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Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown

Rugby League Tales by Sandra Brown

As a youngster, in the late forties my brother and I used to go to the rugby match every Saturday, down Wheldon Lane; now they are called the Castleford Tigers, but at that time they were merely called Castleford.

As we had little monies at that time, in order to see the match we would climb over the fence which surrounded the Rugby grounds. The atmosphere was always electric, with clapping and cheering, pushing and shoving throughout the course of the match. It was equally as exciting our trip home, which was only across the road from the rugby ground on Weldon Road, with us pushing and shoving each other.

On returning home, to what was literally an all female household, consisting of Grandma, Mum, Mum’s Sister, myself and brother Frank. Even though only Frank and I had actually been to the rugby match, the rest of the household assisted us to reconstruct the game, as we interpreted it, in the back yard of Grandma’s house.
Grandma’s job was the referee, then hat left just four of us, meaning two on each team. Frank and Mum one team me and Aunt Annice the other team. Of course money was short, so we’d made a rugby ball of old socks rolled up into a rugby ball shape. This event occurred throughout the year’s my Dad was in the army stationed in Scotland, but discontinued when he returned home, and we moved back into our own house at the other side of Castleford.

We greatly missed our Saturday escapade when we returned to our own home, because there was no one free to accompany us to the Rugby ground. Being resilient youngsters we soon encouraged some of our school pals to come to our house and play, what we said was a game of rugby in our back yard; looking back it was far from the ‘real McCoy’ , we’d experienced whilst staying at Grandma’s house.

Years later, I again was treated to some Rugby matches whilst working for the Home Office, within the Prison Service, where I worked for more than a decade. On Sundays there was usually a game of soccer, with the occasional game of Rugby; I assume the hard game was to redirect the energy of those prisoners who was incarcerated. Nevertheless, those games could be equally as exciting as those I’d attended as a child.

Interestingly, as an adult a number of friends are smitten by the game of rugby, not all of them support the same teams, which makes for interesting discussions of the game they’d witnessed as they all gathered at each of their homes for a Saturday evening. We had a take away followed by an animated discussion of how the match progressed, and in some cases how they felt it should have progressed – those Saturday evening get together s have pleasant memories of good humoured banter.

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