Wednesday 29th March - 08:00
As I was swimming with my grandson yesterday this drivel was being audited, and marked, and checked for false news. Well I can tell the auditor said the news is not fake, but is very opinionated. There is no evidence of aiding terrorists or benefit cheats by the use of encryption. The auditor did find serious failings when marking the maths and he commented that spilling and grandma left a lot to be desired. One item got him hot under the collar and that was; of course Hove cannot be relegated. Bromley and Old Alleynians play each other therefore one, or both of these, must end up below our friends from the Sussex coast.
Well, the letter is written and will be delivered to the EU this lunchtime. The process now begins and as we withdraw from Europe the impact will become clear. Those who have said it has been good going so far have their heads up their backsides. Those doom and gloom mongers like Nick Clegg must now shut up and help this country make the best, of yes, what could be a bad job. More on this later.
There is much written about how great 4G pitches are. You might want to pause at this moment and look at the Welsh rugby pages and look at the horrible injuries players from both RGC 1404 and Merthyr RFC suffered when they played at Pontypridd's Sardis Road.
Many articles have been written about whether an Aussie franchise needs to be cut from the Super Rugby set up. Western Force appears to be the main target of many pundits. What this hides is a serious decline in grassroots rugby across Australia. Rugby Union is the fourth sport behind rugby league, Aussie rules, cricket and soccer, or so they say. According to many it is even further down the list when it comes to participation. Food for thought.
SKY News sports correspondent Paul Kelso is moving on from sport after many years reporting on the biggest sports achievements, including England winnng RWC 2003. He has written a 'farewell to sport' piece which is a damning indictment on sport today, especially grassroots sports. Whilst those at the top table of soccer, rugby, cricket, athletics et al laud their achievements those at grassroots are left floundering. The big get bigger and as these businesses need to chase profit and success more aggressively so grassroots sport gets left in their wake. A lack of downward investment in terms of facilities and recruitment is partially to blame along with changing life priorities. It is well worth reading. Google Sky News Paul Kelso.
It isn't all doom and gloom. The New Zealand rugby following public, recognising that New Zealand isn't exactly blessed with hotel accomodation, are throwing their doors open to Lions supporters. As I've always said the bond of the rugby family across the world stays strong.
The mercenary New Zealand born Danny Solomona who has already represented Samoa at rugby league has declared himself available for England rugby. What a fffffnnnn joke. This residency rule about eligibility MUST change. It is a farce!!!!! It doesn't help my blood pressure when I am reminded he has a weasel and scumbag agent who guided him to break his contract with Castleford in the pursuit of what? Money of course.
Following the stupidity of Wales voting 'leave' when they receive more from Europe than any other part of the UK, members of Newport RFC look as if they will vote down the WRU proposal to take over the Dragons. This would sign their own death warrant. Newport RFC, the black & ambers, have a place in my heart, and for them to disappear would be sad but financial reality cannot be ignored.
Wales Online have taken all the teams proposed as Lions starting XVs and come up with what they think is the definitive selection. Hogg, North, Joseph, Farrell, Daly, Sexton, Murray, Vunipola B, Warburton, Stander, Alun Wyn Jones, Itoje, Furlong, Owens, Vunipola M.
Paddy O'Fez will argue, as he did on Saturday, that there are eleven too few Irishmen in the starting line-up. Hey Ho, and guess who audited this drivel?
Of course, there is only one story dominating the front pages; THAT letter. That is, every paper except the Daily Star who lead with David Beckenham. Heaven help us.
I am delighted to see that Jezza Corbyn has his priorities right by whingeing on about the Daily Mail and their question about who won the battle of legs between Theresa Maybe and Jimmy Crankie. The PC brigade had a field day..... despite Kim Jong-un edging us closer to nuclear armageddon and Donald Trump taking us closer to a climate change disaster. Muppets all!! Come on, life is too short for us to worry about such trivia. It was amusing and light-hearted. By the way wee Jimmy Crankie won the battle.
