Game 1 Saturday Jan 18th 2020
Catalan Dragons 22 Toulouse Olympique 10
Boredom on a Saturday Afternoon is an awful thing – dogs been walkies , washings in the machine ,nobody’s playing out and besides its match-day tomorrow and you need to save appropriate moneys for then .
Not even a Pennine League Fixture or even a wander to the dark side to watch the local RU club to keep you occupied ..looks like an afternoon on the sofa in the company of some rubbish on Netflix ..
Then joy of joys someone posts a live game link on social media – the afternoon is saved and my first full game as a 125-er is in progress, a Gaelic feat of Channel hopping RL with the Catalan Dragons having a run out against Toulouse in a warm up match .
Ok so the commentary is some over enthusiastic Frenchman and the Catalan Brass band interludes should come with a Aural Health warning but there’s a fair crowd ,(around 4500) at Stade Albert Domec and Toulouse put up a mighty show in the first half , repelling everything the Dragons chucked at them eventually going in 6-4 up on the 40 .
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Toulouse team – mainly after a warm and generous welcome from the club as one of the 6 Hemel fans that travelled over for the Olympique Clubs only second game in the English League . They’ve recruited wisely if not spectacularly over the winter , Harrison Hansen , Frank Winterstein and Jy Hitchcock making the move but you’ve got to have some admiration for a club who’s major threats have been with the club since those days in League 1, l – Jonathan Ford and Mark Kheirallah, two players I sure most clubs would love to have in their ranks.
Sadly numerous changes off the bench proved to be the visitors undoing and despite a nastly lloking facial injury to the Dragons Lewis Tierney they got their act together to run out eventual winners 22-10 . James Maloney looked like he’s going to be never out of the headlines with a fine debut and great to see good old Remi Casty get over for a try in the dying mins of the game .
Fat, Fifty Rugby League Enthusiast .Avid follower of all things League 1 and unfortunate survivor of a 50 year love affair with Keighley RLFC..