Tuesday 12th October - 10:00
Just a quick look back at Saturday. I understand that 48,000 people were at Twickenham watching the Argentinians take on Australia. That is a pretty good crowd. I also understand that the game was an open affair and whilst the Aussies deserved to win the Argentinians played well. They certainly have become a force to be reckoned with. I am guessing that based on the revenue alone another fixture will be held at Twickenham next year. Thanks Paddy O'Fez for the insight.
For England followers, I hope you have bought your overpriced new shirts to show your commitment to the game, as opposed to working hard at your local club, will be disappointed that Leicester's Mike Williams has broken his arm, for the third time apparently, and will be out for some months. Of course this is the Zimbabwe born Mike Williams.
Quins Mike Brown defends the intensity of the England training camp, this despite a number of high profile injuries. Of course he has. Shooting himself in the foot with a 'jeez that training was way too intense, what is that Jones thinking about!!' might not be a sensible idea. The Premiership coaches think differently and will be raising this point with Jones when they meet him this week. Front and centre will be Dai Young.
The great Wales forward,'great' being a slight exaggeration, Andy Powell has been forced to retire because of a knee injury. Powell has had more clubs than the late Arnold Palmer but of course only one buggy. It is a shame that a fine player who served his country well and gave nothing less than 100% for the clubs he played for will be remembered for the M4 golf buggy incident. His final club Merthyr is one hell of a place to play. Perched high on the edge of the Brecon Beacons it is cold and windswept at the best of times but in the depths of winter??? I know, I have played there on several occasions.
I see Quins have signed another overseas player for next season. Demetri Catrakilis (details on BBC if you are vaguely interested in his profile). Quins Academy is failing then is it? All those young aspiring kids you have raised the expectations of are to be tossed on the scrap heap. Yeah, I guess that is probably it.
The same could be levelled at Saracens who have hired in Eben Etzebeth for a couple of months. Now he is a fine, fine player with a great future ahead but surely Sarries and their fabled academy must have someone who can step into the fray during the Autumn internationals etc.
This is about money and winning. I don't disagree with that as rugby is big business at the top level, in fact business at all levels, but this approach will kill the game. Rugby doesn't have the numbers to sustain it like soccer. International rugby will go the same way as English international soccer as the power of the clubs and the dominance of overseas players in the game will have a major negative influence.
This will also have a knock effect for the southern hemisphere as players haemorrhage from their unions in pursuit of the cash. Mind you the way the pound is going ...........
The European stuff starts this weekend. Toulon v Sarries is the pick of the fixtures but I like the look of Scarlets v Sale. More on these tomorrow.
On the other side of the globe North Harbour take on Tasman. Harbour are already relegated after a dismal season but we at Steel Cross can proud that Billy Rohipa, yes OUR Billy is in the Harbour squad and has had some good game time this time around. Boy we have supplied some players to other clubs over the last few years!!!!!!
Before I go yet another week of strikes on Southern Rail. I am fully confident The Friday Club could run this franchise better than the current management. How can you go on strike whilst recommending your members accept the new contracts is today's question?
Monday 10th October - 10:00
Surprise, surprise Medway are clear at the top of our league with a perfect record. I know we were somewhat depleted this weekend but I can see no-one stopping them having the same perfect record when the season closes. Not surprisingly we are bottom, and worryingly slightly adrift with just the single losing bonus point to our name.
Of the chasing pack Old Colfeians are in second after a very convincing win over Deal & Betteshanger. Dartfordians too are in the chase as are Charlton Park after their fine away wins over Bromley and Horsham respectively. Both the Greenies and Hove suffered away defeats against Beckenham and Old Alleynians. Bromley are just above us on 3 points and by virtue of their win over us Heathfield & Waldron sit in 10th on 6 points.
Unsurprisingly in Sussex 2 East Grinstead are strolling through the league with another easy win. I am very, very supportive of EG and hope they return to prominence quickly but this is another misguided relegation where 11 teams are being penalised for one teams indiscretion. Let's move on...
In Sussex 1 Uckfield continue their fine run and head the table after beating Hove II. Hellingly sit second after, in my view, a surprisingly easy win over Burgess Hill. Crawley whipped Shoreham 50-7 at Shoreham.
