Monday 23rd October - 08:15
Let's not mess about. Here goes......
After Bromley's narrow victory over us they go to the top of the table just one point ahead of Aylesford Bulls who triumphed over Hastings & Bexhill 26-15. Lewes jump up several places into fourth after a narrow 15-17 away win at Folkestone. Thanet Wanderers slip to third after going down to Old Willies 15-13. Sheppey continue to struggle as they lose at home to Park House 14-43. Crawley couldn't improve on their solitary win thus far as they lose at home to Old Dunstonians.
Well done to the Crows beating the Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents 39-19. Sadly because we pulled our 2s... again, it will go down in the record books as a defeat but the boys know they played well and deserved the 'actual' win.
In Sussex 1 Hellingly continue to be the form team beating Eastbourne 12-29. They are clear at the top of the table ahead of East Grinstead who beat Uckfield 17-24. Grinstead do have a game in hand but are 10 points behind Hellingly in the standings. Burgess Hill strolled past Barns Green and Seaford beat Ditchling.
To London 2 South East next. The surprise result for me is Pulborough beating Haywards Heath 27-19. This result proves what a tough league this is. Horsham didn't enjoy the trip to Charlton Park after going down 25-8. Hove on the other hand enjoyed the trip back from Barking having scored 81 points and only conceded 10 against Barking. Dartfordians remain unbeaten at the top of the table after beating our good friends the Greenies 49-22. In the other two games Beckenham beat Deal & Betteshanger and Old Alleynians beat Dover. Hove are the best placed Sussex side in 2nd. Barking look forlorn at the foot of table without a single point to their name.
Climbing the pyramid into London 1 South Brighton's good run of form continues beating Chobham comfortably. Chichester are third in the table after their easy victory over Thurrock. Sevenoaks slip up at home to second placed CS Rugby 1863. Medway remain on top after strolling past London Cornish. Despite beating Cobham Old Colfeians remain at the foot of the table.
High in the atmosphere of London & SE Premier Tunbridge Wells beat Westcombe Park 31-15, a win that takes them to sixth. Guernsey continue to lead the way after beating Sidcup.
In the rarified air that is National League 2 South Worthing continue to struggle suffering another loss, this time away at Bury St Edmunds. Cinderford would have enjoyed their trip home to the West Country after beating TJs 15-33. Taunton Titans remain top after beating Canterbury, albeit narrowly 19-14. Canterbury to Taunton, that's no easy trip!! Wimbledon appear to be the whipping boys of this league with no wins and just three points to their name.
It wouldn't be Monday with you knowing that Bridgnorth beat Doncaster Pheonix in Doncaster and Salisbury beat Swindon.
Wow!!! What a stunning victory for Exeter over Montpellier. This was a gripping encounter played with a brutal intensity and a high degree of skill. Henry Slade, England centre in the upcoming internationals? I would like to think so.
Ulster sadly couldn't match La Rochelle's power going down with a whimper rather than a bang. Depsite the scoreline a thoroughly entertaining game. Wasps at last found some form comfortably beating Quins. Quins Marler and Brown's indiscipline would have worried the watching Eddie Jones and the fact Marland Yarde was dropped pre-match for an unspecified disciplinary matter couldn't have helped Quins cause.
Domestic action takes centre stage next weekend. More on this as the week progresses.
Well done Lewis Hamilton, another Scaletrix performance to be proud of.
Well done the Mighty Foxes 2-1 win away at Swansea.
Well done the New Orleans Saints beating Green Bay at the home of the cheeseheads.
Must go, I need a coffee and some hot buttered crumpet.
Sunday 22nd October - 08:00
So I am like most politicians around the world; I am economical with the truth, twist facts to suit myself, sometimes offer up outright lies and often fail to deliver. I said I would blog yesterday but I didn't. The truth: I got up late, got into the Autsralia v New Zealand game and part of me said 'I can't bovvered!'
To yesterday at Steel Cross. Past players lunch is always one of the highlights of the season and off the pitch so it proved. The place was packed, there was a great atmosphere, Sandra and Jacqui's team did a great job and everyone present enjoyed themselves immensely. On more than one occasion I said 'it was days like these that makes me very proud to be a part of Crowborough RFC'.
On the field we witnessed a pretty good game between two well matched sides and a game well refereed. After their opening day defeat Bromley have been on a roll with five straight victories. It came as no surprise therefore that they came into yesterday's game brimming with confidence. They started much the stronger with their little scrum half conducting the Bromley orchestra brilliantly. Their forwards controlled possession well and the backs moved the ball across the back line efficiently. Crowborough weren't playing badly. They simply couldn't get enough possession to put our visitors under pressure. The 'Borough defence was only breached twice but that was enough on the day.
