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Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION

 

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ciderjon
First Team Star

Mar 1, 2019, 9:04 AM

Posts: 1728
Location: Cymru
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Post #1726 of 1758 (6401 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

University of Bristol 4ths 26 Hartpury University 4ths 14

Wed, 27th Feb 2019, 2pm
BUCS Western 3B
Attn 14 f + n
Venue: Dings Crusaders, main pitch 3G
Status: Revisit

The RL game scheduled here failed to materialise, which would have been a required revisit for second sport but being a beautiful afternoon I decided to stay and watch the above.

Hartpury 4ths had already won this league, I was told they were all first year students, and this will be split into higher teams for next season. Bristol 4ths are second in the table and really pleased to get a win over local opponents. Played in good spirit, plenty of rugby skills but rather low on tactical awareness.

Ground description as per post #1697 of this thread. Will still have to make a couple more visits here to do the other pitches.



Last new Belgian beer: Lupulus (formerly Trois Fourquets) Triple 8.5% bc (808)



cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 2, 2019, 12:46 AM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

Post #1727 of 1758 (6308 views)
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Re: [ciderjon] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Friday 1st March
Somerset 1 (Level 9)
Castle Cary 7-17 Crewkerne (HT 7-0)
Headcount 65 - F + N


Only found out about this game this afternoon when searching for 1st v 2nd matches to mention on appropriate thread. Ground is a nice set up just off the A371 a couple of miles north of the village but just half a mile from the railway station. Main pitch has three floodlight pylons on each side erected in 2016, and is enclosed by a wooden fence on three sides with advertising boards behind the near try area facing away from the pitch towards the clubhouse which is about 30 metres back behind the posts. The far end is enclosed by a tree lined grass bank which extends round the side behind the second pitch which runs parallel to the main one.

Match kicked off at 7:30pm, missed the start but arrived in time to see the only score of the first half as the hosts, bottom of the table with just 5 points all season, took a surprise 10th minute lead with a converted try. They managed to hold onto their lead until the break with a terrific goal line stand in the last few minutes of the half but they were finally breached early in the second half when a visiting back found space to his left running into the corner for a try, conversion looked to me like it missed but flags were raised so must have counted to level the scores. A penalty on the hour put the visitors ahead for the first time and they secured an important victory in their own battle for survival with a second converted try with 10 minutes remaining. The hosts never gave up in their search for a losing bonus point as they pressed for a late try, in the end they attempted a drop goal with the last kick which would have given them that losing bonus but it came back off the upright. For Level 9 the standard was much better than I expected and enjoyed the game more than Brynmawr the previous Friday. The switch was presumably returning the favour as the two sides met at Crewkerne also on a Friday night on 16th November when I was at the North Petherton v Bridgwater & Albion derby. Crewkerne won that game 53-7 and as they also have light hopefully they will have more Friday games in future. Curries were available in the clubhouse for £4 with rice and naan bread, choice of beef, chicken or chilli of which I went for the beef.


(This post was edited by cherryhopper on Mar 2, 2019, 12:48 AM)


The Moose
First Team Star

Mar 3, 2019, 7:52 PM

Posts: 1758
Location: The West Country town of Trowbridge
Team(s):

Post #1728 of 1758 (6150 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

Sat 2nd - EGGCHASING CHAMPIONSHIP: COVENTRY 20 RICHMOND 16

ADM: £17. PROG: £3.50. ATT: 2,409

Top up job completed at the second tier of rugby, having spent the morning at the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ (Bourton on the Water) on the way up. Surprising to find a ground so close to the city centre these days, a ten minute stroll away & close to the station too. I wanted to do this for rugby rather than their footy tenants. In saying that, should Cov City ever come a calling, I’d be happy to go back.

The main stand dwarfs the rest of the ground, which is mainly hard standing except for a small cover on the opposite side. Easy enough to find street parking, rather than the £5 on site charge. Clearly there’s some room to build further stands as required, should they ever contemplate reaching for the billy big biscuits next level. It would be interesting to see what crowds they’d get, if they do ever play at the same level as ‘Franchise RFC’ who share up the road at the Ricoh.

An intriguing match, if never quite exciting, but Cov deserved to win it. Richmond had a good kicker, but not much else, so you could see why they’re in trouble of dropping back down. Two quality tries won it for Cov, who seem to have found their right level. Pleasant drive back down through The Glawster countryside & another division finished off till next season.

KRTM :-)


AndrewG
First Team Star

Mar 4, 2019, 11:23 PM

Posts: 1526
Location: Lancashire
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Post #1729 of 1758 (6019 views)
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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 2nd March 2019 (ko 1500)
at Wood Terrace, Westoe
RFU Northern Division Durham and Northumberland One (Level Seven)
South Shields Westoe 42 Gateshead 13 (ht 25-6)
Admission - £3.00 inc programme (20 page shell + teamsheet insert)
Attendance - 150 (estimate)


News last season that Westoe Rugby Club and South Shields Cricket Club, who share Wood Terrace, had submitted plans for a new ground on parkland around a mile to the south had moved this one up my to do list. Rail strikes affecting Saturday’s for most of this season would have meant a difficult journey, but, with these suspended for now, and the weather forecast indicating heading east was the best option, today seemed a good chance to get the ground done. In fact, in doing my research ahead of the game, I found the plans had been withdrawn late last year in the face of considerable local opposition. I think the official position is the club are now considering their options, but you can see why they want to move - they have just one pitch for all their senior and junior games, having to hire out pitches from schools and the local authority, including for the first team early and late season when cricket takes priority.

An early start, the return to 3pm kick offs, and the fact that the best weather of the day was around lunch time encouraged me to take a stroll on arriving in South Shields, and, in the words of song, ‘gan ta The Lawe’. There was no ‘Tender lying off at Shields Bar’ to see, but the stunning views out to sea over both Tyne piers made the climb up to Lawe Top well worthwhile. I was pleasantly surprised in general with South Shields, its town centre busy and vibrant, certainly in contrast with my visits of recent years to Jarrow and Gateshead. No doubt the seaside resort status helps in this regard, but at this time of year I suspect its greater distance from Newcastle is a bigger factor, encouraging more locals to shop local rather than head to the big city every weekend.

