After an extended lay off, due to the Christmas break and lack of availability for the friendly match, the Templars travel to league leaders Thurston, hoping they can kick start 2016 with an unlikely away win.
Having only beaten Thurston on the road once before, and with the hosts impressive home record this season, losing only to Brightlingsea so far, Halstead will need to shake off the Christmas spirits and be on their game right from the word go. League meetings between the two teams recently have not seen Halstead at their best with two yellow cards being shown in both previous encounters. Captain(s) Illingworth and Merry both saw yellow at the start of this campaign and it was Illingworth and Mead who spent 10 minutes in the bin when, in the final game of last season, Thurston hosted Halstead at Bury.
In that meeting Halstead started brightly with a disallowed try from Samuel but the lack of discipline and losing Jamie Carroll with a dislocated shoulder meant it was an uphill battle from then on. A try and a conversion apiece from both Donaldson and Samuel meant Halstead finished 24-14 behind. The previous season, and indeed the only time that Halstead have made it to Thurstons' ground was a considerably higher scoring affair. With tries coming from Jack Beckinsale, Ed Pawsey, Glen Stringer, Merry and Nik McKean resulting in a 27-40 victory.
More of the same needed in this new years opener.