Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by David Odd » Thu, 18 Feb 1999 04:00:00


As expected most of the attention about the fourth round has been
centred on the results of the ties involving SL clubs.

But...did anyone notice the cricket scores going in where an SL side
played a lower division outfit?

92-0 is not good.  Seventy-odd 6 is not good either etc.

The fourth round was as good it is gong to get for lower division
sides playing against SL opposition.  The SL sides are only going to
get better with more match practice.

I dread to think what Leeds and Bradford will do if they are drawn
against one of the lower division sides who are bound to get through
to the next round.

There have been calls for some sort of system to prevent SL clubs
being drawn against each other early on in the cup to keep the
competition of high quality for longer.  I don't think that (having a
tough draw) is a problem for SL sides despite the Leeds-Wigan result.

I do think there is a growing problem in the disparity between SL and
lower division sides in the CC.  It is starting to lead to a
credibility problem with the competition IMO.

I was shocked at some of the scores.  I expected a few 40-50 point
maulings of the weaker teams but even the good sides from div 1 got
stuffed out of sight by SL sides who finished at the wrong end of the
table last time.

The RFL have a dilemma.  The CC is the best known competition in RL
but it is now pre-season and has two problems.  The lesser one of top
sides going out "early" and the far bigger one IMO of the disparity
between SL and the rest yielding pointless (no pun intended) fixtures.

I think something needs to be done about this as I don't want the CC
to become about as important as the equivalent competition in
Australia.

Any ideas?

Dave
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Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by David Parkinso » Thu, 18 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>I think something needs to be done about this as I don't want the CC
>to become about as important as the equivalent competition in
>Australia.

>Any ideas?

Why don't Super League clubs put some money into the lower division and
amateur leagues ))..

NFP & amateur teams will never be able to compete consistently because of
the gulf between pro and semi-pro teams.

I've been saying since I started watching RL that Leigh East ARL and Leigh
Miners Rangers should be used as "feeder" teams for the town's pro/semi-pro
club.

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by Sean » Thu, 18 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>As expected most of the attention about the fourth round has been
>centred on the results of the ties involving SL clubs.

>But...did anyone notice the cricket scores going in where an SL side
>played a lower division outfit?

>92-0 is not good.  Seventy-odd 6 is not good either etc.

>The fourth round was as good it is gong to get for lower division
>sides playing against SL opposition.  The SL sides are only going to
>get better with more match practice.

>I dread to think what Leeds and Bradford will do if they are drawn
>against one of the lower division sides who are bound to get through
>to the next round.

>There have been calls for some sort of system to prevent SL clubs
>being drawn against each other early on in the cup to keep the
>competition of high quality for longer.  I don't think that (having a
>tough draw) is a problem for SL sides despite the Leeds-Wigan result.

>I do think there is a growing problem in the disparity between SL and
>lower division sides in the CC.  It is starting to lead to a
>credibility problem with the competition IMO.

>I was shocked at some of the scores.  I expected a few 40-50 point
>maulings of the weaker teams but even the good sides from div 1 got
>stuffed out of sight by SL sides who finished at the wrong end of the
>table last time.

-->>> snip

I think that you will find that the official Wigan policy is to
keep the CC as it is and for them to be drawn so that they
only play only 1st Div and non-league teams until they get
to Wembley next time. Ha! Ha!

Besides the current set up is very glamorous for non-SL teams.
Eric Hughes gave a good interview to the Liverpool Echo about
it the other night. Non of them expect to get to Wembley, but
with the luck of the draw they can reach the semi-finals and that's
huge for their supporters.

As Eric said its only the Aussie coaches who want seeding. The
English coaches love the current system.

As a non football fan I find it very interesting when a top team
has to play one of the smaller outfits. Confine the FA cup to just the
top clubs and it would become boring.

Sean B

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by ES » Thu, 18 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>As a non football fan I find it very interesting when a top team
>has to play one of the smaller outfits. Confine the FA cup to just the
>top clubs and it would become boring.

>Sean B

Although I agree with the sentiment that lower clubs should be given their
chance, I cannot agree that the FA cup is a good anolgy. I hardly think
watching the 92-0 destruction of some poor team makes exciting watching!
Thats like watching something like a 20-0 soccer game and, as you don't see
many of them in the FA cup, just goes to show that, fortunately, RL is not
at all like soccer! It does show that the guys who get paid for playing at
the top level are 'worth' their money, unlike top soccer players.
 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by David Odd » Fri, 19 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>Besides the current set up is very glamorous for non-SL teams.

I don't think 92-0 is glamorous to any team.

Quote:
>Eric Hughes gave a good interview to the Liverpool Echo about
>it the other night. Non of them expect to get to Wembley, but
>with the luck of the draw they can reach the semi-finals and that's
>huge for their supporters.

