Weather threatens rivals’ big derby day

They teams last met in October, in very different weather conditions
They teams last met in October, in very different weather conditions

In common with most sporting events across the land, Old Laurentians’ Intermediate Cup semi-final at Wolverhampton succumbed to the winter weather last Saturday and will now be played on Saturday, February 9, writes Bill Wallis.

But with the forecasts for this week looking only marginally better, there is now a serious doubt surrounding OLs visit to Parkfield Road for the eagerly awaited clash with neighbours and arch rivals Newbold this Saturday.

Conditions are a far cry from the pleasant autumn day when the first of this season’s league matches between the two was staged at Fenley Field last October when OLs came through as comfortable winners.

The fortunes of the two clubs have diverged somewhat since that day, which Newbold started in second place in the league.

But recent form often counts for little when these two meet, such is the desire to grab the bragging rights for another year.

If the match is on, another large crowd is expected for what has become the meeting of the two senior clubs in the town.

The previous routine has been for each club’s three teams to meet on the same day with staggered kick-off times. But OLs’ 2nd XV have to play a Warwickshire 2nd XV Cup semi-final against Stratford on Avon 2nds on Sunday so will not be taking on their Newbold counterparts this Saturday.

As well as reaching this stage of the County Cup, OLs 2nds also feature in the semi-final of the Rugby and District Clonmell Cup and are drawn against Rugby St Andrews at Ashlawn Road, the match scheduled for Saturday, February 16.

As they also lead Warwickshire League One with a 100% record, this is turning into another great season for James Melvin’s team.

OLs’ 1st XV continue to lead Midlands 2 West (South) on the strength of a considerably better points difference than second placed Kenilworth and the two are beginning to open up a gap over the chasing pack, with just Droitwich staying in contention at this time.

Also demonstrating that grassroots rugby is flourishing in the birthplace of the game are Rugby St Andrews, who are current leaders of Midlands 3 East (South).

Saints have consistently been amongst the front runners in this league in recent seasons and will certainly feature in the promotion battle as this season unwinds.