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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
Chelsea Transfer Target


Aug 23, 2019, 11:06 AM

Posts: 3356
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: 1541
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
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Sep 3, 2019, 8:27 AM

Posts: 3356
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: 3356
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

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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: 3356
Location: York
Team(s): Not any more

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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: 3356
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
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Sep 16, 2019, 3:58 PM

Posts: 1742
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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
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Sep 17, 2019, 12:41 AM

Posts: 1541
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.


IAN S
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Sep 21, 2019, 12:36 PM

Posts: 2481
Location: Stocksbridge, Sheffield
Team(s): Sheffield United, Sheffield Eagles, Kendal Town

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Yarnbury 34 Ripon 23

Yorkshire Two

h/t 22-11

Admission £4 including 4 page programme.


This was the first game under Yarnbury's new lights, complete with red light at the top for the nearby airport. In fact you could see the glare from the airport lights quite clearly. Ripon took the lead with two pens before two tries for the home side, one converted, a further pen and another converted try took Yarnbury out of sight and Ripon never really looked like closing it. They pulled a try back before the break though.

The second half started as a non-event before twenty minutes in the teams exchanged converted tries again. A try near the end took Yarnbury further away and a last minute try for Ripon completed the scoring.

The ground can be found on Brownberrie Lane in a very posh part of Horsforth, next to Horsforth Golf Club. Car park was full of Range Rover's and spaniels running around. Free food was excellent with the beef and onion sandwiches being especially good. Elgood's Prawn Identity was also in good nick.



We'll be, as we are, when all the fools who doubt us fade away.

(This post was edited by IAN S on Sep 21, 2019, 12:37 PM)


AndrewG
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Sep 23, 2019, 9:53 PM

Posts: 1541
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 21st September (ko 1500)
at Blackwell Meadows, Darlington
RFU Northern Division Durham and Northumberland Two (Level Eight)
Darlington 21 Sunderland 52 (ht 7-21)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 100 (estimate)


The return of summer for a last hurrah meant my choice of game today was influenced by the presence of somewhere shaded to watch the game, and as little walking as possible between public transport links and the ground. Darlington fitted the bill on both counts, with the additional seats installed opposite the clubhouse to comply with football ground grading requirements remaining sheltered from the sun throughout the afternoon, and Arriva bus services X26 and X27 combining for a twenty minute daytime frequency, with stops just yards from the ground’s entrance drive, and also directly outside the railway station. I did allow time for a pre match call into the town centre, for lunch and a visit to the Quakerhouse bar, tucked away in a secluded alleyway just yards from the main shopping centre, where they had two offerings from their on site Mad Scientist micro brewery.

I assume some planning goes into rugby and football league fixtures to avoid clashes, but, if Darlington FC had received a home rather than away draw in today’s FA Cup ties, I am guessing this game would have had to be played on an outside pitch, unless the visitors agreed to a switch to midweek. There are several outside pitches, both rugby and football, but they are literally just basic pitches, some training lights on the nearest rugby pitch apart. No doubt the rugby club gets some very nice rental income, and they have received some ground improvements - all neat and tidy, but also rather bland and obviously done just to tick the boxes of the minimum requirements. However, football and rugby union groundshares rarely work out well - primarily because both want to play at home at the same time - even more so when the host club almost end up the junior partner in the arrangement. Nuneaton keeps popping into my mind, and to a lesser extent Newport, but hopefully this one will work out better in the long term.

No need for the football turnstiles today - spectator entrance for the rugby is via the clubhouse foyer. The impressive two tier building has an upstairs bar with viewing balcony overlooking the pitch, that was today the preserve of those enjoying a pre match meal. Not that the balcony would have been a great viewpoint today, looking directly into the sun, though I did have a quick nosey around after the game. Downstairs a large room was available for regular spectators use, though only one of several hand pumps was in use at the bar, and that the very uninspiring offering of Doom Bar. I stuck to cider! A food serving area forms the end part of the bar, and hot drinks and a decent choice of hot food was available throughout the afternoon.

Changing rooms are at one end of the clubhouse, and beyond them a couple of rows of covered seating that pre dates the arrival of the football club. The other three sides of the ground have been developed for the footballing ground graders, new hard standing and railings, covered terracing behind the home end, and tip up seats on a metal base opposite the clubhouse - very Atcost like but providing that welcome shade this afternoon. Dug outs on the clubhouse side also look new, and obviously the pitch is floodlit, though whether new, upgraded or there originally I have no idea. One thing notable by its absence was any form of rugby scoreboard.

