This week we travel to the East Riding of Yorkshire to take on Hull Ionians.
The origins of the City of Hull go back to the Anarchy. As you will remember, Henry I died with no definitive heir and his daughter Matilda and his nephew Stephen were battling for control, while King David of Scotland, officially allied with Matilda, was attempting to increase his realm. He already gained lands in the North West and now he was looking at Yorkshire. His army was gathering in Durham and raiding into Wharfedale. With Stephen unable to travel North, the Northern Lords were not sure whether to parley or fight. The Archbishop of York preached that it was God's will to fight the Scots and so a local army was raised under the control of William of Aurnale. Due to the mist the larger Scots army stumbled upon the English army on the moors close to Northallerton. The Scots are disorganised and the English rout them, forcing them to withdraw back North of the Tees.
William is granted lands and titles by Stephen, some of which he uses to endow a new monastery on the East bank of the Hull opposite Beverly. Meaux abbey prospers and fifty years later, in the reign of King John, it finds it has so much wool that it needs to export to the Low Countries to be woven and it establishes a wharf at the mouth of the Hull where it joins the Humber. A hundred years later it came under the control of Edward I, who grants it a charter as King's Town upon Hull.
Hull prospered becoming the main port on the East coast. Among the successful merchants were the Alcocks, one of their sons, John Alcock entered the church and was tutor to Edward V, a friend of Richard III, Lord Chancellor to Henry VII and Bishop of Ely. He took over the buildings of the Convent of St Radegund - which had apparently gained a reputation for licentiousness, not good for nuns, and had Jesus College built on the site. The roosters on the arms of Jesus college are a heraldic pun on his surname.
However, Hull Ionians are not based in the city itself, but in the village of Brantlingham, 12 miles West of the city. The village has one pub,a coaching inn now called the Triton, taken from the arms of he Sykes family, who moved to Hull in the seventeenth century and made a fortune in the Baltic steel trade. They moved to the stately home of Brantlingham Thorpe. Mark Sykes was the MP for Hull from 1911 and remembered for negotiating with the French the division of the Ottoman Empire possessions in the Middle East - the Sykes Picot agreement. The Sykes have since sold the Thorpe and it is now a care home.
Hull Ionians quartered shirt carries the colours of the former clubs, Hull and East Riding merged with Ionians. They were champions of National 2 North in 2013, immediately relegated and Champions again in 2105. They are currently sat in 14th place. They have won their last two home games, over Fylde and Esher - but they lost last week at Loughborough - though the Students were apparently enhanced with a number of Leicester Tigers development players. Hull Ionians know they are in a relegation fight, and will not be easy to beat at home.
If you cannot make it to North for the match, Hull's local TV station Estuary TV will be streaming the match live on their web site and youtube. They are also talking to That's Cambridge to see if they will take the stream but so check your cable listings.
The 2nds head to Barnes, just round the corner from Rosslyn Park. The first XVs met two seasons ago, the Blood and Sand winning in Cambridge but being held to a draw in London. Barnes 1st XV were relegated from National 2 South last season and are currently third in London and South East Premier. Their seconds won their first match against Jersey Athletic, but have lost the three matches they have played since,putting them thirteenth.
The thirds host Thurston, in the first of the return fixtures- there are only eight sides in the league. Depending on which version of the table you look at, Thurston are either top or second to Shelford. Cambridge narrowly lost 28-24 at Thurston.