Well what a couple of weeks of rugby we have had. We always knew these last and next few games were always going to be the telling point of the season and so it seems to be the case. Our visitors today are Loughborough Students and I’m sure somewhere else in the programme notes you will find the usual in-depth analysis of games past, but will they dare to mention that certain record Students have on us. More of this later.
CHESHIRE CATS (Part 1)
If you were not at the last home game against Chester, you missed a very good game indeed which ebbed and flowed in most cases to whoever best played the hill at Park Lane. Alas that would be us. It would be a bit daft if we didn’t! It may not seem all that much but believe me it is one hell of an incline and Sedge used it to all its worth. On the day Sedge just had the edge in most of the match ups and we deserved the 27-14 win with a 4 try bonus point. Lovely
CHESHIRE CATS (Part 2)
So, the day came First verses Third at Paton Fields, as the ‘surely to be’ champions of the league this season Caldy take on Sedge. The game was set up nicely and a big crowd attended in what should have been a colossal scrap.
Well something else turned up too, as we had the beginnings of storm Ciara and with it a wind that was relentless and blew out any chance of good open rugby game. Caldy will be champions of the league this season I have no doubt of that. They play, one would call, a direct style of rugby, as they are a big menacing team with a bit of pace dotted in the backline.
For most of the game Sedge dealt with them quite well indeed and for a large part of the game it was still all to play to play for. I know, I here you say, the final score was 32-11 and the scoreboard never lies. It also sometimes does not reflect the whole story and in this case it did not. A couple of silly decision-making moments were the difference. Talk about small margins. Sedge more than made a scrap of it and on our day, we are a match for all-comers, even those who would be champions. I can’t wait for next week, if we get over today’s colossus match up
I have to say it is a great pleasure to meet up with some of our formers players and last week at Caldy sneaking in at the bar (sorry pushing in, well who’s going to stop him) was the colossus former Sedge second row/Captain and forwards coach at one point, Louis McGowan.
He was formidable player for all the clubs he served, From Rotherham Titans to his last club Caldy. An England Counties regular as he served both Sedge and England Counties with honour and pride. Never a foot taken backwards never a person to throw his toys out of the pram. We have been lucky to have lots of past and present players in that category but with Louis he was one of the Claret and Gold’s very best. He is a gentleman off the field and a warrior on it. Great to see you Louis.
HEARING YOUR WONDEROUS JOURNEY
Talking of Louis and his former club Rotherham Titans, it is sad to hear this once mighty bastion of Club Rugby who gave hope to ever little club with big aspirations, that anything can happen given a one club mentality. Sadly, that term “anything could happen” can work both ways, as this once Premier league club now faces relegation into National League Two North.
It seems a far cry from the days when the Premiership elite did everything possible to keep this club from entering the highest league! Even the year where they stuffed the Yorkshire outfit’s mouth with gold to stay out the league. It did not work, as in the next season after taking the bung, they only went and did it. Yes, they got promotion and had a very tough season in the sun, not made any easier by the obstacles the PRL and sadly the RFU put in their way. After that it was a slow process of life in the slow lane meaning the Championship in a ground hog day of existence. This is where we met Rotherham when we joined for our five seasons in the sun.
Next season we will see Rotherham and Hull Ionians back here at Park Lane and it will be a pleasure and a privilege to meet both clubs again. When the inevitable happens (and it will!!) and the news of Rotherham’s relegation is confirmed, the headlines will tell a story. A story of woe, bad debts, insolvency and misplaced negativity and ‘I told you so’ ending. Like scoreboards, the score will reflect a result, but it never tells the whole story. I hope the whole story of Rotherham’s fantastic journey is told.
A RECORD SCORELINE
As it seems a theme this week, ‘the score on the scoreboard does not tell the whole story. Well here’s a story of a huge score-line. Earlier I mentioned Loughborough Students hold a record at Park Lane and that is the biggest away win ever by any side at Park Lane, when in a National One League match they racked up 106 points to 12 win, in what was a last match of the season drubbing. What was never made clear in the game and what was missed was a back story of County over Club. Sedge that season had been relegated and this game was a rearranged game that Sedge never wanted to play but due to incremental funding at the highest possible finish it was highly important game for Students.
That same weekend Lancashire had a semi-final game in the County Cup, something all clubs in Lancashire take very seriously. Originally, most of the Lancashire squad was going to be drawn from the Fylde squad, but they also, that weekend, had an important game to play, and with a full squad because their opposition that weekend were fighting in a relegation battle. It was made very clear to Fylde and Lancashire that any thought of Fylde purposely weakening the team and losing the game would be severely frowned on as it would give others a disadvantage.
A meeting was called with the senior Lancashire clubs attending, and it was agreed that both Preston Grasshoppers and Sedgley Park in a high honourable move would deliberately weaken their first XV teams that weekend so PGH and Sedge players could represent Lancashire. The consequences for both clubs in the league were huge as Sedge fielded a Second team/under 20s and an emerging third team selection against a very useful Students. The outcome was inevitable. A very professional performance by Students as they gave Sedgley selection a lesson to remember. I remembered going into the changing rooms straight after the game and to say there were players there blowing hard is an understatement, in fact a few weeks later some players were still blowing.
What of Lancashire. Come on it was a great win for the red Rose who went onto win the County Cup at Twickenham for a record time.
SPEAKING OF BLOWING
Now this next statement could be taken in many ways, and I hope the receiver of the message takes it in its worst context. In my now regular dig at your Master of Ceremonies each week at the pre-match meal, Eddie McAldred, the laird of clan McUnfunny, I would just like to ask him what the score was last week. Eddie was it a case of the conditions being far too windy for the Scots or was it something else! Whatever! I await my winnings. Again. I wonder how long the wait will be this time.