Both teams have taken maximum points from their opening two games of the season, though comments on the local on line forum all seem to suggest Sunderland are much the stronger team, and they prove to be correct. It is a strange game though, Darlington scoring first in each half and dominating possession, but the final try count is 8-3 in the visitors favour, with six of those eight try tries coming from breaks from their own half. The penalty count of 7-2 in favour of the hosts would more accurately reflect the possession stats. However, whilst Darlington had to work hard for every point, Sunderland were able to rip through some naïve defending - not a recipe for success for the hosts on such a hot afternoon. The last try of the game went to Darlington in stoppage time, and they drop kicked the conversion to save a few seconds as they saw hopes of an unlikely bonus point, but their attempts soon ran out of time.


The Moose
First Team Star

Sep 30, 2019, 3:33 PM

Posts: 1806
Location: The West Country town of Trowbridge
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Post #15 of 22 (2147 views)
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Re: [AndrewG] Where did you go / Where are you going : 2019/20 RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Sat 28th - 12.30 ko @ CHAMPIONSHIP CUP: YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE 0 CORNISH PIRATES 48

ADM: £10. Prog: Teamsheet. ATT: h/c 200

Pleasant leafy suburb in the north of the city, is where you find the home of West Park, Leeds RFC. Whilst the hosts play at a much lower level, the ground is easily good enough for National One, should they ever progress. Main stand with 200 or so seats & overhang cover under the clubhouse end too. Some open terrace along the side as well, so well capable of hosting their big city neighbours for their cup games.

After all the kerfuffle with starting on -27 points or not, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference. Leeds, sorry Yorkshire, are clearly going to get mullered most weeks. Shipped over 80 points last week & now nearly 50 at ‘home’ this time round. Perhaps they have a few more senior players yet to start for them? Mind you the record prem try scorer Varndell, played & maybe wondering what he’s let himself in for! One sided tie, & then off for my new footy fix further along the ring road at Farsley for the afternoon.

KRTM :-)


AndrewG
First Team Star

Sep 30, 2019, 11:19 PM

Posts: 1541
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 28th September 2019 (ko 1500)
at Bramley Sports Ground, Southgate
RFU London and South East Division Hertfordshire and Middlesex One (Level Nine)
Saracens Amateurs 44 Bank of England 17 (ht 15-0)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 50 (estimate)


This ground was the home of Saracens for half a century prior to the advent of professionalism in rugby union, and their moves to Enfield, Watford and eventually their own stadium at Copthall. Of those professional rugby union clubs that moved on rather than develop their original home, very few of those grounds have survived. Bristol’s Memorial Ground hosts football and Bristol Rovers, whilst the site of Headingley’s Clarence Field (they were one half of the merger than formed the club that was to become Yorkshire Carnegie) is still a sports ground and hosts rugby league. Only two though, as far as I can ascertain, survive relatively unchanged as rugby union grounds, Sale FC’s Heywood Road and this one. As such, it had been on my to do list for some time.

The ground lies midway between Southgate and Cockfosters tube stations, with bus service 298 linking the two stations at twenty minute intervals and stopping right outside the ground. The rugby club is accessed from the south via Green Road, but it is part of a larger sports ground shared with Old Minchendenians Cricket Club, whose facilities are reached from Bramley Road to the north. However, there is no physical boundary separating the two, and two football pitches are set up on the cricket outfield, one of which is hosting a game this afternoon. The Amateur Football Combination website shows Old Minchendenians as running five teams in their league this season, but only their 4th XI appeared to be at home this weekend, so presumably it was they who were playing.

The wonderfully old fashioned clubhouse houses bar and changing rooms in a single storey structure that is linked directly to the stand alongside the 1st XV pitch. An array of memorabilia adorns its walls, including a vast collection of framed Saracens team photographs dating back to the early years of the 20th century. No programme was issued, or expected, today, but today’s visitors are welcomed with a poster on the wall featuring the team line up page of a 1937 programme for Saracens meeting with Bank of England. That game would have preceded the opening of this ground by just a few years, but even the home club secretary was unsure where it would have been played. Back to the present day, two hand pumps at the bar were dispensing Brakspear Oxford Gold and Marstons Pedigree, whilst the kitchen was open throughout with a choice of food and drink, including very nice home made soup, made more enjoyable by much cooler weather than we have experienced for some time.

