Hopping Mad

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  1. Watched this game (February, 1987) myself. Even Whitehaven, who at the time had a dreadful record in the Challenge Cup, were surprised how easy it was. Final score 25-2.
  2. Also went to this, as a neutral. A good - but far from great - match. Too many unforced errors, too many penalties and too many injury stoppages. Coventry 40-10 ahead before three late Oxford tries, two in added time and all three converted, gave the score a slightly misleading look. I had been to BPA before, for Coventry RU. It's a great little set-up: handy for the town centre, residential areas and junction seven of the inner ring road. Heartening to read, in the programme, how Bears are spreading RL participation in the city and pulling in more sponsorship. Must admit, however, I asked myself: would either of these teams, in terms of playing standards, survive a season in the Premier Division of the NCL? Or even the First Division?
  3. Let's hope Whitehaven-Halifax pulls in more (through the turnstiles) than the 375 that bothered with Whitehaven-Oxford in the last round. When I was in Whitehaven (for the Kells-West Hull NCL match) last weekend, a fellow spectator told me it was the lowest crowd for a first team fixture in Whitehaven's history (since 1948). Is that correct? I believe Whitehaven had a number of very low crowds in the 1960s.
  4. I shall be attending this one, as a neutral. Hoping for a close contest. Six points in it at the final whistle (ie outcome in the balance to the end) would suit me very nicely.
  5. Clearly, York won't be rebuilt in a day (or even a season). Watched the Barrow v Workington derby as a neutral. Strange game. The visitors played most of the rugby and had something like two-thirds of the possession and territory. Yet still lost. Barrow scored on virtually every visit to the opposition 25. They tackled well, too, but Workington were a tad predictable on attack. Made an interesting contrast with the Kells v West Hull (18-16) NCL Prem fixture I watched in the afternoon. The League One action was a very obvious step up in quality.
  6. I wouldn't want to see pro and semi-pro clubs' 'A' teams in the NCL. Absolutely not.
  7. I suspect Siddal are happy where they are - one of the bigger fish in their pool. Let's face it, NCL Premier is a much better comp than two-leagues-within-a-league League 1, and its running costs are substantially lower. Neighbours Halifax can't persuade any great number of people to watch Championship RL. Is League 1, not a great deal cheaper at the gate, likely to be any more appealing?
  8. I note the online version of the York Press once again has had to estimate the match attendance. When I covered rugby league (not for the Press, I hasten to add) in the Eighties, official attendance figures were always available to the media by the time the final hooter sounded (when copy had to be filed). What's the problem at York this season?
  9. Less well known than This Sporting Life is a rugby league-themed stage play, The Changing Room, David Storey also penned. Re-read TSL only recently. A fine novel.
  10. Nobody, wherever they live in Herts, is going to pay to watch a team that poor.
  11. For the first time last season, non-league football had a Wembley Finals Day, with the FA Vase preceding the FA Trophy. Worked well. Scottish rugby union also has a Finals Day, at Murrayfield, with the BT Cup Final the climax of three matches. I'd be much more interested in going to Wembley to watch, say, York v Barrow (Shield), Featherstone v Halifax (Trophy) and Warrington v Leeds (Cup) than I would for one game featuring the same old four or five Super League clubs. In the days when I went to Wembley regularly for the Challenge Cup Final, it was a celebration of the whole sport. Maybe, as per roughyedspud's proposal, it could be again.
  12. I'm not sure about pools. The prospect of dead rubbers - even less appealing than the average Challenge Cup tie as things stand at present - is only too obvious. In football, the FA Cup has had its day. Maybe the same is true for RL's knockout competition. For the big clubs, in both sports, only the league really matters because that's where the prize money and prestige is to be found. Looking at the proposed Pool One: I remember watching Whitehaven give Wigan a right old battle at the Recre in a late 1980s cup-tie. Wouldn't happen now. If Wigan fielded their strongest side, they'd win by 80 points. The likelihood is Wigan would select a 'shadow' team. And who'd want to watch them, even as part of a season ticket deal?
  13. Looking at the last Rothmans year book I have - 1990-91 - the attendances section makes interesting reading. Averages gates for 1981-82 and 1989-90 for the smaller clubs (those still with us): Barrow 4162 and 1997; Batley 1052 and 1506; Dewsbury 1048 and 1227; Hunslet 774 and 1046; Keighley 1576 and 936; Rochdale 888 and 2510; Ryedale-York (and York) 3677 and 2495; Swinton 1567 and 1678; Whitehaven 2710 and 961; Workington 1969 and 691.
  14. Tricky commodity, programmes. As with all collectables, they're worth what someone is willing to pay. A particular programme might be worthless to one collector but, for various reasons, priceless to another. One thing is certain: the collecting market is shrinking rapidly. Very few under-40s collect programmes. I hear stories of people giving up trying to sell collections, having discovered they can barely give them away, and dumping them in the bin. Dealers will give you a fraction of the value because they need to make a decent profit, though a dealer is much more likely to take the lot off your hands. What era are your dad's programmes from? Are they 'big'/significant games or run-of-the-mill fixtures? Defunct clubs or clubs still with us? Condition - no writing, stains or dog-ears - is most important. I'd be interested to see the list, certainly.
  15. Couldn't agree more with this (and Celtic Rooster's previous contribution). I believe we'll end up with about 12 clubs in northern England. All viable, all professional. The remaining heartlands clubs, all now facing a daily struggle to keep their heads above water, will either fold or join the amateurs. It's been my feeling for a long time that, as a result of Super League and the RFL's post-Super League strategy, rugby league has lost more supporters (actually at the grounds not in armchairs) than it has gained.