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Home: Non Football Related: Other Sports:
Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION

 

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AndrewG
First Team Star

Mar 5, 2017, 11:31 PM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
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Post #1376 of 1442 (10136 views)
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Re: [cherryhopper] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 4th March 2017 (ko 1500)
at Lodge Lane, Dinnington
RFU Northern Division North One East (Level Six)
Dinnington 15 Morpeth 27 (ht 5-15)
Admission - £5.00
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 100 (estimate)


I had drawn up a fairly long list of possible games for today, with this one always one of my favoured options. However, the exposed location of the ground meant I was only going to do it if the forecast was for dry weather, and that looked increasingly unlikely as the week progressed, with rain predicted for Saturday afternoon even as late as Thursday evening. That then changed dramatically by Friday evening, with a pleasant day promised, which turned out to be correct, with plenty of sunshine although it did cloud over in the second half.

The former mining village of Dinnington would seem an unlikely outpost for a rugby union club, but I was told the school in the neighbouring village of Wales has a long tradition of playing rugby, and has provided the club with a steady supply of players over many years. The whole village stands on fairly high ground, which possibly aids drainage, as I notice the town’s football club were the only ones to survive a raft of postponements in their division today.

First Bus provides a direct link from Sheffield Interchange via its X5 route, the service operating every 30 minutes with a journey time of just over three quarters of an hour. This service terminates at the small bus station in the centre of Dinnington, very handy for popping into a local café for a very large lunch at a very reasonable price. After eating so well I was quite pleased it was around a mile or so to walk to the ground, located very rurally beyond the built up area. There is a regular bus route from Rotherham to Worksop that stops much closer to the ground and also serves Dinnington Interchange, but, with the game finished by 1630 and my return bus departing at 1658, I also had plenty of time to make the walk after the game.

Seagull reported from here not that long ago, and two things to confirm from his post. The drainage must be superb - even after Friday’s heavy rain at the end of a fairly wet week, the pitch and surrounds were immaculate - I had barely a trace of mud on my boots. Also, the buffet in the clubhouse is still provided and free for all - I was invited to partake on paying admission but had already eaten far too well to do so - however, there looked to be enough food to satisfy a small army. It would seem the club still usually issue programmes as there were, apparently, grumbles from some of their regulars at the lack of an issue today. Whether this was anything more than a one off, I have no idea.

Pitchside facilities at the ground are fairly basic, but the setting is pleasant enough on a nice day. Two pitches, both railed along the sides and also at the clubhouse end on the main pitch, stand end on end, with the far pitch today hosting a 3rd XV game. A third set of posts is located on slightly lower ground to the north, and there are also training lights here. A fairly large corrugated iron type shelter provides standing cover on the southern touchline as well as the only area of hard standing, but it is flat standing and directly behind the home technical area, so viewing might not be great if everyone piled under there on a wet day. An electronic scoreboard is used, whilst clubhouse and changing rooms are in a single storey building behind the posts. No real ale at the bar, but coffee could be had at £1.00 a cup, whilst food, as already noted, was provided free to all who wanted it.

With the bottom two in this division already mathematically relegated, seven clubs divided by just nine points are trying to avoid the last spot in the drop zone. Dinnington begin the day just two points above the safety line, with Morpeth slightly better placed with five extra points in the bag. Although Dinnington score the first try of the game to lead midway through the first half, Morpeth prove to be much the stronger on the day, two tries in the last ten minutes before the interval and two more after the break securing a maximum point haul. A stoppage time score for the hosts rather put the gloss on the final scoreline for them, but Morpeth bought themselves a little breathing space in the table, which they will probably need with a trip to the league leaders on the horizon next weekend.


paulh66
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Mar 8, 2017, 11:27 AM

Posts: 15598
Location: Surrey
Team(s): Tranmere Rovers, South Liverpool (the South will rise again), Cammell Laird

Post #1377 of 1442 (9994 views)
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Re: [cherryhopper] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

bump test


cherryhopper
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Mar 10, 2017, 11:35 PM

Posts: 2951
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Friday 10th March 2017 (ko 1900)
at Larksmead Recreational Grounds, Blandford Forum
RFU South West Division Southern Counties South (Level Seven)
Blandford 7 Sherborne 26 (ht 0-19)
Admission - None charged
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 120 (estimate)


Comfortable win for Sherborne in this North Dorset derby taking the lead after 10 minutes with a try in the right corner followed by a try in the left corner after 25 minutes and a try through the middle on 35 minutes, only missed conversion after the first try. It took until the hour for the visitors to secure the bonus point try which was grounded in the left hand corner followed by a superb conversion from near the touchline from their excellent kicker. Blandford scored a deserved consolation try right at the death which brought about the loudest cheer of the night.

Larksmead is on the north eastern edge of Blandford, a left turn off Salisbury Road. There are two pitches in a T-shape, the floodlit pitch at the far end a good 50 yards past the clubhouse and on a plateau above a raised bank. No furniture apart from a portable manual scoreboard. The ground is enclosed by a green fence on three sides, the near side is roped off but everybody watched from inside it as behind the rope is on a slope and below pitch level. The end to the left is elevated on a grass bank which continues half of the way round the far side before it levels, the end to the right, like the near side on the edge of a downward slope. The lights of the town and the bypass are seen in the distance, the ground may look more scenic in daylight. Doesn't look as if Blandford issue programmes but I did pick up a copy of this season's club handbook in the bar which contained some useful information including directions to other local clubs.


Workington FC
Reserve Team Regular

Mar 10, 2017, 11:44 PM

Posts: 586
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Team(s): Workington Reds, St Ives Roosters RLFC

Post #1379 of 1442 (9796 views)
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Re: [cherryhopper] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Friday 10 March 2017
Esher 18 Rosslyn Park 24
Natiomal League One
Admission £15
Programme £1

Wow this was hard work to watch. I should have been like the majority of people in attendance - networked, socialised, stayed in the clubhouse or watched Ireland v Wales on the TV's. It was a typical.Rugby Union event. The game was irrelevant.

The ground is dominated by a large grandstand down one side of the ground. It is flat bench seating. The clubhouse is behind the sticks and a raised bank opposite the main stand provides a good vantage point.

Food was burgers etc. but painfully slow to get served. A 24 page glossy programme was available for £1. The raffle prize was a wheelbarrow full of booze
Don't know how I would have got that home on the train !