The second half was an all together different affair with the men from Steel Cross getting into top gear keeping Bromley on the back foot for most of the half. The yellow and black were only able to make a couple of forays into the Crowborough half and these were snuffed out with a degree of ease. You are are not top of the table just because of your attacking prowess, you must have steel in defence too. Whilst Bromley were under pressure for long periods 'Borough could only break through just the once. As the clock ticked down and the attacks became more frenetic and the defence more fierce a Crowborough win could have been snatched from the jaws of defeat. Sadly a Chris Yates last gasp penalty attempt drifted wide on the very strong breeze and that was that; victory number six for Bromley and a losing bonus point for Crowborough.
I can't speak for the 'faithful' but I for one was heartened by our performance, encouraged that absentees are returning and there is still a long way to go in the season yet. Matt Botterman leaving the field early on didn't aid our cause but everyone who donned the red & white gave their all and I am confident there is more to come from the boys from the 'Borough.
As an aside it was good to hear over lunch from coach Stuart Thresher. He articulately outlined what the coaching team were trying to achieve and what aspects of the game they were focussing on to deliver those goals. It's great to have Stuart as part of our coaching set-up.
The usual full round up of results tomorrow...... I promise.
A quick look at Europe. Gloucester took a second string Agen apart on Thursday. The French were vociferous in the demands for change with regard to the European competition and here they are paying lip service to it. Annoying really. The Scarlets were poor against Bath on Friday. Bath were by far the better side with their Welsh contingent all making telling contributions. I am sure Rhys Priestland's performance would have caught the eye of the watching Welsh coaching team. Cardiff's win in Toulouse was a surprise. The big surprise for me was Osprey's performace against Sarries. A high scoring encounter that could have gone either way. I am guessing Northampton will now focus on the AVIVA after another poor European effort at Clermont Auvergne. Benetton losing to Toulon by a single point stands out too.
Well done Australia. A fine win and a fine game. I'm going to watch this one again later this morning...... beacause I can.
La Rochelle v Ulster is my prime time viewing this afternoon.
Finally a thought about Rhys Webb. He has made his decision to leave Wales and play in Toulon. This scuppers his international career. Isn't it mad though that a player who is Welsh from head to toe and back into the dark ages cannot play for his country whereas three Scarlets players who are from the Southern hemisphere and their only link to Wales is playing rugby here for three years and they ARE eligible for Wales. This doesn't seem right!!! Hey Ho!
Thursday 19th October - 11:00
Just back from Uckfield on the train hence the late publishing of this nonsense. More on the train journey later.
The European games kick off tonight with Gloucester again taking centre stage. Agen being their opponents. Challenge for Gloucester is whether to see if they can go further in Europe or focus on the AVIVA. Me, it would be focus on the latter.
An eye-catching fixture on Friday night; Scarlets v Bath. This could be a cracker and I'll ceratinly be watching this one with my home made potato rosti, fish and mushy peas to sustain me through the game. Mushy peas with a hint of mint by the way.
Saturday kicks off with the third and final Bledisloe game; Australia v New Zealand. All Blacks all the way I'm afraid. Sarries v Ospreys will be a one way affair I fear so my pick for Saturday afternoon is Glasgow v Leinster. In my view the three match-ups on Sunday will be best of the weekend. La Rochelle v Ulster, Wasps v Quins and Montpellier v Exeter.
Following on from the WRU's policy change a number of pundits have come out saying Rhys Webbs absence is a 'worry'. I'm not so sure. RWC 2019 is still a way off yet, and who knows what injuries may beset Webb. On top of that you have Gareth Davies and Lloyd Williams in fine form and the young lad who rotates the starting berth at Scarlets is playing very well too. Yes Webb will be missed but let's not be too dispondent.
Scotland's Greig laidlaw will miss the autumn internationals. I think that is no big deal either. It'll be interesting to see how the sqauds shape up over the next few weeks.
Waikato, once feared at home and by touring sides alike have been relegated from the Mitre 10 Premiership. The home, and former club of Warren Gatland suffered seven straight defeats in a row leaving them adrift at the bottom of the standings. How the mighty have fallen. It should send a message around the world to clubs and unions alike; take your eye off the ball and you'll quickly find yourself in the brown and sticky stuff. This news also begs the question; is New Zealand rugby in as healthy a state as we are all led to believe. Something to ponder.
Just another reminder that the 1s host Bromley and The Crows host Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents this Saturday. The 2s are at Bognor.
