Sunday 15th April - 10:30
Obviously I didn't see the game yesterday so you'll need to read the Bard's erudite report for the detail. I did bump into the boys up at The Cross last night and based on the feedback I think it is fair to say on balance the better side won but they only snatched victory in the last minutes when we succumbed to a catch & drive from a lineout. Depsite the defeat the boys were happy coming away with another losing bonus point. Six for the season highlights how close we were to being in the chase for promotion as opposed to finishing 6th or 7th. We currently lie 7th on the same points as Lewes but Lewes have finished their campaign. We have one to go. Full league round-up tomorrow.
Well I got that wrong didn't I? Leicester Tigers losing at home to Northampton Saints. I am glad I am not a betting man as I had that down as a banker for the Tigers. Reading the report it sounds as if Saints were worthy winners too. Let's hope Rob Horne is ok after being poleaxed in the opening 13 seconds.
As you get one wrong so you get one right. Gloucester hammer sorry Harlequins. The end of the season can't come quick enough for them.
Talking of hammerings Edinburgh gave Sacrlets B team a lesson in finishing yesterday at Murrayfield. The Scarlets rested pretty much their entire squad who will face leinster next week.
Cardiff Blues enjoyed a fine win against the Southern Kings but the woeful Dragons came second away at Zebre.
Looking forward to Sarries v Bath this afternoon.
Well done England men and women who take bronze in the Commonwealth Games 7s. The headline must go to England's netball squad for picking up gold. In terms of netball the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of the sport so this is an amazing achievement ........ that's what Mrs Bleater says anyway.
Well done Chris Ashton who scored his 22nd and record breaking try for Toulon on Saturday. No-one has scored more tries in one season in the history of the Top 14.
Whilst I agree with the notion of ring-fencing the Premiership (and as you know making it 14 clubs ring-fenced) I find it amusing that David Paice captain of soon to be relegated London Irish has said relegation should be scrapped. There are club captains of soon to be relegated clubs up and down the land who want relegation scrapped. If Paice's team was in the play-off places his argument might carry more weight.
The papers are united in their reporting of the attack on Assad's chemical facilities. Of course there is a different slant depending on the political bias of the publication. I think it is fair to say no-one believes that Assad and by implication Russia isn't guilty of the abhorrent use of chemical weapons. The fuss is about Theresa Maybe approving action without reference to Parliament, which I have a degree of sympathy with. On the other hand the toughest decisions in life are ones that can't be made by committee and therefore compromise. All too often everyone wants a say and compromises of compromises leads to indecision and fudge. Assad and Russia need to know how the world feels but playing roulette, in fact Russian roulette is a dangerous game.
It has been a long time since I have written about the rail unions. The RMT are still in dispute up and down the country about the use of driver only trains. They have consistently argued that the dispute is about SAFETY. ASLEF have to a degree supported that view. I therefore find it hypocritical that ASLEF fully supported by the RMT are going on strike because a trainee driver was moved from driving to other duties because he was deemed to be unsafe after passing three red lights in a short space of time. In other words by going on strike in support of a driver who is clearly unsafe indicates the unions want their cake and eat it and striking is nothing to so with safety but as I have said over and over is about keeping their power and keeping very well paid members in jobs that are superfluous to requirement.
Saturday 14th April - 09:00
My back hurts, my legs hurt, my arms are aching. Why? Simple, because the Friday Club have spent the last two days doing significant remedial drainage work on the pitches and training areas at Steel Cross. When you consider the average age of the boys doing the work is over 60 it is a great achievement. By the way happy birthday to Drew and Graeme Pratt who turned 70 this week.
Didn't get to watch much rugby yesterday for a range of reasons but did catch the final twenty minutes of the Newcastle v Sale game. I thought Sale were going to snatch it at the end but you have to admire the resolve of Newcastle. They really have become a force to be reckoned with. They go third in the table.
Ulster keep their hopes of a play-off alive with a narrow 8-0 win over the Ospreys. The Ospreys are all but out of it and can now start to look ahead to next season.
As an aside to the game there were protests about the acquittal of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding and the perceived view that rugby is rife with mysogyny. There were also calls for Jackson and Olding to be reinstated, which is something that might not happen as they are both rumoured to be leaving the provincial set up.
In the Pro 14 Munster and Glasgow were the other winners.
Crowborough travel to Old Willies today. The side that beat Folkestone has had to be chnaged with the loss of Matty Eyers and Mark Rosier being the big changes. Will Creasy who made such an impact coming on at half time is rewarded with a start. I won't be there so good luck to the boys today.
Just reminder next week we travel to Thanet Wanderers. There is a coach so contact Ian Geering if you want a seat and don't forget to book your place at the awards dinner the same night. It should be a cracker with a few surprises being planned.
Some interesting match-ups today. Will Quins bounce back at Gloucester or will they throw in the towel again. In the East Midlands derby Tigers will surely down the the Saints, won't they?
Dylan won't feature for Saints as he continues his struggle with the symptoms of concussion. Quins are liaising with the NZRFU in their hunt for a new coach. This is the first test of the new relationship between Quins and NZRFU.
It has been confirmed that Gallagher will be title sponsor of the English Premiership which starts on July 1st.
As expected the Hurricanes beat the Chiefs in a feisty affair. The Barretts starred.
Commonwealth Games 7s today and tomorrow. Come on Wales.
Elsewhere there is only one story and that is the joint military action by the US, UK and France against Syria. Am I happy with that? I really am not sure. In fact, truth be told I am a little nervous about the repercussions and the way the decision was made without reference to Parliament. Where I am more certain is that the actions by Syria, backed by Russia, are disgusting and can't go unpunished. Equally I find it abhorrent that Corbynov continues to sound more like a Russian diplomat defending the indefensible. I agree with him that more bombing is not the answer and action without the proper the approvals is potentially wrong but come on Russia and Putin are sabre rattlers in the extreme and their actions are totally unacceptable.
Wednesday 11th April - 07:30
Not much to report today. Sale are not going to appeal Denny Solomona's ban despite him being a decent bloke and the evidence against him being somewhat vague. Fair enough.
The Steel Cross boys travel to Old Williamsonians on Saturday. Old Willies have had a great season and will be a tough nut to crack. Whilst we are safe there is still pride to play for. The boys will be up for it.
Some interesting match ups for the big boys this weekend. Newcastle v Sale. Play offs and European qualification in their minds. Ulster v Ospreys will be worth watching. Will Exeter demolish London Irish on Sunday and condemn them to the drop. My game of the weekend will be Hurricanes v Chiefs. A heavyweight all New Zealand clash.
Duncan Weir to join Worcester. Yet another non English qualified outside half in the Premiership. It is not great..... in my mind.
