A case of planes, trains and automobiles for Batley coach Craig Lingard

AFTER THREE days stuck in France, Batley Bulldogs boss Craig Lingard was hoping to finally make it back to England today.
Craig LingardCraig Lingard
Craig Lingard

A misplaced passport meant Lingard was left behind when his team flew home following Saturday’s 34-14 loss at Toulouse Olympique.

Lingard explained: “We were flying out of Limoges airport, but I didn’t have any documents at that time so I was told to try and wing it at the airport and see if they’d let me travel on my driving licence.

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“I had got a photograph of my passport, my phone and my payment details, booking references – that’s what I got in the country on, but they refused to let me get on the plane at Limoges.

“I had to stay overnight in Limoges, then got two trains from Limoges to Paris [yesterday], went to the embassy to pick up an emergency travel document and spent three hours in the airport, but there was no flights.

“All the seats that were available were taken up by people who were flying with Flybe [which went into administration last week].”

Lingard’s passport slipped out of his bag, into an overhead locker, after Bulldogs landed in France before the game.

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Though he “knew exactly where it was” he was not allowed back onboard to retrieve it.

“I went back to reclaim it, I’d been off the plane 30-45 seconds, but there was a guy on the tarmac who didn’t speak English and point-blank refused to let me back to the plane, even though there were people still coming off at the time,” Lingard said.

“He pointed me to passport control, but it took 40-45 minutes to get through and by the time I got there the plane had already departed and nobody had handed the passport in.”

Lingard described his ordeal as an “absolute nightmare” – and admitted his wife is unlikely to let him live it down.

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Meanwhile, another overseas club is joining the Rugby Football League.

The RFL have approved the relocation of Hemel Stags to play in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

Ottawa Aces will enter Betfred League One in 2021 becoming the code’s second professional club in Canada, after Toronto Wolfpack.