I read with dismay that Mick 'Loadsa' Cash's RMT are calling for strikes over Christmas on the London Underground. This is to do with drivers having the ability to switch from the night tube to the day tube and TfL reneging on the deal. There might be a case to answer here but strike action again! Cash is an anarchist whose mission is to cause chaos. End of!
I am not anti union by the way. Unions are a force for good when run properly, even handedly and with a degree of common sense. Workers rights need to be protected and workers should have the right to voice their concerns and be rewarded properly for their jobs. Unions on the other hand cannot hold the country and the government to ransom however and a minority of workers should not be able to cause misery for the majority. I fear that with Jezza's proclamation that he will give more power to the unions we will see more of the types like Cash and McClusky take control and bring the country to its knees. Take France for example. Msr Macron was swept into power on a tide of hope and optimism. What has happened since? Absolutely nothing! Why? simply because the powerful unions, especially the CGT have put barriers up to change, even where the change is for the betterment of the country and many of the people in the country. Worth thinking about.
Finally back to this morning's train. Ten carriages, all clean and tidy departing on time. A guard was not seen or required. Yes, yes, I know I only went from Uckfield to Crowborough. Anyway that wasn't what I wanted to winge about. I could not believe the litter around the station. It was a disgrace. There were a few bins but not enough and even close to a bin the scumbags had still not bothered to use them. Either these people have no regard for anyone but themselves, or they live like pigs in shit, or a combination of both. We have noticed at the club the more bins we have around the place and the more frequently we pick-up litter the less there is to pick-up.
Friday club tomorrow when I'll do my litter picking duties so back on Saturday.
Wednesday 18th October - 07:30
Talk about being knackered!! Grandson all day yesterday, he is such a bundle of energy, then up at 03:45 this morning to take Mrs Bleater, the daughter and the other two grandchildren to the airport. Once I've written this drivel it could well be back to bed for an hour or three.
Looking ahead another great weekend of European rugby but more importantly three games much closer to home. The 1st XV at home to Bromley. This should be a cracker with a large crowd expected thanks to it being 'past players lunch'. The 2s travel to Bognor. Not the shortest journey of the season. The Crows are also at home to Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents. All three games kick off at 15:00.
Gatland is hogging the headlines again. He is finished with the Lions. Not surprised. Two tours is enough me thinks and it is time for a fresh face. Not that his face is fresh in any way but Eddie Jones is bound to be the name on everyone's lips.
Gatland's law has been changed allowing a more flexible approach to selection for the Welsh team. Players with more than 60 caps to their name will be eligible for selection. Players already 'overseas' will be exempt but those like Rhys Webb signing new contracts with just 28 caps to his name will be inelgible for selection. The rationale for the old policy was sound enough but with both the French and English clubs seemingly awash with cash it was becoming unsustainable. This new way of operating, copying the Aussie model, seems fairer and more sensible. Interestingly there is talk Webb might renege on the Toulon deal. This will be one to watch as the firebrand that is Mourad Boudjellal has already let loose his warning salvo on the subject; you renege, you pay compensation!!!
Regardless of caps one player who will miss out this autumn is George North. His knee injury means he is sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks.
Good news for Scotland as Stuart Hogg returns to action. Bad news for England as Ben Te'o is injured; ankle. The injury and gaff prone Tuilagi could return in December. Too late for the autumn internationals but ideal for the 6 Nations.
The madness that is soccer. Leicester City have had a bad start to the season but we are only a handful of games in and many of those games have been against genuine title contenders. Patience is obviously NOT a virtue in Thailand as the owners have sacked manager Craig Shakespeare. Shakespeare a Leicester man through and through should have been given more time in my humble opinion....... not that anyone else reading this is vaguely interested.
Two things piqued my interest this week. There was a piece on BBC news about young people in debt. I know what it is like to be on the edge of financial collapse. When we first arrived in Crowborough many years ago we ended up with about 35p in the bank at the end of each month and boy that was with a frugal lifestyle that left us with that 35p. If something unexpected came up it was always necessary to cut back somewhere to make ends meet. On this basis I get very annoyed when I hear people moaning about how short of cash they are and how debt laden life is when you see their homes festooned with the latest gadgets, huge TVs, pets, designer clothes etc, etc. I am sorry but you have to cut your cloth accordingly. Get off the bloody phone, pc, tablet and do some basic arithmatic. If 'X' comes in then only 'X' can go out. Life is not equal so live with it.
As an aside I am not surprised young people get into debt. They seem to use every possible way to pay for goods except with cash. How on earth do you keep track of your spending. With cash if you have £20 in your pocket that is all you can spend. That might help.
