Monday 20th May - 14:00
Yesterday saw close to 90 people sit down to an excellent lunch at the club, this part of the celebration of our junior section success during 2012/13. It was great to see so many boys, parents, and coaching staff taking time out to enjoy the awards ceremony.
Thanks go to Tony Helliwell, Howard Canning, Mike Berry, Passy and Steve Smith for their contribution to the day, and of course to the season just gone. The under 16s finished a creditable mid-table, especially after the poor start to the season. The boys credit much of their change in fortunes to the coaching of Phil Cooper and Matt Logan, our 1st team captain and vice captain. Ali Main was a deserved winner of Player of the Year.
The under 17s had a difficult season disrupted by many of their players being drafted into the colts squad, the weather, and a lack of opposition at this age group. The boys who stepped up a year did so with great credit. Oli Canning picked up the Player of the Year award.
The Colts / 18s success was unquestionable with the league and cup double under their belt. The boys turned up in force, and as they have all season, behaved impeccably. Sadly many of the boys will be unavailable next year as they go to university, but the future of the club is looking promising with several of the squad ready to push for 1st XV places. Lloyd Smith picked up Player of the Year, but a very large cheer was reserved for Ellis Brockett who having only started playing a season ago won most improved player.
I personally took great pleasure in awarding the Colts Clubman of the Year to Steve Smith. Smithy has been a fixture at the club for the last 12 years. Through thick and thin he has been ever present, managing all aspects of the admin of the squad, having to make literally 1000s of calls during that period, and more latterly putting up with two difficult characters in me and Passy. As I said yesterday it is difficult to know how to mark loyalty of this nature but in this case it was easy. We have decided to make Steve a Honorary Vice President, one of the highest honours the club can bestow on its members. Welcome to a very elite group of people.
During lunch I did come in for criticism for saying Wilkinson didn't have a particularly good game in Dublin on Saturday. I stand by that. I see he has been named European player of the season which will heighten the clamour for him to be included as a late addition to The Lions squad. Yes he has had a good season but as I have said it was behind a pretty dominant pack of forwards. In Australia will is body hold up, will he be able to take the pressure behind a pack that isn't guaranteed to dominate proceedings. I don't think so.
As Toulon celebrate their cup success is it time to ask is money going to ruin rugby? I have already highlighted the plight of Welsh rugby as many of its top stars leave the Principality in pursuit of the cash. Kids become less interested in the game without stars to watch, the junior clubs suffer as the leading clubs suck up more of the local talent to fill the void which then leaves the lowest tier of the game on a precipice of collapse. This is becoming true in England too. You only have to look around Sussex where many clubs struggle to put out squads across the age groups, where clubs can now only field one side where previously they may have fielded three. Much of this is a result of the cash rich, ambitious clubs sucking away talent. I hear allegations of clubs not that far from us trying to lure away players as young as 14. This is all fine and dandy whilst the money lasts. What happens if the cash dries up? I know this is the way of the world but...................
I am sure you have your own view on this.
Sunday 19th May - 09:30
The weekend's European rugby turned out to be worth watching after all. Leinster were superb in their demolition of Stade Francais with the Lions contingent a) coming through unscathed and b) proving why they are in the Lions squad. Rob Kearney in particular was outstanding.
The all French clash was a bit of a slug fest in the 1st half but came alive in the 2nd. It wasn't a classic of running rugby but was a tense affair which went to the wire. I think Clermont Auvergne were the better side overall but Toulon took their one clear cut chance, and with their resolute defence they were able to hang for the win. Johnny Wilkinson was ok but the fact he bounced off two or three tackles, and his safety first approach, proved to me why he isn't going to Australia.
I see that O'Gara has retired and will take up a coaching role in France. Another great player brings the curtain down on an illustrious career. His performance as a pundit yesterday was not great but I am sure he will cut the mustard in a coaching capacity.
The Ozzie squad to face The Lions has been announced and for Lions fans I guess the absence of Quade Cooper will be the news story. I know he has a 'history' with Robbie Deans but omitting a true game changer, a player with flair, does seem to be somewhat heavy handed. The squad is one of transition so players will be keen to make a mark for the future so 'Watch out you Lions'.
I am disappointed to announce that Sir Alex, Becks and Scholesy have turned down the opportunity to manage one of our boot fairs.
Sir Alex said : Boots, I only throw them I don't manage them
Becks replied : Sorry, Victoria expects me to be doing the ironing and other housework on Sundays since we became strapped for clash and our cleaner left us.
Scholesy said : I'mmmmmm ................... (at least we got a mumble out of him)
I hope you are all booking your flights to Berlin now that the city has opened its Barbie museum, including a full size Barbie mansion.
The EU are going to ban refillable olive oil bottles and dipping dishes of olive oil in restaurants. I am absolutely delighted that the huge contribution we are making to the mandarins of the EU in Brussels is being put to good use.
Talking of Europe, well done to Denmark for winning the Eurovision song contest. I am sure you all would have been glued to the TV last night for this annual extravaganza. I certainly was................................................ I watched the The Dam Busters. What a great film.
If I had been watching I would have given my douze points to the singer from Belarus.
Finally spare a thought for the winner of the US Powerball Lottery who has just picked up a cool £388m. Their lives will have changed in an instant and NOT necessarily for the better. Think of all the begging letters that will soon hit their doormat..............................
Dear Friend, I have just had to retire from my job at 38 because I am getting past it. I have a wife and four kids to support. My wife can't get a job and the kids need new stuff constantly. It is so bad that we can't get no help from nowhere. Please can you send me a few pounds to help me out. Love David B
Friday 17th May - 07:40
Firstly let me thank Eddie Bridges and Geoff Dagwell who represented the club at Kenny Gordon's funeral on Wednesday. It was important we as a club were represented as Kenny was a good friend of ours. He'll be missed.
