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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 6 of 75

6. The Summer Break is Here


Sunday 19th May: 09:50

Before I get into yesterday's amazing, bonkers, wonderful day of rugby I missed the fact Llanelli beat Pontypool in the promotion play-off in Wales on Friday. No surprise as the West Wales outfit finished 12th of 16 in the Premiership and were always going to be too strong for the Gwent (now Monmouthshire) side despite their excellent performance in the Welsh Championship.

For me it all started yesterday with the Reds vs the Waratahs in Brisbane. An excellent game, ebbing and flowing with some brilliant passages of rugby from start to finish. The Sydney outfit came out on top thanks to some sloppy finishing by the Reds. Based on this game alone don't write the Aussies off in Japan.

So to the final round of the Premiership. I stuck with Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints and wasn't disappointed. Some of it was outstanding with high levels of skill. Some of it tense with two gladiators going head to head in the coliseum as if their lives depended on it. Some of it was bizarre and beggared belief; facing 13 men with a clear overlap for a score only for the ball to be intercepted to concede a 95 metre try. The Chiefs rediscovered their winning form whilst Saints showed more than once the excellent form that had taken them into the play-off spot. Saints ill-discipline let them down and they were plagued by injuries from almost the first whistle. Exeter top the table and will face Saints again next week in the play-off. Saints might be forced to bring Dylan in for this one due to injuries and if you like a bet then a Chiefs win is the only option.

Harlequins blew it in what seemed another excellent game up in Coventry. A last ditch long range shot at goal landed short and that was that. Quins gave it their all but Wasps with the slimmest of chances of securing a Champions Cup spot were just too good. It wasn't about yesterday though. Quins had shot themselves in the foot in the previous three or four games when their form dipped and the results went against them.

What a match up in Salford as Sale finally snatched the win over Gloucester. The crowd were treated to a veritable cornucopia of points, some amazing tries and some spectacular rugby. Well done Sale but it wasn't enough to guarantee the Champions Cup for next season. Bath took that place after another amazing game which ebbed and flowed with the West Country men finally getting past Leicester by a single point. Sale could still sneak into the main European Cup but it depends on how La Rochelle finish up in the Top 14.

The madness wasn't over. I looked twice when I saw Worcester Warriors 31 Saracens 29. What a great final day win for the Sixways team. As I dug deeper however it became very clear this was a second, if not a third string Saracens side so still well done Worcester but my goodness aren't Sarries a force to be reckoned with. Sarries host Gloucester next weekend, probably the more attractive of the two play-off games.

No smiles up at Newcastle as they couldn't end on a high note. Big spending Bristol were just too good in what appears to be the least exciting of games. A fantastic season for Bristol which goes to show that IF you have the money then you can make it in the Premiership but the money they have spent is eye-watering.

A mention for BT Sports. I thought their coverage was excellent yesterday. Bringing us the action from the other games as it occurred was great. It also helped that Austin Healey was a summariser in the game I didn't watch!!

Some would argue that because there was play-off spots at stake it made for a great final day. I can see that point but stick to my view that they are unnecessary and I don't think much would have been different yesterday. I think the European spot was more of an attraction and weren't those mid table clashes fascinating.

Surprise, surprise Leinster beat Munster to go into the final against Glasgow next week. As opinionated as I am, as odious as I can be, I am right about the Pro14 play-offs. A waste of time and energy. The winner of each pool in an end of season shoot out is all you need and is eventually what we have got.

My day finished late last night with Ospreys v Scarlets. Two poor performing Welsh sides served up a pretty tasty dish last night. It was almost like an old fashioned final Welsh trial. There were some great passages of play and some great skills on show. Leigh Halfpenny's tackle on Keelan Giles was something else. Owen Watkin slicing through the Scarlets like a hot knife through butter was great. Lots to play for with the big money European spot at stake. Well done Ospreys and what murmurings will be there be about Wayne Pivac and Wales as his charges failed to excite.

Caught some of Manchester City's demolition of Watford. Mighty impressive indeed but highlighting the gulf in spending power between the two clubs. Let us not decry the amazing achievement of holding all four of the domestic trophies at the same time.

By the way didn't see any of the Eurovision song contest so can't help you there.

Back tomorrow with more reflections on yesterday and the season as a whole.

Saturday 18th May: 09:15

Wasn't going to blog today but have been up for hours and there is only so much Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Octonauts you can stand in the morning.