The other thing is the criticsim of the NHS for not meeting its targets. I am not surprised as demand has risen exponentially. The NHS is treating more people than it ever has done before. Maybe, just maybe, the time has come to rethink the NHS. What about looking at reducuing demand rather than constantly trying to meet it. Encourage the use of pharmacies for basic medical help. Penalise financially people who waste the NHS time and resources e.g. Friday and Saturday night drunks. Be ruthless with regard to charging those not eligible for free treatment. Charge for routine appointments; FULLY REFFUNDABLE if the doctor believes the visit was justified. Finally there is a huge amount of waste where money could be saved. For example in my attic is a brand new bath board and other home aids given to Mrs Bleater when she had her knee replaced. The NHS won't reuse them. Why? I don't know. It's madness.
A look at the weekend's games tomorrow.
Monday 16th October - 10:00
For most of the local London leagues it was a free weekend. There were games however in the three national leagues. TJs travelled to high flying Chinnor but were only able to come away with a losing bonus point going down 24-20. Chinnor are second in the table to the still unbeaten Taunton Titans. In third are Cinderford who cemented their league position with a 29-27 away win at Worthing. Worthing slip ever closer to the drop zone.
There was one game in Sussex 1 with Eastbourne beating Barnes Green 45-12. Eastbourne climb to 5th in this eight team league.
Salisbury didn't play but the Midlands Premier league did have games. Bridgnorth went down by a single point 21-22 to Derby. Bridgnorth are now just one place off the bottom.
In Europe I wouldn't say they were classics but Castres v Munster and Toulon v Scarlets were thoroughly enjoyable games. They had drama, tension, some excellent skills and some horrendously poor play. I thought Munster were lucky to come away with a draw and in my view should have had at least one penalty try awarded against them if not two. Scarlets played really well and deserved their losing bonus point in the tightest of contests. There was some brutal encounters as the global stars littering the Toulon side hammered into the visitors defence. The Pro14 is not as bad as many make out me thinks. What struck me was the array of talent Toulon have sitting in the stands warming their backsides. It is crazy the amount of money invested in the squad and will be even crazier still as more stars arrive in October and again at the end of the season.
I didn't see a 13-57 defeat of Saints by Sarries coming. Saints were soundly thrashed in the league opener but I expected better this time around. Not a great day for Wales as George North limped off with a knee injury. In the other late kick off Ospreys fought back from a poor start but it wasn't enough to stop Clermont Auvergne leaving the principality with the win. More injury woes for Wales as Dan Baker is carried off with what looks a long term injury and Rhys Webb leaving the field with a bad case of cramp.
Warren Gatland is back in the news, or more accurately his possible replacements post 2019. The WRU have a three-man short list ready. Let's hope it doesn't include the names May, Corbyn or Sturgeon. Welsh rugby is in a bad enough state as it is without the circus tightrope walker, the clown and the trick cyclist getting involved.
Leicester City slip into the relegation zone but that is before they play WBA tonight. Yes, I have special dispensation from Mrs Bleater to watch this one.
Some cracking NFL games last night. The Saints beating Detroit. Hoorah. I just love the SKY Redzone coverage: no ad breaks, just full-on coverage of every game, and every score.
Maybe heads to Brussels. Give that Juncker and Barnier a slap from me. They might be a little more conciliatory following the mess in Spain / Catalonia plus the fact that Austria are likely to vote in the youngest every leader who is right-wing with strongly negative views of the EU.
Be careful out there as Storm Ophelia is set to batter Britain over the next few days. We might escape the worst of it but be careful all the same.
Sunday 15th October - 11:00
A very enjoyable couple of hours at Steel Cross yesterday afternoon. A splendid turnout to watch a pretty good game of rugby. It was great to see so many old faces pulling on the red & white of Crowborough. A number run out every week for the Crows, a few for the 2s but many were lapsed players turning out just for this game against Mayfield Old Boys. Shame some don't play more regularly as it was clear they still had the talent and the fitness. The Mayfield boys resplendant in their Wooden Spoon shirts also had a fair bit of talent on show and a good bit of pace too. It was nice to watch a game where nothing was at stake other than pride and the desire to have a game with mates. No registration, no league points, no worries. Just fun, and all for a great cause: Wooden Spoon.
As far as the European games were concerned a much better quailty of fare was served up. The Leinster v Montpellier game was thoroughly enjoyable, as was the Quins v La Rochelle encounter. Both games played at a high tempo with good skill levels and some cracking tries. Like Ulster on Friday Leinster are very difficult to beat at the RDS so for them the target has to be a couple of away victories and they will, pretty much as every season, advance to the knockout stages. The same can't be said for Harlequins. At the crucial moments they simply didn't have that killer edge and their lapses all to often gifted La Rochelle points. That Marcus Smith is going to some player though. Still a bit 'wet behind the ears' but one to watch me thinks.
