FRIDAY’S FROM THE TOUCHLINE with Dave Campbell Big Cup Semi-Final bumper edition!

3 Apr

PICTURES BY ANDY STANDING

NICK INGHAM ON THE CHARGE AT PONTEFRACT

NICK INGHAM ON THE CHARGE AT PONTEFRACT

PREVIEW OF TOMORROW’S SEMI-FINAL

The hyperbole will have to stop at 3pm tomorrow when Scarborough’s long awaited National knockout semi-final with Shropshire side Bridgnorth RFC kicks off at Silver Royd. Leading Midlands 2 North (west) with an unbeaten record, Bridgnorth will travel North in confident mood for this game. Scoring an average of over forty points per game they have taken their league by storm and will expect a straightforward win tomorrow.

However over the years the national cups has been in existence it has been proved beyond doubt that the Yorkshire leagues are some of the strongest in the country at levels 7 and 8. Testament to this is the disproportionate number of Yorkshire sides which have either won or made the finals of the junior and senior Vases and the Intermediate Cup.

TAYLOR SMITH LEADS THE CHARGE AT PONTEFRACT

TAYLOR SMITH LEADS THE CHARGE AT PONTEFRACT

Scarborough once again have had a maddeningly inconsistent season in the league but have done well in the cup and apart from a long-term injury to fly-half Tomasz Chadwick should be at full-strength tomorrow. Paul Taylor, Harry Domett, Tom Harrison and Eamon Chapman all return to action having missed last week’s abandoned game at Pontefract. Other good news for the Scarborough faithful are the return of long-term injury victim Phil Watson and the dynamic Corey Dennis who has been struggling with a hamstring injury. Youngster James Leach who has really impressed since moving up to senior rugby, is also in the squad and joins outstanding ex-junior colts Jordi Wakeham and Hayden Ogilvie who have been regular first teamers this season.

MATTY ELSE

MATTY ELSE

Tomorrow is also a special day for Matty Else who is the only survivor of the side which were beaten at Billericay in the semi-final of the Tetley Bitter Vase in 1999 to play in this year’s semi. The big dairy farmer has been an ever-present in the Scarborough line-up for many years and nothing would please me more than to see him run out at Twickenham in May. Of course Scarborough CEO Graham Young also played in that game and his work off the pitch has seen the club progress to where they are today. Oh yes; and the joker in the pack Martin Robinson played at Twickenham for Bridlington two years ago in the same competition, so he can impart his recollections of playing at ‘HQ’ to his team-mates

A BIG CROWD IS EXPECTED TOMORROW

A BIG CROWD IS EXPECTED TOMORROW

MY CUP REMINISCENCES

Sitting down to write this blog notes my mind drifted back to some terrific times in pursuit of glory at Twickenham over the years. Now I’m not quite sure of when the RFU in their wisdom decided to limit entry into the national knockout competitions but it was a sad day when universal entry ceased and qualification for the cups was through success in the county knockout competitions. Scarborough was losing finalists in last season’s Yorkshire Shield and with winners Ilkley promoted to a level 6 league we gained entry to the Intermediate Cup. Three games later and we find ourselves in the semi-final today. In 1999 when we reached the semi of the Tetley Bitter Vase we played seven games to get there.

TWICKENHAM

TWICKENHAM

The point I’m making is that many more clubs (500+) had a chance to play in this marvellous competition and with a wee bit of success, get to places where they would otherwise never had the chance to play. For the away games have always been the fun times in the cups. I have so many memories of those games on the road; visiting one of my old haunts in the midlands we were confronted at Trentham RFC in Stoke by a metal front door peppered by shotgun pellets; the local Alikadoos informed us there had been an ‘incident’ at a ‘social’ the week before!

NEWBY: SCENE OF MANY CUP BATTLES!

NEWBY: SCENE OF MANY CUP BATTLES!

In another year at a west Yorkshire club which will be nameless, the home side was returning to the dressing room following their pre-match warm-up when a fight broke out between two players. The fracas was caused by rivalry for the affections of a young lady! Needless to say with such discord in the camp, Scarborough won easily! Amongst other highlights of our travels was gales in Whitehaven, me breaking a Scarborough player’s wrist whilst report on our game at Derby University and scoffing a feast fit for a king prior to a game at Daventry.

At Newby we hosted such diverse opponents as York Railway Institute, Knottingly (I still remember the streaker!) and London club Old Hamptonians; the posh chaps from the capital were a great bunch and I enjoyed a late ‘refreshment’ with them in town the night before the game which Scarborough won 21-6 with Graeme Young getting a couple of spectacular tries. Sadly Old Hamptonians who play in the shadow of Hampton Court Palace have dropped out of the leagues and now play in group 6 of the Middlesex Merit Tables.

WAYNE ADAMS, KEVIN TATE AND MATTY ELSE ALL PLAYED AT BILLERICAY

WAYNE ADAMS, KEVIN TATE AND MATTY ELSE ALL PLAYED AT BILLERICAY

Ah! And that semi-final at Billericay; we travelled the day before and had a great night out in Basildon; unfortunately we lost 18-6 the following day. Billericay went on to win the Vase at Twickenham.  That’s all in the past now and Bridgnorth’s superb playing record makes them firm favourites to progress; however when it gets to this stage in the competition, the protagonists don’t know what to expect of each other which makes the National semis so intriguing. It’s going to be a great afternoon watched by hopefully a four figure crowd and I sincerely hope our visitors from the Black Country, where I spent some of my teenage years, come away from Scarborough (town and club) suitably impressed by their experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: