Fri 08 Nov 2019 12:01

This Saturday at Volac Park the Blood and Sand take on Blackheath, the Wanderers host Barnes and the 3rd XV play Saffron Walden.

Blackheath is of course one of the oldest football clubs. Possibly the oldest open club - though others dispute that. Famously a founder member of both the FA which it walked out of over the issue of hacking - and of the RFU. An honour it shares with the Civil Service club, though that split with sections for each code. Due to early fixtures against Blackheath Preparatory School - their fans still cheer for club.

One of their interesting internationals was Thomas Gubb, a South African Rhodes scholar who played for the other place from 1926 to 1929, captaining them on the last occasion. While at Oxford he was picked for the Great Britain tour to Argentina, earning one cap against the Pumas in a match that has retrospectively been given the status of a Lions test. After Oxford he moved to London to qualify as an accountant and captained Blackheath. However, he never gained another representative honour. He joined ICI and moved to Shanghai. After serving with the Gurkhas during the war, he returned to South Africa where he continued his successful business career.

Blackheath is of course coached by James Shanahan, formerly of this parish and of last week's visitors Plymouth, as well as Old Albaninans and the Light Blues. Shanners does not like losing, especially to an old club, and no doubt will come with a game plan. Cambridge will need to find the effort they showed in the first half of their last two games and ensure they carry that forward to the second half. At least we should not have the gale we faced last week.

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