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Via ".@eenderinwales"

Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.
Well at long last have finished The BeeKeeper’s Daughter By Santa Montefiore. Whatever hope I had of finding a female writer whose quality (for male readers) was hidden by the chocolate box cover and blurb well it was not to be. The book did exactly what you thought  after looking at the cover.
There were no surprises, no shocks, really it ran on romance fiction cliché. Definitely a case of bad Santa.
Saturday was unusual as I wasn’t working. And as it happens in the afternoon I’d nothing special to do I decided to go and visit a Welsh Rugby League game. Now there are better people than me that can go through the tragi-comic history of rugby league in Wales but for the moment just be aware that, though on a very small scale, there is a Welsh Rugby Premier League.
I have been to some games before when I lived in Bridgend there were the odd occasions when I’d travel to Pyle RFC, stand on a touchline and watch the Bridgend Bulldogs play whoever. This time though it would be different. For I would be going to watch the Rhondda Outlaws play the Valley Cougars and the match was going to be in Sardis Road….the legendary House Of Pain of the local rugby union club…I would be going to Pontypridd.
When I reached there about one thirty I had just enough time to grab a meal from the local Tesco and go to a particular place which I’ll explain about in a moment.

I Call This “View From Sardis Road Car Park

As I didn’t have enough time to wander let me say this. I’ve not been in Pontypridd for about two years. But there did not appear to be any major changes since I was last there. That’s to it’s credit. As was the £1 car charge until 6pm. Cheaper than Bridgend Town, with more to offer.

But since I was in Ponty there was one place I had to go to. The bookstall in the town market. Thankfully it’s still there.

Truly,Truly Wonderful

It’s the kind of classic bookshop I adore. Every space on every shelf is filled. A gem on every corner. I cannot  (as I’m sure you realise by now) recommend it highly enough.
The only regret was that I didn’t have enough time to look around properly. In the event I picked two classic Penguin Paperbacks which were as follows:

C2158 – Ernest Bramah -Max Carrados Mysteries

And the other was:

Paul Bailey – Gabriel’s Lament

And I should say with regard to Paul Bailey’s book when I put this out on Twitter a number of people came back to say it’s a great novel.I could have stayed there forever. But I’d a rugby League match to watch (which as an aside is just four pounds including the programme…four pounds!! Cheaper than some meals at MacDonald’s.

So then there I was in the House Of Pain. As I entered loud music was blasting, including the Dexy’s Midnight Runners classic Come On Eileen. Not sure why that was being played unless Eileen is a Valley Cougar.

I won’t lie and say that the crowd was massive and it was difficult to work out who like me was the casual supporter. Still I’ve seen crowds in certain Glamorgan Cricket matches that seemed just as sparse.

A quick note about their shirts. The Valleys Cougars play in pink. You’d like to think that it was to due to breast cancer awareness but still, real men play in pink.

The Cougars

Their opponents strip seemed the most odd to me. Looking like scrunched up posh chocolate wrapping paper.


The match then began. And what the early stages suggested was that the home side operated a charge at your opponents at whatever cost to your health strategy. it soon paid off and they scored a try.

Outlaws Attack

On the next drive however the Cougars showed they were more nimble than their opponents. Dodging tackles to equalise.Apparently then it was brute strength over speed.

Attack Of The Cougars

The Outlaws charged then charged again. A sort of charge of the not so light brigade. The Cougars were resolute in their defence. Until an up and under kick was misjudged by a Cougar player, caught by an Outlaw for try number two.But again as nimble as their namesake the Cougars responded with another try showing again how fast they were. With every try the announcer gave the score. And I noticed how depressed he sounded when the Cougars put extra points on the board. So when the visitors scored a third try you wondered whether you should call the Samaritans.

Outlaws tried to pressurise but mistakes began to show. One ball bounced off the chest of a cougar player straight into the arms of an Cougar player. Needless to say there wasn’t a round of applause from the home bench.

On the away bench someone shouted at a baseball hatted guy behind me how many unforced errors there were. “Three plus two bad cheques” is what the answer sounded like to me. (Perhaps that means bodychecks…I’ve no idea)

Speaking of the benches they seemed a bit small to me.

Very Small Actually

Perhaps the Friends Of Pontypridd RFC can put up more money for a wider bench.The first half finished 12-24 to the visitors. The second half seemed to begin as the first ended with another Cougar try. 12-30. Outlaws though responded. 16-30.

For reasons I couldn’t see and understand less the Cougar number 17 was then yellow carded. As he left the pitch the Outlaws bench patted him in pity on the back. I say in pity, perhaps it was a pat of thanks, for the those Rhondda guys soon scored again. 22-30…and then again…28-30.

Things were getting close.

As the cliché goes…end to end stuff

The announcer sounded happy again….but not for long…the Cougars got their wind back and scored again 28-36.And as the second half went on I noticed that the away team too had their share of men prepared to charge at their opponents. For the Outlaws being hit by the team played in pink must have been like having been attacked by an iron fist wrapped in candy floss.

Not A Dull Moment In The Game
All Action Stuff

The Cougars scored again…it was clearly all over…and then again ….it was definitely all over. 28-46. The announcer seemed really depressed now.

Rugby League in Wales provides an affordable day out for the family during the summer months. With a bit more marketing this league could establish a popular niche for itself in the Welsh sporting calendar. I’d like to think so.

Thankyou Rhondda Outlaws and Valley Cougars. It was fun.

Until the next time.