Up the Middle #57

Props? Loose Man? It’s all a bit of a myth now isn’t it. They are middles. Middle units in the middle of the park playing Up the Middle.

Every week in this blog we’ll bring you the world of Rugby League as it happens, with the aim of grasping your attention, your bites and your vocal cords – after all that’s what we do best.

W/C 30/07/2018 – Last updated: 31/07

Tuesday – The need for Reserves

One of the hot topics of rugby league, yet the mystery to why there is no reserve grade borders on insane. It’s an absolute necessity to the sport, with the reasons well explained by several representatives of both Wigan and Halifax in this excellent Mirror piece by Gareth Walker. Notice how Ralph doesn’t criticise Leeds either, a well-known opposition to the format. Why? Who knows.

For the full article click here

Hull FC Reserves

Tuesday – Nationals ditch rugby league

Another national newspaper, this time The Times, has ditched it’s coverage of rugby league. Following on from the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, the Times will step down it’s daily coverage, instead focusing on the Challenge Cup and Super League Grand Final alone. Going backwards aren’t we.

Monday – International Line Up

Mick Morgan’s infamous “I can’t speck” commentary is so appropriate here, with an international calendar announced leading all the way up to the World Cup in 2025.

Recent plans made by the NRL to come to the UK have been spat on for next season, with Great Britain set for a tour Down Under as planned.

There are events for every year up and until the World Cu in the US come 2025.

The full schedule is as follows:

  • 2018 – European Championship (and then at two-year intervals)
  • 2018 – Australia v New Zealand Test (annually to 2022)
  • 2018 – Kiwi Tour to the UK
  • 2019 – Great Britain Lions Tour
  • 2019 – Championship for the Pacific nations
  • 2019 – 9s World Cup
  • 2020 – Kangaroos Tour to the UK
  • 2020 – NZ fixtures in Southern Hemisphere
  • 2021 – Rugby League World Cup
  • 2022 – Kiwi Tour to the UK
  • 2023 – 9s World Cup
  • 2024 – Kangaroos Tour to the UK
  • 2025 – Rugby League World Cup

Australia England

Monday – Super 8s venues confirmed

Hull FC now know who they’ll face in the Super 8s both home and away, with three trips over the Pennines confirmed.

Away games come at St Helens, Wigan, Warrington and Huddersfield, with home games coming against Wakefield, Castleford and Catalans.

The fixture dates come out on Wednesday.

Hull FC St Helens

Monday – A look at League One and dual reg

Hull FC’s dual reg partners Doncaster got a hard worked 26-22 win over Oldham on Sunday, with Hakim Miloudi, Jez Litten, Jack Logan and Jack Downs all featuring. Logan in his first game on loan scored an 80-metre breakaway try, which will do his confidence some good.

But it’s at the top of the table where the attention lies, with Bradford and York locked on 34-points apiece with seven rounds remaining. If rugby league wants to really prosper, it’s clubs like this which must succeed. There’s been so much talk about what the third tier offers the professional game, and despite these two, it’s nothing. We’d be much better off having two league’s of twelve with a semi-pro league below. The reality is teams like Hemel and West Wales would struggle to beat Siddal and West Hull. Never-the-less, it’ll be intriguing to watch over the next couple of months to see who actually gets promoted to the Championship.

Results: London Skolars 12 Bradford 58 | Hemel 30 West Wales 22 | North Wales 22 Workington 36 | Doncaster 26 Oldham 22 | York 68 Coventry 6 | Whitehaven 12 Newcastle 8 | Keighley 16 Hunslet 24

Monday – A look at the Championship 

The ridiculously competitive race for the Middle 8s is now over with Toronto, London, Toulouse and Halifax getting into the four, with Featherstone and Leigh missing out by a point. Ouch. The rest of the Championship however have been well off the pace and the RFL must consider what they actually offer to warrant getting a piece of the central funding.

Toronto and Toulouse will be difficult to beat, whereas London and Halifax won’t back down either. One can just be glad Hull, unlike Rovers and Leeds, have nothing to do with them. But don’t forget they’d rather have competitive fixtures. Idiots.

Results: Toronto 12 Featherstone 30 | Toulouse 44 Dewsbury 18 | Barrow 6 London 72 | Leigh 34 Sheffield 10 | Halifax 38 Rochdale 6 | Batley 40 Swinton 18

Monday – SL Round Up

Thanks to Danny Richardson pounding over a 55-metre winning penalty goal on Thursday night, St Helens can now boast 21 wins in the 23 regular season games, which is nothing short of ridiculous, but also states what you can do with a fully fit squad. Richardson’s effort though was pretty special, coming after the hooter and sending the home crowd wild.

At the KCOM Stadium the home crowd has forgot what those moments feel like after suffering their third defeat in four home matches. Hull were woeful in parts and Rovers deserved the win – the bastards. Elsewhere Huddersfield continued their outstanding form, with wins coming from Wigan, Salford and Castleford. Catalans were brave in defeat having had Kenny Edwards harshly sent off. Salford meanwhile have a player in Jackson Hastings who will rip up the mediocrity of the Middle 8s, with Widnes in serious trouble after getting hammered by Cas.

Results: St Helens 14 Warrington 12 | Hull 16 Rovers 20 | Huddersfield 40 Wakefield 28 | Wigan 25 Catalans 20 | Salford 38 Leeds 22 | Widnes 24 Castleford 52

Hull Rovers

Monday – Hull FC Recap

We’re in a rut – it’s not catastrophic, but it’s a rut, and we’re playing poorly. Friday wasn’t great, with a second half comeback failing to get a result in the Hull Derby. Rovers ended three years of Hull FC dominance, a run which stretched to seven wins, and two Cup wins, which makes the self-proclaimed Kings of Hull tag over the river following one victory in a dead rubber nothing short of hilarious. Bless um.

Anyway here’s UTC’s wits and wisdom on the weekends events.

Review/Rant: http://upthecream.co.uk/13608-2/

Five Things we learned: http://upthecream.co.uk/five-things-we-learned-from-hull-fcs-defeat-to-hull-kr/

Player Reviews: http://upthecream.co.uk/13631-2/

Derby day. Image: Daz Williams

Derby day. Image: Daz Williams

Monday – Why Up the Middle?

One confused FC Forum listener (yes he was of a red and white persuasion), got a little puzzled to Johnny Compton’s term ‘Middle’ or ‘Middles’ when used in context with Rugby League.

A Middle is your middle unit, which consists of your props, hooker and loose forward. They play through, and defend, in the middle of the field, hence the term middle.

Like counting the number of tries Tom Briscoe scored at Wembley, it’s a pretty simple equation, and considering the East Hull outfits association with the Middle version of the 8s, you would assume they could grasp it.

 

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About Dan Tomlinson
Founder, editor and the main man behind Up the Cream.

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