Friday 20th Nov - 08:15
So, there you have it; Eddie Jones is the new England head coach. Is this a decision made in haste to be repented at leisure, or finally a new saviour has arrived. I don't know. Jones has a good track record taking Australia to the final of RWC 2003, then acted as technical director to South Africa in 2007 and then more recently working wonders with Japan in 2015. For the record I personally think he had a great deal to do with the Boks win in 2007 so his title should be ignored.
Ian Robertson, a deep thinking and very knowledgeable man of rugby reckons it is a good choice. Exactly what England need right now. Someone who will unleash the full potential of the squad.
According to the BBC David Campese, a meddlesome Australian, on the other hand thinks he is a dour administrator and another 'school teacher' in the mould of Lancaster. That was one of Lancaster's failings by all accounts; he was overly officious.
Make your own mind up.
Me, I would have worked hard to tempt Baxter away from Exeter or better still Jamie Joseph of the Highlanders. Campese threw Dean Richards name out there but as nice a bloke as he is he wouldn't have been the answer. It is academic as Jones is the man.
I am sure, like us, Messrs Rowntree, Catt and Farrell await news of their fate.
If there is one area where Jones will find the going tough is the link between the RFU and the Premiership Clubs. He will have his work cut out there as there is already much tension, and for the clubs much money at stake.
The Cardiff Blues v Quins was a game of two halves. The first pretty turgid stuff, the second not bad. The Cardiff Blues paid a nice tribute to Jonah Lomu pre-match but what is happening in the world when the BLUES play in the black & amber of their rivals and neighbours Newport RFC. Talking of shirts Quins looked like a team of liquid detergent bottles with an oversized barcode. Considering their side they played really well and deserved their win. Likewise Matthew Rees FULLY deserved his red card. The stamp was outrageous and a lengthy ban awaits.
Right now it is dry so the Friday Club might not turn into drowned rats today. Pitch preparation for tomorrow is the key plus readying the D Pitch for the new posts.
Thursday 19th Nov - 08:30
Quite rightly Jonah Lomu is taking up many of the column inches in today's papers. One banner caught my eye and not in a good way: 'Woodward leads Lomu tributes' says SKY. I am sure Sir Know It All has many good things to say about Lomu but 'leading' the tributes. Come on SKY stop bigging up Woodward, there are many better qualified to lead the tributes to Jonah Lomu than him.
What we all knew has now been confirmed; Richie McCaw has called time on his glittering career. 148 caps, 131 of them wins, 110 caps as captain, three times World Player of the Year, two RWC wins, thousands of times offside at the ruck. Wow! Nothing more needs to be said.......... unless Mr Woodward is leading the tributes.
McCaw is the David Beckham of New Zealand. He already hosts TV shows, one of which is on Discovery about aircraft. His face is everywhere endorsing a wide range of 'stuff'. It is no surprise that he intends to become a helicopter pilot after rugby. Flight is clearly a passion. The end of an amazing career. Well done Mr McCaw.
Despite recently signing a long term contract with The Stormers in South Africa Eddie Jones is now clear favourite to become the next England coach. He has an impressive track record and as Japan's showing in RWC 2015 proved he knows how to get the best out of limited resources. (Sorry couldn't resist dig at current England squad).
I worry about loyalty here in that he hasn't started at The Stormers yet and is already considering reneging on that deal. Only a thought! Me, I would still go for Baxter or Mallinder or one of the NZ Super 15 coaches.
This weekend we have a series of really tough games. The 1st are at home to high flying Horsham, the 2s travel to table topping Haywards Heath, and The Crows are at home to Burgess Hill 2s. The Friday Club will be working hard on the pitches tomorrow.
It is another European weekend with Cardiff v Quins tonight could be worth watching. Whether the French based fixtures go ahead is yet to be decided but one of the Paris based games has been called off already.
So whilst cuts affecting millions of people, many hardworking tax payers, and the elderly who often are the most vulnerable in society, and the sick who are struggling with huge cuts in the NHS (I think there is much waste in the NHS so they do need to get their house in order) the Government can find money for a 'presidential' style aircraft; an A330. Mmm! Hypocritical or what?
Wednesday 18th Nov - 08:30
There is only one place to start and that is with.......
The very sad news that he has passed away following a long, long battle with a serious and rare kidney condition.
Lomu was the first truly global superstar of rugby when he came onto the scene in the 90's. He took the game to a different level when he took to the field and he broke the mould in terms of player size. The newspapers loved him and one of the great headlines was when he 'ran over a Catt' in RWC 1995.
I never met him but I know many people who have and they are unanimous in their comments.......... a lovely man.
May he rest in peace and our thoughts are with his partner and young sons.
