1 August 2013

London Broncos 18 - 30 Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos only play one a game a season near me in London so I made the effort again this year to get there even though the match was moved to a Thursday evening and I was working away that week.

For some reason they closed the North Stand (on the right here) where I sat last year. I sat in the East Stand because that was were most of the Rhinos fans seemed to be though, to be honest, there seemed to be far more Rhinos fans than Broncos fans everywhere.

The weather was kind. It has been blistering hot but by 8pm it was down to warm and, more importantly, it kept dry.

The result went Rhinos' way but it was more of a struggle than it should have been against the team at the bottom of the league. Rhinos lacked penetration and only broke through the Broncos line a few times. Too often handing errors conceded possession and at times they looked lethargic, as if they knew that they were going to win anyway and so did not need to try too hard.

While the game was not a great spectacle being there was a great experience.

Firstly it was Sir Kev's 500th game so that made the evening special. He was on form, as always, and kicked 5 from 5.

Secondly just being among so many Rhinos fans was wonderful, even if most of them put me to shame for wearing last season's away shirt by wearing this year's shirts.

I am going to have to buy myself a new shirt.

Rugby League attracts a family crown these days and it was good to see so many children and women there, they easily out numbered us middle-aged men.

Friendly crowds have friendly rituals and I joined in with the chanting of "Yorkshire" (pronounced York-shur), the clapping of good play and the standing cheers for every Rhinos' try.

The camaraderie continued after the game too as I joined the crowd heading for Twickenham Station. Many of them were travelling a long way from there whereas I was able to catch a 281 bus back to Teddngton from where it was a short walk home, via The Anglers. A fitting end to a good day.

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