At which point they will be made to look completely stupid.  In the
past this was not the case.  They would have gone out not doubt but
with a bit of pride.

Now I think they will go out with such a silly score it is going to
bring the game negative criticism.

Quote:
>As Eric said its only the Aussie coaches who want seeding. The
>English coaches love the current system.

John Monie clearly thinks seeding is a good idea, not because of the
need to avoid 92-0 score lines but to keep the big teams apart.

As I said I don't think that is a problem.

John Kear said he did not like the idea because of the romance of the
cup etc.

I think both he and eric Hughes might change their minds if we
continue to have embarrassing mismatches.

Quote:
>As a non football fan I find it very interesting when a top team
>has to play one of the smaller outfits. Confine the FA cup to just the
>top clubs and it would become boring.

I think their is a big difference between football and RL in terms of
their cup competitions.

That difference is that in football there is a sort of gradual
increase in the ability of the sides as you go from pub teams though
to premier league outfits.

The Man U v Fulham tie was not a mismatch.

Fulham (I think) had to go to a reply against a lower division side to
get through.

What never seems to happen is that by the time you get to the quarter
finals or semi finals you end up with pub team v Man U so you do not
get 92-0 equivalent scores.

I reckon that what we have in RL is nothing like a gradual increase in
standards when the big boys get involved.  The standards go through
the roof right away.

The fact there are so few (in comparison to football) SL sides means
the draw can allow a non SL side to get to the semis but these days I
can only see a negative outcome for the game if we have Oldham playing
Leeds for a place at Wembley.

It would put RL in a bad light and devalue the competition.

Dave
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(Oh - and Grand Final winners as well)

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Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by Sean » Fri, 19 Feb 1999 04:00:00

I think agood example to watch and an argument for keeping the CC
in its current format would be Widnes, once winners of the CC now
down on their heels.

They need the money and the cup run to get their fans back.
They already have a good ground.

It will be interesting to see if they do actually get into the semi
finals.

Saints v Widnes in the semis would suit me ;-)  or better
still at Wembley.

Perhaps a handicap sytem would be the answer all SL teams
start with -92 points ;-)

Sean B

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by john » Fri, 19 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Not all scores have been embarrassing. Hunslet did well against St Helens,
and I feel sure that some of the stronger NFP sides (Widnes, Hull KR, etc)
would do reasonably well against SL opposition (i.e. not lose by a
barrell-load). While some of the scores may be embarrassing at the moment,
let's hope it's a temporary thing, and that eventually the NFP sides are
able to improve their standards, and that, maybe someday, they'll get a
bigger slice of the Sky cake. Until then, I think we should put up with the
heavy scorelines. At least it gives the NFP teams something to aim at
(no-one suggested ending test matches against the Aussies after the
***s of the early 80s), and also reminds us SL fans that the teams
outside SL have been treated pretty shabbily.

Someone asked has the magic gone out of the cup? I think so. It's now kind
of a pre season warm up thing, like the county cups became a few years ago.
Shame.

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by John Drak » Fri, 19 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>I think agood example to watch and an argument for keeping the CC
>in its current format would be Widnes, once winners of the CC now
>down on their heels.

>They need the money and the cup run to get their fans back.
>They already have a good ground.

>It will be interesting to see if they do actually get into the semi
>finals.

>Saints v Widnes in the semis would suit me ;-)  or better
>still at Wembley.

>Perhaps a handicap sytem would be the answer all SL teams
>start with -92 points ;-)

Hey, good idea! That would mean Bradford were the only SL team left in the
comp right now ;-)

But seriously folks...I think too much is being made of the 92-0 result of
Bulls v Workington. Bradford played a full strength team that day, who were
out to prove a point to a few people after last season's disappointments.
Meanwhile, Workington are a team in transition. They had lost a few key
players with injury the week before in their first NFP game, they were
disrupted by the non arrival of Josh White from Australia, and they had a
player sent off in the 18th minute for tripping, thus had to play the bulk
of the game with 12 men. All of this combined had to have an effect on the
final scoreline, which is hardly a regular occurence.

There have been worse results than this in the history of the Cup (didn't
Saints once put 100+ past Carlisle, and Wigan ninety plus over Highfield?)
but IMO the magic still remains.

I know it is not a pleasant memory for Wigan fans, but last years final was
a classic of its kind, in terms of the "underdog" beating the odds, which is
where the "magic" of knockout football ultimately comes from.

For all the SCCC is effectively a pre-season comp these days, it still
generates plenty of passion amongst fans and players alike. Just look at the
uproar on the NG this week over the Bradford/Wakefield tie...if no one cared
about this comp anymore, there would not have been such a heated exchange on
the rights and wrongs of that subject, surely ;-)

I don't think there's anything wrong with the Challenge Cup now that hasn't
been wrong with it since it was created. There will always be mis-matches,
it's inevitable, but there will also be upsets along the way, and to be
honest, I can't think of any other way of organising the comp that would not
involve destroying the e***ment of hearing those "magic" words.....