Chichester metro station would be no more than half a mile from the ground, but for reasons explained above I headed into South Shields pre match, and did so again post match as the westbound platform at Chichester is closed for the next few months due to engineering works (the info was well flagged up on the Nexus website). A plethora of bus services provide very frequent links between the town centre and stops right outside the ground, saving me a mile walk in each direction. At first glance it looks a very working class locale, the ground hemmed in by terraced houses. However, one block east is Westoe Village, consisting of villas built by business leaders in the town, mainly bigwigs in the mining and shipbuilding industries, and still one of the most exclusive addresses in South Shields today. It was in one of these houses that the founders of the rugby club first met, and they have played at Wood Terrace for the entirety of their 140 year plus history, with the cricket club having been here even longer.

Entrance to the ground is through the clubhouse foyer, where admission is charged. It is a fairly ramshackle building that has probably seen better days, but there is a spacious room available to use. No real ale on offer today, though they did have one hand pump available, but they did have Cameron’s Road Crew on keg, which was quite decent. Hot food and drinks were available from the kitchen hatch. The visiting team change in buildings attached to the clubhouse, but the home team emerge from the separate cricket pavilion, an impressive and presumably aged brick built structure, albeit with an exterior that could do with some tlc. The rugby pitch is railed on both sides - obviously temporarily where it overlaps the cricket pitch - but the only hard standing is at the clubhouse end. There is a substantial area of covered terracing on the far side, the club name painted on the façade, offering an elevated viewpoint, and with a couple of rows of wooden scaffolding type seating within. The pitch is floodlit, and there is a manually operated scoreboard at the northern end, behind which are floodlit tennis courts, unused today.

I have not been having much success at choosing close games recently, but for once, today, I had chosen with the ground as the priority, and the convincing home win by six tries to one was no great surprise. That said, the margin of defeat was rather harsh on Gateshead, but they lacked the weapon of an effective rolling maul that brought Westoe three tries, nor could they rip through their opponents defence in the way that the hosts inside centre did to secure another two scores. A real turning point came in first half stoppage time, with Gateshead attacking at 18-6 down, only for Westoe to steal possession and eventually score with the last play of the half at the other end. The outcome was never in doubt after that, but I was pleased enough to get the ground done - it is certainly not one I would like to have missed. Not one to go on the at risk register just yet, but for any rugby ground hoppers on here who have not yet been, certainly one to keep an eye on.

(This post was edited by AndrewG on Mar 4, 2019, 11:25 PM)


The Moose
First Team Star

Mar 10, 2019, 8:55 PM

Posts: 1758
Location: The West Country town of Trowbridge
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Post #1730 of 1758 (5881 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 9th - STH WEST PREM LGE (level 5): BOURNEMOUTH 41 EXMOUTH 10

ADM: £7. PROG: £1. ATT: h/c 360

Head ruled the heart with choosing eggchasing for the second weekend in a row. I had to be in Weymuff again, so chose the nearest new ground I’d not been to before. In saying that, I’d actually been to Chapel Gate just shy of three decades previously, but for footy. On another side of the multi sports comlex clubhouse, is where former Darzet Comby side play. Since my visit, they’ve now added 60 or so uncovered seats to their ground, which adjoins the hockey pitches.

Beyond the clubhouse, is the home of Bornmuff Lions who clinched promotion to the National Div Two South, with this emphatic victory. For a while Exmuff were in contention, but the home side pulled away with a five tries to one win. All the facilities are on the clubhouse side with a few uncovered seats now accompanying the 150 or so covered seats in the main stand. The rest is railed or roped, but rather exposed on what was a chilly afternoon. Quite liked the raised grass banking on the opposite side, which reminded of Cindy’s Forest of Dean rugby ground. Back to correct shaped balls for next weekend.

KRTM :-)


AndrewG
First Team Star

Mar 11, 2019, 10:57 PM

Posts: 1526
Location: Lancashire
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Post #1731 of 1758 (5787 views)
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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 9th March 2019 (ko 1500)
at The Sportsway, Chasetown
RFU Midland Division Midlands Three West (North) (Level Eight)
Burntwood 40 Old Saltleians 14 (ht 14-7)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 100 (estimate)


This third versus second placed clash caught my eye, and with leaders Shrewsbury well clear with a 100% winning record, it is a straight fight between these two for the second promotion place. Old Salts began the day with a five point lead, and Burntwood’s fixture list sees them play their top two rivals in successive games, so with a trip to Shrewsbury to come next, this was a must win game for the hosts. One of their supporters who I spoke to just before kick off was far from confident, pointing out how well beaten they had been in the reverse fixture. That, incidentally, would have been at Old Salts temporary home, their ground at Water Orton being a victim of HS2, and the completion of the new facility to replace it still estimated at being a couple of years away.

My visit to Chasetown for football had been by coach with Chorley as the away team, so this was a first time heading here by public transport. It has regular bus links with Lichfield, Cannock and Walsall, all of which require further connections to reach a railhead with long distance services. Particularly convenient timings on the return journey persuaded me to travel via Wolverhampton and Walsall, although other options may have been slightly cheaper. Right by the bus stops, the Uxbridge Arms provided lunch and a good choice of four real ales. From there, the pedestrian route to the ground is to walk past the football ground, then cross the bypass by means of a footbridge to emerge right next to the pitch. Vehicular access is from a turning off the bypass a short distance to the north.

The ground is built on reclaimed mining land, and is relatively new. A plaque on the clubhouse wall dates its opening as 2002. It is a very smart building, with changing rooms and two spacious lounges served by a central bar on the ground floor. Upstairs, a function room is hosting a pre match meal. No real ale at the bar, but the kitchen is open throughout the afternoon, offering spectators a choice of hot food and drinks. A patio area outside the clubhouse overlooks the 1st XV pitch, but is set slightly below pitch level so is not a viable area from which to watch the game.

The main pitch is roped off along the clubhouse side, and railed on the far side and at the car park end. It is all grass standing, but underfoot conditions are generally good. At the far end the land rises, and a footpath that is one of the trails into the Chasewater Country Park leads up the slope. The nearby lake is not visible from here, but its presence is felt in the swarms of midges, so an interesting elevated viewpoint is not somewhere to linger. Fortunately, the insects stay away from pitch level. The pitch has a manually operated scoreboard, and what I would assume are match standard floodlights. A second pitch on the north west side of the clubhouse also has lights. The 2nd XV were also at home, and they trekked off through a copse of trees to an area where more posts were visible in the distance, and which Google maps suggests hosts a further two pitches.

