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Bleater's Blog

Wednesday 15th August: 09:15

Two England internationals and a young Irish star are the lead story on a couple of the rugby pages. Bath's Anthony Watson has retorn his Achilles tendon meaning a long lay off while they reassess and then re-repair the injury. It is a notoriously difficult injury to fix so Bath can expect him to be absent for some time. The initial injury could have happened at any time but it happened playing for England, another example of why clubs are so keen to protetc their assets against the rigours of the international game.

Ben Te'o has spent the last year contemplating his future in the game after a catalogue of injuries. Rugby is a physical game, it always has been and even at the lowest social level of the adult game players will be able to regale you with stories of their injuries. It is hoped that he will return for Worcester and potentially England but in Te'o's case at what cost. The real reason I include comment on his injuries is because he makes reference to "being forced into rushing back too quickly 'plenty of times' in his career". Sadly that I fear is another sympton of the clubs need for cash and the need to have their top assets delivering for them week in week out. I have said before how ironic it is that coaches and chairmen will whinge about the players playing too much whilst on international duty yet throw them into the domestic fray without any form of recovery time.

Ireland and Ulster have also suffered a blow as Jacob Stockdale is hit by a hamstring strain which occured in training last week. I often wonder if these guys at the very top of the game train too often and too hard.

Here we go again. United States international Paul Mullen signs for Newcastle Falcons. Last weekend I watched quite a bit of soccer. Some was excellent, some was rubbish but what was consistent was the lack of England players in each team. Pretty much every side was dominated by overseas players. Rugby at the top level is definitely heading in this direction. Whilst England did well in the world cup this was a rarity. Watch this space with regard to the long term future of England rugby.

Dan Biggar is enjoying life in Northampton and says more Welsh players should give English Premiership rugby a go. Another influx of overseas players...... hoorah. He also goes onto say it was great to have a summer off and he is now ready for the season ahead and the build up to RWC 2019. Perhaps he and those other Welsh players rested will be ready to give Wales a shot at the "big one". Yes I can dream if I want to.

Quite rightly the newspapers are dominated by the terrible events in Genoa where the bridge collapsed. I listened to a report yesterday about a catalogue of disasters in Italy due to incompetence, corruption by officials, cutbacks, and even the involvement of the mafia. It is sad that so many lives have been lost and possibly lost at the hands of people who have cut corners or had their palms greased. We can only hope the death toll doesn't rise further and finally lessons can be learnt.

The other headline story is the bungled terror attack by Salih Khater, a British citizen originally from Sudan. These people do my head in. They come to this fantastic multi-cultural country for a better life with great opportunities, a fantatsic standard of living by comparison to most and I could go on, yet they want to rain terror down on innocent hardworking people who have done nothing to offend them in anyway. Yet again our brilliant and dedicated police force were in the front line proving their worth and again asking us to be proud of them. So too the ambulance service who were quick to put themselves in danger for the benefit of others.

As an aside there has been criticism of the queues at Heathrow. In part this is due to understaffing and cuts at the Border Agency. Not acceptable. On the other hand it has been due to our desire to keep out undesirables and the diligence of those on the border agents delivering that expectation. To those who moan I say thank goodness we have good people protecting our borders.

Finally Ben Stoakes. YAWN!!!!! Move on.

Tuesday 14th August: 08:30

"The boys done good". That is with a little, actually a lot of help from one of sponsors: Coppards. For some time concerns have been raised about the safe use of the Friday Club's equipment compound. Well all that was put right yesterday when a new concrete hard standing was laid. The entire task took just a few hours. The guys were great, Coppards were even better. It won't be fully operational for a few weeks as a ramp has to be laid but nevertheless a fine job.

Equally magnificent is the completion of two bug houses on the mini training area. Well done Sean Beamish. The club sits in an amazing area with beautiful landscapes and an amazing vista. We are proud of our green credentials and how we maintian our property to be in keeping with the locality. As a consequence the building of two bug houses using old pallets and scrap materials seemed a) like the right thing to do, b) a good use of scrap wood and c) might be a good way to get the kids to think about the environment around them.

To complete the feel good factor we have (at arms length) joined the Brighter Crowborough campaign. In addition to keeping the road verges adjacent to the club clear of litter we have adopted the two bus stops in the Steel Cross area. We will keep them clear of litter and if necessary keep the grass around them trimmed. Crowborough is a much maligned town but it is our town and we want to make a contribution to keep it that way.

