Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Sad Sunday's Coming

Being a Whitehaven fan at the moment must really mess with your head. After a singularly 'meh' season, they find themselves in a most peculiar position.

Lose their last remaining two games and they could get relegated. Win their last two games and - if Batley and Keighley stutter - they could find themselves in the playoffs. So fine are the margins in this harsh restructuring season.

With the Marras' season in the balance, it's Batley who find themselves hovering over the trapdoor after their recent three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible DR player.

Indeed, Whitehaven only have to match Batley's remaining results to condemn the Bulldogs to a most unexpected drop - from Grand finalists to relegated in a season would be a spectacular crash.

Up at the Recre, 'Haven coach Dave Woods has taken a laid back approach to the last two games, giving his side the Challenge Cup weekend off to recharge the batteries before his side's final push.

Interestingly, both Hornets and 'Haven come into Sunday's game on the back of defeats to Sheffield - though Whitehaven did nick a bonus point. It was a result that disappointed Dave Woods. Speaking in the News & Star he said: “We were all disappointed with the result…” Wise words, mate...

More interesting words from Woods' captain, ex-Hornet Lee Doran. Also interviewed by the News & Star this week he said of his side's precarious balancing act:  “I don’t think we’ve had our fair share of luck this season, and I feel that pound for pound we are one of the best sides in the league. We haven’t got the biggest of budgets but Dave’s done a great job."  We thought it was an interestingly ambiguous use of the word 'pound'. Maybe it's just us…

And Finally…

As the last embers of Hornets' 2014 Championship adventure fade, it was with a heavy heart that I sat down to write this piece ahead of our trip to Whitehaven.

The unexpected passing last week of our loyal fellow Hornet Andy 'Pugwash' Birch leaves us all shocked - and leaves a huge hole in the lives of those of us who've shared countless Sunday afternoons with him over the years.  Having supported Hornets since 1966, Andy's support had been rock-solid for almost half a century and - despite his recent health issues - he was one of the first supporters to buy a ten year Hornets season ticket. Few have worn their passion for our club so prominently on their sleeve, and his commitment to the cause has been unstinting even through the darkest of days.

Whilst we contunue - as ever - 'onward', the journey won't be quite the same without him. But wherever the game takes us in support of Rochdale Hornets - starting with the Recre on Sunday - Puggy will always be with us.

See you Sunday.