The wind had eased somewhat from its morning peak, but Burntwood played with a still significant breeze behind them in the first half. They applied considerable early pressure and eventually made the opening score, but it still looked like the visitors may have more weapons at their disposal, especially from their dangerous fly half who soon brought them level. The hosts again took advantage of the elements to open a half time lead, but it was the early stages of the second half that proved pivotal to the outcome. Old Salts applied concerted pressure, but outstanding home defence frustrated them and saw the visitors penalised three times in attacking positions. Burntwood added to their lead with a breakaway try, and their bonus point score on the hour mark came from a fine sweeping move. That effectively ended the game as a contest, but further scores saw the try count end 6-2 in the hosts favour.

A very tidy venue and a decent standard of rugby for such a relatively lowly level. And whilst, yet again, I was unable to pick a close contest (successive games at the end of January are the only ones of those I have managed in 2019), this one was far from predictable and provided a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.


Mike S
Reserve Team Regular

Mar 16, 2019, 7:44 PM

Posts: 615
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Post #1732 of 1758 (5624 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

Chesham 12 Honiton 27
South West senior vase final
admission free as was fully printed prog with nothing of interest within
Attendance 350/400
Too wet for RL with no cover in the north today even if able to find out what would be on
Forecast was dry for South East and correct, just as well as exposed and very windy venue. Chesham play in the ground of the local academy and were there before it was fully rebuilt, about half a mile uphill to the west of the town. The pitch was roped down each side but nothing else pitch side. Despite being in school grounds, the club have built a clubhouse with bar and hot food available
The tournament is one of three played in each of the four RU regions with there being an intermediate cup and junior vase. Early rounds suffer from walkovers but by this stage is take seriously and Honiton will now play the London winners for a place at Twickenham
I was grateful for the knowledgeable company of Andrew G for background to the tournament and despite being close to 100 venues, assistance with the laws of the game that I barely know and certainly cannot interpret
Honiton scored early and took a significant lead facing the wind before half time and always had sufficient to win.


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 17, 2019, 11:08 PM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

Post #1733 of 1758 (5504 views)
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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

Friday 15th March
Welsh National League 1 East
Blaenavon 27-19 Cwmbran (HT 15-7)
Headcount 106
Admission £5 - No programmes printed as they weren't sure game would be on

Crucial win for the hosts in this relegation battle in which I spent the whole game thinking they were the team in the black and white that lost as that was the colour of the stand, only to realise they were the team in black and red who won when I got home and checked the score onlineBlush. The absence of a programme or scoreboard didn't help. The hosts led 15-0 with two tries, one conversion and a penalty before the visitors came back with a converted try just before the break. An early second half converted try put the hosts back in control but the visitors never gave up coming back with an unconverted try, the 15 point margin soon restored as the hosts scored their bonus point 4th try, conversion hitting the post. The Crows hit back with a converted try to make it an 8 point game with 10 minutes still to play, another try would have given them two losing bonus points, a kick one, but good defence from the hosts prevented them them getting any match points and keeps them 2nd from bottom in the relegation places.

A nice old ground in the valleys which, like Brynmawr, I probably didn't see the best of the scenery visiting for a night game. Main stand is elevated above a small paddock area and has four rows of concrete bench seating. Grass banking surrounds the other three sides, highest opposite the stand where 7 steps of open terracing is built in around halfway. A small concrete step at the far end provides a dry route around a mud bath directly behind the try area. The clubhouse is outside the ground over the road.


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 17, 2019, 11:49 PM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

Post #1734 of 1758 (5495 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

Sunday 17th March
1430 @ Daventry RFC
Jason Leonard U20 County Championship Division 1 Pool 2
East Midlands 29-19 North Midlands (HT 15-0)
Headcount 122 - No admission charged
Saw no programmes but picked up a 4 pager from Daventry's Midlands Senior Vase Final the previous day.

Hosts advance to the quarter finals in this winner takes all decider. Unlike Friday, correctly guessed the home team were wearing the combined Northampton and Bedford colours of sky blue, black, green and gold and they took an early lead through a penalty with the game remaining tight until two tries late in the half, one converted, gave the hosts a comfortable lead at the break. The visitors finally got a foothold in the game with a converted try in the first minute of the second half but the hosts responded with two converted tries to give them an unassailable 29-7 lead before the hosts rallied with two late consolation tries, one converted to give the scoreline a more respectable look.

Ground is a nice set up just off the A425 southern bypass, there is an Atcost stand on the side opposite the clubhouse, split equally with three rows of blue seats one half, three steps of terracing the other half. Each side has four floodlight pylons which were surprisingly switched on despite being mostly sunny, though the skies darkened occasionally and there was evidence of a pre game hailstorm when I arrived 15 minutes before kick off, later than planned after having to find another way round Byfield, where the A361 was closed. There is another pitch behind the stand to the south, a junior pitch with miniature posts to the east and a pitch at a right angle to the main pitch to the west which was enclosed by an athletics track with only 200 metres marked out with lanes, the remainder just a dirt track. The single storey clubhouse and changing rooms occupies most of the north side with a marquee adjoining one end.

More rugby planned next weekend stopping off at Oadby Wyggestonians v West Bridgford Friday on way to Otley v Hull Ionians on Saturday - Cross Green a must tick before it disappears at the end of the year.


(This post was edited by cherryhopper on Mar 17, 2019, 11:58 PM)


The Moose
First Team Star

Mar 23, 2019, 8:16 PM

Posts: 1758
Location: The West Country town of Trowbridge
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Post #1735 of 1758 (5262 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

Sat 23rd - NATIONAL TWO STH: DINGS CRUSADERS 22 OLD REDCLIFFIANS 17

ADM Inc PROG: £5. ATT: h/c 500

Having been to Bath RUH for the morning, the chance to visit Dings new gaff fitted the bill nicely. Totally different than the old Lockleaze shack, with shiny new facilities. 200 or so seats in front of the rather plush clubhouse, with the rest currently being railed off handstanding. Seemed a tad strange having only been over the M32 last week watching Rockleaze. You can actually see one from the other of each respective ground.

For a local derby at step four, I was surprised at the lack of atmosphere really with the noise of the motorway being a louder din. Mind you the game was a tad dour, with it being very stop start. Ten minutes extra in each half, due to injuries, line outs & setting the scrum, tells its own story. Dings just about deserved the win to take them closer to safety. For the rest of the season, I hope to be back watching footy now we’re approaching the business end.