Mike S
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Mar 11, 2017, 7:55 PM

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Re: [Workington FC] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Berkswell & Balsall Nuneaton OE 21
Midlands Two West South
Attendance 40
Admission and Prog None
As the day when I can drive less in winter, if at all and retirement heads towards me, then Midlands rugby would be an interesting challenge to visit all. If however public transport is required then a handful would be useful to do first. If so this one along with Eccleshall may well be the challengers to be the hardest.
This is somewhat surprising as the ground is actually in the West Midlands but the nearest bus would be well over 2 miles away and hourly and Berkswell Station over three miles, it seemed useful to visit when finishing work in Solihull
Facilities are however modest and much less than equivalents in the North as I have indicated before. This is surprising for a club who have plated at Midland One, I think including last year, with a small clubhouse and a railed off pitch. there are floodlight but I don't think they are up to match standard and two other pitches
Despite have a members dinner before hand and the 6 nations on TV, this was one of the smallest crowds I have been in for either code of Rugby. No food was available apart from the official dinner and the only handpump had no pumpclip and I assume not in use
The hosts scored early and only two converted tries in the last three mins for the visitors resulted in the appearance of a close game.
Midland West 2 South is one of the most localised divisions with only Malvern not in the former Warwickshire
Certainly not a place which would justify six miles walking but pleasant enough on a dry day with little wind and a car


AndrewG
First Team Star

Mar 12, 2017, 5:18 PM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
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Post #1381 of 1442 (9669 views)
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Re: [Feversham Lens] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 11th March 2017 (ko 1500)
at Beaver Park, Beverley
RFU Northern Division Yorkshire One (Level Seven)
Beverley 26 York 24 (ht 13-12)
Admission - £5.00 inc 20 page programme
Attendance - 120 (estimate)

This is a part of Yorkshire I am not particularly well travelled in, although a visit by train to Hutton Cranswick for football a good number of years ago means I must have passed right by the rugby ground. My arrival around noon was greeted by a peal of church bells from the imposing Beverley Minister, though I suspect the two were not connected. The town has an attractive, and surprisingly large, pedestrianised centre, and certainly no shortage of GBG entries. First though I have lunch and a JDW tick at The Cross Keys, where there is a good choice of local ales from Wold Top and The Hop Studio, and I also have time to divert to the Chequers Micropub, where, from a choice of five hand pumps, I try a porter from Old Pumphouse, a recently opened Driffield based brewery.

The ground is around a mile or so from the town centre, and, as I implied earlier, sits right next to the Hull to Bridlington railway line, with the entrance drive emerging on to the main road adjacent to a level crossing. There is a slightly shorter direct route back to the station, which I take after the game, the walk being around fifteen minutes, with a conveniently placed chip shop passed on the way.

The main feature of the ground is provided by its clubhouse, which is situated behind the posts nearest to the entrance. The two storey building has changing rooms downstairs and bar upstairs, currently nearing the end of renovation work but still available for use. Two hand pumps available at the bar, though, unsurprisingly, a far less interesting choice than I had enjoyed earlier, with Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen on offer. Coffee was also available from the bar, and I assume hot food could also be purchased - at least there was a sign at the kitchen hatch saying food could be ordered at the bar, but no list of what was actually available.

The clubhouse has an outside balcony that was a popular vantage point during the game, and has a manually operated scoreboard amidst the advertising signs attached to the front of it. The area beneath the balcony directly outside the changing rooms would provide the only covered accommodation, but, set a few yards back from the pitch and behind the posts, would, I suspect, only be used by anyone in the most inclement of conditions. No such issues today, with the sky dull and overcast throughout, but no sign of any rain.

The playing area runs away from the clubhouse on an area of land that widens out as the railway line heads away at an angle. The main pitch is closest to the clubhouse, and beyond that and standing end to end is another pitch today hosting a 2nd XV fixture. Next to that second pitch is a third set of posts, with training lights sited up against the boundary with the railway. Neither of the other two pitches has lights, but the main pitch is railed along both sides, with dug outs on its eastern touchline. It is all grass standing, a little heavy underfoot in places, and a fairly featureless landscape, houses bounding the western edge of the site, with the area beyond the railway similarly residential.

Visitors York begin the day just three points shy of the second place in the table that would qualify them for a promotion play off. Beverley are back in sixth, having started the campaign fairly inconsistently following last season’s relegation, but eight wins in their last nine games suggest they are likely to provide difficult opposition. It certainly turns out that way, and I am rewarded with a cracking encounter that see-saws throughout, with York losing despite outscoring their hosts by four tries to two. The visitors looked in control when they had opened up an eight point lead before the hour mark, but Beverley turned the game around, and then held on for their win in the face of late pressure.


PaulC
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 12, 2017, 5:23 PM

Posts: 9317
Location: Ayrshire, Midlothian
Team(s): AFC Darwen, Troon, Ayr Utd, Burnley

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Re: [Mike S] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Rugby Europe Trophy (TOP 18)
Switzerland 54-18 Ukraine
Centre Sportif des Cherpines, Geneva
Admission 15CHF
Attendance "environs 2,000" according to the stadium announcer


After a week at Les Gets we are spending a couple of days in Geneva. I thought I would have to settle for Servette v FC Wil but then I discovered there was a rugby international on.

The home of Servette Rugby Club de Genève is an impressive installation with tiered seating and bars along one side and hard standing on the other. The ground was more or less full with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd - plenty of cow bells and national flags on show.

Ukraine held Switzerland to 6 points in the first half but were overrun in the second. The Ukraine forwards were pretty fearsome looking but were bossed by the smaller Swiss.

The standard was pretty reasonable - I should think on a par with top or second level Scottish club rugby.

A very enjoyable excursion to the edge of the city.


Seagull
First Team Star

Mar 13, 2017, 1:53 PM

Posts: 1804
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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 11th March 2017
Welsh League Division One West (Level 3)
Llanelli Wanderers 19 Kidwelly 19
Att: 170 (h/c)
Admission: £5 including programme (4pp insert in amongst advertising shell)

This one stood out a mile in amongst the games in the area, with second placed Wanderers hosting leaders Kidwelly. Both had lost 3 times and we clear of the chasing pack, but the visitors had a 7 point lead through a plethora of bonus points. The game lived up to expectations being utterly full blooded (but pretty much fair) but with both sides brutal defences being on top. There is a decent end to end slope and both sides scored their only tries and the bulk of their points playing downhill. Wanderers did well to come back from 19-6 down with ten minutes to go to salvage a draw but Kidwelly were probably left wondering how they'd let the win slip away.

The ground appears to be the old training ground for Stradey Park, the former home of Llanelli RUFC. This is now under houses and more new builds are going up around the pitch. However, they are staying put and indeed a new dressing room block is nearing completion with the final home games of the season being played on their second pitch, known as Peoples Park, about 1/2 a mile away. Unusually there is no clubhouse on site.

