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Home: Non Football Related: Other Sports:
Where did you go / Where are you going : 2019/20 RUGBY UNION

 



R.S.Cavendish
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Aug 23, 2019, 9:42 AM

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CARMARTHEN ATHLETIC 17 TUMBLE 7

@Alltycnap Road
Attendance : 221

Although there is a division between the teams this was a well fought out club match in front of a crowd of equally divided supporters.
There were a number of stoppages for injury which rather slowed play but the final result of three tries to one was fair mainly due to Athletics' fitness in the front row.


Feversham Lens
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Aug 23, 2019, 11:06 AM

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Location: York
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A fortnight in Angus provides an opportunity to continue my protracted trawl through Scotland's National League grounds (21 done, so far):

September 7
Aberdeen Grammar v Edinburgh Academical (Premiership)

September 14
Strathmore (Forfar) v Hillhead Jordanhill (Division Two) or Highland (Inverness) v Biggar (Division One)

September 21
Kirkcaldy v Whitecraigs (Division Two) - probably double that up with evening ice hockey @ Kirkcaldy (Fife Flyers)


R.S.Cavendish
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Aug 24, 2019, 9:12 PM

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PENLAN 7 TONMAWR 17

@ Penlan Playing Fields
Attendance : 179

A poor game with the visitors taking every advantage of Penlan's numerous errors. There were many stoppages for injury which saw the first half extended by eleven minutes. Just after the interval the visiting fly half was shown a straight red card for kicking an opponent. Three tries to one was a fair reflection of a sub-standard encounter.


AndrewG
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Sep 2, 2019, 10:17 PM

Posts: 1537
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 31st August 2019 (ko 1520)
at McKane Park, Dunfermline
Scottish Rugby Caledonia Regional League Division One
Dunfermline 55 Aberdeen Wanderers 0 (ht 29-0)
Admission - £3.00 inc 16 page programme
Attendance - 150 (estimate)


The new rugby union season finally got under way today, with, as usual, Scotland starting a week ahead of England and Wales. It wasn’t a full programme, however, with the only National League sides playing being those involved in the preliminary rounds of the two cup competitions in which they compete, whilst the East region were only starting next week. I was wary of the amount of morning rain forecast in the West region - probably wisely so as a handful of games fell victim to waterlogged pitches including one I had considered at Dalziel - so Caledonia region was the obvious choice. I can’t get that much further north than here as a day trip by public transport, so the choice was limited, but this looked the most interesting ground to visit even if a comfortable home victory always looked a strong likelihood.

Previous football related visits to Dunfermline had given me the opportunity to explore its attractive centre, so, arriving good and early, I took the bus a couple of miles out to the village of Limekilns, situated with stunning views on the north bank of the Forth. A call was made at both village pubs, with offerings from the local Loch Leven Brewery available at the Bruce Arms, and the even more local Brew Shed at the Ship Inn (brewed in the village with barrels apparently delivered to the pub by push bike). In between, there was time to call for a sandwich at a local café, and a bracing - very bracing - stroll along the promenade. The main convenience in heading out here was that the hourly bus service back in to Dunfermline stopped right outside the rugby ground, and did so an hour ahead of the scheduled kick off time, which is my preferred time of arriving if there is a clubhouse on site.

The rugby club are tenants at McKane Park, the ground owned by Dunfermline and Carnegie Cricket Club, who had completed their season the previous Saturday by claiming promotion. The shared clubhouse has its bar upstairs, and, although the majority of the room had been given over to hosting the clubs Ladies Day, several tables at one end had been set aside for regular spectators. No real ale of any sort available, although hot drinks could be had at the bar. A downstairs corridor links the clubhouse to the ‘old’ pavilion, where the rugby club have their changing rooms, whilst the cricket club have their facilities in a newer pavilion. Both come with seats attached to the front, overlooking the main rugby pitch from behind the posts.

There are three rugby pitches set out in total, two standing side by side to the north of the clubhouse, and both in use today, hosting an Under-18 and a 3rd XV game. One of these is fitted with fairly aged looking floodlights, though presumably of match standard as I found a blog post from several years ago reporting on a midweek match, and it also pictured a fairly ramshackle looking area of cover alongside which is sadly no more. These pitches in particular are overlooked by the town and abbey from their hilltop setting, the same view somewhat obscured from the main pitch by the rather ugly exterior of the clubhouse. Admission is taken and programmes dispensed as you emerge between the clubhouse and cricket pavilion, meaning only spectators heading for the 1st XV game are charged.

