Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.
Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.
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Rugby league and a rainbow - Bath & Wiltshire Romans v Swindon St George on 27 April 2016
13th August 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans on the wrong side of a 62-12 scoreline against Southampton Spitfires in the West of England League plate semi-final. A fruitless diversion to Amesbury, an enormous jam at one of the Stonehenge roundabouts caused simply by rubberneckers and the 61-mile journey from Corsham took two-and-a-half hours with arrival ten minutes before kick-off. One of our supporters was on the road for four hours, having travelled from Exeter. A rapidly increasing population, hundreds of thousands of new homes proposed across the country (close to a thousand in Corsham alone) and this situation is set to get much worse. The answer - slow down the pace of life, reopen lost railway lines and take the train. Take the example of our referee for today's match, Stuart Aldridge, and take a look at the map of the Midland and South West Junction Railway below. In 1960, Stuart could have travelled from his home in Gloucester all the way to Redbridge (see bottom-right of map) by train, read a good part of War and Peace, taken a couple of naps, gone to the toilet at will (not be dying for a pee stuck in a traffic jam!) and hired a pony and trap to/from the stations at both ends. Heaven!
Back row L-R: Oliver Russell, Matt Warnock, Ash Salter, Chris Barter, Stevan Randall, Aaron Knowles, Lewis Atkinson, Chris Chatten. Front row L-R: Jake Morris, James Noott, Jack Dixon, David Parkin, Tom Plance, Ryan Willcox
6th August 2016 - Romans travel to Swindon St George for a West of England League cross-pool fixture (there are two West of England League pools and two cross-pool fixtures are scheduled for each team in the season along with the normal intra-pool matches).
I could sense that this was 'one of those days'. The journey to Swindon took in a stop-off at Chippenham railway station, aka Nerd Central, to see a classic steam engine pass through. Nerds, including me of course, had cameras at the ready. There was a shout of "here it comes" and I took a couple of zoomed shots when the camera reported 'FULL" (I had loaned it to a relative yesterday and she, apparently, took hundreds of pictures). Aaaaaarg ... so back-up, compact camera was hurriedly shifted from my pocket and in the shifting its setting moved from 'auto' to 'filter'. This resulted in only one shot being possible and that with a yellow filter applied. As I said ... aaaaaargh.
Bath & Wiltshire Romans won the cup and league double last season but this season they are 'doing a Leeds'. Last season, Leeds won the treble but this season will win nothing; they have been at or near the bottom of the table all year. But, as someone once said, it's not the winning etc. In July alone, in the South West and West of England leagues, eight matches were awarded as walkovers because opposition clubs could not field a team. However, even though Romans have been struggling to field a side, every fixture has been fulfilled. And the consequence has been that Romans have been on the receiving end of some big scores .. this week's was:
Swindon St George 66, Bath & Wiltshire Romans 20
The principal reason that Romans, notably, have completed every fixture is down to one man, Chris Chatten the chairman. Chris somehow, each week, by hook or by crook and by means of scores of emails and telephone calls, manages to assemble a squad. And, aye up, this is achieved not from a local base but from the wrong side of the Pennines, Yorkshire. And then, in round-trips of at least 460 miles (550 miles in the case of Portsmouth) he comes to every match and performs all or most of the matchday and after-match chores: sorting out the playing kit and ancillary stuff like water bottles, running on with the kicking tee, washing the kit (or perhaps this is 'delegated'!) and so on. If he had given a back-hander to David Cameron, he could have been in the House of Lords by now.
Let's have a look at some pictures from this week's match:
30th July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans lose at home to Bristol Sonics and also suffer blowback disqualification at the Man of the Match drinking competition. Men of the match were Mike Perry of Romans and George Burnie of Sonics. Mark Samwell, Romans' sponsor and committee member, was also shanghaied into taking part as a 'thank you' (!) for all the good work he has put in throughout the season.
After a decent first-half performance, Romans trailed by just ten points at the break. However, Romans' defensive frailties were exposed in the second-half when Sonics rattled up 30 points with only 6 in reply to leave a final score of Bath & Wiltshire Romans 22, Bristol Sonics 56.
There was a good crowd in for the match at Corsham RFC's Lacock Road ground. What more could you want ... a beautiful summer day, rugby league, a pint or three, the bells of St Bartholomew's ringing out ... I mentioned to Bristol's polymath supporter (see next picture) that I had already been to heaven at Wilderspool (Warrington) in the 50s when we had Brian Bevan performing his magic on the pitch and the London and North Western Railway running past the Railway End (would you believe!) with mainly Black 5s or 8Fs in charge of goods trains on the Liverpool - Stockport line. I recall that during one match, a Black 5 was 'parked' at the railway end with its driver and fireman taking an avid interest in the match.
