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Bleater's Blog
  1. The Grassroots Season Starts
  2. Not Long Now!
  3. Japan Still Beckons
  4. Japan Beckons
  5. Nearly Time To Look Ahead
  6. The Summer Break is Here
  7. The Final Countdown
  8. Yet another section of drivel
  9. The Season Continues for a Little Longer
  10. The 6 Nations Continues
  11. Six Nations and More
  12. It's RWC Year!!
  13. Its Definitely Winter
  14. Winter is here. Brrrr!!!
  15. Its the Autumn, soon to be Winter
  16. We Are Off And Running
  17. The New Season Approaches
  18. Still the Summer Tours Go On
  19. The Summer Internationals Plus, Plus
  20. The Season Climax Approaches
  21. Summer is Coming
  22. Another Section, More Drivel
  23. 2018 Already!!!! It'll soon be Xmas
  24. The Season Approaches the Half Way Point
  25. The Season Takes Shape
  26. The Season Starts
  27. More Pre-Season Build Up
  28. Pre-Season and Other Stuff
  29. The Lions Tested
  30. The Lions Roar
  31. We Are Still Counting Down
  32. It's All About The Lions
  33. The Countdown to Season's End
  34. The Season Continues Apace
  35. It's Time for the 6 Nations
  36. 2017 - Let The Fun Begin
  37. The Big Man Will Be Here Soon
  38. Let's Countdown to You Know What
  39. It's Time For Europe
  40. The Season Is Well Underway
  41. At Last Let The Competition Begin
  42. Not Long to the New Season
  43. Not So Much Rugby Now
  44. Still Plenty of Rugby to Debate
  45. The Summer Break
  46. Here Comes Summer
  47. They Think It's All Over
  48. Jones - A New Era
  49. It Was A Grand Slam!!!!
  50. 6 Nations - A Grand Slam??
  51. Six Nations 2016
  52. A New Captain, A New Start
  53. Welcome to 2016
  54. The Countdown to Christmas
  55. Winter Has Arrived
  56. November Movember
  57. The World Cup Is Over
  58. Rugby World Cup Quarters
  59. Rugby World Cup into the knockout stages
  60. Rugby World Cup Day 9 to Day 24
  61. Rugby World Cup Day 1 to Day 8
  62. Sept 9th to Sept 17th
  63. August 24th to September 7th
  64. August 11th to August 23rd
  65. July 16th to August 9th
  66. July 1st to July 15th
  67. June 17th to June 29th
  68. June 2nd to June 16th
  69. May 19th to June 1st
  70. May 7th to May 17th
  71. April 28th to May 6th
  72. April 22nd to April 27th
  73. April 13th to April 21st
  74. March 13th to Aprill 11th
  75. March 5th to March 12th
Bleater's Blog 33 of 75

33. The Countdown to Season's End

Monday 17th April - 08:45

Much rugby news to debate today but I'm guessing the Lions announcement on Wednesday is the primary topic for this week. Sarries snuck past Northampton at the death yesterday. For long periods the Saints were the better side and it was only in the last 20 minutes that the Barnet crew got their game going. Did we learn anything from the Hartley vs George battle? Not in my opinion. Dylan's leadership quailities, especially with doubts over Warburton's and Alun Wyn's fitness levels in mind, mean he will get the nod ahead of George. Mind you I have seen talk that Richard Hibbard could be worth an outside bet. Chris Ashton kept up his fine scoring run with another crucial try. Given enough space he'll do well in Toulon. George Kruis played the full 80 minutes but will that be enough? Sarries face high flying Munster next week. They will need to deliver for the full 80 minutes what they showed in the last 20 yesterday if they are to have any chance of progressing to the European Cup Final.

It was finally confirmed what we have known for some time that Bristol are relegated. Against top of the table and big spending Wasps it was always going to be a tall order. They didn't capitulate and went down fighting. Based on the promised investement they should walk the league next year and return to the Aviva the stronger for it.

Worcester suprised many with a home win against Bath. The visitors had one eye on the Challenge Cup semi final next weekend in Paris me thinks. Gloucester beat Sale on Saturday with another Lions wild card; Richard Moriarty shining brightly in that one. Leicester beat a pretty shabby Newcastle to move into the 4th play off spot.

In the Pro 12 the big, big surprise was Cardiff Blues downing the Ospreys, and doing so with some ease. Munster beating Ulster kept the Ospreys in 4th but any further slippage by the Neath-Swansea outfit will see their season fizzle out with a whimper. The Dragons nearly pulled off a shock win taking the Scarlets all the way. I watched this one and have to say the Scarlets were a little lucky to win. A few 50/50 decisions going their way and a lack of composure at the death by the Newport men saw Scarlets over the line at the final whistle. Nigel Owens. The best referee in the world or what?

Yesterday I watched a thoroughly entertaining game between Amman United and Caerphilly in the WRU National Bowl Final. Wales great Shane Williams popped up for a try to help Amman to the spoils.

May 9th is a crucial date in the diary for Newport RFC and the Dragons, and potentially for Newport County FC. I have it on good authority that the members of Newport RFC will vote against the WRU proposal thus condemning the Dragons to the scrap heap, but also in my opinion shooting themselves in both feet and the head. It will be madness in the extreme to vote down the WRU lifesaving offer but the Welsh were dumb enough to vote for Brexit so I guess nothing will surprise me.

World Rugby are keen on synchronising the global season. This would require a 10 month domestic season in Europe. Madness is what the players think of this idea. Let's see what transpires.

The headlines show the rate of inflation is on the up. That is a con. Inflation is growing at a faster rate than that as many of the brands you buy are downsizing rather than putting prices up, or worse doing both. Hula Hoops, Mrs Bleater's favourites, up in price and down to 6 packs per multipack from 7. 'Thieves' is what I say.

So the benefits map of Great Britain and Northern Ireland show Birmingham to be the benefits 'hot spot'. What I found interesting was the high levels of benefits claimed in Scotland. I hope Wee Jimmy Crankie has budgeted for that in her independence calculations. Less of a tax burden for the rest of us, more of a burden for Scotland. Hoorah!!.

What an awesome but terrifying display by North Korea this week. It is said some of the weapons on display were fakes, and there is strong evidence for this to be true. I see Ole Baby Face's latest rocket failed dismally, or did it? Have the Americans got some sort of secret cyber technology that can blow up missiles before they get of the ground. Malcolm Riffkind, former Defence Minister let that one slip out yesterday.

So you know, back to grandparenting duties tomorrow. The next blog will be Wednesday pm after the Lions squad announcement.

Friday 14th April - 09:00

Just a brief blog today on this the holy weekend of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A time for reflection and counting our blessings. A time of concern for many as Trump ramps up the fear factor dropping the biggest bomb since the end of World War II. A time for sport too with a full rugby calendar, the highlights of which are the Welsh double header tomorrow and Sarries vs Saints on Sunday. George vs Hartley heightening the interest in this one. A time for being with family and friends so be prepared for those travel delays. A time for simply kicking back and enjoying the glorious sunshine (which is the case right now).

There is much in the news to debate and bleat on about but today is not the day for that.

Can I wish you all a very Happy Easter. I'll be back on Monday bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Thursday 13th April - 09:00

On a day when The Organ of Truth has had to apologise to the First Lady for inaccurate reporting so I got it wrong too.

What is the matter with people. A bomb attack on a football team; Borussia Dortmund. This not is thought to be an Islamic terrorist attack but more likely could also to be brain dead, moronic, villainous right-wing football thugs. Tossers........

Thankfully the sentiment is the same....... moronic, villainous thugs.

Dylan is rightly not taking Lions selection for granted and would see it as a bonus. Much has been written about his form and his contribution to matches. Yes, you could argue Best, Owens and George are all making a bigger physical contribution for club and country but the one thing he has done is delivered leadership on and off the field. In New Zealand that will be crucial as this is the toughest test with not a single game being easy. He may still go. For him, the Lions, and selfishly for CRFC, let's hope so.

I find it fascinating that Sonny Bill-Williams is refusing to wear sponsors logos that support banks, alcohol brands or gambling companies. He is objecting because of his religious beliefs. I have great admiration for people who are strong enough to stand up for their beliefs and make sacrifices accordingly. What I don't agree with is the blatant hypocrisy of someone making these statements then being very happy to take the money that has come from these companies to get their logos on the shirts. I'll bet Sonny boy hasn't taken a cut in his wages proportionate to the contribution made by said sponsors. Equally I bet he won't stop playing when the beer companies and banks are advertising around the ground. If he is so deeply rooted to his beliefs then I am afraid he cannot play as sport is indirectly funded by banks, alcohol companies and betting firms. You only have to look around any ground on any given day. The RBS 6 Nations, The Standard Chartered British & Irish Lions. Finally before I rest my case me'lud can I ask why Auckland should submit to his request. Surely when in Rome do as the Romans or get out.

Gatland junior could face Gatland senior as he has been called into the New Zealand Barbarians squad to face The Lions on June 3rd in Whangarei...... a beautiful place by the way.

Pretty horrendous story on about the allegation of rape laid against three Grenoble players. Sad endictment of modern rugby. Young men with time and money on their hands and little else to occupy them other than training and playing.

Johnny Sexton has joined the clamour of voices rejection Ian Ritchie's suggestion of reducing the 6 Nations to six weeks from seven. I am sure Mr Ritchie was pandering to the Aviva clubs when he made his suggestion but also had half an eye on the balance sheet. Talking of which I read with interest yesterday that the RFU received a massive £12.6m injection of cash from Sport England to grow the game at grassroots level. We, CRFC, have benefitted greatly from investment by the RFU; the new clubhouse, the pitches, equipment. All of which have helped us punch above our weight and deliver a great experience to our members and players alike. What is now needed from the top of our game is them using this money to make the game attractive again for young men. It is all well and good to justify the contribution of Sport England by showing the success of the women's game and 7s and parkland touch and mini and junior rugby but what about the men's game. Call me cynical but if the criteria for the contribution was the men's game the RFU would get a fraction of that money.

It is rumoured the RMT will again return to the negotiating table to try and resolve the long running dispute with Southern. Don't hold your breath, especially as the RMT are proposing a 48 hour strike causing misery to Virgin East Coast passengers over the role of guards. Mind you negotiating is hard when the other side is out spending their over-inflated salaries and swanning around town like royalty.

Finally, if you ever needed reminding to be careful on the roads Mrs Bleater, my mum and I saw the aftermath of an horrendous road accident on the A22 by Blackberry farm yesterday. It had not long happened and to witness the doctor and paramedics battling to save the life of a motorcyclist was harrowing. Be careful out there.

Wednesday 12th April - 09:00

If Warren Gatland's job wasn't hard enough he now has the dilemma that the favourite for the captaincy of the Lions will be out of the game for six weeks. Whilst Sam Warburton's knee injury is not classed as major it will still keep him out of all competitive rugby until just before the Lions depart late May for Aotearoa; the land of the long white cloud.

Owen Slot of The Times wrote a fascinating piece about his Lions selection and guess what? Dylan was not even in his squad let alone captain. He, like me, went for Alun Wyn Jones as captain and Jamie George as the 3rd hooker behind Rory Best and Ken Owens.

The other big debate is whether to take George Ford or Dan Biggar alongside Sexton and Farrell. If you want flair and the comfort zone of the 10/12 axis being familiar with each other it has to be Ford. Against New Zealand will he be robust enough? If the answer is 'no' then Biggar is your choice.

I didn't see the game but I understand from the match reports that Jonathan Jospeh blotted his copybook with a below average defensive display against Leicester on Saturday. Taking your defensive 'A game' to New Zealand is a must.

This time next week all will be revealed.

Former Wales and British & Irish Lions scrum half Mike Phillips is to retire at the end of the season. A pretty impressive career that he can be proud of. Likewise so can Kelly Brown, former Scotland captain, who also will be hanging up his boots come end of May.

Putting his boots on for one more hoorah is Wales and Lions great Shane Williams. He will play for Amman United against Caerphilly in the WRU National Bowl at the Principality (as in Building Society) Stadium.

Talking of stadiums Cornish Pirates are in the process of finalising a deal to move to a brand new stadium in Truro. A shared facility with Truro City and Truro & Penrith College. Good luck to them. Let's hope they can make it work financially.

Before moving off rugby there is a fascinating story in today's Times that Toby Flood's grandfather might have been a Soviet spy. Must read this me thinks.

Big night tonight for the Mighty Foxes when they take on Athletico Madrid. I'll be watching....... if the blood pressure can manage it.

What is the matter with people. A bomb attack on a football team; Borussia Dortmund. This not thought to be an Islamic terrorist attack but more likely to be brain dead, moronic, villainous right-wing football thugs. Tossers........

........On the other hand they might come in handy as United Airlines flight attendants. Plenty of hilarious 'memes' on this subject. I particularly liked the one showing a United aeroplane seating plan with First, Business Class, Premium Economy, Fight Club.

Must go. Mum's made an appearance meaning it's time for breakfast.

Tuesday 11th April - 09:40

It's that time of the year when most local rugby is at an end, unless you are in a play-off or cup, so attention turns to the countdown to the European finals, the top flight (money induced) play-offs, and this year, of course the Lions. The Lions build up will start in earnest once the squad has been announced on April 19th.

Many of the top play-off places have already been decided so it's just pride at stake. In Wales it was what the marketing men call 'Judgement Day' when the four Welsh regions play in a double header at the Principality stadium. More money making by the WRU. Sell you soul to the devil why don't you? The Ospreys and Scarlets have plenty to play for with both in play-off contention. Ulster is the only team that can prevent the two Welsh regions making it into the top four. In England it looks as if Bath and Leicester are fighting it out for the fourth spot after Wasps, Exeter and Sarries booked their places.

At the other end Bristol looked doomed but mathematically they can overtake Worcester.

April 22nd is a date for your diary. 14:15 k.o. Crowborough IIs v The Greenies II at Steel Cross. Well worth wandering up to watch that one.

