From the Touchline – Sat 8th March

Today we entertain Old Albanian who are currently 8th in the league with 59 points – two places below ourselves.

Earlier in the season we met in a close encounter eventually finishing at 27 all although we scored four tries to their three and picked up the extra bonus point.

Old Albanian come into this game having last week defeated relegation condenders Henley 19 – 10 whilst we lost 24 – 19 to a Doncaster side who included our former centre Matt Clark. This was an absorbing match with the home side leading 24 – 7 just after the break only for ourselves to eventually take advantage of abundant possession and gradually close the gap to only five points playing the last 18 minutes with 14 men having used all our subsistutes. Indeed, one unbiased pundit on Rolling Maul, said it was difficult to tell which side was the full-time professionals! Nevertheless, it was a great game between two equally matched sides.

Last week’s other results saw second placed Rosslyn Park scrape a one point win at Loughborough Students and victories for Blackheath, Richmond, Tynedale and Coventry. The former three thus improving their survival hopes and looking at the fixtures over the next few weeks, all the bottom four sides meet each other and it could be by the end of March that the situation is a little clearer. At present, Cinderford, with games in hand on everyone else, still appear to have a good chance of staying up.

Recent club Cup results have seen all our Junior sides advance to the semi-final stages of their respective competitions with the Bricks actually in their final. Maybe once again, we will retain all cups! It must be noted that currently we are the only club in the North East running four sides.

The referee today is Matthew O’Grady, making his first ever visit to Crow Trees. Matthew is new to the panel this season and such has been his progress, that he has already done a couple of British and Irish Cup games but most importantly, he is a barrister so no doubt there will be no arguing today!!

Next week we take the long trip to Henley for the re-arranged game with the bus leaving at 4.00.p.m. on Friday.

Finally, a note to members reminding them that the car boot sale re-started last week and for a change we had fine weather and with this week also looking good, we seemingly are getting off to a good start. Bob Bartle is again in charge and is always on the look-out for a couple more volunteers! Our mid-week car boot sale will commence in mid-May for 20 weeks until mid-September and details will shortly be released but again, we are looking for any available mid-week volunteers for a Wednesday morning.

Jim Huxley

Referee : Matthew O’Grady
Assistant Referees : Dean Lithgoe/Alan Hughes