The good, the bad & the ugly: Wembley beckons, racial abuse & squeamish injury

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

What a weekend it was for British Cup competitions.

The good

The Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup tournaments didn’t disappointed at the weekend. St Helens will meet Warrington in the Challenge Cup final and Widnes will face Sheffield in the 1895 Cup final at Wembley.

On Saturday, we witnessed three brilliant games in what was a triple header at the University of Bolton Stadium. In game one, Leeds retained the Women’s Challenge Cup as they defeated Castleford 16-10 in what was a tight and tense affair.

In game two, Warrington edged past Hull FC 22-14 thanks to hometown hero Joe Philbin’s winning try and favourites St Helens were made to work for a 26-2 victory by brave part-timers Halifax.

On Sunday, Sheffield defeated Batley 18-2 while the other semi-final proved to be one of the best games you will watch all year. Widnes made it to Wembley after edging past Leigh 12-8. Who said Cup competitions in rugby league were dying?

The bad

While most of the weekend was positive for rugby league, there was a couple of incidents that just need to not only be stamped out of the game – but stamped out of society in general.

Arif Ahmed – a well respected sports and news reporter for ITV Calendar – was simply doing his job when he received racist abuse from a Hull FC fan and Halifax supporter.

The Hull fan told him to “f**k off” on camera and “f**k off back home” later on, while the Halifax supporter asked if Arif was from “Bollywood” and “if he fancied him”.

This is totally and utterly disrespectful. There is no place for racism anywhere. We are a multi-cultural and multi-national country, so let’s start acting like one. Let’s hope the culprits are dealt with appropriately.

The ugly

Widnes winger Patrick Ah Van suffered a nasty gash to his right ankle in the Vikings’ 12-8 win over Leigh in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup.

A picture of the injury has been included just below this paragraph so if you’re squeamish then look away now. It’s not one for the faint-hearted!

But away from the injury, Ah Van will always be a fan favourite at Widnes after spending seven seasons at the club, scoring 91 tries in 118 games.

The Samoa international returned to Widnes earlier this month as they were short on numbers and he hasn’t disappointed the Vikings faithful in his time back at the Halton Stadium so far.

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