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That Friday Feeling – 27th January 2023

Three in a Row!

Bedford Blues come to Paton Fields on Saturday for what is sure to be a big test for the Caldy Ravers. After 3 wins in a row, and 4 out of 5, Caldy have surged up the table and now stand 8th in the table with 27 points. Saturday will be a very tough game with Bedford Blues also on a run of 3 wins in a row, and the two teams are the form teams in the Championship at the moment. Who would have thought we would be saying that Caldy are the form team in the Championship?

Last week saw Caldy away at Nottingham under the floodlights on Friday night. A great win with Caldy in control for most of the match and gaining all 5 points. After the disappointment of losing at home to Nottingham in the dying moments at the beginning of the season it shows how the Ravers have been learning their lessons during the season. Lots of credit to the coaches and players!

Bedford Rugby Club was founded in 1886 after the merger of Bedford Rovers (1876) and Bedford Swifts (1882) and they have had 41 Internationals play for their country whilst playing for Bedford and 3 England Captains. In total another 83 internationals have played for Bedford at some point in their careers. A famous Club with a lot of illustrious former players making for a rich history. This will be Bedford’s first ever visit to Paton Fields and let us give them a warm welcome from the Bank.

The RFU forwarded relevant and interesting statistics regarding the Championship this week. Nick Royle is the 3rd highest try scorer in the division with 8 tries and Bedford’s Ian Adamson is in 2nd place with 9 tries. After grabbing tries in the last few games behind the powerful Caldy pack Ollie Hearn has 7 tries and also features in the top 10 try scorers. Well done to the evergreen Nick Royle for challenging at the top of the try scorers table yet again! Caldy have the 4th highest average attendance in the Championship with an average gate of 1,220 and the club with the highest average attendance is Bedford with 2,998.

When Caldy visited Goldington Road in September we lost a thriller by 52 – 29 points. The Ravers have learnt a lot since those early games when it was about adapting to a faster pace of rugby. Our Alacadoos and supporters who were at Goldington Road that day thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the Bedford traditional Ladies Day, when everyone was asked to wear pink including the Caldy hierarchy.

The big controversy of the week has been the RFU announcing the change to the tackle height for next season. Certainly it has generated strong feelings amongst community rugby who are struggling to see how it will work. It is hard to comment without seeing the supporting evidence but the big challenge for us will be having players in the 2nd team tackling below the waist and in the 1st XV below the shoulder line. I am not sure how players can move from one team to the other and change tackle technique so quickly but hopefully the RFU had already considered these issues before announcing the changes. We will have to wait and see what comes out of the current debate and hopefully it wont act as a deterrent to people playing community rugby.

The 1st team for this week is: Adam Aigbokhae, Ollie Hearn, Nathan Rushton, Sam Dickinson, Tom Sanders, Nyle Davidson, Calum Ridgway, JJ Dickinson, Chris Pilgrim, Rhys Hayes, Louis Beer, Mike Barlow, Dan Bibby, Nick Royle, Eliott Gourlay Subs: Tom Clarke, Ryan Higginson, Jack Parker, Martin Gerrard, Harrison Crowe, Joe Murray, Mike Cartmill, Lewis Barker

This week sees the Caldy 2nd XV away at Lymm and after the disappointment of losing last week’s local derby at Wirral to bad weather let us hope the game goes ahead. A strong Caldy team is: Andy Darlington, Ted Stagg, Will Sanderson, Sam Olyott, Matt Deehan, Dave Jones, Joe Sanders, Ryen Spencer – Wolf, Jacob Ainscough, Joe Smith, Max Jones, Ezra Hinchcliffe, Tom Fletcher, Ben Jones, Alex White Subs: Jaco Oosthuyzen, James Holmes, Tomas Williams, George assall, Freddie Stevenson, Nathan Ovien, Alex Gaughan, Connor Windell


Our players need to be fitter than ever to play at such a high standard, and to compete with full time professionals and each month there is a fitness challenge between the squad. At the end of their individual gym sessions in January the players have been doing a timed 1000 metre challenge on  rowing machines, and send their times in. The leader as I write this is Ryen Spencer – Wolf with an amazing 2 minutes 58 seconds. If you have ever tried the challenge, you will agree to beat 3 minutes is extremely difficult! Players are rated against each other by position and tables show how each player has done – a great idea and I am sure no one wants to be near the bottom of a table.

Let us give the Caldy Ravers great support from the Bank tomorrow and remember to keep it positive with no shouting at the referee or opposition. At Caldy, we want to win but keeping the spirit of rugby with respect to others, is also key to what we are as a rugby club.

Also, a reminder not to park on Pikes Hey Road if you are going to watch the game. We have plenty of parking room at Paton Fields and please show consideration for our neighbours by not parking on their road.

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