The train journey from Salisbury to Tunbridge Wells was not too bad, albeit badly delayed by signal failure. The bus from T.Wells to the 'Boro was quick but boy did I get soaked in the short walk from the bus stop to home.
A very quick run around the leagues.
The Crows were beaten away at Cinque Ports and are now only one place off the bottom of the table.
Our 2s still prop up the table despite their fine win against Chichester III. Haywards Heath are now top after a comfortable away win at Midhurst. Lewes lie second after their home win against Brighton 2s. Notably Hellingly sit third after beating Crawley.
In London 3 South East our friends at Aylesford Bulls stay top with a win at home vs Old Dunstonians. Bromley stay on their tails after a solid win against Eastbourne. In the two all Sussex ties The Greenies keep up their challenge with a win against Pulborough. In the other game Burgess Hill enjoyed the short trip to Uckfield with a narrow 7 - 12 win. Uckfield remain rooted to the bottom.
Above us Charlton Park lost at home, Maidstone won at home whilst Medway secured a good away win against Tottonians. Brighton also enjoyed a narrow win away at Sidcup. Medway lead the chase for promotion in fourth.
TJs suffered an away loss to Hertford allowing London Irish Furious Geese to stay top despite a 16 - 16 home draw against East Grinstead. Chichester's trip home from Westcliff wouldn't have been much fun after their loss.
In our league Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells maintain their perfect start with wins at home to Deal & Betteshanger and away to Dartfordians respectively. Our next opponents Horsham won away at Ashford. Thanet Wanderers losing away at Old Alleynians keeps them below us. In the other game Hove beat Beckenham at Hove Park.
What a wonderful tribute to the dead in Paris; the symbolic show of solidarity at Wembley last night. We must not be cowed by these beasts. Yes, we must be vigilant but we must maintain a 'life goes on strategy'.
I see Mr Corbyn's 'you musn't shoot to kill' comment with regard to terrorists has whipped up a storm. I liked a letter in this morning's Metro: 'If the police are faced with highly armed suicidal psychopaths holding hostages, I'm not convinced that reading them their rights and asking them to come quietly is the appropriate response'.
Monday 16th Nov - 13:00
Let me start with yesterday and our minis. We hosted our festival, and yet again, from what I hear, we put on an excellent event. These things don't happen by accident. I have already thanked those involved in the preparation and execution for their efforts. The scores and winners are irrelevant, what is important is smiley faces and having a great time. Despite the soggy pitches and wet conditions I understand we delivered both aplenty. I was really sorry I couldn't be there but as proud as punch to see the positive feedback.
Looking at Saturday I can't find a Crows result however our 2s secured an excellent home win on the sloping bog, better known to us as pitch C. I understand that despite the conditions both us and Chichester 3s, tried to play expansive rugby.
Our 1s were less fortunate at Old Colfeians. According to the Bard we started much the better and played some good attacking rugby. A catalogue of injuries seeing players with blood pouring from wounds and leaving the field took the wind from our sails. It seems that OCs saw their opportunity and took it beating is with two late tries. I understand Mitch, Yatesy, Nick Hill and Matt Botterman all battled hard and on a different day.....
Due to the awful weather in Salisbury I ended up watching TV for much of the weekend in between nursing my under the weather grandchildren. Sarries played well but this against Toulouse who were themselves under par. Didn't see the game but Wasps did fantastically well against Leinster. Saints vs Scarlets was entertaining and could have gone either way. What an idiot George North is. That could have been red. Well done the Dragons, a fine win against Sale. Finally the Ospreys v Exeter was a competitive, if not classic game. The men in black deserved to win with the Welsh experience counting for much. Slade was off colour for Exeter.
I am still in Salisbury, unplanned, and will endure the train back to Tunbridge Wells tomorrow morning. The Tuesday morning round up might be the Tuesday afternoon round up, or even the Wednesday round up depending on how traumatic the journey.
Sunday 15th November - 11:00
It is difficult to comprehend the horror of the Paris attacks on Friday night. It is impossible to understand the mindset of people who want to take us back to the Dark Ages. It is unbelievable that people will kill innocent human beings and themselves in the pursuit of their perceived Utopia.
The people who carried out these cowardly attacks are not human beings they are animals, savage beasts which like rabies infected dogs need to be put down. Does that statement make me the same as them? I don't know. What I do know is that the world is a more dangerous place, and Europe because of its misguided open border approach is even more dangerous.
There is no easy solution but what is certain we must all be vigilant wherever we go. More importantly we must spare a thought for the families and friends of those so tragically mowed down on Friday night in Paris.
May they rest in peace and may their families find comfort from the thoughts and prayers of the billions of outraged but decent human beings the world over.