The main pitch overlaps the cricket field, but is equipped with a reasonably substantial stand running along its western touchline, bearing the rugby clubs name on its frontage, and providing shelter this afternoon from the surprisingly strong wind. Three rows of quite steeply raked wooden seating ensure reasonable viewing even though the ‘benches’ take up a position in front of the stand. There are also a handful of open benches on the banking alongside the stand, whilst the pitch is roped on all four sides, with grass standing all around. Almost uniquely in my experience of such events, those attendees of the Ladies Day who venture out to watch the rugby (and quite a few of them do) seem to have come equipped with appropriate footwear! A manually operated scoreboard sits by the corner of the pitch, and next to it a brand new wooden hut in use for the first time today, and described by the club as a ‘pie shack’, with a pie and soup combo a very reasonable £2.20.

The visitors are delayed in traffic and arrive around 2.35pm - presumably 45 minutes for a warm up is set in stone, as kick off is immediately announced as 3.20pm, and we get underway exactly at that time. Last season Dunfermline were runners up in this division, their only defeats to the promoted champions, whilst Aberdeen Wanderers finished a couple of places clear of relegation. The first half hour of the game was genuinely competitive, but eventually the hosts literally overpowered their visitors, running in four tries in each half. I thought the referee might blow for time a little early in view of the scoreline, or at least dead on the 80 minute mark, but he played every minute of stoppage time that was due. That meant I narrowly missed the 5pm bus that would have dropped me close to the railway station, and I was keen to catch the 5.33pm service rather than risk a tight connection to my last train south from Edinburgh. Uncertain of exactly how long the walk was, the cooler weather was most welcome as I set off quite briskly, but I was soon able to slow down as it became evident I would reach the station with plenty of time to spare.


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Sep 3, 2019, 8:27 AM

Posts: 3324
Location: York
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A fortnight in Angus provides an opportunity to continue my protracted trawl through Scotland's National League grounds (21 done, so far):

September 7
Aberdeen Grammar v Edinburgh Academical (Premiership)

September 14
Strathmore (Forfar) v Hillhead Jordanhill (Division Two) or Highland (Inverness) v Biggar (Division One)

September 21
Kirkcaldy v Whitecraigs (Division Two) - probably double that up with evening ice hockey @ Kirkcaldy (Fife Flyers)

Given a two-sport double is possible, I've had a rethink about the 14th. Ellon v Orkney (Caledonia Region League, Division One) is a noon kick-off, allowing plenty of time to drive the six miles to Pitmedden for a Highland League football match between Formartine United and Forres Mechanics (3pm). Final choice, with Strathmore preferred to Highland, will boil down to who issues and who doesn't.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Sep 3, 2019, 8:43 AM)


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Sep 7, 2019, 8:17 PM

Posts: 3324
Location: York
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Saturday 7th September 2019
Dundee High School FP 24 Heriot’s Blues 47 (HT 0-33)
Scottish National League, Division One (tier three, kick-off 3pm)
Admission £10
Programme w/a, nominal value £2 (game specific, 64pp)
Attendance 190 (h/c)
No refreshments other than drink from the clubhouse bar


Dundee High secured an unlikely bonus point (I assume this hasn’t changed over the summer) by scoring four tries in the last 12 minutes. Up to the hour, the amateur team of Heriot’s, whose semi-professional squad will shortly take part in the new Super 6 competition, simply blew away the Taysiders. The visitors from Edinburgh ran in seven tries as they surged 47-0 ahead after 46 minutes. I imagine Heriot’s then eased off a little, though Dundee, their play hitherto peppered with schoolboy (as it were) errors, certainly improved markedly in the last quarter. Neither coach will have enjoyed what they saw on a surprisingly warm, sunny afternoon. On an adjacent pitch, Dundee’s second XV were playing their Lasswade counterparts. Every time I looked across, Dundee were scoring a long-range try. The referee confirmed a 95-0 massacre.

Dundee’s ground, Mayfield Sports Centre, is alongside Arbroath Road, opposite Dundee High School. It overlooks the silvery Tay. Despite the name, Dundee High is an independent establishment. Fees for a senior pupil are not far short of £14,000 a year. Naturally, that sort of money pays for hugely impressive sports facilities, not least the cricket ground, on the other side of Arbroath Road. The RU club have three pitches. The second XV pitch has training lights. A ramshackle stand, with bench seats, is positioned amidships on the north side of the first XV pitch. Behind, topping a bank, is flagged hardstanding, offering an elevated view. The rest is grass. A temporary barrier is erected along the south side. The gabled clubhouse, a venerable building across the large car park, is the nearest structure to Arbroath Road. The sports centre, a modern facility in the northwest corner, provides numerous dressing rooms and a glazed, elevated dining area for the corporate crew, short on numbers today.

