I MENTIONED last week the frustration of having to watch the Challenge Cup final when we would all much rather be involved and, like I envisaged, it was difficult viewing having experienced Wembley and knowing the joys of winning there.
It was a good game to watch in terms of quality, and with the extra tension that a cup final brings, and credit must go to Warrington who were the better team on the day, and always looked capable of coming up with scores at crucial stages.
The British weather is unpredictable at the best of times, but I’ve always associated the Challenge Cup final with the sun shining and soaring temperatures, so I was amazed at how conditions turned midway through the first half.
It seemed like a monsoon had engulfed Wembley as winds picked up and raindrops as heavy as Jon Wilkin’s wallet pelted down – supporters could be seen fleeing for cover.
This would almost certainly had an affect on both teams, and they would have had to adapt their game plans accordingly.
Both teams coped quite well, but it was Warrington who managed to seize the initiative when the skies cleared.
n WITH us not having a game, it gave our conditioner Matt Daniels a window of opportunity to inflict some pain on the squad.
And when I read on our schedule that we would be going to the beach on Friday morning, I quickly worked out that I wouldn’t need my towel or suncream.
We met at an army base and set off on foot across an airfield, through woodland and then finally arriving at the sand dunes.
This is where the gruelling session really cranked up.
We ran up and down the dunes to the point of exhaustion, and it was a good job our physiotherapist Joey Hayes was on hand with some oxygen to get me back on my feet.
We then walked to sit up to our necks in the freezing sea.
Wilko leapt out of the water claiming he was been attacked by a sea creature of some form, but the water was that murky you wouldn’t have had a clue what it was.
I’ve done a number of similar sessions over my career so I should have known what to expect.
I imagine it’s like childbirth where women forget how bad it was and do it all again, although I’m sure there will be women who have experienced childbirth reading this with their blood boiling after seeing me compare it to a training session on the beach.
n This week, we are back in action against London Broncos in the last league fixture of the season at Langtree Park.
They have a lot of good players in their side, so it came as a huge surprise to many that they have struggled for the majority of the year.
But over the last couple of months, their fortunes have changed and have come up with some great results.
The fact that they can’t make the top eight seems to have taken the pressure off, and they are playing a carefree brand of rugby.
Our first match of the season was in London and it was a really tough game, one that could have gone either way.
So there is no doubt that we are playing a team much better than their place in the Super League standings suggests.
n FINALLY, a St Helens lad and Saints season ticket holder Dave Dooley has produced a collection of poems about all things St Helens RLFC entitled Saints Verses.
Great players, club characters and outstanding moments in the history of the Saints have been captured.
The volume captures the nostalgia of Knowsley Road with unconventional offerings dedicated to greats like Alex Murphy and Tom Van Vollenhoven.
The rollercoaster of the game’s emotions is experienced through the heights of victory and the despair of defeat.
I’m also flattered to feature in Saints Verses alongside other modern-day players like Keiron Cunningham and Steve Prescott.
The centrepiece features The Fallen Five, a poem dedicated to the five Saints’ players who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War One. It’s a fantastic and unique publication which I recommend to Saints supporters of all ages.
ALL THE BEST - WELLO