Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Earliest Wigan Walk Known to Science

Call the anthropologists. I believe I encountered the earliest instance of the Wigan Walk in the history of rugby league on Sunday.

OK, so Wigan played St Helens, their great tribal race enemy, in Cardiff; less obviously, Saints hit a savage burst of perfection and ran up 35 points to nothing in the first half. The moment I recall most is Ade Gardner's try just before half time, or better, Matthew Gidley's part in it. St Helens had pushed on to the Wigan lines, but didn't look like breaking through, and shipped the ball slowly along the face of the defence; then Gidley hit it, running - always the first rule - and immediately drew a marker from the line.

What happened then was what you go for; he stopped in pelt, and turned through 360 degrees around the Wigan man, rolling-out with the ball re-handled from one arm to the other while this went on, and chipped it to the flag for Gardner to race onto, with just little enough weight for it not to get there too soon. Ignorant people always think this game is about force and force only, but folk like Gidley and Rob Burrow, and Sean Long, who incidentally had a superb master's evening, almost worth that bloody club colours gumshield, show it's more than that.

One of the fan traditions is that Wiganers supposedly never stick around for a beating; considered a sign of spoilt arrogance. And on Sunday, with 25 minutes to go - there they were, filing out of the ground. But this was Wales; at Wigan's old ground, Central Park, a home fan leaving could easily have been at home in five minutes. In Cardiff, where did they go? To watch the rest on TV in a pub? To sit on the coach and chunter, with the crispdust?

Anyway, this has given me enough confidence to point out that Keighley are having a good year. Kly ! Kly! Boing! Boing! indeed.


John B said...

"where did they go?"

Pie shop?

ejh said...

Blimey, Gateshead have won four games already. That's three more than I ever saw them win.

Daniel said...

Wow, a country where Rugby league is a small niche sport and Association Football dominates. Crazy.

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