OPEN LETTER OF THANKS FROM CHAIRMAN GEOFF IRVINE

Dear Blues fans; at around 6pm last Saturday, I was stood in the Blues Marquee with a large smile on my face. We'd just racked up a fantastic bonus point win over Yorkshire Carnegie in a game that looked like it wouldn’t even go ahead!

Just over a week earlier, we had seen the forecast and the impending 'Beast from the East' due to descend on the UK bringing snow, wind and all sorts of chaos. As such, Mike Rayer and the team made the decision to cover the Goldington Road pitch and brace ourselves for what was to come. And boy did it come!

Over the course of the week, the snow came down, but wasn't as bad as we thought. We'd posted a note on the website asking for volunteers to help out on the morning of the match, but we remained reasonably confident that all would be okay.

That was until Friday afternoon when, after a lot of clearing had already taken place by the staff, the heavens opened and more snow lay on the pitch. There was very little that could be done in advance, but we knew that we'd need the help of the Blues community and they duly obliged.

Early on Saturday, we made our way to Goldington Road. The council had done a good job in clearing the local roads, and staff along with a couple of local farmers, had cleared the surrounding spectator areas, car park and driveway. However, the pitch was a blanket of snow.

RFU Referee Darren Gamage arrived and seemed a little sceptical that we'd be able to pull this game off. However, he inspected the pitch and, providing the snow could be removed, there was no reason kick-off couldn't go ahead at 3pm on a good surface.

Then came the Blues army. Approximately 150 dedicated fans of all ages turned up, some with shovels and brushes in hand, prepared to break their backs to ensure that this fixture went ahead. We'd seen a similar response in 2010 when our Boxing Day game against Bristol looked in doubt, and there was definitely an air of defiance.

The fans got straight to work and were supported by a number of players, coaches, staff, a former President and yours truly, in removing the snow while Paul Tupai was in control of the dumper truck - nothing could go wrong!

It is hard to put into words what a Herculean effort took place over the next few hours. Fuelled by determination (and hot drinks from Nos), the snow was no match for the Blues faithful and as we neared midday, the covers were ready to come off.

I cannot thank the Blues fans enough for everything they did to help us put on the game. The players and coaches were in absolute awe of the efforts and repaid them with a splendid display on the pitch.

Carnegie were just as impressed with the efforts, although their coaches did request that if we play again after such a blizzard we "leave the bloody snow where it is!"

We even managed to make it onto the local news - Anglia and Look East!

So once again, thank you to everybody who came along on that cold morning to help clear the pitch and make sure the game took place. Thank you also to the 2,000 who turned up to cheer the team on to victory.

This is an exceptional and unique rugby club that we are extremely proud of. Come on you Blues!

Geoff Irvine

Next Home Match

Saturday 29th September
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
3.00pm

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