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I was going elsewhere today but this weeks losses took me back  to my Alma Mater as a moment of respect to Clarington Grove today.

Jimmy Boylan and Jackie Melling no longer with us. Due minutes silence.

Bright sunny /shady afternoon with a strong wind straight down the pitch.

Decent crowd. Good bar taking .

And so to the game-

Oulton have quality big athletes across the park. which perhaps is why they came into todays game as League Leaders

St Pats ( and many in this district ) for years have never been able size wise to match their opponents

But they play on big pitches. Coach Andy Greg's message - use the width ,use the wind and run them around. That secured a good half time lead.

Getting a forward to move it wide instead of taking them on in the heat however  is a totally different matter......... Greg pulling out what is left of his hair........

Oulton came strong in the second half with a real physical presence. chalking down the points difference to end qt 28-18.

For me  they will represent formidable hosts to anyone visiting them.

Totally  enjoyable afternoon. Good to see the Oulton Bus only leaving at 6 pm 

St Pats MOM won the lager  boat race as well.......

 

 

 

 

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Drove North up the A595 to Aspatria to watch the battle of the Hornets,Aspatria V Wath Brow in a Cumberland Cup quarter final tie.

After a tough opening 15 mins a youthful looking Brow team went ahead after a great run from “Veteran” standoff Davison which was followed shortly afterwards by a great chip & chase by his young halfback partner Rooney for 10-0 lead.

Two more tries saw Wath Brow go into halftime with a 22-0 lead.

The second half was a bit of a struggle with the blustery cross wind causing a few errors & a couple of flair ups with a player from each side in the bin,full credit to Aspatria for not giving up and producing a hard fought second half performance scoring 3 tries of their own resulting in a final score of Aspatria 12-34 Wath Brow.

Aspatria was once the hotbed of Union in Cumbria and still plays a big part in this area of the County so its great to see the efforts of volunteers to get & keep a RL team going in the town.

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Heynsham Atoms 24 Shevington 32

More one sided than the score suggests with the home side scoring two late tries but also converting 4 from 4 against 2 from 7

The atoms have a steady history and keeping the sport going for 36 years in what may be Lancashire but outside the heartlands is a real achievement. The atoms is because the founders worked at the power station. The club are presently playing at their highest level

The Club moved in the summer to share with Vale of Lune rugby club on the north side of Lancaster. Facilities are good with a clubhouse behind the goal, modern changing rooms replacing what was one a large stand and a new modern stand opposite. This is the type of structure that looks distinctive and could possibly win an award for appearance but would not keep you dry when raining. 

The game was not played in the greatest spirit with one mass brawl and a couple of flash points in the second half

Petrol costs being what they are, made the train fare economic although still expensive and nice walk out along the river for part of the way and back via the railway bridge and through a park behind castle and hilltop church which was either further than I expected or I have slowed down more than I knew

 

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Back down under….Townsville Blackhawks 17 Tweed Heads Seagulls 4.

Blackhawks play at Jack Manski Oval, strange name because its a traditional rectangular ground with seating on all 4 sides.  Located in Townsville suburb of Kirwan right next to the old Cowboys stadium and part of the Townsville Brothers Leagues club complex. 50 minute bus ride from downtown.

Jack Manski was a long time servant of the Brothers club.

standard Q league $10 admission, $5 concessions.

Robert Lui controlled the game for blackhawks…still a fine player. Rather fitting given it is Anzac round with ceremonies before every game because in footy terms, Lui ‘shall not grow old’ in footy terms.

Bad weekend for Gold Coast based teams up in the north…..following Titans 30-4 loss at Cowboys on Saturday.

 

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We had no game today so after a spot of gardening I got drawn over to the Doncaster Toll Bar v Westgate game where five players with a Marauders experience strutted their stuff.

The scene was set for a cracking game with 1st v 2nd from the YML premier division  going head-to-head in the YML Cup

Westgate dominated the early exchanges and powered into a 16-point lead, but Toll Bar refused to be blown away and gradually grew into the game exchanging tries just before half-time. 6 - 22

Toll Bar came out of the block the fastest at the start of the second  half going over for two quick tries, 16 – 22, this sparked the visitors into gear who also crossed for two tries with one being converted, 16 – 32.

Going into the last quarter Doncaster Toll Bar gradually started to look the better of the two sides as they chipped away at the deficit, going into the last 5 minutes the score was standing at 28 – 32 until the Toll Bar right winger dived over in the corner to make it 32 – 32 with the pressure kick being missed.

