And so begins another weekend of sport. A weekend of test cricket with uneven brackets of rugby league and football either side. In the car were Nicktor (driving), Steve from number 11 (navigating), Mr Tickle being annoying and, of course, me, being intellectually stimulating. It promised to be a delightful trip.
Mind you, we almost didn’t make it to Holmfirth given a ridiculously stupid person in an Audi who cut in front of Nicktor on the M1. Not only did he come close to killing everyone, he also had a baby on board sign in the back. However, it was the only blip in an otherwise enjoyable drive north.
On the way, among other things, we learned that Mr Tickle was, in his own words, socially dysfunctional. This caused great hilarity. To be totally honest, quite a few things caused great hilarity in the car, mostly because of Frank Tickle.
Finally, though, we pulled into the Old Bridge Hotel at Holmfirth and set about organising lunch and beer, not necessarily in that order. Given the early start that Nicktor had subjected us to, we were far too early to check-in. This was a problem easily solved because, as most right thinking people know, there is always beer.
What a merry, merry bunch we were. Having eaten, and discussed everything from bonobos to the subtitle of Slab Life 3 (yet to be written), our bunch became even merrier with the addition of Ian, Colin’s brother-in-law. I met Ian back in 2019, when we went to see Aldershot play Halifax. Colin was going down the squash club and Ian thought we’d be far more fun than watching a bunch of oldish, puffy men, chase a little black ball around a glass box. I’d like to think it was the right decision.
Eventually, our raucous little group grew with the addition of Colin, Sleasy and Northern Pete. And, finally, Original Pete arrived.
Note: I have been told by Nicktor that I’m to call Northern Pete, Yorky Pete and Original Pete, Lanc-y Pete. I will make only the one concession.
Eventually, our raucous little group grew with the addition of Colin, Sleasy and Yorky Pete. And, finally, Original Pete arrived. We were destined to watch Huddersfield play Warrington in the rugby league with Original Pete but first, we were all going to Colin’s place for a barbecue.
I do love Colin and Francis’ (his wife) house. It’s on a farm, delightfully isolated and with a lawn so tidy, it automatically rejects falling leaves.
Gradually, lot of guys turned up and we sat round and drank beer and ate meat. It was an excellent entrée to the evening. The main course, however, was yet to come.
Original Pete had planned to go and watch the rugby and we’d decided to tag along. When I say ‘we’ I mean Nicktor, Steve, Mr Tickle and me. The rest of them stayed at the barbecue and, I assume, got drunk and rowdy.
The John Smith’s Stadium, where Huddersfield call home is also the same place that the Huddersfield Football Team play and, given they were in the premiership at some stage, it’s a bit special. Not that Nicktor liked it. He calls these modern places ‘plastic’ football grounds. This might be because he doesn’t like to think that the world of football is changing.
In some respects I agree with him. Some of my favourite grounds have been the little, non-league pitches where you are standing right at the edge of the ground and you can hear the players breathe and the managers swap insults. Still, those tiny grounds are never going to hold 20,000 football fans. Or rugby league fans. Not that there were 20,000 fans there tonight.
Overall, the general consensus was that it wasn’t the most exciting of games. In fact, long before the final whistle, Giant’s fans were leaving the stadium, heads hung low, heading for home. We stayed until the bitter end.
Frank missed out on the selfie above because he was sitting on my left. I fixed that by taking this one. Note the woman behind him who he tried to commiserate with. She was not impressed even though he sounds like a local.
I guess you can’t really blame her for being miserable. Huddersfield were on the receiving end of a right old trouncing. They lost 6-26.
It was fun seeing a rugby league game given I grew up on them back in Penrith but the scoreline could have been a bit closer. Still, it was lovely spending the evening with Original Pete and his luxuriant hair.
Finally, back at the hotel, the four of us, worn out by the excitement of the day, wound down with a couple of night caps. Well, Nicktor, Mr Tickle and I did. Steve from number 11, being a young whipper snapper, hit his pillow a round before us.