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4 Forty-20 February 2012
More fun and games at the Lords where the newly decorated England captain and Mayor of Calverley Jamie Peacock pushed himself to the limit. JP MBE was guest speaker before the audience of, er, Lords, MPs, national media execs and the RFL hierarchy.
After training with the Rhinos on the Tuesday ahead of their opening night victory over Hull KR, Peacock got suited and booted, jumped on a train and arrived at the Cholmondley Room just in time for his smoked salmon starter. After wolfing down the roast pork main and cheesecake dessert he had the assembled VIPs eating out of his hand. Asked what he’d change in the game, he said: “I’d make it illegal for anyone to tackle me”, before reiterating his vision for two ten-team divisions to ease the physical burden on players.
JP then set off back at 6.00am the following morning for training in Leeds before heading to Old Trafford for the aformentioned season launch that afternoon. Honourable, indeed.
Sky Sports pundit Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson was the recipient of the Group’s Outstanding Achievement award. Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, the MP for Chorley, made the presentation. For once, Stevo was almost lost for words.
So to the glittering President’s Ball and a big hurrah to all in their finery who raised almost £20,000 for the RFL Benevolent Fund. No matter that the food in Eddie Waring and Forty-20’s favourite haunt, the Queen’s Hotel, was mediocre. Nor that Refs Controller Stuart Cummings danced in his red braces. All of it was immaterial when set against Brigit Purdham’s moving speech endorsing the fund’s work. It held a roomful of hard-bitten characters spellbound.
Guevara: League in The Big Issue
“As should be obvious by now, the Stobart approach to sponsorship is frugal...”
We grumble about the lack of national media coverage as much as the next anorak, but the lead up to Super League XVII wasn’t too bad in our humble opinion. The Stobart sponsorship certainly got folk talking - with lorry spotting set to overtake complaining about refs as a hobby of ours over the coming months. We weren’t, however, expecting to see Kevin Sinfield talking about his revolutionary socialist heroes in the BigIssue. Which set us thinking. Does Che Guevara have a poster of comrade Sinny on his wall?
Talksport’s afternoon show was worth a listen in the iPitch run-up. Widnes Chairman Steve O’Connor was on, whom Andy Jacobs asked: “Isn’t mud a big part of rugby league?” Steve’s reply was an early contender for quote of the year. “A
lot of eyes will be watching what we do,” he said. “It looks like grass, feels like grass. If it had been around first, grass wouldn’t have been invented.”
If you want to get ahead, get in Forty-20. No sooner did Rotterdam Spartans appear in these pages last month than they were contacted by three clubs keen on playing Dutch friendlies this year. Woolston Rovers, the Rochdale Town team and Shaw Cross Sharks are now off to Holland.
Researching on the internet, as you do, one of the Forty-20elves if QIcan have them, so can we happened on an obscure reference to the former Hull KR, Halifax, Hull, Huddersfield and York 1992 Great Britain tourist Graeme Hallas.
Apparently, Graeme Hallas was also an all-girl English punk band who were: “...known for playing rugby and their strong beliefs in feminism. All the girls in the band have been mistaken for men, because of their short hair and boyish looks. The album HisOwn HandsandToolstalks about how it’s no longer just men who make amazing things, but women too.”
What? Like Margin Meters?
A big thank you to everyone who came to Scratching Shed’s ‘In League with Literature’ event at Wigan’s new central library. The place - complete with very fine glass frontage - had only been open for three weeks, so it was an honour to be invited there.
We’ve got plans to reinvent the concept as a Forty-20Roadshowin the near future, bringing such RL luminaries as Ray French MBE, Dave Hadfield, Professor Tony Collins and our less than glittering selves to a town or city near you. Interested clubs, festivals, Broadway agents etc should email editorial@forty-com
Back to One International and Super League referee
1. Leading international and Super League referee Steve Ganson took charge of his first professional game in 1995 Barrow versus Carlisle Border Raiders
3. The Australian Eddie Charlton (1929-2004) is the only player to have been world championship runnerup in both snooker and billiards without ever winning either title
2. At the birth of Super League, Barrow and Carlisle were set to be reborn as
‘Cumbria’, with Whitehaven and Workington. It didn’t happen.
In 1998, the two clubs did merge under coach Paul Charlton, as Barrow Border Raiders
5. Sir David was also behind rugby league’s Floodlit Trophy, which ran from 1965 to 1980. Castleford beat St Helens 4-0 at Knowsley Road to become its first winners
4. Snooker had a huge surge in popularity from 1969 when BBC2 controller David Attenborough commissioned Pot Black, a programme designed to show the potential of colour television
6. Along with the Premier
League’s Chris Foy, Steve Ganson is one of just two professional referees to hail from St Helens