A Bradford Bulls fan has been keeping blind and partially sighted fans in touch with the action during this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
Freelance journalist Mick Gledhill has been providing audio commentary at games up and down the country since the competition kicked off last month as part of a service offered by the Rugby Football League.
The 28-year-old described to blind and partially-sighted supporters the heartbreaking scenes as England were knocked out of the cup in the dying seconds of their semi-final against New Zealand at Wembley at the weekend.
And the final at Old Trafford on Saturday – when the Kiwis face Australia – will be his 21st working game of the campaign.
He said: “It’s been an absolutely unbelievable experience and something I’ll always remember.
“It’s a shame England aren’t going to be in the final, but last weekend’s game was incredible for its intensity. You only see a game like that once in a blue moon. But Saturday will be amazing, with two great rugby league nations lining up against each other in front of a 75,000 sell-out crowd. I’ll be gutted when it’s all over.”
Mr Gledhil, who received training from the Royal National Institute for the Blind, began providing commentary during Bulls’ home and away games at the end of the 2010 season.
Fans wearing wireless headsets at different points of the ground can listen to his description of the on-pitch action.
“I did home and away games during the 2011 season and it escalated from there,” he said.
“I’ve done it ever since. Doing audio commentary is different to doing a radio commentary because you have to provide a non-stop colourful and vibrant picture of the game.
“You have to describe everything that’s happening on the pitch. There have been people listening at every game I’ve covered and I hope they’ve enjoyed it.”
An RFL spokesman said it was committed to making sure fans have the “best possible” match day experience.
“As part of that commitment, the RFL provides audio commentary for our blind and partially sighted fans at all our centrally-organised matches.
“Audio description is provided using a fully portable system. We have a dedicated team of volunteers, all who are very committed.”