Bristol's manager Matt Anniss gives a time check to Monsieur Polymath (apologies, I don't yet know his name) while Bristol's Blues Brothers are engrossed in the match. Monsieur Polymath is a regular at West of England rugby league matches throughout our region from the Forest of Dean through Cheltenham and Gloucester to Swindon; his knowledge of the local and wider game is encyclopaedic and insightful.
Looks like a bad hair day needs an urgent fix in the clubhouse while there's a bit of a lull in play
Sonics are starting them young ... one of the nursery squad receiving instruction from the RL coaching manual
Local rugby union stalwart Tim Unwin enjoying the entertainment provided by the other code. Now, what else happened on this beautiful summer afternoon ... ah yes, the rugby ...
16th July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans suffer massive second-half reversal at Oxford Cavaliers
In red kite country (we spotted five in and around Abingdon) at Tilsley Park in Abingdon, having led at half-time by 18 points to 16, Romans suffered a massive second-half reversal in losing by 60 points to 18! Was the wind to blame (in the meteorological sense) which blew strongly in Cavaliers' favour in the second-half or was it just that Cavaliers came on strong? This was a disappointing result in view of the fact that it was a '4-pointer' (the winner would take four league points) as the reverse fixture was abandoned following a serious injury.
9th July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans' first league win of the season at Gloucester Warriors
The second of three consecutive away league fixtures saw Bath & Wiltshire Romans triumph, by 58 points to 30, at Gloucester Warriors Gordon League ground in Hempsted Lane, Gloucester. Why 'Gordon League' I hear you ask? Well here's the story from the Warriors' website.
The Gloucester Gordon League was launched on the 5th of December 1885. It was founded in common with many other Gordon Boys Clubs throughout Britain, as a living memory to General Charles
Gordon, who died when the besieged city of Khartoum fell to the fanatical followers of Muhammad Ahmed, The Mahdi.
Local Government's initial enthusiasm for the Gordon Youth movement soon waned, possibly due to the political in-fighting over the Khartoum Affair, and they withdrew their financial backing. Many of the clubs were forced to disband, but in the City of Gloucester, thanks to the intervention of a remarkable woman this was not the case. Miss Agnes Jane Waddy, believed to be a volunteer tea lady in the early days of the club, simply took control and enlisted the support of local businesses and individuals to save the club.
In 1888 Miss Waddy and a young assistant named Ernest Browning founded The Gordon League Rugby Football Club as an integral part of the existing Boys Club. The 'League' played it's first match in the September of that year, beating Barton Rangers by one try and one minor to one minor. Young Ernest scored that winning try and went on to serve the Club as a player and as an official for a total of 59 years.
Our club has since been well served by very many members in the best 'Browning' tradition but, had it not been for a frail Victorian Lady who refused to abandon an ideal, The Gloucester Gordon League Rugby Football Club would have never existed.
And I now hear you ask ... what is the Browning tradition? Let's put that on hold and look at some photos of the Warriors/Romans match.
Back row L-R: Mark Samwell (sponsorship manager), Sam Goulding, Tom Culshaw, Chris Barter, Bruce Vuetanatotoka (Captain), Matt Warnock, Richard Carlisle, Luke Panting, Alex Clark, Chris Chatten (chairman), Jimmy Godfrey
Front row L-R: Huw Parks, Matt Bodey, Nick Parks, Tom Plance, Adam Almond, Luke Cador, Ryan Willcox, Hollie Bailey (physio)
Romans' press release on the match with details of scorers may be found in the following file 'link':
The RFL South West Rugby League website with community news, fixtures, results, tables etc is here:
2nd July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans travel to Portsmouth for a West of England League fixture
HMS Temeraire and its £1/2million 3G artificial pitch was the venue for this match against Portsmouth Navy Seahawks and our fine railway system was the method of travel for some. The 10:47 left Bradford-on-Avon at 11:35 and arrived at Portsmouth Harbour at 13:58, one hour and six minutes late. The poster below was displayed at Bradford-on-Avon station - "celebrating" 40 years of the High Speed Train
The HSTs were designed and built by British Railways Engineering at Derby and Crewe. Because of their fine design, they are still the workhorses of our inter-city routes. Spot the irony here? Privatisation has brought no new money, no infrastructure, no new trains and certainly no engineering expertise so we "celebrate" using forty-year-old trains! The £5billion electrification of the Great Western (London - Bristol) main line will use taxpayers' money and should have been done in British Railways days. The poster below is from Fareham station where we had to make an unscheduled train change - money is spent on superficial stuff like retail units while railway infrastructure crumbles.
