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Hopping Mad

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  1. Seem to remember Paul writing for Harry Edgar's Open Rugby, too.
  2. Sad news. For a very long time, Maurice was Mr Rugby League.
  3. Paul Fitzpatrick, at The Guardian, was a favourite of mine. Staffer Aaron Bower does a bit of rugby league (when he's not required for football) in The Guardian. Frequently, though, The Guardian relies on copy and pics the Howden-based sport department of the Press Association, an agency, hawks around redundancy-decimated regional and local newspapers.
  4. Unsurprising. Consider how many fewer insects, nowadays, are plastered to one's car front and windscreen after a summer evening drive.
  5. Maybe the die was cast when the Northern Union's first champions realised soccer was a better bet.
  6. Union got in first in Hartlepool. Loads of Welsh guys built the docks there - and brought 'their rugby' with them. There are now - finally - a couple of amateur rugby league clubs in Hartlepool, to outsiders surely one of the least likely places in England to embrace a 'posh sport' like rugby union. Union in the Borders is not unlike league along the M62: lots of small clubs (all, in fact, quite a bit smaller than the M62's league clubs), many poorly supported, dogged by petty-mindedness and narrowness of vision, all chasing the same tiny pool of players, spectators and sponsors. The Scottish Borders RU franchise failed primarily because it was based at Galashiels - and virtually everybody in the Borders seems to dislike 'Dirty Gala'. For me, Carlisle is the most depressing rugby league 'expansion' failure: by the mid-80s, the city's semi-pro club, bolstered by talent from neighbouring west Cumbria, had the benefit of a two-division Carlisle & District Amateur Rugby League competition beneath it. And, still, it all went belly up.
  7. Reminds me of a barbecue I went to, maybe 20 years ago, in a village near Halifax. Amongst the small gathering was a rugby league forward, working his way through a semi-professional career with a clutch of middling standard clubs. Had a good chat with him. All he talked about was money, money, money. He never gave the slightest inkling he derived any enjoyment from playing rugby league. I found his attitude a bit depressing.
  8. Anybody still after a printed version of the Cornwall-Midlands Hurricanes programme can get one through Mark Kettlety, who prints (mostly football programmes) from pdfs. Send him the Cornwall pdf and he'll provide a printed version for £2.99 plus postage. sundayonly1@aol.com
  9. Speedway, football and darts commentator, presenter and writer Nigel Pearson. He was 52.
  10. York did host Leeds, in a Challenge Cup tie, in January 1989. The game was switched to Bootham Crescent from Clarence Street, owing to capacity issues at the rugby ground. The official attendance was 11,347.
  11. I was tempted back for the second half. Some positives after the break from Cornwall, who scored three tries and were 'drawing' 14-14 until stoppage time. FT 14-60.
  12. Is this a re-run of the North Wales game?! 18 minutes gone. 0-18. 21 minutes gone. 0-24. Time to switch off, I'm afraid. Cornwall look way off what's required.