That said the scumbags who can't be bothered to take their litter home but instead decide to throw it out of car windows or simply drop it by the roadside need a lesson in decency. Do we sell Red Bull? No! So why then do we have to collect between three and ten empty cans each week. Is there a McDonalds, Subway, KFC in Crowborough? No! So again why should we have to pick up wrappers and boxes from these outlets. Finally how disgusting is it to find a full baby's nappy wedged between the slats of the bus stop bench. Very and bloody annoying too. That said there isn't a waste bin near either bus stop which seems a failing. Whilst local volunteers are doing their bit I struggle a little with the fact the council owned bins are often overflowing.

Outside of the above The Friday Club continue to get the grounds into shape for the season. Whilst there is now grass growth thanks to recent rain the ground remains very, very hard indeed.

The hype ahead of the Rugby Championship continues. Steve Hansen saying the All Blacks are underdogs is nonsense. The fact David Pocock is back is irrelevant, actually its not but that alone doesn't make the Aussies favourites.

It will be interesting to see how Argentina shape up against the Boks after their appalling showing against Wales and Scotland. A new coach a new start.

Talking of new starts the Pro 14 TV coverage will feature many of the old favourites from BBC Wales and BBC Ulster. Eddie Butler is set to be a lead commentator. Not a bad choice especially if Jonathan Davies is lined up next to him.

In other news how did a flight dispatcher at Seattle-Tacoma airport manage to steal a plane, not just a small one but a proper turboprop job? How did he manage to get it to the runway and depart? Its not about the practical aspect but the security aspect. How can this possibly happen in the US, a country obsessed with security post 9/11?

Keep your eye on the situation in Turkey. Donald the Menace has triggered a collapse of the Turkish Lira. Don't underestimate the knock-on effects that could have on us.

Rail fares in the news again. Whilst I will continue to condemn the RMT's futile attmept to halt progress on the railways (DOO) I will wholeheartedly support their notion another fare rise is outrageous based on the level of service, the profits being made, some of which goes overseas, and the number of fat cat management they have incapable of resolving the problems.

Then there is the women on holiday who seems to have got a payout after complaining there are too many Spaniards in Spain. The world really has gone mad.

Finally can I ask how someone who could possibly be the next Prime Minister of our country can deny being involved with the wreath laying ceremony at the cemetry of Palestinian terrorists when pictures show him with the wreath in his hands. Being "not involved" means NOT being there. Handling the wreath means being involved. I don't think much more needs to be said.

Monday 13th August: 07:30

A couple of pre-season friendlies for some last Saturday. Dan Biggar returning to Wales with Northampton Saints being one such game. Meaningless in many ways especially as the weather at the Brewery Field, Bridgend was atrocious, but notable in that Biggar looked assured and fit and very well behaved for his new bosses. Sam Davies having stepped up to no.1 outside half for the Welsh outfit looked equally unphased by his new responsibilities. The Saints came out on top for the record.

A few miles to the east Leicester Tigers were having their run out against Cardiff Blues. It sounds as if this was a more meaningful affair with Leicester running out eventual winners after Cardiff failed to exploit their second half domination of territory and possession. The few brave souls who were present will have been buoyed by what they saw from Cardiff under their new coach John Mulvhill.

To the west of London, in Ealing in fact, the third game I have any information on is Ealing Trailfinders versus the Dragons. The Welsh outfit from Newport won this 31-17 and according to the reports looked well worth their win. The half backs played well together linking backs and forwards seamlessly, something oh so lacking last season for the Rodney Parade outfit. With the massive investment made by the WRU in the Dragons Bernard Jackman is under pressure this season. The first step seems to have been positive.

In other Welsh rugby news discussions continue about the future of Cardiff Arms Park, the ground adjacent to the national stadium, home to the Blues. The WRU are keen to purchase it which would allow them to develop the area around the Principality, and for Cardiff Blues and the other sports associated with the famous old ground to move to new purpose built facilities.

Awful to read about a player and his family being abused at a game. Former Leicester player Tom Brady and his family suffered such abuse whilst playing for Sale Jets against Sale FC. The former Sale Sharks man was appalled by the incidents, especially as Brady tries to return to top flight rugby with Sale, his boyhood club.

Former All Black coach John Mitchell joins the England set up as defence coach. He leaves the Blue Bulls and will support King Eddie until November 2019, post RWC. I guess Mitchell is a decent enough choice once it was known that Shaun Edwards was staying with Wales.