The centrepiece of the 1st XV pitch is a stand sitting astride the half way line, eight rows of wooden bench seating sitting on steep concrete steps, with a corrugated metal roof. The players emerge on to the pitch via a pathway at the side of the stand, but it does feature a central ‘tunnel’ that leads directly into the clubhouse. The pitch is railed in front of the stand and roped along the rest of that side, with the other three sides open. A large electronic scoreboard that is updated throughout the game is opposite the stand, and looks like a much more recent addition, as possibly are the match standard floodlights. Two more pitches stand at right angles to the north of the main pitch and are unused today, whilst a fourth pitch tucked away around the side of the clubhouse, and slightly closer to the aforementioned cricket club, is hosting a 2nd XV game.

The match features teams who both bounced back from opening day defeats with victories last Saturday, and, despite Saracens always looking the stronger, provided pretty good entertainment. A try conceded with the last play of the first half left the Roehampton based visitors with a mountain to climb, but they were the first to cross the line after the interval after fine play from their fly half, and he almost set up a second try a minute later only for his winger not to cleanly collect his kick. Even if they had closed to within one score, perhaps Saracens would always have kicked on anyway, as the hosts responded with four tries in just over a quarter of an hour, including two fine breaks from their own half. But a late rally brought Bank of England two tries, and left them chasing, ultimately unsuccessfully, an unlikely bonus point. Six tries to three was the final tally, and a trouble free train journey back north rounded off an enjoyable day.


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Oct 4, 2019, 11:02 PM

Posts: 3356
Location: York
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Post #17 of 22 (1719 views)
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Re: [AndrewG] Where did you go / Where are you going : 2019/20 RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Friday 4th October 2019
Stockton 21 Middlesbrough 14 (HT 3-0)
Durham and Northumberland One (level seven, 7.15pm kick-off)
Admission £3
Programme w/a (24pp: 20pp glossy shell; 4pp match insert)
Attendance 265 (h/c)
Food and drink available (didn't bother)


Interesting tick. This Teesside derby, between opponents lying joint second at kick-off, took place under Grangefield's new floodlights, acquired second hand from Billingham RU and erected about four weeks ago. The lights - mounted on eight masts, four per side - have been installed at the spacious site's second pitch, which this evening had rope barriers along each touchline and a couple of gazebos selling burgers and bottled beer. Free Prosecco for the ladies. Primarily, the lights are intended for midweek training sessions but are of sufficient quality to be used, this evening, for the first time, to illuminate a senior fixture. The regular first XV pitch, fully railed, with permanent dug-outs and an all-seat kit stand at the far (west) end, stages all Stockton's regular Saturday afternoon matches. Means I can return to do that next season.

Stockton's 2015 move to Grangefield from Station Road, Norton, their less than salubrious former home (close to the Norton & Stockton Ancients FC ground now used by Billingham Synthonia FC), has been a huge success. In his programme notes, chairman Graham Newton described progress as beyond the club's "wildest dreams". Stockton field four adult teams and have on their books more than 300 junior members. Stockton's two pitches, and a sports hall, with first floor changing rooms, are at the far (west) end of Grangefield Academy's playing fields. The secondary school is very new. The sports hall, a superb facility, was slated for demolition as part of the school revamp before Stockton stepped in and asked to take it on. The rugby club also share social facilities with Stockton Cricket Club, whose well appointed ground is opposite the school, on the east side of Oxbridge Avenue. The cricket outfield is available for rugby training. Three parking options: at the cricket club, at the academy and behind the sports hall.

Owing to objections (from one resident, apparently), Stockton's lights are subject to a 9pm curfew. This evening's final whistle sounded with 11 minutes to spare. Victory moved Stockton level on points with divisional leaders Consett, who have a game in hand. A determined last quarter fightback enabled Middlesbrough to collect a losing bonus point. On merit, too. There was little to excite during an uninspiring arm wrestle of a first half which, in clear weather after persistent afternoon rain, saw Stockton dominate territory and possession. Boro's scrambling defence denied the hosts two tries. Fly-half Stephen Jones landed a ninth-minute penalty from near halfway but he was off target with other long-distance attempts in the fifth and 19th minutes. Thankfully, the match came to life in the second half. Stockton crossed in the 42nd and 46th minutes to extend their lead to 15-0. The first try was a cracker. Stockton caught a clearing Boro kick 25 metres from their line then quickly moved the ball wide, allowing right wing Alex Osifo to race under the posts from inside his own half. Osifo was too quick for cross-covering, initially wrong-footed defenders. Despite Stockton losing a prop to a 50th-minute sin-binning, Jones added further penalties in the 55th and 58th minutes, making it 21-0. Then, at last, Middlesbrough, unable to field their best prop, secured some ball and showed they knew what to do with it. Constant pressure brought tries in the 66th and 80th+2 minutes. Fly-half Andy Baggett converted both. His second kick, a pressure job from the touchline, secured the bonus point.

