So this Saturday is a parting of the ways. The 1st XV head to Cheshire to take on Sale, the Wanderers to Surrey to play Esher Cardinals and the 3rd XV the short trip to Suffolk to take on Newmarket.
Sale is now in Greater Manchester, but is traditionally in Cheshire and Sale FC often host the Cheshire county side. Indeed, although many of us remember the club's dramatic last visit when we retained our National 1 status by the skin of our teeth. However, some of the players were back the following week in Counties colours.
One of the best known residents of Sale, is James Prescott Joule. Joule was the son of local brewers and educated at home by John Dalton (after whom the dalton or unified atomic mass unit is named) is best known for his work unifying mechanical work and heat. At the time it was assumed heat was a substance - calorific - that flowed. Earlier theories had a similar cold fluid - frigorfic - but it had been accepted that cold was the lack of heat.
Joules great experiment - which he first demonstrated in Cambridge - was to use a weight on a string attached to a paddle in a tub of liquid. His brewing experience enabled him to make accurate measurements of temperature and he was able to show that the further the weight dropped, the more the temperature in the liquid increased. Showing that heat can be created through mechanical work. He was also able to argue that heat is related to movement of the atoms in the liquid. Among scientists he is remembered as the Joule is the SI unit of Energy.
Later he worked with William Thomson on temperature, looking to establish an absolute scale. Thompson was later made Lord Kelvin. Which is why the Kelvin is the SI unit of temperature.
He lived his entire life in Sale and is buried in the cemetery in the town where he is memorialised by a pub named the J. P. Joule.
Like Rosslyn Park, Sale is a Football Club. It dates from 1861 and one of their proudest possessions is the law book they draw up in 1865, one of the oldest extant sets of laws for rugby style football outside those drawn up at the school itself.
Sale moved to the current Heywood Road ground in 1905. The professional side adopted the Sharks moniker in 1999 and moved out in 2003, first to Edgeley Park and then to Salford. The Sale FC side were in South Lancs / Cheshire 4 - level 9 of the pyramid and had three quick promotions. The other steps took a bit longer, but they finally reached National 1 last season - finishing 11th. We played them at either end of the season, drawing the opening match 36-all and winning in style at Heywood Road.
As Heywood Rd is a stadium with a single pitch, they have a separate training ground a few miles away used by the minis, juniors, the other club sides and also as a training facility by the Sharks.
This season both sides have three wins and three try bonus points, but Sale have not picked up any losing bonus points. But what we have seen this season is that any side can beat any other - and I include Hull Ionians and Canterbury even though they have yet to win. So Cambridge need to show the resolve they have shown the last two weeks.
Wanderers are heading to Esher, who are a single point ahead of them in the Zoo Shield table. The injuries in the squad stretch the Wanderers but they have always fared well on the Esher back pitch - one of the shortest in the kingdom. Having been relegated Esher are doing well - if not dominating - National 2 South.
The 3rd XV are desperate for their first win. However, they may find it tough against the second placed Newmarket.