Dundee High applied to join Super 6 but were rejected. The elderly chap manning the table serving as a gate described as “crazy” the absence from the competition of a Glasgow representative. Asked how he felt the new domestic arrangements would work out, he said it was very much a case of “suck it and see”.

I had intended this afternoon to watch Aberdeen Grammar and Edinburgh Academical in the Premiership but the home club couldn’t muster the courtesy to respond to a text checking the availability or otherwise of a programme. Dundee did reply therefore got my business. It worked out well because Mayfield Sports Centre is much handier for our Angus holiday cottage. My wife, who’d rather shop in Tesco than watch rugby union, spent a pleasant afternoon exploring Carnoustie (“lovely beach but quiet”) and Broughty Ferry (“much livelier, with an equally nice beach”).


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Sep 7, 2019, 8:21 PM)


ciderjon
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Sep 7, 2019, 10:19 PM

Posts: 1733
Location: Cymru
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Abercwmboi 10 Treharris 62

WRU Div 2 East Central (4th tier of club rugby)
Sat 7 th Sept 2019 2.30 pm
Attn c.400 admit £2 incl programme


I had decided to watch more WRU this season, many of the old grounds are going now, so this being the first weekend of club rugby fixtures it seemed a little perverse to go to a ground that's had a million pound overhaul.

This is the old Welfare Ground, just a few hundred yards from Aberdare Town's football ground.One side is dominated by a massive , three story bar and changing complex complete with two viewing balconies. I watched from the middle level, and a fine view it was, not just of the pitch but if the green hills that make up the eastern side of the Cynon Valley.

The pitch is railed at both ends and on the side with the building, the far side backs into a second pitch and is undeveloped. Tadge bizarre I thought for all the money spent their is no cover, scoreboard or seating ( other than picnic tables). Had it rained I could have stepped back beneath the higher balcony. The money has been spent instead on the floodlights, massive European styled corner-positioned, but not needed today.

Game-wise penalties were traded in the opening minutes and then Treharris just flew away with it, homesters managing a converted try at the very end, the conversion being the last kick of the game.

Time for a swift visit afterwards to the National Tap in Aberdare where the Grey Trees Mosaic was impeccable and brewery and bar owner Ray Davies treated us to one of his legendary pies.

A weird ground, I wish the game had been less one sided but another fascinating afternoon out in The Valleys.



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



AndrewG
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Sep 10, 2019, 11:55 PM

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Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 7th September 2019 (ko 1500)
at Grange House Field, Morpeth
RFU Northern Division North Premier (Level Five)
Morpeth 12 Carlisle 36 (ht 7-12)
Admission - £5.00 inc 48 page programme
Attendance - 250 (estimate)


This opening day of the campaign meeting between two teams promoted as champions of their respective level six divisions looked interesting enough to tempt me to make the long trip up to Northumberland. It is often a difficult step up to make - two teams were immediately relegated back whence they came last season - so both would see this as a great chance to get off to a positive start. I saw the play off between level six runners up at the end of last season, when Blackburn defeated Scarborough, and coupled with the result here, it suggests last season’s North One West was stronger than North One East.

Morpeth’s railway station is inconveniently located on the edge of town, so it was something of a no brainer to travel up from Newcastle by bus, express services running via the A1 four times an hour to Morpeth’s town centre bus station. A pre match call at the GBG listed JDW Electrical Wizard was followed by a pleasant stroll alongside the River Wansbeck to reach the ground, whilst after the game there was time for a quick call at the Tap and Spile, just around the corner from the bus station. Whichever way you went, it was no more than a fifteen minute walk from town centre to ground, far easier to reach for public transport users than the middle of nowhere location of the town’s football ground.

Off field facilities at Grange House Field are concentrated in three separate buildings behind the posts. The first contains the changing rooms, the second is the headquarters of the town’s athletics club, whilst beyond that is an impressive modern clubhouse. Upstairs, which comes complete with a viewing balcony, was the preserve of the match sponsors, but a large room was available downstairs, and there are patio tables outside. Two hand pumps in use at the bar, though Tetley’s Cask and Black Sheep was hardly the most inspiring choice. Coffee could be had from a drinks machine, whilst tea and hot food was available from the kitchen hatch, which opened for business before kick off once the pre match meal was out of the way. I had to ask to obtain a programme in the clubhouse - they only came round at pitch side to charge admission once the game was well under way.

