This Saturday the 1st XV travel to the Wirral to take on Caldy, while the 3rd XV head to Ipswich.
Caldy Rugby club are actually based in the village of Thursaston just down the road from Caldy.
Thursaston used to be home to Dawpool the country House built for Thomas Henry Ismay - the p resident of the White Star Line.
Ismay was born in Maryport but moved to Liverpool as an apprentice ship broker. He had a vision that the new iron ships would quickly replace wooden craft. At the age of 30 he left his job with the National Line and bought the bankrupt White Star Line. He partnered with two financiers, William Imrie and Gustav Schwabe. Schwabe had a nephew, Gustav Wolff who with his partner Edward Hartland owned a yard in Belfast. Schabe agreed to finance the White Star provide they built all their ships at Harland and Wolff.
While they initially competed on speed, five of their ships held the Blue Riband from the Adriatic which crossed in just under eight days in 1872 to the Tuetonic - 5 days and sixteen hours in 1891. However, after that the line turned away from speed and concentrated on luxury. Thomas Ismay died of a heart attack in 1897, his son Bruce Ismay took over as chairman and it was Bruce that oversaw the building of the Olymipic class liner and indeed sailed on the maiden voyage of the first ship of that class - the Titanic. He survived, but with his reputation in shatters and retired to Ireland.
In 1882, Thomas Ismay hired Norman Shaw to build a country house. Norman Shaw had also designed the White Star building in Liverpool and of course the Norman Shaw buildings on the Embankment in London - the first New Scotland Yard. The Metropolitan moved out in the 1960s to 10 Broadway but in 2016 they moved back to the Embankment to the Curtis Green Building next door to Norman Shaw buildings which are used as offices for members of parliament.
While some saw Dawpool as Shaw's greatest work - it was an imposing sandstone building in the Tudor style - others described it as dark and grim. Thomas Ismay and Shaw worked on it together for fifteen years. But it was not liked by the rest of the family, and they moved out shortly after his death. It was eventually demolished in 1927. However the lodge and the stables survive, both of which are listed buildings. The name also survives in the name of the village school.
Last weeks result mean we have moved ahead of Caldy, though they have played on fewer match. Given the state of the table it is a critical match for both teams. We know it is a long way, but any travelling support will be most welcome.
The 3rd XV start their plate campaign. Ipswich were third in Easter Counties South and carry forward 8 points from two narrow wins over Bury. However, the mighty 3rds have not lost since before Christmas.
The 2nd XV have another week off. Due to the weather disrupting last weeks games they are still top of the Zoo Shield division 1 - but Ampthill could topple us if they beat Cinderford.
Updated 18:41 - 7 Feb 2019 by Marcus Streets