Well isn’t this just the most magical time of the year? Nope, I’m not talking about these post-Brexit days where we can all look forward to eating a bendy banana! I’m talking about the start of the Rugby League season. The first game of the season is the only game where all rugby fans can unite in the hope that their team will fair better than last season – unless, of course, you were one of the relatively few fans who experienced either a Grand Final win or promotion success. Let’s cherish every moment folks…the season might not start as well as you might like.

As a fan of West Yorkshire’s most recent participant in the Premier League (I won’t say which team but it rhymes with Duddersfield), I was desperately looking forward to the start of the 2019/2020 football season. My team had spent the previous 2 seasons bumping along at the bottom of the PL (Promised Land?) table and we were finally put out of our misery after been relegated to the Championship by early spring . The start of the season in August represented a new beginning and new hope – hope that we might actually win a few games this season. Sadly, my optimism was misplaced as it took my team 11 games to register a win. Sometimes I do wonder why I bother following a sports team!

As a distraction to football, I’ve watched a lot of sport – usually on telly. Not cricket though – I just don’t get it. The England Test Team just seem to spend their year travelling to sunny climes and playing matches in idyllic but sparsely attended stadia. It’s good work if you can get it! I must say, all this air travel can’t be very good for the environment. To cut down on the carbon footprint, I think they should just hold test matches in a large Sports Hall on the outskirts of Eton. I suppose all those former players/commentators would just complain that their perma-tan had become a bit anaemic and they could no longer stay in 5 Star hotels. Tough. 

I did enjoy watching the darts over Christmas though. You can’t beat a bit of bully! I have nothing but the greatest respect for any sport that crowns its World Champion on the first day of the calendar year. How can you not like the blaring walk-on music, big-bellied colourful characters from around the world, scantily-clad stage dancers (to be honest, that’s a bit 1980s) and numerically dexterous scorers who can shout ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY despite sounding like they’ve been smoking Capstan Full Strenth since been knee-high to a grasshopper. The darts isn’t bad either! 

The darts was a bit different this year as well – there was a woman! Fallon Sherrock was magnificent. Not only was she the first woman to win a match at the World Championships, she was the first woman to win two matches. Fallon was unfazed by the raucous atmosphere and her “finishing” was as cool as a penguin’s bottom. No wonder she became known as the The Queen of Darts! I did take exception to this description though – surely 1980s thrower Maureen Flowers is the one and only Queen of Darts (yes folks, I really do go that far back for my topical references). Poor Maureen, so soon forgotten to this young upstart from Milton Keynes. 

Despite watching a lot of sport, I was disappointed to miss last weekend’s Royal Rumble. I just hope the now “employable” Prince Harry, wrestling in his WWE debut, managed to do a belly-to-belly suplex on the Masked Journo. I bet if Harry lost that it would still be Meghan’s fault!

So back to the Rugby League, whatever happens to your club over the first weekend and the rest of the season – just remember: if you think it can’t get any better – it possibly won’t; if you think it can’t get any worse – it probably will.

Enjoy your sport!

This article was written by Rams fan Richard Summerscales