LAST Saturday, after a long absence from the game, I went to the Wigan v Castleford quarter-final at the DW Stadium, Wigan. It was a terrific day out.
Thanks to both sides and supporters for reminding me why I used to love rugby league so much. As a child in Yorkshire during the 1960s and 70s I followed Castleford in their Alan Hardisty to Malcolm Reilly years.
On Saturday, I sat between two knowledgeable Wigan fans that epitomised Rugby League, one young and passionate about the game he loves, the other an elderly lady and equally passionate; we could exchange views about play and decisions without fear or favour.
Behind, in the middle of the Wigan fans were a young Castleford couple emotionally involved in and shouting for their team without fear of eviction by stewards or rival’s abuse.
The teams took every decision without tantrums and got on with it. Wigan fans politely gave Castleford a sporting ripple of applause after their superb second try. As they left I heard Wigan fans sportingly saying the best team won. Later I saw on TV the Wigan coach lead from the front shaking the hand of Daryl Powell before the final whistle. What a contrast to football! It was heart-warming to see the old values I used to see still in place; long may Rugby League and its supporters uphold them.