The ground enjoys a lovely setting, but it is one to save for good weather as there is no cover. Two pitches stand side by side, and the club also has access to a pitch just the other side of the river. The second pitch, directly outside the clubhouse and unused today, is floodlit and was roped off along one side. The main pitch, directly outside the changing rooms, is also roped off where the pitches stand alongside each other, and is open at the far end. However, the near end and the south side are railed off with sturdy wooden barriers, and there is hard standing along the side, where dug outs are also located. A manually operated scoreboard is used and located behind the posts, whilst perhaps the best feature of the ground is away to the north, where the land rises sharply beyond the second pitch into a wooded hillside that provides a stunning backdrop.

After Carlisle hit the post with an early penalty attempt, it is Morpeth who score the first try, and they keep their lead until the half hour mark. Carlisle go ahead for the first time in the dying seconds of the first half, but after the break the visitors dominate, with Morpeth’s indiscipline in defence seeing them hammered by an 11-2 second half penalty count against them. Carlisle run in four second half tries at fairly regular intervals, with Morpeth grabbing a consolation right at the death, but the final try count of 6-2 in the visitor’s favour was probably a fair reflection of how the game went.

(This post was edited by AndrewG on Sep 10, 2019, 11:57 PM)


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Sep 13, 2019, 10:37 PM

Posts: 3324
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

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In Reply To

In Reply To
A fortnight in Angus provides an opportunity to continue my protracted trawl through Scotland's National League grounds (21 done, so far):

September 7
Aberdeen Grammar v Edinburgh Academical (Premiership)

September 14
Strathmore (Forfar) v Hillhead Jordanhill (Division Two) or Highland (Inverness) v Biggar (Division One)

September 21
Kirkcaldy v Whitecraigs (Division Two) - probably double that up with evening ice hockey @ Kirkcaldy (Fife Flyers)

Given a two-sport double is possible, I've had a rethink about the 14th. Ellon v Orkney (Caledonia Region League, Division One) is a noon kick-off, allowing plenty of time to drive the six miles to Pitmedden for a Highland League football match between Formartine United and Forres Mechanics (3pm). Final choice, with Strathmore preferred to Highland, will boil down to who issues and who doesn't.

Strathmore issue, Ellon don’t, therefore a short drive to Forfar is on the cards tomorrow. Just as well, given heavy rain is forecast in the afternoon. Can’t say I’m bothered about watching Formartine United’s footballers twice in three days.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Sep 13, 2019, 10:39 PM)


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Sep 14, 2019, 5:31 PM

Posts: 3324
Location: York
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Saturday 14th September 2019
Strathmore 50 Hillhead Jordanhill 12 (HT 24-12)
Scottish National League, Division Three (tier five, 3pm kick-off)
Free admission
Free programme (12pp: 8pp glossy shell, 4pp photocopied match insert)
Attendance 115 (h/c)
Tea 50p (Forfar bridies also available)


Centre Jordan Lees scored a try hat-trick on his Strathmore debut as the Forfar men opened their account after returning to National League RU. Wing Blair Burchett contributed 20 points, from a try, a penalty and six conversions, two from the touchline. On a breezy though thankfully dry afternoon, the Glasgow-based visitors led 7-3 after seven minutes, and were only five points in arrears three minutes before half-time, but they faded badly. With Strathmore 43-12 up by the hour, the last quarter was very scrappy. Lees completed his treble in the 78th minute after which the referee blew for time prematurely.

A number of the home team play, in summer, for Strathmore Silverbacks, 2019 Scottish rugby league champions, and much of their watchable playing style, direct and open with a commitment to offload and support the ball carrier, clearly has its roots in the 13-a-side code. One try, from a high cross-kick to a corner, was pure rugby league. Once Strathies got into their stride, a painfully limited Hillhead Jordanhill, their tackling particularly poor, were simply swept aside.

Strathmore, formed in 1933, play at Inchmacoble Park, on the south bank of Forfar Loch. Trees screen the water, though the adjacent second XV pitch is right next to the loch, its surface whipped by the strong wind. A two-storey clubhouse, opened in 1992, is the only structure of note. The dressing rooms are on the ground floor, with a bar, kitchen, toilets and a well-equipped weights room above. A balcony, accessed via the bar, offers the best view of the action. Framed shirts in the bar’s ante room include examples worn by local lads selected for Scotland rugby league. Mature trees, to west and north, enclose the ground, and provide a windbreak. Though Inchmacoble Park is fully railed and boasts match floodlights, it lacks cover. Hardstanding is available along the near (clubhouse) side and at the scoreboard (town) end. Plenty of parking. The impressive facilities of Strathmore Cricket Club, who have a large pitch and a modern clubhouse, are next door. For those who don’t know, Forfar lies in the fertile Vale of Strathmore.