From the snippets I saw Racing 92 v Leicester as another see-saw encounter with some excellent passages of play. As expected, but not nearly as convinvincingly as I had anticipated, Exeter got past a dogged Glasgow side. Perhaps the gap between AVIVA and Pro14 is not as large as we all think. This is no more typified by the ding dong battle between high flying Newcastle Falcons and the lowly Dragons. Seven tries in this one. Bath cruised past Benetton Treviso but that was a foregone conclusion...... or was it.
All eyes now turn to today's fixtures. Toulon v Scarlets remains my pick of the day but the other three could serve up much drama. Saints v Sarries will be fascinating especially with the added spice of unassuming George versus the exuberant Hartley.
For those who follow the round ball game Palace beating Chelsea and Watford beating Arsenal were the big stories, and if like me you are in a fantasy football league bloody awful for your team's points.
I know I go on and on about Brexit but it really is a big deal, or maybe no deal at all. That Msr Barnier is acting like a playground bully, or a hijacker holding Britain to ransom. We pay more into Europe than we take out so shouldn't we be getting a rebate rather than having to pay this so called divorce bill? He wants to teach us a lesson and keep all the other countries in line. Is that not tyranny rather than democracy. You bet your bottom dollar if Marine Le Pen had won the French election Msr Barnier's attitude would be very different. Muppet, that's what he is.
Finally I am getting seriously hacked off with all this politically correct claptrap. You can't call someone Mr or Mrs for fear of offending those who are transgender. Oxford colleges banning Christian activities for fear of offending minorities. A women's bare back in an advert having to be covered up for fear of offending who only knows. Treat people with respect and the way you would like to be treated yourself. You won't go far wrong. You do not have to pander to minorities for fear of upsetting them. It is all pathetic nonsense as more and more the tail wags the dog.
PS me and my friend Merlot had a pretty good night. 2am to bed somewhat wobbly.
Saturday 14th October - 10:30
The European season has started more with a whimper than a bang. Thursday's game Pau v Gloucester was a pretty poor affair, espcially in the first half when basic handling errors and poor decision making were the order of the day. The game livened up in the second half with a Gloucester fight back to earn a losing bonus point, however that wasn't before they had gifted Pau another try. I had expected a better game especially with Gloucester fielding many first team hopefuls from their 'A' squad. It wasn't to be. A nice trip for the fans though, especially friends we made in New Zealand during RWC2011; Bob and Pat, Gloucester to their very core.
I had rather hoped Wasps v Ulster would get the tournament off to a flying start. The weather conditions played a significant part in making this a pretty poor game. When you factor in the poor discipline and high penalty count this made for unexciting viewing. Unexciting until the final quarter when Ulster final got their act together and with two brilliant passages of play and went away from Wasps for the all important win. Wasps didn't play badly with their dogged defence holding out Ulster for long periods. Their achilles heel was their inability to finish when they had good possession and territory. Dai Young has much to ponder as his injuries woes grow. Ulster will be a handful at home so if they can string some away results together they might be in the hunt when the tournament gets to the knock out stages.
Cardiff Blues season might just have turned around with a fine win at home against Lyon. The caveat here is the French sides don't take the Challenge Cup very seriously versus the Top 14. A win is a win and the more you win the more you earn.
Sale could so easily have snatched a win over Toulouse, once the biggest of the big in French rugby. It was only a late penalty that denied them after they had staged a stunning comeback from 14-3 down. Hey ho, it wasn't to be. Sadly I ask the same question; how strong was the Toulouse XV compared to last weeks Top 14 side.
I am hoping Leinster v Montpellier will be a better game, and am keen to see how Glasgow fair down at Sandy Park when they take on Exeter.
Soccer takes centre stage with Liverpool v Manchester United at lunch time.
Brexit, Trump and Kim Jong-un continue to be a major part of the papers' headlines, quite rightly too. I am fed up with all the coverage and the obsession with the Harvey Weinstein story. If half of what he has done is true then he should be locked up for a very long time. However, why is all this coming to light now rather than being raised all those years ago. You have to ask that question because some of those affected at that time have gone on to have glittering, high profile, VERY lucrative careers. Worth pondering.
Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution Comrade Jezza has been proposing Uber and Deliveroo workers form collectives and run the businesses and how workers should control the robots not the bosses. It worked for the Soviet Union....... or did it?