It is in many ways a very basic facility but it dioes hae some character. There is a lovely old high stone wall that encloses one end and one side which is tree clad, there are shallow grass banks at various points around the fairly tightly enclosed pitch which give a decent elevated view and it has those lovely old telegraph pole floodlights with triangular top mounts for the lights. These very much looked in working order as the lights fittings looked new as did the wiring and power boxes on the poles. The pitch itself is merely roped down both sides. A small basic tea bar operated in one corner from a tiny garden shed doing hot drinks, pop and confectionary. A tea and Mars was £1.50, hardly rip off central :)

Despite the relatively rudimentary facilities it was a thoroughly enjoyable tick and an excellent game.


Mike S
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Mar 17, 2017, 10:34 PM

Posts: 433
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Re: [Seagull] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Friday 17 March 2017
Oadby Wyggeston 10 Melton 12
Leicestershire RU Cup ( maybe shield or plate) semi final
Attendance c 300 Prog no admission no
Would have been unaware of this without Ramblers advices on here and details were hard to find on line but I assume not locally as a good crowd turned up. The hosts are one division lower than the visitors in Mid 2 East South and 1 east respectively. Despite a close final scoreline this was the impression on the night
Oagby Wyggs play directly opposite Oadby Town FC on a site with three pitches. The signage is split between OW and Leicester Tigers who use the facility for academy training and offices and maybe more. There are three pitches, the one nearest the clubhouse railed on one side, the other two are floodlit. Tonights game was on the middle pitch and simply roped down the sides
I have not discovered who are in the other semi but the final is at Welford Road


AndrewG
First Team Star

Mar 19, 2017, 5:08 PM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
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Re: [Mike S] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 18th March 2017 (ko 1415)
at Medical Athletics Ground, Heaton
RFU Northern Division Durham and Northumberland One (Level Seven)
Medicals 29 Hartlepool 5 (ht 10-5)
Admission - no charge
Programme - none issued
Attendance - 100 (estimate)


Rugby union has a long list of clubs with ties to educational establishments, and quite a few from medical schools and colleges are playing at a fairly senior level of the club game. The northern division has four such teams playing at levels seven to nine, based in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle. University or college playing fields, hardly near the top of my list of grounds to visit, often seem to serve as their home venue, but, as the most distant of the four from home, I had never looked at where Medicals RFC were based. I only did so this week as the relatively mild winter had left a sparse fixture list on this catch up weekend, and I was glad I did. Although owned by Newcastle University, this is very much a ‘proper’ club ground.

I travelled by bus from the city centre, Stagecoach services 62 and 63 combining to give up to ten buses per hour, and stopping at the junction of Chillingham Road and Cartington Terrace, just a few yards from the ground. Chillingham Road metro station could also be used, being around half a mile to the south. I arrived early enough for a short diversion to call at The Northumberland Hussar. Five hand pumps were in use - one serving cider, and, of the other four, two were dispensing stouts. It would have seemed rude not to try both - the well travelled Thornbridge Brock was perfectly acceptable - the much more local Almasty Oats and Milk was quite outstanding.

Dragging myself away to the ground, I arrived just as a friendly between the Medicals 2nd XV and a team comprised of Medicals past players was concluding. I suspect this game contributed to a rather larger attendance for the 1st XV game than would perhaps normally be the case here, with many of those involved staying on to watch.

The imposing clubhouse building stands next to the entrance overlooking the 1st XV pitch from behind the posts, and looks little changed from a photo on the Medicals website that is dated 1965. Changing rooms are downstairs, with, what one sign describes as tea rooms, upstairs. There is a bar, however, although the one hand pump in place was not in use pre match. The kitchen was serving up food for players from the earlier game - I did not enquire whether food was available for purchase having eaten in the city centre - however, coffee was on sale, served in proper cups, and at a very reasonable 50p.

The grounds comprise of two rugby pitches, located either side of a cricket square. The more northerly of the two pitches had staged the aforementioned earlier game. Neither of the pitches is floodlit, although there are training lights located on an area of grass alongside the clubhouse. The 1st XV pitch is roped along both sides, and a small manually operated scoreboard is sited close to the clubhouse. The far end of the ground is overlooked by a church tower, and with the site fringed by cherry trees - a sign indicates they were planted as a memorial to club members killed in the second world war - it is just about as pleasant as an inner city setting can get.

A stand provides covered accommodation on the southern touchline. I had found an article online that indicated the old wooden 1930’s stand had been renovated in the 1980’s, but remained a wooden structure. That has obviously been replaced again, by what appears a fairly new metal clad structure. The terracing has two rows of plastic tip up seats, rather redundant from the point of view of watching the game, as at least half of the crowd present stood in front of them, where metal railings provide a good barrier to lean against. A pathway provides hard standing between the clubhouse and stand, with grass standing elsewhere.

Visitors Hartlepool were promoted to this level last season, and have found it tough going, beginning the day five points adrift of safety in the second relegation position, with Medicals a further three points ahead. Victory in this game in hand would put Hartlepool back in touch with the teams above them, as well as dragging Medicals back into the mix, whilst victory for the hosts would all but ensure their safety.

Hartlepool scored the opening try and led 5-3 for much of the first half, but Medicals scored tries a minute either side of the interval, that was extended slightly for treatment to a home player, who, sadly, seemed to have suffered a broken leg. He was able to be stretchered off without having to wait for an ambulance, with, no doubt, rather more medical expertise available here than at most games. At 17-5 down Hartlepool had a good spell of pressure, but saw a potential score disallowed for a double movement, and missed another great chance when their centre knocked on. Medicals third try, just before the hour mark, effectively sealed their win, and they went on to secure a four try bonus point despite having a man in the sin bin in the closing stages.


cherryhopper
First Team Star

Mar 19, 2017, 10:20 PM

Posts: 2951
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Sunday 19th March (KO 1300)
National Under 20 Championship - Pool 4
Hampshire 25-19 Cornwall (played at Overton RFC)
Attendance 140 h/c
Admission was free according to website but they charged £3 for 16 page programme


Hampshire secured top spot in their group with this win in their first Championship campaign after being promoted from the second tier shield competition which they won last year. The game wasn't as close as the scoreline would suggest and Cornwall were disappointing. Hampshire, with a strong wind behind them in the first half, took the lead with an early penalty then scored a try soon after with a 40 yard run from number 11, conversion hit the post. Another try which was converted made it 15-0 at the break. A third try unconverted made it 20-0 early in the second half and it took a mistake from the home defence, a pass intercepted 5 metres from their own try line, for Cornwall to finally score with 20 minutes to play, try converted. Hampshire responded by going over for their bonus point 4th try, conversion missed making it 25-7. Cornwall rallied in the final 10 minutes with two more tries, the last converted to give them a bonus point but it was too little too late and they crash out of the competition following Gloucestershire's win over Berkshire. Hampshire's reward for winning the group should be a home quarter final which I hope they play somewhere different. This was my second visit to Overton, no noticeable changes from last time two years ago.


