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  1. He's a cult hero in the south as well. Birthday or not, I imagine he's in a pretty good mood after the weekend.
  2. I remember Oxford announcing his signing in late 2013 ("World Cup star signs for the blues..."). Don't know the background, but a few days before the season he turned up in Townsville, Australia. The number 4 squad number was left vacant all season as if they thought he might change his mind.
  3. The annual Oxford v Cambridge varsity match took place today at the Honourable Artillery Company ground in London. Postponed for a week due to a frozen pitch, it was instead played in steady rain that made handing difficult. Oxford nevertheless completed their ninth successive win, with the final score being 24-6. However, the win was nowhere near as clearcut as in recent years. At half-time Oxford led with two unconverted tries, and had also been reduced to 12 just before the break following a sinbin. Cambridge proceeded to hammer the Oxford line for fully the first 20 minutes of the second half without reward. A combination of very strong Oxford defence and Cambridge handling errors stopped any score. Oxford's own errors ensured that Cambridge always got the ball back quickly for another go. Finally another error presented Cambridge with a try that made the score 8-6. The next few minutes were the first time for nearly a decade that Cambridge might have thought they could actually win this game, but Oxford fought back immediately and strongly. In fact, most of the rest of the game was at the Cambridge end, with Oxford getting three more tries. Attendance was lower than in the last few years, probably because of the change of date, and spectators thus missed the best contest since the move to the HAC. However the losers from the Polytechnic in the Fens got their usual result.
  4. Some people above suggested that rugby league should change its name, at least partly to help with gaining full membership. So I looked at the existing members to see what restrictions GAISF might have. The clear answer is "none at all", and the name of our sport is in no sense the issue. Of course we all knew that anyway. And some of the names below just show what a joke this whole thing is. So here are some GAISF members: World Skate International Skating Union International Hockey Federation International Ice Hockey Federation International Soft Tennis Federation International Table Tennis Federation International Tennis Federation International Federation of Football Association International Federation of American Football International Ski Federation International Ski Mountaineering Federation International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation International Federation of Sport Climbing International Boxing Association World Association of Kickboxing Organizations World Confederation of Boules Sports World Bowling International Golf Federation World Minigolf Sport Federation
  5. "Rugby League Cup". Assuming that JohnM got it right, I think that indicates how much effort the BBC put into that response.
  6. BBC Radio Berkshire, 14 October - just before the second half of Leeds United 0 Reading 1, the commentator Tim Dellor says something like "During half-time we had the Leeds Rhinos on the pitch, having won the Challenge Cup [sic] last week. We don't talk enough about rugby league - tremendous athletes." Unfortunately based on the quality of Dellor's previous comments (on any topic at all), the only conclusions I can draw are: The BBC talks too much about rugby league. Rugby league players are not tremendous athletes.
  7. Well I had to hunt for it, but this is hidden at the end of an article on the England RL website:
  8. With 400 miles travelling this weekend, I've had some time to think about this topic. So I have written a futuristic short story, which means that it will be too long for most people to read. I can see that ullman had some of the same ideas. As we approach the 200th anniversary of rugby league, I thought it time to look back at the period where everything started to go right. Many historians have written that the rise and rise of the sport started with the surprise resignation of Supreme Commander Nigel Wood (who left rugby league in order to run a different sport that no longer exists). But I think the really significant advance came about with the 2019 eligibility change. It was ground-breaking when the RFL announced that from now on players were only able to play for the club nearest their place of birth. There were some immediate casualties - Wakefield’s proposed ground-share whilst they rebuilt Belle Vue had to be called off, as they would cease to have any players. And of course that meant the rebuilding couldn’t happen, which is why Belle Vue still stands, looking exactly the same as it did in those far-off days. With Brexit on the horizon, Catalan Dragons were also dumped out of Super League. As the Foreign Secretary put it in during one of his more diplomatic phases, “Froggie not welcome here“. In the first couple of years after the change Wigan and Leeds dominated, until the arrival of the Dover Roos. Their back-to-back Grand Final wins prompted a final eligibility change, as the game was now restricted to players born in the UK. “Bloody convicts - we don’t want them back”, said the recently elevated Prime Minster. Dover disappeared quickly. The next big change could have come when business man Alan Crook-Banker announced a new club called Wigan Hospitallers. He had made a deal to build a new stadium on Wigan Hospital car park, and would therefore have been able to call on just about all of the Wigan Warriors squad. The deal fell through only when it was discovered that Crook-Banker’s correspondence address relayed to Thorn Cross Open Prison, where Her Majesty