Glasgow strolled past Munster as expected. That is why they were top of their conference. I know I am an opinionated, pompous, right-wing, fascist, moron who according to Mrs Bleater and others is also not very funny but for the life of me, other than money, I can't see why the PRO14 play-off is not simply top of pool A v top of pool B. It is the end of a very long season going into a short rest period before many start to prepare for RWC 2019. It is illogical to have such a complex play-off structure to arrive at the obvious. Hey Ho!

A quick thank you to my good friend Ken, who also told me off for being....... you know the rest, for letting me know the Ospreys v Scarlets game to decide on a Champions Cup place will be shown on S4C as live at 10pm tonight.

Grandchildren responsibilities permitting but I am keen to watch Exeter v Northampton this afternoon. This could be a cracker.

Definitely a blog tomorrow on all the results.

Today's quiz is "when is it going to be May Day". Is it the end of May in May, or the beginning of June or the middle of July for the end of May? Answers on a postcard.

If anything sums up the state of British politics and the shambles of the Tory Party is the news that now Calamity Maybe has decided to go they will turn their attention to stopping Boris from becoming PM. So a bit like Brexit they know exactly what they don't want but nothing about what they do want. Madness and be careful what you wish for as the alternative is a General Election when it is likely many will be tossed on the scrap heap.

Did anyone else watch Have I got News For You last night? If yes, wasn't the bit about Failing Grayling's new window cleaning business hilarious?

Talking of TV have you been watching Chernobyl or The Looming Towers? Brilliant stuff.

Must go. It's time for Go Jetters.

Friday 17th May: 09:00

As the solicitor for the person I described in my blog earlier this week has been in touch I think it best if I focus on rugby matters.

Plenty of action this weekend: Super Rugby, Pro14, Top 14 and of course the Premiership. Let me start with the English game where there is still plenty to play for including the title (sod the play-offs). Exeter host Northampton Saints which is probably the game of the day. Table topping but out of form Exeter will have to rediscover their mojo pretty sharpish if the in-form Saints are to be prevented from spoiling the party thus allowing Saracens to secure the top spot. The Barnet outfit travel to Worcester who achieved their goal of staying up some weeks ago so have little to play for except pride. Sarries will be tired but with their strength in depth I anticipate an away win and that is despite the marvellous Mako Vunipola and fellow prop Titi Lamositele being out for the rest of the season.

A Saints win secures them the last play-off spot. Quins are still in the mix however and they can snatch back what should have been theirs weeks ago except for some abject performances in recent weeks. To do that they have to get past Wasps up in Coventry. Then you have the final Champions Cup spot with Sale, Bath, Wasps and even Bristol Bears in with a shout. Sale at home to Gloucester gives them the advantage as I can see the cherry & whites resting players as their third place spot is secure. Bath at Leicester looks good and will Newcastle put on one last show before they (potentially!!!!) get relegated to the Championship.

It is great there is so much riding on the last day of the league season.

In the Pro 14 Glasgow should beat Ulster tonight and Leinster will beat Munster tomorrow which will set up the top of Pool A v the top of Pool B which should have been the single play-off game to start with!!!!!

Whilst Vunipola’s injury is bad news for Saracens it could be really bad news for King Eddie ahead of RWC 2019. He is not just a fine front row player he is a fine all round forward.
Connor O’Shea is not leaving the Italian set-up. According to the blazers in Italy that is fact so everyone should shut up about Franco Smith.

Scarlets v Ospreys has a lot riding on it tomorrow but as it is on Premier Sports I guess no-one will get to watch it on TV.

Rugby Australia has confirmed Israel Folau’s sacking. I say good! NOT because of his outburst despite wholeheartedly disagreeing with his views but because a contract and codes of conduct are exactly that and rugby is and always should be a game for all. Freedom of speech is important and censorship cannot be allowed to stifle individual opinion but agreements are exactly that.

I believe ITV will be showing RWC 2019 with the BBC securing the radio rights. Not long now.

FA Cup tomorrow. What money on a shock and Watford winning? None! Manchester City will complete the domestic clean sweep and argue like hell that it has nothing to with the money they have been able to spend.

Radio 5 Live’s Rachel Burden has been hauled over the coals for using the “F” word live on air. She used it in conjunction with the word “up” as in “f**k up” in a piece about Failing Grayling and the probation service fiasco. Basically “f**k up” and Grayling are synonymous with each other. Hauling the lovely Rachel over the coals was outrageous. Why should stating clear and unequivocal facts be wrong? He is one big “f**k up”.