KRTM :-)


SKY BLUE TAT
Youth Team Regular

Mar 23, 2019, 8:22 PM

Posts: 199
Location: hinckley
Team(s): coventry city ,leicester tigers, coventry bees, leicestershire ccc

Post #1736 of 1758 (5258 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 22nd March 2019
Gallagher Premiership
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
Attendance 23,332.
Admission £ 25 (early bird deal)
Programme £ 3

A poor display by Leicester Tigers in this East Midlands derby means they are fully in a relegation battle. Northampton were stronger and more organized as they moved in to the top 6. Tigers welcomed back 5 of there England internationals. An early try by Northampton which looked like there was a knock on in the build up meant Leicester were always chasing the game. A penalty by Ford was the only points Leicester put on the board. On 29 minutes Leicester had Williams sin binned . Bigger kicked the resulting penalty and 2 Collins tries gave the saints a 20-3 lead.
Biggar added another penalty just after half time and on 51 minutes Leicester were again down to 14 this time Dan Cole was shown a yellow card. Biggar kicked 2 more penalties to extend the lead. A disallowed try for Northampton on 57 minutes meant they weren't going home with a try bonus. 2 tries for the Tigers from Ford on 68 and Tom Youngs on 79 were just a consolation . Saints had Gibson sin binned with just under 2 minutes left.
Final score from Welford Road . Leicester Tigers 15 -29 Northampton Saints.


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Mar 23, 2019, 10:43 PM

Posts: 3232
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

Post #1737 of 1758 (5218 views)
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Re: [SKY BLUE TAT] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 23rd March 2019
Ayr 15 Melrose 12 (HT 3-3)
Premiership play-off semi-final (step one, 3pm kick-off)
Admission £10
Programme £1 (40pp: 36pp shell with 4pp match insert)
Attendance 800 (estimate)
Burger van refreshments available (didn't bother)


A penalty try, awarded from the last play, in the sixth minute of stoppage time, as referee Ben Blain decided Melrose were halting illegally a try-bound rolling maul, secured Ayr's place in the play-off final. They host Heriot's, who beat Currie 37-10 in this afternoon's other semi, on April 6. In my view, Melrose, the 2018 champions, don't have cause for complaint. Ayr, who during the regular season hammered Melrose twice, home and away, and finished nine points ahead of today's opponents, scored the only two tries of a tense, dour struggle. Apart from, in the 33rd minute, dropping a pass in the Ayr 25 having set up a clear overlap, Melrose never looked like registering a try. All their points, four penalties, knocked over in the 34th, 41st, 45th and 70th minutes, came from the boot of full-back Craig Jackson. A rare moment of quality created the game's only 'proper' try. Ayr fly-half Frazer Climo, apparently held in a two-man tackle close to the line, slipped a lovely basketball-style pass to full-back Grant Anderson, who had little more to do than fall over the line. Midway through the second half, an injury to Anderson forced a 15-minute stoppage. Numerous other injury stoppages (some, I'm sure, involving Melrose players who simply wanted a breather) meant the final whistle didn't sound until 4.58. Melrose, who fell behind to a second-minute Climo penalty, led 9-3 and 12-8 but, despite tackling well throughout, were found wanting when it really mattered.

As I've mentioned on the Rugby Union Grounds for Concern thread, Ayr plan to leave Millbrae within two years. Subject to South Ayrshire Council rubber-stamping the deal, the club will return to town, playing at a new stadium to be built on the site of Dam Stadium, a soon-to-be-demolished athletics track, one of four venues at which Ayr have been based previously. Millbrae, home to Ayr since 1965, is being sold to a housing developer. I imagine playing in Ayr itself won't do the club any harm. Millbrae, formerly a nine-acre market garden, is located in well-heeled Alloway, close to Ayr's only too obviously middle class support, but hardly handy for the community the club claim to represent. The ground, adjacent to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the Burns Monument, the River Doon and Brig o' Doon, is something of a disappointment. Perched on a shelf above the Doon, it has two pitches and a utilitarian clubhouse/dressing room block. The first XV pitch, which slopes downhill from south to north, is dominated by an unexciting modern stand positioned between the 25s. It shelters four rows of bench seats. There is a bit of scruffy terracing on the stand's south side and about the same opposite. Millbrae does have floodlights. Otherwise, it is a pretty basic enclosure. I did like the most popular access point, a gate in a stone wall, reached via the car park and grounds of the Burns museum. Apart from the open south end, which backs on to the second pitch, the ground does feel fairly compact and intimate. This afternoon, the largest function room in the clubhouse was heaving with those tucking into a pre-match meal. Guests of honour were the players who in 2009 became the first Ayr team to win what is now the Premiership.

All change next season, of course. Ayr and Melrose will play in the new Super 6 competition. Chatting to various people during my stay, I struggled to find anybody hugely enthusiastic about this. It seems the six selected teams will remain largely semi-pro, getting together maybe three days a week, in addition to Saturdays. The prospect of playing each other home and away twice sounds monumentally dull. One chap told me there is the possibility of an end-of-season play-off with leading clubs from either the Welsh or Irish Premierships (maybe both!). Certainly, something needs doing with Scottish club rugby union, which now attracts pitiful crowds. The two pro clubs, Edinburgh and Glasgow, are also struggling for punters. I'm well into my twenties in the number of Scottish RU clubs visited, and today's gathering was comfortably the biggest I've seen. Even this didn't come close to four figures. The bloke sitting next to me said it was "by far" the biggest attendance Ayr have had this season. From what he intimated, I'd say their average gate is about 350. And, over the last decade, Ayr have been one of the leading teams! Another chap I got chatting to, pre-match, turned out to be the father of Ayr's hooker, Robbie Smith. He said his lad has been talking over a move to Second Division English outfit Bedford rather than sticking around to see what the Super 6 amounts to.

Ayr and Melrose meet again next Saturday, at The Greenyards, in a Scottish Cup semi-final, with a place at Murrayfield's 'Super Saturday' at stake. I guess such over-familiarity is decent practice for 2019-20...

Just shy of a 450-mile round trip today. Lots of attractive scenery, though, a decent amount of sunshine and, pre-Easter, very light traffic on the A1, A66, M6, M74 and A70. I nominate the A70 between the M74 and Muirkirk as the worst stretch of 'A' road in Britain. If anything, its cart track-esque surface is even worse than it was two summers ago, when my wife and I booked for a week a holiday cottage between Cumnock and Ayr. Heading home this evening, there was a sting in the tail. The A1 was closed between Scotch Corner and Catterick. Just for a change...