Wow! What a turn up for the books. Liverpool beating Manchester City and qualifying for the semi-finals of the Champions League. City were undone by a poor refereeing decision. I know the TMO system in soccer is in its infancy and has been plagued by criticism but if there was ever a case for TMOs last night was it.
Apparently the Roma v Barcelona game was brutal. A noticeable lack of protection for the Barcelona players with Roma tackling like park footballers in a pub league.
Haven't been gripped by the Commonwealth Games but the beach volley ball has been splendid.
I have and will remain a critic of Tony 'the deceitful' Blair but on the anniversary of the Good Friday agreement we must applaud his contribution in that historic event. That said him saying we need to bomb Syria without parliamentary approval is wrong and asking Germany to block Brexit is tantamount to treason. Muppett.
Talking of Muppetts what about that Amber Rudd. She's like an ostrich with her head up her ar.. in the sand. The increase in crime is in part due to the cuts in policing. Crowborough is not a hot bed of villainly but we don't even have a community policeman let alone a local beat bobby. Why is shoplifting on the increase? Simply because there are not sufficient officers to deal with the thieving scumbags. Dear Ms Rudd please extract your head from wherever it is and be honest about the situation. Where does the money come from for more police? Now that is a tough question with no easy answer unless taxes are increased or more cuts are made elsewhere. One cut could be the disloyal public servant who leaked the document about policing to the BBC.
I can understand how a family can be aggrieved and want to mourn a death but how the shrine to that scumbag burglar is being handled is unacceptable. I also ask another question. The towrag was a traveller and it is his extended family placing the flowers. The bouquets and balloons and cards don't look cheap. How are they able to afford such tributes? I'll have a wild stab through villainly and benefits. Not acceptable. I'll have another wild stab and state that if the boot was on the other foot the aggrieved wouldn't get within a mile of the travellers property to place flowers etc. They would be savagely repulsed.
Tuesday 10th April - 08:00
Couple of club adverts first.
Senior awards night, April 21st. Tickets are going fast. Get yours from Ian Geering soonest.
Crowborough v Thanet Wanderers, April 21st. There is a coach for this one. Again Ian Geering is your man.
Summer Ball, June 23rd. Tickets are moving so get yours soon. Details on this website.
Rugby is not as bad as soccer yet but it is getting that way. Nick Kennedy 'left' london Irish a few weeks ago. John Kingston is rumoured to have lost the changing room at Quins so departs at the end of the season. A season best forgotten if you follow the men from the Stoop.
Wales announce their Autumn schedule with games against Scotland, Australia, Tonga and South Africa. Why are Wales playing Scotland in November. Oh silly me. Money, money, money.
The interesting part of the announcement is that the WRU have gone ahead with their plan to introduce alcohol free zones within the ground. One tier of the North stand will become alcohol free in its entirity.
Jason Strange, Wales Under 20 coach will leave that role to join Cardiff Blues coaching set up next season. That is a good acquisition. Strange has done a good job with the Under 20s.
Eddie Jones has a captaincy headache with Dylan struggling to recover from concussion. He has a choice of hookers to fill that role but his problem is leadership.
Israel Folau is unrepentent about his homophobic comments and AMAZINGLY has escaped any form of punishment. The meeting between Folau and the ARU reinforced the need for players to project themselves and their sport in a positive way. Folau is deeply religious and should be allowed to voice his opinion BUT social media is not the forum and nor should the tone of the message be hateful. I for one think he should have suffered some form of sanction about the tone and breaking ARU guidelines on the use of social media. His (religious) beliefs should be respected in a tolerant world IF expressed in a balanced way.
The Commonwealth Games continue. Rugby 7s starts Friday finishing on Sunday.
Manchester City v Liverpool tonight in the Champions League.
What a horrendous state of affairs. The chemical attack in Syria. Assad and Putin can be the only people behind this. They are a disgrace to humanity. I find it hard to comprehend that whilst Corbynov has condemned the attack he has stidently refused to point the finger at Assad or Putin.
In a similar vein I cannot believe that the police and council are allowing the home of Richard Osbern-Brooks to be turned into a shrine to a criminal scumbag. Osbern-Brooks and his wife are now in hiding fearing for their own lives. As I have I said taking anothers life under any circumstance is awful but it seems to be that under certain conditions scumbags and scroungers get away with whatever they want milking the systen for all its worth when decent citizens are allowed to be hounded. It can't be right.
Monday 9th April - 08:45
Having read the Bard's report and spent some time mulling over Saturday's game at Steel Cross my view that that was one of the best performances from a Crowborough side this season have been reinforced. Not only was it a great performance it was a crucial one securing our status in London 3 South East. Folkestone however are in that awful 10th spot with just two games to go one of which is against title hopefuls Aylesford Bulls.
The Bulls strengthened their position at the top of the table beating Park House 22-5 whilst Thanet Wanderers went down to a resurgent Bromley 30-9. Thanet can't be caught so are confirmed as the play-off contenders. Just above us and our next opponents Old Williamsonians beat Crawley 5-29. In theory we can still leapfrog them but we'd need to win both our remaining games. A tough ask. The result that caught my attention was Hastings & Bexhill beating Lewes 32-7. Neither side are safe from the drop but this result makes Folkestone's task that little bit harder. In the nothing to play for except pride game already relegated Sheppey and Old Dunstonians unable to catch Thanet it was ODs who triumphed 19-31. There is a full set of fixtures next weekend and then four catch-up games, including our trip to Thanet Wanderers on April 21st.
In Sussex 1A promoted Hellingly finished their season by losing at Burgess Hill 18-17. In the winner takes all game Uckfield beat East Grinstead to secure the play-off spot. In Sussex 1B Eastbourne ended the season on a high note beating Barns Green at Barns Green and let's applaud Ditchling for their second half of the season run. They beat Seaford at Seaford to finish one off the bottom and therefore stay in the Sussex League 1 set-up.
Onwards and upwards into London 2 South East. Horsham enjoyed a fine win over Dover and with one game to go will finish comfortably in the top half of the table. Haywards Heath weren't so lucky losing away at Charlton Park who are still just about in the hunt for the play-off spot. Hove look favourites to secure that after a comfortable away win at our friends the Greenies by 50-17. Our other Sussex club Pulborough lost narrowly at home to Deal & Betteshanger. Pulborough sadly are relegated. Barking have been down for some time but they haven't thrown in the towel. This week they lost to Beckenham. Congratulations to Dartfordians who are promoted after their win at Old Alleynians
In London 1 South Brighton continue to lose narrowly in high scoring games. This time 30-29 away at Old Colefeians. Chichester hammered Maidstone over in Kent by 58-5. With two games to go both the Sussex outfits will finish in the top half. Our friends over at Sevenoaks beat London Cornish and are safe for another season. Well done guys. CS Rugby are all but promoted after spanking bottom placed Gravesend 88-5. The wheels have come off Medway's wagon as they lost at Cobham. With Havant destroying Thurrock it is now neck and neck between these two for the play-off spot.