I know Stuart Barnes isn't everyone's cup of tea but in his column this week he talks about why it is good to cull teams from Super Rugby. He also talks about how the marketing men, alongside the finance men (obviously I use 'men' generically here to refer to men, women, transgender, Scottish haggis munchers and Welsh Lambs just so the PC brigade don't have a go) have taken over the game. There is one long winded statement about Super Rugby which quite frankly is corporate bollocks. (Please read it). The important point is it highlights to me how the people at the top of the game have lost touch with the grassroots rugby and the Unions in each of the top tier nations has become a corporation akin to Coca Cola or Shell or Unilever. A big worry. If you are still not supportive of my view then look at the Australia case study and read the article headlined; 'Club closure shows rugby's grassroots neglected in Australia'.

The law makers will be tweaking the rules again soon. Two trials to be adopted in my view. 1. when a penalty try is scored award the 7 points. No conversion required. 2. Amend the use of the TMO so the referee has to give what his view is upfront.

Those of you of a certain age and from Wales will know the name David Parry-Jones. He was the voice of Welsh rugby both on TV and radio during the halcyon days of the game in Wales. Sadly at the age of 83 he passed away this weekend. I remember as a schoolboy and into my 20s watching and listening to him commentate on many games. I was lucky to meet him on several occasions whilst at school. I think it is fair to say he was Wales' Bill McLaren.

I am getting fed up of receiving mails from England rugby wanting to sell me a shirt. Match day, home shirt, away shirt, 7s shirt, womens shirt, pre-match training shirt, post-match training shirt, he's been for a sh!t shirt, a Lions shirt. Shame some of these people can't put the same effort into helping the counties and the clubs to make grassroots rugby 'sexy' again.

Moving off rugby to soccer. Arsene Wenger. Those fingers clutching at the cliff edge can't hold on much longer can they?

BT laud the quality of their internet so is it no wonder that a high flying BT employee had to work at the club on Friday because his home BT internet wasn't working. For good internet connection there is CRFC, for others there is BT string and two tin cans.

As the season comes to its conclusion I will drift more and more into general topics of the day. THANK YOU CRFC for allowing me to bleat on about MY opinion on these matters.

So the boss of Southern has got a massive pay rise and earns a shade under £500k a year. A disgrace. For a fraction of that I too could run Southern Rail and make sure the delays are unacceptable, the management / employee relations are non existent, and customer satisfaction is so low having dog poop on your shoe is more acceptable. He needs to be ashamed about his performance and get this dispute sorted. Sadly there is NO incentive for him to resolve the dispute...... in my opinion.

Finally the lily-livered PC brigade who ignore the fact US and Russia could spark WWIII and the US might be dum enough to nuke North Korea have complained again about the all male line up in the final of University Challenge. So what. I'll tell you what. Let's have places allocated by quota. Teams from Scottish universities will be one man, one woman, one can of Irn Bru and a deep fried Mars Bar. Wales universities must include at least one sheep and a benefit cheat. North East universities must include two benefit cheats and a man in a flat cap. Brighton universities will be represented by three non gender specific team members and an ice cream eating seagull. GET A LIFE. It is what it is. There are more important things to worry about you muppets.

Don't get me on about non-gender specific toilets. Thank goodness my coffee is ready.

Monday 10th April - 09:15

Much has now been decided for many but for some there are still issues to be attended to.

I know we lost but I was pleased to see Dartfordians only beat us by 44-16. Dartfordians have been on fire of late and this result is another indicator that even with a number of key players missing our boys were going down to L3SE with their heads held high. The result was not enough for Dartfordians to overtake Old Colfeians in the play off race as OCs, as expected, beat Bromley. Bromley's fate is now in the hands of others, basically how the teams cascade down from the other leagues, but I am pretty sure they too will be in L3SE with us. Medway finished their season off in style with a comfortable win at Heathfield & Waldron and return to London 1 South, where I think they will do well. Our friends at Charlton Park put over 50 points on Old Alleynians. This leaves OAs sitting in 9th ahead of the Greenies by virtue of the greater number of games won. Deal & Betteshanger's poor season, by their standards, continued with a loss at home to Hove, and as a result of Horsham losing away at Beckenham allowed Hove to take the bragging rights for the Sussex clubs.

Coming up from London 3 South East will be Pulborough as champions and Haywards Heath, whose late charge has been very impressive. Pulborough beating Lewes at Lewes secured them top spot. Going up as champions would have been nice but Heath still would have enjoyed their win at Gillingham Anchorians despite already knowing they were promoted even before a ball had been passed. Thanet Wanderers missed out despite thrashing bottom placed Ashford. Relegated Eastbourne finished on a low note with another loss at home to Park House who move up above Gillingham Anchorians to safety and sending GAs down...... I think. In the other games, Aylesford Bulls continued their good form beating Sheppey and Old Dunstonians lost at home to Folkestone.

In Sussex 1 congratulations again to Crawley for being promoted as champions but well done to Burgess Hill for their fine away win, in what looks a cracking high scoring game over there in the shadow of Gatwick Airport. It wasn't enough to pip Uckfield to the play off spot vs Old Williamsonians as the boys from 'just down the road' comfortably beat Horsham II. In the only other game Seaford lost to Hellingly.

East Grinstead will be back in Sussex 1 next season and will be a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations to Crowborough 2s for a fine 59-0 away win at Uckfield II. Well done Keith Brooker for perservering and a good way to end the season.

Now then, now then, in London 1 South things suddenly got interesting for the guys from St Marks recreation ground. Sidcup are up. We know that, despite losing away at Tottonians. Havant are still in the all important play off spot after beating Chobham. Tunbridge Wells remain in 3rd after thrashing Dover, but this is where it gets interesting. Havant travel to Sidcup in two weeks time whilst the Wells host Maidstone. A win at St Marks and a Havant loss will see Tunbridge Wells in the play-off. Not quite that simple because of bonus points etc but you get the point. Maidstone will be no push over after putting 89 points on Gosport & Fareham. Sevenoaks beat Brighton and with a trip to Gosport on April 22nd the Oaks should end the season with back to back wins.

Up in the London National league TJs are top dogs after a comfortable home win over Hertford and now can't be overtaken by Wimbledon. Congratulations to them on their promotion to National 2 South. As the demented London Irish birds have found out it is tough up there and the travel and costs involved are challenging. TJs have plenty of cash so they might be better placed than most. Chichester lost away at Colchester, a game I had expected them to win. The result means they remain periously close to the drop depending on how the play-offs and relegation from above goes. They host Westcombe Park in a fortnight. No easy game.

Elsewhere Worthing continue to struggle and their heavy loss at home to Chinnor leaves them periously close to the drop zone, just above London Irish Wild Geese as it happens. Bridgnorth have done well in their first season in National League 3 Midlands and beating Sandbach away puts them nicely in mid-table. Salisbury have faired less well and are one place off the bottom of National League 3 South West after losing to Hornets.

Before moving on to the elite game may I say I was delighted to read about Burgess Hill III's hosting a combined Crows and Seaford side. The combined side won but this is irrelevant. What is important here is that two sides put their heads together and made up a team that got to play rugby. It would have been so easy for the Crows and Seaford to cry off leaving Burgess Hill III with no game. When you scrap leagues and take a pragmatic approach to regulations it is clear what you can achieve. Maybe, just maybe this is a way forward for the true community game.

