After having been absent from Rivacre Road since March 9th, the 1st XV return to face Warrington. Given the scale of recent defeats, it is to be hoped that last home game of the season gives supporters some optimism for next season.
Warrington is another one of many well-established clubs in this league. They were founded in 1876 and, in an area famous for rugby league, such longevity is to be admired.
Warrington are currently tenth, having won eleven, drawn one (with Penrith) and lost twelve of their 24 games. Saints lost away 39-8 last December, and they have only won two of their last seven games. Last week, they beat our nemesis, Broughton Park, by 28-10.
Indeed, impressive double wins against De La Salle and Stockport, and, significantly, a 26-22 victory against high-flying Douglas, attest to their quality. If we add that five of their twelve defeats have been by five points or less, we can see that Warrington are a fine, combative side.
We last played Warrington in season 2009-10 in South Lancashire/Cheshire1. We won at “The Fortress”, 32-10, and also the return fixture at Malone Field, 29-3.
Warrington would be relegated at the end of that season.
Our paths have not crossed since. In 2011, when we were being promoted to North One West, Warrington were winning South Lancashire/Cheshire 2, and when we were relegated in 2012-13, Warrington were promoted in our place to North One West.
Whilst our loss a fortnight ago to Broughton Park was chastening, we have an opportunity today to, at least, restore some pride.