Can’t wait for the abuse to roll in when I tell you that the person who has asked their solicitor to write to me, on legal aid of course, was upset about my inference about the use of the food bank. The person wants it to be clear the food bank is only used so they can buy the new 70” 4HD TV!!!!

bleater@crowboroughrugby.com

Thursday 16th May: 10:15

No sooner had I hit "save" yesterday than the e:mails started rolling in. The general theme being "you pompous, right-wing, fascist, moron". They claimed I know nothing about poverty and my characterisation was unfair. Actually my friends when I and Mrs Bleater and the little Bleaters moved to Crowborough in 1986 from week to week we knew what it was like to be close to bread line, after bills and food on the table we had about £5 left to spend on "fun" and we didn't even have a dog!

It is like the homeless being a measure of the country's poverty problem. Easy to jump on that bandwagon too with High Streets littered with homeless beggars with their cardboard signs and their dogs. The truth however is a lot of them are far from homeless and begging is a profession to them. They arrive in the morning and go home at night. Poverty. What poverty?

HOWEVER, and here are the points I want to make. Not everything is as it seems. Many people claim to be living in poverty blaming austerity because it suits them. The issue being it is easier to avoid the tough questions or not to make the points I have made because of fear of offence. The real issue is two fold. Those who take advantage of the system are often the ones publicised and make the general populous even more jaundice and uncaring than they are now towards those in genuine need. More importantly it means those in genuine need have less because it is taken by those who already have and that is a disgrace. There are many people who do live way below what is a reasonable standard of living and we should never accept that and need to help them to the best of our ability but we can't be afraid to highlight all might not be as it seems (especially with elections coming up).

Enough of that! Leicester Tigers are shedding 19 current players from their roster at the end of the season. Making way for new overseas players no doubt. If Geordan Murphy is to hang on to his job things really will need to change next season.

Rob Baxter has come out against ring-fencing the Premiership. His club in my mind is what you could describe as "the last fairy tale". The last club to go up through the leagues and make a success of it at the top table. He remains in favour of some form relegation and promotion.

Pro14 semis this weekend. A waste of time. The final round of the Premiership too. One play-off spot to confirm and Champions Cup places to secure. More on these tomorrow.

I see Manchester City are under investigation by UEFA for breaking the fair play rules with regard to finances. I guess money can buy you titles!!

Brighton sack Chris Houghton. Madness. Yes they had an awful end of season run but they stayed up in the most lucrative football league in the world.

Finally Tracey Radford our Director of Junior Rugby is climbing Kilimanjaro in aid of great Ormand Street Hospital later this year. She has set up a just giving page for contributions. Get in touch with her directly f you want to help.

Don't forget the Touch Rugby at the club over the summer. See the website for details.

Wednesday 15th May: 09:20

The Barbarians are an icon in the game of rugby and have been for many years. Who will ever forget the game against New Zealand in Cardiff and "that" try? It is a great honour for players to don the black and white shirt and this is epitomised by Wales great Alun Wyn Jones desire to play for them before he retires. It is a big gap in his CV, and one that he wants to fill. A player of his standing in the world game saying that sums up the allure of the Barbarians.

It was with great sadness to hear that a driving force behind the Barbarians for many, many years; Micky Steele-Bodger passed away at the age of 93 earlier this week. He was a fine player himself but will be remembered for his contribution to the Barbarians and the style of rugby they were encouraged to play. May his soul rest in peace.

It gets ever closer. What does? No, not Brexit but the possibility of Premiership Rugby breaking away. That is my opinion anyway. The top of the game and their new puppet masters CVC have put forward the proposal that the league is expanded to 13 teams with immediate effect and to appease the RFU and the Championship promotion and relegation will be decided by a two leg play-off. Oh that is clever knowing full well by that time the spending power of the 13 and the gap between the leagues will have widened further so promotion from the Championship will be nigh on an impossibility. Keep your eye on this. It should be fun.

Dylan Hartley will not be rushed back to action. Whilst his fitness following surgery is growing by the day Northampton intend to take a very cautious approach. I think they already have an eye on next season and having a fit Dylan for that rather than giving game time now and having King Eddie whisk him away makes more sense. King Eddie is not one to hold back with the training so including Dylan would be risky for him and for Northampton. The other side of the coin is Jones needs a leader on the field. That is clear.

It looks as if Connor O'Shea is on his way out of Italy to be replaced by Franco Smith. The Italians deny this of course so only time will tell.

More foreign imports arriving on these shores. No not in Dover in rubber dinghies but on planes from South Africa and beyond to play in the Premiership.