Graeme
Reserve Team Sub

Mar 25, 2017, 6:05 PM

Posts: 418
Location: Leicester
Team(s): Bradford P.A

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Re: [cherryhopper] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 25th March.
Midlands Two East (North).
Newark. 25 v Coalville. 26 @ Kelham Road.
Great game played in bright sunshine.
Admission £3 including free programme.



Total Grounds- 1290 (10).
Grounds this season- 16.
Latest New ground -Alwyns Lane, Chertsey Town.
Rugby Union grounds-7.
Latest-Twickenham.




(This post was edited by Graeme on Mar 25, 2017, 6:06 PM)


Feversham Lens
First Team Star


Mar 25, 2017, 7:10 PM

Posts: 2185
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

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Re: [Graeme] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 25th March 2017
Nuneaton 12 Broadstreet 17 (HT 6-14)
National League Three Midlands (level five, kick-off 2pm)
Admission £5
Programme (w/a) 28pp: game-specific cover, 24pp glossy shell, 4pp match insert
Attendance 325 (h/c)
Refreshments available 100 yards away in the clubhouse (didn't bother)


Second versus first but a desperately poor game lacking in excitement and quality. The desultory proceedings were dominated by the sound of the female referee's whistle. She (one Sarah Toll) couldn't bear to let more than a few seconds of continuous play elapse before blowing. During one of many breaks in the 'action', I overheard an exasperated home player tell a spectator: "She's f***ing useless." Coupled with numerous stoppages for treatment to injuries (real or imagined), the stream of penalties resulted in a ponderous contest. Both teams framed better playing into a strong wind blowing down the field, from east to west. I'm tempted to compare this dross with the National Conference League amateur rugby league - level eight of the 13-a-side code - I watched in Bradford this time last week. Better not. It would be akin to pondering the difference between day and night.

Glad Broadstreet beat their neighbours because at least they managed to score two tries. Nuneaton, running into bad form at the wrong time of the season, never looked like getting over the line. Their fly-half kicked four penalties, all near the posts, to keep them in it and secure a losing bonus point. The first Street try, in the 17th minute, was a ditchwater dull pushover effort; the second, in the 30th minute, a 25-yard dash to the sticks after Nuns left wing made the schoolboy error of allowing a kicked rugby ball to bounce. Not in his favour. Other than a bit of tension, there was little to engage the crowd, of decent size on a sunny afternoon. With third-placed Sheffield crushing doomed Syston 34-0, Nuneaton drop to third. Apparently, three of Nuns more capable players have disappeared to New Zealand on a sporting exchange. Doesn't bode well for their erstwhile team-mates' run-in.

No immediate prospect, I was told, of Nuneaton Town FC and Nuneaton RUFC settling their differences (petty, and well covered on this forum) over use of, and access to, the Liberty Way stadium. Town were at home this afternoon. The kick-and-clappers started at two o'clock to avoid chaos in the one-way-in-one-way-out car park. The skips (reported elsewhere on this forum) are still in place outside the turnstiles next to the rugby clubhouse. This match was played on Pitch One, over the murky Anker. Cherryhopper and AndrewG have both described the facilities (such as they are) this season, so I won't bother. Basic sums them up. There aren't even any toilets. Can't remember when last I observed so many grown men relieving themselves in public. Maybe a late Eighties night out in Carlisle. Did enjoy the many passing freight trains, mind. Got talking to an old-timer before kick-off. A follower of both clubs (his interest in Nuneaton Borough went back to the Manor Ground), he labelled the present impasse "ridiculous". I really can't improve on that. During the second half of the rugby, three roars drifted across the weed-choked Anker from the stadium. Each signalled a Nuneaton Town goal against National League North leaders AFC Fylde. Well, well. Every dog has its day.

My records tell me I attended a rugby union game at Liberty Way - on what is now the stadium pitch - in October 2003. Back then, before the football club got involved and transformed the out-of-town site into an actual stadium, the ground consisted merely of a clubhouse and a tiny stand. That evening (it was a floodlit fixture), Nuneaton hammered National Two rivals Rugby Lions 45-0. Must have been as dull as it sounds because my recollection is minimal at best.

Rugby league next. Thank goodness.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Mar 25, 2017, 7:49 PM)


IAN S
First Team Star

Mar 26, 2017, 6:56 PM

Posts: 2141
Location: Stocksbridge, Sheffield
Team(s): Sheffield United, Sheffield Eagles, Kendal Town

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Re: [Graeme] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Melbourne 54 Kesteven 8
h/t 26-8
no admission or programme
att. considerably less than the football

I was also at a game in this division at the league leaders Melbourne. Very one-sided giving me a neck problem trying to keep up with it whilst watching the main event, the football on the adjoining pitch.


AndrewG
First Team Star

Mar 26, 2017, 8:44 PM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
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Post #1390 of 1442 (8579 views)
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Re: [IAN S] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 25th March 2017 (ko 1500)
at Dumbreck Playing Fields, Glasgow
Scottish Rugby National League Division Two
Cartha Queen’s Park 37 Kelso 10 (ht 20-10)
Admission - £5.00 inc 8 page programme
Attendance - 400 (estimate)


This ground stands on the northern edge of the Pollok Country Park, and, with a scenic setting, I had been saving it for a nice day. Today’s weather fitted the bill, with a top of the table clash adding to the attraction. Whilst regular buses pass right by the ground, they do not serve the city centre, but both Dumbreck and Maxwell Park stations are within easy walking distance. I used the latter, and took the scenic route via the north woods of the country park. These sit atop a drumlin overlooking the rugby ground, and provide a stunning backdrop.

The playing facilities consist of a fully railed off and floodlit main pitch, with two other pitches at right angles to it standing side by side. All have gridiron style posts, with one central supporting stanchion, rather than the more traditional rugby style. Beyond the outer pitches, on an increasingly narrow strip of land as the woods and main road converge, is a football pitch, roped off along the sides, with its own pavilion. A match was taking place there watched by a handful of spectators, and must have been quite an early kick off as it finished not long after the rugby started.