Moving up into London 3 South East Thanet Wanderers great start came to a halt away at Lewes in a high scoring game; 39-27. Pulborough's excellent away win at Sheppey puts them top. They might just be home now after that journey. Haywards Heath strolled past Ashford and are third. Eastbourne enjoyed the trip to Gillingham Anchorians with a narrow 2 point victory. Folkestone and Old Dunstonians were the other winners but the latter is only just above Ashford at the foot of the table after a points deduction.
In London 1 South it's all about the men from St Marks. Their investment in players is clearly paying off as they breezed past Chiswick and stay top. Sevenoaks narrowly beat Havant to sit mid table. Brighton lost again, this time to Cobham. They are 12th. The other result of note is Maidstone losing at home to Gravesend.
In the national league TJs enjoyed a comfortable home win over Guildford. With the other promotion hopefuls all winning TJs sit in 4th place with 5 wins from 6 games. This the same as Westcombe Park who comfortably beat bottom placed Amersham & Chiltern. Chichester sadly were subjetc to a 49-0 thumping at table topping Hertford.
For the record Worthing beat Canterbury and sit just above mid table.
Finally, Salisbury lost away to Camborne, by a lot. You'll be disappointed to know the Bridgnorth result is not showing but I am guessing that with a played 6 won 2 record they lost.
Elsewhere the Fez Heads will be crowing after their tremendous win over big spending Wasps. Money can't buy you love!!!! From the highlights it looks as if the Exeter v Gloucester game was the best of the Aviva and Bristol can count themsleves unlucky not to have won at Newcastle.
In soccer Wales slipped up against Georgia with a 1-1 draw but I guess none of you give a monkey's.
Hamilton blows another gasket. If he wants to improve his start he needs to come to Crowborough and watch the mums (and in this PC world dads, carers, grandparents, and probation officers) in their 4x4s getting away for the school run.
Murray wins again. Well done sir.
Who won the debate between Trump and Clinton? Who knows but we should all care.
Tuesday is grandparenting day so possibly no drivel just dribble.
Sunday 9th October - 10:30
The only place to start is Steel Cross and the 62-0 thumping at the hands of Medway. Am I disappointed? Absolutely NOT! Am I frustrated? To a degree YES!
The boys who pulled on the shirt yesterday gave of their best. They did not let their heads drop. They maintained their discipline. They kept going to the end always supporting each other. Let us not kid ourselves Medway are a VERY good side and should never have been relegated so I am not disappointed. Off the field we also conducted oursleves with pride which is why nine officials from Medway joined us for lunch and with those from the 'Borough enjoyed the fare served up by Jacqui, Sandra and team.
The only people being punished by Medway's relegation now are clubs like ours who have to suffer heavy, and potentially demoralising defeats. This, whilst the Medway faithful have a great old time winning comfortably. I don't begrudge them that as that is out of their hands but somehwat frustrating all the same. My frustration could also be aimed at our boys for the overwhelming penalty count against us but also at the referee. Criticising referees is a dangerous and unacceptable way forward but I do feel the management of the ruck allowed Medway to dominate. They persistantly went off their feet putting body between defenders and the ball and consistently got away with it. This didn't help our cause. For the record I thought the man in the middle otherwise had a good game.
There were some good signs from the boys and we must continue to support them and they must continue to remain positive.
If I was part of the Medway set up I would be hiding their No.7 from prying eyes and telling him to slow down a bit. He was excellent from start to finish and it wouldn't surprise me if those who like to flash the cash didn't 'come a hunting'.
The 2s went down 24-10 away to Sussex Police. I have little other info but this seems like a good result. I don't yet have any info on The Crows away at Leigh. One thing is certain however what a great achievement to get three sides out, this with many still on the injured list.
Will TRY and do a league round up tomorrow if the results website is working!!!!!!!
Comparing South Africa v New Zealand with Crowborough v Medway seems a little far fetched but for the Boks to suffer such a humiliating and sizeable defeat when they are ranked third in the world makes our result look not quite so bad. Tenuous I know. The All Blacks were simply ruthless.
Those who went to Twickenham must have enjoyed a bruising encounter. I haven't seen any of it as I enjoyed the Scarlets v Dragons. A great game despite the Dragons losing........ again. This game on top of the excellent match up between the Ospreys and Cardiff showed Welsh rugby to be alive and well.