On Sunday the under 16s, under 17s and under 18s have their annual awards lunch. We have close to 90 people booked in which is a tremendous sign for the future.
A great weekend of rugby beckons, but only if you have Sky. The Super 15 match-ups look good. Tonight is the Amlin final, with Warren Gatland watching on nervously in case of injury. Tomorrow the Heineken Cup Final should be worth a watch but....................................... there is a risk that by having two French clubs present it may mean an arm wrestle rather than a free flowing cup final. Dublin will be awash with Gallic shrugs, hairy armpits, and whingeing Frenchmen muttering zut alors everywhere they go.
If you have an iPad, iPhone, or for the ladies an iRon (I jest of course as you can't down apps to an iRon) then you should download the Lions App. It is free and it is very informative.
Yesterday the BBC news channel was warning that retirement is not good for you. People become lethargic, don't get enough exercise, lack social interaction, get bored and depressed. This clearly doesn't apply to Crowborough's very own last of the summer winers. It would be good to find time to be lethargic as opposed to banging, screwing, tarmacking, cleaning, etc, etc, etc. If you have retired and are concerned about your health then come and join us. We have plenty of jobs that can be done. If you have retired and you are concerned about your sanity then definitely come and join like minded idiots who have the brains of a rocking horse and memories of goldfish................................ now what was I saying????
Seriously, we have plenty for volunteers to do, and actually we have a great laugh doing it. We wouldn't do it otherwise.
I see David Beckham has now retired joining Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Scholes. Now I like my football, and after Leicester City and Cardiff City, Manchester United are a team to support, but the coverage of these retirements are totally over the top. You'd think royalty had died. I am also guessing that none of the above will find it financially tough in retirement. Unlike some others I know.
By the way I have asked all three of them if they'd be happy to manage one of our boot fairs. I'll publish their answers tomorrow.
One serious point today. I am delighted that so many members are wearing their club kit around the town. Can I remind everyone that when they do so, by default they are representing the club, so their behaviour should be commensurate with the high standards we set for our members.
Tuesday 14th May - 12:54 ADDENDUM
Tuesday 14th May - 10:26
Several thousand people around Britain will be getting excited today as tickets and final arrangements arrive for their trips to Australia for The British & Irish Lions tour. The squad, minus those lucky enough to be in play off finals, mustered in London yesterday. I am sure, despite the press reports, that Gatland is nervous about players getting injured. Equally players desperate not to miss out will be fearing injury. In my view this is the worse case scenario. Players must go flat out as any holding back actually leaves them open to injury.
Either way it is going to be a splendid tour.
I read with some sadness that Ollie Redman has been sacked by Worcester. Obviously Dean Ryan is setting out his stall and wants his own men around him. I've had the pleasure of meeting Ollie on several occasions and he is a top guy and an excellent coach. I am certain someone will snap him up quickly.
Equally I find it bizarre that Man City have sacked yet another manager. There is more to this story than meets the eye, but it seems strange a manager who has taken them to the Premier League title and several cup wins gets the boot. Shame the country can't do the same to my old mate Bob and the bearded wonder Abu Qatada.
There was a great line on the BBC Sports website; England ladies outperform the men at the IRB Sevens. The way England men played against Wales I think it might be difficult to tell the difference. ;-)
Brighton & Hove Albion fans will be disappointed at not reaching the play-off finals following last nights defeat to Crystal Palace. Many sports clubs around the county will be heaving a small sigh of relief as the draw of Premier Football locally would be strong, thus clubs losing spectators at their own events would be high.
The RFU and Sussex RFU are already working hard on ensuring that Sussex, as a county, can exploit the opportunity the RWC 2015 offers, as the Amex Stadium is involved. Rest assured I'm on that case as well.
Monday 13th May - 10:50
I know its been some days since my last blog but I have been rather busy. A trip to Harrogate, a trip to Wales (to see how my mother-in-law is coping after her heart surgery), a boot fair yesterday, and of course the two awards evenings.
Friday night was the turn of our under 13's, 14's, and 15's to receive their accolades. A very large number of the players turned up supported by a very large number of the parents. In fact, an EXCELLENT turn out. The season was a mixed bag in terms of results, with some squads struggling to win, and others turning on the style and winning when a win wasn't expected. The things that made me pleased, whatever the outcome of the season, were the boys enjoyed the season, they represented the club admirably at all times, the enthusiasm of the coaches and parents is infectious, and they are already chomping at the bit ready for next season.
The award winners were justly proud of their achievements and I congratulate each and every one of them.
Additionally I thank again the coaches and parents for their support.
I do worry slightly about my friend Mr Kisbee's squad though. There is definitely a 'keeping up with the Jones's' mentality amongst the boys. As soon as one boy breaks a leg, two others follow, likewise with arms. Sam Kisbee broke his collar-bone some months ago setting the trend for another two to follow suit in quick succession. I am delighted to say they have all, or are all making excellent recoveries and will be back ready to play in September.
Saturday night was a brilliant affair The senior awards were very well attended and what gladdened my heart was the cross section of people attending. 1st, 2nd, 3rd XV players, coaches, the 'faithful', parents, mini coaches, junior coaches, sponsors and advertisers. The speakers got it spot on and the atmosphere was one of good humour', celebration, and above all, friendship. Sandy and the crew did their usual 1st class job, and Rosie was a star as compare and organiser.