So the Scottish parliament has voted for another independence referendum. They want to leave the UK, so let's consider this: they leave, and are out of the UK, AND out of Europe, at a time when the Brexit deal is not as bad as feared, in fact it is working. Wouldn't that be fine. The Queen of Scots leading a country floundering alone in the world, with no money to pay the huge debts the country has and all the Scots have to look forward to is another deep fried Mars bar and an Irn Bru to wash it down. Happy days!
Friday Club breakfast at The Cross beckons.
Monday 27th March - 11:00
Slightly later than planned. The oven needed cleaning, and when Mrs Bleater says 'clean!' she means 'now!'.
It is a shame we got relegated on Saturday but as Paddy O'Fez quite rightly pointed out we are going down fighting. All eyes are now on who joins us. Bromley's bonus point win, Deal & Betteshanger beating the Greenies over at Heathfield and Old Alleynians being beaten by Beckenham throws it wide open. The Greenies are on 34 points in 8th with Deal & Betteshanger and Old Alleynians on 33 points and just below them is Bromley on 32 points. It is impossible to predict this one but I hate to say it but our good friends across the way in Sussex look to have the toughest run in. Hove at Hove then Medway at home. For Bromley and Old Alleynians there is a winner takes all encounter next week. Deal & Betteshanger have the easiest run in as they play Hove and Horsham both down in Deal. The two Sussex clubs being safe. Mathematically Hove could still go down but I don't see one of the play off chasers losing to one of those in the mix for the drop.
Old Colfeians sit second after an easy win away at Horsham. Dartfordians are in third on the same points after smashing Hove. Despite losing to Medway Charlton Park can't be ruled out of the hunt for the important second spot. They play us next weekend and then Old Alleynians. So on Grand National weekend they could sneak up on the rails and take the spoils.
In London 1 South I had expected Tunbridge Wells to continue their fine form but Brighton left St Marks with a narrow win. Wells are not out of the chase for the play-off but it is clear advantage Havant after they scraped past CS Rugby by a single point. Sevenoaks cemented their mid table spot beating Chobham. Maidstone lost at home to table topping, and assuming no misdemeanours, now promoted Sidcup.
High in the atmosphere of National League 3 London. TJs beat Dorking comfortably and stay top. Wimbledon aren't to be shaken off TJ's tail and their home win over Chichester keeps them firmly in 2nd spot. Chichester slip to 12th. Wins over Guildford at home and Colchester away now look crucial for the Sussex side.
London 3 South East has Pulborough and Haywards Heath in the two promotion spots having beat Folkestone at home and Sheppey away respectively. Thanet Wanderers are not out of it after beating Eastbourne but it require some surprise results for them to go up. Lewes are out of the running after a heavy away defeat at Aylesford Bulls. In the other games Gillingham Anchorians beat Park House and Old Dunstonians beat Ashford. With three teams going down Eastbourne and Park House are in the drop zone with Aylesford Bulls still not safe.
Below that congratulations to Hastings & Bexhill who are promoted from Kent 1 and will join us in London 3 South East. Sussex 1 is still wide open with Crawley, despite a heavy loss at Uckfield, still in the box seat. Burgess Hill and Uckfield are in the hunt for the play off spot.
Congratulations to East Grinstead on their promotion. Worthing lost to Henley and are still in danger, despite being 12th in the table. Bridgnorth beat Old Halesonians and are safe from the drop. Salisbury lost away at Ding's Crusaders and are not safe.
Bath got a lesson in rugby from Saracens yesterday. The men from Barnet were awesome, Bath weren't. George Ford did his Lions credentials no good. Farrell is on the plane. I have never been a fan of Chris Ashton but you can see why Toulon want him. Of the Bath set up only Faletau did himself any good. What price Jamie George a Lion and England's starting hooker?
Wasps got past a dogged Worcester and are now guaranteed a place in the play-offs. Worcester were down to 14 men after Bryce Heem was red carded. Obviously Wasps spending power has enabled them to get through the 6 Nations in a better state than some of the other title chasing clubs.
