First of all, we must offer our congratulations to Doug Laughton’s Barmy Army.
Not only did they reach their Cup final without having to play in any previous rounds, but they only went and won the ‘Singing Dead Loud and Swinging Your Top Around Your Head While TV Cameras Show Everyone Your Man Boobs’ Cup
Well done, guys.
When’s the open top bus parade?
Good luck fitting it into a chant that features ‘one more than Warrington’ though.
It was a bit of weird one, really, wasn’t it?
Half the town seemed to be in Skegness for what can only be described as the junior rugby equivalent of the magic weekend.
And half the people who turned up seemed to be perplexed that the BBC had set up their temporary studio in exactly the same place they did last time we were televised in the Cup.
And the time before that.
On the pitch, we were at least a bit better than Widnes, which is somewhat reassuring.
We said last week that it would not be a shock to anyone if we lost against this lot, with all logical indicators pointing to a convincing Wire win.
When they took the lead early doors, you could forgive anyone for feeling a sense of de ja vu, but we seem to have made a bit of habit now in the past few months of not panicking when things don’t go our way straight away.
Of course, we’d all have loved to stuck 50 on them and beat them out of site, but that wasn’t going to happen with their levels of motivation for this fixture.
A Kevin Brown hat-trick was literally the difference between the sides, as we ran out 14 point victors over the smellies.
Brown was among the trio of England internationals who returned to the squad after last week’s victory over Samoa and, obviously buoyed by his performance in the national jersey, seemed really up for this one, for some reason.
He copped the usual expected abuse from the specimens in the West Stand who had made the trip from Shelbyville for their big day out and responded in the best possible manner.
His third try ten minutes from time swung the game our way and, fittingly, he plonked down in front of the away end despite the attentions of five defenders, highlighting exactly why he ‘knocked on our door’ during the off-season.
His other two tries came from selling dummies at the line and his first was almost a carbon copy of his try against Brisbane, where he jumped in at dummy half and benefited from a scattered defensive line.
It wasn’t a vintage performance, but these fixtures rarely are.
The chemics have at least made this fixture competitive in recent years, despite not troubling the top half of the table since their return to the super league.
Having taken the lead with a couple of quick fire tries, we took a 12-6 lead into half-time with us and both sides exchanged tries after the break, until a Danny Walker break set up a try for Patrick Ah Van – or, as he was known when he played for Bradford, Patrick Us Van – under the sticks.
His conversion levelled the scored at 20-20 – and Danny Walker seems to have been christened the next Cameron Smith on the back of that one dummy half run – but it was the last time they would achieve parity on the scoreboards.
Brown’s third try was followed by a try in the corner for Matty Russell before a stroll in front for Chris Hill killed the game off.
The skipper did he what he does so well and hit a flat ball from Gidley at dummy half at such ferocious pace and on such an angle that he hit the space behind the ruck and went over untouched. It would have been a try in touch rugby, so good was his line and Gidley’s little step to hold up the markers.
It was impossible to watch that try back without hearing Mick Morgan shout ‘that’s why he’s the best prop in the world’. Well, for us anyway.
On the downside, Harvey Livett has been ruled out for the season having pulled up the warm up to the game and Ashton Sims’ suspension for stamping on Ah Van’s hand has ruined the marketing officer’s wet dream of seeing him play in the Thor kit at Magic.
Expect to see us crack it out again in the playoffs, just make it worth the while of getting the shirt made.