Familiar opposition at the Gate
The last weekend of the season for the Men’s teams this Saturday will see the most familiar opposition down at Bretton Gate, as six of the Men’s teams will play each other in their final league games.
Although there are no promotion or relegation issues to settle, don’t expect your typical end of season dull games, as all players in all the teams will feel they have a lot to prove in one way or another.
The day starts with the 6th and 7th best teams playing each other, although this season it’s the Magnificent Sevens that can legitimately claim to be the best club team in Division 4NW. The 7th XI have cemented a very creditable 4th position in the league, whereas the Sixes will finish in 6th or 7th, depending on the results this weekend.
In the fixture before Christmas, Nigel Foad’s 7th team sneaked a narrow 3-2 victory, but their form over the second half of the season has been more consistent than the Sixes. On paper then, you would expect a win for the 7th XI, BUT don’t write off the Glorious Sixes – this is exactly the sort of game they will be buoyed up for.
The second inter-club fixture, the 2nds v 3rds pushing back at 11.30am, is the probably the one with the biggest rivalry between the two teams. After a poor start to the season, Andrew Cave’s 2nd team has now overhauled the 3rd team and stretched away. The Prem B fixture between these two in the first half of the season was probably the turning point for the fortunes of each of the teams, as the older Twos comprehensively beat the Threes.
It is understood that as well as three points up for grabs, there is a little bit of a private bet on too, but in all likelihood the result and the money for the end of season kitty will go to the 2nd XI, as their overall strength and experience is going to be the difference again.
The final inter-club game is at 1pm, when Lakey’s already promoted Men’s 4th team play the 5ths.
The first game was one of the tightest that the 4th XI have had all season. Expect this time to be no different, as the Fives will probably be closer matched than the 30 points gap there is between the two teams in Division 3NW.
The Men’s 1st XI still have something to play for in their final game of the season away at Cambridge University. A win will guarantee a 3rd place finish in Prem A, certainly not what they wanted, but they will want to end on a high in their slightly topsy-turvy season.
After a second half hat-trick last week from the bench, Ross Ambler (left) is in the first team squad this week and probably pushing for a starting place up front. He has made a couple of substitute appearances already this season, but all were impressed with the way he took his chances last week against Wisbech. Also deservedly back in is Trevor Matthews (right), who was solid at the back in his first team debut last week, after being called on late to cover for the injured Jonny Appleton.
The other big game at “The Gate” is the Ladies 1st XI in their final fixture. They host Lowestoft in a 2.30pm pushback.
With last week’s heartbreaking late loss away at St Ives, relegation looks a certainty now though. The girls will hope to put in a good performance and show what they can do as they build again towards a new season in Division 2NW where they will surely bounce right back again.
The full set of fixtures are: