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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 46 of 75

46. Here Comes Summer

Tuesday 24th May - 09:00

Happy Birthday to my daughter Sarah. 34 today. Where does the time go?

The main talking point is the exclusion of Ashton from the Australian tour and his subsequent 'refusal' to join the Saxons. Whilst going forward he has been brilliant this year, but that has been behind a dominant pack, he has still been lacking at times in defence. I can see Eddie Jones's point of view in that against Australia going forward opportunities might be limited but it is in defence where the work needs to be done. Eddie Jones is a smart cookie and he will have his eyes on 2019 and Japan. Ashton won't be around by then me thinks so it is a shrewd move to not include him.

Cipriani also doesn't make it but has said yes to the Saxons. If Ford and Farrell are fit and with Goode being in wonderful form then why include a possible maverick.

Wales will be at reasonable strength when they face England on Sunday. England won't. The squad that trained in Brighton last week is shorn of all the Sarries players for a start. Stuart Barnes thinks this game is a good idea; ranking points, good prep for the tours, caps to be won. Me, I think it is a waste of time and a high risk waste of time at that.

Well done Scotland on winning the London 7s. A great outcome. Shame the crowd looked so sparse, particularly on the Sunday.

So Louis is out and the Muppet Jose is in. In my very humble opinion, having kept an eye on Man Utd ever since I saw them at Filbert Street as an 8 year old, this is a bad move. Hey Ho! Time will tell.

I took the kids to the park yesterday, a dog came bounding up to them and I politely told the owner to get it away from them. She said 'it's ok it won't bite'. I said 'yeah, that's what the owners of the dog that bit all those children up North said'.

So it's now good to eat fat. Hoorah. MacDonalds (other burger franchises are available) here we come.

Must go. In Salisbury, at the moment but off to meet brother for a catch up but not before saying.....

I see fracking is back on the agenda. Thank frack for that.

Sunday 22nd May - 07:00

There are times when being Chairman is a pain in the ass. Some might say the Chairman is a pain in the ass. Let me tell you that on Friday it was an honour to be Chairman as I attended the 16s, 17s and Under 18s awards evening. There were four young men who had been with us all the way through from the age of four, and five of the Colts had already played 1st XV rugby. Not only that the evening was fun with some entertaining speeches and the boys behaved impeccably. A credit to them and their parents and of course the club. Well done to them. Well done to the staff, especially Sandra and Jacqui for their contribution.

The pride of being Chairman was enhanced when we hosted a buffet lunch for the twinning associations of Crowborough and Montargis on Saturday. It is the 50th anniversary. Many of the club's elder statesmen were in attendance and again Sandra and Jacqui did us proud. I'd also like to single out the lovely John Wilmshurst for his part in making this happen. I also got to show off my skills in French. Tres bien.

Last week I was in Bridgnorth. Don't you just love your mum........

Mum: 'Betty has just been on the phone I am going out to lunch with her today'

Bleater: 'OK, I'll run you both up the town. Just tell me when you're ready'

Mum: 'That's OK, we'll get the bus. You can get on with the borders around the roses. Oh! How is your back today?'

Bleater: 'Awful. Really painful and stiff and my legs are sore too.'

Mum: 'You'll be alright. All the tools you need are in the garage. Put them away when you are finished'.

There was some pretty impressive rugby over the weekend. Leinster and Connaught will battle it out for the Pro 12 title after beating Ulster and Glasgow respectively. Well that is a surprise isn't it? They did finish 1st and 2nd afterall. Saracens destroyed Leicester and Exeter overcame Wasps in what I am led to believe was a great game. That also is a surprise...... Not! They too finished 1st and 2nd. I know I might be in the minority but these play-offs are a nonsense. It is about the money and pandering to the sponsors. No thought is given to the players and their health, this is notable as Tuilagi and Farrell limped out of their game and potentially out of England's tour.

The London 7s or French rugby is your fare for today.

The FA Cup. What a dire game. No more needs to be said.

England cricket wipe out Sri Lanka in double quick time.

Ronaldo the Hereford Bull will be paraded around Wembley today ahead of today's FA Trophy final. Why do I mention this? Simply because some overly sensitive souls have complained that this not fair on the bull. Do me a favour and get a life. I bet you don't give a monkies about those who lost their life on EgyptAir MS804 but the bull.......

I read with interest that Austria could vote in a far-right President. A worrying sign of the times in the wake of the immigration dilemma Europe is facing.

Manchester United are about to appoint Jose Mourinho as manager. I am a pain in the ass but that bloke is the daddy of arrogant pains in the ass. Dear Old Trafford Mandarins....... Don't do it!!!

Finally I read that a junior school is banning teachers from using the whistle to bring play-time to an end. Apparently it is too aggressive and upsetting for the children. Do you know what? Life is a rat race. It is hard and aggressive. Let's prepare our kids for it and stop this politically correct 'namby pamby' nonsense and stop wrapping kids up in cotton wool.

I return to where I started this morning. The boys young men who were present on Friday were amazing; articulate, polite, entertaining, immaculate manners.

Friday 20th May - 07:00

The hinterland that is Bridgnorth was most definitely not Internet friendly. Back in the land of the connected today.

So Joe Marler is not going on the tour to Australia. In my mind that is a very sensible decision. He has been knocked back by his recent indiscretions, has had a long season so another set back would be very detrimental. Take the summer off, get your head back in gear and hit the ground running in September.

Well done Bristol for a very workmanlike job last night. Still a rubbish notion to have a play off to see who goes up when the team at the top of the league was so dominant. Bet Greene King are happy though.

Haven't seen much news but understand the RMT strike caused chaos. I see the University of East Anglia has banned the throwing of student mortar boards in the air to celebrate graduation on H&S grounds. Fffffffnnnnnnn injury lawyers are to blame for this bullsh!t. Too many potatoes are bad for you. Yeah so is crack cocaine. When will the nanny state stop this boll...s.

Tonight I'll be at the Colts awards. Looking forward to it as these guys will be backbone of 1s next season......... Except they're all clever and will be going to university...... Haven't theirs parents told them how unsafe uni is nowadays.

Tuesday 17th May - 08:15

The headline lead in most of the rugby pages is Mike Ford leaving Bath. Here we go again. Rugby following soccer into the abyss. Not every team can be at the top of the table. Not every team can throw millions of pounds at winning a la Saracens. Yes Bath have had a disappointing season but there is much to admire in how they play. There will be a scramble now to replace him. Stuart Lancaster is available. Mmmmmm!!!!

Can I return to Friday and Quins loss to Montpellier. I am sure the supporters of the French outfit couldn't care less that their team was bereft of Frenchmen and was basically a Southern Hemisphere Barbarians sqaud. This cannot be good for French rugby. The international side will struggle and what motivation is there for young French talent to push for the top. A very sad state of affairs me thinks.

Stuart Barnes makes a good point about the quality of the Challenge Cup this year. Primarily because the winner got automatic inclusion in the bigger prize; the Champions Cup, the teams played their strongest side. That isn't going to happen next season. The outcome is we will see clubs play predominantly second string players making the tournament less attractive....... possibly.

Bradley Davies is heading back to Wales from Wasps. He has signed for Ospreys under a dual contract. Good news for Wales I hope.

If you haven't seen it yet go on-line and look at the amazing catch by Canadian 7s player Adam Zaruba against Wales this past weekend. Sky/sports.

I read with disgust that Mike 'Loadsa' Cash and is fascist RMT union will cause mayhem again for hardworking people in the South East as he brings his members out on strike tomorrow. What has been proposed seems to make sense. No job losses, a continuence of what is already being operated on the network and better customer service. The hypocrisy of the RMT argument is clear when yesterday drivers refused to move from platforms because sun was shining on the drivers departure boards. This was trains WITH a guard. I just don't get it. Either guards are crucial or they are not.

Brexit continues to be another headline grabber. Is it the kiss of death for the 'stay' campaign as Jonah, aka Ed Balls joins their platform? Much in the papers about Brexit and other important global stories.......... except for the Daily Star who lead with 'Roy lifts sex ban to help 3 lions win'. Yeah! Don't forget Roy you are in the same group as Wales. As I recall the last time an England side was in the same group as Wales in a major sporting tournament we all know what happened.

Off to Bridgnorth shortly...... an internet hinterland for me. Bleater will do his best to be bleating again tomorrow but........

Anoraks at the ready........ Westjet's flight WS24 from St John's, that's St John's Canada and not St John's Crowborough is at 3,500ft overhead. This Boeing 737-700 will land at 07:56. 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

Monday 16th May - 08:30

As the sun slowly comes down on my five year stint as Chairman I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in this wonderful part of the world and how blessed we are to be part of Crowborough Rugby Club. This view is enhanced when I read the Baronsmede Family Homes Newsletter featuring the lunch where some of their residents were able to join us at Steel Cross. These disadvantaged young people had a great day out enjoying lunch and the rugby with one lucky guest, Sally, being given the honour of presenting the match ball to the teams. This might seem a small gesture but to these young people it is a big day out and for us it is an important reminder of our, and rugby's, social responsibilities. Thanks to our Club Ambassador John Wilmshurst for making this happen.

I read with interest the positive statements from Saracens about their great European triumph. No comment about their hideous level of debt though. I find it troubling that the RFU are happy for a club (with others not that far behind) to carry that level of debt. Hey Ho! What do I know?

The news on Kurtley Beale is more positive this morning. His absence is likely to be just four to six months and not the 12 months as first feared. How is your debt building up Mr Wasps?

Jarryd Hayne ..... who? An Australian (not an Austrian with an extra 'al'...... see Sunday's drivel) who starred in the NRL before moving to the NFL has decided to accept an offer of appearing at the Rio Olympics as part of the Fijian 7s squad. His dad is Fijian so he qualifies. No problem there. This is another Sam Burgess situation. A player being dropped into an established, and, unlike the England situation, a winning squad. How are those who have sweated hard to get to the Olympics going to feel when Mr Hayne bumps them out of the team. Probably the same as Luther Burrell, seriously hacked off. Yet another Hey Ho moment.

Wales legen Martyn Williams believes this is the strongest Welsh squad to visit New Zealand and they have a chance of beating the Kiwis on their home turf. Martyn, please let me know what you are taking. I need some of that hallucinatory concoction.

Sam Broster, a member of the rugby playing family has blamed biltong, that South African dried meat delicacy for his failed drugs test. Mmmmmm! Nice try. There is a worrying trend in the number of young aspiring players, especially in Wales, being caught out in drugs test. I guess the rewards for reaching the pinnacle of our game are now such that some might see the risk of taking drugs as worth it. Good luck you fools. If you do and you are caught don't expect any sympathy from me.

'Here Comes Summer' is very appropriate for this time of year as the sporting calendars overlap. We have a plethora of rugby and soccer still to play. The Scaletrix season is underway. What a spectacular cock-up for Mercedes yesterday. There is plenty of golf, tennis and of course cricket. The first test against Sri Lanka starts this week. Of these sports the winners are

Andy Murray - a great win over Novak Djokovic
Arsenal Ladies for winning the Women's FA Cup
18 year old Max Verstappen for winning the Spanish Grand prix

The losers are
whoever left the training device at Old Trafford
Spurs for throwing it all away in the period of two weeks.

Must go Virgin's A330 from St Lucia is about to go over.

Sunday 15th May - 09:45

There are many enjoyable things about being Chairman of a rugby club, no more so than being at the junior awards. This was the case on Friday when our wonderful Under 13s, 14s, and 15s held their award evening in the company of their coaches and parents. It was very well attended and very well presented. A sincere thanks to all who made this possible, especially our great staff.

Why are the juniors important? Simple! Most weeks 90% of the players representing the club at senior level have come through our mini and junior ranks. We have no plans to follow the worsening trend of paying players to play so we have to grow our own trees. Based on what I experienced on Friday our young saplings are going to grow into mighty oaks.

As we were enjoying our meal so Quins sadly were being outgunned by Montpellier in the Challenge Cup. I haven't seen it yet but understand the better side won depsite a late fight back by the men from The Stoop. A sad way for Conor O'Shea to go out but he must be applauded all the way to the colosseum, his next challenge, for what he has contributed to Harlequins RFC.

Saracens on the other hand tamed Racing 92 with a fine performance to lift the Champions Cup. It was a pretty dire affair but the men in red & black played the opposition, quietened the crowd and took their chances when presented. Racing 92 were pretty limited tactically and this made life easier for the 'fez heads'. Why oh why didn't they go wide more frequently. It must be noted that Saracens went through the tournament without losing a game. Amazing!!

Kurtley Beale announces he is to join Wasps next season then WHAM! a terrible knee injury likely to keep him out of the game for 12 months.

Gus Pichot, in his new World Rugby role, says he is going to champion a change to the (in my view) ridiculous international residency rules. Three years is nowhere long enough.

Bill Beaumont has gone on record that the 6 Nations needs to move to April to ease pressures on the elite players. Good call. Having compared the state of our grounds that seemed to be under water forever during the season but are now looking lush and green that perhaps my idea of a winter break and the season running into June is not so bad afterall. France, despite what I said before might just have it right.

Stick with me. Just a few more thinngs to go.

Did anybody else think the Los Jaguares mascot looked more like pooh bear than a jaguar?

Why do people insist on putting an unnecessary 's' on the end of descriptions, e.g. 'would be good if we could play like the LeicesterS or the TottenhamS or the Man CityS'. Do me a favour stop it. The 's' is not required. It is 'play like Leicester or Tottenham or Man City'

Is it coincidence that Labour crashed and burned at the election when Ed Balls was front and centre and a similar fate has befallen Norwich City now he is on the board there?

Can someone tell me when Australia joined the continent of Europe. Their song was good but Australia is not in Europe the last time I checked. Perhaps some one has added an unnecessary 'al' into Austria when typing up the list of contestants.

Can I also ask whether the Eurovision Song Contest will collapse if we vote for Brexit. 95% of entries were sung in English.

According to The Times beer is good for you. Hoorah a factual story in the papers.

Finally it makes me mad when I watch bleeding heart liberals wanting to ban punch & judy because it promotes doemstic violence. Domestic violence is horrendous and we should support all means to prevent it but banning punch & judy??? Do me a favour. Banning alcohol, supporting mental health and stopping the cutbacks in local policing would be far more effective.

Must go for a lie down now. Seriously my back is causing me much pain so a lie down makes sense.

Thursday 12th May - 07:45

If you've ever thought 'life is not fair' then look no further than the sports pages and read about Seb Adeniran-Olule, 20 year old Harlequins prop who died in a road accident this week. For some life is simply way too short.

Bill Beaumont has been elected chairman of World Rugby. A tremendous honour for a man who has for many, many years has been a brilliant servent to our great game. Augustin Pichot has been elected vice-chairman.

There is much in the sports pages about Welsh rugby being in crisis due to their poor Pro 12 showing. The four regions' fan base might have grown, and the national side remains very competitive, but below the Pro 12 the game is suffering in much the same way as rugby is elsewhere. That is declining player numbers as other sports and pasttimes draw players away. The strength of Welsh football epitomised by Wales upcoming appearance in Euro 2016 is also having an impact.

The draw for RWC 2019 has been delayed until May 2017. This still seems a long time in advance and the 'group of death' scenario will remain a distinct possibility. The rationale for the timing is to give sufficient space for planning the logistics and the ticketing of the tournament. Mrs Bleater and I are saving for this one already.

Fascinating story about Sam Underhill who is starring at the Ospreys. He wants to play for England but under current rules can't be selected as he plays in Wales. Guess what? They are talking about breaking the rules to have him included. Lets watch this one develop.

In other sport Sunderland completed the Great Escape condemning their biggest rivals Newcastle to relegation. This proves the theory that money can't buy you happiness. Its about time Mike Ashley had someone poke a stick in his eye. He treats his workers like slaves, alledgedly, is arrogant enough to tell a parliamentary committee he is too important to sit in front of them and rotates his club managers more often than Lady Gaga changes her hair colour.

The good news is that a thieving, lying and unscrupulous benefit cheat has been sent to prison for defrauding you and I the taxpayer out of £50,000. Carina Reid was her name and I hope she finds prison very tough. I also hope action is taken to recover the money.

Back to rugby I read that Twickenham are planning to install one of those 'sliding seats' where four fans can sit on a sofa like contraption which will whisk them up and down the touch line as the game develops. Yuk!

Let me leave you today with a story from The Sun. There are many rumours about what went on at East Grinstead RFC recently. It sounds unsavoury and very sad. The Sun has a slant on this and it is well worth a read. Go to The Sun on-line and type in East Grinstead RFC.

Wednesday 11th May - 09:30

Joe Marler is heading to the psychologist's office for a nice cup of tea and piece of cake. He wants to address his 'lack of professional control'. Let's hope it is a nice cup of calming mint tea with a lucky heather infusion.

Edinburgh are moving from Murrayfield to Myreside, a small stadium on the edge of the city. Not before time. Playing in a 60,000 seater stadium with less than 2,000 fans watching must be soul destroying. The move makes sense.