As many hardworking, honest families jet off for the last of the summer sun during half term I am heartened, delighted, and relieved that a pair of scumbags who tried to con thousands of pounds out of a tour company by fraudulently claiming to have been ill whilst on holiday have been sent to jail. The pond life have got what they deserve and I hope others will now think twice about doing the same.
Might see you later at the club but definitely back with more European reviews tomorrow morning...... hangover permitting....... friends retirement do tonight....... my friend Merlot and I are looking forward to it.
Thursday 12th October - 12:30
Why does everything have to be a 'crisis'. The BBC headlines scream 'A love affair that hurts - the story of rugby union's injury crisis'. It's a fascinating piece and very well worth taking the time to read. Injuries are a concern and many club's including ours are faced with the problem. Strangely if Pollock had gone on about injuries in adult rugby she might have a case. It is not kids that are the problem it is at adult level where the focus should be.
Rob Andrew says a players strike over the issue of the extended season is feasible. Rob you may be right but bugger off to Sussex cricket where your bed is now laid and mind your own business. Typical. You've got a book to sell haven't you.
European games start tonight but it is tomorrow when the action really starts. Ulster v Wasps. Should be good but based on current form I go Ulster.
Flicking through the fixtures Leinster v Montpellier should be another worthy of our attention. For me Newcastle v Dragons catches the eye in the Challenge Cup but I guess neither coach will be keen to field full strength sides. Exeter v Glasgow will be a good benchmark to how the AVIVA stacks up to the Pro14. I go Exeter by plenty. On Sunday Saints v Sarries will be good, watch out for George v Hartley, but the pick of the round is Toulon v Scarlets. If you've got access to both BT and SKY you have a veritable cornucopia of games to choose from.
Yet again I am WRONG. There is a game at Steel Cross on Saturday and it is the BIG game of the weekend:Crowborough Vintage XV vs Mayfield Old Boys. I might see you there. Details on the front of this website.
All the rugby websites are reporting the death of Stack Stevens, England legend. Aged just 77. A sad loss.
Yesterday I suggested two appeals to the people of Europe regarding Brexit. The problem for them and us is the information we get is rubbish. Take the example of comparing exports / imports to Britain from Europe and vice versa. One of the papers showed that Europe exports more to Britain than we export to them. They used this as an argument to say the EU should support a trade deal. What a load of poppycock. If you break down the total export from the EU to Britain into its constituent parts by country and then again by industry it paints a VERY different picture. It shows why Europe can play hard ball with regard to a trade deal as the individual bits making up the total could be considered as 'acceptable losses'.
I was going to write some stuff about Sturgeon and the SNP conference but my doctor has warned me about raising my blood pressure even further than it is now.
Back on Saturday.
Wednesday 11th October - 10:00
Another full on day with the grandson yesterday. Marvellous but exhausting.
I need to apologise because I was very clear that there was a game at Steel Cross on Saturday. Wrong! As it happens the Crows game was cancelled but that wasn't the problem. I was given the wrong information and blindly accepted it as gospel. Apologies to anyone who trekked over to the club only to find the rustling of trees. I'll do better next time.
The 2s did play but went down to a determined East Grinstead 2s. Good we got a side out after struggling for weeks with injuries and absentees.
I see England have launched yet another kit. Money, money, money. I wish the RFU would contact me about grassroots initiatives rather than trying to flog me stuff I don't need.
Freddie Burns gets three weeks. Not surprised. It looked bad but not awful.
Injuries abound again. Lots of updates across most of the websites that carry rugby news. The story that got my eye, and pardon the trite link, is the amazing story of Ian McKinley the Irish born fly-half who plays for Treviso being included in the latest Italian squad. Six years ago he lost the sight in his left eye after a stray boot caught him. He retired from the game but returned after technology allowed him to play with protective goggles. It is a nice story. Well worth a read. Put to one-side it highlights how Italy are trawling the globe for anyone vaguely eligible to play for them. Have you been to Rome for a short break. You might qualify!!!!!
Another interesting read is found in WalesOnline. Nigel Owens, a great supporter of the game at grassroots level expresses his concern about the rapid decline in the number of clubs in Wales and the rate of loss of players. He cites the fact that as you go up the leagues to the top the number of players you have in a match day squad grows. 23 players for the top flight game plus others in the stands 'just in case'. This is true below the elite level too. Without looking at the exact regulations the higher up the more subs you have and even these clubs will have players available 'just in case'. Where do these bigger squads come from? Easy. The players are sucked up from below making it harder for the clubs at the bottom to find and field players. The nub of his argument is that on any given Saturday there will be hundreds and hundreds of players warming their backsides on the bench, or worse on the sideline rather than playing. He asks is there way to change this. Another article well worth reading.
