A clash in fixtures as well as a change of Saracens’ last season proper match against Exeter Chiefs meant I missed 2 of London Broncos home fixtures. In addition in their wisdom The RFL have also positioned Magic Weekend on the same weekend as The Premiership Final for the last few years.

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It’s been a while since I’ve been able to watch rugby league galore therefore, when The Summer Bash came to my attention it was a no brainer for me. 7 games of rugby league in one stadium – what better way to spend a weekend!

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The games would see the whole of the Championship round played out as well as the iPro Sport Cup Final. It was a disappointment that I’d miss the Premiership semi-final between Northampton Saints and Saracens, but a sacrifice worth making.

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Now the 2 teams in the title of this blog are Superleague teams – how did that come to be? Well I planned to travel to the Summer Bash in Blackpool by train – a planned national train strike changed my plans.

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I’d was able to cancel my 1st night stay in Blackpool and get a confirmation that my £98 train fare would be refunded – Blackpool felt too far to drive to on a Bank Holiday weekend.

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Those facts had me checking out Superleague fixtures, it seemed rude not to! There was one game in the North West – that saw Salford Red Devils playing Warrington Wolves at the AJ Bell Stadium.

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booking.com found me a hotel stay – The Daresbury Park in Warrington for a mere 34 English Pounds including breakfast. And Salford (hard to think of them as the Red Devils!) were pushing for a big crowd, I secured my seat for £5!

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The only snag was that I now had a long drive in front of me – My Satnav originally had the trip taking around 4 hours, which meant I’d have time to settle into my hotel before heading to the game.

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But oh no, the journey was to say the least long! I managed to get to Manchester – I had to head straight to the stadium – in just under 7 hours! Considering where I was going the fact that I barely went on a motorway was an indication of how bad the roads were!

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It started with the M11 being closed (according to my Satnav) meaning I saw a lot of lovely Essex countryside and that theme continued!

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Thank goodness for the BBC Radio App and Test Match Special! In spite of the fact that the day was poor for England I spent most of the day chuckling and confirming that Blowers really is one of the best things on the airwaves!

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I bypassed my hotel and headed straight to the AJ Bell Stadium – It’d been stupidly hard to find out what to do about parking, in contrast it was very easy to sort when watching Sale Sharks – a lesson needed maybe.

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I’d chosen the £5 option of course so was in the East Stand; It’s a great stadium to watch sport in and this view was just as good as the main stand. I had the pleasure of the company of Ben and Jon – they’d been regular Salford fans in the past but found the move one that made it hard to carry on. The £5 draw had worked for them.

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I confess I was expecting something of a whooping of the home team, in spite of a fair few huge names Salford have had a less than perfect season so far. Wolves are always tough opposition.

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Wolves did leave the ground as winners and by what was a big score differential – Salford 18 Wolves 34 but that scoreline really wasn’t an indication of the game.

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Gene Ormsby shone for the visitors scoring a hat trick he was joined on the score sheet by Ben Currie who scored the 1st try after charging down Theo Fages’ kick – Salford responded through Corey Patterson both tries were converted.

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Wolves were to extend their lead through Ormsby and Stefan Ratchford, it looked like they might run away but Salford again came back through Junior Sa’u.

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The teams went in at half time with the scores on Salford 12 Wolves 16. Hope for the home fans.

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Ormsby added a 2nd try after the break and again Salford came back – this time through Niall Evalds; Salford were hanging in there! They didn’t look like a team with 5 straight losses behind them.

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However as is so often the case momentum played a part in the end and Wolves proved to be the superior team as Brad Dwyer and Ormsby’s hat trick try sealed what was a big win.

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Good things to take for the home team, but one thing always comes true – money can’t make a team, players have to gel as a group.  I suspect Wolves may well go away and consider how they deal with the kick off – they messes up several of Salfords’ kicks!

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A tip for anyone visiting the AJ Bell Stadium – hang about a bit after the game – it took over 30 minutes to get out of the car park! That aside I had a great evening – Superleague rugby in great company!

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A few facts –

  • Cost of Ticket – £5.00
  • Variety of pies – £3.20
  • 2 Pint Pot – £6.70 (2 pints of beer? A good thing?)
  • Chardonnay/Shiraz – £5.20
  • Guinness – £4.20
  • Strongbow – £3.50
  • Hot Drinks – £2.20
  • Soft Drinks – £2.20

I’ll be back for more Superleague – it’s played at a quicker pace than the lower leagues, a hard transition to make for those with their sights on the top league.  Oh, and the Salford Mascot?  The scariest mascot I’ve ever seen!!!  So glad ‘it’ didn’t come anywhere near me!

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