The rugby clubhouse is behind the posts at the northern end of the main pitch in a single storey building that also houses the changing rooms. The bar area occupies a large single room, one half of which is given over to a pre match meal, although there is still plenty of space for regular spectators. No real ale on hand pumps, although they did have Hobgoblin in bottles. Coffee was also available for purchase at the bar, but there did not seem to be any food on offer other than for those having the meal.

Hard standing in front of the clubhouse extends along much of the eastern touchline, but elsewhere it is all grass, some of it still rather squelchy in places. There is no cover, but an open bank of nine rows of seats on a scaffolding base sits astride the half way line. However, it is all fenced off as out of use despite obviously being a recent addition (it isn’t there on street view dated 2014). Whilst the aforementioned woods provide a rural feel, we are only four miles from the city centre, and there is a constant and heavy traffic flow along the road outside, whilst motorway traffic a few hundred yards to the east is audible if not visible.

These two teams look likely to fill the two promotion spots, Cartha leading Kelso by five points, though the visitors have two games in hand. In a rather strange affair, Kelso led 10-0 at the twenty minute mark but saw the hosts take control by the interval. The second half saw the visitors shade possession and more than shade the penalty count, but handling errors often cost them at crucial times, and the only points came at the other end. Cartha wrapped up the try scoring bonus point in the dying seconds as their right winger completed a hat trick, despite having their hooker in the sin bin at the time. The win sealed promotion for Cartha, though not yet the title, whilst Kelso need to pick up wins in their next two games if they are to ensure their final fixture against third placed Peebles does not become uncomfortably critical.

(This post was edited by AndrewG on Mar 26, 2017, 8:50 PM)


The Moose
First Team Star

Apr 1, 2017, 6:29 PM

Posts: 1470
Location: The West Country
Team(s):

Post #1391 of 1442 (8303 views)
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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Sat 1st: STH COUNTIES STH - COMBE DOWN 19 FROME 21

ADM & PROG: F&Y. ATT: h/c 70

Having spent the week yomping around Norway, I was looking for something local today. A 30 minute jaunt into Bath fitted the bill nicely. Bramble Way is tucked behind the former Foxhill MOD site, now being built on with new housing. For this level it's not too bad with a rail one side & a small covered terrace on the other. It's around two miles south of Bath Spa, not far from Odd Down.

Most locals were watching their more illustrious neighbours (Bath), in the clubhouse qualify for the Euro semi-final before popping outside for the main event. For an hour there was only one team in it, with the visitors cruising into a 21 point lead. Combe then woke up to make a game of it but missed a late conversion that would've given them a share of the spoils. It seems likely that they'll be relegated after just one season at this level.

KRTM :-)


AndrewG
First Team Star

Apr 3, 2017, 11:50 AM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
Team(s):

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Re: [The Moose] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 1st April 2017 (ko 1500)
at Horn Park, Lee
RFU London and South East Division London Two South East (Level Seven)
Old Colfeians 33 Beckenham 17 (ht 8-3)
Admission - no charge
Programme - 36 pages, £2.00
Attendance - 300 (estimate)


A crucial fixture in the race for promotion from this division tempts me to make a trip to the capital. Three points separate second placed Old Colfeians from fourth placed Beckenham, with the team lying between them in the table, Dartfordians, facing a particularly difficult tie away at runaway league champions Medway. The likelihood is, therefore, that the winners here today will head into next weekend’s final round of league fixtures with their fate in their own hands, the runners-up in this division and in London Two South West playing off for the final promotion place to London One South.

Old Colfeians take their name from the nearby Colfe’s School, and are based near the boundary of the boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich. There are, as you would expect, plenty of public transport options to reach the ground. With SE12 devoid of GBG entries, I take the opportunity for a couple of JDW ticks and several brews on their festival list, firstly on the concourse of Cannon Street station - something of an oasis of calm by central London standards on a Saturday - and also at Lee Green - within easy walking distance of both Lee station and the ground. Buses also stop right by the ground entrance on the A20, and post match I jump on to a 321 service to Lewisham station and then by train to Victoria. Refreshments are taken back at Euston in the wonderful Bree Louise, stouts from 360 Degrees and Sambrook’s washing down a potion of their highly recommended Haggis Pie.

The narrow entrance driveway to the ground leads first to the buildings housing the clubhouse and changing rooms, mock Tudor fronted in part and of such a haphazard shape that suggests bits have been added on over the years. It is surprisingly spacious inside, however, with at least three separate bar areas. One room is hosting a pre match past players lunch, but another sizeable room is given over for spectators use. Whitstable Bay Pale Ale is available on hand pump, whilst hot drinks can be had from the kitchen hatch in the entrance hall. Coffee was reasonably priced at £1.00, but I saw no evidence of food being on sale. The programme was well above the average standard for rugby union, with eight match specific pages, but also plenty of reading in the outer shell for a one off visitor.

The playing area can be reached either by heading out of a side entrance from the clubhouse, or via a passageway beneath a bridge that links the clubhouse to a squash court. Basically the pitches are centred around a cricket square, with three rugby pitches - the furthest one is hosting a 3rd XV fixture, and one football pitch - nets in place but unused today. The main rugby pitch is equipped with an electronic scoreboard, and whilst none of the pitches are floodlit, a couple of portable floodlight columns are in place and no doubt used for training. A large tree stands between the main pitch and the clubhouse, giving an obvious photo opportunity, in what is quite an attractive urban setting.

The near side of the main pitch has hard standing and is railed off, with an Atcost style stand sitting level with the half way line comprising of four rows of plastic tip up seats. My guess is that this dates back to the turn of the millennium, when Old Colfeians managed to spend three seasons at National League Three, quite an achievement as reports suggest they were still a ‘closed’ team at that point. That is no longer the case, though the programme states that more than half of their players are old boys. Elsewhere, the surrounds are just grass standing, all very firm underfoot, with the touch line taped off on the cricket square side.

The match certainly lived up to expectations, although Colfe’s would probably feel they should have been further ahead at half time. They did add a second try soon after the interval, only to then concede from an interception, and, when Beckenham scored again soon afterwards, the visitors were holding a 17-15 lead. It remained that way until around fifteen minutes from time, two long range penalties in quick succession from their replacement full back putting the hosts back in control. A third try inside the last ten minutes sealed the win for Colfe’s, and they put the icing on the cake with a further score in stoppage time. Dartfordians did lose, albeit narrowly, so Colfe’s have an almost certainly decisive four point advantage going into the final round of games.


