“It’s a Derby and I’d much rather Win Ugly than lose Pretty!!!!”
On Friday It was always going to be tough playing against a team relishing their under-dog status and running on a wave of adversity inspired passion.
The game was no doubt hard to play in and it was certainly, at times, excruciating to watch, but we have got four points from our first two games including a win against the old enemy, we produced some well-constructed tries and really dug deep at times and all that after a deal of adversity in the build-up. In addition, two players that were called on to play, hadn’t had a minute of competitive rugby of any type thus far this season! So, it was a pretty pleasing display!
You have to admit that on Friday night, it was a brilliant atmosphere and a great showcase for the game of Rugby League. No monotonous mind-numbing drums, no bloody screeching trumpets, just tons of passion, anxiety and excitement and for all ages and inclinations, the sort of occasion that our game really needs!! It was a case of flags for the kids, big hearts for the players and sedatives for the rest of us!!
I hate Derby’s!! But you know that anyway! Yet the 236th one was a great event and for the neutral a smashing showcase for everything that is good about Rugby League!! But for me, as I squirmed and stressed my way through another 80 minutes that seemed like 800, it was, as they always are, tough going. In fact I was still catching those kicks aimed at Jamie Shaul, as I lay awake in bed at 2-00am on Saturday morning!!!
But in the end WE WON, our resilience has come on leaps and bounds over pre-season and you can tell we are now a much more grounded side. In the two previous seasons we have struggled to stay in the arm wrestle in big games, but on Friday despite being below par at times, we showed we’ve found some bottle and ‘the balls’ that could take us a long way this year.
So, we move on, there are 27 rounds left to go, we squeezed a victory and in the process beat the Dobbins and that, however it comes, is all that really matters. As for me? Well on Saturday tea-time I went out and had a few pints just so I could revel in that wonderful glow that’s has always come after winning a Derby. It’s great that however old you get, there are some things that never change!