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Darth Raider View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 Oct 2021 at 21:03
hi all.....i posted a thread such as this for several years now.....and to be fair it seemed to be fairly well received.  with 100's of posts and thousands of views.  that said, it seems to me that R-M traffic in general is much down this year and so, if there is no interest, we can always just close it.

so.....where is our league this year ?  Very strong again i think and again, with some early indications of how things might end up.  My opinions.....

starting at the bottom.....it seems evident that both Westcliff and Barum are, quite literally, out of their league.
Barum seem a bit of a yoyo side.....too good for the SW league but well short of the requirements for survival in the grinder of Nat2s.  

I confess i was also thinking that the last relegation place (forgetting the new league structure next year) would be decided between Rochford and Hinckley, but both have shown significant improvement already and might yet drag others into the struggle against 14th place.  also confess to see the City side in their current situation, but they, alongside OA's, another team with relatively recent Nat1 provenance, are struggling so far.

At the top......well i thought the Choppers should and would have won the league last year, and i fully expect them to make amends in this one.  they are an outstanding team unit.....withe whole being greater than the sum of the component parts,,,,,very well done to the coaching team.  the pack is exceptional and they also have the benefit of the best half back partnership (imo) in Oulton and Honey.  the former a prolific tryscorer as well and the latter the best fly half in our leagu and maybe the one above.  i was surprised and perhaps, quite pleased, to see him still at the Recreation ground this year.....i thought he would go to Pirates or even Exeter.
I had thought too, that Clifton with their extensive Bristol DR cohort, might challenge them, and i guess they may yet do so. bit\ut two early defeats have set them back.  The horrible stuffing from Choppers is a definite setback.
Esher too, had clear ambitions for this year and may yet improve, but early results would seem to indicate that they have not (yet at least) got enough.j

perhaps the two over achievers at this early stage would be Dings.....who seem to have an excellent pack, and but for a few points in a couple of games would be much higher.......and my lot.

The Raiders.....well....i confess that after we lost several of our better players to more monied teams, i was worried about how we might stay out of the relegation zone this year.
our new management team and coaching staff seem to have done an outstanding job and we have recruited very well.
As ever, we are showing ourselves to be a tryscoring team.  from what i have seen so far, our pack and particularly our set piece, are not consistently good enough to win this league.  That said....we are still missing some incredibly impactful players from our back line and already have at least 7 or 8 out injured.  i think that with luck on that front we could get even stronger.

i am hoping we will make top four

good luck to all with injuries and i also hope that the chaps at the bottom at the mo can turn it around.  great league as ever.

ooh.....forgot the bloo%y Hawks.  they look dangerous too.....another very good pack.  hope they get relegated though Big smileWink 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tigerburnie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2021 at 22:14
I fully expect Leicester Lions to begin reeping up the league and may well be there or there abouts come the sharp end of the season. Surprised with the other Leicestershire side, I thought Hinckley would have started better at home, but there's plenty of time for many sides to make a statement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2021 at 23:16
Well nobody will yo-yo this season.
With probably 4 and possibly six  Nat 1 teams going up to the expanded championship - and the expansion of Nat 2 with a third division there will be no relegation.

If they remain stronger than the other SW sides, they will probably not be relegated next season either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Undercover Back Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2021 at 08:27
Purely in the interest's of speculation and conjecture, a few of my thoughts after (nearly) a fifth of the season complete.

Redruth clearly the title favourite's, with a rather congested bunch in behind them chasing. Listed in my perceived order of threat over the remainder of the season. Henley, Clifton, Worthing, Lions, Esher. 

At this early stage, the schedule can allow for a certain rose tinting (or the opposite) when looking at the table in isolation. This year most teams will face a veritable murder's row of games with Redruth, Clifton and Esher all inside a four week window which will go a long way to sorting the men from the boys. 

A final thought, the last team relegated from Nat 1 who have managed to climb the ladder back was Cinderford after a two year stay. Of the recently promoted sides, Canterbury alone have returned to grace us with their presence (OE's fall being another matter entirely). A testament to the strength of the league? I sincerely hope so.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hawks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2021 at 18:44
Originally posted by Darth Raider Darth Raider wrote:



ooh.....forgot the bloo%y Hawks.  they look dangerous too.....another very good pack.  hope they get relegated though Big smileWink 

Darth I see you haven’t lost your sense of humour over the pandemic!!😂😂 I think the team to beat is Redruth, pity our game was postponed, but I fully support the decision. OA’s were certainly very unlucky at not winning against them down there the other weekend,  I thought Clifton might of edged it last weekend but The Reds had other ideas! Hopefully my beloved Hawks will keep the pressure on Redruth for the top two position, but I guess Leicester, Esher and maybe the other Raiders, Guernsey, who have started very well and who we play next, will be up there!
As for the bottom three I can’t argue what you have said.