Norwich6
Junior Team Star

Apr 3, 2017, 7:34 PM

Posts: 63
Location: Norwich
Team(s):

Post #1393 of 1442 (8085 views)
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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Friday 31st March

European Challenge Cup 1/4 Final
At Murrayfield kick off 2000

Edinburgh 22 La Rochelle 32 ht 12 26

Admission £15 (over 60)
Programme £2 like many rugby union programmes heavy on adverts
Tea £2.50 !!

La Rochelle led 14 0 early on and were by far the better side in the first half Edinburgh were much better after the break and pulled the score back to 22 26. There was no comeback though and La Rochelle
scored with two late penalties.

This was my first visit to Murrayfield and I rather liked the place.
All the stewards were polite and helpful.
The seating we had was comfortable with good viewing lines.
Just a shame that not that many in attendance guessing 5 to 6 thousand.

Understand that Edinburgh will play most future matches at Myreside
Hopefully will get to visit there one day.


Graeme
Reserve Team Sub

Apr 4, 2017, 3:44 PM

Posts: 418
Location: Leicester
Team(s): Bradford P.A

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Re: [Norwich6] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 1st April.
Midlands 2 East (South).
Oadby Wyggestonians 24 v Olney 24.
Admission- Free. Programme-No.
Oadby led 17-0 at half time and 24-7 on 68 minutes, but Olney came storming back into the game with 3 tries in the last ten minutes.
The last try was converted in the dying minutes.
Excellent entertainment. Leicester Tigers train here, but there is no real cover, just a barrier on one side. A second game was in progress on the other side.



Total Grounds- 1290 (10).
Grounds this season- 16.
Latest New ground -Alwyns Lane, Chertsey Town.
Rugby Union grounds-7.
Latest-Twickenham.




AndrewG
First Team Star

Apr 9, 2017, 7:12 PM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
Team(s):

Post #1395 of 1442 (7738 views)
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Re: [Graeme] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 8th April 2017 (ko 1500)
at Spring Lane, Malvern Link
RFU Midland Division Midlands Two West (South) (Level Seven)
Malvern 34 Spartans 29 (ht 22-5)
Admission - £3.00 inc 40 page programme
Attendance - 150 (estimate)


With strikes affecting Northern Rail services today, I was on the look out for a ground I could reach via Birmingham, as I have a convenient bus link to Wigan and can then use Virgin Trains to the West Midlands, thus avoiding the much reduced local trains all together. This one fitted the bill, with an hourly service from New Street, and it also looked like a fixture which could produce a close game, which certainly turned out to be the case.

The ground is around half a mile from Malvern Link station, which I used after the game, but prior to the match I travelled on to Great Malvern in order to visit the town centre. It is an uphill walk all the way from the station, steeply so in places. I called in at the GBG listed Great Malvern Hotel for a pint of Malvern Hills Black Pear, before lunching with a JDW tick at the Foley Arms Hotel, whose terrace has glorious views across what seems like half of Worcestershire. The real ale range here seemed to mainly consist of the remnants from their recent festival. Then back down the first part of the hill to catch the First Bus service 44, which makes the short journey to Malvern Link every 20 minutes.

Malvern have played a couple of levels higher up the rugby pyramid relatively recently, and seem to have the off field organisation that that often brings. Admission is charged and programmes dispensed at the entrance, with raffle tickets also on sale - the programme comes with a reasonable level of content, and makes reference to the fact that two local rivals will be stepping up from Midlands Three West (South) - no doubt welcome with the hosts really out on a limb in this division this season. The clubhouse and changing rooms are in separate single storeyed buildings set at right angles around the corner of the main pitch. The larger room in the clubhouse is hosting a past players lunch pre match, with a reasonable sized lounge available for use. Greene King IPA is the real ale on offer, and coffee is also available at the bar, but there is no sign of any food being on sale.

There are three full sized pitches within the complex, the 1st XV pitch running north-south directly outside the clubhouse, with two other pitches at right angles beyond it. The nearest of those is hosting a 2nd XV game, the furthest, unused today, has what I assume are training lights. The main pitch is fully railed with metal barriers, and has hard standing along the clubhouse side. The areas of grass standing are in a good condition, and there is a manually operated scoreboard close to the changing rooms. There is no cover, and the view looking east is of light industrial units. For once, it was worth facing west, despite having to shade your eyes from the sun, for the stunning backdrop provided by the Malvern Hills.

Defeat last week had seen Sutton Coldfield based Spartans slip out of the play off qualifying second position, but, with their rivals Silhillians facing fourth place in the league today, they were certainly not without hope of reclaiming it. Malvern began the day in sixth, but, on a run of four straight wins, they promised to provide tough opposition. The hosts certainly began like a team full of confidence, scoring two tries in the opening quarter, and looking dangerous every time they attacked on the left wing. However, a strong scrum brings Spartans their first score in stoppage time, and the second half begins in similar fashion, several scrum offences eventually seeing the visitors awarded a penalty try.

A break away try brings Spartans closer still, the score now 22-19, but they then fail to take advantage of a Malvern sin binning, and the hosts actually cross the line whilst still a man down after a Spartans penalty failed to find touch. The next score, however, goes to Spartans, this one converted to make it 27-26, but Malvern respond again as the game enters stoppage time, making it five tries to four in a thrilling encounter. That more or less seals the win, but Spartans earn a penalty in front of the posts with time up, and the successful kick gives them a second bonus point. With news of Silhillians losing, that closed the gap in the table to just one point, though the final round of fixtures is not favourable to Spartans, with their rivals facing bottom of the table opposition.


Rob North
First Team Star

Apr 10, 2017, 9:01 PM

Posts: 1632
Location: Dunfermline
Team(s): Didcot Town, Reading

Post #1396 of 1442 (7405 views)
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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday April 8th (11.30 kick off)

Melrose Sevens

Admission (£45 stand ticket with reserved seat)
Programme £4

Attendance: 10,000 approximately

One of those sporting events I had marked down as a 'must do' and it turned out to be top class entertainment as I had expected. A friend who is on the priority list managed to secure us stand tickets for £45, but general ground admission is available at £20. Food value is variable, a £5 portion from the pasta stall was dreadful, and I would suggest taking your own food or using a pass out to visit local shops.

Action started at 11.30am and finished shortly before 7pm with hardly a break between matches, 23 in all plus a Varsity challenge match before the final. We were blessed with glorious sunshine throughout the day.

16 teams compete in the first round and are then joined by 8 others for the second. 'Star guests' Harlequins saw off GHA 36-0, then had a hard battle against Edinburgh Accies 29-22 before comfortably beating Watsonians 40-12 to reach the final. The hosts Melrose beat Dundee 31-19 and Selkirk 24-12 before seeing off scratch side Co-Optimists 21-19 in a close fought semi.

