JAMES Taylor has clocked up many thousands of miles on his rugby league journey . . . and he’s not finished yet.
A Leeds Rhinos fan, 38-year-old James set out many years ago on an adventure to visit every ground in the UK where pro rugby league is played.
Last weekend he stopped off at ground No 46 — the Vestacare Stadium in Oldham where he watched Roughyeds cruise into the fourth round of the Coral Challenge Cup with an 80-10 win against the amateurs of Haydock.
He wore a coat to combat the cold, windy weather which spoiled his usual plan to proudly display his Rhinos shirt “to get people talking”.
“I was at the Vestacare on a double mission —- to visit the ground for the first time but also because I’m planning to watch a game in every round of the Challenge Cup this year,”
said James, who is a match-day volunteer at Headingley, working on the door of the ticket office.
Full time, he works in catering at a school in Bradford.
“It pays for my rugby league habit and that’s the main thing,”
added James, who was introduced to the South Stand experience at Headingley by a friend when they were both in High School.
“I was immediately hooked — and I’ve been hooked ever since,”
added this rugby league nut, who is often accompanied by his partner Laura on his trips around the country.
Apart from Catalans, he’s been to every Super League ground as well as to some of the ‘old’ grounds like Wilderspool, Knowsley Road and The Willows.
He’s also ticked off Wembley — old and new — and Murrayfield, but he’s still lots of other grounds to visit and when he’s completed his UK tour he will target Toulouse, Catalans and Toronto.
“That’s a lot more ambitious but I’m sure I’ll get to them one day, especially Catalans when Leeds go there. I was planning to do it last year but circumstances stopped me.”
And what of his Vestacare experience ?
“It was a nice little ground; compact, and you are very close to the action, which is good.
“The people there were very friendly and I enjoyed the game. Weather conditions made it difficult but both teams did well to put on a good game and Oldham scored some brilliant tries.”