As the year moves swiftly on and we speed through March, things start hotting up, not literally according to weather forecasts, but so far as the various competitions and leagues our teams are in.
In a break from tradition I wanted to mention a little about last Sunday's games, details relayed by our M&J Chairman Kevin Brookman and Helen Duggan and David Blyth from pitch side, which saw our Under 14's, 15's and 16's progress in the various Lancashire Cup events they were taking part in. The 14's had a walkover and are now in their final. The 15's and 16's had tough games against Vale of Lune and Heaton Moor respectively, winning to allow them to progress to semi-finals on 7th April. Mentioning semi-finals, our Colts are in the Lancashire Cup Semi-Final at Widnes on 17th March 12.30 k.o. and a number of them are playing for St Mary's in the Lancashire Under 18's plate final on Monday evening at Southport. Dates for your diary if you are starting to worry that you will soon be missing your rugby.
Stepping up in age, after a close encounter with Northwich, in a game we might say needed to be five minutes longer, the Men's First Team regroup and travel to Varley Park on Saturday to meet Burnage. Each game is a key game in the current league circumstances. Burnage sit just below us and Varley Park has always proved a tough venue for us, but there is no reason that the team should not approach this match positively and enjoy it given their recent form. The more who can visit and support the team, at what is always a hospitable venue for spectators, the better.
The Men's Seconds and Thirds enjoyed another avalanche of points, the Seconds just pipped at Lymm, 39-36, the Thirds reversing the Birkenhead Park points difference in rapid fashion before sportingly declaring at half time 73-7 to the good. Both teams will be challenged this weekend, with the Seconds meeting rivals Blackburn at home looking to redress things after our recent defeat there.
The challenge for the Thirds is provided by Hoylake on the pitch. But possibly Messrs Bentham and Swain may have to wrestle with the fact that players will turn up in their numbers so used to playing in all the corners of the North West that it will be hard to satisfy them with a short skip to the Fortress that is Hall Road. The lack of familiarity with the setting would suggest home advantage is diluted, good luck guys in your endeavours.
A positive mention for the Ladies Development Team on a similar run of away fixtures that took them to Hartpury last week where despite their best efforts the home side prevailed. The team travel again this weekend with a Sunday fixture against Richmond. I know the team are pressing for that elusive win and this would be a great place to take that honour. Safe journey and good luck.
Good luck also to our Internationals this weekend with Sarah, Mhairi, Lauren and Lisa are all named in the match day squads as England face Italy, Scotland Wales and Ireland take on France.
Congratulations are also due, sorry I am slow picking this up, to Women's Coach Giles Heagarty on his continued retention as coach of the England Counties Under 18 squad. The team's games follow on from the end of the Tyrrell's Premier 15's league and in case old age causes this to slip from my memory again, good luck with those games.
As usual this Sunday will see a hive of activity at the Club. Sedgeley Park minis and a couple of juniors descend en masse and games are scheduled for the older age groups against Littleborough.
It looks like a pretty busy weekend, and for those supporting the Seconds, or trying to stop the Thirds going further than Hall Road, there is an international match to watch before wending your way home.
Finally a big thanks to everyone who supported Wigzee Woo last week and also those who supported the raffle. The ladies involved were "knocked out" by the support and interest and are letting me know what we were able to contribute. It is nice that the Club can raise its profile in the Community in this way, something I hope to see more of, and your part in that is appreciated by all.
Have a great and satisfying weekend