Locals next to me reckoned Stockton's usual attendance is about 80 (that's 30 more than they used to get over at Station Road). Given this evening's crowd was between 250 and 300, Stockton may well repeat their 'Friday night under the lights' experiment.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Oct 4, 2019, 11:25 PM)


Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target


Oct 6, 2019, 9:58 AM

Posts: 3356
Location: York
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Post #18 of 22 (1576 views)
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Re: [AndrewG] Where did you go / Where are you going : 2019/20 RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Saturday 5th October 2019
Aspull 41 De La Salle 20 (HT 15-3)
North Two West (level seven, 3pm kick-off)
Free admission, no programmes (sigh, see below)
Attendance 70 (h/c)
Food and drink available (didn't bother)


Entertaining, see-saw encounter between teams who've had mixed starts to the season. Salford-based De La Salle, who drew level at 20-20 by the 57th minute, after finding themselves 3-20 down in the 41st, were undone by the pace of Aspull full-back Rhodri Carlton-Jones. The Welshman clinched a deserved victory for his side by racing over, out wide, for three well-finished tries, in the 65th, 73rd and 78th minutes. Some impressive shots at goal from both kickers, too. Unusually, De La Salle's goalkicker is a lock.

Fellow poster AndrewG was a visitor here earlier in the season. Like Andrew, I'd been waiting for Aspull to move up to at a higher level, in the hope of witnessing a competitive game. There's little I can add to his comprehensive description of surprisingly rural Woodshaw Park. I can say Aspull began life, in 1947, as the whimsically titled Wigan Unionists. It's a shame that splendid name wasn't retained. Woodshaw Park, just five minutes from junction six of the M61, is handily located for drivers.

Both AndrewG and Seagull (a season or two ago) obtained programmes at Aspull. Clearly, they are regular issuers. Unfortunately, nothing was on sale for this game. Wish I'd checked before setting out. The young lass hawking raffle tickets told me she prints off the programme once a chap called Alan has put it together on a work computer. She said he "hadn't been in work this week" hence the blank. Gratifying to hear several spectators querying the absence of a programme.

As it happens, I'd be happy to revisit Woodshaw Park, albeit primarily to add to my collection the club's match programme. It's a pleasant setting (on a still, mild autumn afternoon, certainly), and I enjoyed watching Aspull's open, expansive, offloading style, which gives their speedy backs every opportunity to shine. Easy to see why the Emus recorded so many runaway wins last season in securing promotion to North Two West. In a fortnight, Aspull host leaders Glossop, who have won all five games. Given Woodshaw Park is only a 90-minute drive over the Pennines, and I've yet to see Glossop's RU team in action, I might well return for that fixture.


(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Oct 6, 2019, 10:06 AM)


peter9
Youth Team Regular

Oct 7, 2019, 10:29 AM

Posts: 239
Location: Newton le Willows.
Team(s):

Post #19 of 22 (1351 views)
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Re: [Feversham Lens] Where did you go / Where are you going : 2019/20 RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Andrew has a habit of doing things like that .............
I went to Clock Face Miners (NCL RL ) on 27th July (v Wigan St Judes) there were no programmes ( and was told they'd not issued since early May ) ........... Andrew went the week after and guess what ? lol
As for Aspull RU , well I went 4 times last season ( 2 matches were absolute crackers ) but only got a programme twice in 4 visits , can't fault the rugby or the people but the programme side of things is a bit 50/50 ............ best bet is to find out when Andrew is attending as I'm sure they'd issue then !