A million miles away in terms of money and standard from us the big boys put on a show at Twickenham and Wembley on Saturday. Bath pulled off a stunning comeback to beat Leicester. Taulpe Faletau and Anthony Watson sending a message to Warren Gatland about Lions selection. Sarries thumped Quins in a more one sided affair in front of 70,000 spectators. It didn't end there as Wasps beat Saints with the last ditch try and conversion. Well done Exeter for securing their play-off spot. Play-offs in the Aviva..... money, money, money.

In my game of the weekend the Ospreys couldn't get past Leinster. Dan Biggar suffered a head knock and reading between the lines the HIA protocols have again been brought into question. He will have fresh tests today.

The headlines on reads 'Sheep stop play in Wales'. Well this is bound to happen if players insist on taking girlfriends to games.

Welsh great Gethin Jenkins shows no sign of giving up and says he's chasing more international honours.

Super Rugby will be cut back to 15 teams next season with probably the Western Force and two South African franchises getting the chop.

Let's not mention Leicester City but let's do mention Sergio Garcia. What a game of golf that was. Splendid entertainment.

Finally what a lovely day and evening on Saturday. My sister's wedding. A splendid occasion with a rip-roaring hangover on Sunday morning.

Saturday 8th April - 09:30

Two headlines stand out, neither good news.

Former England hooker Brian Moore is in hospital after suffering a heart attack. It sounds as if it was quite a serious one too. Let's hope for a speedy recovery.

Sam Warburton limps off at the Kingspan Stadium last night with a knee injury and is due to have a scan to assess the extent of the damage. Warburton strongly tipped to be Lions captain suffered a similar injury prior to the 2013 Lions tour to Australia. With Alun Wyn Jones and now Warburton not certain to make the tour means the door is open again for Dylan, Rory Best or even Owen Farrell to take on the mantle of captain.

Not a bad game at all last night with a 24 apiece draw between Ulster and Cardiff probably a fair result. The scoreline helps fellow Welsh region the Scarlets but dents Ulster's play-off hopes.

Paddy Jackson is the real deal now and could well be on the plane to New Zealand. Good to see Alex Cuthbert playing something akin to his best.

Elsewhere Sale beat Worcester and Newcastle earned a last ditch victory over Gloucester. The Falcons have recently found their wings and are playing some good, competitive rugby.

Some good Aviva match ups today but my game of the weekend is Ospreys v Leinster.

Sadly I expect our boys will have a tough day at the office over at Dartfordians but I am sure they will give of their best before saying goodbye to London 2 South East.

Good luck to all those clubs, especially Sussex clubs challenging for promotion and battling against relegation.

Hong Kong 7s this weekend along with the Grand National, the Chinese Scaletrix, the Masters, and my sisters wedding. Good luck to Deb and Grant on this their big day.

No blog tomorrow as a consequence of me being in Kettering but a full round up of this weekend on Monday.

Before I go Trump has been decisive in responding to Syria's despicable chemical attack on innocent civilians last week. The fact Putin has reacted in the way he has is very disturbing in the extreme. The outcome of any escalation between US and Russia is too awful to contemplate.

The terrible events in Stockholm echo what happened in London just a few weeks ago. Sweden's liberal approach to immigration may now be backfiring. Having been based out in Sweden for a while the country is not the Utopia everyone believes and sadly this cowardly attack highlights why. I expect tensions between the locals and the immigrant population to increase.

Sorry to end on a gloomy note but life is often like that.

Thursday 6th April - 10:15

For most it is the last game of the season this weekend. We take on Dartfordians at their place. Dartfordians still with a very slim chance of the playoff spot but that would require Bromley to beat Old Colfeians.

Our 2s have the short trip to Uckfield where they play their 2s. Should be worth the short journey if you can't make it to Dartfordians.

The Crows are resting.

My 'I told you so' moment is the Stade Francais's Raisuqe being banned for 10 weeks for his stamp on Keelan Giles. He should have been shown red at the time. A poor refereeing decision, and yes I do feel I can say that as he had two assistants and all that technology at hand at the time. It was a no brainer and a 10 week ban confirms that.

New Zealand are considering a test against Samoa ahead of the first test vs the Lions. This potentially with Wales v Tonga being played as a curtain-raiser.

Sonny Bill-Williams makes his retirn after the achilles injury sustained in Rio playing for the New Zealand 7s. Will he return as good a player, that is the question.

Scotland's Mark Bennett is out for a year with ligament damage after being carried off in the defeat by England. Shame. A player with real promise to be a long term star for the Scots.

Will Taulupe Faletau make the Lions tour. I think he is a great player but he didn't start in the 6 Nations and with back row one of the real selection headaches for Warren Gatland I don't see it. We'll know on April 19th.

Technology was used effectively in a recent France v Spain soccer international but the football authorities stubbornly refuse to extend its use. In the Newcastle United v Burton Albion game last night the referee made a mistake in disallowing a Newcastle penalty and awarding a free kick to Burton.The technology was there to help the referee but wasn't used. A two second 'you got that wrong ref, change your decision' in his ear and the problem would have been solved.

Nigel Garage Lock Up unlocked his mouth to poor effect yesterday by accusing the EU parliament of acting like the Mafia but did you see how many people are in that parliament. Welcome to the gravy train.

There was much in the news about the benefit changes yesterday. Don't forget c.25% of your income tax goes to those claiming benefits, so I feel I do have a right to comment. This especially so when a benefit claimant who says he can't work but can spend £140 a week on food shopping and then, and here is where my blood boils, £40 a week on cigarettes and beer. Benefits are not there to provide the same lifestyle as those who work very hard day in day out, for often minimum wage. They are there for the most vulnerable in society. Call me a right wing bigot by all means but in my view it is common sense. Are you happy for your taxes to go fund the lifestyle of some who really can't be bothered and are happy to literally sent your contribution up in smoke. I'm not. I want my taxes to go to those who most need it.

Time for another lie down.

Wednesday 5th April - 09:00

Something of a lull in proceedings today in terms of rugby news. Giant Australian lock Will Skelton is returning to Sarries on a two year deal. According him he is sacrificing his Australian test career for his family. What a load of twaddle. It is ALL about the MONEY!!!!!!! Good move by Saracens though as he won't be knackered after an arduous Lions tour and won't be missing for the Autumn or 6 Nations tournaments.

Scotland and Wales have said 'No!' to the RFU's suggestion of a one week reduction in the 6 Nations schedule. George Ford has come out and said it would be very tough on the players. The RFU are only thinking of themselves, and the MONEY.

The Aviva and Pro12 take centre stage this weekend. Bath v Leicester, Ospreys v Leinster and Munster v Glasgow jump out.

Josaia Raisuqe has been cited after his stamp on Keelan Giles. Good.

Somewhat ironic that I have been slating the Slimani substitution scandal, France v Wales, at a time when Slimani comes on as a substitute for Leicester City and scores to set up victory over lowly Sunderland.

