Liga Heineken 2018-19 - Semifinals - Results
SilverStorm El Salvador 39 - 26 Ampo Ordizia (quite an exciting game, closely fought until minute 65 in spite of the theoretical gap)
VRAC Quesos Entrepinares 33 - 12 SilverStorm El Salvador (no show by Alcobendas, they were annihilated in the first half)
So there we go, we're in for another Valladolid final. Unfortunately it doesn't look like any of the teams is willing to relocate it to Zorrilla this time.
--Promotion play-off - Final - First leg result
Bathco Rugby Club 15 - 22 Ciencias Sevilla (Ciencias squad depth and experience paid off against the almost fully pro Santander team)
Although I had already been to Valladolid back in 2016 for the sellout in Copa del Rey final, yesterday I visited for the first time Pepe Rojo, the facilities where Valladolid rugby usually take place since it's the home of both VRAC and El Salvador. And to say it's impressive is an understatement. It reminded me of Heidelberg (I had been there for non-rugby reasons) because like there it's a number of rugby pitches located in the outskirts of the city, they don't look that important. But once there you find 6 pitches, 8 locker rooms, 2 media rooms (just opened the second one
), a brand new bigger gym, a control tower for TV, radio and staff members... It oozes rugby and people is extremely dedicated, you see entire families fulfilling roles within their clubs. Structure may not be fully pro, but it is as big as in any Tier 1 club.
Since it's owned by town hall, there are almost no signs showing which room is for which team, but they have been for so long there that everybody knows where they must go or where their fans must seat. Even advertising banners switch every year so sponsors get the same visibility. It isn't a pretty place, it wasn't properly planned and each mayor has progressively expanded it without everything making too much sense, but it is still able to hold both Liga Heineken semifinals and U16 Spanish Championship (55 teams) over the same weekend without too many issues. By the way, there was personnel from foreign clubs following and scouting the latter...
The main regret right now is probably the lack of a mid-sized venue closer to the city. Zorrilla is probably too big to take there every single big game and football club will always be its main tenant (in fact they are even trying to take over its ownership), but Pepe Rojo is badly communicated, without decent public transport and lacking visibility to the general public...