Warren Gatland has named a strong squad to travel to New Zealand. Halfpenny is not included but on standby. Tipuric is out due to injury, as is Cuthbert. It still won't be strong enough to tame the All Blacks though. Sam will captain the squad despite having another injury plagued season. Gethin Jenkins is in the squad. An amazing achievement for a fine player.

Gatland is convinced the England game before they depart for the 'land of the long white cloud' is crucial. Me, I think it is very high risk.

Elsewhere it can only be described as a disgrace how the scum, as it would be an insult to genuine fans to call them anything else, attacked the Manchester United bus last night. There is a striking photo of a lady with child in arms being shepherded away from the mayhem. It looks more like a war zone than a London street outside a football ground.

What a complete and utter sop to political correctness that Greater Manchester Police are apologising for their anti-terrorist exercise. You tell me how many terrorist activities around the globe have been carried out by middle aged, middle England, church going ladies. If you are going to have an anti-terrorist exercise it needs to be as realistic as possible. Get on with it.

To reinforce my point go on line and look at the photos and ethnicity and religious bias and age of the three men arrested in Italy for planning terrorist attacks on London. Quid Erat Demonstrandum.

David Cameron has been caught criticising the Nigerians and Afghanistanis for being corrupt regimes. Well Mr Cameron if that is the case why the *!%£ are we giving millions of taxpayer £££s in foreign aid to these countries. There are better causes at home such as supportung the steelworkers of Britain to get their industry back on a solid base, or supporting the thousands of wonderful elderly Britons struggling with care in their final years.

The Queen has also been heard to say the Chinese were rude on a recent state visit. Hoorah your majesty. Let's have some straight talking instead of this mealy mouthed diet we currently get from slime ball politicians. That doesn't mean by the way that Donald Trump is acceptable. He is a moronic racist in my view.

As I was doing my morning trawl through the papers I was reminded that it is Eurovision Song Contest this weekend. Sweden will be closed on Saturday night as the whole country tunes in. Having spent time based in Stockholm I know how much they love this stuff. They will be dressing up, having street parties and rocking and rolling along to all the acts on show. If you are bored to death at work today go on-line and have a look at the venue where the event is being held. It is a giant golf ball.

Finally as many of you know I stand down as Chairman in a few weeks. I have been asked to continue with the blog which I am delighted to do. The 'Chairman's Blog' will become 'xxxxxxxx Blog'. When I was playing my tour name was 'Bleater' so 'Bleater's Blog' might be ok. Alternatively 'Welsh Whinges' or ........ I don't know. Any ideas? Let me know.

Tuesday 10th May - 08:15

Let me start with Jerry Isbister. It appears Jerry was knocked off his bike incurring a very nasty gash from which he lost a lot of blood. A passer by was able to help staunch the flow and call an ambulance. He was taken to A&E where he was cleaned up and stitched up and after more tests was thankfully released to go home. Thanks go to the good Samaritan. Things could have been very different if it wasn't for their quick thinking.

I chaired my last Executive Meeting last night. We are in good shape and when I finally stand down at the end of June I know those remaining will be taking the club forward to new heights. They are an amazing group of people doing some great week on the club's behalf. Please support them.

There is some great stuff going on including work with local schools including Beacon. We have started our women & girls program. New players are most welcome and it would be great if we could find someone to support the development of this important area of the club's development.

The plans for the Summer Ball are well advanced. Tickets are going fast. Booking early is essential. Go on-line for more details.

On Sat June 4th the club will be present at Crowborough's annual French market. If you fancy having some fun on the stall and can spare an hour or two to help let Dave 'Baloo' Bennett know.

The senior awards dinner followed by a disco for all members is on May 28th. Book now for a seat at the dinner and again go on-line for more details.

The European Cup finals are the highlight of this weekend's rugby........ that is after the club's tour to Norfolk. Norfolk!!!??? Quins will struggle against Montpellier in my view and if Saracens stick to their game plan they should overcome Racing 92. The rugby pages highlight the risk they take if they try and target Dan Carter to nullify his threat.

In other sport it is end of an era for West Ham United as they play their last game at Upton Park, or more accurately the Boleyn Ground before they move to the Olympic Stadium.

Brexit dominates the news with claim and counter claim. Please tell me where I can find some sensible reporting so I can make an informed decision.

