London Part 1 – Egg Chasing

So for the first part of an un-missable double-headed
weekend in London.
Saturday was the 7th or 8th time my
rugby league team, Hull FC, had got to the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.  For those not familiar with rugby league,
which I guess is all my friends and readers not from oop north, this is the
rugby league equivalent of the FA Cup. 
Except it is arguably the most important trophy in rugby league because
if you win the league (sorry, Super League) then you haven’t actually won the
league – all you have done is finished top. 
The top 8 teams (of 14) then have a play-off to decide who is the grand
champion.  How English.
We have never won at Wembley.  We did win when it was in Cardiff, and we won
a replay at some random ground up north once. 
For my Dad in particular, it was of the utmost importance.
We were not favourites – for comparison Hull FC vs Wigan is like Hull City AFC vs Manchester United.
We started brightly, for the first 2 minutes.  Then Wigan who have won the trophy approximately
598 times, came back strongly, but couldn’t break our defence until later in
the first half, with a try and a conversion to go 6-0 up.  Yes, we have tries in rugby league.  Tries and tackles – none of that kicking it
down the other end constantly shite in the gay whisky-drinking land owners version of rugby
down south.
6-0 at half time was commendable and we were still very much
in the game.  A quick pint to replenish
our thirst which unlike the hooligan game of football, one can drink in one’s
seat as nobody at rugby fights, except the players.
However the second half was one of constant
frustration.  Again, a bit of explanation
for my southern friends, you get a set of 6 tackles in rugby league – once the
team has been tackled and held to ground 6 times consecutively, without making
an error such as dropping the ball forward (a knock-on), the ball is handed to
the opposition for their set of 6 tackles. 
Normally after the 5th tackle the ball will be kicked down
the field to gain extra territory.
Hull decided to drop the ball consistently on the 2nd
or 3rd tackle during the second half, which meant that Wigan were
kindly given the ball far too often. 
They struggled to take advantage but did get two penalties to make it
Defeat was inevitable as we were crap.  Wigan scored a very late try to seal it – but
not before roughly 15-20 of our fans a few rows back decided to have a decent
scrap to liven things up.  No stewards and no
police (rugby fans don’t fight so not required), it was eventually sorted out
by other fans.  Apparently someone
spilled someone’s beer.
Other typical Hull traits was every single person in front
of me at the bar questioning the cost of people and fellow Hull fans all
dripping with sweat on the Bakerloo line.
It was still a really enjoyable day out despite defeat,
plenty of beers were sunk and some nice pubs around Baker Street discovered.
A surprising discovery was that Strawberry & Lime cider has gone from a poof’s drink to a man’s drink in just one year.
For those with some interest in rugby league, the World Cup
is in this country at the end of 2013 and England have qualified along with
Australia and a load of countries nobody has heard of such as New Zealand and Wales.  You can still buy tickets for all of the
games I believe, and there are two semi-finals on the same day at Wembley with tickets from
the bargain price of £20 for both games. 
I have tickets for the final in Manchester – cannot wait to say I have
been to a World Cup Final (as I will never have £10million to afford a football
World Cup Final!).
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