My Set of Six: with Love RL editor James Gordon ft Odsal & Paul Sculthorpe

In our new feature, we’re asking you, the fans, plus players, coaches and other rugby league personalities to give us their answers to our set of six questions.

First up to show how it works, is Love Rugby League editor, James Gordon.

Favourite away ground?

Odsal. It was actually my first away ground. It was looking very tired on my last visit, and though people have long moaned about its state of disrepair, there was something about it being in a bowl, almost away from civilisation in your own little world of rugby league that made Odsal special. Certainly in the Bulls’ heyday with everything that they did for the match day experience too, it was a cracking rugby league day out – especially if the weather was good.

Favourite player?

Paul Sculthorpe. He had everything. Leadership qualities, the strength and determination to make an impact in any tackle, good kicking game and nice hands. As someone growing up in Warrington in the 90s, he was almost like a local superstar. Injuries probably stopped him getting the stand out recognition he deserved as a world class superstar of his era.

Favourite memory?

Fortunate enough to have covered the 2013 World Cup extensively, and actually going to Bristol on a Wednesday night to watch USA v Cook Islands is up there. Going to the Nou Camp to watch Catalans v Wigan and Carcassonne for French Magic Weekend last season too. I’m torn between two – Widnes going clear at the top of Super League in 2016 by beating Wigan away, in the year my son was born two days before the start of the season and Widnes would win six of their first seven games of his life; or Widnes avoiding the Million Pound Game by beating Catalans away in 2018, a trip I’d made somewhat hastily with next to no money on my own.

Highlights | Wigan Warriors 12-18 Widnes Vikings

📅 #OnThisDay in 2016… Widnes Vikings Rugby League Club went two points clear at the top of Super League with a memorable win at Wigan!👏 They recovered from an 8-0 half-time deficit to inflict Wigan's first home defeat since 2014.🏉 #RFL125

Posted by Rugby Football League on Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Worst memory?

Got plenty of these, largely from following Widnes. The second half of the 2007 Grand Final against Castleford at a sold out Headingley was probably the most painful memory. The Northern Rail Cup final defeat to Batley wasn’t great in 2010 either. Then there were the administrations of 2007 and 2019. Being in the press conference where the administration was announced in 2019 and asking probably about the first 10 questions was one of the most surreal and extraordinary experiences of my career.

National League 1 Divisional Play Off Final Castleford v Widnes 07/10/07
Widnes sit pondering their loss against Castleford

Best match you’ve seen (not involving your club)?

There’s an ever increasing number of these – but the one that always stands out was in the 2009 Four Nations, when I saw New Zealand and Australia battle out a gripping 20-all draw at Twickenham Stoop.

Your one wish for the future of rugby league?

To adopt a conference system that enables expansion and overseas clubs to exist and thrive without being detrimental to the hopes and ambitions of any existing or heartland club.

If you want to be featured on My Set of Six, send an email to james@loverugbyleague.com

1 Comment

  1. Away Ground: KCOM Stadium, it’s nearer than Craven Park, and in truth a much better stadium.
    Favourite Player: close call, George Fairburn beats out Stanley Gene, just.
    Favourite Memory: Wembley, 1980, I was there, my father had forbidden me to go, but my mum‘s boyfriend had tickets and I went with him for the weekend. I snuck out of school at lunchtime and off we went. The full weekend staying at the Wembley crest hotel we also went to the ABA boxing Championships the night before and saw Frank Bruno win his last amateur title belt. Then there was the game, and on the Sunday the nervous ride home. On the coach they knew how scared I was of getting home so I was very drunk by the time I walk through the door, I plonked myself in My chair and my father looked at me and he said “I bet you’re very proud of yourself!”, “Yeah, I am, and I’m also very very drunk, he he he he“. He never said another word about it. Also in the run-up to it a friend bet us that he wouldn’t get his hair dyed black and white, he was on my front doorstep trying to get me to bet with him when my dad comes up and asked what was going on. I told him my mate was five quid short of getting his hair dyed for the match. My dad put his hands in his pocket, “that’s worth five quid as long as I get to see it first!“, Sometime later there is a knock at the door and my mate is stood there looking like a sodding badger, he was going to hand my dad the change, but he’d given him such a good laugh he told him he could keep it. Following Monday we were at school, He made it past the gates, he almost made it to our house block, when the headmaster saw him, and he was someone summoned and sent home. After a long angry angry argument with his dad with the headmaster he returned to school, and collected all his winnings. Good times.
    Worst Memory: Hull KR versus Castleford at Wembley. Dying seconds Dorahy has a difficult kick to win it, great kicker, he struck it, its up, up, its going to, is it, we’re up willing it, then it dips and falls short. Gutted.
    Best Match. Watched: the Hull FC versus Wigan, 1985 final, that was amazing, so unlucky for a very good Hull side, against a team about to become legendary. Attended: Tonga vs PNG at the Boulevard, 1995 World Cup, Dear me, no quarter asked for, none given. That was to the death, the ball seem to be made of molten Iron. it was so quick through the hands, the commitment on both sides was outstanding, the tackles where ferocious as brutal as any other ever seen ever seen before or since. Acdraw was a fair result. That just beat Australia versus Fiji, same tournament, Andrew Johns is lining up a kick, we’re sat behind the goal, I stood up and shouted “here you go mate!”, he looks up, gives me a thumbs up, kicked it. I only bloody caught it! He put the ball onto a specific seat! He got a cheer for kicking it, and I got one for catching it, my girlfriend was hugely impressed. They made me give it back though.
    Wish: Go after Union, expose their legacy of class oppression, racism, homophobia, exclusion, collaboration, theft, vindictiveness, and more. Stop being supine. I believe we licence the term “Rugby World Cup” to them, I’d put a stop to that for a start. I’d look for due reparations to the French League diehards for their treatment in occupied and Vichy France and subsequently. If i had the money I’d commission a drama on that period, expose Union’s collaboration with the Nazis and Fascism. Personally I’d still like a written apology for my lifetime ban from Union. I still won’t watch it. I consider my ban stands until I’ve a letter on headed notepaper with my apology.

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