Sunday 31st Jan - 10:15
THANK YOU to Sandra and Jacqui for a great job yesterday.
THANK YOU to EVERYBODY who turned up for the lunch despite the game being on.
THANK YOU especially to our guests from AXA and Tunbridge Wells RFC who turned up.
I think it was a great afternoon except for the Muppett who stood up before lunch and upset just about everyone with his comments. Sorry about that.
By the way that was me.
Thanks also go to Heathfield & Waldron for taking on our Crows game at very late notice. The Crows were mauled by the Greenies third string. At least we got 5 points.
Our 2s travelled to Horsham as planned and came away with a much needed win, albeit narrowly.
Well done to the Dragons for beating Leinster on Friday. Despite the horrendous conditions it was a pretty good game. Connaught taught Scarlets a lesson but Cardiff overcame a dogged Edinburgh side. Oh how we could do with a 3G pitch at Steel Cross.
Saracens came from behind to beat Bath and remain top of the Aviva. Again oh how we could do with a 3G pitch at Steel Cross.
Tuilagi's return to the England fold might be on hold as he suffers a hamstring tweak.
New Zealand win the Wellington leg of the 7s Wolrd Series. Sadly Billy didn't make his debut. His day will come.
Just watching Murray and Djokovic. Great entertainment.
Finally sad to read about the death of Sir Terry Wogan. Not normally a celebrity watcher but Sir Terry was a big rugby fan. A sad loss indeed.
Over the next month I will be spending a lot of time in Salisbury. The blog therefore may be a bit hit and miss in terms of regular publication. It is always hit and miss with regard to content.
Saturday 30th Jan - 11:00
It is with a very heavy heart that we have called off all games this weekend at Steel Cross. The pitches are under water. This is so depressing and very upsetting for all: Dave Bristow, The Friday Club, Jacqui and Sandra especially.
The LUNCH IS STILL GOING AHEAD regardless. Even if you haven't booked PLEASE come along and support the club.
Friday 29th Jan - 08:00
Like an old vinyl record stuck on the needle all I hear is 'is the game on?', 'is the game on?', 'is the game on?'.
There is a simple answer to that....... 'right now I don't know'. These grinning weather forecasters can't tell you what happened yesterday let alone forecast today and tomorrow.
What I can tell you is if it doesn't happen then it won't be for the lack of effort. Dave Bristow, Damper and The Friday Club will be working tirelessly today and tomorrow morning on the pitches. Rest assured on that point.
As soon as there is news it will be on this site.
If the game goes ahead you can also be sure of two things. The boys from St Marks will start as overwhelming favourites but our boys will be ready and not a single one of them will shy away from the task ahead.
We hosted the Sussex East area Dragons Den on Wednesday. This is an opportunity for clubs to pitch for money from the county to support their legacy initiatives. Thanks to an excellent piece of work by Dave 'Baloo' Bennett we secured £750 towards our plans. Well done sir.
It is a VERY sad indictment of rugby in the east of the county that only three clubs, us, Hellingly and Rye bothered to apply. Hey Ho! One of the 'Dragons' was Jo Martin, RFU Area Manager. I think she was impressed with our operation. Another was Roger Clark, President of Tunbridge Wells. We had a good chat about the forthcoming game, but also about the weather and the issues we both face in terms of pitch management, the impending league restructuring and the challenges of players being paid to play. Sadly Roger won't be able to join us for lunch tomorrow but will be at the game in time for kick off.
The hype around the 6 Nations continues with Eddie Jones stating Scotland start as favourites in England's opener. I understand where he is coming from but I think England will run out easy winners.
Warburton has asked 'will Wales (and the others) try and wind up Dylan'. Of course they will but me, I think that will backfire.
Graham Henry has stated Wales need to be more intelligent in attack. I would add to that adventurous, expansive, and varied.
Stuart Lancaster to coach The Lions. Why not? Would be a long way from my choice though.
Delon Armitage is in talks with Bath about a return to England. Halfpenny will be Toulon's first choice and with French rugby introducing a more stringent homegrown policy he could be on his way.
Got to go. Friday Club beckons.
Wednesday 27th Jan - 09:30
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. If there was ever a time in history that epitomised man's inhumanity to man then the Holocaust was it.
The build up to the 6 Nations has started. Injuries, suspensions and doubts fill the column inches rather than the positive of this great tournament. Speculation about selection is another hot topic. Ford or Farrell? The centre partnership will be???
