Is it the day after “Black Friday”? or is that next week? It is definitely day 322 of the year (already) and another certainty is that it would be remiss for me not to begin today’s wittering without first extending a warm welcome to our visitors from just off the B6265, The Old Kendal Turnpike, Keighley RUFC.
Even a cursory examination of the league table shows our visitors lording it over us from their lo+y perch up there on rung three of the ladder, but as it is one of those local derby-type shenanigans, anything might happen out there on the old field of honour this a+ernoon. The forecast of horrendous weather might also make a pig’s ear of the form book, too.
Anyhoo here’s to an enjoyable few hours on and off the greensward, and as ever, may the better team win.
Those of you with a keen eye or a sharp sense of smell will have noTced that there is NO GAME NEXT WEEK and our next assembly here at Wagon Lane will be on December 9th when we host Wensleydale. Blessed are the Cheesemakers, I believe.
And so...back to the matter in hand, Bees v Keighley.
Our visitors are one of three teams in the division with six wins from nine fixtures. The other two are Pocklington and Salem. As we are on fixture number ten of the season, we could perhaps draw a bit of a line of form from the relative performances of our clubs against various others in the division...but then again, no, that’s a silly idea.
But...we beat the Pythons; Keighley hasn’t played them yet. I will leave that piece of analysis there. Keighley plays the Pythons next week, in case you were wondering.
Last time out Keighley had a nice little “w” over Pocklington which ended Pock’s four-game winning streak and put Utley’s finest back on the road to righteousness after they were beaten by Salem in an 8-3 knee trembler the week afore.
Our opposition has lost their last three games on the road, with reverses at West Leeds and Old Rishworthian preceding the Salem result. However, before we jump to any conclusions about Keighley’s form away from their own patch, they opened up the season with consecutive away wins, beating Hullensians and Wetherby.
Talking of which, last week, the Bees came off badly second best to the H men. They rattled in 8 tries, four of them coming from right winger Harrison Holmes, who bagged a hat trick inside the first 25 minutes, then pinched another one in the second half.
There were, again, more than a few moments in the game where we looked to be doing well, but we did a better job of shooting ourselves in the foot - for example, we scored to get within striking distance and within a minute concede an interception try. D’oh! As Homer famously said. Or was it Plato?
Although we remain rooted to the bottom of the league, we are fortunate that there are other sides in the division who are also not having a simply wonderful time of it either; the afore mentioned Pythons have only one victory this season, while Old Rishi, Hullensians and Beverley have all notched three from nine.
Hullensians face the Pythons today, which could help us a bit if the Pythons can be heartily thrown in the mire. As mentioned earlier, the good men of K-town can also help us out as they face the Pythons in their next fixture on 2 December, so a couple of thick ears for the Pythons would be nice.
Obviously, we have to face all three of the other fellow strugglers again later in the season and certainly Beverley is a side we must fancy beating on our own turf, as we were winning on their patch with 12 minutes to go.
We were run ragged by Old Rish’s Kiwi number 10 when we met, but without him, they may be a lesser proposition. When the H men come to town, we obviously we need a sniper hiding in the long grass to slow down the 14 shirt.
Our other obvious problem is that we are just not securing any bonus points. Hullensians, as an example, have eight and Beverley has pocketed seven from nine games, which keeps them just out of reach, even if we start to collect a few “w”s.
As is the usual drill, I am writing this on my etch-a-sketch before I have seen either team sheet and I have only had the briefest of updates from Ali this week. So from my update from the voice of the Valleys, I know we have six players unavailable this week on top of the long-term injuries we knew about.
Those absentees are Luke Spauls, Dan Lightowler, Will Marshall, Luca DeViDoris, Joe Priestley, and Thomas Dunn-Birch. On the positive side of the ledger, we have Ben Hemsley and Ben BoDomley back in the squad and I believe we have put out a call to the Master of the Rolls, Lord Roger Raper.
For those who did not travel to ‘ULL last week, we have a new face in the lineup and a home debutant today. Please welcome Sam Lindeman to the club. Sam is a centre-stroke- winger and seems like an all-around good egg.
The weather has again been a bit overly soggy this week, but not perhaps to the level of our too-often and almost traditional biblical floods. However, at the time of writing this verbiage, we are at best 50/50 with playing the game on Pitch 1. So by the time you read this, perhaps we will unfortunately be playing today’s game over the river on Pitch 2. Sorry about that, folks...
I found an interesting scrap of tracing paper in her knicker drawer this week which tells me that Keighley was mentioned in the Domesday Book. K-town then went by the name Cichhelai which apparently means “Cyhha’s farm”. This a new slice of K-knowledge, which I shall use when I am propping up the bar of the Boltmakers.
Another piece of trivia I also discovered was that in the census of 1379, the population of Keighley was 109. I have absolutely no use for that fact, but I will park it as a point of convo and a thing to discuss with Pretz next time he waffles on about the history of West Yorkshire. And for those among us who enjoy a census, the population had grown to 5,745 by 1801. Wikipedia told me so.
For those wanting some actual club news, I can report that the Catering at Wagon Lane is no longer provided by Krave. There will no doubt be some decent gossip doing the rounds about this parting of the ways, but whatever you have heard, it is wrong. We could not agree a new deal, it is that simple. We had originally planned to make a bit more of an event of today’s pre-match, perhaps as a fundraiser for the end-of-season tour, as we did for the Salem fixture, but with no formal catering arrangement in place, that idea was shelved.
My final news for this week is that your President, Mr. David Hemsley has organised his president's lunch for the weekend immediately before Christmas, on SUNDAY, December 17th.
David is trying to sort out who wants a table and all that good stuff, so if you wish to book a table or tables for this tremendous annual event, please can you try and catch up with Dave as soon as humanly possible. Ta. You are a good un.
Tickets are £25 a head and a reservation can be prized from the man himself, as he perambulates among us this afternoon.