Talking Sport: Times a changing for Sunday league

Trevor Watson
Trevor Watson

Times certainly change in sport. Some years ago Sunday afternoon was regarded as the answer to all problems for rugby league regarding attendances.

It wouldn’t clash with any other sport and most fans even had time to go to church before going on to a match. Perfect.

Since then football, racing, athletics and county cricket have all turned to Sunday play while rugby league has gone the other way, helped largely, of course, by the requirements of television. You take the money so you play when they tell you, as football is finding out.

On Sunday, there are no Super League fixtures and only four out of six in the Championship. This Friday there are four SL games and they clash with an England Euro qualifier at Wembley, which naturally is televised.

Dewsbury Rams also play this Friday, at home to Featherstone, their second such fixture at Owl Lane this time. After playing a re-arranged Sunday game at Workington last Wednesday and with next weekend’s Easter matches to be played Friday and Monday, it means that, of their first nine games, the Rams will have played only four on a Sunday.

There was euphoria at rugby union’s Six Nations climax with 27 tries scored in three matches, you’d have thought there’d been another eclipse of the sun. Optimists suggested this was a pointer to the World Cup in the autumn. Let’s calm down.

England, Wales and Ireland had to open out to boost their points difference to try and win the title.

When it comes to stick or lift in the World Cup it will be back to the forwards and plenty of kicking. Let’s face it, Ireland, who won the Six Nations, scored only eight tries in five matches and four came in the last one against Scotland.

Liverpool footie captain Steve Gerrard soon made his mark against Man U, being sent off for stamping after all of 38 seconds as a substitute. At least he was honest about it, didn’t blame the ref and said he had let down his team mates and the supporters.

Fair play to him, more of that and football is in danger of getting a good name.

Then again it might not with the row over the wrong West Brom bloke sent off at Man City, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson saying the ref, who awarded a very harsh penalty against his side was arrogant and a dispute at Stoke over a penalty which should have been a free-kick the other way.

It’s odd that in a footballer a touch of arrogance is said to be a good thing, but not in a referee.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi produced a sensational performance as Man City were dumped out of Europe but our star writers warned not to regard him as a footballing god. Then Harry Kane got a hat-trick for Spurs against Leicester and out came their prayer mats.

If Kane scores a couple for ‘Ingerland’ against Lithuania, he could get a knighthood.