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Mar 23, 2019, 11:07 PM)


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 23, 2019, 11:52 PM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

Post #1738 of 1758 (5165 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

Friday 22nd March (1945)
Midlands 1 East (Level 6)
Oadby Wyggestonians 31-17 West Bridgford (HT 23-12)
Headcount 117 - F + N

Entertaining first half before game went off the boil after the break. Hosts led through an early penalty but the visitors hit back with two tries, one in each corner, the kicker did extremely well to convert the first of these. Still only 10 minutes had elapsed at this point and some visiting fans were still arriving having missed the start and it was already as good as it got for them as the hosts replied with 28 unanswered points starting with another penalty, then a try missing the conversion to keep the visitors one point up but late in the half the hosts finally took the lead scoring two more tries, both conversions hit the post, the first dropped through, the second stayed out. The bonus point 4th try early second half try unconverted seemed to put the result beyond doubt before a late try against 14 men after a red card gave the visitors hope but Wyggs had the last word adding a further 3 points with a penalty.

Oadby Wyggestonians play at Oval Park which is also Leicester Tigers' training ground and almost directly opposite the ground of Oadby Town FC. Match was played on the furthest of three parallel pitches, roped off with an earth bank behind one end, behind the other a smaller sized 3G pitch under a blow up roof while the far side backs onto a waste tip. I would imagine Wyggs usually play home games on the front pitch, the only one of the three without lights but it does have an unusual hand made small covered enclosure on the halfway line with built in camera gantry on top, will have to return one Saturday afternoon to tick this. With the football club's future beyond this season in doubt maybe the rugby club should consider moving over the road which would give them a better ground and chance of progression.


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 24, 2019, 12:55 AM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

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Saturday 23rd March
National League 2 South
Otley 24-29 Hull Ionians (HT 17-22)
Attendance 500 est
Admission £10 - Programme £2
Hot Pork Pies £2.50

An extraordinary first half saw the hosts take a shock 17-0 lead over the league leaders scoring three early tries with one conversion. Second try the pick of these, an up and under caught almost unchallenged by a home player who ran 40 yards to score under the posts. After this the visitors finally got their act together and showed why they are top of the league running in two tries, one conversions and a penalty to close the gap to two points before taking the lead with an unconverted try to turn the game completely on its head by the break. A bonus point 4th try arrived on the hour before the hosts grabbed a late consolation try which gave them two losing bonus points but probably not enough to keep them in with a realistic chance of promotion.

Cross Green is a lovely old ground and a 'must tick' before the bulldozers move in at the end of the year, even if you're not an eggchasing fan. It has an old wooden stand, the exterior painted white, and crumbling open terracing the rest of the way round. There used to be a cover known as the 'Scratching Shed' behind the near end but this was taken down a few years ago as it was unsafe. Also condemned is a small enclosure opposite the main stand with 4 steps of wooden terracing, presumably there was once a roof over this as well. Another feature I liked was the black and white round boards showing 1/2 and 22 by the appropriate lines, hopefully they will take these with them to the new ground when it is built. The ground of Otley Cricket Club is behind the east side, not sure if this is suffering the same fate as the rugby ground next year.


Feversham Lens
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Mar 24, 2019, 8:01 AM

Posts: 3232
Location: York
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Saturday 23rd March
National League 2 South
Otley 24-29 Hull Ionians (HT 17-22)

The ground of Otley Cricket Club is behind the east side, not sure if this is suffering the same fate as the rugby ground next year.

I attended a game at Otley CC last season. They're staying put. Precious little love lost between the two clubs, I discovered.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Mar 24, 2019, 8:13 AM)


AndrewG
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Mar 24, 2019, 8:49 PM

Posts: 1526
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 16th March 2019 (ko 1400)
at Chiltern Hills Academy, Chesham
RFU Senior Vase South West Division Final (Level Eight)
Chesham 12 Honiton 24 (ht 0-11)
Admission - No charge
Programme - 28 pages, free
Attendance - 350 (estimate)


As already noted by MikeS, I was at this fixture, although my original plans had been to head to Scotland, where a reasonably full league programme was scheduled. A dire weather forecast made me rethink, a decision borne out by the fact that only one National League game went ahead south of Aberdeen, and that at a ground I had already visited. Choices elsewhere, however, were limited, with Wales (completely) and England (largely) on a Six Nations hiatus, with the twelve cup finals (three levels in each of four regions) the pick of what was on offer. The weather, again, dictated heading south east, where it remained dry if blowing a gale, and this fixture between relatively far flung opponents caught my eye. I was initially discouraged when I found Chesham played at a local school, but further research suggested a set up rather better than that suggests, and it proved to be well worth a visit.

Chesham station is a branch terminus on the Metropolitan Line, with a half hourly service into central London, and a journey time of exactly one hour to Euston Square. It seemed slightly surreal to arrive in town via the London Underground for a South West Division fixture, but the RFU divides its divisions along traditional county lines, and Buckinghamshire gets lumped together with Berkshire in the south west. It probably suits the clubs as long as they don’t get promoted too high, and even then there is the possibility of a level transfer, with Chesham’s near neighbours Amersham, for example, playing level six rugby in London One North for some time now. The school is probably around a half mile walk from the pleasant town centre, albeit most of it steeply uphill.

A little research on Chesham’s website indicates the club, not the school, take responsibility for maintaining the rugby pitches, and, whilst they lost their original clubhouse as a result of changes when the school adopted academy status, a new facility had opened at the start of this season, still within the school grounds. It turned out to be upstairs, in a building looking directly out over the main pitch, with panoramic views over the rolling Chiltern landscape. Changing rooms are also upstairs, with the social facilities consisting of one large room, busy throughout with a coach load of visiting supporters up from Devon. The bar is at one end, with Fullers London Pride and Tring Side Pocket on hand pump, whilst the kitchen hatch at the other end of the room has hot food and drinks on sale both before and after the game. Programmes, almost certainly a one off effort for the final, are left on a table by the entrance for spectators to help themselves. No other effort is made to distribute them, and there is a plentiful supply still there after the game.

The main pitch runs end to end away from the clubhouse, with a banking leading down to pitch level. There is a second rugby pitch, set at right angles, along with two football pitches within the playing field area, but this is the only game taking place here this afternoon. The banking in front of the clubhouse has had three deep steps cut into it to provide a seating area, albeit looking from behind the posts. The banking gently dips away to the half way line on one side, providing a side on elevated viewpoint. Other than that pitch side facilities are limited to each touchline being roped off.

