Danny Lockwood: I wish I’d been in Workington but I’m not crying over Cov

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THE only thing I’ve ever wished about Me M6 is is that it had about half a dozen extra lanes.

Boy, do I wish I’d been driving up it on Friday afternoon to Workington, instead of doing the production on the latest edition of Yorkshire Golfer.

That must have been one of life and sport’s ‘I was there!’ moments when the Danny Brough landed the goal to earn a point against world no.1 ranked Kiwis.

What a shame he doesn’t have an English mum or dad, or was born somewhere like Dewsbury instead of Haggistoun, eh…?

And much as I’m no fan of the M62, d like to be heading across it on Tuesday night for the Rugby League Writers’ Association annual dinner in Liverpool.

Right now it looks like I’ll stuck at the Old Bailey  in London covering the trial of Thomas Mair. The murdered Batley MP Jo Cox had her office about 50 yards from us and amongst my other sins I also publish the local paper.

And busy life. Which is why I didn’t make a trip to Coventry for last week’s double-header, so I missed the delight of being one of the many people suffering from chilblains and frostbite.

It wasn’t just the long drive back from Coventry at half-ten or 11pm. If the match had been a Friday night, I definitely would.

But with an early start at work on Sunday and about 5,000 words to write … well, there are only so many hours in a day.

By the time I’d have been back in Yorkshire I’d already written the England-Scotland match up, with the added benefit of my fingers and toes not being frozen stiff.

That’s a future consideration for fans too. While applauding the initiative of spreading the League gospel, someone needs to think about the prospect of sitting outdoors for the thick end of five hours in winter.

Vis-a-vis my manic diary, I saw a social media feed from a fellow RL journalist inquiring whether fans felt ‘cheated’ by reading match reports that had been scripted from watching the action on television as opposed to the back of the stand.

Perhaps his wife (or mum and dad) have a thing against Sky Sports, or maybe he’s fortunate enough to have the time to go see every live game on offer.

Having that sort of time would be a luxury I’d love.(continued below)

The journalist’s job has changed radically in the years since I literally used to have to climb over the roof of the press box at Dewsbury’s old Crown Flatt ground in the late 1970s. The door was locked and bolted and no one had the keys.

Go to Old Trafford or Wembley and you have the atmosphere, camaraderie – and your personal TV monitor! The job’s a good ‘un.

However I remember when ex-Union man Tommy David made his debut for Cardiff Blue Dragons and I had to do a report for BBC Radio Wales from a phone box down the Crown Flatt tunnel. There wasn’t a telephone line in the press box. I did my written piece and then the producer asked me to give them a few minutes live – and all I could see was the 10 yards either side of halfway.

That would have been a bit easier to do off  the telly! I bluff a bit and thank goodness neither team scored.

But sin in the press seats at Hull’s KCOM Stadium and even if you don’t get a nosebleed or vertigo, you’ll need eyes like a s***house rat to pick out the fine details. You’re halfway between the action and the International Space Station. Some other new grounds aren’t massively better.

I see that the Leed’s Rhinos are having to delay their plans to replace the South Stand. I can understand the business imperatives, but I do think institutions like that old Headingley terrace are a part of the fabric of the game. It will be sad to see it gone – but that’s life and progress I suppose.

Journalism has changed too and depending on your role there are times when the luxury of remote control allows a scrutiny that’s just not possible from the press benches.

For the doughty lads and lasses who need to file their copy to national newspapers right on the whistle and hopefully grab a few quotes from the coaches, being present is imperative – or at least it used to be. I didn’t see all of last Sunday’s newspapers to note how much print coverage New Zealand-Australia received, if any.

But given how tight the nationals’ deadlines are these days – and how little regard they hold League in – I reckon one or two journos whose copy only made it onto a website, wished they’d stayed home and watched it on the telly too.

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