Thomas Francis could be on his way home. Cardiff Blues are rumoured to be after him. Little Shane Williams could make one last appearance at the Millennium Stadium after helping Amman United win the semi-final of the WRU Bowl.
Perhaps I shouldn't say this but Ian Ritchie is looking a plonker for trying to blame New Zealand for the failure to secure a money spinning game in November. They had an agreement with the Barbarians and wanted to honour it rather than prostitute themselves by playing England for the money. Good on them.
Sunday 26th March - 10:00
The inevitable finally came to pass and the miracle of staying up is no more. The Crowborough faithful travelled in force with high expectation but alas were to witness a curates egg of a performance. At times the men in red & white were excellent; passing with accuracy, driving forward positively, tackling anything that moved, and taking their chances when they presented themselves. Then we saw the other side of the coin; a porous defence, weak tackling, bemusing decision making and lacklustre work in contact. Bromley played their part and on balance deserved the win. Their periods of positive play delivered up crucial scores, whereas when they dropped their guard and made mistakes we didn't always capitalise.
The frustration and disappointment of defeat and relegation was evident at the end but that is for the coaching team to sort. The 18 man squad did what they could and any failings were NOT as a result of any lack of effort. The boys tried their best, as they have throughout the season, but it wasn't to be.
I think the quote of the day was; 'a turd covered in jewels is still a turd'. There are still two games to go so the boys have to dust themsleves off and play with the pride they have to date.
Chris Yates kept his scoring run going with points from the boot and another try. Ben Searle despite being the smallest player on the field was head and shoulders the man of the match. Matt Botterman, Nick Hill and the veteran Mark Roiser all battled hard. The club will now look towards next season and the challenges ahead.
The 2s went down to Barnes Green but the result counted for nothing as the game was abandoned after 60 minutes when Ed Rogers suffered a bad leg break. Young Ed has recently returned to the Crowborough fold after being away at university. He is a product of our youth system having played in the colts Passy and I coached. I've known Ed long before that as he is a product of Vinehall School where Mrs Bleater taught. We wish him a speedy and complete recovery.
I'll do a full league round-up tomorrow but can say Philip The Greenies prophecy that Heathfield & Wadron are not yet safe is now a very accurate statement. Bromley on the other hand could achieve the great escape..
In the big boys game Ospreys went down away at Treviso. Having rested their internationals you would argue this was the reason. Quite frankly it was still a strong Ospreys side. They were rubbish, kicking away possession time and time again. They deserved to lose.
In the East Midlands derby Leicester Tigers took the spoils over Northampton. Exeter maintained their fine form and Quins have rediscovered their mojo. Chris Robshaw playing a major part in this result.
Glasgow battled past Connacht in what seems a combatative game with a red card to Tim Swinson being the headline. The coaches however engaged in a war of words post match each accusing the other of unsavoury acts. Hey Ho!
All eyes will be on Sarries v Bath and big spending Wasps v Worcester this afternoon. It was good to see Paddy O'Fez yesterday, as opinionated as ever. Still a smashing bloke though.
Much to devour in the newspapers so must go.
Saturday 25th March - 08:00
Crowborough's slimmest of chances to avoid relegation will commence at 3pm over at Bromley. The boys have trained hard and will certainly arrive in confident mood, and as has been the case in previous weeks they will certainly give of their best.
Don't forget the Under 16s play Tunbridge Wells tomorrow. Kick off 11am.
Don't forget to reset your clocks as they spring forward by an hour tonight.
Last night Bristol's chances of staying in the Aviva Premiership took another blow with defeat at Ashton Gate at the hands of Gloucester.
The Scarlets cruised past Edinburgh with a try bonus point. The men in red played some fantastic rugby in the first half but took their foot off the gas in the scoreless second half. Rhys Patchell returned to the fray after injury and looked very accomplished indeed.