In the Premier league our good friends down the road in Tunbridge Wells continue their excellent season with a 24-16 win at Westcliff. A great result that puts them in 5th. It's still advantage Guernsey for the title after they beat Westcombe Park but Barnes are not being shaken off as they beat Tring.
In National League 2 South not the best of days for Worthing or Tonbridge Juddians as they both suffer defeats at Old Redcliffians and Wimbledon respectively. Cinderford are still in the box seat for promotion.
For the record Bridgnorth beat Nuneaton away putting them in a very creditable 5th spot. Salisbury lost at home to John 'Damper' Sayers old club Chippenham by quite a few points to not many.
In the big boys leagues as expected Bristol return to top flight rugby after Ealing lost to Doncaster. Bristol can't now be caught and with the money that has been invested into Bristol the outcome should never have been in doubt.
What was going to be a slug fest turned out to be a one-sided rout. Exeter were simply far too good for a lacklustre Gloucester side. Yes Exeter snapped up a couple of fortuitous tries but it was an all round complete performance nonetheless. Exeter have secured a play-off spot and with more performances like that could secure the title again.
I recently commented on my perception that the Leicester Tigers supporters were beginning to overstep the mark. This view has been confirmed by my son-in-law. He was at the game versus Bath at Twickenham and was quite clear in his opinion that those who follow the Tigers are not the nicest of people you would want to come across. Not all of them of course. Not all of them by a long way but it is disappointing to hear about behaviour that is far from acceptable. Abuse hurled at opposition players and supporters alike. A disrespect towards the officials and so it goes on. I am sure it is only a smalll proportion of their followers but a worry all the same.
Not to be one to gloat but I told you so! Worcester have announced a pre-tax loss of £8.1m for the season 2016-17. This follows a profit of £14.3m the year before BUT, and it is a BIG BUT, the owners wrote off loans of £20.4m that year. The level of expenditure versus the revenue in top flight rugby is unsustainable. I rest my case me'lud!!
Sunday 8th April - 09:30
Me and my mate Sauvignon Blanc got a little too friendly yesterday but what the heck. It was a splendid day all round and if you can't get a little bit drunk on such a day when can you?
Lunch was great. Meeting up with old friends. Old as in long time and old as in old. The food was great. Thanks Jacqui. The service and ambience was excellent. Thanks Sandra. A splendid way to lead the 'faithful' into the crucial game versus Folkestone.
Based on the selection pre-match confidence was high. A number of our youngsters missing over previous weeks returned and made an immediate impact. From the very first attack of the game Folkestone were under pressure and so it would be for most of the match despite us not getting on the scoreboard until 20 minutes had past. This was without doubt a solid 18 man team performance. The guys coming off the bench were terrific and those who left the field at half time had made a significant contribution. Our scrum was excellent throughout and our lineout delivered up quality ball for the backs to use time and time again.
Chris Yates was the general marshalling the troops from #15 whilst skipper Alex Purnell was at the vanguard keeping the team going forward. He made some barnstorming runs setting up great positions for the backs to be released. It was good to see the ball moving out to the wing on regular intervals and in turn crossing the line equally regularly. Gary Stevens was the beneficiary of the forwards efforts on two occasions ably assisted by young Sam Kisbee and Ali Main who made the space for Stevens to exploit. Young Will Creasy was one of the subs who caught the eye. He has become a tasty player over the season and yesterday his bullocking runs took 'Borough deep into the Folkestone half. A special mention for the back row of Purnell, Matt Eyres and Callum Main. They played as one and were terrific all over the park. Well done guys.
It wasn't all one way traffic as Folkestone had their moments getting on the score sheet with a well taken opportunist try. When they did have the ball Crowborough's defence was excellent. Hardly a tackle missed and the speed of the line rushing up forced Folkestone into basic handling errors. I try hard to accurately reflect the game but can sometimes be one-eyed. On this occasion I think it is accurate to say we were outstanding yesterday not allowing Folkestone to get going and with a little more patience from Crowborough could have seen an even bigger margin than the 40-7 one we saw.
We are now safe from relegation with two games to go. If we replicate yesterday's showing we could easily amass even more points but that is something for next week. Folkestone are in danger of relegation and that would be a real shame as they are a great bunch who we have always enjoyed the company of. Again only time will tell. They have two games to save their season.
Full league round up tomorrow.
The big boys had some fun yesterday with Paddy O'Fez's Sarries thumping Northampton scoring nine tries. By the way Paddy was in excellent form yesterday at the club. Top bloke. Top banter. I am not sure either us truly believe the crap we spout at times. My daughter and son-in-law didn't have the best of days suffering a defeat of Bath by Leicester. Newcastle's bubble burst at Worcester and London Irish kept their hopes of survival alive with a stunning win at Harlequins.
In the Pro 14 Scarlets beating Glasgow was the headline result. All the other games going pretty much to form which means the Dragons lost.
In other sport what a fight back in the Manchester derby. United coming back from 2-0 down to win was stunning. F1 this afternoon. Might watch the start to see if there is a crash. Exeter v Gloucester but this will be like a heavyweight slug fest. The Masters will be worth watching if I can keep my eyes open and I don't get too friendly with my mate 'Sav' at lunchtime.
Before I go I think it is fair to ask that during the course of the day we all spare a thought for the friends and family of those young Canadian ice hockey players who tragically lost their lives when their team coach collided with an articulated lorry.
Saturday 7th April - 09:00
Not long to go now. 15:00 kick off for Crowborough v Folkestone. Two much changed sides from their first meeting and with much to play for today. The pitch is looking great thanks to the work of Drew Pratt ably aided by the Friday Club. It should be a cracker.
As should lunch. The place looks splendid with Jacqui and Sandra having done much preparation and The Friday Club and partners helping to lay up tables ready for the Presidents Lunch.
See you there!
I don't have any sort of rugby crystal ball but I did suggest that the controversial World Cup qualifier between Spain and Belgium might have to be replayed. World Rugby agreed and clearly indicated that this was to be the case. Things have taken another turn with issues surrounding the eligibility of players for both Belgium and Romania. If found guilty of adminstrative skullduggery I suspect a replay won't happen and Spain will go through automatically. Time will tell.
As expected Denny Solomona has been given a possible season ending four week ban for verbally abusing Worcester outside-half Jamie Shillock. There is no place for this type of behaviour so a four week ban after reductions seems fair.