Terrible to read about a 21 year old rugby player dying in the changing rooms after a heavy tackle. Louis Fajfrowski was playing in the second tier of French rugby when he had to leave the field after a tackle. He was in the changing room with medical staff and the emergency services when he collapsed but they could not revive him. An autopsy will be held to determine the exact cause of death but a very sad day for such a young man and possibly for the game as a whole if it is found there is no underlying medical complication contributing to his passing.

A great week for British sport as we have performed admirably in the newly amalgamated European games. Gold in athletics, swimming, diving, cycling to name but a few. Second in the overall table, top of the pops in athletics. What about that Dina Asher-Smith. Absolutely sensational with three golds and three world leading best times for this season.

Some things don't change. I am rubbish at selecting a fantasy football team. After just one game I languish near the foot of the table. Hey ho! Sadly in the real game it was also the same old pathetic histrionics with players feigning injury, diving all over the place and berating the match officials. Some cracking goals though.

Well done to England's cricketeers. Another convincing win over India.

As you know I am all for the best person for the job regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or religion. I found it interesting therefore when chatting with a policeman (not my brother) about promotion prospects he said "what chance do I have? I'm a white, heterosexual male". Now this could have been slightly tongue in cheek but I felt there was an element of truth in the statement. It highlights how the country is going backwards thanks to political correctness rather than going forward. Promote the best most suited person please. It was on this basis Mrs Bleater and I debated the merits of having female pundits and commentators at male only events e.g. Premiership soccer, cricket, etc. It is obvious that some are there because they are not men rather than being the best person to do the job. Sad. On the other hand some are excellent and very well qualified to pass comment on the sports. I make this point to highlight how difficult it is to determine the "best person for the job" but it should be the way forward. Quotas and political correctness could arguably equal mediocrity.

The club beckons. The concrete arrives at 08:45

Saturday 11th August: 09:00

There was no rugby news yesterday and I couldn't bring myself to bore you with tales of the A380, A350, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Lots of players inducted into rugby's Hall of Fame. Stephen Larkham and the brilliant Ronan O'Gara to name but two.

Jamie Roberts is honoured at the Eisteddfod as he joins the Gorsedd of the Bards. This has nothing to do with rugby but all to do with his tireless work with youngsters and the promotion of the Welsh language.

Plenty of comings and goings ahead of the season's openers. It gets worse. What does? The influx of overseas players. They are even being poached from tier two nations now as Portuguese centre Pedro Bettencourt joins Newcastle. There are lots of good ENGLISH rugby clubs in the North East packed with good ENGLISH players. Surely Newcastle can find a decent centre from amongst them? I guess not.

A couple of tasty pre-season warm-up games catch the eye, especially Dan Biggar and Saints versus his old club Ospreys. Can't find any on TV though.

Shaun Edwards and his reasons for staying in Wales are a good read. You have soccer players and their parasitic agents on enourmously lucrative contracts but even with £500k A WEEK their loyalty is zero. Edwards on the other hand has shown laudable loyalty to his adopted country Wales. Well done sir and thank you for restoring a modicum of decency back into the human race.

The decline in male adult rugby is a cause for concern for all of us. Much of the decline is driven by people's changing attitudes to life, the plethora of alternatives to rugby, and sport in general, plus peoples expectation of instant gratification. The one country where you would expect rugby to be strong and growing is New Zealand. Wrong. The male adult game is showing the same level of declines as seen elsewhere. This despite the All Blacks amazing success and several big showcase events taking place in the country e.g. The Lions tour. Women's rugby on the other hand is in growth. Something else to ponder me thinks.

No surprise that the football season kicked off with a loss for the Foxes. I thought they were the better side for long periods but they lacked that cutting edge. There was no magic in the box. There was one highlight, Jamie Vardy snatching a late consolation goal. Yes he is in my fantasy team.

Plenty of games today for those who like the round ball game.

England continue their march toward a second test victory over India at Lords. Excellent day for James Anderson yesterday. 5 for 20. That's him on the honours board in The Long Room .........again.

Just to let you know that as I type BA2262 from Kingston has just landed at Gatwick. It was a Boeing 777 having travelled 4692 miles in a little under 9 hours. Next in the queue is a Vueling flight from Barcelona. The A321 is currently at 1,900 ft on ILS approach. You can expect the Emirates A380 around 12:15.

