This weeks opposition. Rugby chatter Home & Away
History does repeat, was the headline from last weeks match report, as Northwich face their own bit of history in their first ever back to back league fixture this weekend St Benedicts at home, before travelling to Whitehaven next week 24th March.
17th March I’m sure your all aware that in 432 Saint Patrick, aged about 16 was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Great Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland. But did you know in 1040 king of England Harold Harefoot (so named because he was fleet of foot) son of Cnut the Great, died aged 24. Northwich will be expecting their “Harefoot” backs to be running in tries over the next fortnight against opposition who have so far surrendered 847 points.
Northwich will be hoping for a return to their premier pitch for Saturday against visitors St Benedicts 17th March 3pm KO.
Although the weather forecast is not favourable, following two home defeats played in the open expanse of Moss Farm, alas the fortress was breached once more in the dying minutes of overtime. There were less than two minutes still on the clock when Northwich full back Joel Barber broke the Wilmslow defensive line deep in his own twenty two and then proceeded to hold off any covering defence for a length of the field try. It was the kind of try which would have deservedly won any match. Northwich only had to field the restart, to run down the remaining time with a couple of narrow drives around the fringes and to bang the ball out of play. They would have scored four tries and earned the maximum five league points to retain their challenge for second place at the top of the league. If Only! Obligingly, from the Wilmslow point of view, the Northwich forwards conspired to drop the restart, Wilmslow eventually scoring under the posts, Wilmslow now winning four from five fixtures against Northwich.
Last weekend at Warrington. In what must really be classed as a “no contest”, because St Benedicts arrived at Walton Lea Road with just 12 players, due to a car breaking down on the M6, Warrington ran in 14 tries, 13 of which were converted. With the score 75-0 at half time, Warrington decided to remove three payers to even up the contest and Benedicts immediately took advantage with a penalty goal, final score 96-3.
In the pre-league days, they would probably have evened up the sides to make a game of it, but today it is all about league points and league position. However, all respect to St Benedicts, who still put on their shirts and played, even though they knew they were in for a drumming. It is with no disrespect to say on the road St Bennies have been the leagues whipping boys, and within most clubs history there are similar seasons (the faithful will recall our trips in the Midlands league). St Bennies sole win this season was against Wilmslow 20-19.
Northwich have the least points difference of the chasing pack so high scores will be required. Northwich having slipped to 3rd, must be looking for 10 points over both games if a serious challenge for a play-off spot is to materialise. Second placed Blackburn have 3 tough away fixtures during March where they travel to VoL, Firwood & Carlisle. Northwich also visit Firwood 31st March, the same day fellow chasers Wilmslow host Warrington. A feast of rugby to be played by the chasing pack.
Due to our re-rearranged fixture our match day sponsor treasurer Bob Phillips will have had extra-extra time to squirrel away a couple of nuggets. so welcomes all supporters to our free pre-match hospitality from 1.45pm. I’m sure you will all say “CHEERS” to treasures round.
Northwich 2 on the back of ten losses and a 62-0 battering by Sandbach, travel to Kendal 2 in the LBS Jug fixture. Kendal currently top of Division 1, where Northwich sit bottom. We must remember this is a Semi-final and cup rule 8 applies, teams must be able to cover a front row replacement on one occasion, if Northwich are to gain anything from this season this is a must win, so league standings are out the window, who needs it most! Come on you “Blacks”.
Northwich 3 Unfortunately Crewe & Nantwich 3s conceded their 4th game of the season last Saturday and as such under Rule 19 must now leave the Leagues, which leaves Northwich without a fixture. Hopefully players will volunteer services and travel with the 2s. As there are no free Saturdays left to rearrange cancelled fixtures I expect last weeks over the fence derby will be determined by the leagues pools panel, I predict they will sit on the fence and declare a draw. However both captains are keen to play so a mid-week fixture is possibly on.
All 6 Nations final weekend games will be on the big screen. With a history stretching back more than 120 years, the Championship has taken a handful of forms and produced memorable championships. From the early Home Nations shootouts in the 1880s to two World Wars, to the vibrant pageantry of modern 'Super Saturday', the NatWest 6 Nations is a key fixture in the rugby calendar. Congratulations to our Irish members, our Scots members have never known that feeling in the modern era and please remind me why are Italy there.
Northwich colts visit Whitchurch 2pm KO. Last week Northwich colts reversed their fortunes against Broughton. The turning point came, after some high levels of testosterone boiling over on both sides. The lads dug deep to show character and play the rugby they are capable off. In cases like these, it is what they do with the emotion that counts, and they channelled it the right way. For the last 15 mins they took control, running in 4 superb tries, the standard played hit a new level and the lads should be proud of how they conducted themselves. 48-21.
Enjoy your weekends Rugby, home or away.
Updated 13:16 - 13 Mar 2018 by john Blower