Bit of a furore around Wasps short turnaround, just five days before they have to face Ulster on Friday in Belfast. A concern but the price you have to pay for being a successful side in the professional era. Get on with it and count the money from the TV revenue on the way home. You want the big bucks from BT and SKY then you have to dance to the devil's tune I'm afraid.
Big European weekend coming up. I'll look at that tomorrow.
Elsewhere sad but Wales weren't good enough. Well done Ireland. Still no guarantees you'll make it to Russia '18 but it would be good.
I am so glad all in the world is great. So much so that some papers are leading with the story it is safe for pregnant women to eat runny boiled eggs.
Theresa Maybe and her lot continue to bumble and stumble their way through the Brexit negotiations. Here is my latest suggestion....
Dear People of France and Germany. The time has come for you to voice your opinions on Europe. Britain will leave without a deal and you will have to pay more in taxes as a result. Your companies will not be able to export to Britain so easily so jobs will be at stake. You will be forced to accept more immigration of the wrong kind. Tell your government to wake up and smell the coffee and take what is on offer. It's in your hands
Dear People of Greece and Portugal. The time has come for you to voice your opinions on Europe. Britain will leave without a deal and you will get significantly less from Europe than you did before. Services will be cut, projects cancelled and taxes will have to rise further to fund the loss. In addition exports to Britain will be harder to make so jobs could be at stake. Tell your government to wake up and smell the coffee and take what is on offer. It's in your hands
Last night on BBC2 there was an excellent docudrama about the October 1917 revolution in Russia. Lenin and Trotsky spouting Marxist rhetoric. What happened in Russia in the following 70 years? Yes you're right. Absolute chaos and tyranny, starvation and deprevation. A portend of Britain's future to come????
Monday 9th October - 10:00
It's Monday, it's league round up day.
Our fine away win against a very good Hasting & Bexhill side keeps us in the hunt. We stay 5th keeping in touch with the leaders and even at this early stage of the season that is important. The leaders are Thanet Wanderers who eased past Folkestone 28-7. Behind them but having played one game more is Bromley. They put Crawley to the sword 68-10. The other big winners were Aylesford Bulls who beat the luckless Sheppey 67-0. Below us Lewes found some form with a 38-22 win over bottom placed Park House, and in the final game in our league Old Dunstonians beat Old Willies 36-17. Notably we were the only team to win away from home this weekend. It's the first of the free weekends next week.
In Sussex 1 the headline grabbing result was East Grinstead losing at home to Hellingly 18-20. Word has it that Hellingly are on a roll having picked up a number of new players this season. It seems that an enormous new housing estate adjacent to their ground, and their juniors growing into seniors has been a positive factor. They top the league. At the bottom is Ditchling after losing to Barns Green. Burgess Hill beat Uckfield and in another surprise result, for me at least, Seaford beat Eastbourne. I remain convinced the work the guys at Sussex did to restructure this league was right.
In London 2 South East our good friends over at Cross-in-Hand came second to Beckenham leaving them 8th in the table. Dartfordians continue to lead the way but it was only a narrow 10-13 win at Horsham that keeps them top.
Haywards Heath enjoyed the unenviable trip to and from Dover winning 14-17. Hove maintain their chase for promotion beating Old Alleynians whilst Pulborough continue to find it tough losing at Charlton Park. The only other game saw Deal & Betteshanger beat the hapless Barking who remain pointless at the bottom of the league.
Onwards and upwards into London 1 South. It'll come as no surprise that Medway continue their charge comfortably beating Tottonians. Brighton enjoyed an away win at Thurrock. The boys from the seaside have found some good form of late. The mighty Oaks weren't so mighty at Havant I'm afraid. Chichester were pretty mighty at Gravesend. The win keeps them in third behind CS Rugby 1863 who beat Old Colfeians.
Stopping off briefly at London & SE Premier Inn I see the boys from Tunbridge Wells scored an excellent, albeit very narrow 26-27 win away at Sutton & Epsom. Barnes top the table with Guernsey just a point behind.
In the National League 2 South Tonbridge Juddians were stopped in their tracks by Redingensians and now sit 9th in the table. Worthing's long journey home from Taunton would have been painful after going down 81-14 to the Titans. The Titans are perfect with 6 wins from 6 and maximum bonus points. Worthing are 12th.
It wouldn't be a league round up without knowing Bridgnorth lost at home to Scunthorpe and Salisbury lost by a single point away at Witney. By the way Bridgnorth to Scunthorpe is a 280 mile round trip, some 6 hours in the coach.