As I head to Heathfield tonight for a meeting on next season's league structure and possible ideas on how to improve the game in Sussex there is a fascinating piece on Wales Online about the parless state of community rugby in Wales. Same story as ours; too many HWO/AWO, not enough players, sides going bust, and so on. Just because the coffers are full, and the internationals are well attended, and there is great interest in the women's game, and minis and juniors are doing well DOES NOT mean the game is in a good place. It isn't.

What makes 7s so popular? Two day long sessions of watching fine athletes go head to head, or two day long parties with loads to drink and having fun with mates. For many it is the latter which is why virtually no-one bothered to watch the Wellington, NZ leg of the HSBC 7s. The council banned alcohol. Why is the Hong Kong 7s so popular. Not for the rugby. It is one long party. Please Mr Ritchie don't use 7s as an example of the rude health of our game. It will be interesting to see how many are at the season's finale at Twickenham now they are clamping down on drink and drunken behaviour

The Golf Masters starts tomorrow, or is it Friday. Always compulsive viewing.

In the papers the terrible events in Syria are prominent. Rightly so.

So the RMT and ASLEF have called off the strikes on the night tube after TfL conceded to their demands. This is why Southern have to hold out because it is like the blackmailer, and the loan shark; once they have you on the hook they will never let go.

The biggest shake up to benefits in a long, long time happens today. Good! There are too many people stealing from the system. There are too many bone idle wasters who prefer to sit on their backsides taking benefits than working. VERY sadly because of the aforementioned groups there are too many in genuine need of help who are not getting enough.

The sun is up. The planes are overhead. Coffee is ready. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday 4th April - 10:15

No grandparenting today. Half term. So a couple of quick comments on what's going on.

As you know my working life took me to many places and having been based out in Russia for a while St Petersburg is a place I've been to for business and leisure. It is a lovely city and the metro system is a thing of beauty. Not as grand as the Moscow metro but wonderful nonetheless. No matter what you think of Putin the bombing of innocent civilians is awful. In the name of what I ask!

Equally horrific is the chemical attack killing many in Syria. Cowardly is what I deem these acts to be. Sport is of no consequence when you read of these heartless and selfish acts by thugs and murderers.

The French remain under review for the replacement of Antonio by Slimani in the final round of 6 Nations against Wales. Whilst this is trivial compared with the above it is important for the integrity of our game. I think they cheated. I think they know they cheated. I think nothing will come of it other than a slap on the wrists and another series of unenforceable guidelines. If a doctor says a player is injured are you going to get a second, third, fourth opinion because you doubt the doctors integrity. No. Therefore it can't be stopped. Typically French though, and I still bet there is footage out there of the bite to George North which the French TV have fortunately not been able to find.

The 2017/18 European Cups will be decided in Bilbao. Interesting choice but to be fair a great stadium. The 2018/19 finals will be held in St James Park, Newcastle. They did a great job for RWC 2015 so another good choice.

Having whinged like spoilt children about the unfairness of the European competitions the English and French sides conspired to change the rules. Well, with the exception of Sarries it hasn't done them much good has it. Are they going to cry foul again and try and change the rules once more. The French and English clubs have pots of cash. They are importing players from around the world at great expense and still no success. Why? Possibly because win or lose they get paid an inordinate amount of money and their loyalty is not with the club but with the weasle of an agent who chases the cash for them. Where is Kurtley Beale next season? Yes, back in Australia. Why, because he'll get more money and a chance at RWC 2019..... in MY opinion....... which I am entitled too.

A home grown talent who plays with his heart on his sleeve week in, week out for his province and his country regardless of the money is Rob Kearney. Sadly bicep surgery will keep him out for a while and his Lions chance may disappear with it.

Sam Warburton remains in the frame for the Lions captaincy. If, and it is a big IF, AW Jones is fit then my vote still goes to him.

In, out, shake it all about. In comes Johan Ackermann to replace Laurie Fisher at Gloucester. If the cherry & whites maintain the form shown against Cardiff Blues last weekend then he comes in at a good time. Shaking it all about are the rumours that Rassie Erasmus is leaving Munster to return home to South Africa. Time will tell. Mike Ford is out of Toulon, Richard Cockerill leads the Toulon International Barbarians until the end of the season when Fabian Galthie comes in as head coach.

Stuart Barnes picks out Simon Zebo as Lion. Not a bad shout.

How long will Gatland stay in Wales after the Lions. His son Bryn (good Welsh name) could make his debut at fly half for the Auckland Blues this weekend. Nothing like a son playing top flight rugby to drag a father home to watch?

Today's sporting highlight; Leicester City v Sunderland. David Moyes the big slapper that he is needs a win. In today's politically correct world if you are in public life you should know by now not to say anything that will offend anybody. So the interview goes like this.... 'Hello' ....... 'Goodbye'. Was it said in a nasty, aggressive way? No! Should it have been said? No.... but! Who is blowing this out of proportion? The politically correct, lilly livered, left wing BBC of course.

So Spain are playing games with Gibraltar..... and Scotland. Saying Spain would not block Scotland's entry to the EU is complete rubbish. You can bet your mortgage that if that was repeated more than once the Catalans would be the first demanding independence from Spain and that isn't going to happen.

I can't understand why more isn't being made of the Trump's threat to solve the North Korea crisis with or without China. Kim Jong-un is the biggest threat to the world today. A power crazed meglomaniac that allegedly had is own brother murdered to further his own aims will soon have nuclear weapons and long range missiles. Trump has the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world and he now has his finger on the trigger. I have said before; be afraid, be very afraid.

Finally ASLEF members have said 'nyet' to the latest peace deal despite their leadership's recommendation of acceptance. I am OK with this. ASLEF are not going on strike again, and they are going to keep talking. The RMT on the other hand are bloody mindedly refusing to budge from their stance. Why doesn't Loadsa Cash just come out and say his fight is about protecting his unions power, preventing job losses, and trying to defeat a government he despises. The truth would be more palatable than the pathetic 'safety' arguments.

By the way I was told just last week that I shouldn't go on about this, and should stop having a go at the RMT. Well, it isn't just about the RMT, Southern Management have lots to answer for too. The crucial point here is I have recently been exposed to some horrendous stories about people losing their livelihoods, their jobs, their businesses, having to move house and schools and even suffering from serious depression as a consequence of these strikes. That can't be ignored.

Monday 3rd April - 09:30

In order to understand how the cascade down, and the flow up of relegated and promoted sides affects London 2 South East I will leave that league until last. I am also grateful to my friend, who I will now refer to as 'Liberty' (he'll work it out). Calling him Philip The Greenie is too close to that scumbag Philip Green, and that isn't nice.

National League 2 South. Worthing narrowly lost out on the ridiculously long trip to Redruth. Currently they sit in 12th but with three games to go and 15 points at stake they could find themselves in the drop zone. Exmouth are doomed at the bottom but of the four possible candidates for the drop three would drop into the London South half of the pyramid and that impacts on all in our region.

Ok, National League 3 London. It is not over until the fat lady has sung but TJs inch closer to their cherished goal of promotion with a narrow win away at Sutton & Epsom. With two games to go only Wimbledon can catch them. Wimbledon having enjoyed their trip to the beautiful island of Guernsey. Chichester lost at home to Guildford but with an 18 point gap to Colchester below them Chi are also safe. The two relegated clubs are both likely to drop into London 1 North.