had invited him to spend some years at her expense following some previous financial dealings. To avoid this happening again, Wigan Warriors took a visionary long-term move, something completely unassociated with the traditions of rugby league. They built a maternity unit next to their ground, and encouraged prospective parents to put their names down for it. Other clubs followed suit, Leeds being able to make better use of the flat grassy area behind their main stand by siting the Sir Kevin Sinfield Birthing Clinic there. Nowadays, of course, much of the country has maternity services provided only by rugby league clubs. One exception is Wakefield, who hope to sign a Heads of Terms Agreement next year. Clubs are naturally competitive, and Castleford Tigers made the next breakthrough. They recognised that an important start to many lives was when the heavily pregnant expectant mother was driven at speed to the maternity unit by a family member. They therefore started a programme of road improvements that would make it easier for people to get into Castleford, and in particular to arrive at The Jungle's Cubs and Cubettes Club. Shortly afterwards, Featherstone built roads that made it easier for people to get out of Castleford, for which Rovers won a community award. Other clubs followed suit, and we now expect that much of our road budget each year will come from a nearby rugby league club. Well, except for Wakefield who are still looking to dot a few j’s and cross a few bridges before committing themselves. With the pool of player talent available to clubs, the game is healthier than ever, and if the eligibility rules are the reason, then who does the credit belong to? I’ve done some research and I’ve discovered an anonymous post on an archaic messageboard suggesting the change. That was written by “JDINTHEHIZZOUSE” with some help from his mum.
  9. Oxford would have the Griffin brothers and possibly McMeeken. Presumably Sam Tomkins would be at Hemel.
  10. I thought it might be interesting to look at the public statements from the two clubs (won't take long). The original League Express article published on 13 August said that they had asked both clubs for a response but had received no reply. League Weekly had a similar story on the same day, but I've not seen that. On a thread in this forum someone - claiming to be from All Golds - said that their club had replied with a threat of legal action as the article implied the University was in financial difficulty. The League Express editor said that they received that after publication. I find it difficult to believe that the poster claiming to be from All Golds has anything to do with a professional organisation. But it has to be said that no further stories have come out in League Express. Oxford's only comment was in the online programme for the game on 20 August - "In the last week or so the gossip mongers in League 1 have pushed rumours and Chinese whispers around on social media about expansion clubs and the make up of League 1 in 2018. I won’t comment on these on behalf of the board as there is no actual direction, facts or decisions concluded by the governing body at the time of writing. We feel it is not appropriate or correct to surmise or speculate. League 1 has been tweaked every season over the last 5 years be it with numbers, competitions and new clubs entering. We will obviously share news when decisions are finalised officially." All Golds commented in their online programme for the game against Oxford on 27 August - "If the rumours are to be believed, this meeting of the All Golds and Oxford will be the last between the clubs who will be merging and playing in Bristol next season. Hopefully we’ll have some more news by the time the All Golds take on Hemel Stags in a couple of weeks..." The All Golds report of that game includes the phrases "WAS IT THE LAST DERBY?" and "With rumours gathering pace that these two clubs will be merging for next season, there was plenty of interest in what could be the last game between them." The Oxford match report of the same game makes no mention - you should read nothing into that. I wrote it and I am a supporter, not a club official. If there was no truth that a merger had been discussed, then surely at least one of them would have come out and said so (although to be honest it's not too difficult to imagine total silence even under that scenario). Vague statements implying that everything is out of the clubs' hands, and the RFL having made no decision, carry no weight at all with me. So what should the clubs have said? What I would have expected was that one or both could have come out with something like "Whilst we're not going to comment on these specific stories, we are continually reviewing what is best for this club, and are open to any reasonable options. We would welcome further offers of support. In the meantime get yourself down to [insert name of ground] on Sunday and enjoy a great game." How difficult is that?
  11. The RFL website has information about the new format and a list of games to take place. Unfortunately they don't have exact dates or venues, other than for the final: http://www.rugby-league.com/superleague/article/50817/tickets The Oxford rah-rah club have posted that they are hosting West of England v London and South East on Saturday 2 September at 1pm. London South East Rugby League have confirmed the date and venue, but not the time.
  12. All Golds have said that the reason for the switch was because their stadium was already booked for something else (same as for the Challenge Cup). They also mentioned that there was new administration at the stadium. Reading between the lines I think they were saying that they had booked it provisionally but the new people hadn't realised that.
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