From the kick off Westgate made it to their 20-metre line for the first tackle, from the play the ball the Westgate replacement used his own players as a foil giving away a penalty for obstruction, 30 metres out bang in front of the posts, Toll Bar took the two points on offer and the lead for the first time holding on for a 34 – 32 win.

Excellent game of a high standard watched by a crowd of around 300.

Edited by Marauder
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Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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1 hour ago, topcentre21 said:

I've seen tollbar afew times, they are a good side.

I think they will probably win that cup now and possibly the league.

Should win the cup now, but my money would be on Westgate to win the league IMO, their biggest danger is complacency and their reaction to defeat, I've seen far to many super teams hauled together and then implode after a couple of defeat. 

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Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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The original plan was East Anglia but the lack of twitter and facebook activity especially for clubs playing their first game was a concern and both Anglian and Cambridge were postponed, Dont know if these clubs or visitors cancelled but already the East Division is a concern

Looked north again and both Illingworth and Fryston posted news and teams for their fixture

Getting one team out can be a challenge so congratulation to Fryston for having sufficient numbers and spares

Not sure how I have missed Illingworth over the years but another great set up. I think I have enjoyed my Calderdale trips as much as any and think this was ground number 13. For a suburban ground the scenery is great with to the east the river valley, and then a high hill with traffic rising on the buzy Halifax to Bradford road

Facilities are good two, a reasonable bar with the pitch railed off and slightly sloping beyond, there is also nearer to the road a football pitch used by Crossley Juniors, who are an adult team.  

The match was in the league trophy with both teams playing in division 2. Fryston scored first but were otherwise second best whilst competitive.    

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Saddleworth v Dockers 

Dockers went into an early 12 point lead .

Home team  slowly worked themselves back into the game , taking a one point advantage going into halftime .

Both teams produced some decent rugby , both also made far to many mistakes .

Dockers took the win 23 points to 17 .

1st time at Saddleworth for me . Fantastic Rugby League venue , fantastic facilities . 

 

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Spent most of yesterday waiting for a tumble dryer ordered on Amazon to be delivered by Arrow. Somehow Arrow managed to dent it in transit and only told me at 2.40pm. Beware my friends.....

So watched great coverage on my TV of Hunslet Club Parkside v West Hull first half. Good to see that even Inner City fields remain attractive backdrops  - that bridge across the motorway with a cityscape beyond  especially attractive.

NCL doing a fine job here with Chair Trevor Hunt and newly appointed media manager Dave Parkinson commentating as good as anyone. The NCL actually pay for their coverage so watch figures are important......

Once I got the message that my dryer was a non delivery  I shot down to the Pats to catch the second half of their game against Featherstone Lions. Excellent struggle with the Lions taking the points after a truly frenetic last 5 minutes defending their line against an 18 tackle Pats assault........

Like others I don't do names on here but Featherstone well served by their No 8 and newly signed RU fullback ( ? ) as well as in the last  20 minutes strong runs from No 2. No 7 though  for me with an old head on his shoulders turned the game with a 50 yard try,

St Pats had an Irish Band on after the game led by ex teacher and rugby enthusiast  Laurence Hoy ( Sacred Heart and St John Fisher)

A limit of 2 pints of Guinness for me . Went home with the club bouncing. .......and with a tumble  still to source.......

NCL registered 2 draws yesterday and only one blowout.

Out of 24 matches.

I recommend you all get down to at least one. You are unlikely to be disappointed.

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Posted (edited)

Tower Grange Hull Dockers v Kells 

Great game today , both teams giving it out in defence plus playing some nice rugby .

Dockers defence was brutal at times , especially when Kells were trying to work themselves away from own try line . 

Kells Number 6  received plenty of hammer from Dockers big forwards , maybe he needed a little more help from his forwards ?

Dockers got themselves into a decent lead . Kells never gave up the chase , taking the game down to the last few minutes .

Ref was the best I have seen this season , allowed the game to flow , never became flustered , kept up with play 👍

I would imagine Kells play similar style of rugby each week . Well organised defence , not many mistakes , not many penalties . Score the points when the opposition fall away .

Dockers looked strong right across the park as did Kells , Dockers maybe a little more flair ?

Pitch looked in good condition , welcome rain Friday night gave pitch a little bit of give . 