In London 1 South promoted Sidcup beat Sevenoaks. The Oaks have had a fine season and will end safely in mid-table. Havant lost at Cobham re-opening the door for Tunbridge Wells to steal the play-off spot. The boys from St Marks hammering bottom and relegated Gosport & Fareham. Brighton finding a late run of form beat Maidstone. If Havant or Tunbridge Wells win the play-off then it makes relegation interesting as it will be two up and none down into this league. Currently Dover are in 13th and Chiswick are 12th.

Working from the bottom up we know that Hastings & Bexhill are up from Kent 1 into London 3 South East. They lost on Saturday to Sittingbourne. Old Williamsonians are in the play off spot where I am growing more certain that they will play Uckfield. Crawley are promoted. The only club to stop Uckfield are Burgess Hill but they are at Crawley in their final game, whereas Uckfield host Horsham II.

In London 3 South East Pulborough are promoted but might yet be pipped to the title by Haywards Heath. Pulborough drew with Park House whilst Haywards Heath strolled past Aylesford Bulls. Thanet Wanderers kept their slim hopes of promotion alive with an easy win over Old Dunstonians. Lewes are nicely in mid-table after beating Gillingham Anchorians. Eastbourne on the other hand are relegated after being thumped by Folkestone. It is possible that either Park House or Aylesford Bull could go down too depending on what happens in our league. This is because the winner of Kent and Sussex 1 are automatically promoted plus the winner of the play-off.

With me so far? Right, we are down. That is, barring some major mis-demeanours by clubs above us. Medway are up. We know that too but they only narrowly beat play-off hopefuls Dartfordians. Old Colfeains stay in pole position for the play-off after beating Beckenham. Charlton Park will be in London 2 South East for another season. Something I think they would not be too disappointed about. Deal & Betteshanger beat Horsham putting pay to any relegation worries. Hove beat Heathfield & Waldron but the Greenies are looking pretty safe as Bromley are below them in 11th spot after the 26-26 draw at Old Alleynians.

So who goes down? If OCs (or Dartfordians) beat Camberley in the play-off and only Dover come down then only Crowborough is relegated. If Camberley win the play-off then it looks as if Bromley will join us. Whilst the Greenies host Medway in their last game the assumption is Bromley won't beat OCs in their final game leaving 10th and 11th spots unchanged.

Basically we won't know until June when the fixtures come out. For CRFC though things are clear........ but don't hold me to that.

Finally Salisbury lost at home to Old Redcliffians leaving them at risk of relegation. Bridgnorth are nicely in mid-table after beating Peterborough Lions.

As expected Sarries beat Glasgow quite comfortably. In fact they were pretty awesome. They have set up a mouthwatering clash with Munster in the semi-final. Clermont Auvergne also won comfortably putting big, big spenders Toulon out. Good! What price for Richard Cockerill to get the chop. Clermont now host Leinster. What price an all Ireland final?

In the challenge cup Stade Francais held off the Ospreys to secure their spot in the semi-finals where they will host Bath. Stade were down to fourteen men after Josaia Raisuqe was sent from the field with half an hour of the match to go after a second yellow card. In my humble opinion he should have gone long before that after an outrageous stamp on Keelan Giles. Matthew Carley bottled the tough decision. It was a clear, deliberate and dangerous stamp to the chest. The fact it din't connect with his head is irrelevant. He should have gone. Ospreys were sloppy at times and this was their ultimate downfall.

What an excellent result in Reading. London Irish 17 Jersey 25. Well done the Reds.

Wasps money man David Armstrong wants to 'bring' a Rugby Super League side to Coventry. Will that mercenary Denny Solomona want to switch codes again!!

Brendan Venter to join the Boks set up as defence coach.

Well done Joanna Konta winning the Miami open.

I will leave the papers for another day. I am off to catch up on some sleep. A very boozy wedding do last night with friends and neighbours. I'll read the promotion/relegation regulations again......... Zzzzzz! Just the thought of it and I've gone.

Sunday 2nd April - 10:00

What a splendid day off the field yesterday. The weather was fantastic. The President's Lunch was excellent; thank you Jacqui and Sandra. We had the County President Elect; Gavin Ross, Past President; Peter Bailey, and three guests from Charlton Park with us for lunch, along with many of the faithful. The ambience around the place was great. The grounds looked as good as I have seen them at this stage of the season. We got three sides out. Just splendid.

On the field the Crows came away from Worthing having lost in what looks an enjoyable high scoring game 51-25. The 2s lost heavily to table topping and promoted East Grinstead 1s 7-67. No shame in that. The 1st XV went down to Charlton Park 15-50.

For the first 40 minutes of this game anybody who hadn't been following the fortunes of either side would have thought the men from Steel Cross were the team with an outside chance of the play-offs and Charlton Park were relegated. Crowborough played with speed, precision and skill. Chris Yates and the diminutive Ben Searle pulled the strings with Matt Botterman and Nick Hill making barnstorming runs at every opportunity. Whilst Charlton Park dominated the scrum throughout we were more than a match everywhere else on the field. When Charlton Park attacked we defended vigourously. Oh how I wished the game had ended there.

With Searle, Tom Kent and Tom McMahon all leaving the field with nasty knocks the second half was a different kettle of fish altogether. Charlton Park scored pretty much straight from the kick off and it was the Steel Cross boys manning the barricades from then on. Wave after wave of attacks kept 'Borough on the back foot. Depsite some amazing defensive work the line was breached at regular intervals. The visitors dominance at the scrum was put to good effect and out wide Charlton Park had some serious gas which they put to good effect. The visitors deserved to win, and the score line didn't flatter them. Our boys can still hold their heads high. It would have been easy to throw in the towel. They didin't.

I will pick out three players from Charlton Park who caught the eye. Their big No.5, a stalwart of the club, was top drawer from start to finish. The two wingers were excellent. The lad playing No.11 in particular was a class act. An all round footballer. It wouldn't surprise me to find the avaricious big spenders having a look at him.

Whilst we are down, we are not out. The Crowborough faithful have already turned their attention to next season. It is a testament to the boys that the faithful have remained faithful and also how gracious Charlton Park were about our position in the league. I for one say 'hoorah' for both those things.

On a sad note Bernie wasn't there. I understand he broke his neck a little while ago. I am pleased he is making a good recovery. I know there are some from CP that read this rubbish so please can I ask you to pass Mrs Bleaters and my best wishes on to him.

I will do a full league round up tomorrow but my good friend over at the Greenies has advised that Heathfield & Waldron are looking safe from the drop, and Bromley might even dodge the bullet too. That dependent on the play off for promotion, which is looking like Camberley vs OCs (Dartfordians are not out of it yet but Bromley would have to beat OCs next week and stop them getting any points at all. As much as I really like the guys at Bromley this is a highly unlikely scenario). Philip the Greenie is kindly going to summarise the vagueries of promotion and relegation as my tiny brain can't cope with it).