In the Aviva the Exeter v Gloucester game seems to have been a cracker. Will watch the highlights tonight on ITV4 (or is it ITV3)
Eddie Jones has become persona non grata amongst the Premiership elite with two players suffering serious injury and several others being unable to play this weekend after the brutal training session he put in place down at Brighton. I say to the whingers 'you took the cash, £350m of it from the RFU so shut up. You can't have it both ways'.
Elsewhere England 2 Malta 0. Rubbish. Overpaid and useless. English soccer at its best.
Well, well. Isn't it interesting that Angela Merkel is now thinking about copying the UK and stopping benefits for migrants for up to five years. So the UK is not so stupid afterall.
Thursday 6th October - 09:30
On Saturday our 1st XV host Medway at Steel Cross, kick off 15:00. High flying Medway, overwhelming favourites for promotion, will be an incredibly tough task for us but I am very confident the boys will give their very best. So to Medway I say 'you underestimate the boys at the 'Borough at your peril'.
The 2s are away at Sussex Police and The Crows take on Leigh 'Layabouts'.
The Medway saga has been much publicised and many are asking the question; 'should they have been relegated'. In my humble opinion 'No!'. In a strange way that punishes all the clubs in our league. What it has done is give Medway a pretty much guaranteed faultless season and therefore much for the club to enjoy, especially as some clubs they play might suffer demoralising heavy defeats. In my view they should have had points deducted so that for each of the following seasons they would have had to battle for every point to avoid relegation. As they support players financially a financial penalty would also have been appropriate. This might also have made life more challenging for them.
Look, this is MY view and MY view alone. I have a great regard for Medway. They are a great bunch well coached, and great company off the field and fierce competitors on the field. The above is a criticism of the RFU and how the rules have to be applied.
Let's move on.
The big story on the rugby pages is the disciplining of Aaron Smith. The All Black shamed himself by being caught going into a toilet with a female at Christchurch Airport. This reinforces the view that below the surface of New Zealand rugby is not all rosy.
In injury news Sam Jones, England prospect, has broken his leg in training ruling him out for some time. I bet Eddie Jones is wondering whether the England judo sessions were a good idea. You can guarantee that Dai Young at Wasps wouldn't mind getting Jones on the mat.
Sarries South African import Alistair Hargreaves has been forced to retire due to concussion.
Jamie Roberts wants the Lions place in any revised global calendar guaranteed. So do millions of fans and the SANZAR unions who reap the financial rewards.
The big game tomorrow is the Welsh derby; Ospreys v Blues. Connacht v Ulster and Bath v Sale are also tasty dishes to be enjoyed. If you have SKY the Pro12 will be available on the regional BBC channels and Bath will be on BT Sport. Guess which I will be watching.
Time to go. Jobs to be done.
Wednesday 5th October - 10:15
Life is very precious and we often fail to recognise how important until it is too late. For me and my family we have been struck by another sad blow with the sudden loss of my sister-in-law's mum. We all knew Chris very well. A kind, caring women with a heart of gold. She'll be sadly missed.
Life does go on and it is equally important to recognise that.......
For the Pumas that life continues at Twickenham on Saturday evening when they take on Australia. Yes, this is about money but Argentinian rugby certainly could do with a helping hand in that respect. I am not sure how ticket sales are going but there are some still available.
Dewi Morris is keen to fix a problem like Maria, sorry a problem like the scrum. Yes he, and millions of other followers of our great game, is getting frustrated by the failure of referees to police the scrum half 'feeding' and the number of resets and penalties at this phase of the game. I am not sure of the answer but getting hookers to hook might be a start and having the ball put in properly another. Not so easy though as the minute the hooker tries to get the ball it is seven v eight in the pushing stakes. I'll leave it to others to put this one right.
My bete noir is defenders being behind the back foot at ruck and maul. There should be 'daylight' between the two. This is easy to fix at the very top with touch judges assistant referees able to police. You watch this weekend's games and see how many times players are well in front of the back foot and consequently how quickly they then close the game down.
Paul Gustard agrees with Eddie Jones criticism of England's defence. Of course he does. 'Hey Eddie, you're a muppett. My defensive set up is perfect. Get a life!' might not be a good idea.