Great advert for NCL Rugby League 

Final Score 19 points to 12 

  

 

 

 

Edited by henage
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Struggled to find anywhere new after plans for Torfaen fell flat 

Had promised the youngest a steam train at Blaenavon and could not let him down, so Kirklees Light railway at Clayton West. Not relevant to here but great place for the younger children as much else to do

Match was at Westgate who have moved location this year and now play off the Horbury Road adjacent to the golf club. They share a modern clubhouse and this is the main advantage over former ground at Thornes Park which was dry. 

There are three football pitches but league has the one nearest the club, pitch reasonable conditions but daisies and dandelions everywhere. Pitch roped down both sides. 

If I have the facts right and may not, Sharlston either forfeited or asked to rearrange and were told they could not as they had an A team. They play in division 7 and not sure this was a good idea on safety issues.

Pre match, Sharlston looked like they would only have 13 but two subs appeared late. The final warm up advice to their players would have not boosted confidence, ‘It’s going to be a long afternoon but you are the ones here’.

Ninety seconds in and they were 6 down and within 6 mins it was 12. They then rallied but by half time it was 28. In the second half injuries took them to 12 and then 11 and points were quickly adequate. At 64 nil and with about six to go the ref rightly ended things.

in respect of the players on the pitch, Westgate play a good passing game and I look forward to seeing them again. As for Sharlston there were a couple of bad mistakes, but every player especially the younger ones deserve credit and respect. 

About 150 watching including many with the visitors. I don’t know why so many were missing but as a club they handled the day well

 

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Back down under I went to Emerson Park in The Grange suburb of Brisbane to watch the famous Valleys Diehards (Fortitude Valley) play Brighton Roosters in round 5 of the Brisbane League. Valleys was the original team of the King (wally lewis) and are the most succesful team in Queensland rugby league history.

Its a ten team league which plays at the level immediately below the Queensland Cup and also includes the West Panthers from the old days of the winfield Cup and lower  grade sides for Queensland cup teams Souths Logan Magpies and Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

Emerson Park is a tidy ground consisting of a club house with bar and outside patio in view of the field and sit down eating area and separate changing rooms. The place ‘reeks’ history, although this is not Valleys original home. The club was reformed after dropping out of the Queensland League several years ago. There is a great DVD available that i can strongly recommend on the website which documents the refeormation of the club.  

Difficultto estimate attendence because persistent rain meant most were squeezed into the club and covered patio are but I would guess 200-300. Of course because there are several games covering different grades many of these are players.

Brighton came from behind with a strong finish to win 36-28. Scot Prince finished his career at Valleys two seasons ago. Glen McGrady, one of a family of McGradys scattered around Queensland rugby league, plays centre and kick goals.

$5 admission, but membership for $50 gets you free season admission, a $50 restaurant voucher, $10 club shop voucher, baseball cap and key ring!

A great way to spend a damp Saturday afternoon.

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Swindon St George 24 All golds 18

If what has been said in here and what I heard today is true then All Golds are on a win bonus of £100 per game. I have no idea if true but if it is they should win this division.

There appear to be only four now with Bath having probably folded.

Swindon have previously played at 2 Rugby grounds and a leisure centre but I was told the present venue is the most welcoming. The bar looks quiet and slightly run down and their custom is welcome. The main sport at this time of year is cricket and frequently the sides only venture into the bar for 30mins whereas St George can keep it going until late

The club is the Nalgo sports club on the Cricklade Road. The rugby ground is at the far end and lacking in pitchside facilities or much shade. I did not take to the venue but if the club is welcome and roots can be put down that is the important thing.

All Golds listed their team on line and it seems very different from last year. Indeed the kicking game was more RU than RL although this did result in  an excellent try, a long kick from almost under the posts to the halfway line and then great pace to get possession and put the ball down under the posts.

A decent game and I think both will improve in a division that is very hard to predict.

I had hoped to see All Golds again next week:at home to Bath but that will be off

 

 

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43 minutes ago, groundhopper said:

Swindon St George 24 All golds 18

If what has been said in here and what I heard today is true then All Golds are on a win bonus of £100 per game. I have no idea if true but if it is they should win this division.

There appear to be only four now with Bath having probably folded.

Swindon have previously played at 2 Rugby grounds and a leisure centre but I was told the present venue is the most welcoming. The bar looks quiet and slightly run down and their custom is welcome. The main sport at this time of year is cricket and frequently the sides only venture into the bar for 30mins whereas St George can keep it going until late

The club is the Nalgo sports club on the Cricklade Road. The rugby ground is at the far end and lacking in pitchside facilities or much shade. I did not take to the venue but if the club is welcome and roots can be put down that is the important thing.