Chesham are well clear at the top of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Premier, with Honiton in a tight battle at the top of the Cornwall & Devon Premier, but, with the South West Division operating its competitions as Southern Counties and Western Counties cups, clubs from the two leagues cannot meet until this stage, so there is little on which to compare form. However, instinct favours the club from the more traditional rugby playing area of the far south west, and this is reinforced as Honiton quickly open up an 11 point lead, despite having the worst of the wind which is howling almost diagonally across the pitch. A sin binning soon follows for Chesham, but they manage to steady the ship somewhat, and survive to the interval without further concession.

The feeling still persists that the visitors will run away with it after the break, but although they add a very early penalty, it is perhaps a day when the wind is just too strong to be a real advantage. The hosts respond impressively, and two tries in quick succession see them trail just 12-14 by the hour mark. That was as close as they got, however, with Honiton largely on top for the remainder of the game, and finishing deserved winners. Most on the touchline, including the twitter feeds reporting on the game, thought the final score was 12-27, but the referee subsequently confirmed the result as 12-24. The assumption is that he must have overruled his touch judges who flagged as good one Honiton penalty which many felt had drifted wide in the wind.

Saturday 23rd March 2019 (ko 1500)
at Sundorne Castle, Uffington
RFU Midland Division Midlands Three West (North) (Level Eight)
Shrewsbury 24 Burntwood 17 (ht 5-17)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 250 (estimate)


This crucial top of the table fixture seemed as good an occasion as any for a visit to Shrewsbury’s difficult to reach by public transport ground. Taking its name from, and lying on land that would have at one time formed part of the estate of the former manor house of Sundorne Castle, its lies in open countryside around three miles from the town centre. The built up area with its regular bus services extends rather closer than that, but it is not at all suitable for reaching as a pedestrian, with the ground sited on a relatively fast and busy road with no pavements. The infrequent Shrewsbury to Newport bus service passes right by, but there are no marked stops, and in any case no usefully timed departures before the game. A taxi out there it had to be, but a bus was due to pass soon after the final whistle, so I positioned myself in the most appropriate spot I could find to see if the driver would stop. He did, thus making for a much cheaper journey back into town.

Two separate buildings alongside the main pitch house the rugby clubhouse and squash courts, both rather garishly clad in the club colours of dark and light blue. The single storey clubhouse houses both bar and changing rooms, with the one hand pump at the bar offering Salopian Shropshire Gold. The kitchen hatch was open before the game selling hot drinks and cakes. Hot food was being prepared but didn’t seem to be on sale at that point, although a buffet had been laid out for officials in a small lounge.

The main pitch has what look like match standard floodlights, and is railed along both touchlines, with hard standing in front of the clubhouse, and under an area of covered standing on the far side that also incorporates dug outs into its design. There are three other pitches within the complex, two standing end to end behind the stand and one at right angles nearer the main road. Two of these also have lights, possibly only of the training variety, though none of the other pitches are being used this afternoon. The location of the ground may have made it awkward to reach, but the benefits are a glorious rural setting on a lovely spring afternoon, with the ridge of Haughmond Hill providing a fine backdrop away to the south east.

Shrewsbury have yo-yoed between levels seven and eight in recent years, but this has been an outstanding campaign, and they began the day with a 100% winning league record. Victory today would see them clinch the title, but it was also their only remaining game that was realistically likely to deprive them of a season long perfect record. Second placed Burntwood began the day level on points with third placed Old Saltleians, who I saw them beat in their last game. They needed a positive result in their most difficult fixture of the season to stay in pole position to claim the second promotion place, and I thought they would arrive in confident mood after playing so well last time out. It proved to be a good hunch, and, for the third week in a row, rugby at the relatively low level eight provided me with fine entertainment.

Burntwood hit the ground running, with a penalty try early on after a high tackle on their fly half, and they soon added a penalty for a ten point lead. Shrewsbury pulled one try back, but a second try for the visitors just before the interval gave them a healthy lead. After the break, however, Shrewsbury showed just why they have had such a successful season, and an 8-1 penalty count in their favour illustrated just how much they dominated possession in the second half. Burntwood though, as they had when I last saw them, defended impressively, and it took until the hour mark for the hosts to reduce the arrears, but the pressure kept coming and two further scores in the last ten minutes saw Shrewsbury home.


Matty
Reserve Team Star

Mar 31, 2019, 3:07 AM

Posts: 841
Location: Derbyshire
Team(s): All things Derbyshire

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In Reply To
Sunday 17th March
1430 @ Daventry RFC
Jason Leonard U20 County Championship Division 1 Pool 2
East Midlands 29-19 North Midlands (HT 15-0)
Headcount 122 - No admission charged
Saw no programmes but picked up a 4 pager from Daventry's Midlands Senior Vase Final the previous day.

Hosts advance to the quarter finals in this winner takes all decider. Unlike Friday, correctly guessed the home team were wearing the combined Northampton and Bedford colours of sky blue, black, green and gold and they took an early lead through a penalty with the game remaining tight until two tries late in the half, one converted, gave the hosts a comfortable lead at the break. The visitors finally got a foothold in the game with a converted try in the first minute of the second half but the hosts responded with two converted tries to give them an unassailable 29-7 lead before the hosts rallied with two late consolation tries, one converted to give the scoreline a more respectable look.

Ground is a nice set up just off the A425 southern bypass, there is an Atcost stand on the side opposite the clubhouse, split equally with three rows of blue seats one half, three steps of terracing the other half. Each side has four floodlight pylons which were surprisingly switched on despite being mostly sunny, though the skies darkened occasionally and there was evidence of a pre game hailstorm when I arrived 15 minutes before kick off, later than planned after having to find another way round Byfield, where the A361 was closed. There is another pitch behind the stand to the south, a junior pitch with miniature posts to the east and a pitch at a right angle to the main pitch to the west which was enclosed by an athletics track with only 200 metres marked out with lanes, the remainder just a dirt track. The single storey clubhouse and changing rooms occupies most of the north side with a marquee adjoining one end.

More rugby planned next weekend stopping off at Oadby Wyggestonians v West Bridgford Friday on way to Otley v Hull Ionians on Saturday - Cross Green a must tick before it disappears at the end of the year.

Coming from Derbyshire, AlwAys been confused by this division, obviously Notts,Lincs, and Derbyshire cover the East mids and North mids area.
How is selection made, and what geographical area count as North of East Midlands?


