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No cure for summertime blues

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Anyone who says words to the effect of "Where did the summer go?" now that the new season is upon us should consider themselves lucky if they manage to get out of Welford Road ahead of screaming locals brandishing pitchforks and torches aflame.This has been the longest summer on record, not in terms of warm weather certainly, but definitely in terms of ‘rugby free’.   For The Tig this summer, or more specifically this close-season, has lasted close to a lifetime.   The last game of last season was on May 23, absence making the heart grow even fonder during four months of rugby hibernation. The only positive to take from that painful period is that the shock of semi-final defeat at Bath has dimmed, though a few more games after it would have allowed its detail to slip from the memory totally.   Instead, we’ve had to wait until the new season; only the new season doesn’t start in league and cup terms until the middle of October.   We have an extended period of what Cockers and coaches call ‘the phoney war’ - the period when clubs test out their pre-season work with a string of pre-season fixtures, bolstered this year (it’s not summer any more, we’re officially into autumn) by the Kings of the North home-and-awayers with Sale and Newcastle. Add the Pumas match for Marcos and we’re two down in pre-season. It's a start, but the new term is still more than a month away.   There have, of course, been some changes at Tigers on and off the field, most of which just go to prove how long the break has actually been.   Good job there’s seven months of non-stop competitive contests to come once we reach October 18 and, finally, Round One.