Solomona's late withdrawal meant Sale had to make a change to the team that played Wasps last night and what a cracking game it was. Wasps dominated the early exchanges with Sale looking woeful in defence and attack and Wasps looking as if they were going to rack up a cricket score. Slowly, slowly Sale crept back into the game and as the second half advanced it looked as if they had secured a much need win. As the game drew to a close so Wasps edged back in front as Sale looked nervous conceding silly penalties. Then the dramatic conclusion with Marlon Yarde crashing over in the corner deep into injury time after a horrendous threeway head clash which saw Danny Cipriani stretchered off. A great bonus win for Sale and a serious dent in Wasps title ambitions.
On S4C it was Ospreys versus Connacht. The Welshmen strolled past the Irish side with a bonus point. This will serve as a boost to the Ospreys as they must replicate last night's form if they are to have any chance of the play-offs and Europe. In truth it looks a forlorn hope.
Why watch Sale and not Ospreys? Easy. A certain brother is not involved with Ospreys but is with Sale.
The crystal ball for the bleedin' obvious was right in that Israel Folau has been summoned to the headmaster's office to discuss his outburst over the lifestyle of gays and the reference to hell. I can't see how a ban is not on its way.
Then to round things off in terms of Bleater's mystic powers NOT it is the state of the Premiership that comes to the fore in the mind of former Saracens boss Mark Evans. He has echoed my concerns about the costs of the game vs the revenue. The number of games played including the relevance of the Anglo-Welsh Cup has been challenged. He also suggets scrapping the A League. In his mind this would reduce squad numbers and therefore overhead. I agree.
Must go. Breakfast and Chiefs v Blues beckons but before I do well done to the Met Police for the handling of the case of Richard Osborne-Brooks, especially as the man he killed was a career criminal from a family of scumbag career criminals. By the way we do need to halt the decline in police numbers but we've also got to stop the bureacracy that keeps hard working coppers chained to desks doing paperwork rather than chasing the scumbags who make so many lives a misery.
See you later.
Thursday 5th April - 07:45
One article I missed in the aftermath of Saracens defeat to Leinster was Leo Cullen's protestations that the men from Barnet deliberately targeted Johnny Sexton in the Champions Cup quarter-final. A bit of a non story this in many respects. Any coach worth his salt and any team chasing titles is going to be aware of the oppositions key playmakers and of course they are going to look to neutralise that threat. You are not going to sit back and allow the oppositions star to have an armchair ride. That said during the first half there were a number of 'suspicious' hits on Sexton. Hits that were a combination of late and illegal (shoulder charges). So of course he was targeted Leo. Get back in your box, the coaches one of course. On the other hand coaches like Mark McCall and teams like Sarries must be careful they don't overstep the mark.
Being the arrogant so-and-so I am I do wonder if I actually do know what I am talking about. After posting yesterday's blog there was a piece on bbc.co.uk/sport about a new sponsorhip deal for Premiership Rugby. In the article there is reference to "the majority of clubs currently losing money year on year". As I said yesterday this cannot be sustainable. Player wages continue to increase at a crazy pace with clubs finding ways around the salary cap. Whilst crowds are impressive are they impressive enough. The current TV money is finite.
Based on this it comes as no surprise that Premiership rugby is in advanced talks with global insurance brokers Gallagher to replace Aviva as title sponsors of the game. The increased deal will come as welcome news to the clubs, as will news that Premiership Rugby has signed a TV deal with NBC. In my view it will still not be enough to turn loss making clubs into profit. I fear that is a long way off yet.
The article also talks about growing the games footprint in the US. If Premiership Rugby thinks a US TV deal and playing a few games in the US is going to make the US a hot bed of rugby they have their heads up their backsides. US sport is dominated by American football, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey. Soccer which has been around for many years in the US and has thrown billions of dollars at the game has only recently seen significant growth in the audiences; live and TV, and soccer is truly a global game.
In the fragmented season that is top flight rugby the domestic leagues take precedent this weekend. Sale v Wasps kicks things off in the Aviva on Friday. Ospreys v Connacht in the Pro 14 likely to be my viewing. Bath v Leicester at Twickenhan will be worth keeping an eye on on Saturday. My daughter and son-in-law will be at this one with one of my nephews and his lovely wife. Scarlets v Glasgow should also be one to watch. Can the Scarlets keep up the momentum after their historic win over La Rochelle last weekend. Exeter v Gloucester is Sunday's offering but I am not convinced this will be anything other than a slug fest.
Me, my eyes will be on Crowborough v Folkestone at Steel Cross. Pitch preparation has been on-going and Dan and the coaching team have been hard at it in preparing the boys. A big crowd is expected. The 2s/3s travel to Lewes for their friendly.
The front and back pages of the papers cover the very sad news of the death of Ray Wilkins at the tender age of 61. A great footballer and by all accounts a genuinely top bloke. Sad news indeed.
Very disappointing news but unsurprising in some respects is the pathetic behaviour of a few idiots who claim to be fans of Liverpool FC who attacked the Manchester City team bus last night. These are not fans these are brain dead muppets who should be named and shamed.
The commonwealth games are up and running. Wales beating India in the women's hockey has caught the eye. Right now England's netballers are strolling past Scotland.
After the cricket scandal Australia need some good sporting news but it is not coming from Australia's rugby international Israel Folau who has made some very controversial comments about 'gay hell'. Folau's comments come from his deeply held religious beliefs but this is not acceptable in today's modern world. I am sure the ARU are going to have to look at this closely and make some tough decisions.
As expected the Salisbury story hit the news again yesterday with the country's 'Clown-in-chief' Boris Dickhead Johnson making the country look a laughing stock and allowing Russia and their UK spokesperson Corbynov to cast doubt on the assertions 'the Russians did it!' If I had my way I would banish both Johnson and Corbynov from Britain. Johnson to anywhere but here and Corbynov to his spiritual home of Russia.
The gender pay gap is much in the news. What a load of poltical clap trap this is. It tells us absolutely nothing and is an exercise in pandering to the PC brigade and politicians looking for soundbites.
Many papers carry the story of the 78 year old pensioner who has been arrested for defending his own home. Two villainous thugs break into his home and try and burgle his house. They are armed and have threatened his wife. What is he meant to do. Taking another person's life is the worst of crimes but surely you should be allowed to defend yourself, your family and your property when faced with a 'real and present danger' in YOUR own home.
Not sure about a blog tomorrow but definitely blogs on Saturday and Sunday.
