CRAIG FARRELL’S COLUMN - The perils of social media highlighted by Batley duo

Scarborough Pirates RLFC charge to a storming victory over local derby rivals York, at Eastway on Saturday. Picture by Andrew Higgins  112992a    23/07/11
Scarborough Pirates RLFC charge to a storming victory over local derby rivals York, at Eastway on Saturday. Picture by Andrew Higgins 112992a 23/07/11

I have written in the past of the perils of the modern age of so-called social media.

Several current or former Super League players, notably Ben Cockayne and Ryan Bailey, have fallen foul of voicing publicly, via Facebook, their opinions on controversial topics that perhaps should have remained private.

Another such instance of which occurred this week, but will have, I assume, gone largely un-noticed by the rugby league media due to its relatively low-profile nature.

However, as those involved are former teammates and friends of mine, I feel that it is worthy of discussion in this column.

During the Northern Rail Cup match between Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs at the abhorrently named Bigfellas Stadium, my former Batley teammate, now a Featherstone player, Tim Spears, was sent off by referee Jamie Leahy for an incident which left another former teammate, Batley’s Paul Mennell, with a broken nose.

Spears and Mennell themselves are former teammates, from that same period at Batley,

In the hours that ensued both Mark Toohey (current Batley player and former teammate) and John Gallagher (former Batley player and, yes, you’ve guessed it, former teammate) had posted derogatory status updates about Spears, their former teammate and friend.

In the case of John Gallagher’s status many replies were posted, including that of Spear’s wife, Lisa, and Mennell’s mum, Wendy, and several people associated, or formally associated with the Batley club.

The ensuing ‘discussion’ didn’t make for particularly comfortable reading and I was disappointed that such an exchange should take place in a public forum.

I completely understand the need for people to voice their opinions, to vent their anger, or to support a loved one.

But doing so publically via social networks is not always the best medium in which to do so, particularly when those involved are revered and looked up to by others, despite not being as high-profile as those in Super League.

Incidents happen on the rugby field and I am here to neither condone nor condemn what occurred during the Featherstone v Batley game, indeed there are conflicting reports of the events leading up to Tim’s sending-off.

It’s unfortunate that events have conspired to this end and hopefully the matter can be resolved quickly and as amicably as possible, and I wish Paul a speedy recovery from his injuries.

On to Scarborough Pirates news now, and the announcement of the new league structure for 2012 that the club has been waiting on for some weeks.

After much staring at, and deciphering of, the multi-faceted league structure documents, I can confirm that the Pirates will compete in Group Four of the Yorkshire Men’s League 2012.

This group also consists of Leeds Akkies, Scunthorpe Barbarians, West Bradford and Walton, whom the Pirates will play in both home and away fixtures.

The Pirates will then play six cross-group games (three home, three away) giving them a total of 14 league games this season.

Who those cross-group games will be against is anyone’s guess, as try as I might, I cannot understand the Yorkshire Men’s League 2012 documentation.

Regardless, Pirates’ training is currently being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays on the South beach, meeting at the lifeboat house at 6:30pm and anyone is welcome to attend.

Thanks for reading

Craig