This was not the Knights 1st visit to our club but it's the 1st one that we have information for. My recollection of that 1st visit was our decision to host the Knights for the 1st time. A request had been made for us to host the Knights and we discussed it our next committee meeting.
At the time South Africa still had apartheid, and demonstrators had invaded the pitch at Twickenham when the South African Springboks played England. We decided to host the tourists and have done so ever since.
Where did those 2 years go? The Knights are with us once again. Having never beaten the Knights, and anticipating their strength, we knew we were no match for them as a club. We contacted our ex club champion Alan Barwise and a team of 'better' players were invited to represent our club. Result: packed house, great night, we still haven't beat the Knights.
For this visit we invited our County captain and our County No1 to play for us, added to that we also managed to get the Lancashire No 3 & 4 to play in our 'select' team. We know as a club we are not strong enough to match the Knights, so by inviting players in we aimed to give them a good game and to give the spectators something to shout about. Did we beat them? No we did not!
We did however manage to win one game. See the match report.
Dependant on the exchange rate cash can become tight for the Knights on tour. We are the 1st fixture after Christmas and by now the Knights are three-quarters of the way through their tour. We usually provide accommodation for the boys, and make sure they are well 'fed and watered' after the match. If you want to know how well we do this, ask a past Knight. (Our hospitality, on the understanding that nothing is too much trouble for us, is legendary according to the tourists )!
We try to get as much out of the Knights visit as possible, getting the boys to give some coaching to our youngsters before they play their match. This they are more than willing to do, and it's now a feature of their visits to our club. The youngsters get a Knights program and get the players to autograph them. Signing autographs, playing to a full house and winning. What more could you want!
This year our team comprised mainly club players. The Knights thrashed us, but our new younger side will be more suited to the task in 2 years time. This is our club's 50th year so a win would have been nice, but it was not to be. Still, no shame in loosing to the Knights, most teams do. Looking forward to the 2011 tour, perhaps that could be our year?
Alas this year wasn't to be our year again. The Knights arrived with 4 junior players all under 22 years old, and despite us picking the clubs best and the counties top two players also, we still came second best. This year we hosted them for 2 nights, as they had always expressed a wish on previous trips to visit the Lake District whilst here. This they did on the Thursday before taking our junior coaching sessions, followed by a fun challenge competition using 'old wooden rackets'. We look forward to meeting the next South Africa Knights players in 3013, hopefully that will be our year?