The award winners are too numerous to mention but well done to all of you. A great job indeed.
I will pick out two award winners, Steve McCabe, and Ed Atkins.
Steve has been a playing servant for more years than I can remember. As he rapidly approaches his mid 50s (yes I jest, it is mid 60s) he has decided enough is enough. Having been a SIGNIFICANT part of the team that gained promotion this season it seems right and proper for him to go out on a high. Without question, and quite rightly he got the loudest cheer of the night. Thanks Steve for what you've done for us.
Ed has decided to leave the club and try his hand at Barnes next season. Naturally this is very disappointing but fully understandable. Ed lives close to Barnes RFC, and works in the city, so getting to and from London in time for training twice a week, and the hassle of doing so again on a Saturday is demoralising. He has been outstanding for us and feels he wants to see if he can 'cut the mustard' at the higher level Barnes play at. He goes with our blessing as we know his spiritual home is Steel Cross, and likewise he was justifiably player of year for the superb season he had last year.
(pictures from Saturday are attached)
In other news yesterday's boot fair was poorly attended, but still worth doing. We are DESPARATE for volunteers to make these happen. You only have to do one so please come forward and offer your help. The dates are in the news section.
I see Leicester demolished Quins on Saturday in the first of the Aviva play off semi finals. They looked awesome and Tom Croft was outstanding. I was surprised to see Northampton beating Saracens but I think that is good news for the final. The biggest of local rivals, two very talented teams, and a tremendous fan base will make for a great day out.
Gatland must be sweating a bit with a number of Lions squad members now committed to play in that game. Likewise with Leinster having several games yet to play he must be worried about B.O'D.
My photo of the day is of Bethan Reeves (the daughter of our good friend and former club catering manager Trevor) with the Lions captain Sam Warburton.
Tuesday 7th May - 10:50
As the dust settles on the season we can now look forward to the awards dinners and celebrating our successes. Places are still available for all dinners but you do need to move fast. Contact Sandy for details.
What happens on tour stays on tour but I do hope our lads have had a great time in Magaluf playing in the annual beach rugby festival.
This morning I presented Christine Straker with the £600 we raised at the dinner dance. (See the photo). Unsurprisingly she was delighted with our contribution, as was Dylan, who was in Crowborough this weekend doing something as part of a memorial at the football club.
As you know I have been a long time fan of Stuart Barnes, and his normally erudite assessments of the state of the game we hold so dear. I do disagree with him this morning however when I read his piece on the SKY Sports Website (app). It includes some pretty tenuous statistics and is pretty disparaging towards the Welsh contingent in The Lions squad. If you follow Barnesy's logic it appears Scotland are the most successful team against Australia in recent years so the squad should be predominantly Scottish. I thought my use of statistics was poor but this is just bizarre.
The Welsh theme continues as the team manager of the Barbarians to face The Lions in the warm up game in Hong Kong is led by Derek Quinnell. It will come as no shock therefore that the squad includes a number of current Welsh players. It is a classy squad, one that will give The Lions a real test.
We have agreed the club will be open for all The Lions Saturday matches. Watch this space for more details.
In other sports news I see Wolves have sacked their manager, Dean Saunders, after just 20 games. I am not sure what some of these soccer clubs expect when they appoint their managers.
In other news I am delighted to see that Bob 'the pain in the neck' Crow is back in the news. Northern Rail allegedly employs 3rd party, agency or sub-contracted staff to work at stations, about 270 of them. The lovely Bob is demanding they be sacked or employed by National Rail. So let me get this right. In London one RMT driver got sacked for gross misconduct so good ole Bob called everybody out on strike to support him. Whereas in the North, because the agency staff are not part of his 'Red Army', he wants to throw them out on the streets. Bob, that is crass hypocrisy. You want people in jobs earning a living, it should be irrelevant whether they are part of your union or not. They work as hard as your members, they get well looked after, the trains continue to run. If agency staff makes your life more difficult then HOORAH! Welcome to the world many, many hard working families find themselves in compared to you in the extremely high paid job you enjoy.
Monday 6th May - 10:30
I think I must be dreaming - it's a bank holiday and not only is the sun shining but it is pleasantly warm to boot. This was much as it was yesterday. I hear from various sources that the mini awards & fun day went fantastically well and the weather was great. The pre-match fun of dads & coaches vs The Crows went well with some very impressive battle scars to show for it. Apparently the assault course was a scream and the kids loved it. I am sorry I couldn't make it but the Colts were my priority yesterday. Well done to Gavin R, Sandy and her team and everyone who took part. The club is proud of you.
I was at East Grinstead watching a thrilling game played in great spirit by two excellent sides. Our Colts were superb in defence, and this was probably where the game was won, alongside us making fewer errors at crucial moments. Pulborough, many of the boys still only 17, were excellent out wide, and played with a high tempo when they secured good ball. The forward battle was excellent and we edged this area with some timely and crucial turnovers, and us being able to set up a solid platform from the scrummage. At two tries apiece the game was settled by the trusty boot of Rob St Pierre. An excellent game and the future looks good for both clubs.
I have thanked East Grinstead for hosting the game along with Mike Richardson and Ken Nicholls for all their work within the county to make these things possible.
The Pulborough report is here, ours will follow, photos of the boys following the win against Guernsey and Pulborough are attached
The Colts have had a tremendous season winning both the league and cup. It is a very fitting way for Steve Smith to end his junior involvement. Steve has been involved with the boys aged 6 through to yesterday. He has been a star, and the club will mark his contribution in a very appropriate way shortly.
On a sadder note, Steve's partner in driving this group of lads forward, Pete Groenen, has suffered a stroke. I understand he is making good progress towards a recovery, and we at the club wish him a speedy and complete recovery.