Wednesday 4th April - 09:15
Much has been written about Leinster being able to choose the Aviva Stadium as their 'neutral' venue in their home country. Leinster frequently play at the Aviva and this seems to many a clever bending of the rules in their favour. I guess in Ireland outside Croke Park and Thomand Park there aren't suitable venues available and I also guess Croke Park wouldn't be available anyway. In a strange way it might suit Scarlets better anyway. Move on.
I remain bemused at why Racing 92 have chosen Bordeaux rather than the Stade de France or the Parc de Prince. Again, move on.
Why did the chicken cross the road? In rugby terms probably to get home to roost. In the case of Saracens are they coming home to roost as they announce their co-owners are pulling out and Nigel Wray has been forced into a rescue package buying up the 50% of shares he doesn't already own. Wray and the press can sugar coat the decision but in my uninformed view it highlights the dire state top flight rugby has got itself into. Despite turning over nearly £18m saracens made a pre-tax loss of close to £3m. The move by Wray also sees loans of £25m written off (which based on the current level of loss would never have been paid off anyway). If as Wray states rugby is a business set to grow and deliver great returns why is an astute business man like Johann Rubert pulling out?
Sarries are not the only club heavily indebted and trading at a loss. Worcester for example have gone on record as eagerly seeking new investment. I have said before and I will say again this is not sustainable and someone is going to crash and burn much as London Welsh did.
From Wales two stories catch the eye. Wayne Pivac has held informal talks about the Welsh job with Gatland's tenure now being finite. Staying with Scarlets the region is investigating allegations of racist chanting at the sold out game vs La Rochelle. This is totally unacceptable in any walk of life but in rugby is a disgrace. I hope it turns out to be nothing but if proven I believe Scarlets will need to be punished heavily. Whilst not mitigating the allegations I am certain people who would not normally be at Parc y Scarlets were there last weekend and therefore not accustomed to the high standards expected at rugby matches.
Leicester have had a double boost ahead of the run in to the end of the season. Ben Youngs has made an incredible recovery from his serious ankle injury and is close to a return. Likewise Manu Tuilagi's injury has proven to be much less serious than first thought as his return is also close.
Some great sport ahead. An all English clash in the Champions League tonight, the Commonwealth games kick off tomorrow, more Scaletrix and of course the the Masters from Augusta.
Quite rightly the horrendous increase in gun and knife crime in London and beyond is headlining in the newspapers. It is terrible that so many people, especially young people are losing their lives in often random attacks. I am not really equipped to comment on the reasons why this terrible crime is on the increase but I tend to agree with Cressida Dick that social media has something to answer for. I also feel that the obsession with beat them up them shoot them up video games has caused young people to have a blurred vision of the made up world and the real world.
The Salisbury poisoning became very blurred yesterday when Porton Down stated they could not definitively state that the nerve agent came from Russia. Wow. Expect a shit storm over that. Theresa Maybe, here come the hawks, they'll be after your blood
Comrade Tvarich Corbynov puts two fingers up to his critics with the latest furore about anti-semitism. He is probably happy with the how the communist backed CGT in France is bringing the country to its knees and delighted that President Macron is under severe pressure over his plans to get the MASSIVELY indebted SNCF into profit. On this point I ask myself do we in Britain want a train system that is funded by those who use it, albeit for them fares are ridiculously high, or do we want a nationalised system that sinks further and further into debt which is funded by tax hikes for all. Something to ponder, or not, as we wait for Spring to finally arrive.
Tuesday 3rd April - 10:00
Unless you like being a couch potato what a very disappointing washout the Easter holiday was. As much as I love rugby and am happy to gorge on it on TV I also like to get out in the fresh air. Thankfully we got out on Easter Sunday morning for a walk, via the pub of course. Then it was the big game of the weekend; Leinster v Saracens.
After fourty minutes you might have thought Sarries were going to do it again. They dominated territory and possession and had Leinster on the rack for long periods. It was only Leinster's immense defensive efforts that held back the white tide. 13-12 at half time meant it was too close to call especially as a moment of Dan Biggaresque petulence by Sexton gifted Sarries three points.
The second half was an altogether different matter. Leinster got on the scoreboard early with Leavy's try under the post following excellent reactions between him and James Ryan. After the that a little of the Saracens fire seemed to have been dimmed and the defensive work of the hosts looked more relaxed, less frenetic. When Lowe went over it was pretty much all done and dusted. Fair play Blair Cowan livened things up a bit when he came on but got nothing more than a consolation try as it failed to reignite the engine.
Mark McCall was circumspect when asked about player fatigue but was honest enough to say his side were outplayed in both defence and attack. Was fatigue a factor with many of Leinster front line players having a break last week when their side lost away at the Ospreys. The Saracens were pretty much at full strength. As the game developed so it did look as though the Sarries were flagging but was this as much down to the attritional nature of the Leinster game rather than genuine fatigue? How can Leinster afford to rest players. The top of the Pro 14, as this competition has proven is as good as anything in Europe, but there are more weaker teams below that so you don't have the week in week out intensity. There is no relegation so there is no urgency to play your best players week in week out. Many of the players have come through the local system so are local boys, this adds an extra dimension of pride when that shirt is pulled on. This is not the case in England or France. All these things add up so no it is not all down to fatigue....... but it is a contributing element.
No shortage of controversy in the other game as Wayne Barnes and the TMO ruled Dan Carter's pass didn't go forward. As in the pantomime 'oh yes it did!' I can't understand why Racing 92 are playing their semi-final in Bordeaux rather than Paris. Madness. Munster fans always travel en masse so why reduce your home support by making your fans travel, especially when the French unions are hoping to cause chaos of the roads, rail and in the air over the coming months.
Leinster v Scarlets at the Aviva. Should be a classic..... one hopes!!
Awful that Australia's James Stannard is out of the Commonwealth Games after a thug, reputed to be English, fractured his skull with a single punch last Friday
In a heartwarming story former Dragon Ed Jackson has climbed Snowden after breaking his neck in a swimming pool accident. It was feared he would never walk again so this is a great feat of endurance and determination.
To club news. This weekend sees us host Folkestone. An absolutely crucial game if we are to avoid a relegation dogfight. There will be a big crowd as it is the President's Lunch but the boys need all the support they can get. Don't be shy, get there and make some noise.
Calling all the 'faithful'. It's time for you to let Ian Geering know who your player of the season is. Please contact him TODAY with your vote.
The 1st XV then have two away games. Old Willies on the 14th and Thanet Wanderers on the 21st April. Both massive and very difficult encounters. Please support the boys if you can.
The 21st is also the club senior awards night. Places are going fast so let Geering know if you want a place.
Finally a week later Steel Cross has the pleasure of hosting Sussex v Essex in the county championship. Should be a good game. Kick off 15:00.