AndrewG
First Team Star

Oct 11, 2019, 11:06 PM

Posts: 1541
Location: Lancashire
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Post #20 of 22 (998 views)
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Re: [peter9] Where did you go / Where are you going : 2019/20 RUGBY UNION [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

It doesn't always work out that way Peter - Darlington didn't issue when I was there last month, although they had done when previously covered on here. I like to get a programme if one is issued, but am not unduly concerned if there is none, so I never check in advance if a programme will be available.

Anyway, here is a rather belated posting of my game from last weekend, which did bring a programme.

Saturday 5th October 2019 (ko 1500)
at Blue Hill Lane, Wortley
RFU Northern Division Yorkshire One (Level Seven)
West Leeds 21 Beverley 45 (ht 14-38)
Admission - £5.00 inc 24 page programme
Attendance - 120 (estimate)


Had it not been for previous posts on here, it would have been a surprise to me that this ground was located in quite an attractive area despite being no more than a couple of miles from the city centre, and even more surprising how hilly the area is - there are plenty of towns in West Yorkshire where hills come with the territory, but Leeds wouldn’t be the first to spring to mind. However, I was forewarned, so no surprise that the ten minute walk from bus stops served by the high frequency number 4 service on Tong Road involved a climb over the crest of the hill.

The ground is entered at its highest level, with the car park sloping down to the clubhouse, which itself is situated well above the pitch. The clubhouse and changing rooms are in a largely single storey building, except that the main entrance and club shop are located on a higher level, from which stairs lead down to the bar. The central bar serves two large rooms, with the one hand pump serving an offering from Westgate Brewery. The kitchen was in one corner of one of the rooms, and hot food and drinks appeared to be available, although not until after the game kicked off.

The clubhouse emerges onto a patio overlooking the pitch, with the rest of that side a gently sloping grass banking that even at its lowest point offers an elevated view. The pitch is railed on three sides, with the far end out of bounds for spectators as the pitch is tight up against the boundary fence. At the near end the pathway behind the posts drops steeply to pitch level, and on the far side are two areas of cover with seats at the rear. I think they are actually intended as dug outs, albeit ridiculously large ones, but, being behind the pitch side fence, were not used as such, at least not in today’s dry weather. Behind here is a further grassed area big enough for a junior pitch, with a couple of training lights, that were rather bizarrely switched on all afternoon. The main pitch is equipped with two scoreboards on opposite sides of the pitch, and both are updated throughout the game.

The last five years have seen West Leeds gain back to back promotions to climb from level eight to six, come close to reaching level five, only to then be relegated at the end of last season. Both sides have started this campaign with a record of three wins and one defeat, though examination of who they have played suggests Beverley have had the tougher opponents on paper. However, with home advantage for West Leeds I am hopeful of a close contest, but that never materialises. Early pressure brings Beverley an early score, before they take advantage of a West Leeds sin binning, ripping through the home defence far too easily in that ten minute spell to score three more times. After that it is reasonably even, without the slightest threat that Beverley’s lead would ever be challenged. For the third week running I saw a well beaten team score a late third try to give brief hopes of securing a bonus point, but, as in both previous games, West Leeds ran out of time here.


cherryhopper
Chelsea Transfer Target

Oct 15, 2019, 12:29 AM

Posts: 4785
Location: The Premier League town of Bournemouth
Team(s): AFC Bournemouth, Verwood Town, Sunderland

Post #21 of 22 (435 views)
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Saturday 12th October
Championship
Ampthill & District 20-44 Nottingham
Attendance 762
Admission £15 - Programme £2


Ampthill's historic first match in the Championship appealed more than Ampthill Town FC's match vs lowly Wodson Park over the road. Surprised they are allowed to play home matches in rugby's second tier on a ground with no cover or lights. Heard somebody say they have planning permission to build a new stadium in Fordfield Road about a mile west of the current ground, which I believe they only moved to in 14/15 season having previously played on the pitch by the main road where another match kicked off at 2pm, I believe the 2nd XV vs Esher. The clubhouse overlooks this pitch and a marquee was up here acting as a ticket office and pop up bar. Next to this is a floodlit pitch and beyond a football pitch with covered terrace which is home to Storage Retail Solutions Queensmen FC, who play in the Bedford Sunday League. The new main pitch is about a 200 yard walk behind the old main pitch through a woods. Enclosed by a metal rail encased in yellow foam, high grass baking provides a scenic elevated view on two sides, you could easily watch for nothing from the footpath which passes through the top. The far side, a no go area for spectators, has dugouts and a three storey metal scaffolding construction with a press box in the middle and camera gantry on top. On the pitch a tight start saw the two sides exchange penalties before the visitors drove over the line for the first try in the 23rd minute and scored another within five minutes. The hosts came back with a penalty and then an interception try from 45 metres scored by Sam Hanks. At 13-17 it was game on but with 40 minutes on the clock the visitors recycled possession for a further 7 minutes finally driving over the line for an 11 point half time lead. The hosts stayed on the pitch at the break while the visitors made the long walk back to the dressing rooms by the old pitch which meant half time lasted 17 minutes. Two penalties and a converted 4th try by the hour put the visitors in command before the hosts pulled a try back but after they had a player sent off for two yellow cards it was the hosts who scored the final try in the 79th minute. The only missed kick came from a visitors penalty during a further 8 minutes of stoppage time which meant the game didn't finish until nearly 4:55pm, the final whistle going about a minute before the football.