On Saturday the under 16s travelled to Poole to play in a 7-a-side tournament. I understand we got knocked out in the quarter finals, but as always we represented ourselves well and players and the numerous supporters enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
Yesterday's Colts performance, alongside the SUPERB contribution of the minis and our other junior teams, sitting alongside the highest ever league positions for 1sts, 2s and The Crows gives us our VERY BEST ever finish to the season. A BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT OUTCOME. THANK YOU.
The 'Faithful', and the parents, have been instrumental in making this happen. The numbers at Saturday's 2s game, and at yesterday's Colts game, and finally those attending the mini awards day are a testament to this support. THANK YOU TO YOU TOO.
As a footnote, Newport County won the Blue Square Conference play off
Sunday 5th May - 09:40
Its just a few hours before the Colts take on Pulborough in the county cup final at East Grinstead RFC. Its going to be a tough game with Pulborough being an excellent young side. We are ready though.
The Friday night dinner dance was superb. Gary Llewellyn did a great job in pulling it all together and Barnsgate Manor did us proud. The feedback has been very, very positive. The attendees generosity was also notable with £600 being raised for Christine Straker of www.sax.co.uk to donate to the MS Resource Centre. Thanks to all who gave. The money raised from the sale of Dylan's shirt will go towards the cost of new training equipment for the club which will be used by all players from minis through to seniors.
John 'Damper' Sayer has drawn my attention to a great article about Billy Ropiha. Hit the link...............
Billy obviously enjoyed his stay at the club and our fame has now spread down under.
Yesterday saw a strong 2s beat Hove IVs 86 - 0. Some of the rugby was excellent with Alex Crouch and young Connor Hands standing out amongst the try scorers. The 2s season has now finished, as has the 3s with next weeks game vs Newick being conceded in our favour. The boys can now start preparing for next season in Sussex 1 and the 3s to mount a challenge for promotion.
As promised we marked Kenny Gordon's passing with an impeccably observed one minutes silence before the kick off. I believe the funeral will be on May 15th. Eddie Bridges will attend on behalf of the club.
The Lions remain centre stage as the pundits continue to chew over the selections. Bryn Palmer of the BBC has written a particularly well balanced piece for the BBC Sports Page of their website.
The Aviva and Pro 12 seasons have finished with Saracens and Ulster taking top spot respectively.
I was horrified to hear this morning that a soccer referee has died in the US after being hit by a player who was frustrated at being sent off. What is the world coming to?
Today is a historic day for ENGLISH football. The ENGLISH Blue Square Conference final takes place at Wembley between two ...................................................... WELSH sides. Newport County and Wrexham fight it out for promotion to League 2. Sadly this is another reason why Welsh rugby is struggling.
As promised I have analysed the local election results and came up with the conclusion that 95% of readers aren't interested in my analysis, 3% are interested, but still struggling with hangovers so can be bothered to read it, and 2% still think Winston Churchill is Prime Minister.
Politics is a dangerous area to comment on, but I am guessing that three things have given rise to UKIPs dramatic rise in popularity: 1. the usual mid term protest against the Government, 2. their recommendations on (European) immigration, 3. their view on the European Human Rights bill. My view on these are ......................................... my views, and that is how it will stay.
Friday 3rd May - 08:45
Where does the time go? Here we are in May already with just 1 senior game left in the season and 4 weeks before the Lions kick off in Hong Kong.
There are still some places left for the senior awards dinner on Sat May 11th. PLEASE do not wait to be invited, give Sandy a call and get your seat booked. The FAITHFUL are DEFINITELY invited so please come along. You are as much part of the success as the players.
The 2s take pride of place at Steel Cross tomorrow, this is a top of the table clash vs Hove. A league decider, so do come along and give the boys your support. Kick Off 3pm.
On Sunday May 5th over at East Grinstead the Colts play Pulborough in the county cup final. Kick Off 2pm. This will be a tight game and well worthy of a trip across country to EG to support the next crop of 1st XV players.
The mini awards are on the same day and they have their normal dads and coaches vs 3rd XV extravaganza beforehand. Sadly I wont be there to watch but this will be fun.
BOOT FAIRS - they start again on May 12th and then every other weekend. If you can help at any of these give me a call.
I read with interest the list of RWC 2015 venues. Great news for the region that the Amex Stadium, Brighton has been chosen. I know the county and The RFU are looking to do something special around these games. I will fight hard to ensure we are part of that action.
The RFU are making a big thing of the legacy they expect from the tournament. So they should, but why then have they chosen so many soccer stadiums for the event. Welford Road and Franklin Gardens have missed out to Leicester City and Milton Keynes Dons. The commercial reality of modern stadiums with a larger capacity obviously is driving the decision but I think it is an opportunity missed that we are not using two of our premier rugby venues for this global event.
I see Sky have won the right to broadcast the Pro12 games. Shame that it is being taken off terrestrial TV but I'm guessing this is in advance of Sky losing a significant junk of the Aviva Premiership to BT Vision.
Must go, eagerly awaiting all the local election results. I'll be doing a full statistical analysis of the results for you tomorrow or Sunday. Yer, of course I am serious.
Tuesday 30th April - 11:15
The Lions for 2013 are now known.
Surprises first : for me Matt Stevens jumps out. I hadn't expected him to be in, neither did I expect Dan Cole or Vunipola to make the trip, especially after some disappointing scrummaging performances in the 6 Nations. Rory Best missing out is a big surprise. Its great for us that Dylan is going. Its another landmark in his career and by default a great honour for CRFC. To be fair though, Best has been the better play this season.
