I would like to wish our visitors from Keighley a very warm welcome to Sandhill Lane for the second home fixture following the Christmas break. Our visitors are currently on a good run of form, having beaten Middlesbrough, Crossleyans and Guisborough since the turn of the year and now seem pretty assured of Yorkshire 1 status next season if the shake up of League Rugby in the North of England doesn’t impinge too much on the Yorkshire Divisions. Unfortunately we find ourselves in what has become fairly familiar territory over the last few seasons, occupying one of the two relegation spots following disappointing results recently against Dinnington and Crossleyans. However, I know just what a great set of fighters our players are and am certain that it will only take a couple of good results (hopefully starting this afternoon) to help turm things round.
When we travelled over to Keighley earlier in the season to play on their much-discussed 4G pitch, we eventually managed to get on top and were justly rewarded with a victory which meant that Keighley had only a solitary victory against Guisborough to their name. However 6 wins since then have helped lift Keighley up to 10th place in the League and given them a 10 point cushion over Rishworthians in 11th place. We currently sit 2 places and 1 point further behind, so the relegation issue certainly looks like being every bit as tense this year as we have seen in the last few seasons
Lat weekend’s other Senior results saw our 2nds continue their rapid improvement with a hard fought 17-33 win away at Wath, the only team to gain a win on the day, with the thirds going down to a strong Ossett 2nd XV and the 4ths not quite having the strength to hold a physical Castleford second team. However I trust that all the 4th team players will have enjoyed their opportunity to play on our fantastic First Pitch, even though it caused a few to “cramp up” in the later stages. There was talk of possibly turning out a 5th team, but unfortunately JCP was unable to find suitable opposition and so Feb 2nd has been earmarked as the next occasion when we may try again. After the trials and tribulations of last season , it is a great testament to players , captains and managers of our lower sides that we are once again seeing very healthy numbers of players at a time when many other clubs are having a real struggle.
Today promises to be another very busy day at the Club with a second pre-match Lunch of the year, Planet Platforms occupying the Swans’ Nest for their day of Sponsorship (for which we remain extremely grateful) and the Annual Extravaganza that is “Stars in their Eyes”, which is approaching its 20th year and shows no sign of losing it popularity. Thanks of course go to all members and friends who dare to tread the boards in front of a captivated audience and to DB and Ady who I presume will once again be responsible for bringing it all together.
In conclusion, I would like to offer a gentle reminder to everybody taking part in or spectating this afternoon's game to please show respect to the match officials, players from both sides and other spectators. There is nothing better than a hard fought game of Rugby played out in front of a knowledgeable and friendly crowd and we all have to play our part in ensuring that everybody here this afternoon can go home afterwards having enjoyed some great entertainment, whether a player, flag man, referee, water boy, allickadoo or a member of the paying public. We have a duty to all visitors to Sandhill Lane to ensure that their afternoon is not ruined by the actions of one or two individuals and that everybody adheres to the RFU Code of Conduct, so I would ask that everybody makes sure that they behave in a manner befitting our great game.