You can just see at the top of that table "Harlow 4" - yes, our brilliant rugby boys have only gone and maintained their unbeaten run to the top of the league! Considering that we have already played once against - and beaten - the two teams who were the early season favourites as well - Renegades went away following a 17 - 5 defeat from our club, and a week later we travelled to Shelford where the boys came back from 19 points down to win by 7 - that is a pretty good record. I suspect we came as a bit of a shock to Renegades too - they arrived at Harlow full of confidence after winning all of their previous four matches by good margins. Of course there is a long way to go yet, and we still have to meet some teams who have already proved they can pull off a surprise or two - Biggleswade's unexpected victory against Shelford the other week being a good example!
There are some peculiarities in that league table too - St Ives for example have only actually played 1 match - when they got beaten 87 - 12 by Cambourne - and the other 4 matches shown on their record have been conceded 15-0. In our case, we would have preferred them to actually come to us and play the match, as we would have expected to have scored a lot more than the 15 match points you get awarded for a conceded match. The problem we have is that while the majority of the other teams are in fairly close proximity, we are a bit further away and so teams who know they stand little chance of winning, or are struggling for players, are less inclined to travel to us. Annoyingly we have suspicions that at least one more side is likely to decline to travel down to us, although we didn't hesitate in making the 150 mile round trip to visit them earlier in the season!
From my perspective, photographing the rugby is filling the gap left by the speedway photography when I stepped away from that a couple of years ago. At the time pressures of work, and also a desire to actually SEE the speedway matches I was paying for admission to (yes, in spite of what a good number of folk thought at the time, I always paid my admission fee the same as the rest of them!) rather than having the very restricted view from down on a level with the track, meant that it was clearly the right decision, but it is nice to be back to photographing something a little more challenging, and less predictable, than my normal sort of things! It was great last year also to travel to Barcelona for an away match against Poblenou Enginyers - had I not been taking the photos I would probably have struggled to justify going along. My photos are also the one used for the promotional posters which go up at the club (and potentially in the future further afield across the town, also) too, and it's a great feeling to see your work blown up to poster sizes and on the wall, too!
If you would like to see more rugby photos, my shots from the past few seasons for the Harlow Fourth team "The Saints" can be seen at the Harlow Fourth Team Photo Site - a website set up specifically for sharing photos which occasionally include some from after match shenanigans of a rather too "fruity" nature for your average photo sharing website!