Politicians and dignitaries battle it out on the pitch

Wharfedale Observer: Man-of-the-match David Lemalie, from the New Zealand High Commission, with Otley-based MP Greg Mulholland Man-of-the-match David Lemalie, from the New Zealand High Commission, with Otley-based MP Greg Mulholland

A rugby-loving MP from Wharfedale has been mixing it on the pitch with dignitaries from around the world.

Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) led out the Political Animals team last Saturday, the day of the Rugby League World Cup Final, for a match against a World XIII side.

The Animals was made up of fellow politicians and staff while the XIII’s players included representatives of High Commissions, Embassies and national sides who had been taking part in the tournament.

A hard-fought contest saw the Animals go down four tries to three, though it was declared a draw – in line with Masters rules – before both sides set off to Old Trafford to watch the final.

Mr Mulholland said: “It was great to take part in this historic game and a fantastic way to start the Rugby League World Cup Final.

“It was a great occasion and a match played in a great spirit, though us older ones could certainly feel it the next day.

“It was also great to be representing UK politicians and it did mean that at least one British side was in action on World Cup Final day.

“Congratulations to David Lemalie from the New Zealand High Commission, who was named man-of-the-match, and to Andy Burnham MP for scoring two tries on his debut.”

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