Sam Warburton to undergo an operation yet still might make the Autumn Internationals. Yeah, yeah, yeah! Have another break Sam. You're L'Oreal, you're worth it.
So the boss of Toulon got only 3% of the votes in the election for president of the France's national leagues. Not surprised as he is a dick.
OK lets look at the madness which is making the news.
A Radio 4 presenter has been removed from his job because he is a white male. The 'PC' dominated BBC want more diversity. What a load of bull!!!! I don't care what you think of this drivel or me but I am a passionate believer in the right person for the job regardless of sex, creed, religion or ethnicity. If that means all men, or all women, or all black, or all Polish, or all Catholic or all anything else so be it...... AS LONG AS the process for recruitment has been based on the VERY, VERY best person for the job at hand delivering an unbiased message, product or service.
A school has banned children from running around the playground. It is dangerous. Yeah so is being sat on their overweight backsides playing Playstation 29 or XBox 307. Kids should be able to run around. If they fall over that is part of life's learning for the future. If you don't 'skate to fall' how the hell are you going to improve.
Finally an opera has been pulled at Bristol University because some left wing, politically correct, lily livered liberal (with a small 'L') took exception to the Ethiopian and Egyptian characters cast in Aida being white and thus causing offence. Again what a load of complete and utter bull. The story behind Aida is actually quite interesting, and whilst opera isn't my thing I am sure the cast would have done Verdi proud with their interpretation, and I am equally sure no offence would be taken. The world is going mad. There are thousands in squalid refugee camps, hundreds dying in the Med trying to get to Europe, there are miliions in Haiti being hammered by a major hurricane and all these people have to worry about is the cast of Aida and the offence it might cause. Priorities dear readers, priorities.
Tuesday 4th October - 08:30
I have been taken to task for my bias reporting and not metioning the one sided affair between Saracens and Bristol. Let me put that right here and now.
High flying Sarries beat woeful Bristol.......... Bears do shit in the woods and the Pope is a Catholic.
The debarcle that is known to you and I as Southern Rail is not all the fault of the RMT. 100% agree. The managers could not run a p**5 up in a brewery. They are inept at best, incompetent at worst, and irresponsible all round. The latest pile of dung they have heaped upon themselves is the social media furore. Yeah, go on! Why not ask hard pressed commuters to solve what you have failed to put right. Of course they are going to respond positively..... not!
Next up; Germany. I love Germany and I love the Germans however there is more than a hint of hypocrisy coming from their politicians when they are pointing the finger at us for Brexit when their banks are deeper in the brown and sticky stuff than Southern Rail and their people are baying for blood over immigration.
Two more then some rugby news.
Kim Kardashian. You crave 24hr adulation and publicity. You flaunt your jewels, and most of your body. Sorry but it was always going to happen. Is it a PR stunt? Hope not!
Hypocrisy at its best. Baroness Chakrabarti sends her son to a top private school whilst applauding Jezza Corbyn for his stance on grammar schools. So unlike us plebians trying to eke out a living you do want your cake and you want to eat it. Bit like North Korea. They are so democratic that the very few has 95% of the wealth whilst people starve in the villages.
So Toulon want Leigh Halfpenny to extend his stay. No surprise as he is truly world class.
Mako Vunipola ate all the pies or so thinks Eddie Jones. The Tongans like their grub so it is no surprise they get a little stodgy around the edges. Mind you, I can talk!!!
Italy have withdrawn from the race to host RWC 2023.
The return of Farrell and Tuilagi is still not known. Worrying for England, great for everyone else.
Aviva Premiership coaches who have England aspirations have questioned the suggestion by Ian Ritchie they should get overseas experience. There you have it...... England don't give a stuff about English players or coaches. Overseas is obviously best.
The NZRFU want the RFU to cough up some of the revenue from Twickenham games as they feel hard done by. Ian Ritchie, this time he is right, has said 'you want more money then build bigger stadiums yourself and then fill them'.
Finally all is not well in the world of New Zealand rugby. Don't believe me go to nzherald.co.nz and search Barry Soper.
Must go there is a 6ft gorilla at the door with an 'I love Kim' t-shirt who wants a word.
Monday 3rd October - 08:15
Depending on how you read this rubbish then this opening will make sense, or it won't. Either way here it is.