Wasps looked less like title chasers and more like relegation contenders after a pretty poor showing at Sarries yesterday. Big money signing Willie Le Roux seems to be taking his wages on false pretences. Top flight international player. Maybe not me thinks. All that said Wasps were shorne of front line stars and Sarries were excellent on the day.
Hoorah, common sense prevails. The WRU could change their selection policy to allow for more non Wales based players to be selected for the national side.
Rob 'Squeaky' Andrew has been in the Torygraph pontificating over the woeful showing of England, led by Stuart Lancaster, during RWC 2015. Oh Rob, oh Rob. Has dementia set in already and your memory has faded so badly that you have forgotten you were at the helm when Martin Johnson took England to New Zealand for RWC 2011. Have you forgotten what a complete and utter shambles that was and how Johnson fell on his sword on his retrun to Blighty whilst your were cowering in the toilet until the furore died down. I haven't read the article in full. I'll keep that until I have a bout of diarrhoea. Sitting on the bog reading your crap will take the misery away of having the runs.
There was a joke that ran around Twickenham that if you were ever on a plane with Mr Andrew it was essential to sit next to him. If said plane was to crash you were sure to survive.
Come on Wales. A another win tonight and you'll be a step closer to World Cup in Russia.
Sunday 8th October - 07:45
Another Saturday and another much changed Crowborough team, this time heading for Hastings & Bexhill. Thankfully the frustrating drizzle of the morning cleared up leaving only the blustery wind to get in the way of a decent match. Hastings & Bexhill have started well this season so a tough encounter was expected. Crowborough started the better and took the lead with two well struck Yates penalties into the breeze. This was as much a result of H&B's indiscipline as it was from 'Borough's pressure. The forwards secured the ball taking it deep into the home half with the backs making good use of the possession presented to them.
H&B showed why they were promoted with some good passages of play and it was only 'Borough's aggressive rush defence and solid tackling that prevented the scoreboard ticking over in their favour. Their big pack took the game to Crowborough and shortly before half time produced a moment of high skill scything through some pretty limp tackling to score under the posts. It was the wake up call Crowborough needed.
The second half saw Crowborough take more control of the game. The backs and forwards linked well but there were still too many times when the wrong decision was taken. If the boys in red and white are to be in the hunt for promotion then this is an area to be worked on. Better appreciation of what is around you. It wasn't all one way traffic with H&B putting passages of play together but in the words of the H&B faithful the Steel Cross men 'bullied' them off the ball. The quality of the tackling was good too.
In the end the pressure told and 'Borough scored two well taken tries, both converted by Yates. With time running down and the men in red and white taking their foot of the gas this allowed H&B to get a well deserved late try.
Andrew Orchard had another fine game but it was the return of Chris Yates and his trusty boot, plus Tom West and crucially Andy Walters that tipped the balance in Crowborough's favour. Walters in particular was immense.
On the drive home my thoughts was a mixture of relief for a fine win, optimism with some players still to return but also some trepidation that the penalty count is still too high and decision making is still not where it needs to be. I'll take a 23-14 away win though.
On a personal note it was great to meet up with the old hands at H&B. They are a great bunch who run a tight ship. It was always a pleasure to play, coach and referee at H&B and I am glad things are still tip top at this great club.
Elsewhere South Africa v New Zealand was a cracker of a game. Thoroughly enjoyable with the All Blacks lucky to hold on for the win. Sadly for Argentina the win they so desperately crave was beyond them.
In the AVIVA Exeter beat Newcastle to go top. Gloucester beating Saints was a surprise, as was Leicester only scraping past London Irish by a single point. Bath's win over Worcester was tainted by Freddie Burns red card and Ben Tapuai's injury.
In the Pro14 Leinster took the spoils over Munster with Johnny Sexton being the ring master. In the Welsh derby Scarlets won an intriguing contest against Ospreys. It was less enjoyable than Friday's Cardiff v Dragons game but gripping all the same.
What should councils be doing where kids are concerned? I think encoraging social interaction and physical exercise. Torbay Council think otherwise as they ban an under 10s rugby side from using a local park as they are too noisy after receiving complaints from local residents. What a bunch of NIMBY tossers. Yes you want to preserve your open spaces for all and noisy kids on a Sunday morning might not be everyone's cup of tea but come on.
Finally Mr Cockerill is back to his whingeing best. I have never been a fan and to blame the dip in form of his Edinburgh side on the referees is a bit rich me thinks. Accusing them of bias is pretty poor. Cockerill should remember everytime you point a finger there will always be three pointing back to yourself. By the way I thought the referee at H&B was pretty good. He managed things well.
Full league round up tomorrow.