The other story in most papers is about the SATS tests. What a shambles. Test published by mistake. Questions so hard adults are struggling. Heads openly objecting to them. I feel for the teachers who are in the middle of this maelstrom.

Hoorah the forecasters got it right. I fed my lawn yesterday in the hope of rain. It is raining. Marvellous.

Finally what a spectacle was the Victory Day Parade through Moscow's Red Square yesterday. I enjoyed it anyway.

Monday 9th May - 08:00

A great weekend, a difficult weekend, a weekend of contrasts for Mrs C and I. For me one of the highlights was yesterday at Steel Cross where our wonderful mini section celebrated the season with their annual awards and dads v coaches game. It was fantastically well attended under a scorching sun and beautifully organised by Tracey Radford. What an amazing asset she is to our minis and to the club as a whole. It was a real pleasure to present the trophies to the many, many kids who were there. It was also heartening to hear and see the words 'fun' & 'friendship' front and centre. To Tracey and all involved in the minis; players, parents, coaches alike, I say THANK YOU.

It was also heartening to see that The Crows managed to have a game away at Burgess Hill on Saturday. Having missed so many games this was good news especially as it was played in a wonderful spirit and we snuck a win 26-19. Well done guys.

It goes without saying that the events at King Power Stadium on Saturday was another undoubted highlight. What a party, what a game, what a team.

On the flip side we were in Wales on Friday and Saturday, primarily to visit my mother-in-law's grave. She would have been 80 on Friday, the same day my wonderful grandson Matthew reached 2 years of age. It was the right thing to do but very sad and quite emotionally challenging. It was very upsetting to see how depressed parts of where we were brought up had become. It was also concerning to hear how desperate living in parts of Newport had become; crime, unemployment, anti-social problems all on the increase, and allegedly as a direct result of an influx of immigrants. Some of the views on 'Brexit' from people I met were very clear....... OUT! Sadly this was far from a balanced view ignoring many of the benefits Wales has enjoyed as a result of being in the EU.

The downside of the weekend continued when I heard that our very own Jerry Isbister has been involved in a very serious accident. Information is scant at the moment. All who know Jerry know that he is a God fearing Christian. I think it is very appropriate that any prayers today have Jerry in them.

Finally it was brilliant to sit in the back garden yesterday in shorts and t-shirt, barbecue lit, my own recipe honey and chive marinated salmon cooking gently, the sauvignon blanc on ice. Splendid!!!!

It would be wrong not to congratulate Tunbridge Wells on their excellent and convincing win at Twickenham on Saturday. I hope Senor Withers has a massive hangover. He and his team deserve it. The culmination of a great season.

The final shake out of the leagues took place on Saturday. All four Irish provinces secured Champions Cup places. Glasgow and Scarlets secure the other spots. Zebre will fly the flag for Italy....... despite finishing 11th in the league. Leinster took top spot but because of the stupid play-offs that counts for nothing.

In the Aviva Saracens strolled the final game. Exeter gave a depleted Quins a lesson and Sale Sharks secured the final Champions Cup spot. Good news for England with Dylan making his comeback for Saints.

Talking of England Cipriani is in a training squad ahead of the tour to Australia and the totally unnecessary 'warm-up' game v Wales on May 29th.

Bristol and Doncaster will fight it out next week to replace London Irish in the Aviva.

A storm is brewing at Toulon with the enigmatic owner Mourad Boudjellal stating that any of his players deciding to go on tours with their countries will not be paid by him. He has picked out Leigh Halfpenny who has not played for Toulon all season. I can sympathise with his view, especially the stance over Halfpenny. On the other hand I question why French rugby continues so deep into the summer. The Top 14 final is June 24th.

Before I leave you to watch the May Day Victory Parade from Red Square in Moscow can I throw out there two more suggestions. Let's bring back old fashioned rucking. That'll stop the nonsense we see now (thanks Damper). Also what about a break in the season say from week 2 in December until end of week 3 in Jan. This primarily for the clubs in leagues below level 4. The season could then be extended to end of May when pitches are much better.

Must go. Its time to watch the parade of Russian military might.

Thursday 5th May - 08:30

I am waiting for confirmation but The Crows might have a game vs Burgess Hill on Saturday. Watch this space for info.

What I can say with more certainty is it is the Dads v Coaches match on Sunday. A fun game to celebrate the end of the minis seasons and the minis awards day.