The French don't want to see us leave Europe but France is not a European player. They continually do their own thing and their unions refuse to accept any sort of economic reform as epitomised by the current wave of transport strikes. You try buying a French company. It is impossible. Is Red Bull on sale in France? No, because they made up their own rule contrary to EU guidelines to ban it. Could we make French passports? No, because their passport production is done by a govermental department not an industry. Why therefore should we allow the French to produce our passports. We shouldn't. It is madness we are funding the French Government by giving them work which in turn will fund the benefit system which is a disincentive for young people to find work. Madness. I know it is an Organ of Truth campaign but Theresa Maybe has to overturn this decision. British passports should be printed in Britain.
Sunday 1st April - 10:00
Easter Sunday. The most important day in the Christian calendar. In today's 24 hour, 365 days a year society having time to think about friends and family and contemplating the good things in life are rare so I hope you have, or more likely had a pleasant day doing whatever one does and just for one day the newspapers and news channels can be filled with good news.
For many sport is an escape from the daily grind and a release from the stresses and strains of life. Those supporting Connacht and Gloucester, Munster and Toulon, and Edinburgh and Cardiff would have had their stress levels heightened as their favourites fought for a place in the semi-finals of their respective cup competititions.
First up it was Connacht v Gloucester. An eight try thriller in which the result for much of the game could have gone either way. There were some excellent passages of play but also many schoolboy errors. Charlie Sharples late on spurning three man inside him in support for example. The John Afoa try was worth watching. You always like to see big slabs of prime beef trundling across the savannah for tries. His was a thing of beauty. Henry Trinder's try was something quite classy too. Shame for Connacht but well done Gloucester.
Now perhaps I have missed the memo on taking players in the air and the actions referees need to take. Yesterday morning in the Blues v Sharks encounter the referee had no hesitation on going to his pocket and giving a yellow card for such an action. In the Connacht game Charlie Sharples did the self same thing, it was nigh on identical, and he didn't even get a reprimand. It was just a penalty. Consistency please and players in the air must be protected. Msr Poite, you got that one wrong I'm afraid.
Off we then went to Thomond Park. Not one to be watched over and over for the quality of the play but what a gripping and tense affair. It was one of those games where you could argue the better side lost. A game where the power of the crowd, the history woven into the stands, the sheer bloody determination of those in red helped the weaker side win through against the odds. It was a game in which Nigel Owens was pivotal. Should Chris Ashton and Toulon been given a penalty try after Simon Zebo deliberately knocks the ball out in the first minute of the game. I think so. Was the decision to award Conor Murray a try after that very long consultation with the TMO the right one. I think so. At the very death was Chris Ashton held in the tackle thus giving Munster a penalty and bringing the game to an end. I don't think so. I think play should have been allowed to continue.... but what do I know. Like against Wales Trinh-Duc's wayward kick gifted the opposition a gilt edged chance, a chance that Andrew Conway took with some aplomb. Conway burst through the Toulon defenders with ease as the befuddled Trinh-Duc looked forlorn. Before that Chris Ashton had scored an excellent try where a Trinh-Duc offload to the big Bastereaud had opened up the Munster defence like a hot knife through butter. Another decision that could have gone the other way. I thought it was forward. A great win for the Munster faithful and man of the match Peter O'Mahony. What a player. I have been a critic of Ashton in the past and there is something about him that hasn't endeared him to me. I must say that yesterday I thought he played as well as he has for a very long time and if there was one Toulon player who didn't deserve to be on the losing side it was him.
Then a quick pit stop and off to Edinburgh we go. What a nonsense that highly tuned athletes have to start a game playing through a thick smog of firework smoke, smoke so thick even the cameras couldn't see through it. I am still bemused at why Edinburgh rugby want to play their home games at Murrayfield. There is nothing worse than playing in a massive stadium a fraction full so it is bereft of any atmosphere. That is about the only thing 'Cockers' has got wrong since being up there in Scotland. Cardiff played very well and exploited Edinburgh's defensive frailty at will. The little chip behind and hard chase paid off with a couple of early tries and the rest was history. Cardiff were the better side in another game lacking in quality but packed with grit and determination. Cardiff rode their luck and won the battles at the ruck. Josh Navidi was immense and you can see why he is on Warren Gatland's team sheet. Cardiff have the luxury of a home semi-final on the AGP at the Arms Park.
The biggest of the games is today when Leinster host Saracens. Farrell will start which is a boost for Sarries. I expect this will be another game lacking in quality but high on drama. I'll be watching.
Before I go and start prepping vegetables for lunch I popped down to Uckfield yesterday with Mrs Bleater. Isn't Uckfield as a town centre so much better than Crowborough. More shops, a vibrant atmosphere. Anyway, I was stunned by what I saw. It was like strolling to Wolfe rec and finding a diplodocus grazing on the grass. I saw a young lady, quite attractive too, strolling through the town proudly wearing her, yes you guessed it, Leicester City shirt. She must have been blown of course on the way to the Amex but a rarity nonetheless.
Have a great Easter Day.
Saturday 31st Mar - 09:15
Unless you like being out in the rain then the only place to be yesterday afternoon was in front of the TV. It certainly wasn't shopping in Morrisons which when Mrs Bleater and I were there it was like a battleground. Mind you I was impressed with one of our long standing club members and fellow Welshman who had his trolley full, but full with only two items, boxes of beer and hot cross buns. Now that is a good Welsh diet.
Well done to The Friday Club for their efforts yesterday. Quiet a few tasks were completed which will make the run into the crucial 1st XV game with Folkestone and the Presidents Lunch so much easier.
Bath v Exeter wasn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination. Exeter ran out worthy winners in pretty poor conditions. They managed the ball better and turned their possession into points with greater consistency. Bath lacked any creativity when they had the ball making it easier for the men in pink to neutralise Bath's attacks. Bath were also the architects of their own downfall with their indiscipline and aimless kicking. Rob Baxter and his coaching team have a good squad to work with and they are making a good fist of it. They are far from perfect themselves but get many more things right than their opposition and can often grind out wins when it counts. They didn't need to grind anything out yesterday they very simply were the better side and therefore worthy cup winners.
Does this cup have a place in the intense top flight schedule? I'm not sure but it does give clubs the opportunity to blood their youngsters and there was a pretty good crowd at Kingsholm to boot.