Gentlemen, the draw!

John
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Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by stev » Fri, 19 Feb 1999 04:00:00



Quote:

>>I think agood example to watch and an argument for keeping the CC
>>in its current format would be Widnes, once winners of the CC now
>>down on their heels.

>>They need the money and the cup run to get their fans back.
>>They already have a good ground.

>>It will be interesting to see if they do actually get into the semi
>>finals.

>>Saints v Widnes in the semis would suit me ;-)  or better
>>still at Wembley.

>>Perhaps a handicap sytem would be the answer all SL teams
>>start with -92 points ;-)

>Hey, good idea! That would mean Bradford were the only SL team left in the
>comp right now ;-)

>But seriously folks...I think too much is being made of the 92-0 result of
>Bulls v Workington. Bradford played a full strength team that day, who were
>out to prove a point to a few people after last season's disappointments.
>Meanwhile, Workington are a team in transition. They had lost a few key
>players with injury the week before in their first NFP game, they were
>disrupted by the non arrival of Josh White from Australia, and they had a
>player sent off in the 18th minute for tripping, thus had to play the bulk
>of the game with 12 men. All of this combined had to have an effect on the
>final scoreline, which is hardly a regular occurence.

>There have been worse results than this in the history of the Cup (didn't
>Saints once put 100+ past Carlisle, and Wigan ninety plus over Highfield?)
>but IMO the magic still remains.

>I know it is not a pleasant memory for Wigan fans, but last years final was
>a classic of its kind, in terms of the "underdog" beating the odds, which is
>where the "magic" of knockout football ultimately comes from.

>For all the SCCC is effectively a pre-season comp these days, it still
>generates plenty of passion amongst fans and players alike. Just look at the
>uproar on the NG this week over the Bradford/Wakefield tie...if no one cared
>about this comp anymore, there would not have been such a heated exchange on
>the rights and wrongs of that subject, surely ;-)

>I don't think there's anything wrong with the Challenge Cup now that hasn't
>been wrong with it since it was created. There will always be mis-matches,
>it's inevitable, but there will also be upsets along the way, and to be
>honest, I can't think of any other way of organising the comp that would not
>involve destroying the e***ment of hearing those "magic" words.....

>Gentlemen, the draw!

>John

90 -0 Scores really do no favours to anyone. However a plum tie for a
small club represents a few quid (unless they draw London cos we won't
hand over the cash)> Its also true that there are perhaps three or four
clubs from Div one that may ob their day be capable of beating SL
opposition.

How about a two tier contest top six from prelims go in the hat with the
big boys?
--
steve

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by Sean » Sat, 20 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:


>>Besides the current set up is very glamorous for non-SL teams.

>I don't think 92-0 is glamorous to any team.

Saints beat Warrington 90 odd Nil a few years ago.
Two SL teams so the argument to s***the CC
because of high scores is irrelevant. You could
have high scores between two SL teams.

Shaun McRae actually referred to the opposite when
he said he wanted seeding. He wanted the likes of Wigan and
Leeds kept apart in the early rounds, in order to
guarantee SL teams in the semis.

Sean B

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by David Odd » Sat, 20 Feb 1999 04:00:00

On Thu, 18 Feb 1999 21:22:36 -0000, "John Drake"

Quote:

>Hey, good idea! That would mean Bradford were the only SL team left in the
>comp right now ;-)

>But seriously folks...I think too much is being made of the 92-0 result of
>Bulls v Workington. Bradford played a full strength team that day, who were
>out to prove a point to a few people after last season's disappointments.
>Meanwhile, Workington are a team in transition. They had lost a few key
>players with injury the week before in their first NFP game, they were
>disrupted by the non arrival of Josh White from Australia, and they had a
>player sent off in the 18th minute for tripping, thus had to play the bulk
>of the game with 12 men. All of this combined had to have an effect on the
>final scoreline, which is hardly a regular occurence.

So what do you think it would have been with all Workington at full
strength.  50, 60 or 70 nil?  I don't think they would have kept it
down to a 50 point difference and don't forget it was not just
Bradford that ran riot.  Huddersfield and Warrington, two teams who
last season were not exactly top drawer showed the gap between the top
clubs and the rest is growing far wider than it has ever been.

Quote:

>There have been worse results than this in the history of the Cup (didn't
>Saints once put 100+ past Carlisle, and Wigan ninety plus over Highfield?)
>but IMO the magic still remains.

One offs, every now and again.  IMO these type of results will become
the norm from now on.

Quote:
>I know it is not a pleasant memory for Wigan fans, but last years final was
>a classic of its kind, in terms of the "underdog" beating the odds, which is
>where the "magic" of knockout football ultimately comes from.

