IN THE PINK
There wa a colourful new look about the first team when they ran out for the Old Albanian game.. Pink shirts awere the order of the day, and not just for the players but for everyone there to watch the game as we showed our support for cancer care charity Macmillan. The initiative to make this a special day came from ball sponsors Pink & Black and Nick Finch, of Finch Landscapes. Match sponsors Harwood also gave their backing to the fundraising effort. All of us will no doubt be aware of families which has been affected by cancer. Today is an opportunity for our local rugby community to keep up the fight against the disease. So give generously.
Our commitment to good causes does not end there. With the problems of the support for mental health sufferers very much in the news our first team fly half Ollie Best is launching a fund raising effort for the charity Noggin. Ollie is taking orders for club Beanie hats and all proceeds go to the mental health charity. They cost ten pounds and you can put your name down for the headgear with Ollie or Andy Pratt.
HAPPY AWAY DAYS
After an outstanding win at Henley extended our unbeaten run to five games expectations are, understandably, running high among supporters. Second place in the league table is the best we have achieved for a long time. Equally important is that three of those victories have been away from home, at Birmingham, Guernsey and Henley, and only once in the successful run have we missed out on a bonus point. The survival mantra in National 2 South has always been ‘Win the home games, collect as many bonus points as possible and anything else is icing on the cake.’ That makes our away record this season to date, four wins from seven games, a pretty thick piece of icing.
In addition we have taken three bonus points from the matches we have lost. It would be unwise, however, to get carried away just yet. We have a tough schedule in the lead up to the Christmas break, starting today and including trips to Bury St Edmunds and Tonbridge Juddians. Kent rivals Judds, too, are having a good spell. Looking further ahead to 2019, we have more games here at the Marine Travel Ground than on the road which should be to our advantage. Then again, this league has a history of throwing up surprises in the second half of the season.
A huge thank you to the support who came to Henley, it made a big difference.
Some good news on the injury side of things with skipper Max Cantwell and prop Alex Wake Smith making their returns today in the Pilgrims match v Sidcup. Max suffered a knee injury in the win over TJs in only the second game of the season whilst Alex’s return to play after a workplace accident only lasted a few minutes at Redruth before a separate knee strain put him out again. Both are important players and leaders within the group so hopefully today goes well for both.
Seb Roche and Elliot White are also on the verge of returning and should play before the Christmas break. Finally, Sam Rogers’ long journey back from ACL surgery last December seems to be nearing its end. Sam has been training well and we are working out the final stages of his rehabilitation before hopefully seeing him pull on the black & amber once more in the next few weeks.
The injury list, while not as dramatic as last season, has been serious enough to have impacted on the make-up of the senior sides. So it is good news to hear from Head of Rugby Andy Pratt that first team skipper Max Cantwell and tight head prop Alex Wake-Smith are back in action. with the Pilgrims. Coupled with optimism over the fitness of prop Elliot White and the versatile Sam Rogers the senor squad is gradually returning to greater strength and depth
There is, as ever, still a down side. Fly half Harvey Young will need time to recover from the broken jaw he sustained at Redruth and the back row curse has not gone away. Flanker Seb Clark is out for the season following a knee operation and it will be the New Year before we see Number Eight Tyler Oliver fully fit. The wisdom of recruiting pre-season cover for that vulnerable area has been fully justified.
LUNCH WITH JASON
It is eleven years since we held our first City Lunch in London and the latest was as successful and enjoyable as ever. It could hardly fail to be a sell out with England and British Lions legend Jason Lenard as the guest speaker. The former RFU President did not disappoint the crowd at Smith & Wollensky with his tales from the tours and we owe Tony Allen and his company LG Vestra, a vote of thanks for making Jason’s visit possible. The event always raises substantial funds for the club but this time there was a welcome bonus for that great man of the game Doddie Weir who is grappling with motor neurone disease. Over £400 for the Doddie Weir Foundation which funds research into MND s raised during the auction.
COME TO THE MARKET
The club hosts its first ever Christmas Market on Sunday, December 9th, in the lunch marquee. It has all the makings of a big success but there is still room for you and your business to be part of it. Want to be there?
If so email our Volunteer Coordinator Ian Lloydvolunteercoordinator@cantrugby.co.uk and reserve your pitch for just £10. Jacqui Smallwood is going to build a Santa’s Grotto for the kids but who is going to play Santa is a closely guarded secret. Pitches for stalls can also be booked via the application form on the club web site under Events.