Stand easy, Tottenham fans! Irving isn't returning to take over in N17. Instead, rugby league is back for another season at the New River Stadium in Wood Green, a mile and a half to the west along The Lane from the more famous association football venue.
The stadium is home to the London Skolars, who this weekend are starting their eleventh year at the New River and their fifth season in the professional National League 2, a mere pair of promotions away from mixing it regularly with the likes of Wigan and Hull in the Super League. Their opponents in this opening fixture, Leigh Centurions, were playing at that exalted level themselves only just over a year ago and should provide stiff opposition as the sides clash on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and £10.
London's own Super Leaguers, Harlequins RL, narrowly defeated the Skolars 20-16 in a friendly a week ago and get their full season underway this evening with an away game in Lancashire at St. Helens. Their first home fixture is hosting the Salford City Reds at the Twickenham Stoop ground on Saturday 17th February at 6pm.
South London has been the traditional hotbed of the League code in the capital and the current leading lights in that area are the South London Storm, pictured above playing the Ipswich Rhinos in June last year. A couple of campaigns ago the Storm were only one division below the Skolars, but balked at the expense of away trips to towns only just south of Hadrian's Wall and have now settled a little lower down in the recently created Rugby League Conference Premier Division where most opposition is based around the Metropolis. Their season isn't up and running just yet, but they're very much on the lookout for new players, coaches and volunteers to join them for their matches at Streatham-Croydon RFC in Thornton Heath. If you're interested, their website exhorts you:
Whether you’re an aussie, kiwi, ex-pat northerner, rugby union playing southerner or you’ve never played before get yourself along to our 'meet and greet' night at the Balham Tup on Thursday 22nd February from 7.30pm.
Picture via maddog.'s Flickr stream.