All Golds listed their team on line and it seems very different from last year. Indeed the kicking game was more RU than RL although this did result in  an excellent try, a long kick from almost under the posts to the halfway line and then great pace to get possession and put the ball down under the posts.

A decent game and I think both will improve in a division that is very hard to predict.

I had hoped to see All Golds again next week:at home to Bath but that will be off

 

 

All Golds will have a home game on 21st May at SGS College Filton with a 14.00 kick off. Alternative arrangements are in place if Bath are not able to fulfil the fixture.

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I went over to watch Heworth v Woolston at the weekend, a fairly comfortable win (38-4) for the home team with some cracking tries scored.  Certainly wasn't all one-way traffic, Woolston had long spells in both halves where they spent periods with the ball on the Heworth line, but they didn't seem unable to create gaps in the defence at any point.

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Back down under

 

General election day and I went to Ipswich jets v townsville blackhawks in round 9 of the QRL.  Ipswich is a one hour commuter train ride from central brisbane.  North Ipswich reserve is a short walk from Ipswich station across the Bremer River. The reserve is shared with the cricket club. It has a covered main stand plus three other buildings with covered seating, including the cricket pavilion.

Ipswich has a long history in rugby league and is home of the walters family the Walker family as well as Alfie Langer. This year ipswich jets are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Sadly they are rock bottom without a win and leaking points badly. Today was no different, losing 40-10 to a Robert Lui led Blackhawks. 

Ipswich used to have an affiliation with the Broncos but that finished prior to the pandemic. They now have some sort of Affiliation with Newcastle Knights but this doesnt seem to include posting players to Ipswich (the knights have their own team in the NSW cup)

La Nina continues to hit the east coast and what is normally the dry season has seen nothing but rain for 3 months now (another QRL game, Souths v Tweed Heads was called off because of the Marsden High School pitch - a rare postponement for this part of the world) Today was no different with continuos rain and a sodden field. Admission is $10, $5 concessions with team sheets free. Despite the awful weather there was a reasonable crowd (guessing around 300-400), cheered up by the concession stall giving away remaining burgers towards the end of the game!

But although Ipswich has had a bad day, it looks like the Government is having one even worse! 

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Todmorden 38 Dearne Valley Bulldogs 22

Yorkshire Div. 5

H/T 18-12

This was an excellent advert for this level of RL. The lead changed hands throughout the first half and indeed most of the second before Todmorden pulled away with two late tries. At one time it was 24-22 with only a missed conversion being the only difference between the sides. Todmorden must have also put over a late penalty as well, I missed that. The game was refereed by a female official who got most things right if not all.

Todmorden play up Woodhouse Road, a narrow road that winds it's way uphill from the valley bottom. Halfway up is an old wooden structure that has the name of Woodhouse United on it, (no idea who they are/were), presumably housing the changing facilities. All the players were lurking outside it when I arrived early. Further up the road is New Mill Dam where a small car park was situated. It was empty apart from some anglers when I arrived but filled up stupidly by KO. A smart bit of parking enabled a quick getaway though.

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Harrogate 40 Skipton Knights 34

The merit table seems to be working well with the premise that teams tend to play each other home and await and if reliable then plans are made for the next year,but clubs that tend to enjoy home games but don’t travel don’t get fixtures. Fixtures tend to only run to late July so RU players can return to training and clubs don’t fail to fulfil later on

These two clubs had already met at Skipton

The venue was Harrogate Railway FC in Starbeck, This is the working class part of Harrogate.if such a thing exists and as the name suggests, this was a railway junction with sidings in the past. Next to the station are terraced houses but the town was also briefly a spa.

It’s fame today locally is for the level crossing which can be down for over ten minutes twice an hour on the main Harrogate Knaresborough Road,  a walk around town does not take much longer.

The ground has an enclosed ‘stadium’ for football and I think they play at step 6. There i some terracing, seats behind the goal, and a tiny stand presumably for officials on the halfway line. They did reach the first round of the cup fairly recently

A second pitch using the same dressing room is unrailed and signed as Harrogate Pythons RU. This was the venue today, Facilities are basic but on a nice day a bench at the top of the slight slope was all I needed.

The two teams were equally matched and the lead changed hands frequently until the home team scored three unanswered tries between 60 and 70 mins

Both teams looked good in attack, but had not played enough to prevent too much kicking early in the tackle count, showing the players primary sport.

