Sunday, October 14, 2007

Match of the weekend

As anyone aware of my prejudices would realise, the Rugby highlight of the weekend wasn't in Paris but Manchester. A thrilling performance by Leeds toppled the favourites Saint Helens in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford in front of over 71,000 fans in a thunderous atmosphere.

All the positive aspects of our game were on display both on and off the pitch. Though the individual clubs had allocations at different ends, there was no segregation and an impressive proportion of the crowd was pissed. Rugby League is a family sport and so more women attend matches - just as pissed. The kids were simply excited. The result was a boisterous and mainly amiable atmosphere, though all seater stadia mean a certain amount of disturbance to viewing as the booze tests both attention spans and bladders. The indifference of the crowd to the loud, glossy pre-match entertainment was wonderfully heartening.

The star of half-time was the former Saints, Wakefield and Hull full back Steve Prescott. His career was cut short by a rare form of stomach cancer and the Grand Final marked the last stage of his trans-Pennine sponsored walk, from Hull to Old Trafford, via a number of Rugby League grounds. He was able to present a cheque for £50,000 to his chosen charities, Christie's Hospital in Manchester, where he is being treated, and the Rugby League Benevolent Fund. You can still donate online here. It is a sobering thought that his 199 mile walk raised around a third of a week's wages of a top Premiership football player. Such is our unequal world. It's a lovely sport, as down-to-earth as it is exciting.

1 comment:

mikeovswinton intheNorthernUnion said...

Peter; you aren't getting many comments because you are simply stating what Basil Fawlty called the bleedin obvious. Take this post for instance. The first sentence is irrefutable. Put some controversy into your blog man!