Must go for a lie down after the mornings excitement.

Thursday 9th August: 09:00

Not much in the rugby news today except a very erudite piece on about the turmoil or not at the RFU. It brings together the complete picture of the issues the game faces and the challenges the RFU have going forward. Inevitably money is right in there at the heart of the matter. The many millions that gets thrown at the very top of the game, especially the England squad itself. Player payments have exploded and with Jones having a back room staff of up to 40 people it is not surprising cuts elsewhere need to be made. The cost increase of the ambitious East Stand project is a significant factor too.

It is a concern that as support for the grassroots game gets cut back the pressure on England to perform at RWC 2019 becomes vital. A poor showing and not only will heads roll but the lift success would give to the grassroots disappears too. You only need to drift back to 2015 and think about how interest plummeted the moment England, the biggest and best funded rugby nation in the world, failed to get out of the group stage. This is a big concern.

Whilst the women's game has come a long way in recent years I personally think making the elite level fully professional is a foolhardy consideration, especially if money is tight. This is not sexist but a pragmatic view looking at the scale of interest then taking into account the level of income to support such a move being higher than the level of revenue in place right now.

For us who week in week out in all weathers for no reward other than seeing our clubs develop the article is well worth a read.

Sean Edwards is staying with Wales until the conclusion of RWC 2019. HOORAH!!!! It would have been easy for him to take one of the many lucrative deals offered but no he is a man of principle and thankfully wants to support his adopted nation in their pursuit of rugby glory.

Deadline today. Millions and millions of pounds will change hands with players and their parasitic agents being the big winners. I am sure the rugby Premiership looks at soccer with envy and think they can emulate their success. Soccer is a massive global game whereas rugby is a niche sport by comparison. The money is simply not there in rugby. Anyway I must get on. I have my fantasy team to put together before the season kicks off with the Foxes away at Manchester Utd.

In the news it's a full house for the Bs: British Gas, Brexit and Boris and the Burka. Once back in Crowborough I'll be looking to switch my energy supplier from British Gas. 10% increase in one year. No thanks. Brexit, no more needs to be said. I am not surprised there is divided opinion on Boris's comments about the Burka. Not to labour what I said yesterday but there are many saying it is not the essence of what he said that is the problem it is how he said it. There are many who see the Burka as a symbol of the unacceptable oppression of women in Muslim society but also the failure of migrants to adopt and adapt to western values. This exists across Europe. You only need to look at Denmark, Sweden France, Netherlands and Germany to see this is an issue worthy of debate and we shouldn't shy away from it. For those clamouring for Boris's head are in MY opinion pandering to the minority. We have to break this downward spiral where the tail is wagging the dog and re-establish a life driven by common sense and common decency.

I can see me getting a red card for being controversial but until told otherwise it's tough. Another area where people are pandering to the minority is the area of transgender. Those whose gender is a complex issue need our compassion and understanding and we need to be flexible to ensure they are not put in unacceptable positions which could be seen as discriminatory.. Greggs the bakers changing their excellent gingerbread men to a gender neutral version is pathetic, as are the many other examples of pandering to political correctness on this topic. I have witnessed first hand the challenges people face in this area by the way so I do have an understanding of it but as a result also have an understanding of the negative impact on the majority focussing on the minority can have.

Fingers crossed for more rugby news tomorrow or I am afraid I will have to fall back on my other favourite topic: aircraft and aircraft news.

Wednesday 8th August: 08:30

Chris Ashton is like a kid with a new toy at England's training camp. Shame he doesn't play back row as that is where the opportunity lies. Based on what I've read and looking at the photos Jones doesn't seem to have wound back the intensity of his sessions.

Plenty of new arrivals in the news. All overseas players. I make no apology for bleating on about this as it worries me. I don't suppose the one eyed Leicester Tigers fans give a damn about my view. All they want is success and the arrival of Fijian Campese Ma'afu and Tongan David Feao will contribute to that as Tigers are somewhat lacking in the front row department, especially with, wow Englishman Ellis Genge still out injured.

Bath sign South African prop Jacques van Rooyen to join their ranks. Where are all the English props I ask.

The issue of overseas players is not just bad for English rugby it is bad for South Sea Island rugby, all ready plundered by New Zealand and Australia but also world rugby as the French and English cast their nets ever wider.