Talking of overseas players in sport BBC's Jonathan Agnew and Jonathan Liew of The Independent have had a major spat over the inclusion of Jofra Archer in the England ODI squad. Basically Archer is a Barbadian but now qualifies for England due to the simple fact that the residency criteria was reduced from 7 years to 3. I understand it was about comments that could have been construed as racist. Aggers launched into a foul-mouthed tirade which has subsequently earned him a slap on the wrists from his bosses. The reason for mentioning this is to reinforce my view that World Rugby to extend the residency time period is the right one. Shortening it isn't!

What is the betting the lawyers are already preparing their invites for people to sue the Jeremy Kyle show and you can bet the worms will be coming out of the ground rather quickly claiming all sorts of injustices.

Austerity. I'll postpone that for another day but in the meantime it is worth considering whether a person who has a dog the size of a Shetland pony, smokes and drinks, is covered in tattoos, is constantly on their iPhone taking selfies in full make-up, has the kids playing with all the new toys they have AND is using a food bank have their priorities right?

Also is austerity just another way of describing sensible financial management?

Tuesday 14th May: 08:50

As it's Tuesday I make no apologies for starting with some club news. Firstly well done to all involved in the women's county game on Sunday. Sussex beat Kent in what sounds a good game. I understand that CRFC did themselves proud with the hosting and lots of plaudits being aimed at those who made it happen from the bar and kitchen team to the grounds team to the cleaners to the volunteers. Great to read.

May 24th the Wooden Spoon is hosting an evening with Kyran Bracken at the club. All the details can be found on the website. Wooden Spoon is a very good cause and Kyran Bracken is a great guy. I have had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions and he has some great stories to tell. You might want to ask him about the time he ran onto Twickenham for the very first time as an England international only to be stamped on (deliberately is always the question) by a New Zealand leviathan in the first 5 minutes of the game.

Now, I might have been a tad hasty in awarding Exeter Chiefs the Premiership trophy yesterday. There is one game to go and a loss to Northamption Saints, in-form Saints at that, and Saracens beating Worcester Warriors on Saturday could see the Barnet outfit pip Exeter to the title. That said my point about the play-offs remains valid. After 22 games either Exeter or Sarries would be worthy winners. Right now Gloucester are 11 points off the pace and Northampton a further 10 points beyond that. Please explain to me why it is acceptable for a team who is currently in 4th spot and 25 points adrift having won 5 fewer games (all as at today accepting there is the final round to play) should be given the chance to be crowned champions. Sorry but it is simply marketing and money making bullshit.

Play-offs are to appease the sponsors, which in many respects is fair enough, but there are twenty two games times twelve other opportunities to make things work for the sponsors. If you want a showpiece season ending finale then why not have a two leg play-off between the winners of the Premiership and winners of the Pro14? Putting player's health and welfare to one-side which is clearly what the organisers have done the only reason for a play-off is revenue. Revenue for the clubs and the RFU. Nothing else makes sense.

Better move on before I fall off my soap box.

I read that Israel Folau has resisted the temptation of Rugby Australia's peace offering. He claims that returning to playing would make his situation "a little bit easier" but he would be doing "Satan's" work. It is fascinating stuff carried in many rugby columns. Good on him for sticking to his beliefs and principles and as is clearly the case he wants to continue to tell the world about his views on gay people and he can only do that outside the game. I for one think his views are misguided and outdated and his behaviour is likely to turn people away from religion than get them to embrace it. Rugby is a game for all regardless of race, creed, colour, religion, sexual orientation, size, wealth, education, and any other measure you care to mention. It is a game with a great ethos and high standards. Long may that continue.

I see Scarlets and Ospreys are having to play-off to see who goes into the Champions Cup. It is embarrassing that the Welsh regions were so bad last season that none of them qualified automatically. Wales are still Grand Slam champions though.

Interesting piece in the Organ of Truth about how Wasps Dai Young thinks Sarries will dominate for some time to come. He makes some good points about how they have invested heavily in their academy, their coaches, and their squad and other clubs can't compete. It could be argued he is asking the question that is on many people's minds: how do Sarries do it? They are already massively in debt, despite the allegedly dubious accounting practices, and are still under investigation about the salary cap. Let's move on before the Fez heads get restless.

Things must going well with Brexit as the Jeremy Kyle show and the passing of Doris Day dominate the papers headlines.

That'll do for now but back tomorrow when I will look at English cricket and the spat developing between Jonathan Agnew and Jonathan Liew of The Independent. I'll also have a go at austerity but from an alternative viewpoint.

