The season starts in earnest
13 September 2012
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The Olympics and Paraplymics are over, the warm-up games have been completed and for the majority of Eastern Counties clubs the league season proper starts on Saturday.
There were some Preliminary Round Junior Vase games last Saturday but of the three Eastern Counties Clubs that played only Thurston have got through to the next round.
Our five clubs playing at Level 6 and above started their league campaigns two weeks ago and I was particularly interested to see how Cambridge would get on after abandoning professionalism. I was delighted to see that their narrow loss to Cinderford in their first game was followed up with a bonus-point win against Loughborough Students, giving cause for optimism for survival in the semi-professional National League One.
Meanwhile near neighbours Shelford also made up for an opening loss against Henley with an emphatic win at home to Southend. But who decided that it would be a good idea to schedule Cambridge’s and Shelford’s home and away games on the same weekends?
In London One, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester and Diss fly the ECRU flag and the first derby game last weekend saw Bury trounce Diss having beaten Rochford 99-0 the week before. Colchester host Diss on Saturday then travel to Bury next week after which we will know who will hold the early bragging rights.
London Two sees Ipswich, Lowestoft & Yarmouth and Saffron Walden joined by Holt, North Walsham and Stowmarket so there are plenty of local derbies to look forward to which is good for players, spectators and for bar profits. In London Three newly promoted Cantabs and Wisbech will want to make an impact as will Beccles, Norwich and Sudbury.
Eastern Counties One and Two has a full programme of fixtures and I am sure players and supporters are all looking forward to resuming old rivalries and meeting new friends. On Saturday I will be going to Hadleigh’s game against Ely, and I am so looking forward to getting back to watching grass-roots rugby in the company of rugby people.
I’ve missed it over the summer and 3pm on Saturday can’t come soon enough.