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Piotr Pyszny

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Everything posted by Piotr Pyszny

  1. Piotr Pyszny

    Odsal

    The other aspect of reconfiguring The Shay that hasn't been mentioned is the football/rugby pitch being moved circa 20 yards closer to the Skircoat (west) Stand, thereby covering the site of the starting gate and home straight. It was done to free up space for a new, larger east stand, part of which now occupies what was the speedway track's back straight.
  2. Piotr Pyszny

    Odsal

    I seem to remember Dukes promoter Eric Boothroyd saying the 1985 average crowd at The Shay pushed 3,500. I've got a copy of the 'Memories of Halifax Speedway' DVD. It's a while since I've watched it, but I recall Eric dealing in some detail with the move to Odsal. Pretty sure Eric reckoned he lost a thousand spectators overnight then another 600-800 on Kenny Carter's death.
  3. Piotr Pyszny

    Odsal

    The closure of all terraced areas at The Shay in 1985 lasted just three early-season Halifax Town FC games. By January 1986, Halifax RLFC, hiring the ground on a one-off basis for a First Division game with Widnes, because of problems with the Thrum Hall floodlights, attracted a 6,385 crowd to The Shay (more than double any crowd Halifax Dukes attracted during their final season, 1985). The speedway club, incidentally, were sub-tenants of the football club, who chose to hike the rent circa 1985 - one of several factors in the Dukes leaving for Odsal. £25,000 is the figure that sticks in my mind. The Shay was reconfigured quite a few years before the rugby league club began sharing the stadium in 1998. The first and second bend area was removed circa 1990. It was replaced with a gently inclined open standing area. In 1996, a stand was built on the site of the third and fourth bends. Later that year, an identical stand replaced the open standing area at the opposite end of the ground.
  4. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Great to hear Newcastle Thunder RLFC have been selected to fill the vacancy, from 2021, in rugby league's second tier. Newcastle, helped by four full-time community officers, have been doing superb work lately in developing the North East Amateur Rugby League competition, which now has clubs, with youth sections, in Alnwick, Catterick, Consett, Cramlington, Darlington, Durham, Gateshead, Hartlepool (x2), Jarrow, Peterlee, Stockton, Wallsend, Whitley Bay and Yarm. With Super League's 2021 Magic Weekend coming to Newcastle, and Middlesbrough and Newcastle hosting 2021 Rugby League World Cup games, we might end up with a few more.
  5. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Interesting. Actually, hardly any rugby league followers make a case for retaining the scrum (or even justifying its limited existence). In most league games, there are now very few scrums (usually between five and 10). I suspect the experiment of dispensing with the scrum during COVID will finally see the back of it. Hallelujah. Let's face it, nobody but nobody, if called upon now to devise a 'rugby'-style sport, would dream up anything as preposterous as a scrum! Partial to cricket myself. :-)
  6. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    That's not the rugby league I've been watching for nearly 50 years! Like all caricatures (kick and clap?; hunt, punt and grunt?), it's nonsense.
  7. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Are you serious?
  8. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    One of the reasons British rugby league switched to a spring and summer season. I started watching rugby league in 1974 (and union a decade later). I wouldn't want league to return to an autumn and winter season.
  9. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Wow. Where do I start with this? I'm afraid a lot of modern rugby union, not least at the highest level, now looks like rugby league from the unlimited tackles era (i.e. back in the 1960s): huge blokes engaged in a dreary, slow motion war of attrition, fighting over a small amount of territory, with the two lines of players barely two or three yards apart. It's unwatchable, as the recent Autumn Nations Cup illustrated. It's why league dispensed with that approach decades ago. There's simply no comparison in the fitness levels of league and union. It's a direct result of the codes' different requirements. The ball-in-play time for league is more than twice what it is in union, a game based around stoppages/set pieces. League decided more than a century ago the contest for possession was an unedifying spectacle, unappealing to spectators. It's why rucks, mauls and line outs were eliminated. If you like watching games settled by penalty kicks and observing extended periods of aimless 'kick tennis', well, good luck to you. The scrums in both codes are a mess. Even union diehards are frustrated by endless scrum resets (and blatant feeding), meaning scrums eat up whole minutes of a game. In league, the de-powered, uncontested scrum is merely a means of restarting the game, tying up forwards for a short time, leaving the field open for backs. During the ongoing 'COVID era', league has dispensed with scrums altogether. Few, I suspect, want them back. You're not wrong about the way rugby union is taught in schools. All I remember about it was getting cold while the fat lads rolled about in the mud. Thank goodness we had football for the bulk of each school term! Rugby Australia? Rugby union is dying on its arse in Australia. I watch league (alongside cricket) in spring and summer, union (alongside football) in autumn and winter. One of the most striking difference between the two rugby codes is how crowded the pitch is in union. There's talk of league reducing the number of players to 12 or 11. Union really needs to consider 13. I reckon if league hadn't got there first, it would be a no-brainer.
  10. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Interesting to hear how many union fans are now switching on to the NRL and State of Origin. Best 'rugby' comp on the planet.
  11. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Couple of quotes from a Guardian article (10/12) about banning 'collision' rugby union in schools... Graham Kirkwood, from the Institute of Health at Newcastle University: “I would not want my children playing rugby [sic] in school in its current collision form. I would advise other parents to think the same." Jamie Johnston, a former rugby union player with Harlequins, Bath and Bristol, who is involved with teaching sport at an Egham [Surrey] school: "I would not allow my own children to play [rugby union] and I cannot, in good conscience, encourage schoolchildren to play the game in its current form."
  12. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Despite being brought up in rugby league's heartlands (between Halifax and Huddersfield), I was forced to play rugby union at school (I went to a former grammar school). I played outside centre. My memory of schools rugby union is of standing about, getting cold, waiting for the pass that never came. Thankfully, my school was essentially a football school (two terms of the three were devoted to football), which was a much more enjoyable game. Thanks to the British education system, on which rugby union maintains a stranglehold in the declining number of schools where 'rugby' is played, I had to wait until attending university to have a go at rugby league. I received and gave more passes in one game of league than in a term of union! Fewer fat lads, too. :-)
  13. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Rugby league players are (and always have been) more athletic and aerobically fitter than rugby union players. Simply a matter of what each code requires of its participants. For a start, compare the ball-in-play time of the two! I remember talking to a Harlequins RU fan who watched London Broncos RL when they played at The Stoop. He said: "I was surprised at how small a lot of the league players were. The biggest difference, however, was they could all play."
  14. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    You'd better hope the courts agree. The claims for compensation, and subsequent reputational damage, could finish both rugby codes. It's not simply about head contact (head shots or the head hitting knees and hips in lower tackles). It's about the damage done to the brain, in every single collision, by rapid deceleration. In recent years, rugby league and rugby union have gone beyond being contact sports. They are now collision sports - and that isn't good for the brain. As ever, football is in a much stronger position - financially, at least. I can see heading being outlawed for all junior players.
  15. Piotr Pyszny

