It was great to see a full Clubhouse on Saturday, over 100 for lunch, a flamboyant performance from the team and the day celebrated well into the night.
It is always nice to have days like these when everything seems to fall into place and the Club buzzes.
The weekend had started poignantly with Tim Hunt's send off on Friday. He was toasted in some style, a major contributory factor to some pressures on Saturday evening.
Saturday started with people knocking on the door a good while before noon and a host of former players, sponsors and friends descending on the Club looking for cheer and in good spirits. The day continued in that vein, Bowdon committee arrived by minibus and made their intentions to enjoy themselves clear. I have to thank everyone for their generosity of spirit and their generosity. I had been deputed by Mark Flett to run the raffle. Never a salesman I had a moment, in fact two, of inspired accidental delegation first Dan Smith swept smoothly round the function room and then outside Pam and Saskia operated a tag team approach to encourage participation. Thank you to them and to all of you taking part.
The First Team, left as the only one playing due to cancellations by both Second Team and Third Team opponents and the absence of a fixture for the Women during the Autumn Internationals, showed some superb skills to wear down and then stretch away from Bowdon adding to the general good spirits.
The after-match celebration carried on for a good while. The tradition introduced kindly by the said Mark Flett of awarding Club ties to squad members picked up pace. It was great to see groups organised through Ian Aitchison and our sponsors Close Brothers, with some co-ordination from Biff Handley and Lol Connor bolstering the more regular visitors and all mingling after match.
I think I can report that the first Bank View Hire "Spot the Ball" was won, I was told, by Stuart Turner, clearly a decision based on his years of studying the dynamics of the line out and his inherent understanding of the game, or at least I like to think it was.
I am also grateful to those of you who showed patience as we waited for the cavalry to arrive as pumps ran dry. Given that on Friday morning there was a lot of stock it was an impressive effort to bring about a call for reserves and I would thank Sammy and the bar staff and Gillions for coping with all that and managing to run a 90th Birthday Party as well in the early evening.
The flexibility and understanding shown both on Saturdays and Sundays, so that we can make as much use of the Club as possible to keep us ticking over is appreciated. I think the Christmas Lunches, on 14th December Men at home to Stockport and 21st December Women at home to Darlington Mowden Park might stretch us again.
I am told we have so many attending that we need to have two sittings on 14th December, and it would be great to have similar numbers on 21st December. The 14th December is sold out and I would ask if those lucky enough to have booked could please confirm numbers with Raychel over the next few days and ideally pay in advance by Monday 25th November and let us know any dietary requirements? There is a waiting list and if we can accommodate all those wanting to attend we would like to. If you have not booked a place please still come down and enjoy the day. Also why not join me at the Women's game on the 21st December that will be live streamed so you can get yourself on tele.
This weekend we are still without a Women's fixture, I think, the league starting up again on 30th November. I am lucky enough to be whisked away by Ryanair, at my cost I hasten to add, and am looking to attend the Dublin Wanders 150th Anniversary Dinner as a plus one for Dave Ward. I will carry out some preliminary reconnaissance for the tour we are looking to organise at Easter to recover the Pike and report back.
I hope the rest of you can take up the baton and travel hopefully to Wilmslow, for what will be a very testing encounter against the team at the top of the league. If some of the play over the last couple of weeks can be replicated then I am sure the lads will give a good account of themselves, it should be a cracker of a game.
If travel is not for you, the Seconds are at home to Stockport and if you want to test out if your boots still fit after all this excitement then the MGM are playing at Northwich. We do like to spoil you for choices.
What of Sunday fare? Well last Sunday I know the Colts travelled to Chester after quite an intense run of games and were just unable to make the better of them on the 3G pitch. They have a couple of weeks off now which I think is no bad thing to recharge and maybe even get a bit of studying in.
I know that teams travelled far and wide last weekend but apart from seeing a host of Firwood Waterloo / New Brighton minis having fun I have no scores to report, sorry. I know that this week is pretty much a training weekend for all, the balance between games and skills training is important at this age and I am sure all will use the time wisely.
I did hear that a number of our younger juniors performed well at the Sale Academy Development Evening at Ruskin Park. I hope you enjoyed the evening and good luck to those who progress. Some may not but as with other years, the most important thing is to keep enjoying playing, strive to be that bit better and you will be pleasantly surprised how things can develop.
On the social front, I think there are 20 or so tickets left for the Night at the West End, Friday 29th November. It should be fun, if you are not booked in give Raychel a call and we will reserve you a place.
In December, and I am trying to confirm the details, we are looking to host a Carol Concert on 13th December. It may vary a bit from previous years, but it is the start of Christmas as much as putting up the tree.
I look forward to seeing you at the Club over the coming weeks and for now wish you a really enjoyable weekend and some good rugby.