Aaah yes ... the rugby ... a second-half scrum, with the East Side Plaza Building (designed to look like a ship's funnel) and Emirates (odd isn't it that Brexiters who "want their country back" think nothing of our prostitution to Arab states) Spinnaker Tower beyond, is shown below and the picture gallery follows. Despite many regulars being unavailable, Romans put in a spirited performance, particularly in the second half, before going down by 42 points to 26. There were a number of spectators watching the match from outside the security fence, one of whom asked "What is this game?".
15th June 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans host Oxford Cavaliers in the West of England League.
Prior to the match a one-minute round of applause was held by both teams in memory of Ronan Costello, a Huddersfield academy player who died following injuries sustained in a match last Saturday.
In a tight affair, with Oxford Cavaliers leading by fourteen points to six, the match was abandoned after 51 minutes following a serious injury sustained by Romans' winger Jimmy Godfrey. Photos of the abandoned game follow:
7th June 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans press release on the Sonics match last Saturday
The events of this Saturday almost reversed those of two weeks earlier at home to Portsmouth Navy Seahawks. Then, Seahawks raced into a 28-0 lead after about twenty minutes; this week, it was Romans turn to race into a 26-6 lead but they still managed to lose the match by 48 points to 56 in a 19 try thriller, against local rivals Bristol Sonics.
The Romans are based at Corsham Rugby Union Club, Lacock Road, Corsham and are keen to welcome new players aged 16+ of all abilities to training currently on Wednesday evenings from 7pm. The club are also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to sponsor the club in 2016 and have packages available for all budgets.
The Romans are next in action when they take on Oxford Cavaliers at their Corsham RU Club, Lacock Road, home on Wednesday 15th June, 7pm kick off.
Chris Chatten, Chairman Tel: 07810 552196
4th June 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans first West of England away league fixture took place at the home of Dings Crusaders RFC against Bristol Sonics. This rugby league season and the forthcoming rugby union season will be the last at Dings' Lockleaze ground after 68 years. Sports pitches as well as farmland are falling prey to the current god of development at any cost. Dings' pitch and surrounding training areas are to be developed by Redrow, the same company that will be responsible for the wasting of 24 acres of farmland at Pickwick.
Taking the train from Bath to Filton Abbey Wood, I drifted off to sleep and awoke to be finding myself in the subcontinent ... but after clearing my eyes saw that we had stopped at Stapleton Road where, in its former incarnation, my dad bought a Mk 9 Jag from the garage under the railway bridge.
Confirming that we had not passed through a space-time warp, Filton Abbey Wood was reached just a few minutes later. The three-quarters of a mile walk from the station to Dings RFC skirts MoD Abbey Wood and runs across the grounds of Bishopston RFC and Ashley Down Old Boys RFC. But turning into Dings RFC, another space-time warp beckoned across the pitch ... we had drifted into the American Midwest ... yeeeeee-hah.
Now to the rugby ... the events of this Saturday almost reversed those of two weeks earlier at home to Portsmouth Navy Seahawks. Then, Seahawks raced into a 28-0 lead after about twenty minutes; this week, it was Romans turn to race into a 26-6 lead but they still managed to lose the match by 48 points to 56.
In more genteel, civil, cultured times (the 60s and 70s) many referees, whether rugby or football, would penalise a team for using foul language. The ref would often inform the team captains before kick-off that this was his intention. However, effing now, effing foul language is effing used as effing punctuation no matter the presence of children. This effing state of affairs appears to have effing crept up on us to become effing acceptable behaviour. However, it shouldn't effing well be accepted. Referees have it in their power to stamp it out by means of the penalty in rugby and the free kick in football.
21st May 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans first West of England league fixture at Lacock Road, Corsham against Portsmouth Navy Seahawks resulted in a 30 points to 34 defeat.This result, whilst disappointing, does not reflect the tremendous fightback made by the Romans who were 28 points in arrears after the first half-hour.
The Romans 'press release' following this first match of the new season was as follows:
The Romans are based at Corsham Rugby Union Club, Lacock Road, Corsham and are keen to welcome new players 16+ of all abilities to training currently on Wednesday evenings from 7pm. The club is also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to sponsor Romans in 2016 and has packages available for all budgets. The Romans are next in action when they take on Bristol Sonics at Dings RFC on Saturday 4th June, 2.30pm kick off.
Bath & Wiltshire Romans took on Swindon St George in the first friendly of the new season on 28th April 2016 at Corsham RFC's Lacock Road ground. This will be home to the Romans throughout the 2016 season in the West of England League. The match was played in four 20-minute quarters in order to allow as many players as possible to take part. Romans ran out winners by 42 points to 32 in a tightly-fought contest. Images from the match are shown above and in the gallery below.