Tuesday, 13 June 2017

fevnut's blog: Leeds Away CC

Match 21: Leeds Rhinos (Away: Challenge Cup Quarter Final)

fevnut's musings

A good test?

When I tuned in to the Challenge Cup draw and heard that we would be playing Leeds at Headingley I was pleased. It wasn’t because I thought we could win, nor was it because it’s only a short trip to Headingley. The reason was that I thought this tie would be an ideal test to see how the Rovers squad has improved since the, frankly embarrassing, performances in the Qualifiers last year and a good experience for the team prior to this year’s Qualifiers (assuming, of course, that we can retain our top four position).

So, what a disappointment it is that the re-arrangement of the Swinton match means that we are likely to rest a number of players for the Challenge Cup tie. No chance to judge how we are progressing, and no chance to give our squad some valuable experience.

It’s not, however, always a bad thing to give others a chance of a game. No-one who was there can possibly forget the wonderful performance we put in at Perpignan in 2015 in a Challenge Cup match with a team that included debuts for both Sam Day and Luke Cooper and with Kyran Johnson at fullback (his second game). But there’s one thing for sure. There weren’t be any youngsters making their debuts in the team that faces Leeds for the simple reason that there is no-one on the Fev books who has not already made their debut. And that in turn is because of the awful position we find ourselves in with no reserve or academy teams.

It used to be one of the greatest of pleasures going to watch our junior teams, trying to spot the talent, and then the excitement of watching them move up to the first team.

I will never forget going to Hull for a Yorkshire Cup match in 1988 when Peter Fox included the young Paul Newlove on the wing. He showed lots of promise but, to be frank, there was not much to suggest that he was going to become one of the greatest centres of all time. But that all changed very quickly and in no time he was producing magical displays for us. Another exciting debut came in the rather silly Treize Tournoi tournament at the end of the 1998 season, but it had to wait until the beginning of the next season to see the real impact that the 18 year old Jamie Rooney was to have in a Fev shirt.

We get new players, and that is exciting, but for me it doesn’t match the feeling of watching one of our own progress into the first team.


Swinton Lions were a club that were very nearly killed by their dual registration with Warrington Wolves a few years ago. They totally lost their identity. I got to know some of their passionate supporters who worked incredibly hard to save the club which dates back to 1866! On Gareth Walker’s page this week you will find an article about a book celebrating their history. Well worth a look: 


Another page I would like to invite you to have a look at is fevnut’s open letter to Nigel Wood about the complete farce of reports that appear on the RFL’s own website. You won’t believe it!! Did you know that Richard Moore was playing at scrum-half and apparently our own John Davies changed his name to James and played for Bradford!! Yes, have a look.

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