Published: 3/23/2020

THE LAIKER ON LINE.…..’A rattling good read!’

The cancellation of the last five National 2 North games have robbed us of our Saturday afternoon entertainment, some end of season excitment and left us bereft. Fans of the game at HRUFC will also be doubtless heartbroken about missing out on the club’s excellent programme, another Saturday highlight. To avoid disappointment we have produced an ‘online’ version of the one scheduled for next Saturday…enjoy!


With five matches still remaining the National 2 North season was heading for a very interesting climax. Now with all the un-played games cancelled it remains to be seen how things will be finally resolved. One thing is certain though and that is that Caldy RFC are the undisputed champions of 2019/20.They have won all 25 of their matches and scored over a thousand points.

The RFU are currently working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a ‘thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game’. A decision is expected in mid-April.

In National 1 Hull Ionians and Canterbury are seriously adrift at the foot of the table. There is the remotest of mathematical possibilities that both could survive but the reality is they are relegated. It would seem sensible therefore for Caldy to take Ionians place in National 1 in September. Who would take Canturbury’s is less clear cut because only six points separate the top four teams in National 2 South. A problem for the RFU!

At the bottom of N2N Scunthorpe are relegated and Grasshoppers have only won four games and the likelihood of them producing a late season miracle to survive the drop would have been slim. The scrap to avoid the third bottom relegation place was the real nail biting prospect for rugby followers of the six teams trying to avoid it. Interestingly Luctonians and Otley, in 13th and 14th place, had both of the bottom two teams to play. The form book suggests they would take ten points from the games which would have left them with at least 64 and 62 points respectively and probably safe.  Huddersfield’s bonus point win over Tynedale last time out was such an important one in boosting their chances in the group of six.

At Level 5 Bournville are 22 points clear of Sheffield and champions of the Midland Premiership. For them to takes Scunthorpe’s place in N2N next season would be welcome for both clubs. In the Northern Premiership things are complicated. Only five points separate Blaydon, Sandal and Harrogate at the top. With Harrogate a game in hand the job of choosing a champion by some kind of ‘pools panel’ would be a very difficult job indeed.    

How will things turn out? Only time will tell.

Try to make the best of things.

Richard K Sykes.

 HOW INTERESTING…National League 1 was created as a 16 team division in 2009/10. Since then northern teams have made up 33% of it. Blaydon have been in it for eight seasons and Fylde, Wharfedale, Tynedale, Macclesfield and Darlington Mowden Park for at least five. Eight other northern clubs have been up there. Can you name them? See ‘Around Lockwood Park’ for the answer. 



Caldy would have arrived at Lockwood Park as champions of N2N. Having spent the last two seasons playing in National 1 they should be returning to have another crack at Level 3 rugby in Sepember. It would have been nice to welcome them to Lockwood Park this Saturday.

They had a runaway title win in this division in 2016/17 winning 27 of their 30 games. In their first season in the higher flight they finished in 11th place but last season they were confirmed into the final relegation place on the last Saturday when they lost narrowly at Birmingham. Cambridge managed to avoid the drop with an away win at Sale. The fact that Caldy have romped away N2N again underlines the magnitude of the step up to Level 3. 

Caldy RFC has risen from humble origins to become the most successful club in the North West behind Sale. In 1924 old boys from a local school decided to form the club and a year later Sir Alfred Paton, a prominent former scholar, bequeathed 20 acres of land to the National Trust with the proviso that part of it shall be used for the playing of rugby. Their ground is called Paton Field.

At the outset of the league system they were placed in the North Western division. After 1997 they hit a purple patch and won six promotions in twelve years finally reaching National 2 in 2009. They won the South Lancashire and Cheshire Divisions 2 and 1 in 1998 in 2003 and further championships in North 2 West and North Division 1 in the mid-noughties.

The club boasts staging of the oldest continuously run ‘Sevens’ tournament in England which this year would have been celebrating its 75th anniversary. It is also very forward thinking with a ‘Vision and Values’ mission based on passion, excellence and togetherness which aims to promote the game at ‘grass roots’ level. It has a community coaching programme and strong links with local schools which earned them a special award from the RFU for its ‘one club’ ethos. Two Colts teams and a thriving Age Grade bear witness to the success of the club philosophy.

THE CALDY AGE GRADE…Young players, mums and dads and supporters from Caldy’s Age Grade were due to attend the first team game. The youngsters and their families had planned a weekend tour hosted by HRUFC’s Age Grade in conjunction with the fixture for a second time. The last one was a rip-roaring success and it is a great pity that this year’s has gone west thanks to Corona virus.


In our ‘on line’ edition of The Laiker we profile our Under 14’s, a team which are a credit to the club on and off the field. Those of you who watch first team rugby will have seen them in action because they provide the ball boys for the big games. It is a wonderful job they do.

Coached by Colin Thomason and managed by James Exley they have a strong squad of 26 players captained by scrum half Will Heath. They have had a good season and have been particularly successful since Christmas. Colin, who learned his rugby at the Methodist College in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s premier rugby school, says their success is built on team work and a real sense of togetherness. Training takes place on Wednesday and they operate a ‘half game rule’ system to ensure everyone gets to play on match days. Colin is assisted on the training ground by senior players Harry Singh, Will Cossey and Alasdair Braidley who he says deserve much credit for the great work they do with the youngsters.

At the beginning of the month the team raised over £500 for club funds through a charity ‘bag packing’ effort at Morrison’s Supermarket. They have donated the money to HRUFC’s ‘verti-drainer project.’ Interesting to reflect that their good work took place on the site of our former boggy junior pitches at Waterloo and that the money raised will be used to help prevent waterlogging at our new home!

At Easter the lads were going on tour to Wales. From their Llandudno base they had an adventure day at an outdoor centre planned for the Saturday with a game against Colwyn Bay to follow on Sunday. What a shame that the boys, parents and coaches will be missing out on a wonderful time away together. We wish them all the best for the future!

Congrats to Sam Mann, George Hinchliff and Owen Peacock who have been chosen as Players of the Month for The Falcons, A Team and Academy. Well done lads!

After a wet winter plagued by waterlogged pitches the club has started a 12k fund raising project to buy a verti-drainer machine. Groundsman Mark Storer says it will be an enormously beneficial piece of kit which will help him massively in his efforts to keep all our pitches fit for play. Please watch out for our fund raising initiatives and give them your generous support.

This season HRUFC Patron members have been given complementary Huddersfield Borough Club membership. The club has two fine snooker tables and the facility is there for Patron’s to take full advantage of. The club also holds monthly luncheons and club President Tony Dann is particularly keen to see more Patrons become involved in club affairs, teams and events. Former HRUFC Presidents David and Paul Giblin are the go to guys for Patrons interested in finding out more about the club. Activities at the Borough Club are on hold until further notice because of the virus, hopefully normality will eventually return.

The following northern teams completed in National 1 between 2010 and 2019, number of seasons in brackets. Blaydon (8), Fylde (7), Wharfedale (7), Darlington MP (5), Macclesfield (5), Hull Ionians (4), Sedgley Park (4), Caldy (2), Sale FC (1), Otley (1), Doncaster (1), Rotherham (1), Manchester (1). Alas the northern teams have accounted for 43% of the bottom three relegation places!



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