly competitive.”