League Express reporter apologises for Carvell controversy

A League Express journalist has written an apology to Castleford prop Garreth Carvell and his family after writing a match report that credited a dangerous throw on the former Great Britain star as the best tackle of the game.

Phil Hodgson, one of the publication’s most experienced scribes, was at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday to report on Castleford against Wakefield for Monday’s issue of the newspaper.

In the 45th minute, Wildcats forward Chris Annakin appeared to spear tackle Carvell, who landed on his neck and was taken to hospital, complaining of pins and needles. He was still in care awaiting scan results last night and has tweeted a photo of himself in a neck brace.

Hodgson's top tackle - click to read a high resolution version of the match report
Click above to read the match report in full

Hodgson’s decision to recognise such a dangerous tackle was attacked by many of our Twitter followers and readers. We were also contacted by Garreth’s wife Vicki and mother Alicia, who found the seemingly disrespectful decision upsetting.

Phil thought it best to set the record straight and explain his reasons for selecting that tackle.

“From where I was sitting on Sunday, the tackle, in real time, looked legitimate if robust,” he said.

“And the RFL appear to agree, as no charge has been made.

Carvell’s tweet – click to see a larger version

“I was aware that Garreth Carvell had been taken to hospital with pins and needles. The feedback in the press conference was that that was the extent of his injury.

“I was in two minds over whether to select either that tackle as the ‘top tackle’ or the one by Weller Hauraki on Lee Gilmour shortly afterwards, and effectively wrote as such. What perhaps swayed my decision was that Castleford Tigers had no issue, in the immediate aftermath, with Annakin’s tackle.

“I do regret, though, not qualifying the phrase “ended the latter’s involvement in the match” with the word “unfortunately”.

“The sentence can read as though I somehow saw Garreth Carvell’s departure as a good thing, which is far from the case.

“In that respect I apologise to Gareth Carvell and his family for any offence I have inadvertently caused, and I hope he makes a swift and full recovery.”