A bit of Rugby League blogging. It's been a weird start to the season. Not so long ago - but after more than a few games - London/sorry/Harlequins RL were top of the league. (Regarding the name, I'm not the only one. I saw a Fulham RL shirt at this weekend's game.) And the top three included Huddersfield and Castleford. Meanwhile, the big four were in the bottom half of the table. It's early season madness, of course.
Things are a bit less weird now - Wigan have started to play more like the defending champions, Warrington have imposed themselves as the best side so far. Their game with St Helens was probably the best so far. But the top three are currently the Wire, Cas, and Fartown, with Saints and Wigan behind. Leeds and Bradford are further off.
Yesterday's match at the Stoop ended up being a surprising classic. Hull FC were good - they damn well should be, given some of the faces in the side, even if nobody's actually related to Willie Mason. London pulled back an early advantage, and eventually hit a blast of form in the second half. At this point they looked good value for anything. Quick. Tough. Neat. It was a great afternoon in west London, a misty bath of sunshine swimming with Airbus A380s on easterly operations, and even the Hull FC people were reasonably pleasant. (I've been hard on them in the past and they occasionally show up in comments to whine about it, but on this occasion, they were almost as nice as Hull Kingston Rovers fans.)
London chose the moment to do another of their epic chokes. Heading for the finish, Hull began to sense a crack or two. This was the moment for (who else) Sean Long, still with his Saints-colours gumshield after all these years, to crank the pressure up. Starting at 30-16 down, they hauled the game in. At 30-26, London looked like setting up a dropgoal attempt. It didn't happen - not much else did - and a couple of tackles later they gave away a daft penalty. Hull scored, pulled ahead, and despite the inevitable short kick-off, London couldn't pull off a two-minute raid. It didn't matter, in fact - they kept scoring. In the end Hull got from 30-16 down to 40-30 up in less than a point a minute. You can see why Saints want Long back. Actually it wasn't so much him but Sam Obst, their stand-off, who really did the deed.
Meanwhile, Keighley lost to Whitehaven 24-10.