WELCOME Let me offer a very warm welcome to our visitors from Hullensians, whose players, supporters and officials I always enjoy meeting. This season they are currently sitting in a very perilous position, third bottom of the league, but only three points ahead of O Rishworthians with only two matches still to play. Our visitors will finish their league season at home to Selby next week, whereas Rish are at Brods today and then at home to champions Moortown – ouch, that sounds like a toughy but who knows whether will now relax or strive to maintain their unbeaten run. But, if one was a betting man one's money would surely go on Hullensians to finish higher than Rish. One thing is certain, with their future in their own hands our opponents will be really fired up as they go all out for victory today. We have been warned..
Although Hullensians have won five games – both Guisborough fixtures, plus Beverley, Rish and Keighley, all at home, and have drawn at home to Salem. In other words, their only away success was the incredible 38-39 match at Guisborough. However six of their defeats have been by a single score, and they're perfectly capable of improving their away record today! In fact second-bottom Rish have won more games that our visitors, with the difference down to bonus points, 13 for our visitors against seven for Rish. It all makes for an exciting match!
BORO RUGBY After the recent inclement weather it was a relief to see Acklam Park bathed in sunshine for our match against O Rishworthians two weeks ago. Nor could we have had a better preamble to the match than a Room full of members attending the Annual Reunion tucking into a superb meal (I always enjoy Ian/Linda's succulent roast beef but I was very impressed with the Malteser cheese cake!) adjoining the lounge where Tom and Andrew were holding forth as hosts of the sponsors lunch. There were some fascinatingly funny stories circulating over lunch, but there was something I must mention – a word of praise to the Horton boys, Benn and Chris, plus Joe Secret; at lunch they were sitting with our guests from O Rishworthians, and were the models of propriety – extraordinarily so!
The afternoon got even better after the game started. With a little over 20 minutes on the clock we were 24-0 up with a try-scoring bonus point in the bag; Rhys ran in a brace before offloading to Pete to cross the line for our third and then completing his hat trick. With two conversions from Bren we settled down to enjoy a feast of Barbarians-style rugby. Two more tries were scored before the break, but unfortunately for us they were both for Rish to make the half time score 24-14.
Last week the game at Beverley was far from being a drab end of season affair; it was an absorbing match with some cracking rugby and top quality play by both sides. Beverley forwards were on top for the first quarter, but when Boro got the ball we ran impressively. For all their possession it took the home team half an hour to add seven points; we then replied with a converted try from Jamie Watson. But just before half time Beverley scored twice to take a 12 point lead into the break. Boro started the second half strongly with a ten minute assault on the home line but the defence held firm. Beverley then increased their lead with three tries to take a commanding 34-7 advantage. However we rallied strongly with tries by Liam and Harry Brice to make it 34-19, but Beverley added another at the death. The referee was complimentary about the players' conduct; the number of penalties was in single figures!
Well done to the Wasps, who beat Morpeth in the final of the CANDY Plate on Saturday; see the separate report. Our 'A' team continued their march through the season with a 43-14 victory at Guisborough a fortnight ago. With only one defeat all season, and that in the North Yorkshire Trophy, and a 100 per cent record in the Tees Valley League you would expect them to be certainties for the league title, but not so. With some teams, em, preferring not to play our boys, the title is still up in the air. Just don't expect me to explain it to you! With a total of 910 points scored the boys are edging ever closer to the magical 1000 figure.
CLUB NEWS Sadly, I have to report that Barbara, David 'Scoff' Scourfield's former wife and regular in the club, died on Tuesday, following a heart attack on Monday. I'll keep you informed of any further details.
Very many congratulations and our best wishes to young Jacob Swan, who joins the ever-growing list of our youngsters achieving representative honours. Jacob played for Yorkshire U17s against Durham at Selby two weeks ago and scored one of four tries in their 24-12 victory. The game was played at a terrific pace, with Yorkshire showing some great skills and real power carrying the ball. Well done Jacob, we hope you enjoy continued success.
And our very best wishes to Simon Moore, who hung up his boots at 4pm on Saturday never more to pull them on. See the Wasps match report for more information.
PLEASE MAKE A NOTE that in addition to our inaugural Mid-Summer Ball, a number of other events loom large on our calendar, as follows:
Friday, 10 May: Annual Dinner and Presentation Evening, Sporting Lodge
Wednesday, 12 June: Annual General Meeting
Friday/Saturday, 19/20 July: Annual Beer Festival
We are also giving serious thought to celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2022. Time has a habit of flying by and 2022 will be here in the blink of an eye. We would welcome your thoughts and suggestions on what events and activities you would like to see organised to give the season some real impact that such an important milestone deserves. Please feel free to offer your ideas to Dave Waddington, Mike Wright, Gordon Pargeter or Don Brydon – or indeed any one of your officers. We want to make this a whole-club celebration.
SPONSORS We are delighted to welcome two sponsors this afternoon. Returning sponsors are Henderson Insurance Broking Group, now part of Aon, who celebrated 30 years in business in 2016. (See p8 of our programme.) Operating from 16 offices across the UK they bridge the gap between small local brokers and large multinational corporations, having strong relationships with leading insurance companies, and direct access to the important Lloyd’s of London market. Their Stockton office is located at Westland Way, Preston Farm Estate, where Janathan Willett and Emma Simpkins are the Directors.
Also joining us today is a new sponsor, the Endeavour Partnership. We welcome partner Nik Tuney, who actually played for us in the Colts alongside Andy Micklewright. Endeavour is exclusively a business law firm where a personal approach is blended with business and legal expertise, meaning that clients receive commercially invaluable solutions. They offer uncompromising legal knowledge with a uniquely human approach in all sectors. Their growing team are experts in their selected fields with a focus on a specialist area of law whilst cutting through jargon to deliver a human approach to legal advice. I hope they and their guests enjoy their afternoon with us, and thank both companies for their support.
REFEREE'S CORNER I am delighted to welcome Philip Gordge back to Acklam Park. Phil was a No8 who played at London University and Bromley before becoming a referee 12 years ago. He has been here several times, although his last visit was two years ago when we played Consett. A pharmacist Phil now lives in Bridlington.