As for the other Raiders in Worthing, your fairy tale start, will come crushing down soon, so a mid table finish will beckon you!😂😂 see you on the 13th?!
'Go The Hawks!'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2021 at 19:37
Originally posted by The Hawks The Hawks wrote:

Originally posted by Darth Raider Darth Raider wrote:



ooh.....forgot the bloo%y Hawks.  they look dangerous too.....another very good pack.  hope they get relegated though Big smileWink 


Darth I see you haven’t lost your sense of humour over the pandemic!!😂😂 I think the team to beat is Redruth, pity our game was postponed, but I fully support the decision. OA’s were certainly very unlucky at not winning against them down there the other weekend,  I thought Clifton might of edged it last weekend but The Reds had other ideas! Hopefully my beloved Hawks will keep the pressure on Redruth for the top two position, but I guess Leicester, Esher and maybe the other Raiders, Guernsey, who have started very well and who we play next, will be up there!
As for the bottom three I can’t argue what you have said.

As for the other Raiders in Worthing, your fairy tale start, will come crushing down soon, so a mid table finish will beckon you!😂😂 see you on the 13th?!


I try to remember never to predict Redruth losing at home - as they rarely do - possibly because of the travelling most other sides have to do?

The flip side is Redruth have a number of long journeys each season - something they have usually struggled with - so it will be interesting to see if they can keep the away form up.

As for Guernsey, should be good at home for similar reasons - I wasn't that impressed with them at Worthing in round 1, but they have done well since that.

Worth bearing in mind that they have only played at home once to date.

Henley are usually there or thereabouts - the 2 games in hand need to be remembered, but of course they have to win them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darth Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2021 at 21:15
ooh.....a rugby conversation about our league......how exciting !!

undercover......welcome....i have....not to my recollection, encountered you before.  but excellent post.....i agree with most of what you say and in particular, the order in which the challengers will line up behind the Choppers.

Nick....you are as ever, over excited about the prospects of your one dimensional team Tongue.  get some talented backs at last and you might be competitive.

unfortunately, i have reached a stage of life where i am uncomfortable driving long distances in the dark, so unless i can get one of my rugby mates to drive me, i  will miss out on my usual journey to Dry Leas to pick up the 5pts.  Be assured however, that if i can make it i will let you know so you can buy me some beers.  Clap

agree with 999.....Guernsey were decent at our place, but individual errors from one of our players made the scoreline look closer than it should have been.  suspect you will force errors.....kick to the corner and maul it over for a win....yawn...Ouch


Steve...mostly agree.  have you looked at our website and our squad ?  53 members now...confessedly.....this is historically just about how many you need to get through an Nat2S season, but we have some extraordinary quality that might return ?

i am particularly excited by the presence of Anscombe at 10 again.....also rhe return of Cleaves.  i continue to think it impossible that Blewett will actually play.....but if he does.....then watch out Choppers !  Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darth Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2021 at 21:54
oh......and Steve....disagree about Choppers away form.  yes.....you are right and they were  uniformly poor on the road.....but as i recall.....they fixed that quite dramatically in their last league season,  not sure if that is because they are travelling and staying overnight on the Friday....but whatever it is it is working.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2021 at 17:02
Originally posted by Darth Raider Darth Raider wrote:

oh......and Steve....disagree about Choppers away form.  yes.....you are right and they were  uniformly poor on the road.....but as i recall.....they fixed that quite dramatically in their last league season,  not sure if that is because they are travelling and staying overnight on the Friday....but whatever it is it is working.




Darth , your memory excels - Redruth's away form was better in the last season - you may be correct about the reasons.

They are certainly the team to beat in my opinion. In fact the premature ending of the season may have stopped them overtaking TJs.

Congratulations to Rochford - well beaten at Rugby Park 2 weeks ago when their front five looked extremely unfit - but what a turn around with good wins in the last 2 games.



Edited by Raider999 - 17 Oct 2021 at 17:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darth Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2021 at 19:44
another surprising day......for me at least, in Nat2S.  Three thumping wins and five really tight games, most of which i managed to get the wrong side of Ouch

let's start with the big wins.
No surprise to anybody i suppose, that Choppers march serenely on with a big win at Westcliff.
I was surprised however, at the scale of the thumping Barnes got at BSE.  Whenever i watch the Barn Elms boys they look a really competitive outfit and if you are not properly at it on the day, they will turn you over.  As it stands, they might be pleased that there is no relegation this year, otherwise they might be looking nervously over their shoulders as both Hinckley and Rochford seem to be on a bit of a roll ?