Talking of crowds a packed Parc y Scarlets was rocking yesterday evening as the Scarlets took on La Rochelle. A La Rochelle team where it was difficult to spot the Frenchman. This was another game that couldn't be described as a classic but it was enthralling, gripping, tense and many other descriptions. La Rochelle already rocked by injuries lost several more players during the game which disrupted their flow. The biggest factor in halting the French (as in international barbarians based in France) sides free scoring approach was the robustness of Scarlets defensive work epitomised by the work of the brilliant Ken Owens. The French outfit were another side with a propensity to shoot themselves in the foot. Penalty after penalty saw them concede possession and territory at regular intervals. They definitely got on the wrong side of Luke Pearce allowing Leigh Halfpenny to heap on the pressure.
For long periods La Rochelle had the home outfit on the rack with intense pressure close to the line. Scrum after scrum, maul after maul, ruck after ruck kept the Scarlets camped on their own line. John Barclay managed to the turn the ball over and with that the game slowly but sure turned in the Scarlets favour. Patchell's try after great work by Welsh favourite (a New Zealander actually) Hadleigh Parkes turned the tide further. It wasn't secure until Scott Williams (a real Welshman) skipped through to seal the victory.
As I've said it wasn't a classic but it was thoroughly enjoyable and a great result for Welsh rugby. It really is one in the eye of the English game when you recall it was the English clubs who insisted on changing the tournaments format so it would be of greater benefit to them.
Two more potentially gripping games to come.
What next? Newcastle. Brive are currently lanquishing in the relegation zone of the Top 14 whilst Newcastle are having the run of their lifetime in the Aviva Premiership. This wasn't a bad game at all with Newcastle having to fight hard for the win, a win that was well deserved and orchestrated by the mercurial Toby Flood. At times he was head and shoulders the best player on the field. A very good result for a very good team.
Gloucester take centre stage for English rugby later today but the Edinburgh v Cardiff game is my Challenge Cup game of the day.
For all the enjoyment derived from watching the three games above this mornings encouter between the Blues and Sharks in Super Rugby is quite simply on a different level. The speed of the game, the quality of off load is somewhere else by comparison, spoilt only by a very pedantic TMO at the death wanting his moment of fame.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I'll be back tomorrow.
Thursday 29th Mar - 15:00
I know there are at least three people out there who read this nonsense so my Easter plan is as follows.......
No blog tomorrow not because it is Good Friday but because there IS Friday Club and Mrs Bleater has plans for the afternoon. On Saturday I will review Friday's games. By the way Bath v Exeter is an afternoon kick off so no match overlap to distract you. On Sunday I will review Saturday's games. No blog on Monday but I guess most of you will have much better things to do than read this rubbish.
Anyway there are a few items to comment on. Ugo Monye has asked the question whether there is too much back chat in rugby. In my view, yes! It is noticeable that more and more players are screaming at the referee for decisions, about decisions and everything else in the middle. I believe the time is right for the referees to get tough and start using the 10 metre 'march forward' rule more frequently. With the quality of kickers now in the game things would quickly return to some semblance of normality.
There are lots of player movements planned for the new year. There are also many contract extensions. Sadly in England many of the incoming players are from overseas, and I include players like Cuthbert going to Exeter in that.
Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are cleared of rape. The process of law has been followed and a decision reached. There are many questions you could ask but not in this blog. I would say however that regardless of the verdict it is clear that players at the top level, need to be whiter than white in everything they do. Clearly Jackson and Olding were reckless in their behaviour.
Injuries are again in the news.
Manu Tuilagi's latest setback is believed to be less serious than first thought but serious enough to rule him out of the summer tour. He should be ready for the November matches and the RWC 2019 build up.
26 year old Wasps flanker Sam Jones has been forced to retire after injury complications following severe leg and ligament damage sustained during an England judo session in Brighton. Incredibly unlucky but it does raise the question about whether Eddie Jones pushes his players too far.
Owen Farrell is a doubt for the weekend's titanic clash with Leinster. Be a shame if he does miss out as Sexton v Farrell would be one of the focal points.
Will Greenwood on SKY has again re-affirmed his belief that a ring-fenced top tier of the game will help England. You know I tend to agree not because of helping England but I feel it will benefit the game as a whole, especially if that tier was extended to 14 teams with a propoer regional feeder club process. There are many who will be against it for a range of reasons but when the next London Welsh hits the buffers they too might change their view.
Dorian West will leave Northampton at the end of the season. To be expected when Jim Mallinder left as it leaves new caoch Chris Boyd a free run at getting a new coaching team in place.
Another player who has failed to live up to the whiter than white requirements of playing in the top flight of the game is Denny Solomona. He has been charged with directing homophobic abuse towards Worcester's Jamie Shillock. Not acceptable Denny so expect a few weeks on the naughty step.
Australian cricket dominates the back pages with the latest news that Darren Lehmann has quit. Good. Better to go now than to be constantly hounded about whether he knew what was being hatched and ultimately delivered.
Brighton & Hove Albion host the Mighty Foxes on Saturday. I'm not going but will be following live as best I can.
The Stalinist purge of Owen Smith by his acolites of Comrade Tvarich Corbynov has been followed by chickens coming home to roost. Momentum's Christine Shawcroft has been ousted from her post as head of Labour's discipline following her support for a Holocaust denier.
Theresa Maybee still dillies and dallies about all sorts of stuff. Promises come flying out of the ether with little or no substantiation and her party remains shambolic with individual vested interests trying to out shout each other. Going off grid in Alaska gets more appealing by the day. By the way it is sunny in Juneau, AK right now, unlike here where it is persisting down again!!!!!
Wednesday 28th Mar - 09:35
I erroneously entitled this section 'Summer is Coming'. Based on this morning's weather oh no it isn't. Monday was gorgeous, even got the lawns cut. Today, horrendous. Anyway let's move on.
A massive weekend of European rugby which starts on Friday evening with Scarlets v La Rochelle. The French team have been the real deal this season with a huge influx of cash enabling them to recruit well (albeit overseas players) and are a force to be reckoned with in the Top 14. Scarlets have been magnificent when at full strength and Parc Y Scarlets is always a tough place to go, especially on a wet and miserable Friday night. With many of their Welsh internationals returning this should be a great game to get the weekend going.
Once you've got over that it's off to Munster on Saturday for a truly heavyweight clash with Toulon the visitors. The French international XV destroyed Clermont Auvergne last weekend and will arrive at Thomond Park full of confidence. Munster's Grand Slam winning Irishmen having rested last week will be ready and waiting. I expect this to be a fire cracker of a game with Munster being patient and trying to strangle the life out of the Toulon attack, much as they did against the Scarlets last weekend.
