Program Notes

Good afternoon Whitehaven.

          Can we give a big Recreation Ground welcome to our friends from Dewsbury and we hope that they have had a pleasant journey up from West Yorkshire.

          The Challenge Cup has of course lost a lot of its allure in the past few years. I think personally that moving from the May date to a late summer date has had a devastating effect of the competition. When the competition was aligned with the F.A. cup it was a great boost and many non rugby league fans viewed the Challenge Cup Final as a matter of course. Plus when played in May it broke the calendar up to Christmas, C.C. Final and Summer Holiday and that was great for dividing resources and planning now, it comes to a choice of a summer holiday and an expensive weekend in London at more or less the same time. In rugby towns nearly every club and many pubs all ran trips. R.L. has to ask itself “why has this massive operation just virtually ceased?” I also think it was a retrograde step to keep the ‘top’ clubs out of the draw. Playing an amateur side away from home can be ridiculously expensive. I do believe that some amateur clubs should ‘play out’ until we get to the magic 32 (and or the use of preliminary rounds) then all clubs should go in the bag and we bring back the chance of giant killing and maybe break up the extreme monotony of who actually gets into the final. Which another unappealing aspect of the C.C. boredom with the same four or five clubs.

          Speaking re the above of course, I can well remember that great team of Dewsbury’s in the early 70’s when they overcame all opposition and beat a mighty Leeds team in the final at, I think at Odsal. The team included the great Mick Stephenson, Nigel Stephenson and Harry Beverley and a team of not stars but men who fought for the shirt and overcame all odds, it was a giant killing act. Can we ever hope to see the likes again? Sadly, the game is stagnating at the top.

          Again we are looking for sweep agents in the following areas: Cleator Moor, Cleator, Egremont, Frizington, Disington, Hensingham, Gosforth and Beckermet. The expenses are generous and the times are flexible and the exercise will do you good. We are also looking for a couple of volunteers on match days a turnstile operator and perhaps a general assistant to help with the many things that crop up on match days. If you are interested please ring the office on 01946 328 088. As always a request for you all to come and join the sweep.

Regards Tom