Having finished their league season in defeat at home to Doncaster last week, Nottingham Rugby’s attention now draws to the RFU Championship Cup and a two leg tie against Bedford Blues in the first round of the competition which starts tonight at Lady Bay (7:30pm).
The club state, after a disappointing season, that “The cup offers opportunity to showcase a different brand of rugby and provide clubs (in the division) opportunity to explore more avenues for success” with Head Coach Craig Hammond saying “It’s another opportunity for our guys to put on the shirt, we’re excited and competition for places is good.”
Nottingham will likely give minutes to as many as their team as possible as they look to take on the Blues over a two leg format to reach the Quarter Finals of the competition.
Although the 2021 competition was cancelled due to COVID, Nottingham were left even more frustrated in 2020 after reaching the semi-finals before their match verses Ealing Trailfinders was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Against Bedford who finished their season in fifth, Nottingham who ended their campaign tenth, out of eleven teams in the league, were beaten 40-9 at Goldington Road in November before a 22-47 defeat at the Bay in February.
A tough ask ahead, Coach Hammond stating “We know what they’re like and we know their strengths, they’ve got a really good coaching team and love to throw the ball around and play and have caused us a lot of trouble the last few times we’ve played them.”
Starting Team: Aniseko Sio, Archie Vanes, Dan Richardson, Lewis Chessum, Scott Hall, Jacob Wright, Nathan Tweedy, Emeka Iione, Sam Edwards, Morgan Bunting, James Peachey, Jacob Cusick, Charlie Thacker (c), Harry Graham, Jack Stapley.
Replacements: Storm Hanekom, Toby Williams, Liam Bishop, Callum Allen, Lewis Barrett, Michael Stronge, Elliot Bale, Theo Manihera.
In the Midlands League Premier, Papplewick based Paviors will be hoping to improve on a 43-0 home defeat against Bromsgrove this weekend as they take on mid-table Burton.
Pavs sit twelfth in the fourteen team table with two games remaining of the campaign.
High flying in the division below are West Bridgford, second behind runaway champions Bedford Athletic as the Stamford Road side look to secure runners up of the Midlands 1 East in their final two games of the campaign.
WB host fifth placed Market Harborough on Saturday before ending their season on Aril 23rd against the table toppers who have won 21 of their 22 games played this season.
In Midlands 2 East North a couple of our local (Notts based) sides are in action this weekend.
Newark in fourth place travel to struggling Ashbourne whilst Southwell host league leaders Long Eaton who are closing in on the championship trophy.
Long Eaton actually have three games left to play this season and will return the compliment to hosting Southwell over Easter weekend before closing shop at Loughborough a week later.
With a six point margin on Melbourne (who have two games left to play) below in second, one win will probably be enough for Long Eaton to secure the title.
No such worries in Midlands 3 North for Mellish who have already been crowned champions of the division. The Mapperley based outfit have 19 wins out of 20 and wrap up their campaign with an away trip to Bakewell Mannerians tomorrow before hosting Belper on St Georges Day to crown off what is likely to be a great party.
*Main image @NottinghamRugby Nottingham will be hoping for a fresh cup start after a tough league season.