AndrewG
First Team Star

Oct 15, 2019, 11:01 PM

Posts: 1541
Location: Lancashire
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Saturday 12th October 2019 (ko 1500)
at Heatons Sports Club, Heaton Moor
Lancashire County Rugby Union League Premier Division
Heaton Moor 13 Liverpool Collegiate 12 (ht 5-7)
Admission - No charge
Programme - None issued
Attendance - 80 (estimate)


The Heatons, Mersey, Moor, Chapel and Norris, are fairly well to do suburbs to the north and west of Stockport. The 42A bus service provides a half hourly direct link to Heaton Moor’s main street, all small independent shops with barely a big high street name in sight. I found a small café that didn’t break the bank for lunch, though nothing is particularly cheap in this locale. From there it was a five minute stroll to the ground, shared between Heaton Moor Rugby Club and Heaton Mersey Cricket, Lacrosse and Tennis Club. They originally had grounds situated next door to each other, but they joined forces, each selling off a small piece of land, and using the funds to build the clubhouse that sits in the middle of the sporting facilities.

Stockport is very much a hot bed of lacrosse in England, and two pitches are set up either side of the cricket square. One is in use today, Heaton Mersey’s 2nd team in action, and as they kick off at 2pm I am able to watch a couple of minutes, although it is not a sport that greatly appeals to me. The cricket and lacrosse pitch lies to the east of the clubhouse, four tennis courts, also in use this afternoon, are immediately to the north, whilst the rugby facilities are to the west and closest to the entrance to the site.

The clubhouse is an impressive two storey structure, with most of the ground floor given over to changing rooms for the various sports, whilst a central staircase leads upstairs, where bars serve two large rooms. The main function room is hosting the rugby club’s pre match lunch, but the smaller room that is available to all is of a decent size, and has an outdoor balcony that overlooks all the sporting facilities, from which you could enjoy an unobstructed and elevated view of the rugby if you were prepared to watch from behind the posts. Two hand pumps at the bar were dispensing Thwaites Wainwright and Mobberley Brewhouse Bunji. No sign of hot food being available for sale, at least not pre match, but coffee could be purchased from the bar.

Two rugby pitches stand side by side, with the 1st XV pitch, the only one in use this afternoon, railed at the clubhouse end and along both sides. It is all grass standing at pitch side, but, despite all the rain of recent weeks, underfoot conditions are very good. There is an electronic scoreboard at the far end of the pitch which is updated throughout the afternoon, whilst the second pitch is equipped with what look like match standard floodlights, with the stanchions between the two pitches each also containing one bulb angled towards the main pitch, presumably for training purposes. No cover of any sort, save for a shelter over the clubhouse entrance, and with the second half played in steady if not especially heavy rain - which was certainly not forecast - the pitch side attendance dropped considerably.

Neither side has started the season well, Heaton Moor having lost four out of four, with their visitors recording one draw and three defeats. However, after several fairly one sided matches, I do manage to choose a close contest on this occasion, and a hard fought and low scoring game provides fine entertainment with the outcome in the balance until the end. After a try each in the first half, it takes until fifteen minutes from time for the hosts to add to the score, before they kick what proves a decisive late penalty. Liverpool Collegiate cross for their second try as the game enters stoppage time, but the difficult conversion from the touch line is missed, and the hosts hold out.

After the match I head up to Heaton Chapel, and a visit to the Heaton Hops microbar, which I can highly recommend. From there it was only a five minute walk to Heaton Chapel station, from which I had a direct train home.

 
 


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