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On the Road again

On the Road again

Mark Hodgkiss12 May - 20:00
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Next Season's new opposition announced ....

According to information on the Facebook page (I cannot find anything to confirm this but assume it is correct) replacing Macclesfield, Northwich and Sandbach on the fixture list next season will be promoted Birkenhead Park; relegated Newport (Shropshire) and Stoke-on-Trent moving from the Midlands (where they finished fifth last season)

So the North moves even further South, and as someone has point out even more travelling and still just the one local Derby (Penrith), with the next nearest being Blackburn (50 miles) and Rossendale (64)

Despite this our (one way) average journey only increases by 5 miles from 82 to 87 miles

Birkenhead Park
A bit of a yo-yo team, too good for the level below, but have previously struggled when they have promoted.

This will be their fourth time in the last ten seasons and eighth in the last twenty on our fixture list, and often seem to be a bit of a bogey side, especially away where we have lost the last five, despite several times them being on their way to relegation. We have had a number of “off days” there, including on our last visit in 2021/22 (I wasn’t counting but probably a World Record for the number of lost lineouts). The last win in 2007/08 being in the unbeaten season.

Were last played in 1996/97, although we were due to play them in the Papa Smurf Cup - only for them to drop out.

They were played a few times in the early 1970s, but became regulars on the fixture list in late 80s and early 90s (played in eight of nine seasons) in the League.

Newport (Salop)
A first meeting

I have always hoped to see Kendal play Newport, (the other Black & Ambers) but whilst it is our longest trip (126 miles) it is not quite that far.

They finished second bottom in National League 2 West (nine points above Dudley Kingswindford but nineteen from safety) and whilst our (and Penrith’s) travel may be going up this season, their average trip drops from 116 miles to just 72.

Last season in the League they visited Camborne (290 miles); Redruth (285); Exeter (189); plus four teams in the Bristol area (all over 100 miles). If they had managed to survive and instead Hornets (from Weston-Super-Mare) had gone down their average trip would have gone up further to 133 miles, with trips to Devonport Services (who I used to walk to during my time in Plymouth) (232); Taunton (157) and Cinderford (Forest of Dean near Gloucester 96)

Macclesfield’s reward for Promotion is to replace Newport in that League, so they will be taking on some travel (sure they can afford it !)

No details of when the games will be played, (it appears the National League fixtures will be out by mid-June so may be similar)

I will be hoping Stoke, Newport and Leek are all Winter games, so early kick offs, as none have rail stations (Stoke play at Stone about six miles from the town they take their name from). However unlike Leek, Stoke (just six miles off the M6) and Newport , do seem relatively straight forward trips.

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