Belfast Telegraph

A real Brut of a day for Mark Chapman and co

By Billy Weir

"Welcome to a wet and grey Wembley, but it's not miserable," said a wet and grey Mark Chapman as Rugby League's biggest day in the drizzle, the Challenge Cup Final, pulled into London.

He is far from miserable though as Mr Chapman, Chappers to his chums, is a very happy chappy at present with his current omnipresence across the BBC and its various platforms.

The departure from Platform One of Clare Balding and Colin Murray, stopping off at BT Sport, Talksport and Remember Them Central, has elevated Chapman to the BBC's go-to man and they went to him for the northern arrivals from Wigan and Hull.

He may be lording it at the moment but he was overshadowed on Saturday by a man of Noble blood. Former Wigan boss, Brian, joined him in Royal Box at Wembley for one of the more surreal pre-match discussions. "You think in the past you had some Royal connections," asked Chappers.

"All of our viewers now think I'm bonkers," replied the bonkers Noble, as we all nodded, and then he argued that it was only a matter of time before his lineage was confirmed as the long lost cousin of an Anglo-Saxon king.

Leaving 'King Eric The Bloodthirsty' behind, Chappers then kept up the links with the past when talking about Wigan star Sam Tomkins who has a tattoo of a quote from Winston Churchill, 'history will be kind to me for I intend to write it.' I don't think he said on which part of his body it was located, but I'm not going to probe too deeply just in case. Also, there was former rugby league great and now BBC roving reporter and one-man Gladiators tribute act, Robbie 'Hunter' Paul, mixing with Wigan players all paying tribute to Warrior. Hull FC didn't even try, what a shame Leeds or Warrington hadn't made it through.

They paid tribute to other genres, with a Mr Tickle and Mr Gentle, while Holdsworth and Watts lined up in the middle.

But sadly it was wetter than a burst water bed making the game a bit of a farce.

Thank goodness then for Noble, who livened things up considerably, with some magic moments of his own.

"The only thing missing from this match are baseball bats and flick knives," he said as things got a bit tasty adding that 'I'm cringing at some of the hits', like a 15-year-old whose mum has looked at his viewing history on the family computer.

"Wigan sense they are going for the kill, they're going for the juggler," he said, as they dropped the ball, and then warned that 'Wigan may be ahead on points but they haven't landed a knock-out punch yet' as a knocked-out player was stretchered off the pitch.

It was that kind of day, northern men dressed as super heroes trudging off to catch a train clearly ignoring the advertising hoarding for Brut urging them to 'Man Up', but at least Chappers (pictured) resisted the urge to say 'they splash it all over'.

Belfast Telegraph

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