Frozen pitch actually played cupid as I met my future wife Rachel - Gareth Ellis

Leeds Rhinos'  Liam Sutcliffe tackles Hull FC's Gareth Ellis.
Leeds Rhinos' Liam Sutcliffe tackles Hull FC's Gareth Ellis.
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A game getting cancelled owing to the weather is actually the reason I am now with my wife Rachel and have three kids.

Obviously, a lot of matches were called off yesterday because of Storm Ciara and it got me thinking about when freak conditions have played their part.

It was a Friday night in March 2006 and I wasn’t playing for Leeds Rhinos against Cas at Headingley due to injury.

Instead, I was doing all the corporate duties, up in the bar at the top, but then the game got cancelled due to a frozen pitch.

Rachel’s mum and dad had been invited along as a sponsor and the fixture got rescheduled for the Sunday afternoon but her mum couldn’t go.

Rachel’s dad Stuart asked Rachel if she wanted to go instead.

She did. I’d actually met her a few weeks before but nothing had come of it.

I saw her again at that rearranged Sunday game, though, and it did make me get in touch with her.

I might not have ever seen her again if not for that frozen pitch. Phil Bentham cancelled it so he has a lot to answer for!

As for weather-blighted games I’ve featured in, I’ve had two extremes in Australia.

Surprisingly, when we played in Canberra with Wests Tigers, it was one of the coldest games I’ve ever played in.

It was absolutely freezing. If you ask my dad now which is the coldest game he’s ever been to, he will still say that one and he watched a lot of winter rugby league here.

But also in Australia, I remember being injured for a few weeks – about seven or eight – and we had North Queensland Cowboys away, which is obviously up in Townsville and like tropical Australia. Tim Sheens had said to me that, being my first game back, he’d manage my minutes: start the game, play 20 minutes, bring me off and then maybe get another 20 minutes in the second half.

It was absolutely boiling. One of those where you walk out of the changing room and you are instantly sweating bucket loads.

In the first few minutes of the game, Liam Fulton – who later had a spell at Huddersfield Giants – went off with a head knock and didn’t come back on.

I ended up playing the full 80 minutes and was absolutely exhausted, getting the runaround from Johnathan Thurston and feeling like I was melting the entire match.

Over here, I remember playing for Leeds against Saints in another early round – I do hate the early games when it’s still cold – and this was freezing.

It was at Knowsley Road and there was a video ref ‘decision that went on for ages.

At half-time I looked across at Brent Webb. He was looking at me but looking right through me. He was shivering. He couldn’t go back on. He had hyperthermia! He was that cold.

Not too long ago, in 2017, Wakefield away, I was ankle-deep in mud. It was a real close game that we managed to win but it was probably the first time I thought what am I still doing playing this game? I should be retired. At the end of that year I did retire!

With regards the decisions to call off the two Super League games yesterday – and others – I think it was probably the right thing to do.

With the weather how it was first thing in the morning it was pretty wild.

You wouldn’t want to think anyone would be out travelling in that with potentially trees being blown down on roads and things like that.

With the amount of people who would be out and about because of a sporting event, that only increases the chances of anything serious happening.

You have to do the right thing and there is a bigger picture to think of, more than a game of rugby league or any sport for that matter.

It’s the right thing to do and obviously it can be rearranged.

It will be a bit annoying for Catalans players who have come across this weekend for their game at Wakefield.

But hopefully that can get sorted out and in the big picture nobody gets hurt and a game of rugby gets played at the end of the day anyway.

As for us at Hull, we got to play on Friday and I thought it was a great derby. Hull KR went really well and it was a very tight contest. We just had enough in the end but they played some good rugby.

Hopefully I’ll ba back fit this week but we’ll see.