Melrose knew that they had to play at maximum intensity against Quins to have any chance and they came out flying, leading 14-12 at half-time. Harlequins scored twice to take charge but Melrose fought back to 19-24 before a late Quins clincher. Class told in the end but Melrose lost little in defeat.


(This post was edited by Rob North on Apr 10, 2017, 9:03 PM)


Feversham Lens
First Team Star


Apr 15, 2017, 8:02 PM

Posts: 2185
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

Post #1397 of 1442 (7057 views)
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Re: [Rob North] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 15th April 2017
Long Eaton 20 Goole 23 (HT 14-8)
RFU Junior Vase, Semi-Final (two level nine clubs, kick-off 3.30pm)
Free admission
Programme £2 (20pp: a glossy, colourful issue)
Attendance 750 (est)
Refreshments available (didn't sample)


Goole deservedly booked a day out at Twickers by forcing the decisive score from the last play of a tense encounter. A brave charge and a long reach saw the ball plonked on the try line to edge the Yorkshiremen 21-20 ahead. The conversion dropped over the crossbar via the inside of an upright. Goole, much more mobile than the hosts in both forwards and backs, and pleasingly eager to offload whenever possible, played all the rugby. But Long Eaton looked likely winners when wind-assisted penalties in the 76th and 79th minutes saw them transform a 14-16 deficit into a 20-16 advantage. This was a first defeat of the season for Long Eaton, who claimed the Midlands Four East North title at a canter. Goole lie second in Yorkshire Three, a point behind Halifax Vandals, having suffered seven defeats. For my money, this result is a clear indicator of the strength of rugby union in the White Rose county, fairly remarkable when one considers most of its leading rugby practitioners play league.

A strong, cold wind blew west to east, straight down the pitch. It was in Goole's favour during the first half but the visitors really didn't capitalise. Their kicking game was non-existent. Despite dominating territory and possession, Goole managed only a 13th-minute penalty. Long Eaton replied with tries, in the 32nd and 37th minutes, from their only attacks of the half, to lead 14-3. Right on half-time, however, Goole got over the line to trail by six at the break. A try three minutes after the restart advanced the visitors to within a point of Long Eaton before a 67th-minute penalty saw Goole finally retake the lead. The hosts hit back late on and clearly thought they had the game won only for Goole to break their hearts at the death.

Impressed with Long Eaton's facilities, located in lovely West Park, an asset to any town. This 127-acre Erewash Borough Council-owned park, intended originally as a green lung for workers in the lace and railway industries, has grown steadily since opening in 1905. In the Wilsthorpe Meadows district of Long Eaton, it caters also for baseball, bowls, croquet, cricket, cycling, orienteering, skateboarding and tennis. Long Eaton Running Club use West Park Leisure Centre as their HQ. Interestingly, the park is on the Trent flood plain (as is Long Eaton itself), and grass banks - 'bunds' - have been created round its perimeter to contain inundations. The rugby clubhouse, a single-storey, red-brick structure, is similarly protected. A plaque in the somewhat gloomy bar reveals the clubhouse was opened in 1987 by former Leicester and England full-back 'Dusty' Hare.

There are four rugby pitches in the park, two floodlit, and I managed to tick two of them this afternoon. The second XV pitch, positioned between leisure centre car park (free) and clubhouse, hosted an entertaining curtainraiser friendly (2pm kick-off) between the reserve teams of Long Eaton and Goole. The visitors, superior in every respect, romped to a 45-10 win (half-time 5-19). The first XV pitch, flat, large and lush, was in absolutely superb condition. Fully railed, it has benefited from sizeable investment. A bund, a short distance back from the north touchline, provides the only elevation. It was shoulder to shoulder on there this afternoon! To the south, Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station's cooling towers dominate the skyline. Another plaque informs that ex-Leicester and England lock forward Martin Johnson unveiled the floodlights in 1994.

Long Eaton did a fine job of hosting what certainly felt like a big occasion: the one-off programme was a quality issue; barbecue-style food was available from a gazebo; real ale was laid on outside; and a tent ensured sponsors and guests were kept apart from the hoi polloi. After all that effort, it was a shame for Long Eaton that most of the crowd went home disappointed. I'm very pleased for Goole, though, because it's a dowdy little town that for its entire life has sidestepped anything remotely glamorous. I wonder what Twickers will make of the Goole supporters?

Good to meet up with MikeS, hot foot from his Good Friday rugby league double in Oldham and Rochdale, for the second time this season.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Apr 15, 2017, 8:15 PM)


AndrewG
First Team Star

Apr 17, 2017, 12:48 AM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
Team(s):

Post #1398 of 1442 (6933 views)
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Re: [Feversham Lens] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 15th April 2017 (ko 1430)
at Maes Gwyniad, Bala
WRU National League Division One North
Bala 13 Nant Conwy 36 (ht 6-17)
Admission - £3.00 inc 12 page programme
Attendance - 180 (estimate)


Unlike their English counterparts, who take a break over the Easter weekend other than for the national cup semi-finals, Welsh rugby always seems to have a full league programme, probably because they don’t play on Saturdays when the national team is in action. As a result I had penned this game in some time in advance, just needing decent weather in order to go ahead, and for once the elements duly obliged.

Geographically isolated Bala has a direct bus link to connect to trains at Wrexham, service T3 operating as part of the TrawsCymru network, and, judging by the remarkably cheap ticket prices, presumably heavily subsidised. It is a ninety minute journey each way, but it passes quickly enough, with the hour or so from Llangollen to Bala travelling through some of the most glorious scenery imaginable.

Bala’s single main street has no shortage of choices for eating on a Saturday lunch time, but I recalled when visiting here for football that real ale options were more difficult to find. Thankfully, the explosion of microbar openings has also reached this part of the world, and Stori, a combination of off licence and bar, had a good selection of ales, exclusively, as far as I could tell, concentrating on Welsh breweries.

The rugby ground, like its football counterpart, is just a few minutes walk from the High Street, but on the south rather than north side. This gives it the benefit of being within sight of Llyn Tegid, and on foot it can be approached via a causeway running between the ground and the lake. The name of the ground is linked to the lake, the gwyniad being a critically endangered fish native to Llyn Tegid, though why, specifically, the ground is named after it I do not know.