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Mar 31, 2019, 7:59 AM

Posts: 3232
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

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In Reply To

In Reply To
Sunday 17th March
1430 @ Daventry RFC
Jason Leonard U20 County Championship Division 1 Pool 2
East Midlands 29-19 North Midlands (HT 15-0)

Coming from Derbyshire ... How is selection made?

Oh, it'll be one (or all) of the standard rugby union selection methods (ability not among them): 1, School attended; 2, University attending; 3, Father's personal and/or professional connections; 4, You pick one of ours and we'll pick one of yours.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Mar 31, 2019, 8:02 AM)


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 31, 2019, 9:54 AM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

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

Coming from Derbyshire, AlwAys been confused by this division, obviously Notts,Lincs, and Derbyshire cover the East mids and North mids area.
How is selection made, and what geographical area count as North of East Midlands?

As far as I can tell, the East Midlands RFU covers Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Peterborough and the old county of Huntingdonshire - the rest of Cambridgeshire part of Eastern Counties with Norfolk and Suffolk. The North Midlands RFU appears to cover Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and the Black Country (or any part of the West Midlands not traditionally in Warwickshire). I agree it is a misleading name as Hereford & Worcestershire couldn't be further south in the MidlandsCrazy.


(This post was edited by cherryhopper on Mar 31, 2019, 9:55 AM)


Uncle Ian
Youth Team Sub


Apr 6, 2019, 10:10 PM

Posts: 156
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Saturday 6 April

Pontardawe 26 Furnace United 19

What a contrast from last night at Skewen where it was coat, wellies and umbrella. Today was glorious for a splendid match which was tied until two minutes from the end. Llanelli tomorrow for the third of my weekend trilogy.


Mike S
Reserve Team Regular

Apr 7, 2019, 8:27 PM

Posts: 615
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Northampton 31 Gloucester 40
Attendance not yet known but about 1000/1500 below capacity


Weird day today, I was working this morning and was offered by the homeowner free tickets for Coventry v Bristol Rovers. However accepting anything of this type results in multiple forms being required to be filled in so declined
Drove to Northampton and went to ticket office and as I joined a short queue, someone had five three complimentary. Whilst I always make an effort to pay at non league, I am more than happy to save £32 at clubs who pay as much as they do in wages
Seat was behind posts but at RU nothing ever seems to stop you walking around an if empty sitting anywhere. I choose to stand on the halfway line which should be £34 so more expensive to stand that some seats
Ground has cover on all four sides and seated apart from the one terrace. capacity is I believe is c 14000
High scoring match mostly due to handling errors although there was also some good flowing passing. I get the impression there are more tries now than a few years ago and unusually for the Premiership tris not jacked penalties was the choice for both teams
Overall much more enjoyable than expected
Only two grounds, Exeter and Bath to go now even though only 4 for RU


R.S.Cavendish
First Team Star


Apr 15, 2019, 12:48 AM

Posts: 1705
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BRIDGEND SPORTS 80 PENLAN 7

@ Newbridge Fields

After a quarter of an hour Sports led 14-7 and it seemed that we were in for an interesting game. At half time it was 64-7 and I wondered if I was, at last, going to see a team break 100 points. Penlan had just collapsed against a side chasing promotion and did the same for the few minutes of the second half which were played. After eight minutes the referee blew for full time and commented to me afterwards: "We did play the full 80 minutes, didn't we?"


AndrewG
First Team Star

Apr 16, 2019, 12:19 AM

Posts: 1526
Location: Lancashire
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Catching up on my recent games - two here with one more to hopefully follow soon.

Saturday 30th March 2019 (ko 1430)
at Maesdu Road Recreation Ground, Llandudno
WRU National League Division One North
Llandudno 39 Pwllheli 12 (ht 7-5)
Admission - No charge
Programme - 8 pages, £2.00
Attendance - 300 (estimate)


This fixture had been on my radar for some time, the top two in the league separated by just two points with four games each left to play, including the return fixture on the final day of the season. I just needed the weather to play ball, and that actually turned out better than forecast, with an early arrival in town allowing me time for a lunch time walk along the promenade.

The ground is a basic, presumably council owned, recreation ground, at which it would be impossible to charge entry in the normal sense, so the price of the very basic programme should be seen as a donation in lieu of admission. I saw a piece online that the council would like to develop the site as a coach park, and move the rugby club in to share facilities at the football ground, something which both clubs had expressed opposition to. Didn’t hear anything about it on the day, so not sure what the latest on this is, or whether the ground needs to be on the at risk list.

The rugby club have their own clubhouse on site, set back a few hundred yards from the pitch. Adjoined single storey buildings house changing rooms and bar, the latter comprising one large room. Two hand pumps at the bar, but only one in use dispensing Doom Bar - better than nothing, but a little disappointing given it was served in Conwy Brewery glasses. Hot drinks and food could be had from the kitchen hatch.

There are two pitches side by side, the first team pitch railed along both sides and equipped with training lights, the second pitch unrailed but with what look fairly new and presumably match standard lights. That is about it in terms of facilities, but whilst views of the Great Orme are partly hidden by nearby housing, there is a fine backdrop on the other side of the ground of the hills stretching inland from the Little Orme.

Early Pwllheli pressure eventually brought a try that was quickly cancelled out by the home team, and that was that for scoring in a tense and tight first half. The game really opened up after the break, the hosts right winger scoring a hat trick in the space of twenty minutes, with a Pwllheli try in between. At 26-12 it looked good for the hosts, but a 4-0 or 5-1 points haul was important, as it gave them the chance to clinch the title before the return fixture. They went better than that with a 5-0 haul, Pwllheli hampered by game ending injuries to three backs, and two stoppage time tries meaning the margin, but certainly not the actual victory, flattered the hosts.

Saturday 6th April 2019 (ko 1500)
at Thornhead Lane, West Derby
RFU Northern Division Lancashire and Cheshire One (Level Seven)
Sefton 34 Liverpool Collegiate 21 (ht 10-21)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 150 (estimate)


Sefton Rugby Club are based not in the small village or council district that bears their name to the north of Liverpool, but in affluent West Derby, not far from Liverpool FC’s soon to be former Melwood training ground. They take their name from their original landlords, the Earls of Sefton, whose ancestral pile was the nearby Croxteth Hall. Buses stop close by, and if arriving on a local stopping train as I did, it can be accessed more quickly from Huyton than from Liverpool city centre.

