Warlingham fired up for new season with fresh challenges

Warlingham RFC v SevenoaksRUGBY ROUND-UP: The rugby season gets underway in earnest at 3pm this afternoon with the pick of the fixtures being mighty clash at Hamsey Green between Warlingham and Old Reigatians in London 2SW.

Warlingham, the area’s senior club, have been shunted over from the south-east to the south-west division of rugby’s league ladder over the summer, which will give them more local games, such as at Dulwich next Saturday with Old Alleynians, and trips to Leatherhead, Farnham and Weybridge, but also longer journeys against Hampshire clubs Portsmouth and Winchester.

With a new captain in Jon Osborne, Warlingham under coach Ben Stobart have prepared thoroughly for the new season, with 50 players turning out for the last pre-season training session on Thursday night.

Warlingham prides itself in turning out four XVs as often as finding suitable opposition allows, plus various old crocks in a veterans side, but the senior side has welcomed back a couple of its most promising products of the club’s extensive mini and youth set-up, with Harry Wrightson and Guy Maynard both turning out in last Saturday’s final pre-season fixture, a 38-19 win against local rivals Purley-John Fisher.

Warlingham’s tries were scored by Kieran Scutt, Wrightson, Brad Saffery, Jack Atkinson, Alex Glover and Joe McEvoy, with four conversions kicked by Maynard.

Kay Wilson: one of the country's first professional women rugby players

Kay Wilson: one of the country’s first professional women rugby players

Over on another Hamsey Green pitch, the local derby theme continued, as an Old Mid-Whitgiftians side, who had travelled all the way up from the other end of Limpsfield Road with a team including several first XVers, won win 61-24 against Warlingham 2nds.

  • There will be a moment’s silence before today’s match, to remember Jonathan Straker, Warlingham’s former president and towering lock forward of the past, who died recently. A memorial service will be held at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London in November.
  • Trinity School has been named as one of the training venues for the France squad  during next year’s Rugby World Cup. Someone who allocated the 20 competing sides among the 41 training venues clearly had a sense of humour. The Romanians have been assigned to Dulwich College, the old school of UKIP’s Nigel Farage…
  •  Women’s Rugby World Cup-winner Kay Wilson, the former Warlingham and Old Cats youth player, has been awarded a professional contract by the RFU, which puts the England wing in a strong position to be considered for the national women’s 7s team when it comes to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where rugby will make its return to the Games.

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