Further to yesterday's missive I am putting forward a new candidate as England Manager to replace Sam the Bung..........
Of course it has to be Mike 'Loadsa' Cash from the RMT. His team will consist of eight strikers. The goalkeeper will be replaced by a guard, and two further guards will be deployed just behind the strikers. As soon as the team comes up against stiff opposition then the strikers will all go down injured meaning the game is postponed. Thus a no-lose team.
FYI the pub I referred to yesterday is Bearslake Inn.
Ok let's get down to it. Medway top the table in London 2 South East after another maximum point win against Horsham. Old Colfeians sit second after beating The Greenies away at Heathfield. No idea of the score thanks to the RFU site missing this result. Dartfordians beat Beckenham to stay third and our friends at Charlton Park beat Bromley. The latter are a point above us in 11th thanks to a try bonus boint. Deal & Betteshanger overcame Old Alleynians by who knows how many. After our defeat we remain rooted to the foot of the table and we face promotion favourites Medway next weekend.
In Sussex Intermediate league our 2s beat Newick 1s by two tries to one. Great stuff.
In Sussex 1 Uckfield remain top after beating Burgess Hill. It is impossible to work out any of the other results. Thanks Englandrugby.com!!!
In London 3 South East Ashford got their first win of the season with a win over Lewes. Pulborough sit second behind Thanet Wanderers after an easy enough win over Pulborough. Thanet are perfect with a win over Park House. Eastbourne had an impressive win over Aylesford Bulls as did Haywards Heath with their away win over Old Dunstonians. In the only other game Sheppey came away from Folkestone with a win.
In London 1 South Tunbridge Wells continue their wonderful start to the season with another win, albeit narrowly, away at Gravesend. Brighton on the other hand have started like us; winless. Sevenoaks wouldn't have enjoyed their trip home from Tottonians after going down 29-14. Gosport & Fareham are looking forlorn at the foot of the table.
In the National league Chichester enjoyed a narrow home win over Sutton & Epsom. TJs enjoyed the relatively short trip to Wimbledon with a fine win. Westcombe Park where our Harry Sansbury is now plying his trade beat Shelford. Hertford are top.
Sussex's senior side Worthing lost away Old Elthamians. They lie eighth in their league.
No review of the weekend would be complete without me telling you that Salisbury lost at home to Brixham and Bridgnorth lost away at Towcestrians.
Wasps continue their (money enabled) march onward with a very comfortable win over Quins. Worcester finally broke their duck by beating Newcastle.
Wales suffer another Sam injury shock. This time he has a suspected broken cheekbone.
Sad that you have to read that both Steve Diamond and Dean Richards are having a go at referees. The game is faster than ever so mistakes should be expected but......... answers on a postcard.
Before I go Kim Kardashian gets robbed of millions in Paris. This is the person who flaunts her wealth and celebrity lifestyle every single day of the week so I have no sympathy for her or the other fame hungry money grabbing reality showoffs.
The RMT are on strike again. This time Virgin Trains are the recipients of Mike 'Loadsa' Cash's generosity. The RMT are also intending to bring the Underground to a standstill again, this time over job cuts. Well Mr Cash if you want the drivers to continue to earn an eye-watering £60k a year then it has to be funded somehow. Why don't you and some of your members take a pay cut to relieve the pressure on TfL. No! I didn't think so.
Sunday 2nd October - 10:00
Sorry for the absence, but why I say that I don't know as no-one reads the drivel I write. I have been in Cornwall for a week. Bude to be exact. The weather wasn't great but we had a fabulous time and a nice break. We caught up with Clive Duncan, erstwhile captain of CRFC, and then an old work colleague of mine who, with his wife runs a lovely country pub in Lake on the Okehampton to Tavistock Road in Devon.
We had planned to call in at Hove on the way back but that didn't happen. I have read The Bard's missive and it sounds like another tough day at the office. From what I read it sounds as if we gave Hove an easy score from the kick off then it was uphill from there. That said, if I have it right, we played some good stuff going forward and deserved at least one try, if not two in the first half. It sounds as if the Hove backs were well drilled who exploited our porous defence at will in the second. From the report the one thing the boys, and the faithfull, can be proud of is they didn't capitulate. The Bard states that for the last ten minutes or so we dominated and the try we scored was just reward for the boy's efforts.