Newport Gwent Dragons put up a very brave fight against a strong Ulster side. Two late tries for Ulster took them over the finishing line but it was harsh on a dogged Dragons side. Rodney Parade has hardly changed since the days when I trotted out onto that pitch as a schoolboy in the 70s. The pitch looked as if it hadn't been treated since then too. A real shame the pitch is such a disgrace. The WRU take over of the region is dependent on the members of Newport RFC (yes, it is complicated)voting in favour. They would be mad to vote against it........ but look what the Welsh did in the EU referendum!!!!
Northampton v Leicester looks the pick of the Aviva today with Cardiff Blues v Leinster the highlight in the Pro12.
The most ridiculous headline of the day is 'England v New Zealand plans weren't motivated by commercial reasons'. BULLSHIT! Of course they were. It was cynically opportunistic of the RFU, and the fact the clubs and New Zealand had their hands out before the idea had hit the headlines says a lot.
Talking of money, the RFU have said they want to see the 6 Nations condensed into 6 weeks from the current 7. I have no real view but would be concerned that the removal of a rest week would put players at added risk of injury in what is a fairly brutal tournament.
Have Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip's injuries meant the Lions for them is now out of reach? Let's see.
Tonga v Wales will be played in New Zealand as the stadium in Nuku'alofa is unsuitable. Shame, but there are plenty of Tongans in New Zealand.
The dust still hasn't settled yet with regard to France v Wales. French lock Yoann Maestri is on the naughty step for his adverse comments about Wayne Barnes management of the game. I await the outcome of the review into the French shenanigans.
Donald Trump has a metaphorical bloody nose as his flagship manifesto pledge of reforming / repealing Obama's healthcare bill took a nosedive yesterday. Good!
Must go the Blues vs Bulls has just gone into the second half.
Thursday 23rd March - 09:15
As I was leaving All Saints Church Village Hall after giving blood so the events in Westminster were unfolding. It seemed somewhat ironic that many fine citizens were giving their time to donate so as to help others, yet there are nutcases out there whose mission is to take life. To take life in the name of what, I have no idea. What they hope to achieve is beyond my understanding, and what the family of the bereaved and injured are going through must be terrible. Innocent people, a hard working and dedicated police officer serving us taken prematurely by the act of an evil, mudering terrorist. Things like this go beyond sport and rugby becomes irrelevant...... however to stop is to give in. These murderers win, we lose. So I will move on as normal but hope that you, like me, will at some point think about the victims and their families and friends.
On Saturday we travel to Bromley for what is likely to be the last chance saloon. Having spoken to many it seems we again played more like promotion contenders than a team close to relegation and could easily have beaten Beckenham. The 2s are away at Barns Green and the Crows are away at East Grinstead. Good luck to all of them.
On Sunday our Under 16s host Tunbridge Wells in a good old fashioned local derby. Kick off 11:00
Is Alun Wyn Jones out of contention for Lions captaincy after it was announced his shoulder injury will keep him out of the game for six weeks.
Whilst we haven't got to RWC 2019 yet Ireland are very keen to host RWC 2023. They'll do a fine job too.
Australia will follow New Zealand in trialling a blue card which allows the referee to remove a player from the field who is showing signs of concussion. The player will have to go through a HIA assessment. Players who fail will face a three week period of no play, no train in New Zealand and twelve days in Australia (19 days for Under 18s). In both cases medical clearance will be required for a return to playing and training. Good move. I like it.
Finally it is well worth looking at the bbc.co.uk/sport website and read about drugs in sport. It is more widespread than you think. Both recreational and performance enhancing.
Go about your daily business with pride, don't let these murdering lunatics win, but do be careful.
Wednesday 22nd March - 08:30
Yes, you guessed it. Yesterday the grandparenting duties took precedent over adding yet more drivel to this page......... but I am back today. Oh what an exciting life I lead. Today will be a haircut this morning, followed by PMQs on TV, and then blood doning this afternoon. No, I'm not too old for that.... yet!
Well done and THANK YOU to Tracey Radford, Nick Radford, Dave Bristow, The Friday Club, Sandra and team and ALL the FANTASTIC volunteers who made Sunday's Minis 'B' Festival a rip-roaring success. Whilst I am no longer involved in the day to day running of CRFC it still makes me very proud to read about the success of such events and the wonderful people we have at the club. Again THANK YOU.
