Blogs & Opinion


Mr Stevo I presume?

From A to B Stevo style!

Features Posted 12th November 2008 view comments

The wheels might have come off England's World Cup campaign (and let's hope they get them back on this weekend - they certainly believe they can do it) but the national wheelchair rugby league team just keeps rolling on towards their final.

The side beat host nation Australia in Sydney in their opening game by 34 points to 26 and, whatever the sport, beating the Aussies on their own patch must be a very rewarding experience. England coach Phil Roberts described it as a typical Poms versus Aussies confrontation, with one or two fiery clashes as the players went wheel to wheel.

Semis in their sights!

Semis in their sights!

England followed that up with a thumping victory by 78-4 over the South Seas Barbarians, and then they defeated their arch rivals France 26-18 with another storming performance. So those three wins have put the England team into the semi-finals of their World Cup.

They take on the South Pacific side in that game on Friday and, if they win that, they will meet either France or Australia in the final in Sydney next week. For a team that was put together at the last minute that would be a marvellous achievement.

England followed that up with a thumping victory by 78-4 over the South Seas Barbarians, and then they defeated their arch rivals France 26-18 with another storming performance. So those three wins have put the England team into the semi-finals of their World Cup.

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The wheelchair team have had some leisure time as well and they were bussed up to Newcastle last weekend to cheer Jamie Peacock and his side on against the Kiwis. After the game they met up with England's Jon Wilkin, who is an enthusiastic supporter of the sport, and with the New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney who chatted with the group and asked how they were doing.

Gone walkabout

Well they're doing a lot better on two wheels than my colleagues Eddie and Stevo did on four last week, when they took some time out to go exploring in the Hunter Valley. The area is well known for its wine production so the pair decided that - purely in the interests of research - they should go and visit a few wineries. Just to get a flavour of the area, they said.

So off they set in their hire car. Now Stevo is old school and will have no truck with new fangled sat nav-type gizmos. Especially when the lady on it starts bossing him around, telling him to do a U-turn. It's a bit late for that dear.

No, he uses his native cunning and his sense of direction plus, on this occasion, a tatty map provided by the hire car company to get them further and further along the Wollombi Wine Trail. Having visited one establishment for a small snifter, Stevo decided they should take a promising looking back road that led into the rainforest. A short cut back to the hotel he told Eddie confidently.

A mile or so later the tarmac ended and they found themselves bumping along a narrow, potholed track, climbing higher and higher into the rainforest. There was no room to turn around with the trees and lush vegetation hemming them in. Then the potholed track started to disappear, washed away by the rain. Bravely, Eddie climbed out to guide Stevo along what was left of the track. They climbed higher still, at one stage with a sheer drop to their left.

It was like something from Lost as they went deeper into the wilderness. Any minute the black smoke would consume them. Or they'd meet a polar bear. And there was no Freckles to rescue them.

At one stage Eddie they came across a tree trunk blocking the track. The choice was stark and simple; stay there and hope they were rescued or battle on. Eddie stretched every sinew to move the tree and they were able to carry on along the overgrown track.

But they held their nerve (well, Eddie had his eyes shut) as they bumped their way down through the shrubbery - before emerging in a housing estate in the suburbs of Newcastle.

To the roll call of great British explorers, Livingstone, Stanley, Shackleton and co, you can add Eddie and Stevo.

Comments (2)

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Ian Haydn says...

i think it has been an entertaining rugby league world cup but it is still a long way of matching the football and union wc.

Posted 18:26 13th November 2008

Graeme Lambert says...

Congrats guys, go out there and win the final! Good luck to you all :)

Posted 21:20 12th November 2008

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