Sitting in the sun, parked by the entrance, I enjoyed this as much as Tottenham last week as 50,000 crowds are not my thing as readers may have noticed.

 

 

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Hull Dockers v Skirlaugh  . East Park

Big crowd watching todays game , good to see .

Maybe the way forward for amateur rugby league is keep it local (save the expense of buses )End of season have playoffs between other areas top teams ?

First 10 mins was 100mph both teams producing great defence and great attacking plays . 

Dockers just about winning the early exchanges . Ref was consistent . Set reset needs binning in amateur rugby .

Games pace didn't drop away , incredible fitness from both team s.

Dockers opened the scoring via a little grubber kick , nice .

Not sure how the scoring went after 1st try .

2nd Half started like the 1st . Fast n furious with few mistakes , defence brutal .

Not seen a long range try straight from a scrum for a long time (if ever) Dockers produce a 60metre one , great to see .

Skirlaugh looked like they might drop away . They didn't . A period of nice off loads had the home defence in tatters . Couple of Skirlaugh tries had Dockers on the ropes . 

Who would land the knock out blow ? Dockers did , just ! Final Score 34 - 22 ish .

Ref did well .

Standard of play was very , very high . It was fast , skilful , result could have gone either way .   

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Back down under I went to Burleigh Bears v Easts tigers in round in Round 10 of the QRL.

Afraid I cannot bring myself to use the rebranded 'Brisbane Tigers' moniker.  A bit like changing St Helens name to Merseyside Saints.

This was billed as the game of the round with top side Burleigh (farm team of the Titans) up against fourth placed Tigers (farm team of the Storm) ...but it didn't live up to the billing. Despite the tigers taking 6-0 and 10-6 leads in the first half, Bears took control in the 'second quarter' and monopolised the second half for a final score of 64-16.

Burleigh Bears play at Pizzey Park, part of a large multi sports complex in Miami which sits between Burleigh and Broadbeach on the Gold Coast (and yes . . . there is a Miami Beach and the Main School is Miami High - no wonder the new Elvis film was made here!).

Its a tidy ground which has two small covered standing areas as well as a covered patio adjoining the Leagues Club.

It was a clear but cold (in Queensland terms) afternoon.  Crowd was a bit disappointing, probably in the 100s, given how well   Burleigh are going  and the NRL split round meant there was no competing NRL TV game.  - but the temperature would keep some away. 

$10 admission (free for Titans members) and free teamsheet.

Burleigh's Josh Rogers scored 32 points (3T 10 goals) converting all but one of the 11 tries. Jayden Nikorima, brother of Warriors Kodi, scored a try for Easts.

Bears just one point ahead of Sunshine Coast Falcons (Storm's other farm team) and they go at it head to head next Saturday on the Sunshine Coast.

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Lindley St Joseph's 15 Bramley Buffaloes 18

Yorkshire mens cup Q/F

H/T 6-8

As soon as I knew this game was at Fartown and not Birchincliffe this was the game of choice. Been to Fartown previously but a long time ago. Today the venue is vastly overgrown and some parts are totally inaccessible. The game itself was a good one, end-to-end in both halves.  Saints put over a drop-goal to make it 15-14 with about ten minutes left and you would have thought it was in the last seconds by their celebrations. A bit too early as it turned out and Buffs scored another unconverted try to win the game.  Some great banter on the touchline between both parties made for an entertaining afternoon.

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Saltash Essayons 38 Teignbridge Trojans 28

Not since Hill Hoists appeared in Hammersmith has a moniker being meaningless to me without looking it up, but Essayon is French for let us try. It is a military expression and is more let us try where others have failed and succeed. 
 

Saltash is across the Tamar from Plymouth and the team may well have military connections.

The people involved in South West RL deserve medals for keeping going and hopefully the new Cornwall team will give a boost to playing numbers with only four teams in the league this year, three in Devon and Saltash.

Not just distance and cost have kept me away from visits but more the fact that matches have needed to be  9 or 11 a side to avoid being cancelled

No such problem today with 16 v 15 although injuries made it hard and some played longer than they would have preferred.

Venue was Saltash RU, no more than a recreation ground with wooden changing room s and bar on one side. 
 

This was the first game of the season and for several players the first game of RL hence some kicking on the second or third tackle. There were some good players mixed in and a lot of enthusiasm with plenty of good and tough tackles

Score was 38 26 in my mind but 38 28 on scoreboard. With scores level on one version late on, thankfully late tries means this did not matter

 

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