Promotion, and runners-up spot, achieved, now for the final game of the season, at home (Nottingham RFC) against champions Bedford Athletic, for West Bridgford RFC.
Beginning the 2021-22 campaign with defeat to the eventual champions, one of only four losses suffered (prior to the last match on 23 April), West would embark upon a nine-game winning streak before Market Harborough, and the festive break.
The New Year however, once West had regained their stride, has seen them win their last nine, including completing the double over rivals Derby, registering a shut-out success against Dronfield (22-0), and racking up the points, in a fifteen-try demolition job against Lutterworth (Xander Purcell, Thomas Wilkins and Luke Risman with three tries apiece, and Callum Gunn with seven conversions and a penalty, in a 92-19 win).
Avenging the loss to Market Harborough this past weekend confirmed promotion for West, and they’ll be looking to finish with a tenth-straight flurry, against the champions, as tough as that may be.
“It’s been a brilliant season, and really nice to have finished second as that’s what we had targeted,” Coach Gareth Kerr told the Nottingham Sport.
“To have the victory over Derby as well, that was sweet; now, we just have the champions, Bedford, to play on the last day of the season.
“We’ve improved massively as the season has progressed, winning games we’d probably not normally do so, and it’s because of that, we’ll go out against Bedford, and give everything. “
In facing Bedford, the champions having won 39-18 at the start of the season, Kerr, and everyone at West, know the challenge before them.
But, with the season they have enjoyed, and with the players, and those behind the scenes, having all performed magnificently, it’s one they can take in their stride.
Those performances aren’t just allocated to the First XV either, West’s Seconds have won their league (Nottinghamshire RFU Security Plus Pennant Group 1), and their Thirds (Nottinghamshire RFU Security Plus Pennant Group 3), they’re champions elect also.
“Our ground (The Memorial Ground) will be getting used for the start of the new cricket season,” explained Gareth.
“So, Nottingham RFC, have kindly offered the use of their ground (The Bay); they’ve been really accommodating, we’ll be training there, and getting a feel for the place, ahead of big game with Bedford.
“This season though, granted, a lot of clubs have struggled post-covid, as have we to be honest.
“But, we’ve been completely relentless, well Graeme Gunn (Team Manager) has been, in order to get our fixtures completed.
“Because of that, we’ve been able to get strong teams out, and we’d love to have been able to give everyone a game.
“With me though, my mind always goes to those who continue to invest in the club, irrespective of their role.
“Callum (Gunn) our captain, Owen Howells (stand-in captain), as well as Holly Calver, our Physio, who goes above and beyond, are just a few, but I could mention them all really.”
West Bridgford RFC finish off their Midlands 1 East campaign at ‘home’ to champions Bedford Athletic, on Saturday 23 April; match will take place at The Bay, home of Nottingham RFC.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @BridgyRugby the West Bridgford firsts’ celebrate their promotion.