My lot fielded a slightly depleted side against Barum, who i thought, were pretty poor defensively.  While we scored nine tries, i left the Rugby Park feeling a little flat, as we butchered another half dozen chances and our continuing indiscipline allowed our opponents three scores.  Perhaps though, our promising start has left me with unrealistic expectations at this early stage ....probably so  Big smile

As to the tight games.....

Let's start with Guernsey.  After watching them at our place i was quite impressed and thought they might make 7th or 8th in the league,  They are unbeaten since and put a real marker down on Saturday by beating Hawks (always a pleasure to see Wink).  Are we perhaps, witnessing the birth of n second Channel Island powerhouse ?  A la Jersey ?  Not short of a few bob thereabouts.

Hinckley next.....they have had the toughest of early fixtures and it would seem, given a very good account of themselves on most occasions.....and are perhaps getting stronger.  Although they have only won once so far, their negative points difference of just -6 shows how near they have been to an outstanding start.  Not sure about their squad depth, but a mid-table finish seems more likely and overall, a much better effort than their last journey south.  A good addition to our league. 
By contrast, although Esher will be pleased with the points, i suspect they are falling a little short of their lofty ambitions.

Clifton v OA's ?  i am going to give up trying to predict either of these teams results, in fact i suspect that they are both deliberately conspiring to ruin my prediction league season......and to be fair....making a pretty good job of it Clap

i had thought that the Sumpter lead Lions might push on this season, but another away defeat would seem to infer that they are much the same place, albeit still strong at home.  in order to improve their prospects, i would strongly recommend that they rest all of their best players next week.  They seem very tired to me Wink

Otherwise, i echo Steve's thoughts posted above....well done to Rochford....that looked a nailed on win for Dings to me.....who i would have thought would have had the bulk to nullify the Rochford pack. 

hopefully, we can tempt some fans of all these sides to tell us a little more.  
  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sweatysock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2021 at 21:04
great summary Darth -seems wide open at the top , but think Worthing might struggle to stay at the top, albeit pleasantly surprised by the start and you never know. Agree re yesterday - butchered a few chances and set piece a bit of a worry particularly the line-out
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tigerburnie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2021 at 11:45
I think the Lions felt they let one get away at the weekend and will be out to prove a point to themselves as much as anyone else this coming weekend. Ed Sumpter hasn't played since the middle of September, might be part of our woes.

Edited by tigerburnie - 18 Oct 2021 at 11:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darth Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2021 at 13:08
Hi Tiger.  Why is Sumpter missing then ?  he is certainly a loss, one of the best locks i've seen at this level.  good athlete and quite a tryscorer !

I seem to have a vague memory of him spending time with the Tigers ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Barum man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2021 at 16:11
Originally posted by Darth Raider Darth Raider wrote:

hopefully, we can tempt some fans of all these sides to tell us a little more.  
  

Hi Darth,

As far as Barum are concerned this season they are a fair way off the team that won the last south west premier title IMHO.  With 4 or 5 key players missing and others retired or taking a break from rugby we are lacking in squad depth big time and that is obviously a massive problem in N2S. It’s going to be tough season for us this season that’s for sure but hopefully it will be great experience for the youngsters that are stepping into senior rugby for the first time (mostly all local players that have come up through the ranks and are experiencing first team rugby for the first time).

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darth Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2021 at 19:17
Hi Barum man.....thanks for taking the time to contribute.

At least this year, you can experiment and take the time to grow your younger players on, without fear of relegation.

Curiously, i was sent a link today and read your well balanced match report ( i did not think your lineout that bad Wink ), and rewatched a video of the game.  dunno why, but Barum looked a fair bit better on the video.  i thought your 9, 12 and 13 all showed well, but the wingers need to defend better imo.

it is a savagely competitive league and as you point out, squad depth is vital.  We have 8 or 9 out ourselves i think......already. 

best of luck with the rest of the season and i look forward to future updates. Tongue

good idea to fake an Covid outbtreak and avoid a visit to the Recreation ground though OuchWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tigerburnie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2021 at 21:51
Originally posted by Darth Raider Darth Raider wrote:

Hi Tiger.  Why is Sumpter missing then ?  he is certainly a loss, one of the best locks i've seen at this level.  good athlete and quite a tryscorer !

I seem to have a vague memory of him spending time with the Tigers ?
I believe he's injured, not certain, Nick Cairns had a game with the Tigers, don't remember Ed doing so, but could be wrong.
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