Talking sport - Why no Wigan guard of honour for Roby?

St Helens James Roby is tackled by Wigan Warriors Ben Fowler during James Roby's Testimonial match at Langtree Park
St Helens James Roby is tackled by Wigan Warriors Ben Fowler during James Roby's Testimonial match at Langtree Park

I know I will be echoing the thoughts of James Roby but I felt the turn out for his testimonial match against Wigan Warriors at Langtree Park on Friday night was exceptional considering far from ideal weather conditions.

Saints sold around 8,000 tickets, and although I stand to be corrected, I can’t recall any past benefit game attracting such a large crowd.

It was a fitting and lasting tribute to a son of St Helens who, unlike some others in his profession, has ignored the lure of big bucks on offer in the NRL to remain loyal to his home-town club.

His team-mates provided a guard of honour as Robes and his children stepped out to milk the applause of the crowd and to savour a magic moment which will remain with him forever.

My only disappointment - and I will use no stronger word - is that the Wigan players, who were first to emerge from the tunnel, didn’t participate in the guard of honour.

Yes, they joined in the much deserved applause, but it would have been a welcome gesture had they lined-up alongside their rivals.

Still, talking of Roby, it is nice to see a mural erected at Langtree Park in honour of his achievements during a trophy-ladened career and few deserve it more.

But in terms of prestige murals of this kind will always be second in the pecking order to the supreme accolade - a place in the Hall of Fame and an accompanying picture/sketch of the player in question adorning the walls of the club.

A top player like Roby will have to wait a few more years before being invited to join the Hall of Fame as he surely will... no one is recommended for membership until they have hung up their boots.

Pilkington Recs officials, players and fans will be glued to their radios tomorrow night (Thursday) hoping they get a favourable draw in the second round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

The one-time amateur giant killers go into the hat after a crushing 46-4 home victory over Scottish champions Aberdeen Warriors on Saturday.

Neighbours Thqatto Heath will join them but they have still to play their first round tie at Shaw Cross Sharks which was postponed at the weekend due to bad weather.

A third St Helens club, Blackbrook, were beten 10-4 by Egremont Rangers.

The draw will be broadcast by Radio Manchester between 6pm and 7pm.