So Here It Is - A New Season Begins
TJs kick off their league season on Saturday away at Hertford (3pm) and this season looks likely to be an even better one than the last.
TJs narrowly missed out on promotion through the Playoffs last season. The narrow loss at Chinnor brought the curtain down on another successful 1st XV season and a job well done.
Canterbury went up as Champions of course, immediately reversing their relegation the previous season. In doing so they clearly demonstrated the strength of National 2 rugby which has been emphasised by the other ups and downs of recent seasons. Westcombe Park survived in National 2 with a last game win over Canterbury in 2010-11 but thne found themselves bottom for much of last season. They rallied late on but could not avoid the drop into N3 as other results conspired against them. Combe are TJ's first home league opponents on 8th September KO 3pm. Barnes and Hertford both went up to N2 in 2010-11 with just a few losses between them but both have joined Combe in being relegated through the trap door.
Coming up from below this season are London 1 South Champions Guernsey and runners up Old Elthamians plus Thurrock as London 1 North Champions. OEs and Combe provide us with a couple of more 'local' derbies whilst Guernsey provide us with a first overseas league trip in late January 2013.
Having lost the relegated sides Bracknell, Luton and Havant something else had to give to keep the numbers right and during the summer Ampthill, voluntarily, went back to National 3 Midlands whilst London Irish Amateurs, not so voluntarily, went South West.
So we have six new clubs to play this season along with the slightly more familiar foes from Bishop's Stortford, CS Rugby 1863, Dorking, Gravesend, Staines, Tring and Westcliff.
Whilst it is far too early to be sure, on paper at least, it seems that the quality of rugby on offer this season for TJs has just gone up another notch, especially as a number of clubs have expressed clear intentions to either return to N2 or go for successive promotions.
The difficulty though with pre-season musings is that the likely outcomes at the higher end of league rugby are often tough to call. Players tend to move around a lot more between clubs (and countries) whilst retirement age seems to get younger and younger. Luckily for TJs our current playing numbers do not include too many of the 'old timers' whilst we appear to have benefitted from a few new faces joining the Club during the close season.
NB - if you are keen to find out who is on the TJ 1st XV roster this season then you will need to get along on the 8th September and support the team as they play Westcombe Park at home 3pm. The match programme should contain some useful info which we can then share with our website readers from around the world
You can join us for the first league lunch of the seaon on the 8th - CLICK HERE for more info and details of who to contact for this lunch or any of the others available during the season
In the meantime can you spot any familiar or new faces amongst this lot of handsome players?