In the back row the big story for many will be Dan Lydiate in, Chris Robshaw out. It comes as no surprise to those who follow Welsh rugby as Lydiate is a world class player, and only injury has kept him out of the limelight this season.
I guess the other surprises will be the fact that they are only taking two outside halves, and that Tommy Bowe made it, despite, like Lydiate, being injured for long periods during the season.
The obvious next : Warburton as captain was pretty certain to be Gatland's choice once he had regained his form. The backs are pretty much in line with most peoples' expectations.
Johnny Wilkinson not on the plane, in MY OPINION, is no surprise. He has played well but its been pretty much in an armchair behind a great set of forwards. Against the Aussies things will be different so is he still robust enough to take the pressure.
O'Connell making the cut ahead of Launchbury is a good call due to O'Connell's vast experience in the pressure cooker of intense world rugby.
The unlucky : Robshaw, Best, and Launchbury obviously. In my opinion Laidlaw of Scotland could count himself unlucky, and I think young Weir could've made it as a 3rd No.10 if he hadn't suffered a serious leg break recently.
I think it is a pretty good squad. Strengths will be the back row, an abundance of riches, and the back line will be robust whatever the line up. Weaknesses will be the front row. In an open game I think the balance is good, in an attritional battle I fear, outside the Welsh props, the others are vulnerable.
I will put off the guesswork around the starting 15 for some weeks as there is still plenty of rugby to be played, and the risk of injury is high.
I'd be interested to hear your views, and see how they differ with mine.
One bit of CLUB NEWS. The Colts game at East Grinstead on Sunday kicks off at 14:00 and NOT at 14:30 as previously advertised.
One bit of VERY SAD county news. Kenny Gordon, Sussex RFU President, passed away in the early hours of this morning. Kenny was a great character, a great supporter of grass roots rugby and a very good friend of Crowborough RFC. He was vociferous in his support of how we do things, and we are very grateful for that. Eddie Bridges has kindly sent the family the club's condolences. I will be proposing that we have a moment of silence prior to our 2nd XV game on Saturday, and at the cup final Sunday.
Monday 29th April - 12:30
What a difference a day makes. There I was last Thursday eulogising about the wonderful weather to work in. Well let me tell you digging and scraping and moving earth in the pouring rain, with frozen hands is NOT fun at all. That's what the eight of us had to put up with on Friday. To our credit we managed to move over 10 tons of earth, 30 tons of hardcore and 40 tons of road planings to deliver something vaguely resembling a car park. At times it was a bit like watching a cross between 'Waiting for God', 'The Last of the Summer Wine', and 'The Boys From The Black Stuff'. Thank you all.
Moving on to Saturday, it was great that 25 of us sat down for lunch prior to the 2s taking Plumpton apart. They played really well in front of a large and vociferous crowd winning quite comfortably. A win that finally confirmed promotion to Sussex 1. This is a fantastic result for a great squad, led admirably by 'Major' Adams, and of course 'Faz'.
I must also congratulate our under 11s who hosted Westcliff RFC in the two curtain raisers to the big game. The boys conducted themselves with excellence and we were deemed to be great hosts by our new touring friends. To all those who participated and supported the boys; THANK YOU. Jackie Eyres in particular was great as she flew around the pitch as Charlie the Crow.
Yesterday was another fine example of what we can deliver in terms of supporting the county and putting us right up there with other very well run clubs. Sandy and team delivered a great lunch and great service to all 6 teams taking part yesterday. Micky Dynan and Jackie were great in marshalling the traffic, and Ian Geering, Eddie, John W and Colin F helped considerable as the 'welcome party'. Congratulations to Holbrook and Ditchling for winning their respective finals. The 2nd of the two games being a very tight affair. I will be trying to find out how the young Worthing player who got carted off to hospital is later today.
The Colts secured the league title yesterday in a very tight game vs Guernsey. Whilst the boys played well in the 1st half they slackened off in the 2nd, which coincided with Guernsey lifting their game. It was a very well deserved result for the boys who can now move onto to next Sunday's cup final against Pulborough with confidence. I must say a big THANK YOU to the 'faithful' who turned up to support. It was brilliant to have you there, even if you took great pleasure in baiting, and berating the home touch judge.
In other club news I am DELIGHTED to announce that Penny Willcox will take over the duties as Junior Chair from John Gibb. I am really sad that John can't continue due to the pressure of work but know that Penny will be a superb replacement. She has been involved in the running of the club before, was instrumental as player and coach in the women's team we ran some years ago, she has great organisational skills and is passionate about helping the youngsters develop their rugby careers. Welcome on board Penny.
We are now less than 24 hours from the announcement of the Lions' Squad. Tomorrow's blog will be an analysis of the selection.
Thursday 25th April - 14:00
What a gorgeous day for driving a digger, a dumper, or swinging a sledgehammer. That's what messrs Pratt, Drew & Graeme, Eddie Bridges, Rick Howe, Graham Cooper, Andy Hunter and myself have been doing. We have been clearing the remaining car park area and filling with hardcore ready to be coated with planings. A huge thank you to Dad's army for their tireless work. Equally young John Wilmshurst has kept us plied with sandwiches and pizza, and copious amounts of tea and coffee. THANK YOU guys and see you again tomorrow to get the job completed.
Please can you let Sandy know asap if you are going to join us for Saturday's lasagne.
Places really are going fast for the awards dinner. If you are interested you must let Rosie and Sandy know soonest.
