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Million Pound Game win ensures Dragons survival

Box Score

Oct. 2, 2017



It’s very easy to talk about sport being just sport and how in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. This is especially true of the Catalan region at this current time.

On a purely personal level though, the Million Pound Game did place a strain on that theory.

I care greatly about the results and performances of Catalans Dragons Rugby League Football Club. There I said it, and I mean it. You don’t have close to a decade of association with a sports club and not put down some roots and invest some emotion.

Those of you who know me know the family back story and how the club and the people around it have become engrained in our way of life.

We have a match jersey and signed Olivier Elima picture above our stairs which sees me off to work every morning. One of my first holidays with the wife was to her Fathers apartment near Girona. We partied with Huddersfield fans in Perpignan before a Valentines match at Gilbert Brutus.

We just enjoyed the company of people in and around the game and that hasn’t changed over all the intervening years.

We took in games away from home as part of the devotion and even when travelling to Perpignan out of season spent all of our holiday money in the club shop before being given the keys to the stadium to have a look around.

We have bought into the Magic Weekend concept combining the trip as a night off parenting with our wedding anniversary and both the wife’s and my birthdays.

All of these brilliant memories, emotions and feelings were on the line Saturday afternoon. It felt that important.

I trained in one of my wardrobe full of Catalans shirts for my Yaxley Yaks team in the morning, thinking I might be too ashamed to pull the kit on in coming weeks should the worst happen.

I will be honest, I didn’t want to watch it. There is plenty of joy and pleasure to come from watching sporting events. This, however, was a circus freak show to play on the nerves and uncertainty of the coaches and players.

It felt like SKY were ready to point their cameras at whichever set of fans were crying and weeping on the final hooter. I wanted no part of that.

But the instructions from the wife were that we would be watching it. Despite reading my dreary prognosis on the forum, she still believed. Although not enough to take some of the generous odds the bookmakers were offering…

The game itself passed in a blur of cans of Tangle Foot and lots of standing up and shouting.

I have to admit that their try just after half time left me slumped and believing the chance had gone.

But to their infinite credit, Steve McNamara and the players dug themselves out of a hole and went on to win convincingly although it did take the late try from Fouad Yaha for me to admit the game was up for Leigh and that we were safe.

The children seemed to wonder what was going on and what all the noise was about. The relief though was immense. It was at the end of the game I realised just how much I wanted us to stay up and just how much the game had meant to me.

It felt like I had played the 80 mins on top of the mornings training I was that fatigued. I barely made the first contestant of ‘Strictly’ before I was asleep in the arm chair.

Friends of mine who also love league were texting and tweeting their joy at our escape. I just wish it could have been part of a better weekend for the Catalan region.




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