Bath beat Brive which after last weeks mauling by Sarries is a confidence boost. I was surprised at how easily Leinster got past big spending Wasps. Munster were also very impressive as they put Toulouse to the sword. The Gloucester v Cardiff game was very enjoyable despite the result. Richard Moriarty put a marker down for Lions selection and Richard Hibbard reminded the Welsh public what a pain in the ass he is around the field. So the cherry and whites, now masquerading as Richmond in those shirts of theirs are a step closer to season saving silverware (nice alliteration of 's').

Not long now to Sarries and Glasgow. A forlorn hope for Glasgow me thinks.

Before I go, a thought........ as Britain exits Europe, (including Scotland) do you realise that Leicester are still firmly in Europe. Leicester City that is. Come on the Foxes.

Friday 31st March - 08:10

Much of the column inches is taken up with how Gregor Townsend is plotting to down Sarries. I really don't see it myself.

Stuart Lancaster is likely to stay at Leinster. He has added value and his organisational strengths have been used to the full by Leisnter's main man Leo Cullen. This one is too close to call. I go Leinster. Home advantage and all that.

Lancaster also says this weekend is another audition for many players with Wasps aspirations. I'd have a wild guess that Gatland has the bulk of his squad in mind already.

By the way, some bookmakers have stopped taking bets on Warburton being captain. Me, I still think Alun Wyn Jones is your man but obviously he is out injured for at least 6 weeks and therefore could miss the trip.

Fascinating piece on many websites about Martin Johnson's concerns re harmful performance enhancing drugs in rugby, and in sport in general. As rugby at the very top level becomes more and more lucrative, and even at lower levels where players are picking up sometimes as much as £500 per game, there is a clear incentive to perform. Drugs are increasingly seen as one of the answers .......... sadly.

Much in the news for those who like to keep abreast of politics. Sturgeon has written her letter. The EU are about to lay out their negotiating stance. There are plans afoot to block the Brexit negotiations by Remoaners. I am not sure what these clowns hope to achieve. The outcome is potentially going to be bad enough without people making it worse by getting in the way. Yes we need checks and balances but outright obstructiveness...... I'm not sure.

Two things I think are positive. Schools will no longer have to carry out testing of 7 year olds, and some targets for the NHS will be scrapped. Good. Let teachers get on with teaching. Let doctors and nurses get on with healing and not worrying whether they are at 95.4% vs 96%. We should now get on with scrapping some of the paperwork for the police and other public services. The reason why fewer burglaries are being solved is simple; it takes hours and hours to solve the crime and then make the arrest, then it takes hours and hours filling in forms and making sure everything is done to make the thieving scumbags have every opportunity to live like lords.

See you at Friday Club, or at President's lunch tomorrow.

Thursday 30th March - 09:45

A big weekend of rugby for many clubs. For us it is playing our friends at Charlton Park. Playing for pride is our goal, playing for a play-off spot is theirs. They are a great bunch over at Charlton Park and Mrs Bleater and I hope to catch up with some of the people we travelled with in Australia in 2013. I trust Bernie will leave his budgie smugglers at home.

The 2s are at home to East Grinstead so a busy day at Steel Cross with it being the Presidents Lunch and all that. I understand our 2s Ed Rogers has had his leg operated on and is making good progress. The Crows travel to Worthing to play the Worthing Knights. Might be easier playing the Baron Knights...... if you are old enough to remember them.

A big weekend of European rugby too. Leinster v Wasps in the main tournament jumps out, as does Bath vs Brive in the secondary cup. Bath being the first English club to win the European Cup with victory over Brive in Bordeaux, with a certain JC picking up man of the match after scoring all the points.

On Sunday Sarries take on Glasgow. After the Barnet's crew demolition of Bath in the Aviva Gregor Townsend's boys will have to come up with something special to win.

Another fixture that catches the eye is London Irish v Jersey in the British & Irish Cup semi final. Jersey surprisingly beat table topping London Irish last week in the Championship but will find this one tougher. For many this cup is a distraction but for Jersey it is another financial godsend.

For Warren Gatland the European Cups are another opportunity to watch players under pressure in games at what I feel are one level below internationals. Although it is the Challenge Cup Ospreys and Wales Justin Tipuric will want to stamp his mark on the game when they play troubled Racing 92.

France's Yoann Maestri gets hit with a £26,000 fine for his post match comments about Wayne Barnes. That'll be his match fee and win bonus then.

I am pleased that several commentators have also been vociferous about Denny Solomona. I am sorry, but it is a joke, and if England pick him it shows what a bunch of hypocrites they are after supporting changes to residency rules. Win, win, win. Money, money, money. Players and adminstrators are leaving our game for a range of reasons. There are times when I feel very disillusioned about where our game is, and where it is going.

There is a fascinating piece on a New Zealand rugby website by former New Zealand legend Brian Lahore. He is saying the game should return to its amateur roots at provincial level and go back to the days where the provinces were teams made up of mainly home grown talent. He believes there too many players being put under too much pressure to travel where the money is. It is a case of you are paid to play so you sacrifice your job. Not everybody is going to 'cut the mustard' and those who fail to make it big don't return to play locally they walk away from the game altogether. Sound familiar?

Across the weekend referees at all levels will come under scrutiny. We must remember that no referee means no game, and at our level referees sacrifice a lot to make a game happen. Remember they have jobs and families too. Our very own Graeme Pratt reminded me how enjoyable it is to referee but how hard it is too keep them in the game and get referees to take up the game. I wish I could've kept going but my back told me not too. He is amazing and still gets out there most weekends even now he is well into his 80s (smile Pratty please). For a young fit person, who knows the game, has empathy with players and might have played a bit too, the world is literally your oyster. Nigel Owens, Wayne Barnes to name but two have travelled the world as a result of refereeing. I should know. Mrs Bleater and I saw Mr Owens and Mr Barnes enjoying a Burger King in Auckland during RWC 2011. If that isn't the life I don't know what is.

Soccer has dragged itself into the 20th century. It isn't quite into the 21st yet but this week made a huge step forward when during the France v Spain friendly technology was used to help with decision making. A goal was disallowed after review, and a goal was given after review. In both cases the original on-field call was the opposite. It took a matter of seconds and justice was served.

That letter and Article 50 dominates the news. The long and winding road will have many potholes and false turns along it. I still believe leaving is the wrong decision but I believe we have to unite and support the decision to make the best of it. We cannot be held to ransom by the EU and we cannot pander to the 'remoaners'. The die is cast so come on Britain let's get through this together.

One story you might have missed is Hong Kong rail firm MRT is to take over South West trains. I am not in favour of foreign companies running our rail network and syphoning of profits to invest 'at home'. I not in favour of renationalisation either. Having been lucky enough to have been to Hong Kong and used the MRT undergound it is amazing. VERY efificient, very clean and VERY safe. Sadly Mike 'Loadsa' Cash is already whingeing about the decision and using the worn out safety argument to oppose the change. Buy a new record Cash and recognise this is a good move for commuters, and if the Government structure the deal right a good move for the UK.

By the way, if you are planning to go to Aintree on April 8th for the Grand National then think again. 'Loadsa' Cash and his anarchic crew have plans to block you at every junction along the way.

Oh, and by the way, breakfast with the Friday Club...... excellent!

