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Having a Grand time across the globe

By Billy Weir

Published 15/10/2015

Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos

Manchester, Dublin, Motegi. No, not an advert on the side of a three-wheeled van for Del Boy's new business venture, proof that it wasn't only grand in Sochi over the weekend.

Wherever you looked there was a 'grand' sporting event going on, with grands prix in motorcycling and darts and thankfully no mix-up so we were spared any leather action on the oche.

Just as well there was no confusion as Robert Thornton upset the odds in Dublin to defeat Michael van Gerwen, with The Thorn getting stuck into the Dutchman on Sky.

Thankfully he didn't make it to Japan as tyres were already in a bad enough condition as the MotoGP had its usual madcap race with Dani Pedrosa making the best of the wet conditions to win as more rubber was ruined than on a hedgehog's visit to a fetishist party.

You knew it was going to be an odd day when BT Sport's man on the spot, Neil Hodgson, stood beside a bike festooned in a Seventies colour scheme and said, "all I think about when I see that is one man - the king". As far as I'm aware Elvis did not ride a bike in that period, although he did record the Wonder of Suzuki…

But in Manchester it wasn't just grand, it was super, as Sky welcomed us to the Super League Grand Final between Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors with popular beat combo The Charlatans the main support act and it was no surprise as they kicked things off with North Country Boy as that's what rugby league is all about.

And we had a bit of Kylie too, well, two of them, as the one who looks slightly better in shorts had her hit Step Back In Time playing as we met the two captains, while the other one, Rhinos' Kiwi Leuluai, was one of several Leeds players calling it a day.

It seems fairytales still come true as the bigger Kylie, Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield bowed out in style, seeing off the Warriors to complete the clean sweep of trophies this season. It was a grand slam. And a grand one at that.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good: Are you still pinching yourself that Northern Ireland are for the European Championship Finals? Incredible stuff but the telly show has been shamelessly stolen by Kyle Lafferty and his blossoming double act with Carrick’s own cherubic-chopped Sky Sports presenter Paul Gilmour. He’s been soaked, had his shoes mocked and had the hand taken out of him by the striker. I can’t wait to see what happens when Les Verts (that's French, not the name of his cameraman) hit France.

The bad: Week Two of Eternal Glory and I only got to the first game, called the Chair, where our seven remaining sporting ‘legends’ sit on an imaginary chair. As presenter Richard Bacon said, “relax through the excruciating pain”. I think he meant the challenge but it could well be the tagline to the programme.

The ugly: And talking of excruciating, has there ever been a more fawning, sycophantic ooze down memory lane than BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson’s interview with Sir Alex Ferguson? I’m a United fan but Secrets of Success was a cross between This Is Your Life and anything Piers Morgan does. Strangely, there was no tribute from Roy Keane…

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