There are two pitches in an L-shaped configuration, the main pitch being floodlit and railed along both sides. Apart from a small area where there is some loose stone underfoot, it is all grass standing, but looks to have dried out quite well in recent weeks. There is a single dug out, used by the home team, with a manually operated scoreboard alongside it. There is no bar, but an extension has been added to the changing room block, providing somewhere to sit whilst enjoying a hot drink from the tea bar. Not due to officially open until next month, I believe today was the first time it had been available for use

Nant Conwy and Pwllheli are the dominant forces in this division, but fourth in the table Bala represents one of their toughest away games. This was certainly no stroll in the park, but I got the impression that the visiting supporters were always totally confident of the victory, saving their biggest cheer for the fourth try that secured the bonus point. News quickly followed that Pwllheli had opened up a decisive lead in an hitherto close game, so dampening their spirits. Realistically, if Pwllheli avoid an upset when they visit here later this month, the title will be theirs.

Of course, none of that really matters to the neutral spectator. Pick a day when the weather is nice, and enjoy the setting, with stunning views in every direction, and the only external traffic noise being from the steam trains on the lakeside railway. It is a time consuming place to reach - I could get to and from London more quickly - but a thoroughly enjoyable day out.


AndrewG
First Team Star

Apr 23, 2017, 9:28 PM

Posts: 1425
Location: Lancashire
Team(s):

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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 22nd April 2017 (ko 1500)
at The Demesnes, Barnard Castle
RFU Northern Division Durham and Northumberland One (Level Seven)
Barnard Castle 34 South Shields Westoe 37 (ht 19-15)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 250 (estimate)


This is, in truth, a long journey to make for a visit to the most basic of venues, albeit one in a lovely setting in a very attractive town. Nevertheless, I felt I needed both a nice day and a crucial fixture to make it worthwhile, and today certainly ticked both of those boxes. The reward was another excellent day out, and an absolute thriller of a match, with eleven tries scored, and two changes of lead with the game in stoppage time.

Many years of football ground hopping had never taken me to Barnard Castle, save for once passing through on route to Bishop Auckland by car. By public transport Darlington is the obvious railhead for anyone travelling from further south, with Arriva routes X75 and X76 combining to provide an half hourly service with a journey time of 35-40 minutes. The town has two major tourist attractions, the Castle, which gives it its name, and the Bowes Museum. Both charge admission that I did not feel was worth paying due to the relatively short time I had available, but the exterior of the castle provides some stunning photo opportunities next to the valley of the River Tees, and the formal gardens of the museum, set in front of the somewhat austere French inspired architecture of the purpose built building that houses the collection, can be visited free of charge.

I also called at both GBG entries in town - the Golden Lion had only ‘nationally available’ brands on offer, Hobgoblin rather saving the day - but the Old Well Inn had a much more interesting selection, with brews from Timothy Taylor, Camerons, Great North Eastern, Mithril and Consett breweries. Both had food available at reasonable prices, and for a small town there was certainly no lack of places to eat. The rugby clubhouse is located a few hundred yards from the town centre on Birch Road, with both bar and changing rooms contained therein. No real ale, unfortunately, whilst filled rolls were available at the bar if you had somehow got here without finding somewhere for lunch.

The pitches are located around a ten minute walk away, with access via a narrow track known as Parsons Lonnen. The land was donated to the local council, with the proviso that it should not be built upon, for the use of local residents, mainly dog walkers it seemed. The covenants in place greatly restrict what the rugby club can do in terms of pitch side facilities, but it occupies a glorious rural setting, overlooked by the Bowes Museum at one end, and dropping away steeply to the River Tees at the other. The club cannot charge admission, so instead sell raffle tickets at pitch side. I assume this is drawn later in the clubhouse, but was unconcerned as I was happy to make a donation in lieu of admission.

Two pitches stand side by side, both sloping from end to end. The far pitch, which had earlier in the afternoon staged a veterans fixture, has training lights, which I imagine must have taken some effort to get by the planning authorities. The main pitch is merely roped off along both sides, though the sturdy wooden stakes used do provide something handy to lean on to. The grass surrounds are well maintained and very firm underfoot. A couple of portable toilets are discreetly tucked away in one corner, and that really is it in terms of facilities. Rising ground behind the posts at the north end would give an elevated view point, but would today mean looking into the sun.

The game was a final day of the season battle for runners up spot and the play off place it brings. Westoe, relegated last season, began the day three points ahead of Barnard Castle, who were seeking a second successive promotion. The hosts scored three tries in a ten minute spell to open up a 19-3 lead, but Westoe, backed by a coach load of visiting supporters, crossed twice in the run up to the interval whilst their opponents had a man in the sin bin. The first two tries of the second half went the way of the visitors, the hosts pulled one back, but Westoe quickly replied to lead at that point by 32-24.

Increasing Barnard Castle pressure saw Westoe collect two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, and the hosts were able to take advantage to make it five tries apiece, though they still trailed by a point. The game was now in stoppage time, and a successful drop goal looked set to give Barnard Castle the victory. However, with one of their sin binned players back on the field, Westoe launched a desperate last attack and went over in the corner for the winning score. Their reward will be a home play off with Yorkshire One runners up West Leeds next week, which, because cricket rules the roost at their home ground, will be staged on a 3G pitch at Harton College.


cherryhopper
First Team Star

Apr 29, 2017, 6:57 PM

Posts: 2951
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

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Re: [AndrewG] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 29th April
National League 3 Play-Off
WIMBLEDON 55-5 DINGS CRUSADERS
Attendance 650 est
Programme £2 including admission

It was more like a top vs bottom game than a promotion play-off as the hosts cruised to an easy win opening the scoring after two minutes when #5 was allowed to run unchallenged from halfway to cross for the first try. After a penalty the hosts scored a second try midway through the half with a mazy run from the 22 and a third try right on half time with a shorter run. All 3 tries were converted and avoidable from a defensive point of view HT 24-0. Second half continued in the same vain as the first, the hosts scoring two unconverted tries in the corner, visitors reduced to 14 men with a straight red card then conceding a further converted try before they finally scored themselves. The hosts had the last word scoring two more converted tries late on to complete the rout.

Unless some work is done on the place over the summer the ground will be one of if not the most basic in National League Two with no cover, dugouts or even a scoreboard. Main pitch is not the one in front of the clubhouse which has a considerable slope or the floodlit pitch at the far end but a pitch to the right a fair walk from the changing rooms. Pitch is roped off on all four sides through round wooden poles with a few canvas advertising boards on the far side where there is also a TV gantry. Wimbledon Common is behind the end to the right where I followed a group of 50 walkers who came past the pitch through a gap in the trees and found myself walking into the ground of Colliers Wood United FC within two minutes, they were aaway today but a match was taking place on the pitch behind the main stand, presumably their reserves.


(This post was edited by cherryhopper on Apr 29, 2017, 7:00 PM)

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Search for (options) HOSTED BY SUMMIT SOCCER v.1.2.3