Not the best start to the season but we have been here before and have come good in the end. Time will tell.
Lots of big boys rugby with the All Blacks overcoming a dogged Argentine side. South Africa beat Australia which was pretty dire fare at times, with pretty erratic officiating I have to say.
Surprise, surprise the Dragons lost again. Saints v Exeter looks a cracker with Saints edging it. Likewise Sale Sharks bit away at Leicester Tigers to sneak a win. Our very own 'Damper' Sayer would have enjoyed Bath's win at Kingsholm. He was there. The Ulster v Ospreys game was thoroughly enjoyable. On balance a fair result. Cardiff Blues lost at home to Leinster but I didn't watch that as the Ryder Cup took precedence.
A busy news week elsewhere with Eddie Jones announcing his squad, including several residency qualified players. Nonsense.
Big Sam Allardyce proved how corrupt soccer has become thanks to the mind-boggling amounts of cash that slosh about the game. The slime ball agents have a lot to answer for but Allardyce's actions are indefensible. Greed and stupidity.
Jezza has been annoited the Supreme Leader of the People's Republic of Anarchy. He and his party get more like North Korea and Kim Jong-un every day. The big difference being Kim will press the button while Jezza will be giving out bouquets of peace.
Theresa May is turning into a modern day Ghengis Kahn kicking out anyone who stands in her way. That isn't good for anyone.
Surprise, surprise Donald Trump might be a tax dodger.
I will endeavour to do a league round-up tomorrow but the RFU website is pretty rubbish at the moment with way too many results missing.
Before I go let us look at some possible candidates for England soccer manager........
David Cameron. Currently with bugger all else to do. Smooth in front of the cameras but lacking in tactical nous.
Tony Blair. Good for all out attack, ignoring those wanting a defensive approach. Ideal when challenged it was his fault it all went wrong. Not his problem and wait years for the truth.
Kim Jong-un. Another with attack at the heart of his game plan. Can't wait for the World Cup when they play South Korea. Might have selection issues as star players might have been removed from the scene before crucial games.
Donald Trump. The defensive wall is at the heart of his tactics. Only good when playing Mexico though.
Vladimir Putin. Players bombing up front with little awareness of why might be an issue.
Finally Jezza Corbyn. Excellent when the game needs to be played out on the far left. Not so good out on the right wing. Attack will be an issue and whilst defence might be strong the back line will need to be democratically selected and not necessarily with the best defenders being chosen.
Saturday 24th September - 10:00
Just a quick update.
Really sorry didn't make the club last night. I hope the Women's Festival went well. Will find out when I get to the club to watch the 1s later today.
NB exceptionally there will be NO bleating or update tomorrow. The league review on Monday might not appear either. I apologise for the shabbiness of my commitment but family business takes priority.
I am certain Andy Robinson will be under pressure this morning after another defeat. Exeter are a good side though.
Ospreys were rubbish last night, especially in the first half. Leinster were good. Not sure that had anything to do with Stuart Lancaster.
The Dragons were even worse than the Ospreys losing in Italy.
Ulster are on a charge and it looks as if them and Cardiff will be the teams to beat.
Not long now before Jezza is annoited as leader of the Anarchy Party, a party driven by hard left Trotskyists and political agitators. The same muppets that closed down London City airport in support of 'Black Lives Matter'. Yes, of course they were all middle class white people who've had priveleged upbringings. Tossers. My view is it should be 'ALL LIVES MATTER' regardless of race, creed, colour or religion............
except of course for the arrogant piece of work who spent c.£20k of BENEFITS on face lifts to look like David Beckham. I could have rearranged his face with a baseball bat to look like Wayne Rooney for much less.
Friday 23rd September - 08:20
Tomorrow we host Deal & Betteshanger kick off 15:00. Always a tough game and with both of us not having the best of starts to the season this should be a good one. The 2s and The Crows host Rye 1s and 2s respectively. Kick off at 14:00 and 14:30 (to help with changing facilities). Whichever game you watch it will be great to see the senior squad in its entirity having a few Sprites or Dr Peppers post game. See you there. The weather is set fair and if you haven't been to Steel Cross yet this season come and marvel at the pitches. They look great!