Wow again. An Irish province announces an Irishman as captain. Yes Johnny Sexton will carry that mantle into the Pro 14 campaign.

Preparations for the Southern Hemisphere internationals is well under way with strong squads being announced by all four nations. The Boks will be lead by Siya Kolisi who did a splendid job against England. The Pumas will be coached by Mario Ledesma who plans to blood six new caps as he aims to rebuild ahead of RWC 2019.

Surprise, surprise the old duffers at the RFU are at war with the new leadership. They are asking serious questions about the financial management of the RFU and why it is necessary to cut 60 jobs, many of which are involved in the grassroots of the game. Of course some of the bickering comes as a result of some of these old duffers losing their prestigious seats in the royal box. Quite frankly like a council house a seat in the royal box is a privilege not a right. If a more deserving case comes along you need to accept you have to move on to a different house/seat while the more needy get the bigger place. You are not being deprived of a place to park your bum it is just in a different place, which quite frankly is still a privilege you should be grateful for, afterall someone else is subsidising it.

Where I do raise an eyebrow at the RFU is allowing Ian Ritchie to leave them and go straight to Premiership rugby. In business there is normally a clause in your contract that states you can't move to a competitor within a given period of time. I have written on several occasions about the possibility of the Premiership breaking away from the RFU. Having Ritchie in their fold carrying all the RFUs secrets in his back pocket could heighten the tension and speed the split.

What else is in the news. Brexit, Brexit and more Brexit. Boris the buffoon makes the headlines again. Trump, Trump and more Trumpisms. With regard to Boris I think he is a jerk and he should be banished from the party. Not because of his burka comments but because of his betrayal of this country and the deceit and lies he took into the "leave" campaign...... IN MY OPINION!!! With regard to the burka it is a difficult one as they were made in an insulting way not a level headed way, especially as I am one who believes in "when in Rome do as the Romans". People who come to Britain for a better life should adapt and adopt our ways and values. We shouldn't have to pander to minorities, be mindful and respectful yes but putting them ahead of the majority??. The concern is by voicing this people scream "racist". It is NOT racist as I ask the simple question: what would happen if your wife or girlfriend went to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia and started wandering around in a skimpy dress swilling back Prosecco? Yes she would be dragged off the street and arrested. A challenging thought I hope. By the way and to prove I live by the standard described Mrs Bleater and I are already learning Japanese and learning about their values and customs because when in Japan do as the Japanese........... Except slaughtering whales.

Monday 6th August: 09:00

Not that she reads this but Happy Birthday Mum. 86 today. She doesn't read this drivel becasue she doesn't have the internet and with five kids, 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren she gets to hear enough nonsense as it is.

What a splendid weekend. Baking temperatures, lots to eat and drink. A splendid way to live, unless you are called "grass". Lawns and for us in sport pitches up and down the length of England are parched and so hard they are positively dangerous. The situation is so bad that the RFU are concerned the domestic season at our level might have to be delayed. Right now I would suggest none of our three main pitches are playable. Lets hope for some rain soon but it will have to be pretty persistent to make any difference.

Elsewhere much is being written about Chris Ashton's recall to the England camp. I stick with my view that there are a few ahead of him in the pecking order. I also wonder what they think up at Sale. You get a guy in who will make a difference and should be available for the entire domestic season then Eddie comes along and throws a curve ball into the mix. Time will tell.

I read that Dan Biggar is making a positive impression in training up in Northampton. Good. Lets wait and see how he can keep that petulant spoilt brat streak under control when the pressure is on during game time.

Shaun Edwards will announce the decision about his future before the season starts. Please stay, at least until after RWC 2019.

The Vunipola boys are staying. They have signed new contracts at Sarries. The Fez Heads will be delighted. The Sarries doctors and physio might be less enthusiastic.

I was delighted to see that Billy Ropiha, yes our Crowborough Billy, is still at Dax and looking to be the starting centre yet again. Well done sir.

Brexit remains in the news and it is getting worse. You could point the finger at Theresa Maybe but I am firmly of the opinion that Msr Barnier is the problem. As I see it his only concern is not the EU but France. After Germany who is going to be asked to fill the budget gap after we leave. Whose farmers are going to be told subsidies will be cut. Whose companies will no longer see the UK as a cash cow for their profits (train & bus companies in particular). Whose politicians are going to come under increasing pressure as the migrant crisis refuses to go away. Answer is France. What nationality is Branier. Yes again. French. Q.E.D.