Yesterday, I along with Coops Snr, Daggers, Andy Nicoll and several other of 'the faithful' watched Beacon Academy lose very narrowly to Seaford College. It was a splendid game, the better side won, but Beacon's (OUR) boys were magnificent in defeat. Welld done to all and well done to the Beacon kids who came along to watch and were a credit to the school.
I see Cipriani has been knocked down by a bus in Leeds. Haven't read the full story but hope he is ok.
Andy 'the buggy king' Powell is off to rugby league. He'll do well there.
Neil 'Jinks' Jenkins is going to Oz as kicking coach. Great choice being Welsh of course.
I see Suarez got 10 week ban - GOOD!
Finally Abu Qatada. Dear Ms May, please can you hire a plane, put him on it and send him to Jordan tomorrow. It apears that there are 100's of thousands of people in this country who flout the law and get away with it so why don't you take a leaf out of their book. He is costing the tax payer money, he is an insult to OUR human rights, he is a danger to society. He MUST go.
Wednesday 24th April - 07:20
As the dust settles on the 1st XV fixtures, and the tremendous season we've enjoyed, we are now turning our attention to the 2s, The Crows and The Colts. Ian Geering has put a complete schedule of the remaining games in the news section. Please have a look as there some important league and cup games coming up. The 2s are very close to promotion, the Colts are very close to winning a league and cup double, plus the county finals we are hosting will be worth watching. Please give the boys your support.
On Saturday Sandy is putting on a lasagne lunch for just £10. Give her a call and book a seat and then enjoy the 2s tough fixture against Plumpton.
The awards dinners are getting closer too. Places are going fast. Please contact John Gibb for the junior dinner, Mark Rosier for the senior awards dinner and me for the Colts (inc 16s). As I say places are going fast so book now.
As a sign of the season we've had, no less than FIVE players have been asked to represent the county in the up coming fixtures. WELL DONE Matt Botterman, Matt Logan, Tom Carruthers, Ed Atkins, and Michael O'Sullivan. We are all proud of you.
Today Beacon Academy play their cup final at Hove RFC, K.O. 3pm. I am going along to support the boys. I still have seats available if you want to join me and Coops Snr. Call me on my mobile.
In the next day or three I'll be sending out the Boot Fair schedule. As in previous years it would be great to have your help.
Talking of help can you spare me an hour or two on Sunday to help with parking. We have a couple of team coaches, plus many cars to accommodate and this needs some direction. Most other tasks are under control. Volunteers will be needed from 10am and then again from 1pm.
In other rugby news, the power of the French clubs money continues to be enticing players from the home countries. The exodus from Wales especially is a cause for concern. At a local level, despite the success of the national side, the game is in a very sick state. Previously large clubs are struggling to put out a single side, the regions are in chaos as they simply cannot compete with the budgets of English and French clubs, and the WRU is still in the dark ages in terms of its constitution and make up.
Outside rugby what is Suarez on. If he had bitten somebody in the street he'd be on bail now for a serious criminal assault. Lets see what the FA do.
Monday 22nd April - 09:30
This morning several people will be struggling with hangovers. I for one clambered out of bed later than normal. It was a great weekend and therefore a hangover is probably justified.
Spring finally sprung on Saturday and the 2nds put up a splendid performance vs Ditchling to all but guarantee promotion. The 'faithful' travelled in their numbers to watch this entertaining encounter. 'Major's' boys played with spirit and skill and could have won by more if they had been more precise in their passing and support play in the 1st half. That said Ditchling played with heart, and most definitely dominated the last 20 minutes. Our team spirit was excellent and thanks to the support of Kitch, our 2nd XV sponsor, they looked great on and off the field. Thank you to all who took part: players and supporters.
The Colts put up a sterling effort against a very strong Crawley side. With several front lines players involved with the 1st XV the side was depleted, but there are no excuses. Crawley are a very good side and worthy winners yesterday.
The main event on Sunday was splendid. Hastings & Bexhill RFC put on an excellent show. The welcome, buffet and organisation were top drawer and we'll have to go some to match their performance when we host two finals next week. Once again the 'faithful' were there in their droves. I say THANK YOU and the boys say THANK YOU. It makes a huge difference. The boys played brilliantly and in the 1st half were almost perfect. The support play and technical ability was great, resulting in some stunning tries. In the 2nd half H&W RFC were much more cohesive and for long periods were over-powering our forwards and thwarting our backs. This enabled them to score two very well taken tries. On balance we deserved the win to round off a great season.
There two aspects of the H&W RFC performance that really impressed me. For long periods their defence was superb. Zero missed tackles, the attack play moving backwards, not forwards, and the speed of reorganisation was great. The other was the performance of their Colts stepping up to 1st XV rugby. The 10, 13, and hooker all stood out in particular. Looking at their Colts sitting at the top of their league plus their performance yesterday the future is bright.
Off the field the two sets of supporters enjoyed the day, and I enjoyed putting the world to rights with the senior members of Heathfield & Waldron. It was a great day.
There was one sour note that came to light later in the day, and I'll be dealing with that accordingly.
To round off the weekend, thanks to Sandy for giving up her Sunday evening to allow the boys and supporters to celebrate back at the club.
Also as I was leaving last night I heard how fantastically well the under 16s did at the Worthing 7s. Having won game after game they fell at the last hurdle by losing narrowly to Teddington in the CUP FINAL. Well done boys.
Elsewhere congratulations to Tunbridge Wells on gaining promotion at the first attempt. I look forward to the local derby vs them next season.
Friday 19th April - 09:00
It is with some sadness that I announce that Nick Oldham has decided to leave Crowborough RFC. On behalf of the club I thank Nick for everything he has achieved at CRFC and wish him all the best at his new club. His last game in charge will be the Bob Rogers Cup Final on Sunday. I am certain the boys will be determined to give him the send off he deserves.