The Welsh concerns focus on the fitness of their returning players.
For us at Steel Cross more mundane things occupy our thinking. The weather is top of our agenda. Yesterday morning the pitches were recovering nicely with Dave and Damps doing work on them with a verti-drainer. This morning they are back to swamps after the rain overnight. It is sooooo depressing.
No matter our relative league positions our boys will not be afraid of the task ahead vs table topping Tunbridge Wells. Regardless of circumstances I am looking forward to chewing the fat with my counterpart over at St Marks, Graham Withers. Our backgrounds are similar and I guess neither of us have a desire to go back to Newport.
In other sport Johanna Konta and Andy Murray fly the flag for Britain down in Melbourne.
Before today's aeroplane feature can I ask; are you getting fed up of being told what you can and can't eat and drink? Sugar, alcohol, coffee, bacon, sausages, bread, are all bad for you. Yeah six cans of coke and two bacon sandwiches every day will be bad for you but come on!! Let's stop this nanny state and focus on the really bad things; smoking and drugs.
Just landing at LGW is a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 777-300. Landing speed is 122 knots.
Tuesday 26th Jan - 07:30
The best kept rugby secret of recent weeks is now out in the public domain; Dylan Hartley is England captain. There is much written in the news this morning about the risk due to his disciplinary record. What the papers are missing is England missed Dylan during RWC 2015 and Eddie Jones wants an abrasive charachter as his on-field general. Dylan will command respect on the field. It is fair to say he must keep the dark side under control so let's hope a) he can do this but b) it doesn't take the edge off his game.
As we all know Dylan is a great guy off the field and we at CRFC are tremendously proud that his England rugby adventure started with us at Steel Cross. There is a good piece by Caroline Chapman on BBC Sport.com.
The other story that caught my eye was the fact that Saracens are in hock to the tune of £45.1m. There will be some smarmy assed finance guru who will put a positive spin on this news but I think it is a disgrace that it is allowed to happen. It is indictive of rugby's slow but steady slide into the abyss. There are clubs close to us offering players a £100 a game to switch clubs. There are others paying up to £250 per game with some players getting a car on top. It isn't sustainable and will one way or another destroy the game in the long run. Yes, there are times when I fall out of love with the game. This is one of them.
Ok the very quickest of run around the leagues. Having thought about our result on Saturday I can reiterate what I wrote yesterday. The scoreline was not great but the effort of everyone of our boys was superb. They played with heart and didn't once give up. A credit to them and a credit to our youth system that most have come through the ranks, just like Dylan.
Tunbridge Wells stay top after beating Old Alleynians. Sevenoaks are second. Thanet move to within a point of us after beating Horsham. Wow!! Hove move further away after beating Ashford, who stay bottom. Dartfordians continue their charge beating Deal & Betteshanger, whilst OCs lost at home to Beckenham.
In Sussex 1 Lewes march on beating Chichester III. Haywards Heath are hot on their heels after beating Hellingly. Seaford move up to third condemning us to bottom after Saturday. Midhurst beat Horsham II and Hellingly beat Brighton II.
Moving up to London 3 South East Heathfield & Waldron are top after beating Old Dunstonians. Bromley sit in second on points difference after a fine win agaisnt Gillingham Anchorians. In the all Sussex clash it was honours even for Pulborough v Eastbourne. Burgess Hill lost on their travels to Ayelsford Bulls. Uckfield lost at home to Cranbrook in a high scoring game. They are now adrift at the bottom.
Above us Brighton scored a good win at home vs Chobham. Our friends at Charlton Park didn't enjoy their journey home from Medway following a 47 - 0 defeat. Maidstone won away at Tottonians.
In the national league TJs had an easy enough win against Westcliff and nominally stay top. I understand they are due to have a five point penalty applied due to an issue with front row replacements during a recent game. The Irish Geese strolled past Eton Manor and are second, soon to be top. East Grinstead beat Hertford and Chichester beat Gravesend.
Further afield Salisbury lost away to Newbury Blues but still stay second. Bridgnorth continue their remarkable season sitting top of Midlans 1 West after beating Crewe and Nantwich.
Must go. I'm off to get Dylan's shirt reglazed ready for Saturday.
Oh! and I know how much you love the areoplanes. This morning it is coincidentally a flight from UVF but this time a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-300. Currently at 7,250ft heading towards Crowborough before turning left towards East Grinstead and LGW.