This is only the third season in which Hull Ionians have played Sedgley Park. We first met in the 1996/7 season when Park went on to win the league gaining their third successive promotion. Park won a hard-fought game 30-28 at Brantingham Park in the first match of the season. Park led 15-6 at half time, 20-6 straight after the break. Ionians came back to trail 25-27 after 73 minutes, had a drop goal bounce back off the posts then a penalty in the 80th minute to lead 28-27. But in injury time the Park scrum half Rob Smith landed a drop goal to win the match. The return match saw Park as league leaders win comfortably 43-16 at their ground.
We met again in 2014/15 in National 2 North, this time Hull Ionians on their way to winning the league and promotion. Hull Ionians won the home match in October 29-18 but lost away 38-5 in January, but went on to win their remaining 10 matches that season to ensure promotion.
This season Hull Ionians won the match at Tigers ground 35-29 with Sam Wilson gaining a hat-trick, a feat Mike Wilcock achieved for Park at their ground in 2015.
Several of the teams in our first meeting will be here today including Paul Cook, now our backs coach, the teams on 7th September 1996 were:
28 Hull Ionians Sedgley Park 30
3P2C Jim Iveson 15 Mike Wilcox
T Richard Iveson 14 Mark Aherne P2C
Ben Medhurst (c) 13 Peter Renwick 2T
Mark Swift 12 Neil Kelly
Matt Kendall 11 Darren Weatherall
Simon Cowling 10 Matt Corns
Mark Randerson 9 Rob Smith DG
Darren Farnsworth 1 Matt Alcock
John Johnson 2 Chris Webster
Tony Rice 3 Phil Donbavand
Dom Thompson 4 Bob Kimmins (c) T
T Mark Bennett 5 Paul Egen
Mark Kelk 6 Kevin Talbot
Jon Barratt 7 Andy Kimmins
T Jason Nicholson 8 John Duncan T
Karl Wigglesworth 16 Keith Howie
Tony Phillips 17 Ken Fletcher
James Gosling 18 Simon Bond
Paul Cook 19 Jim Johnston