In the world of rugby Scotland and Sale Shark's Chris Cuister retires at the age of 33. He plans to open a whisky business in Los Angeles. He will be replaced by Wales Mike Phillips who also must be entering the twighlight of his career.

Wales have had some good injury news with both Sam Warburton and Alun-Wyn Jones predicted to be fit for (tortuous) tour to New Zealand.

Dylan is set to return for Northampton this weekend after his concussion against France. It is also clear that he will captain England on the tour to Australia.

The player merry-go-round is well under way. Lots of movement, all covered in the rugby press if you want more info.

Following yesterday's proposed law changes can I add another thought..... if a player gets a yellow card within the last 15 minutes of a game he will not be allowed to return leaving his team to play out the rest of the game one man short.

I see the victorious Leicester City squad will be getting a £32k Mercedes on top of all their other bonuses for winning the Premiership. Don't these guys earn enough as it is. I hope they get taxed for the perk.

As we vote today, and no matter how ridiculous P&CCs are we should exercise our franchsie, we can look ahead to the EU vote. I can honestly say I am still undecided.


Having spent the vast majority of my working life in multi-national companies who do significant business across Europe I can see the benefit of staying in. I think the European Arrest Warrant and the cross-border police intelligence schemes are all positive. The E11C cross-border health scheme is good.

On the other hand when you look at the huge bureaucracy and cost associated with it I can think of better ways to spend money. There are the overbearing and unnecessary interference from faceless eurocrats that makes our life more complicated. The European Human Rights Act has a lot to answer for. Then of course there is the 'elephant in the room': immigration. I believe immigration is generally good but when you read that GPs in certain towns are closing their books to new patients where will all these new arrivals go? Who is going to pay for their needs, how will the schools cope? The fact that Turkey may be given visa free access to Europe is another factor to consider.

I hope you are clearer in your thinking than I am.

Now there was a good idea..... NOT! As more and more people get their news from electronic media lets launch a new daily newspaper. Surprise, surprise New Day is to close on Friday. The staff can always join The Friday Club.

Wednesday 4th May - 08:00

A day of contrasts for me yesterday. The euphoria of the Mighty Foxes, then a very moving funeral service, then a lads night out with former colleagues. All serving up different messages.

Sport is just that. It isn't life or death and at times we need to keep that in mind.

'Life is for the living'. No matter how long or short fill it to its fullest.

True friends are not on Facebook they are in front of you sharing a beer and a laugh.

In the world of rugby London Irish have finally lost their battle to avoid relegation. With one game to go there is nothing to play for in table terms. Irish are down and the four play-off berths are sorted. In the Championship Bristol top the table some 16 points ahead of nearest rivals Doncaster. They are now involved in the crazy, and in my mind totally unnecessary play-off for promotion. Bristol lost two games all season and deserve to be promoted. Get on with it.

In the Pro 12 the Welsh clubs have failed dismally this season with just the Scarlets securing a Champions Cup berth. The Irish regions have been the winners occupying four of the top six spots. With one game to go top spot is still to play for with Glasgow going head to head with Connaught in the final game. This of course before they go into the money driven and unnecessary play-offs.

Plenty of games on TV this weekend but with the weather forecast to be fantastic being in front of the TV is not on my agenda.

Going back to the Pro 12 it has been suggested that The Dragons become a 'development' region for Welsh rugby. Feed the up and coming players through the system. Whilst the Dragons are part owned by the WRU this makes sense but if that changes then I don't see new owners accepting that. They will want to emulate Leicester City I guess.

Tomorrow is polling day when we can vote for a new chocolate teapot, aka Police and Crime Commissioner. What a waste of taxpayers money and look what you get..... Ann Barnes.

I read with horror that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican Presidential Candidate. His views are somewhat extreme, even for me. I also read with horror that Kim Jong-un that other fine upstanding supporter of fairness and equality for all continues to test ballistic missiles and threatens all out war with South Korea.

Back to rugby. Just a few thoughts on how to change our game. Make the 22 line the 20 metre line. The extra 4 metres could open up the game. At ruck and maul make the defenders and attackers stand 5 metres back like they do at the scrum. Very difficult to police but worth thinking about.

Ok Binoculars at the ready plenty of 'heavy' jets are soon to be over the 'Borough en route to LGW.