If you are not salivating enough then it is the relatively short trip North to the RDS in Dublin for Leinster v Saracens on Sunday (thanks Paddy. Yes it is Sunday not Saturday as stated in yesterday's fake news). Leinster will need to pick themselves up after the loss away at the Ospreys but like Munster their international stars return after a well earned weekend with their feet up. Saracens have been on a roll of late and whilst their win against Harlequins looked impressive I have it on good authority that they were far from being at their best. Their abrasive Northern Irish coach Mark McCall adds an extra bit of spice but he is up against the wiley old fox Leo Cullen and the professor Stuart Lancaster. If the Saracens stars led by Maro Itoje can get into gear early in this one I think there could be a surprise on the cards but with all the games it is too close to call.
By the way Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92 complete the quarter finals.
Before a quick look at Challenge Cup I, like my good friend Comrade O'Fez cannot believe that Leinster v Saracens is on the same day and at the same time as a huge GAA clash at Croke Park. It's the sort of madness that would see both Liverpool and Everton at home on the same day both kicking off at 3pm. Not sensible. If it is for TV reasons then why couldn't the Leinster and Munster games be switched? Hey ho bigger brains than mine must know the answer.
In the Challenge Cup there is one all French clash; Section Paloise v Stade Francais. For me Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues is the pick of the round but Connacht v Gloucester and Newcastle v Brive will both be good games. Newcastle are riding high at the moment and a European win will spur them on in the Aviva. For Newcastle to get into the Champions Cup next season would be splendid.
There is plenty of other rugby too including the Anglo Welsh Final between Bath and Exeter. Shame it had to be postponed earlier due to the weather as it will be lost amongst the European games. Super Rugby games aplenty too. With the weather forecast to be cold and miserable wall to wall rugby on the TV might just be the order of the day.
Couple of other snippets. London Irish on the brink of agreeing a deal to move out of the Madjeski Stadium and into Brentford Town's new stadium. Good move or not? I don't know. For the Irish loyalists it is not a major move but an inconvenience. Being closer to Central London may bring a benefit. Time will tell.
Having commented yesterday on high tackles Nicholas Malouf was cited for his tackle on Christian Wade on Sunday. He has been given a three week ban. The disciplinary process was as always followed to the letter with a discount for his clean record and guilty plea. The dilemma is he only misses two premiership games in that period. An A-league game was deemed meaningful and therefore counted. If Malouf is not a regular 1st XV player then including the A-league game is right, however, as a regular it seems slightly off that he only misses two premiership games. I have often wondered why rugby persists with bans by weeks and doesn't go down the ban by games and specifying which games. I'll ask the question in July when there is a disciplinary conference.
Finally Mark Zuckerberg refuses to appear before a commons select committee to discuss Facebook's privacy practices. He is not a British subject so fair enough. That said I believe based on the recent revelations he has much to answer. If he does not want to come then ok but we might want to think about taxing his organisation punitively or putting severe controls in place so advertisers dry up and users leave. That might change his mind. I was a reluctant Facebook user from the start so for me to leave was not a tough decision. Finding out someone I worked with twenty years ago had a new puppy was not high on my list of priorities. If I want to talk to a friend I pick up the phone or better still see them face to face and chat over a beer.
Tuesday 27th Mar - 08:00
Injuries are again headline news in the rugby pages. The latest RFU report highlights the increase in injuries, especially concussion. It must be remembered some of this is a result of more comprehensive reporting and much more stringent controls over head injuries. The game is faster and the players bigger therefore the impacts are more intense. With this comes injury. It is interesting, to me at least, that a decent proportion of the injuries are coming from training. Questions are also being asked about how stringently the guidelines to referess on high tackles are being implemented. In my opinion there has been a drop off. You see more high tackles being penalised with just a penalty when previously the incident would have seen yellow. This is a double edged sword as you don't want to see 13 v 13 but you do want to see players protected. Some days ago I commented on a blatant tip tackle not being punished by a red card. This seems to be a winding back of guidelines. There is also a concern that the new generation of artificial pitches are also adding to the problem. Well worth reading the fuller article in all good newspapers.
Despite the concerns raised by the report rugby is definitley leading the way when it comes to head injury protocols.
Stuart Lancaster has risen like a pheonix from the ashes after his demise during RWC 2015. He is seen as a significant contributor to Leinster's continued success and therefore indirectly to Ireland's success. This success will be put to the test on Saturday when they face Saracens in the Champions Cup. Full preview tomorrow.
In other sport Cricket Australia is in disgrace as the premeditated nature of their cheating is fully revealed. I listened to several radio pieces yesterday on the way to and the way back from the county meeting last night. There is a difference between gamesmanship and cheating and this has blurred the discussion. Pushing the boundaries is normal. Getting an edge is what teams want. The odd hand in the scrum or ruck happens. Going onto the field of play with the means to cheat after having agreed it with coaches and managers is cheating. Only doping is worse in my view.
Talking of Sussex RFU county meetings they have improved greatly. More clubs attending and contributing, and MUCH more discussion and actions about how we develop the game rather than blah, blah, blah about bureaucracy.
Russia remains in the news. The horrific mall fire in Siberia but also the expulsion of Russian diplomats from around the world. The story that caught my eye is the fact that Russian police were in Amsterdam to witness the awful behaviour of English fans thugs before the recent game versus Netherlands. The police who will manage the policing during the upcoming World Cup are not your everyday lowly paid policeman who wanders aimlessly around Red Square they will be the highly trained, heavy handed, hard men of the OMON. A paramiltary set up whose patience threshhold is zero. That combined with the fact Russia's hooligans are often ex army conscripts and disgruntled police officers who unbelievably spend time in the woods honing their hooligan skills by fighting ferociously amongst themselves. England fans will be ok, England thugs might just find things a little different than the laid back streets of Amsterdam.
Theresa Maybe has won a moral victory regarding Russia but Brexit looms large again as there is a legal challenge on its way that states the election was fraudulently won thanks to an overpsend on campaigning.
Comrade Tvarich Corbynov is being harangued for his (parties) anti-semitic views.
Grandson just about to arrive so time to go.
Monday 26th Mar - 09:15
If it wasn't hot enough, in our league of course, then things got just a little bit hotter with Saturday's results. Folkestone beating bottom place Crawley 34-15 leaves the Stones in 10th spot but now only eight points behind Lewes in 6th. Park House did themselves a heap of good beating us with the maximum points and us getting two points might prove invaluable. Old Williamsonians secured their place in this league beating relegated Sheppey comfortably 33-7. Lewes on the other hand just one point ahead of us lost at home to promotion chasing Aylesford Bulls 15-25. Not earning a point could prove costly. Bromley rediscovered their form with a fine away win at Old Dunstonians. The other promotion hopefuls Thanet Wanderers strolled past Hastings & Bexhill pushing the Sussex side down into 9th. Well done to Aylesford and Thanet who have with three games to go secured promotion. It is only the third and final relegation spot at stake now. Sadly we are