  13. Cornwall's first programme (digital, sadly, but it's free and better than nothing): https://cornwallrlfc.co.uk/news/digital-match-programme-1/
  14. Update (10/4), as far as I can tell - additions/amendments/corrections welcome): Rugby Football League Printed match programme: Barrow (£2), Hull (£3), Keighley (£2.50, 48pp), Leeds (£3), Leigh (£3.50), North Wales (£1), Rochdale (£3), Sheffield (£3), Swinton (£3), Toulouse (free, 16pp), Warrington (£3 plus £1.99 p+p through Ignition Sports Media, 40pp), Wigan (£4), York (£3, 28pp). Printed monthly magazine: Castleford (Roar, £2), Wakefield (The Trin, £2), Widnes (We are Widnes, £3). Printed match teamsheet/matchday information sheet: Doncaster, Halifax, Hunslet, Whitehaven (£1). Digital match programme: Bradford (free, 22pp), Cornwall (free, 12pp), Leeds (free), London Skolars (free), Midlands, Newcastle (free, 24pp), Oldham (free, 3pp, PDF), St Helens (free, 20pp), Warrington (free), West Wales (£2). Nothing: Batley, Catalans, Dewsbury, Featherstone, Huddersfield, Hull KR, London Broncos, Salford, Workington. Note: Whitehaven issued a one-off printed programme for their 26/3 cup-tie with St Helens. Demand so high, a reprint was necessary. Note: Catalans fans produced an unofficial, eight-page programme for the club's 29/1 friendly with Toulouse. Amateur Rugby League National Conference League Printed match programme: Bentley (£1, 8pp), Clock Face (£2.50, w/a, 24pp), Dewsbury Celtic (£2.50), Dewsbury Moor (£2.50, w/a), Dudley Hill (£2.50, w/a, 12pp), East Leeds (£3, w/a, 16pp), Eastmoor, Egremont, Hensingham, Heworth (£1), Hull Dockers, Hunslet Club Parkside (£2), Ince, Kells, Leigh Miners Rangers (£3, w/a), Lock Lane, Millom (50p), Pilkington (£1, 12pp), Seaton (£3, w/a, 12pp), Siddal (£1), Stanningley (£3, w/a), Thornhill, Wath Brow, West Bowling (£1, 12pp), Wigan St Judes, Wigan St Patrick's, York Acorn (£3, w/a, 12pp). Digital match programme: Crosfields (free, 30pp), Hunslet Warriors (free, 20pp), Milford (free, 12pp), Normanton, Thatto Heath (free, 22pp), Woolston (free, 30pp). TBC: Barrow Island, Batley Boys, Beverley, Drighlington, Featherstone Lions, Leigh East, Mayfield, Myton, Oldham St Annes, Oulton, Shaw Cross, Skirlaugh, Waterhead, West Hull. Feeder Leagues Orrell St James did a one-off printed programme for their 15/1 Challenge Cup first round tie. Others TBC.
  15. The North East Men's League section on the RFL website did carry details during the 2021 season. Maybe it will crank back into life when the season up there gets going. Same could apply to the league's Twitter - @NorthEastRL - account. You could drop Alan Smith a line. He may be able to put you in touch with league officials: Alan Smith, Community Game Senior Administrator 07760177457| Alan.Smith@rfl.uk.com
  16. I've always found athletics track venues a killer for field sports, especially rugby league - where it's preferable to be close to the action, thereby able to appreciate the speed of the play, the skills under fire and the sheer physicality of the game.
  17. The Keighley-Doncaster preliminary final in the 2021 League One play-offs attracted 1,128. Not sure many other Cougars crowds last season made it into four figures. Unlike the above, on Sunday, there were very few Doncaster fans present. Not enough interest to run a coach, I was told.
  18. “It’s never easy, coming up to Cumbria.” [stand by for: "It's never easy, going down to Cornwall."] "We need to concentrate on our own game." "I have to credit the supporters. Their backing got us over the line." "I know refereeing is a difficult job, but..." "It took us 20 minutes to get used to the slope." [at Crown Flatt, Mount Pleasant or Thrum Hall] "It's going to take time for him to adjust. We have to be patient." [after any RU convert's RL debut] Two real quotes, from the late 80s/early 90s, when I reported on rugby league (coaches were less media savvy back then and therefore much more forthright): "We just did everything so wrong." After a run of defeats, and no money to improve the team: "I've decided you can only p*** with the c*** you've got."
  19. Newcastle Thunder are tweeting their condolences to the friends and family of former Batley, Dewsbury, Doncaster and Gateshead wing Leon Williamson. He was 47. "We were saddened to learn of the passing of former Thunder player Leon Williamson over the weekend. We will be paying our respects as part of our pre-match activity this evening [the Widnes match at Kingston Park]." Batley tweeted: "We were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Bulldog wingman Leon Williamson. Our thoughts and prayers are with Leon's family and friends at this difficult time." Dewsbury tweeted: "[We] are shocked and incredibly saddened to hear of the death of former player Leon Williamson aged 47. The club would like to offer its condolences to Leon’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time."
  20. Thanks for the offer, Tim. I'll do that when I visit Hurricanes later this season.
  21. I see Hurricanes have been advertising, on their website, a match programme. Was there actually one to buy?
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