    Odsal

    Thanks for posting! For those who CBA to listen to the whole thing: an opening meeting is planned for April 3 (Easter Saturday), with 2,000 tickets - stadium capacity to be decided - on sale from January 1. Promoter Steve Rees is asked about speedway. He believes 2022 is a more realistic prospect than 2021.
  16. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Something with implications for both rugby codes (and other contact sports)... https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/dec/08/steve-thompson-former-rugby-union-players-dementia-landmark-legal-case https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/dec/08/rugby-union-dark-news-dementia-presents-sport-with-reality-dared-not-face
  17. Piotr Pyszny

    Has anyone been anywhere yet

    Step seven non-league football on Saturday (5/12): leaders Dunnington v Rawcliffe (1-0) in the York League Premier Division. Noticeable how everybody - players and spectators - seemed happy simply to be out in the (tier two) fresh air. Little else available north of the Severn-Wash north-south divide.
  18. Piotr Pyszny

    What a difference in stadiums

    He's probably thinking of, say, Norwich and Yarmouth. Wasn't such a huge number of years between closure and reopening at Birmingham and Redcar (Middlesbrough, in reality).
  19. Piotr Pyszny

    What a difference in stadiums

    Are you confusing it with rugby union?
  20. Piotr Pyszny

    Jokes...

  21. Piotr Pyszny

    What a difference in stadiums

    I sympathise with Comets for being 'left out' of the proposed new Workington stadium. Once again, it's speedway's decades-old problem: too few clubs own the venue at which they race. When you're a sporting tenant, your rights are limited and your prospects at the whim of the landlord.
  22. Piotr Pyszny

    What a difference in stadiums

    Didn't Comets win everything in sight during their final season - yet struggle to pull in 500 punters? How many thousand spectators did Comets somehow lose between 1999 and 2018? Of course, in speedway's case, we're all guessing because the sport, at club level in Britain, has never released attendance figures. Why is that? Incidentally, Workington Town Rugby League Club's average attendance for the 2019 season was 1,013. A hundred more than Reds? Fake news. All west Cumbria's semi-professional sports clubs are poorly supported, partly because of the population's size. Does such a sporting backwater merit a decent stadium? Mind you, I'm sure the Recreation Ground faithful (Whitehaven Rugby League Club's 2019 average attendance was 1,012) will welcome you with open arms. :-)
  23. Piotr Pyszny

    What a difference in stadiums

    National League North 2019-20, average attendances ranged from York City (2,705) to Curzon Ashton (376). Three clubs (Hereford and Chester the others) averaged more than 2,000, 10 (including King's Lynn Town, 1,417, and Boston United, 1,304, communities with speedway links) more than a thousand. For National League South, the range was Dulwich Hamlet (2,200) to Hungerford Town (334). Seven clubs (including Weymouth, 1,108, a former speedway town) averaged more than a thousand. The eighth tier contains divisions immediately below the Premier Divisions of the Northern Premier, Southern Premier and Isthmian leagues. A few clubs (going on the 2019-20 averages) will equal or do better than some speedway teams. For example: Bury Town (400), Corby Town (400), Halesowen Town (400), Hastings United (400), Prescot Cables (400), Ramsgate (400), Workington (398), Herne Bay (384), Clitheroe (391), Belper Town (385), Chertsey Town (383), Felixstowe & Walton (373), Melksham Town (363). Apologies for the detail. Rather bored today!
  24. Piotr Pyszny

    Rugby

    Applications submitted for rugby league's 2021 Super League vacancy. A toss-up between Toulouse Olympique and York City Knights, I suggest. In the tier below, Halifax, the club I supported in childhood, have rebranded as Panthers. Not sure I like that. Better than Blue Sox, mind.
  25. Piotr Pyszny

    Football 2020/21

    From Private Eye (Dec 4-17)...
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