A reminder of the Women's Fun Evening tonight where all forms of the game will be on show from tag to full contact. Why not pop down. Sadly Bleater might not make it.
Then don't forget our amazing minis and juniors will be stutting their stuff on Sunday. The next on the Steel Cross conveyor belt of talent on show.
The stand out game tonight is Bristol v Exeter at Ashton Gate. Bristol in the mire after just three games and Exeter trying to emulate last season's success. Who knows who will win but any West Country derby is worth watching. I'll be watching Leinster v Ospreys from Dublin.
Of the other Aviva games this weekend it is Leicester v Bath that catches the eye. This on Sunday live on BT Sport
The RFU obviously took a dim view of Ashton's mealy mouthed excuses for biting as the photographic evidence was damning.
Bath continue to fight for a new stadium at the Recreation Ground. It is no surprise that a group of local residents oppose the development. Time will tell. It is such an iconic ground that it would be a shame if Bath had to move out of town because of the constraints. On the other hand it is an amazing location and I can see why residents would oppose a new stadium in such a beautiful setting.
Brive fly half gets a 14 week ban for eye gouging. Another odious offence.
Cornish Pirates are set for a £1.5m injection of cash from a range of sources but the key driver is Colin Groves, Chairman of Waikato Rugby Union. Let us hope the tie up is sustainable and the investment has some longevity to it............. otherwise the Pirates will be walking the plank to oblivion.
A fell runner by the name of Lauren Jeska admits a triple stabbing including that of former Bristol favourite Ralph Knibbs. A fascinating story and a tragic one of mental health and how it blights people's lives. BBC.com/news
So Val has left the The Great British Bake Off. Her pastry simply wasn't up to scratch and her filo especially failed to wow the judges. Candice on the other continues wow, or is it woo Paul Hollywood. So Mary is staying loyal to the Beeb but Paul is selling his soul to the Devil by moving to Channel 4. Money, money, money. Dough, dough, dough.
Yahoo, yippee, and yahoo again, that is unless you have a Yahoo account. Your data is now in the hands of who knows who. Be afraid, and don't forget that Yahoo manage several sites for 3rd parties.
Finally as your and my garden is about to be invaded by superslugs I see the biggest slugs of all, those hounding the brave men and women in our wonderful forces who put their bodies on their line for our great country are about to get their comeuppance. Yes the blood thirsty injury lawyers have Theresa 'The Slayer' May on their tail now.
On that note 'see ya!'
Thursday 22nd September - 09:00
The East Development Partnership convened last night and for once several clubs turned up and as a consequence the meeting was productive and informative. Well done Chris Keeley for his perserverence.
Thomas Francis gets a two week ban for his reckless use of the boot in the ruck. Rob Baxter has asked for the law to be clarified as last season the actions of Francis wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. Let me be controversial. If good old fashion rucking was still in place Danny Care wouldn't have been so keen to be lying on the ball at the bottom of a ruck. If you look at the number of penalties in the game the majority are for hands in the ruck or lying over the ball. Would this be the case if players could ruck in the old fashioned way. Now I am NOT advocating violence or wishing to increase the already high injury count but rugby is like life; the lower the risk the more you'll push the boundaries.
BBC.com have brought to life the issue of overseas players in our game. Northampton Saints have signed Tongan Nafi Tuitavake, a player who has represented New Zealand at 7s, and joins from Narbonne. In a different article victorious Fijian 7s coach has decried the lack of structure and support for players from the Pacific Islands. Surprise, surprise, like soccer, agents feature negatively in his complaints. It is also unsurprising that these island peoples who live simple lives are keen to better themselves and improve life for their families by plying their rugby skills abroad. There is a lot of good stuff in the Ben Ryan article, especially about the absolutely ridiculous residency rules and the impact these imports have on the growth of home grown talent elsewhere. For example a Pacific Islander going to New Zealand has to be eligible to play for the All Blacks after three years. Whereas to play in the Aviva you have to be an international cap already. Both block the opportunity for young local talent.........
...... and my Q.E.D. moment is the SKY.com headline; Australia name newly-qualified Fijian Sefa Naivalu in 30 man squad.
Finally on this subject there is one ray of light as Newcastle Falcons resign their academy product Fred Burdon whose been plying his trade in the Championship.
