Monday, May 07, 2007

Rugby League – and decency

Swinton finally found some form today, demolishing Gateshead by 58 points to 12. The nicest part of the day though was off the pitch. Every year supporters, led by the redoubtable and spectacularly loyal John Spellman, do a sponsored walk in aid of leukaemia research in memory of Ian Skeetch, a player who died from the disease at an age when he should still have been playing.

Today the cheque was presented to the charity by Mike Gregory, the Warrington and Great Britain loose forward, who coached Swinton briefly before moving on to Wigan. He seemed on the brink of a great coaching career until his own tragedy struck. An insect bite caused a mysterious disease and today he is nearly totally paralysed.

Rugby League doesn't have the pretensions of football, players and officials mingle quite happily with the fans and Gregory watched the match in his wheelchair, with his family around him, at the front of the stand a couple of rows away. RL people have turned out to support him and here he was supporting leukaemia research.

It brought back my finest memory of him, a length of the field try in the Sydney Football Stadium as Great Britain broke a long duck against the Aussies. You can see it here, the last of a medley of vintage tries from the 80's. Great moments and wonderful skills from people who are not living in Cheshire mansions and who have never forgotten their roots.

4 comments:

mikeovswinton said...

Well said, Pete, in all particulars. Clearly you got home safe and well. See you at the York match. This week proud to sign myself......

mikeovswinton said...

Sorry to monopolise this strand, Pete. Just watched your tries link. Excellent. Are you aware of any possible links to the Australians'length of the field try against GB at Wigan 1982 when every one of the 12 Aussies was involved in the move? (Yep, I woz there.) I keep trying to persuade followers of a game that uses the word Rugby in its name that it was the greatest try ever. I may be wrong but I'd like to see the evidence.

The Plump said...

Couldn't find a web link but I have a video of 101 great rugby league tries and I think that it is on there. I will lend it to you at the York game.

I enjoyed your contribution to that Billy Bragg programe about the pacifist commune in Lincolnshire on Radio 4 last night.

rugby league betting said...

Some great grea britian tries in that video! The good ole day! Quality players for quality times!