Wednesday 29th March - 08:00

As I was swimming with my grandson yesterday this drivel was being audited, and marked, and checked for false news. Well I can tell the auditor said the news is not fake, but is very opinionated. There is no evidence of aiding terrorists or benefit cheats by the use of encryption. The auditor did find serious failings when marking the maths and he commented that spilling and grandma left a lot to be desired. One item got him hot under the collar and that was; of course Hove cannot be relegated. Bromley and Old Alleynians play each other therefore one, or both of these, must end up below our friends from the Sussex coast.

Well, the letter is written and will be delivered to the EU this lunchtime. The process now begins and as we withdraw from Europe the impact will become clear. Those who have said it has been good going so far have their heads up their backsides. Those doom and gloom mongers like Nick Clegg must now shut up and help this country make the best, of yes, what could be a bad job. More on this later.

There is much written about how great 4G pitches are. You might want to pause at this moment and look at the Welsh rugby pages and look at the horrible injuries players from both RGC 1404 and Merthyr RFC suffered when they played at Pontypridd's Sardis Road.

Many articles have been written about whether an Aussie franchise needs to be cut from the Super Rugby set up. Western Force appears to be the main target of many pundits. What this hides is a serious decline in grassroots rugby across Australia. Rugby Union is the fourth sport behind rugby league, Aussie rules, cricket and soccer, or so they say. According to many it is even further down the list when it comes to participation. Food for thought.

SKY News sports correspondent Paul Kelso is moving on from sport after many years reporting on the biggest sports achievements, including England winnng RWC 2003. He has written a 'farewell to sport' piece which is a damning indictment on sport today, especially grassroots sports. Whilst those at the top table of soccer, rugby, cricket, athletics et al laud their achievements those at grassroots are left floundering. The big get bigger and as these businesses need to chase profit and success more aggressively so grassroots sport gets left in their wake. A lack of downward investment in terms of facilities and recruitment is partially to blame along with changing life priorities. It is well worth reading. Google Sky News Paul Kelso.

It isn't all doom and gloom. The New Zealand rugby following public, recognising that New Zealand isn't exactly blessed with hotel accomodation, are throwing their doors open to Lions supporters. As I've always said the bond of the rugby family across the world stays strong.

The mercenary New Zealand born Danny Solomona who has already represented Samoa at rugby league has declared himself available for England rugby. What a fffffnnnn joke. This residency rule about eligibility MUST change. It is a farce!!!!! It doesn't help my blood pressure when I am reminded he has a weasel and scumbag agent who guided him to break his contract with Castleford in the pursuit of what? Money of course.

Following the stupidity of Wales voting 'leave' when they receive more from Europe than any other part of the UK, members of Newport RFC look as if they will vote down the WRU proposal to take over the Dragons. This would sign their own death warrant. Newport RFC, the black & ambers, have a place in my heart, and for them to disappear would be sad but financial reality cannot be ignored.

Wales Online have taken all the teams proposed as Lions starting XVs and come up with what they think is the definitive selection. Hogg, North, Joseph, Farrell, Daly, Sexton, Murray, Vunipola B, Warburton, Stander, Alun Wyn Jones, Itoje, Furlong, Owens, Vunipola M.

Paddy O'Fez will argue, as he did on Saturday, that there are eleven too few Irishmen in the starting line-up. Hey Ho, and guess who audited this drivel?

Of course, there is only one story dominating the front pages; THAT letter. That is, every paper except the Daily Star who lead with David Beckenham. Heaven help us.

I am delighted to see that Jezza Corbyn has his priorities right by whingeing on about the Daily Mail and their question about who won the battle of legs between Theresa Maybe and Jimmy Crankie. The PC brigade had a field day..... despite Kim Jong-un edging us closer to nuclear armageddon and Donald Trump taking us closer to a climate change disaster. Muppets all!! Come on, life is too short for us to worry about such trivia. It was amusing and light-hearted. By the way wee Jimmy Crankie won the battle.

So the Scottish parliament has voted for another independence referendum. They want to leave the UK, so let's consider this: they leave, and are out of the UK, AND out of Europe, at a time when the Brexit deal is not as bad as feared, in fact it is working. Wouldn't that be fine. The Queen of Scots leading a country floundering alone in the world, with no money to pay the huge debts the country has and all the Scots have to look forward to is another deep fried Mars bar and an Irn Bru to wash it down. Happy days!

Friday Club breakfast at The Cross beckons.

Monday 27th March - 11:00

Slightly later than planned. The oven needed cleaning, and when Mrs Bleater says 'clean!' she means 'now!'.

It is a shame we got relegated on Saturday but as Paddy O'Fez quite rightly pointed out we are going down fighting. All eyes are now on who joins us. Bromley's bonus point win, Deal & Betteshanger beating the Greenies over at Heathfield and Old Alleynians being beaten by Beckenham throws it wide open. The Greenies are on 34 points in 8th with Deal & Betteshanger and Old Alleynians on 33 points and just below them is Bromley on 32 points. It is impossible to predict this one but I hate to say it but our good friends across the way in Sussex look to have the toughest run in. Hove at Hove then Medway at home. For Bromley and Old Alleynians there is a winner takes all encounter next week. Deal & Betteshanger have the easiest run in as they play Hove and Horsham both down in Deal. The two Sussex clubs being safe. Mathematically Hove could still go down but I don't see one of the play off chasers losing to one of those in the mix for the drop.

Old Colfeians sit second after an easy win away at Horsham. Dartfordians are in third on the same points after smashing Hove. Despite losing to Medway Charlton Park can't be ruled out of the hunt for the important second spot. They play us next weekend and then Old Alleynians. So on Grand National weekend they could sneak up on the rails and take the spoils.

In London 1 South I had expected Tunbridge Wells to continue their fine form but Brighton left St Marks with a narrow win. Wells are not out of the chase for the play-off but it is clear advantage Havant after they scraped past CS Rugby by a single point. Sevenoaks cemented their mid table spot beating Chobham. Maidstone lost at home to table topping, and assuming no misdemeanours, now promoted Sidcup.

High in the atmosphere of National League 3 London. TJs beat Dorking comfortably and stay top. Wimbledon aren't to be shaken off TJ's tail and their home win over Chichester keeps them firmly in 2nd spot. Chichester slip to 12th. Wins over Guildford at home and Colchester away now look crucial for the Sussex side.

London 3 South East has Pulborough and Haywards Heath in the two promotion spots having beat Folkestone at home and Sheppey away respectively. Thanet Wanderers are not out of it after beating Eastbourne but it require some surprise results for them to go up. Lewes are out of the running after a heavy away defeat at Aylesford Bulls. In the other games Gillingham Anchorians beat Park House and Old Dunstonians beat Ashford. With three teams going down Eastbourne and Park House are in the drop zone with Aylesford Bulls still not safe.

Below that congratulations to Hastings & Bexhill who are promoted from Kent 1 and will join us in London 3 South East. Sussex 1 is still wide open with Crawley, despite a heavy loss at Uckfield, still in the box seat. Burgess Hill and Uckfield are in the hunt for the play off spot.

Congratulations to East Grinstead on their promotion. Worthing lost to Henley and are still in danger, despite being 12th in the table.