Pocock is out of the Rugby Championship with a broken hand.
Aaran Cruden remains unavailable to the All Blacks due to injury.
Pat lambie returns for South Africa after a 'concussion break'.
Wales Alex Cuthbert injury curse strikes again. He's out for a while.
Sean Fitzpatrick has suggested a two division Super Rugby format. Yeah, the New Zealands sides in Div 1 and all the others in Div 2.
Got this far? Good! Looking for something to do tomorrow evening (Friday 23rd)? Then get to Steel Cross and watch an innovative women's tournament aimed at getting more girls and ladies into the game. Games from tag, touch and full contact 7s will be on show. Yes of course the bar will be open.
As I was at the County meeting last night I can't comment on The Great British Bake Off.
Same old stuff in the news but last week I did catch a story of a women getting £19,000 in benefits saying she needs more because she can't afford school clothes for her five kids. This despite spending £20 a week on cigarettes and £100 a week on takeaways. Now if my maths, and would you believe I have an A level in maths, is correct that totals £6,240. Now I don't want to sound like a smug and arrogant puritan but do me a favour this is wrong. Cut down on the fags, switch to a more healthy and varied diet and you will save more than enough for school uniforms. No-one should live in abject poverty but people have to cut their cloth accordingly.
Yes I am a miserable sh!t. Yes I am lucky to have what I have, but do you know what, everything I have I have worked and paid for and yes I also have to cut my cloth accordingly.
Lets move on before the hate mail arrives............ but remember it is your tax pound going up in smoke, and down the toilet.
Wednesday 21st September - 09:20
A big thank you to former Bath, England and Barbarian Jon Callard who was at the club yesterday evening to present one his Barbarian shirts to Jeremy Evans, one of the mighty Crows, a coach and a generous sponsor. A few Bath supporters turned up for a chat and one of our minis got his prized Bath No.16 shirt signed. With Bath having retired the #16 shirt during the amateur era JC played all his Bath games in the same 16 shirt. Our excellent Under 16s got in on the act too with team shot. Great stuff
Photos to follow
The rugby story dominating the news is the Chris Ashton suspension. 13 weeks for biting, the most odious of offences. I can't comment but some may argue that he got off lightly. Ashton has a chequered disciplinary record and this might explain the Sky website headline; 'Ashton is rugby's Balotelli'. I do think his international career might finally be over as a result of this latest incident.
Much talk about Lions selection and with Owen Farrell close to a Saracens return his name will soon be in the frame. Will he start at #10 or #12? Who knows.
I make no apologies for bleating on but I see Northampton have signed Fijian forward Api Ratuniyarawa. Yes Saints will lose Courtney Lawes in November but this is another overseas player blocking the way for a local lad to get his chance. Hey Ho! What do I know about anything?
The Premiership have raised the salary cap yet some CEOs have complained this will result in an unfair situation with some clubs being bank rolled regardless of revenue by 'sugar daddies'. Welcome to our world where you have junior clubs at levels 7,6 and 5 paying players anything from £50 to £250 per game per player. This results in a massive imbalance but worse some clubs going to the wall either as their players are lured away for money or because the sugar daddy leaves with his money, and in some cases the kit, the scoreboard and even doors with him. Again Hey Ho!
Back to the Lions Luke Cowan-Dickie is being pushed forward as a serious England prospect to challenge Dylan.
The WRU and the Scarlets are working towards a deal to keep Liam William in Wales. Talking of Wales Matt Sherratt joins Wales coaching staff as backs coach, this to support Rob Howley in his new role.
The sometimes controversial Super Rugby format has been maintained for 2017. According SKY.com there will be some tweaking of the kick off times with more afternoon games and some Thursday match ups.
As Britain sleepwalks into Brexit, an immigration crisis looming, horrendous acts of barbarity in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, the NHS in meltdown I cannot believe the front pages are awash with news that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are splitting up. Do me a favour..... so bloody what!!!! We should be worrying about Putin's grip on Russia, Donald Trump becoming the next US President, and Kim Jong-un getting nuclear weapons. The Labour leadership contest hardly gets a mention depsite the party being on the precipice.
Must go a certain former Bath, England and Barbarian needs to catch a train and The Friday Wednesday Club is marking pitches.