Unusually for this level of rugby union, Strathmore have pin badges, albeit at the exorbitant price of £5. Ask at the bar.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Sep 14, 2019, 6:10 PM)


R.S.Cavendish
First Team Star

Sep 16, 2019, 3:58 PM

Posts: 1734
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Caernarfon 5 Pwllheli 12

Welsh North Division One
@ Lawn Road
Attendance 397

This was a truly awful game between two sides who would be thrashed by any of the clubs in South Wales. My first reaction was to wonder at the lack of weight and bulk of the props with only one player seeming to be above 2.1 metres in height.
The first attempt at getting near to a tryline was in the 33rd minutes after which there was an unconverted try for each side. Due to injuries the first half took 51 and a half minutes.
Pwllheli won the game with their only second-half break and for the rest of the time the crowd endured midfield rucks and more lengthy injuries.
Basically the players seemed to be unfit and lacking much skill. This was my first Welsh North League match and if I see another I hope it will be of a better standard.


AndrewG
First Team Star

Sep 17, 2019, 12:41 AM

Posts: 1537
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 14th September 2019 (ko 1500)
at Woodshaw Park, Aspull
RFU Northern Division North Two West (Level Seven)
Aspull 32 Anselmians 38 (ht 3-22)
Admission - No charge
Programme - 16 pages, £2.00
Attendance - 120 (estimate)


This was the closest rugby ground to home I had still to visit, and I had been holding off from coming here for a couple of years as Aspull strolled to title wins at levels nine and eight with a series of mostly comprehensive victories. A single point away victory on the opening day of the campaign suggested things could be much more competitive this season, and their first home fixture against an Anselmians outfit expected to figure towards the top end of the table looked like being an attractive tie. It proved to be an excellent choice.

Aspull is served by the 575 bus service, which links the village to railheads at Wigan and Bolton, with buses running at fifteen minute intervals. The football pitch that briefly staged West Lancashire League games just over a decade ago is still in place, but now only seems to host a junior outfit, and there was no sign of football activity on a Saturday afternoon. The rugby club is reached by continuing on the lane that passes the football pitch, and, after a further five minute walk on an increasingly narrow track, you arrive at a ground in a very isolated and wooded location. New Springs Lions rugby league club also play here, but they too only seem to be operating at junior level at the moment.

The clubhouse replaced an earlier structure destroyed by fire, and is a fairly functional building, brick built with metal cladding on its upper floor, and all entrances equipped with security shutters - obviously a necessity in such an isolated location. Changing rooms are in an extension, which the club have plans to extend, while the upper floor of the main building apparently provides indoor training facilities. The bar is downstairs, and does feel more like a rugby league or football facility than some of the usual plush rugby union clubhouses. Plenty of room though, but no real ale of any sort, though coffee could be had at the bar. The kitchen hatch was also open from well before kick off serving up hot food.

The main pitch is immediately outside the clubhouse, and three steps of terracing run as far as the half way line, with a grass banking beyond that. Tall brick built dug outs straddling the half way line rather obstruct views of the corners of the pitch, but in any case I made my way round to the far side, where trees provided some shade and the sun was at your back. The pitch is railed on three sides, but behind the posts and on the far side nature is reclaiming the land immediately beyond the barrier, although a little evidence remains of some hard standing. The open end backs on to a second pitch, unused today and equipped with rudimentary training lights, whilst a small sized junior pitch is located to the north beyond the car park. A manually operated scoreboard is updated behind the posts, though the numbers are too small to read from any distance. As with my game last week, programmes (an entirely game specific issue) are hawked at pitch side after kick off, though they are sold as an optional extra here, whereas at Morpeth you were clearly expected to buy one as your admission charge.

A strong finish to the first half put Anselmians in control at the interval, but Aspull showed signs of just why they have enjoyed so much success in recent seasons, with some exciting running rugby. They quickly hit back after the interval, and at one stage had closed the deficit to 27-29, but Anselmians adopted a pragmatic approach, and three successful penalty kicks from their player coach gave them some breathing space. However, the final word went to Aspull, and they took the try count to 5-4 in their favour as they secured a richly deserved second bonus point. Outstanding entertainment, and although the 2019/2020 season is in its very early stages, it will take something special to provide a more enjoyable game in the months ahead.

 
 


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