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That Friday Feeling – 20th October 2023

The Championship League season starts tomorrow with a home game against Nottingham Archers, with a 3pm Kick Off. After what has been described as the longest ever pre – season, that involved exciting games against Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership Cup the serious business for the Caldy Ravers starts. We asked Matt Cairns for his thoughts on the Premiership Cup and how Caldy fared, and he commented:

It has been a very long pre season with games against some of the top sides in the country. For us it has been a chance to look at players and for them to be exposed to top class rugby. We have played 35 different players in the Premiership Cup, which gave players a chance to impress and to have great rugby experiences, and it feels as if we have a strong squad ready for the Championship season. With not being involved in Cheshire rugby at the end of last season there has been longer for the players to work on fitness and skills, so we are starting the league games better prepared than ever before. In terms of how we fared in the Cup I am very pleased with how we performed. A win against Ampthill and a close game away at Bedford and a narrow defeat to a strong Sale Sharks team were the highlights. Against Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons, we played well but the fitness of professional players in the latter stages, I thought, gave an unfair reflection to the score and how well we had played.

Our opponents tomorrow Nottingham Rugby Club was founded in 1877 and over the years have had numerous great players represent them. Among their legends are England Internationals: Dusty Hare, Gary Rees, Rob Andrew, Brian Moore and Chris Oti. In the current World Cup Ollie Chessum is a former Nottingham player as is Jose Rebelo, the Portuguese International. Having finished 8th in the league last season Nottingham have recruited well over the summer and are another club who have enjoyed playing in the Premiership Cup. They played very exciting and open rugby in the Cup and tomorrow promises to be an excellent game for spectators.

On Tuesday Wirral Sports Awards were held at the Floral Pavilion. As the highest ranked sports club on the Wirral, Caldy RFC won:

Sports Club of the Year
Andrew Soutar won Coach of the Year
Roger Flashman won a Lifetime Achievement Award, after over 50 years as a volunteer in just about every position at Caldy Rugby Club. A very worthy winner!

Louis Beer (Players Representative), Mark Loughran (Chairman), and Roger Flashman

Louis, Mark and Roger are joined by Graham Armitage (President), Tim Kilpatrick(Secretary), and Andrew Soutar

Well done to everyone who has helped in anyway, big or small, Caldy Rugby Club achieve so very much. It is good to be recognised at Awards and it shows others recognise all the hard work put in by so many people. Once again though, a big thank you to our DOR, Gareth Davies, Head Coach Matt Cairns along with our coaches Rich Vasey and Sooty and CJ and Joel. Our 2nd team are still unbeaten since March 2019 – which must be one of the longest ever unbeaten records in Rugby! Perhaps our very own Statto will research if it is a record! And thanks to all those who support them – sponsors, volunteers, supporters, Community section players, coaches and volunteers – who are all part of this incredible journey.

In terms of next season with the sad demise of Jersey Reds yesterday, the Championship and RFU announced the below:

The good news is that, including this season, we are now guaranteed another two seasons in the Championship. How great that in our Centenary Season we will be playing rugby at the highest level in the Club’s history. Let the Dream continue!

We are advised that Premiership 2 will be introduced in time for the 25/26 season, however as yet it is not clear how it will work. No doubt, once the RFU have finalised the agreement with the PGB (Professional Game Board) and the Premiership Clubs, we will find out more. In the meantime, all at Caldy should enjoy our time in the 2nd tier of English Rugby playing against the likes of Nottingham Archers.

The Caldy Ravers team to face Nottingham Archers tomorrow is: Nathan Rushton, Ollie Hearn, Joe Sproston, Tom Sanders, Callum Atkinson, Sam Dickinson, Nyle Davidson, JJ Dickinson, Chris Pilgrim, Lewis Barker, Ben Jones, Mike Barlow, Connor Wilkinson, Will Robinson, Rhys Hayes subs: Matt Gallagher, Ryan Higginson, Adam Aigbokhae, Martin Gerrard, Harrison Crowe, Joe Murray, Sam Rogers, Mike Cartmill

The Match Sponsor is Evelyn Partners

The 2nd team had a 62 – 0 win away at Preston Grasshoppers in heavy rain last Friday, with Will Robinson scoring 4 tries. This week the team to play away at Rossendale is: Sanderson, Stagg, Ellam, Deehan M, Olyott, Cox, Jones, Cross, Gaughan, Kilcourse, Jones, Williams, Elkerton, Leek, Edwards Subs: Owen, Hughes, Holmes, Darlington, Deehan C, Sabouni, Hunt

Unlike other teams in the Premiership and Championship, Caldy have no debt and we don’t spend money that we don’t have. That is not to say that we don’t have to raise money – as we do! Having booked travel to Jersey Reds on March 9th to take advantage of cheaper flights we have committed over £12,000 for a game that will now not go ahead. This is an example of the type of costs that we must meet to play in the Championship. I would ask that if you can support Caldy in anyway, or if you know someone else who is able to do so, that you get in touch. We operate on a budget that is a fraction of the budgets for other teams in the Championship, but we do need the support of our members and supporters if we are to continue to move forward.


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