- Roger Parkes remembered by former club
- Lions set for Old Leamingtonians test
It is almost five months since Roger Parkes lost his brave battle with cancer but Stourbridge Lions will remember their club stalwart when they take on Old Leamingtonians in the Midlands Senior Vase final at Stourton Park on Saturday, March 16.
Parkes was a well-known figure in Black Country rugby and further afield and was a loyal volunteer worker for Stourbridge Lions and their sister club Stourbridge until his death, aged 72, in October.
He lived to see Stourbridge Lions beat Earlsdon in last season’s Midlands Senior Vase final and was a spectator when they were beaten at Wath upon Dearne in the national semi-finals of the RFU Senior Vase.
“You don’t forget someone like Roger,” said Stuart Doolittle, Stourbridge Lions captain.
“Our Player of the Year Award is named the Roger Parkes Trophy, which shows the respect in which he was held.
“He made a massive contribution to both clubs, particularly the Lions, and we were able to see him off in the right way by winning the Midlands Senior Vase last year.”
Stourbridge’s success last year brought them publicity and profile, which Doolittle believes helped them strengthen their squad with the recruitment of scrum half Alex Moy and utility forward Scott Langdon, both of whom moved into the area last summer.
“Winning this competition and going through to the national semi-finals last year helped to raise our profile and that bit of success probably helped us to bring in some new players who were moving into the area,” he said.
Apart from another successful cup campaign, Stourbridge Lions are in contention for promotion from Midlands Three West (North).
“We are third in the league just six points behind Newcastle-under-Lyme, who we play on the last day of the season,” said Doolittle.
“If we win all our remaining games we will have won promotion and a national cup.”
If that sounds easy, Doolittle is mindful of the fact that Old Leamingtonians know what it is like to play on the stadium pitch at Stourton Park having been beaten in the Midlands quarter-finals of last season’s competition.
“It’s nice to have another big home game and we are anticipating having another good day at the club,” Doolittle said.
“Our experience last season means that we know how to win cup games. But Old Leamingtonians know what it is like to play on our stadium pitch because we beat them in the quarter-finals last season so they have an idea what to expect.”
The Midlands final is effectively the national quarter-final stage of the RFU Senior Vase. The national final will be played at Twickenham Stadium on May 4.
The Midlands finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup and RFU Junior Vase will also be played on March 16. Coalville host Old Laurentians in the Intermediate competition with Harbury entertaining Old Yardleians in the Junior Vase.