Last weekend was a tremendous one that epitomised many things that makes this Club and, indeed, Rugby as a whole so special.
Saturday got underway with Rugby World Cup matches on TV and by the time the New Zealand v South Africa match had started a good crowd had gathered to watch the big clash. After the televised game there was a full house sitting down for the pre match lunch, which was another fantastic spread (click here for details about the forthcoming lunches and other events)
Meanwhile down to the lower pitch the Bandits, with a good sized crowd including a large contingent of the Blackheath Women’s team watching them, opened their league campaign with a 22-8 win over Old Dartfordians 3’s. After this satisfying victory the Bandits and the Womens team joined the crowds gathering to watch Club take on Richmond in a match that truly was an encounter of the closest of rivals.
Every game is a huge one, all equally key in terms of the League, and local derbies such as those against Rosslyn Park, Canterbury and OEs have that little bit extra about them but it’s Club v Richmond that really stands out.
We often talk with pride that it’s the oldest continuously played club rugby fixture in the world but the relationship between the clubs goes even deeper than that and when Richmond were at the bottom of the National Leagues at the start of the 2000’s a Club v Richmond match continued to be played in some shape or form every year as they worked their way back up the pyramid (a truly remarkable achievement). And the weekend just past marked the 74th anniversary of another bond between the clubs as on Saturday 22nd September 1945 a combined Richmond and Blackheath side took to the field against Northampton in the first match of a season long merger. The full story of which is on the RFU website here.
Of course none of this ever detracts from each teams determination to emerge victorious every time they meet. In this encounter Richmond emerged victorious by a point and we are already looking forward to opening the New Year with the return match at the Athletic Ground on 4th January.
Sunday 22nd was just as busy, with a host of Junior matches taking place (see the match reports here) and the Clubhouse, already busy for the Ireland v Scotland game, quickly filled up to being packed for England v Tonga. After the England game many people headed outside to see our U18s take Beckenham but not before the young players and their coaches helped the staff clear & clean the Hall in readiness for the Christening party that was booked in later that day. It was a great example of how a Club all muck in together help each other.
All in all the weekend summed up what being part of this Club is all about