Rugby rivals Newark and Southwell to go head-to-head on Saturday (September 7) for special centenary match at Kelham Road
Long-standing rugby rivals Newark and Southwell will meet in a special centenary match at Kelham Road on Saturday.
The fixture celebrates the 100th anniversary of Newark Rugby Club’s first match, and is also the first team’s final friendly before the Midlands Two East (North) campaign begins.
Newark’s head coach Adam Corcoran said: “Being my first season at the club, I am new to this local rivalry, but having spoken to a few of the players and supporters in the clubhouse, they have educated me on some of the great encounters over the years.
“I hope we can put in a good display at the weekend to add to the celebration of the centenary year matches.”
Newark go into the fixture off the back of a 31-17 cup defeat to Lincoln (report on page 70) but Corcoran said he saw a lot of character in his side’s performance, which saw three players make their debuts.
“I was encouraged by what I saw from a very young team with the average age of the pack being 20 years old,” he said.
“The team have got some learning to do and need to understand how we (coaching staff) want them to play.
“The team showed character to get back in to the game and came out firing after half-time to get back to 17-12.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep the momentum going until the end.”
He highlighted how important a win would be ahead of the season opener against Ashfield, but said above all, a strong performance, with a heavy focus on work rate and intensity, is what he desires.
“If we translate the hard work we have put in over the summer into the game environment the result will look after itself,” Corcoran said.
“We will make some changes at the weekend. It will give us the opportunity to watch some other players that have been putting in the hard yards over the off season.
“We also have some injuries and unavailability that will affect selection.”
The games importance may be intensified as the two clubs do not clash in the league this season after the relegation of Southwell to the Midlands Three East (North).
In the last three seasons, the first teams of the two clubs have served up some memorable games and this friendly hopes to continue the rivalry.
The clubs’ 2nd sides also go head-to-head (2pm kick off) while the 1st teams kick off at 3pm.
Leicester Tigers’ community team are also in attendance, hosting youth coaching sessions and rugby-related activities from 1pm.
There will be half-time entertainment in the form of a cannonball game, which fires the rugby ball into the air to test participant handling skills.