In answer to your first question, yes, we are already actively looking for a high quality coach to replace Nick. More on this will follow when appropriate.
Sunday is a big game for the boys, and armed with this news, I am certain they will be ready not only to retain the cup, but also to say 'good-bye' to Nick. They will be taking nothing for granted however as H&W RFC are a very good side, as we saw two weeks ago, and a chance for silverware will give them the motivation they need.
Whilst the day two weeks ago was excellent, I am not going to hide behind rose tinted glasses by saying everything was perfect. There were a few disappointing and unacceptable aspects to the day, on & off the field. The boys have been told in no uncertain terms that we have to represent the club, the county and the game itself to the highest standards possible. Likewise I am asking the 'faithful' to be loud and proud but to respect the officials, the players and our good friends at H&W RFC in a way that we would want to be treated ourselves.
I think there are still some seats available on the coaches. Call Ian G as soon as possible.
The 2s face a tricky game vs Ditchling on Saturday. If you would prefer to be dragged around the shops or the DIY stores so be it, otherwise get yourselves down to Ditchling to support their lads in their final push for promotion.
There are no games at the club on Saturday but the Colts do have a game on Sunday. If you are not able to travel to Hastings & Bexhill then why not pop to Steel Cross to see the next generation of senior plays in action. K.O. 11am.
The mini tour last weekend was a fantastic success. I took the opportunity to speak to them on Friday before they left and realised that in Tracey Radford the mini section have a truly bright star. She had everything organised down to the smallest detail, and on behalf of the club, and the minis, I say THANKS. The tour was fun and they competed well in the rugby tournaments and competed hard in the extra-curricula activities too. I understand that the beach rugby saw a number of tourists receive injuries, and that was the parents. Some very impressive bruising was in evidence as the bus returned to Steel Cross. Well done all, a great job.
Talking of minis ,I was very remiss yesterday as I forgot the U/10s will be representing the club at the East Sussex festival in Brighton on Sunday 28th April. It is a great achievement to get to the county finals so good luck to all.
Good luck to T. Wells tomorrow vs Folkestone. It would be great to have another local derby on our fixture list next season.
Thursday 18th April - 09:30
I am going to start with a plea. I have received another anonymous letter, which I would normally dismiss because I believe people should have the courage of their convictions, however, the letter includes a number of good points, and raises very valid concerns about some recent events. I have good reason to believe the author reads this blog so I ask him to contact me on 0787 963 1245 to discuss the points made, IN THE STRICTEST CONFIDENCE. I would like to update the author on some actions we have already taken with regard to his comments, and some of the plans we have to address others.
If, as may be the case, some of the points relate to me personally, then I ask him to contact any of the club's Executive, who have read, and have copies of the letter, for the same discussion. This again will be in THE STRICTEST OF CONFIDENCE.
To other readers I apologise for the 1-2-1 nature of the above message, but as I have stated before the Executive, and me personally, take criticism, complaints and suggestions seriously. If we are to take the club forward we have to act in the right way and listen to such feedback fully, hence my plea.
I couldn't bring myself to blog on Tuesday as I didn't think it appropriate following the terrible attack on innocent men, women and children in Boston. To think that someone can stoop so low as to carry out this hideous act against a global sporting event beggars belief.
I will update you on the weekend's game and other important news tomorrow. Below I summarise some of the key activities beyond Sunday 21st.
Wednesday 24th April - Beacon Academy play in the county cup final at Hove RFC. Passy's squad contains a number of our colts and several of our up and coming youngsters. I intend to go and have space for four passengers if anyone is interested.
Saturday 27th April - The 2s play their crucial penultimate league fixture at Steel Cross. I urge the 'faithful' to turn up and give this great squad the support they deserve.
Sunday 28th April - We host two county cup finals. k.o. 12noon and 2-30pm. This will be a good day so join us for the fun. I'll also need some help with parking duties, etc. On the same day the Colts are at home in a crucial league decider. This might be the best game of the day.
Friday May 3rd - There are still JUST A FEW places left for the dinner dance at Barnsgate Manor. If you haven't yet got a seat then please contact Gary Llewellyn soonest.
Sunday May 5th - The minis hold their annual awards day whilst the colts play in the county cup final at EG. Two great events worthy of your support me thinks :-)
Friday May 10th - the juniors hold their awards night. Should be a good one.
Saturday 11th May - the seniors hold their annual awards night. This will be a big event. Places will be limited so if you are interested please contact Mark Rosier to express your interest.
Sunday 19th May - the colts (16, 17, 18s) hold their awards lunch. Hopefully with much to celebrate this will be a great afternoon.
Finally some really good news. Last Sunday Jackie Coleman from Sussex RFU audited the club as part of the RFU's on-going safeguarding policies. I am delighted to say her report was glowing in its praise for how we manage our junior and mini sections. This is testimony to the truly exceptional contribution of Frances Davies, Gavin Richardson, John Gibb and ALL, there are too many to mention, the mini coaches, junior coaches, admin support teams, parents and the kids themselves.
The Executive Committee is hugely grateful for their contribution and ask all readers who have contact with the minis and juniors to pass on these thanks when appropriate.
Monday 15th April - 14:00
Ian Geering has gotten his abacus out and calculated that following the 2nd teams EXCELLENT win over Hellingly on Saturday they only need 1 more point from 3 games to secure promotion. 'Major' Adams and Faz have done a great job with the 2s, and the fact they now train regularly as a (complete senior) squad, bolstered by the up and coming colts has made them a force to be reckoned with.
