30 August 2005
Coventry rivals Broadstreet and Barkers' Butts will clash in the first round of the new Powergen Trophy this Saturday (September 3) in what could be the first of four competitive meetings between the clubs this season.
The rivals were due to meet in a Midlands Two West game at Broadstreet's Ivor Preece Field ground in any case but the introduction of the new competition, for National League clubs and county cup winners, has forced some rescheduling.
The league game, the first of two this season, will be played later this season and, if recent Warwickshire Cup results are anything to go by, Broadstreet and Barkers' are also likely to clash in that competition as well. Last season Broadstreet retained the county cup with a late penalty.
"This is a massive game for both clubs," said Mark Pearson, Barkers' head coach.
"There is a chance that we will meet each other four times this season - twice in the league and a possible meeting in the Warwickshire Cup - so this game gives us an early opportunity to have a look at each other.
"By co-incidence we were due to meet in the league at Broadstreet this Saturday and we were both due to play in the Intermediate Cup. But with the inclusion of the Welsh clubs in the Powergen Cup and the creation of the Powergen Trophy we have had to do a bit of rescheduling."
Last season Barkers', the club that set the likes of Neil Back, Danny Grewcock, Rob Hardwick and Leon Lloyd on the way to international stardom, reached the last 16 of the Powergen Intermediate Cup where they were beaten by eventual runners-up Westoe.
The Allesley-based club enjoyed the experience but appreciate that the new competition will bring other benefits.
"Realistically, we probably stood more chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the Intermediate Cup than we do the Trophy,"said Pearson, a former Birmingham number eight.
"But the Trophy is the higher-profile competition and the financial rewards are better which is something that a club like ours cannot ignore."
Last season Broadstreet and Barkers' were two divisions apart but they are now on a level footing again following Broadstreet's relegation and Barkers' promotion.
"In recent seasons Broadstreet have been the senior club in the city behind Coventry but the gap has been closing and we are now in the same league so there is a lot of local pride at stake," Pearson said.
The local rivalry will be fuelled by the decision of Barkers' back-row forward Simon Morris, to join Broadstreet. Morris, like most Barkers' players is a product of the successful colts system at Pickford Grange Lane and he returned there last season after a short stint with Nuneaton in the National Leagues.
Barkers' will be without Warwickshire Under-21 winger Sam Montague, who is still recovering from a knee ligament injury, sustained playing in the County Colts Sevens in May.
Back-row forward Joe Newton (groin) and centre James Ham (knee) are also injured but prop Gaz Smith should be available having rejoined Barkers' from Lichfield.
Elsewhere in the Powergen Trophy, Luctonians, who won the North Midlands Cup last season, will make their first appearance outside the Intermediate Cup with a home game against Spalding.
The structure for the Powergen National Trophy is as follows:
Round 1: 3rd September
62 clubs from RFU Constituent Bodies (two granted byes to Rd 2)
Aspull v Wheatley Hills
Driffield v Chester
Morpeth v Birkenhead Park
Penrith v West Park St Helens
St Benedict's v Beverley
Stockton v Rochdale
Westoe v Burton
Broadstreet v Barkers Butts
Hinckley v Letchworth Garden City
Longton v Derby
Luctonians v Spalding
Market Bosworth v Matlock
Peterborough v Kettering
Whitchurch v Bromsgrove
Barnstaple v Clifton
Chinnor v Reading Abbey
Clevedon v St Ives
Coney Hill v Swanage & Wareham
Maidenhead v High Wycombe
Oakmedians v Aylesbury
Torquay Athletic v Penryn
Hornets or Yatton v Spartans
London & South East
Basingstoke v Ealing
Guildford v Barnes
London Scottish v Chingford
Maidstone v Old Colfeians
Norwich v Lewes
Staines v Richmond
Thurrock v Canterbury
Winchester v Shelford
Round 2: 17th September
32 clubs = 30 Rd 1 winners & 2 CB clubs with byes - Tabard & Worthing
Round 3: 1st October
44 clubs = 16 Rd 2 winners & 28 National Division Three North and South
Round 4: 15th October
36 clubs = 22 Rd 3 winners & 14 National Division Two clubs
Round 5: 5th November
32 clubs = 18 Rd 4 winners & 14 National Division One clubs
Round 6: 26th November
16 Rd 5 winners
Quarter-finals: 7th January
Semi-finals: 4th March
Final: 8th or 9th April
Intermediate Cup Round 1, Junior Vase Preliminary Round and Round 1 fixtures and round dates are available on www.rfu.com