See England take on the best at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

Hopping Mad

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  1. Hard to say. The mud made Identifying anyone difficult (certainly for a neutral).
  2. Just back from Sheffield-Toulouse. All the French in the first quarter. Eagles looked in line for a drubbing. But Toulouse started conceding penalties, allowing a very spirited Sheffield side to cross in the 21st, 24th and 39th minutes. More even second half but the 'hosts' emerged comfortable winners. Horribly muddy pitch and cold, wet conditions. To me, Toulouse didn't seem 'up' for the battle. Attendance announced as 442 but this can't have included the decent number of Trinity fans who stayed on after their team's 12-8 defeat by Hull FC.
  3. Be setting off for this shortly. I wonder what state the pitch will be in after the Trinity-FC game? Not sure about the lowest crowd in Sheffield's history but, given the weather, the distance from Sheffield, the likely lack of away fans and the unusual kick-off time, it might be established this evening.
  4. Drove through from York to watch the Haydock-Thornhill tie. An excellent game - much more open and enjoyable than the dour stuff I witnessed from Super League duo Saints and Leeds two days earlier. Trojans led 16-12 after 27 minutes but tries in the 32nd, 39th and 40th+2 minutes swung the game the hosts' way. Try count finished 6-4. Played in a very good spirit. Well refereed, too. Haydock issued a glossy 32-page programme. Impressive crowd of about 525.
  5. Not one of Fartown's better shirts, mind...
  6. I was that neutral. Reasonable entertainment, I felt, though hardly a spectacular start to the new Super League season. The cold weather, low scoring and gritty play took me back to winter afternoons shivering (mostly but far from exclusively) at Fartown and Thrum Hall. Credit to the players for putting on a decent show because it was bloody cold. If I were a Leeds fan, I'd be a little worried: all that help from a stream of first half penalties and numerous Saints fumbles, and only four points on the board at the break? As others have observed, the Rhinos didn't offer much creativity in attack. Parcell was a disappointment, too. Maybe not the conditions for it but I'd have enjoyed watching Saints throw the ball about a bit more. Doesn't seem to be the coach's style, though, judging by comments on here. Shame. Heading back (weather permitting) to Sentellins tomorrow for the Haydock-Thornhill Challenge Cup tie. Be sensible to wrap up in even more layers.
  7. Going along to this (from York) as a neutral. Just booked a North Stand seat. First visit to Langtree Park/TWS. Used to watch Saints regularly at Knowsley Road during my time (1983-86) at Liverpool University. Be interesting to see how today's Saints matchday experience compares.
  8. 'Neutral', in this instance, is the key aspect. Twenty quid, I guess, is OK for the committed fan but a bit steep for the casual observer. That said, I do think lower division rugby league is overpriced. And the NCL underpriced, come to that.
  9. Toyed with the idea of driving over from York for this. Checked on the Halifax website and discovered it's £20 for a seat in the East Stand. I'll pass, thanks. Roll on March 4th and the start of the NCL season!
  10. Poor Distington must be wondering if they'll ever get a home tie.
  11. This is pretty much what happened in Irish, Scottish and Welsh RU. Crowds at many of the 'local clubs' are now tiny.
  12. The history of speedway in Britain since the mid-1980s wouldn't make pretty reading either.
  13. Anyone else hear the interview with Hull FC owner Adam Pearson on BBC Radio Four's Today programme yesterday morning? Got a decent circa three-minute slot. The programme was broadcast (partly) from Hull, building up to City of Culture Year. Didn't catch who was firing the questions (not the loathsome Rob Bonnet, thankfully). Pearson was asked repeatedly about his alleged interest in getting involved again with Hull City FC but he kept steering the interview back to rugby league. Said his kids "love watching" RL. Also said: "Union has all the hype but league is a much better spectacle with a fantastic club scene". Voiced his desire to see HKR back in Super League. Interviewer made at least one mention of Hull being a "rugby league city".
  14. Heworth's ground, one of the best amateur RL set-ups in the country, seems the obvious place to play this game if it becomes an annual event. That said, the York RU ground and its pitch at Clifton Park were in tip-top condition on the 27th. Just seems a shame revenue such as bar takings - which must have been considerable (when did York RU last get a crowd of circa 600?) - isn't going back into RL. I was surprised how competitive State of Yorigin turned out to be. I imagine this being York Acorn's off season evened things up a bit.
  15. I watched Featherstone Lions batter South Wales in the Challenge Cup last season. The League 1 visitors were dreadful. Unfortunately, however, RL will never have a pukka pyramid like football.