I understand the conditions were awful and the A Pitch is now wrecked is something we will have to deal with in the next few days. The 2s have a big game at home of the 27th, and we have the two county finals on the 28th, so I hope they have not jeopardised them as a consequnce.
Let me take my mercenary financial hat off and put my rugby hat back on; let this situation not detract from an outstanding performance. WELL DONE GUYS.
As a post script to Ian 'the soothsayer' Geering's forecast I thought young Matt Tyler summed up the squad's feelings when he wrote, and I paraphrase; ' forget one point and going up on a technicality, we have three games to go, we can win them all, and even catch Crawley'.
Thank you for your e:mails about the blogs this past week. I was particularly pleased with the mails reinforcing my perception on how well we played on Saturday at Brighton. The more I hear the more it sounds as if we really were outstanding. There was one sad note and this being the serious shoulder dislocation sustained by Rosie. It sounds bad with surgery required. We wish him a speedy recovery. I don't like the sound of how it was incurred and I'll be looking into that closely.
In other rugby news I see that the inevitable has now been confirmed and London Welsh are relegated. It is sad after the fight they put up to get promoted in the first place, but rules are rules, and they transgressed them.
In other sports news, if you can call it that, what an outrageous act of thuggery by Man City's Aguero on Chelsea's Luiz. If that two footed lunge doesn't get punished then the FA only have themselves to blame when idiots think it is acceptable that other forms of violence are ok to instigate in the stands or on the streets.
Now the Scalectrix season is under way I see Sterling Moss has outraged many females by making the statement women lack the mentality for F1. I totally disagree with him. He lives not far away so a trip to Crowborough between the hours of 8:15 and 9am and again at 3pm to 3:45 will make him realise that women have more than enough aggression to make the grade in F1. They might need to change the name to ' The School Run' however.
Sunday 14th April - 13:40
What a game to miss! I said the boys were ready, and didn't they show it. Graysey has given me the verbal update and 'The Bard' Howe has submitted this week's missive, so from both I think it is fair to say 'we were the better side pretty well from start to finish'. I understand the weather was awful, very similar to the torrential rain and strong winds here in Salisbury, but despite this we played with skill and accuracy throughout. What pleased me was the fact that we were able to thwart their mid-field threat, and then when they switched to a driving forward approach we beat them at that game too.
Brighton have deservedly been promoted, and in my view Charlton Park deserve to be in the play-offs, the latter being the only team who really took us apart when we met at their place. Third place is a TREMENDOUS performance, one the boys, the coaching team, the squad support team, and of course the 'Faithful' can be rightly VERY PROUD of. One more game to go to round off an extraordinary season.
I have been trying to find out if the 2nd XV played, and if so their score. Likewise the Crows.
In other news it appears that Bob Crow is a Millwall supporter. I bet if he played he was a striker. It comes as no surprise then that he is associated with a club where a small group of mindless fans, sorry idiots, on one of their biggest show piece occasions ever, decide to fight amongst themselves, and therefore spoil the enjoyment for everyone else. A bit like the RMT then.
Actually this is unfair because I can't believe that Mr Crow would ever support such a mindless wanton act of violence as shown yesterday. Perhaps the 10 arrested can be put on a plane to Pyongyang and join that other lunatic Kim Jon-un.
Back to rugby. Congratulations to T. Wells on a resounding victory yesterday. They are odds on to be promoted as they have Folkestone at home next week, who are safe from relegation and are probably not looking forward to the long journey to the Royal Spa town, and the possibility of another defeat.
Once again congratulations to the 1st XV on a superb result yesterday and a superb season. I will review the performance of the other squads as I get information.
Friday 12th April - 13:20
As I like to do, I've just been catching up on the news from around the world. The story that caught my eye was about a man from France touring Belarus who was killed by a beaver when he stopped to take its photo. It is a sad story as the guys main artery was severed by a bite to the leg. However it should be a salutary lesson to all male tourists............
.....................when in a foreign country photographing beaver can be dangerous.
I'll certainly be bringing this to the attention of our boys who are touring soon.
I've been made aware of some unnecessary and unacceptable messages going on 'others' websites and social media. We are all free to express our opinions, as any regular readers of this drivel know, but there are lines we shouldn't cross and I fear some have crossed that line. Its been dealt with and hopefully it is the end of the matter.
Talking of opinions, someone decided to express theirs by sending me an anonymous letter reminding me about some RFU code or other. I WELCOME criticism, as well as praise, Without criticism people and organisations stagnate, and can't rectify wrongs. What I find galling is; it was anonymous. If you have an opinion PLEASE have the cojones to sign your name.
Sadly I won't be at the last game of the season against Brighton as I have family commitments to honour. I understand training went well yesterday and the boys are ready. Brighton's pitches will suit us as they will be firm, allowing us to play our open, running game. For the record I have sent Brighton a short note of congratulation on winning the league and every success for next season.
The 2s are at home tomorrow v Hellingly, weather permitting. It will come as no surprise that at 8am this morning our pitches were AGAIN unplayable. The standing water was too significant for a match to go ahead. We no longer have to look after the A Pitch so I write this as an ex referee. It was dangerous. Sorry, VERY dangerous.
The 3rds also have a game away at Horsham.
Good luck to all.
I see Jim Mallinder has come in for some criticism for signing George North. It reinforces the old adage that you can't please all the people...........................
In other news I can honestly say I am delighted that Stella English got what she deserved in her frivolous claim of unfair dismissal against Alan Sugar. What did she deserve; nothing, nada, nul, and that is exactly what she got. As my good friend Graysey would say; Happy Days