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That Friday Feeling – 8th September ’23

Caldy kicked off their Centenary Season against Leicester Tigers!

Leicester Tigers are the highest-ranked rugby team that Caldy has ever played against in 100 years of competitive rugby. To start our centenary season playing against Leicester Tigers is for many of us a dream – something we never thought possible. Pre leagues, we started the season against Old Parkonians – a tough game against local rivals – and as leagues kicked in our first games of the season varied. But it isn’t a dream, and Leicester Tigers are hosting a Caldy “Take Over” day tomorrow.

It is hard to believe but our Lads will be running out tomorrow in front of an expected 15,000 plus crowd. And they deserve to; they play in the Championship on merit and against expectations from the RFU, other Championship clubs and pundits were safe from relegation with 4 games to go. This season Matt Cairns and his coaching team are aiming higher and is there any Caldy supporter foolish enough to believe these players can’t finish in the top half of the league this season. We are truly blessed to be watching this squad perform against a club that hold the record for having won a record 11 Premiership titles and that have also played in 5 European finals, a joint European record, that they won twice under Dean Richards. Arguably the greatest club side in the Premiership and they have 10 current players playing in the World Cup in France. And they are playing Caldy on the opening day of the season!

If heart wins games, then this Caldy team would never lose! The professionalism and desire to be the best they can be is nurtured by Matt, Richard, Sooty and CJ and, of course, the master planner Gareth. We might not employ any full time players or staff but no one could ever criticise the professionalism of our coaches and players. Speaking to retired players all you hear is that they would love to be playing now – in this team, with these players as team mates, being coached by Matt and his team, and not only playing at the highest level but also enjoying themselves so very much. Having witnessed our lads on the coach back from journeys I would make the following observations: they are the politest and nicest bunch of rugby players I have ever met, they drink, sing, laugh and clearly enjoy themselves and, importantly, are all friends.

Young players want to play at the best level they can! And that is right! Young players come training with the seniors, and they receive the best training outside the Premiership – and I would question whether that is better although as they are all professionals they train more often – and on behalf of all the retired players and Caldy supporters I would say they are lucky to be part of this group and to be learning all the time. To be learning not just the skills, the commitment, the fitness required but most importantly about how you can be successful and still really enjoy rugby – what these days is referred to as the culture of an organisation. To be in a positive environment, and part of the future of the most successful rugby club ever on Wirral and Merseyside, is something young players will have the opportunity to look back on with pride for decades to come. Seize the opportunity to force you way into the team – I am sure it won’t be easy, and it may take patience, but life memories cannot be replaced.

As supporters we should enjoy the ride! As I said we are very fortunate to be able to watch this squad – both the 1st and 2nd XV’s – play at such a high level. If you can do anything to help in any way, please do! We still need sponsors for this season – a dugout sponsor, a scoreboard sponsor, and new members for the Business Club. We are fantastic on the pitch but need to become so much better off it. Please support us in any way that you can! We will send details about the sponsorship opportunities available if you contact Please do whatever you can – Buy a Table for the Sporting Lunch on the 29th September, sponsor a players, join the Business Club. Make the success we are enjoying sustainable and be an important part of the Caldy story!

Back to Leicester Tigers! This season they had sold 12,556 season tickets by earlier in the week, one of our members has paid £280 per head for hospitality at tomorrow’s game, they have a capacity of 25,849. All of which shows just how big a rugby club Leicester Tigers are. I looked at what was selected as the Leicester Tigers Team of the Premiership on Google. Names that are legends to all of us and have been a central part of England Rugby. Have a look and it makes you realise what a massive rugby club Leicester Tigers are.

Matt Cairns has commented “We are all looking forward to this challenge. We have trained hard all summer; the players are fitter and better prepared than last season and this type of game is why we are involved with rugby. The chance to test yourself against the very best is every rugby player and coaches’ dream. Win or lose the lads will give their all and it will set us up for the start of the Championship league season in October” WOLWAOTB!

The team to take on Leicester Tigers is:

  1.  Adam Agabokhae
  2. Ollie Hearn
  3. Nathan Rushton
  4. Tom Sanders
  5. Sam Dickinson
  6. Martin Gerrard
  7. Nyle Davidson
  8. JJ Dickinson (captain)
  9. Chris Pilgrim
  10. Sam Rogers
  11. Louis Beer
  12. Mike Barlow
  13. Connor Wilkinson
  14. Nick Royle
  15. Rhys Hayes

  1. Matt Gallagher
  2. Joe Sproston
  3. Ryan Higginson
  4. Callum Atkinson
  5. Callum Ridgway
  6. Joe Murray
  7. Mike Cartmill
  8. Lewis Barker

Our 2nd team are playing against Anselmians away tomorrow and the team is:

  1. John Ralph
  2. Ted Stagg
  3. Jack Ellam
  4. Paul Lewis
  5. Freddie Stevenson
  6. Sam Olyott
  7. Dave Jones
  8. Luke Cox
  9. Alex Gaughn
  10. Matty Kilcourse
  11. Evan Edwards
  12. Rhys Williams
  13. Jacob Mitchell
  14. Max Jones
  15. Ben Jones
  16. Chris Hughes
  17. James Holmes
  18. Toby Elkerton
  19. Jacob Ainscough
  20. Finn Collins
  21. Tom Molloy
  22. Harrison Crowe

If you aren’t travelling to Leicester please go and watch our 2nd team. See just how strong our squad is and then back to Caldy for a pint and enjoy being at Caldy again. England versus Argentina is on at the club at 8.15 pm so watch England’s start to their World Cup campaign at Caldy club house. The rugby season has started for Caldy, and tomorrow is a massive day!

A big welcome to our new Chairman, Mark Loughran. There are fewer nicer people and very few bigger Caldy supporters than Mark. We wish him well and are sure he will be a great Chairman in our Centenary Season. Thanks to all our volunteers – without them Caldy would not function, and you only have to look at the pitches and the improvements to the grounds to see the commitment of our many volunteers. Lots of people making a difference! An important change this season that you will see shortly is that the kit our players will be wearing in the League season is a retro version of the first ever kit worn by Old Caldieans in 1924 – the first game was in February 1924.

Also, a big welcome to the players who have joined us this season. What has become evident is that local players want to test themselves at the highest level, to have excellent coaching and be part of a great club with a great culture. We wish you all the best and hope you enjoy being part of one of the most successful clubs outside Sale Sharks in the North of England – whilst we retain our commitment to being a community rugby club with players who have full time employment and play rugby to be the best they can in their free time. Congratulations to Harrison Crowe – who got married Jessica in the USA and is not long returned from the US.

Good luck for the forthcoming season to all our Community Players! And, also, to Lynn, her committee and the many, many coaches involved that help carry on a fantastic tradition and make Caldy the club we are.

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