There are underdogs and there are no hopers.  I think we have to say
that all the sides outside SL now fall into the latter category given
the evidence of the fourth round where even Fev let in 50 and Hunslet
still could not stop a below par Saints from putting 40 past them.

Don't forget the fourth round represents the first competitive game
for the SL sides so how would they go when they are up to speed?

Quote:

>For all the SCCC is effectively a pre-season comp these days, it still
>generates plenty of passion amongst fans and players alike. Just look at the
>uproar on the NG this week over the Bradford/Wakefield tie...if no one cared
>about this comp anymore, there would not have been such a heated exchange on
>the rights and wrongs of that subject, surely ;-)

The CC is the most well known of RL competitions outside the normal Rl
sphere.  It has always had a similar romance to the FA Cup in football
and clearly a competition which has that romance is a valuable asset
to any sport.

The point I am making is that will the ever increasing standards of SL
we seem to be heading to a competition where that romance will die due
to absurd mismatches being the norm rather than the exception.

Quote:
>I don't think there's anything wrong with the Challenge Cup now that hasn't
>been wrong with it since it was created. There will always be mis-matches,

True there have always been mismatches but to say the cup is the same
in this area now as it was just a few years ago is IMO not correct.

Quote:
>it's inevitable, but there will also be upsets along the way,

Not caused by Div1 v SL there won't.

Quote:
> and to be
>honest, I can't think of any other way of organising the comp that would not
>involve destroying the e***ment of hearing those "magic" words.....

>Gentlemen, the draw!

You may be correct that any alteration would ruin it but will it not
die a death of its own if something is not done?  Will it just end up
as a pre-season run out as the similar competition is in Australia?

I really hope is does not.  Regulars know my opinion on the GF playoff
system v the Championship and it seems to me we could be hastening the
decline of the status of the CC if cricket scores become the normal
way of things.

Dave
--

Wigan Warriors RLFC - 1998 Super League Champions
(Oh - and Grand Final winners as well)

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Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by David Odd » Sat, 20 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>>I don't think 92-0 is glamorous to any team.

>Saints beat Warrington 90 odd Nil a few years ago.
>Two SL teams so the argument to s***the CC
>because of high scores is irrelevant. You could
>have high scores between two SL teams.

I think " a few years ago" means a different era for the top sides.  I
doubt you will ever get any 90 odd nil score lines ever again in SL.

What is relevant is the capabilities of today's sides, not what they
used to be.

Quote:

>Shaun McRae actually referred to the opposite when
>he said he wanted seeding. He wanted the likes of Wigan and
>Leeds kept apart in the early rounds, in order to
>guarantee SL teams in the semis.

Quite right and I acknowledged the fact when I started the thread.  My
proposition is that something needs to done not because of what McRae
and others want seeding for but because as it stands there is a good
chance (IMO) that the CC will be devalued by regular mismatches.

Dave
--

Wigan Warriors RLFC - 1998 Super League Champions
(Oh - and Grand Final winners as well)

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Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by Sean » Sat, 20 Feb 1999 04:00:00

One big problem if you exclude the lower divisions would be
filling Wembley. The Grand Final can't even fill Old Trafford.

Sean B

 
 
 

Romance of the cup - is it dead?

Post by John Drak » Mon, 22 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>You may be correct that any alteration would ruin it but will it not
>die a death of its own if something is not done?  Will it just end up
>as a pre-season run out as the similar competition is in Australia?

I hope not, but I take your point(s) about the inevitably widening gap
between the full time pro's in SL and those clubs outside SL being likely to
result in more mis-matches in future, not less. I agree that 92-0 results do
no long term good to anyone, and in the short term probably result in more
negative than positive coverage in the media, but the only immediate way I
can see to reduce the risk of mis-matches like this is to introduce a fully
seeded comp, which I think would really be the end of the Challenge Cup as
we've always known it, and more besides.

I'm no traditionalist, a hostage to history or any of that kind of stuff,
but where would the interest in the comp be for clubs outside SL if they
were "seeded out" of the comp at an early stage for fear of a mis-match if
they were paired against a "big" club?

The real issue here is not the structure of the Cup, but the growing gap in
standards between SL and the rest. If the Cup is seeded to prevent
mis-matches, the "ghetto-isation" of non SL clubs in British RL will be
complete, and that would be an utterly unhealthy development for our sport
in the long term IMO.

What's the solution?

I reckon it's got to be more investment in the lower divisions and the grass
roots, to attempt to raise standards across the board, not just in the full
time SL. If the Challenge Cup, with its mismatches and record scores is
providing the game with an alarm call as to what's happening "out there"
beyond the cloistered world of SL, then the game as a whole should grasp the
opportunity to deal with the root cause of the problem, rather than just
tinkering with the structure of the Cup, which is effectively sweeping the
problem under the carpet.

John
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