Not about tomorrow so why not ponder in the meantime what a thieving bunch of ........ Amazon are. They use the global tax rules to avoid paying their fair share here in the UK despite their incredible growth contributing to the collapse of the British High St. It is disgraceful and a sign of weakness that we the British allow it to happen.

Sunday 5th August: 08:30

Another busy day at the club on Friday. The place is looking great. Its almost ready for the new season. A couple more exterior tasks to be done and we'll be set to go. The pitches are not as bad as many but could obviously be a lot better than what they are now. The weather has been relentless with many areas remaining parched. The guys have done a great job but it has been like fighting a losing battle. Hey ho.

The Bard and I went over to Horsham on Thursday to look at their new AGP. It is magnificent. Their other pitches were in a pretty poor state. Dry and dusty so having the AGP is heaven sent for them.

Talking of battles the Super Rugby final wasn't a classic but it was worth watching. The Lions played better than many expected but the Crusaders were simply too good. The home side snuffed out the Lions driving maul and thwarted them at every turn, or almost as the Lions did score a couple of well worked tries. Although the Crusaders had less possession and territory when they had the ball they were impressive. Ruthlessly efficient is how some describe them. That Mo'unga is some player. Any side in the world would want him, except of course the Hurricanes and New Zealand who have Beauden Barrett. I thought Angus Gardner contributed well keeping the game going and taking no nonsense from either side. I felt the home side got the rub of the green on a couple of occasions but lets applaud the man with the whistle too. New Zealand cup rugby up next and then the international series.

Rhys Webb has made an impressive start over in Toulon. He scored a try and set up another and he was lively around the park keeping the opposition on the back foot. The fans were happy, Toulon were happy, Webb was happy. Gatland must be asking himself how can he break the rules to make Webb available for RWC 2019. Wales Online for the full story.

Eddie Jones has been bemoaning the fact that English rugby is not set up as all other nations are (except France). I have been bleating on about this for ages and Eddie agrees, "the clubs retain control of the players and often have conflicting interests that leads to less joined up thinking". He says he is not Alexander the Great. I am sure that there is a link to the issue and the solution but life is too short for me to waste too much time on working that one out. He is right though and again being the arrogant so-and-so that I am I did write about this previously, and that is the clubs style of play is out of kilter with how the international game is going. We saw that in South Africa where the turgid approach to the breakdown left England floundering in the wake of the Boks more fluid approach. He had a dig at the referees and how they approach the game here in England. That is somewhat unfair as the referees can only officiate what is in front of them and a lot of the time it is a very slow unimaginative arm wrestle. It isn't going to change so dear old Eddie is simply going to have to manage. Sky Sports for the full piece that I read.

It is back to the future for England as Chris Ashton gets a recall to England's training camp. He was magnificent for Toulon last season and worthy of the call but wing is not an issue for Jones so I see this as a waste of time. Dylan has been recalled as he continues his fight for full fitness and his battle with concussion issues. (He knows he is in the last chance saloon with regard to HIAs). Will he regain the captaincy is a question Jones must now ponder. I think if he plays he captains the side. I also see James Haskell is in the squad. I can't see Haskell getting back in so why bother. If Jones has recognised that you get a high penalty count with Haskell but you do get someone who is solid at the breakdown then that is why you bother.

Well, well. There is a surprise...... NOT! Quins sign an overseas player....... again! This time former NFL star Paul Laskie has been brought into bolster the centre berth at The Stoop. The New Zealander six times capped by the USA will bring.......... more crash bang wallop. Where is the guile and skill? Sadly nowhere to be seen.

Paul O'Connell joins Stade Francais as forwards coach. Good call by the Parisien outfit.

Finally Scotland's six new semi professional sides will play cross border games against the top six Welsh Premiership outfits. Put player burn out to one side this does make sense as it drives revenue into the new set up in Scotland and helps bolster the flagging revenues of the Welsh sides. It also exposes players on the fringes of regional selection to a slightly higher standard of game.

Now a request. Does anyone have access to a heavy duty, farm scale hedge trimmer. The hedges around the grounds need trimming back to maintain their appearance and to keep them healthy. It is a job too far for the Friday Club. There is also banking that needs attention. Get hold of me if you know anyone who can help, not necessarily for free.

Where next?

Still the Summer Tours Go On Thursday 2nd August: 09:30 Surprise, surprise you can hear those chickens loud and clear as they


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