Travels to the soul and heartbeat of English football...alright primarily Leicestershire!!!!
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Very few rugby union games in the Midlands region this weekend which had nothing to do with the Six Nations competition, but instead it was given over to cup competitions or for sides to play re-arranged games. It was a case of the latter with regards to this encounter.
Veseyans RFC were founded in 1927 by former pupils of Bishop Vesey Grammar School in nearby Sutton Coldfield. The ground is easy enough to find with it being located in the sticks just over a mile south of Aldridge. As you enter the car park is on the right hand side and the clubhouse to the left. The set up is home to several rugby pitches and a football pitch. The main rugby pitch is located immediately in front of the clubhouse and was part roped and part railed. A small manual scoreboard is located on the far side between the two dugouts.
The game was my first at level 7 of the English league system and pitched two teams that were neither in the promotion race to Midlands 1 West or relegation to Midlands 3 West. The visitors were quickest out of the blocks and slotted over a penalty inside two minutes for a three point lead. For the majority of the next half hour Kidderminster continued to dominate the proceedings and they scored three converted tries to lead 0-24. With a possible hammering on the cards, Veseyans dug in and got their first points on the boards with a converted try late on in the half. The second half was not as one sided as the first, but all the points were scored by the home side. Firstly a converted try and then a penalty brought them within seven points. With the game going into its final stages Veseyans broke down the left and went over for their third try of the afternoon. A difficult kick was converted and tie the game, and this in the end was enough for a share of the spoils.
@ Pearcecroft, Loxley Road, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire
Programme: free with admission
This was my second attempt of the season at heading to Stratford, as my first attempt had been aborted by the weather due to not wanting to get a soaking while taking photographs!!! Thankfully the weather forecast was for it to be dry in and around Shakespeare Country and this proved to be the case. I did encounter some of the wet stuff on the way there and back.
The club have been around for a very long time having been founded way back in 1877, and have played at their current ground since 1903. The ground is easy enough to find on the eastern side of the town and you enter down a narrow drive. It opens up and there are several pitches, with the main one on the left hand side. All the facilities - stand, clubhouse and changing rooms are on the far (left hand) side of the main pitch. Pearcecroft is also home to local league side Shottery RFC who play on one of pitches on the right of the driveway. The club currently reside in the sixth tier of the English league system, and are having a very good season. Going into the latter stages they are in the running for the play-off position with a number of other clubs.
The score in this game does not reflect how the game was played out on the field. The Shropshire visitors dominated in terms of possession and territory for long periods but found the Stratford defence a tough nut to crack. An early score and a penalty have the hosts a 10-0 lead, with the visitors only points in the first half coming from a penalty of their own. After exchanging tries on several occasion the game became a two pointer for a while. It was only in the final ten minutes that the visitors wilted and Stratford ran in several tries for a bonus point victory, which on the balance of play was flattering.
Overall a pleasant afternoon and my enjoyment of watching rugby union continues.
Other news Away from the sport watching my wife Angela and I are to become parents for the first time later this year. At the time of writing she is currently @ the fourteen week stage, with the due date being the 18th September.