Anyway. Ian Ritchie. A number of rugby columns carried this story but you might have missed it: the Nov 4th Barbarians v New Zealand game to become England v New Zealand. However, the story isn't that, it is about Ian Ritchie and the RFU's relentless pusuit of revenue from you the punter. It is alleged that the Barbarians agreed to a £500k fee for the use of Twickenham to play Australia on Nov 4th to celebrate their 150th anniversary. That became the Barbarians v New Zealand. So keen was Ritchie for England to play the All Blacks he ALLEGEDLY accused the Barbarians of breaking the contract by not playing Australia and stating Twickenham would no longer be available for use. This might be 'fake news' but if there is a slither of truth in it then it is a disgrace. I bet the WRU would have welcomed the Barbarians v New Zealand to Cardiff with open arms, as would the pubs.
Whilst the story is effectively dead as the Barbarians will play the All Blacks at Twickenham on Nov 4th it is important to know how the RFU's mind ALLEGEDLY works and where their priorities lay.
The issue here is, I continue to believe the men and women at the top of our game have lost sight of what is important. Yes Twickenham being full, the men and women and Under 20s being top dogs, lots of merchandise being sold, loads of cash coming through the balance sheet, are all vitally important, BUT what about the grassroots game?
Each week, and sometimes twice a week, I have received communication from England rugby. NONE of it has been about the grassroots of our game. ALL of it has been about selling me stuff, whether it be a replica shirt, or winners t-shirt or tickets. Hey ho! Move on.
So the George North bite didn't happen. There is no evidence to prove guilt so let's sweep it under the carpet.
I have already had feedback about my Lions selection. It is one-eyed. No! It is based on MY opinion of the best player in each position who Gatland will have confidence in to the play the way he wants the game to be played. So back off!
Eddie Jones has suggested Warren Gatland selects four captains. One from each of the home unions and this becomes the leadership team. When I first read this I thought 'nonsense' but there is some merit in the idea. Based on the strength of the squad I am sure he will have available to him no test starting place is guaranteed, except maybe Sexton and Farrell if fit, so you pick the team and then you announce the captain for each game. Not a bad idea. That said I think a single talisman with credence is the best way to go. Martin Johnson no less thinks that person is Alun Wyn Jones.
As predicted the WRU will take over control of Newport Gwent Dragons. A complicated picture will emerge with both Newport County and Newport RFC all co-tenants of Rodney Parade, but good news nonetheless.
Aaron Mauger is out of Leicester Tigers as Matt O'Connor returns as Head Coach. Not that I'm vaguely interested in that news.
Lots of players on the transfer merry-go-round right now. You can scour the papers for all the updates.
F1 Scaletrix starts again on Sunday. From Melbourne no less. Let's hope for a tad more excitement than we've had in previous seasons. Watching paint dry has been more thrill packed than F1.
So to the papers. The UK wouldn't follow the US by banning laptops and iPads on certain airline routes without credible intelligence. Be afraid.
Lots on Martin McGuinness with people happy to ignore his murdering past, whilst these same people seem happy to drag those poor soldiers who had to endure the troubles from the other side of the battle through the courts. Leave that one with you.
Hidden away because of the above news breaking, plus Brexit, plus the laptop ban, plus the SNP conference it might have gone unnoticed that Kim Jong-un is slowly but effectively developing an arsenal of weapons capable of reaching us and the USA. Be very afraid! Fat boy Kim is a loose cannon and one to be feared.
Finally old fish face Sturgeon continues to whinge on about independence. As you know, I have a tiny brain and a very limited intelligence, therefore can someone explain to me what 'Scottish Independence' really means. I assume it means a border between us and them, a new Scottish currency backed by their own reserves, their own financial safety net, no more BBC, a unique Scottish passport, and many other aspects which seem to be glossed over by Little Miss Vanity Project herself.
Answers on the Scottish question to
Nicola in Lala Land
F.O. Box UpYours 456
Edinburger with Fries
Over the Border