Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Rugby Town 0 Romulus 2

Northern Premier League, First Division (South)
Attendance: 157

I hadn’t got my fixtures mixed up and realised that this match wasn’t an FA Cup tie. Further potential confusion was provided by signs going into Rugby promoting the forthcoming  Rugby World Cup which takes place elsewhere although the town is, of course, the home of the sport. Lodging overnight in Warwickshire for work I’d come to see Rugby play football.  The sign for the ground just says ‘Football Ground’ so I wasn’t quite sure until I’d got to the end of it if I had found the correct sport.

Butlin Road is a very large, well appointed ground with a particularly impressive cantilever grandstand (see clip, below, which also includes the first goal). In most respects the set-up wouldn’t look out of place in the League rather than lowly step 4. Are Rugby a sleeping giant (or number eight, at the very least)? The highest level at which they’ve played has been the step 2 Southern League Premier Division in the late 80s and early 90s as VS Rugby when they also reached the proper rounds of the FA Cup on several occasions. The club switched to the Northern Premier League for the first time this season and currently languish towards the bottom one place below tonight’s visitors Romulus (from Sutton Coldfield).

Nicknamed Valley after Valley Sports (the club’s original name and the ‘v’ in VS Rugby), the home side trotted out to the tune of The Skids’ Into the Valley. Later players’ and coaches’ calls echoed around the arena while trains on the West Coast Mainline rumbled past unseen behind the far stand. It’s remarkable and somehow refreshing that such a relatively large crowd – many of them solo, middle-aged blokes, hands stuffed in pockets – turned out on a cold evening when England/Switzerland was on the telly (not much of an attraction, I know) to watch a run-of-the-mill fixture.

Pics extra: It's always a struggle to get decent pics at night with my camera. For daytime pics of Rugby check this recommended blog. To make up for the lack of stills here are pics from the summer courtesy of my brother - of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and a pitch in the village of Sint Willibrordus (Williwood to locals) just outside Willemstad on the island of Curacao in the Caribbean.

1 comment:

John said...

Great blog - loved the para finishing with the ferrets quote - even Kris had a chuckle. Nice pics, though it's the Boston Res Sox if I'm being pedantic...