It was another wonderful weekend of rugby: in Japan, both England and Wales qualified for the World Cup semi-finals, one easier than the other; next Saturday and Sunday’s games will be eagerly anticipated. The Clubhouse will again be open, to watch them both on the widescreen TV, with breakfasts being served – come along and enjoy the atmosphere, kick-off for both matches is 9.00 am BST.
All teams were away, but there were good results for 3 of the 4 the teams from MRUFC; the Firsts travelled across the Pennines to Sandal and recorded a brutal, but brilliant 21-46 points win. Six tries scored, with another brace from Harry Oliver to secure all five points, keeping the pressure on the top two teams in the league. Our Chairman, Stephen Branch said: “This season we’ve been solid at home but not always great away; it was the best 80 minutes of rugby this season – and with room to get even better. It was a jubilant coach trip back to Macclesfield!
The Seconds went to Rossendale and produced a gritty performance on an awkward sloping pitch, winning 5 – 15. Lloyd Smith-Coates, running like a steam-roller, went over for two, to give us an early 10 points lead. In the second half, Smith-Coates scored a further try to complete his hat trick. Others showing in the backs were Tom Leicester and Kings School alumni Jake Robinson, both orchestrating attack and defence from midfield. Coach Pete Langley was delighted with some new faces from the third XV; three wins from six matches move the 2s up into 6th nearer to the post-New Year play-offs.
The third team went to Bolton, short-handed, unfortunately losing 31-10. Try scorer Lewis Pierce and Ollie Wilson were both outstanding, and Pierce’s university buddy, Ben, helped the side out. Captain Simon Grant and Matt Harding, two of our over 50’s, played a sterling game; Grant, however, was disappointed not being able to field a complete 15. The Club welcomes players of all ages and skills to come and enjoy our fantastic game at Priory Park.
The fourth team went to Burnage 3rds and had a strong win scoring six tries 14 – 38. Stalwart and MRUFC legend, Jeremy Bostock, unluckily suffered a badly broken nose, needing six stitches at A&E – not the best birthday present!
The last 1st team fixture at Priory Park was sponsored by our new key partner The Ashbrook Group, a family-based company from the Cheshire farming community. The Club is delighted to welcome new sponsors Ashbrook; the group provides plant-hire, agricultural machinery and transport equipment, nationally. Managing Director James Ashbrook is a very keen follower, his son Harry originally joined the Under 6s and was a ball boy to the first team on the day. Ashbrook sponsor Dafydd Rees and Harry were thrilled to meet him pre and post-match.
James says his firm has served the plant hire industry for 15 years offering a customer based service: “sometimes imitated but never bettered”.
President Peter Harper
Last week our immediate past Chairman and new President, Peter Harper, was presented with a framed rugby cap by current Chairman Stephen Branch to commemorate his 50 years’ association; the last seven as Chairman of the Club. Here’s a brief résumé of his career as a player: in 1969, his father, Peter senior, was at the time, skipper of the 5th team, he called upon his 13 year old son to help make-up the numbers(there hangs another tale). He moved to Second Team at 15 and at 17 made his First Team debut. He played two seasons for the First Team on Saturdays and captained the Colts on Sundays, winning the Club’s first ever silverware: the Cheshire Cup, in 1976.
Harper, a very good number 7, actually played every position except second row over a 10 year period, including two seasons as captain. Sadly a bad injury curtailed his senior career; then in 1992 he formed the Dream Team which was a younger Vets side, made up of ex first-teamers. He then completed the circle of his playing days, by captaining the Vets Team for 4 years before becoming a hugely competent administrator.
Congratulations and wonderful reflections Peter; and having given up the Chair you’ll be able to devote more time to your day job of running Claphams Landscapes.
Next week’s fixtures
- 1st XV away at Blackburn;
- 2nd XV home to Preston Grasshoppers 3.00 pm kick off
- 3rd XV home v Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC Development XV
- 4th XV cup match home to Bowdon.