22/09/23 | General

Presidents Welcome – Saturday 23rd September 2023

Author: Varun Maharaj

As ever, it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome you to Beechwood on Saturday for our 4th league fixture of the season. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our visitors Tynedale RFC, a club with a long and distinguished history.  In National League 2 North, only Otley (1865) and Preston Grasshoppers (1865) were founded before Tynedale who took the field for the first time on 30th December, 1876, when they entertained Elswick (now Northern) at Hexham, winning by a goal and two tries to nil. The ‘Hexham Courant’ recorded “the venue will be in Mr Cook’s field, in which the flower show was held, at the top of Skinnersburn. The game will commence at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and, unlike cricket, it is quite possible that it may be over in little more than an hour”.  Tynedale regard the period 1988 – 2011 as their ‘Years of Achievement’ and during that time, they spent 13 seasons in League North 1, eventually gaining promotion into national leagues cumulating in them finishing in the top 5 of National 1 (third tier of English rugby) for three successive seasons between 2008 and 2011.

However, like Lymm, Tynedale have had a tricky start to this league season, having lost to Preston Grasshoppers (38 – 43), Billingham (20 – 17) and most recently to Wharfedale (22 – 24).  Lymm have also lost their opening 3 fixtures; to Wharfedale (21-22), Huddersfield (41- 48) and last week to Rotherham (33 – 10) so there might be a sense in both camps that (using football parlance) this game is a ‘6 pointer’.  It is, however, far too early in the season to think about this game in those terms. Much more likely is that today’s encounter will be fascinating because, in part, both teams have trodden such different league paths so there is no recent history by which this game can be measured.

With that in mind, the only significant fixture between the 2 clubs that I want to mention was on 28 September 1985, when Tynedale entertained Lymm in the 1st Round of the John Player Special Cup. I have taken the liberty of reproducing part of the Match Day programme from that fixture (below). It is wonderful that so many of Lymm’s team for that game are still actively involved in the Club. In some ways, that tells you all you need to know about the Club – it is in the DNA of so many of us. And in case you were wondering what the result of that game was, Tynedale won 22-0.

Reflecting on last weeks’ result, Director of Rugby Adam Fletcher, was extremely proud of how the team attacked the challenge of playing Rotherham, who had won their first two fixtures and remain well placed towards the top of the league. The team are positive going into this week’s fixture and for those of us who witnessed Lymm’s first 2 games we have every reason to be positive not only about today but also for the remainder of the season.

The opening fixtures of the Rugby World Cup have not let us down.  With the exception of Scotland (who had the misfortune of facing South Africa in their first pool game) the Home Nations have fared well. England surprised some us with consecutive victories against Argentina and Japan. Wales had a massive win against Fiji (everyone’s 2nd favourite team) which was all the more impressive when you consider that Fiji beat Australia in their next game. Ireland have been untroubled so far, going through the gears very nicely. So fingers-crossed for whichever team you are supporting this weekend.

Varun Maharaj – President


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