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Hopping Mad

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Posts posted by Hopping Mad

  1. 14 minutes ago, Szymala said:

    I knew there was one paper I'd forgotten and Paul Fitzpatrick was arguably the best of all. A superb writer with a genuine love of the game having come over from football and found access in rugby league to be a breath of fresh air. Happy times.

    Seem to remember Paul writing for Harry Edgar's Open Rugby, too.

  2. 14 hours ago, Szymala said:

    Long gone are the days when each paper had their own correspondent. 

    I recall Brian Batty at the Daily Mail for decades, Alan Thomas at Express, Paul Harrison at the Sun, John Whalley at the Telegraph, Dave Hadfield at the Independent, Martin Richards at the Mirror, Peter Wilson at the Daily Star, Ray French (Today), Keith Macklin (Times) and Raymond Fletcher (Yorkshire Post). 

    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.

  3. 15 minutes ago, marklaspalmas said:

    Interesting thread so far, which concentrates mostly on expansion efforts post 1996 in the summer era.

    Going right back to 1895, rugby league really missed a trick when a band of clubs broke away from the RFU to form a Northern Union. The name itself must have discouraged working class clubs in every other part of Britain (South Wales, North East, West country, Midlands) from joining the new union.

    Rugby at that stage was ahead of soccer in many ways, despite a new Football League starting up in 1888. After the rugby schism, the coast was clear for soccer to emerge as the dominant code and put both union and league into the shade.

    How differently could things have played out if those early NU leaders had had the nous to reach out and attract a much wider geographical spread of clubs, nurturing them and seeing the sport grow to the point where RL would have dominated the oval ball scene? Perhaps the Rugby League could have offered much more of a fight to soccer for the hearts and minds of the British sporting public in the period leading up to WW1?

    After that date, the die was cast.

    Maybe the die was cast when the Northern Union's first champions realised soccer was a better bet.

    • Confused 1
  4. 33 minutes ago, EggFace said:

    I always thought perfect opportunity for the RFL offer the Rugby Union clubs in Limbo like the Scottish Borders Hawick, Melrose , South Wales like Neath, Pontypool etc and South West with Penzance and Plymouth.

    Really surprised that Hartlepool area never went to League.

    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.

    • Like 1
  5. On 15/04/2022 at 16:10, Maximus Decimus said:

    The other is that to many it just became a job and one that they weren't particularly well rewarded for. 

    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.

  6. 20 hours ago, Eddie said:

    I don’t always, but will try to remember not to in future. 

    Why do you think it would sell out then? York get about 2,000 for big games at the moment, I’d say doubling that for Leeds’ visit is more than generous but let’s say 4,000 home fans. I can’t see Leeds taking 4,000 to a challenge cup game at York, they only had about 5,000 home fans there for the game against Cas. 

    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.

  7. 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, 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, Halifax, 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.

  8. 22 hours ago, SYhopper said:

    Hoping to get some games in in this league, anyone can point me in the direction of any fixtures/results, etc?

    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



  9. 53 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

    I've suggested New River as a ground share with Skolars in past....the stand would be plenty big enough currently. Just not great with the running track though 


    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.

    • Like 7
  10. On 04/04/2022 at 08:10, JonNgog said:

    expected more at Keighley since they were getting 1,000 + at the end of last year? Dismal from Wakefield given how well the team is going, the stadium improvements can’t come soon enough.

    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.

  11. “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."

    • Haha 1
  12. 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."

    • Sad 1
  13. 15 minutes ago, Yorks Tim said:

    Another disappoinitng scoreline for Midlands Hurricanes but a good day out at our new temporary home. Swinton were just too good for us and I expect they will walk this division and be back in the Championship next season. Hurricanes did score three decent tries though but were punished for silly mistakes.

    The Portway ground reminded me of NCL days with three sides being grass banks. Had there not been an icy wnd it would have been a lovely spot to watch the game. Decent food and beer though was very welcome.

    I see Hurricanes have been advertising, on their website, a match programme. Was there actually one to buy?

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