Clubhouse and changing rooms are in one single storey building. No cask ale at the bar, but several bottled real ales available, including Adnams Ghost Ship. Hot drinks could be had from the kitchen, and whilst food was not on sale pre-match, a buffet was provided with everyone invited to partake.

The main pitch runs lengthways away from the clubhouse, with two other pitches side by side beyond that, one of which was today staging a 3rd XV fixture. The 1st XV pitch is equipped with match standard floodlights and a manually operated scoreboard, and although only roped off on the western touchline, gently sloping grass bankings on both sides provide fine viewpoints. And midway along that western banking is a substantial area of covered terracing, with five stone steps, steep enough to be used as seats to watch the game.

The teams began the day third and fourth bottom, with Liverpool Collegiate three points better off, so on the face of it nothing other than local pride at stake. However, the league structure in the north west faces more upheaval next season, with one of several options proposed seeing three teams relegated from this division, so finishing as high as possible could be vital. It turned out to be a cracking contest, with five tries in a first half edged by the visitors, before Sefton turned it round after the break. Their first score of the second half was a penalty try when they were down to fourteen men, but they then scored two in quick succession when the visitors suffered a sin binning. It was enough for a 5-0 points haul to see the teams swap positions in the table.


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Apr 16, 2019, 11:21 PM

Posts: 4575
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

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Saturday 13th April 2019 (ko 1500)
at Rectory Field, 2nd Avenue
South West One West (Level Six)
Devonport Services 7-41 Okehampton (ht 7-12)
Admission - No charge
Programme - £2 (8 pages)
Attendance - 275 (estimate, mostly away fans)


Visitors secured the title and promotion to South West Premier with this win pulling away in the second half after a tight opening 40 minutes which remained scoreless for half an hour until visitors pressure finally told as they pushed over the line and, within a few minutes, a clearance from a home defender only reached the 22 where a visiting back returned the ball with an easy run to the line for a converted try. The hosts had hardly threatened until a good spell of pressure just before the break when they crossed the line but failed to ground the ball, but a few plays later finally made the breakthrough and converting the try. It seemed like a nervy second half was on the cards for the Okes especially with title rivals Launceston winning but they soon regained control of the game scoring five tries and two conversions to end up with a convincing win and celebrations on the pitch long after the game ended.

Ground is an absolute gem despite the condemned old wooden main stand being inaccessible but at least you can still see through to the individual plastic seats spelling out the club's initials. Opposite is another stand with 10 rows of plastic seats, I'm guessing this was once a standing terrace with seats installed only after the main stand was closed. It is flanked on each side by terracing which extends around the corner at one end, the rest of which is a grass bank with steps leading down to a hardstanding path at pitch level. Behind the terraced houses at the opposite end the floodlights and elevated covered terrace of Plymouth Albion's Brickfields ground can be seen.


(This post was edited by cherryhopper on Apr 16, 2019, 11:24 PM)


AndrewG
First Team Star

Apr 19, 2019, 8:40 PM

Posts: 1526
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 13th April 2019 (ko 1500)
at Hinckley Road, Leicester Forest East
RFU Midland Division Midlands Three East (South) (Level Eight)
Leicester Forest 53 Northampton Casuals 21 (ht 22-7)
Admission - No charge
Programme - 32 page seasonal issue (not match specific), free
Attendance - 250 (estimate)


This particular division hasn’t really featured on my radar previously - it’s a fair way down the pyramid for an area that isn’t the easiest to access from the north west by public transport - but this final day of the season title decider looked worth making the effort for. Northampton Casuals began the day three points ahead of Leicester Forest and five clear of third placed Stamford. With Casuals having two wins more than either of their rivals, Forest needed a 4-0, 5-1 or better points victory to take the title, and, whilst Casuals could not be denied promotion, Forest’s second place was certainly in jeopardy if they failed to win here.

The ground is part of a cluster of sports facilities at the point where Leicester’s urban sprawl meets the open countryside. Leicester Ivanhoe Cricket Club and Leicester Forest Tennis Club are reached from the same access road, with the entrance to the next door Old Newtonians Rugby Club a little further along the road. The frequent bus service linking Leicester and Nuneaton passes right by the entrance, with stops just a few minutes walk away. That made travelling via Nuneaton the best option for me, as I could get back just in time for the infrequent fast service north that Virgin Trains stops there, offering a far quicker journey time than the roundabout route required to reach Leicester.

The two storey building housing the clubs facilities looks fairly utilitarian from the outside, but is actually very smart within. Changing rooms are downstairs with the clubhouse upstairs, where a balcony overlooks the playing facilities. The main room was available for all to use, with a small lounge reserved for sponsors and vip’s, and a supply of programmes was scattered on the tables - described on the cover as an annual match day programme, suggesting they had no plans to issue match specific inserts. Hand pumps at the bar dispensed the excellent Phipps IPA - which makes occasional appearances at one of my local microbars - as well as Doom Bar. Hot drinks could be purchased at the kitchen hatch, and food was also advertised, but pre match a plentiful buffet was supplied for all to help themselves.

What I assume was previously the first team pitch is directly outside the clubhouse, railed along that side only, and today hosting a 2nd XV fixture. However, the main pitch now stands at right angles away to the west, an artificial surface opened just over twelve months ago. It is fully railed with white plastic fencing, has hard standing all around and match standard floodlights. Dug outs are positioned on the far side, flanking an electronic scoreboard and a photographers gantry. Most of the crowd watched from the near side, either pitch side where the barriers offered something to lean on, or from the shallow banking leading up to the level of the old pitch for a slightly elevated view. Either spot offered a pleasant backdrop of views over the surrounding countryside.

Casuals led 7-0 midway through the first half after controlling the early stages, but Forest suddenly found their stride to score four tries before the interval. The first try of the second half went to the visitors, the next two to the hosts, and at 34-14 Forest’s promotion place looked secure, but perhaps not the title as two converted Casuals tries would have been enough to keep them top. The next try, with just over ten minutes remaining, pretty much sealed the outcome, and Forest went on to score two more, before Casuals closed the game with a consolation, the final try count being 9-3.

Plenty of celebrations followed for the home team and their supporters, but after a period of reflection the visiting team gathered at one end of the ground and started their own chorus of ‘We’re Going Up’. The home players quickly joined them and both teams celebrated their fine seasons together, with the scoreboard now displaying Forest 1 Casuals 2 - not a football scoreline, but the final league positions. The season still goes on for Leicester Forest, however, a tricky away semi-final in the RFU Senior Vase this week, and, if successful, a trip to Twickenham.

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