Monday 13th May: 08:50

A club advert first. If the politicians can bombard us with crap then the least I can do is update you on club events. Tickets for the Summer Ball are now on sale. Following last year's success you might want to think about booking early. June 22nd is the date. All you need to know is on the website.

So to sport. Forget Manchester City. Forget Saracens. Forget Lewis Hamilton. Forget England's ODI team. What about Newport County? Once out of business and thrown to the wolves. Rescued to start at the bottom of the football league structure playing somewhere deep in the Forest of Dean in front of one man and his dog, and being the Forest of Dean about thirty of his very, very close relatives. Now like a phoenix rising from the ashes, not even flames, they are on their way to Wembley for the League Two play-off final having beaten Mansfield on penalties, and all that on a very small and tightly controlled budget. It was a very long way from a skilful encounter but it was entertaining. Something like 60 genuine attempts on goal. Only 6 of them on target though. Fair play it was way, way better than anything F1 could serve up.

Before I talk about Manchester City and soccer I read with interest that the movers and shakers and the vultures lawyers of CVC were in Newcastle for the European Cups. It is no surprise that they held talks about a 13 team Premiership starting next season. The clubs, CVC, the RFU and to a lesser degree the Championship clubs have to sign up to it but I expect we will see it happen. The RFU have already shown their hand with regard to a breakaway Premiership by putting themselves into hock with a £250m payment to keep the clubs happy. The Championship clubs have already stated their frustration and opposition to the idea but with the money now involved I believe it makes sense. Harsh on say Ealing Trailfinders but their success is only due to the unbelievable largesse of one man and his very deep pockets and HIS personal ambition. If that ambition isn't matched by his family when he passes what happens?

Congratulations to Man City for winning the title. It went down to the wire but they deserved it after an amazing season. That said, yet again it is all about the money. When you are funded by an oil sheikh and you have a squad worth probably the total value of the squads in the entirety of Leagues One and Two then you should win the league. You have players at Manchester City being paid well over £100,000 PER WEEK and they have hardly featured this season. Winning the title is great but it is hardly a level playing field.

Leicester City finished 9th which in my book is a pretty good season.

The F1. This is no longer sport. It is simply a fashion parade when now and again one or two of the models crash of the runway. I like the start because if there is going to be action and incident it is then. After that you might as well get the Scaletrix out and watch the cars go around in formation.

Back to rugby. Am I alone in thinking the play-offs are a waste of time. Manchester City came top of the Premier League and were given the trophy. Exeter Chiefs are top of the league why aren't they just given the trophy. Why does rugby think it is right that at the end of a long bruising season you can ignore the league table and give the title to someone who has come 4th and possibly by a long way 4th. It doesn't make sense.......... unless you say it is all about the money!!!!

By the way despite my euphoria over Newport County I think the play-offs in soccer are a waste of time too. Why not three down, three up. Simple!

Climate change and the need to cut waste. Yes we need to be thinking and acting on it. Get rid of all the election leaflets for a start. They are full of lies, bullshit and fantasy. Let us reduce the number of MPs and slash the number of Lords. That would reduce the hot air emissions considerably. On a serious note in all of the debate and the protests and pontificating on the subject no-one has raised the subject of us. When I say "us" I am thinking of the number of us; the world's population. Is it too sensitive to talk about euthanasia and birth control. It shouldn't be because right now the projected growth in the world's population is alarming.

On May 23rd we are off to vote in the European elections. I have been asked to summarise the key parties involved.

In the orange corner there is the Stop Brexit party
In plain grey there is the other Stop Brexit party by having another vote
Riding in green is the Plant More Trees and Stop Brexit party
Then of course in the red corner there is the No Idea What To Do party but lets have a vote
Over in the light blue quadrant we find the We're Out of Here party.
Wearing Caesars purple are the other We're Out of Here party and by the way so are you, you non English people.
In the blue corner are the Shit! Is There an Election party with their catchy slogan "We don't know what we are doing except fighting amongst ourselves and squabbling like spoilt brats which of course most of us are".

Have a nice day and back tomorrow. Contact me on bleater@crowboroughrugby.com

Sunday 12th May: 09:30

Before we get into yesterday's European Cup Final a quick mention for the county game being hosted by CRFC at Steel Cross today. Sussex Ladies take on Kent Ladies. All the details are on this website. If you have no other plans the weather is set fair, the place will look great and I am sure the two teams will entertain so why not pop along to watch. Sadly I can't make it.

What a splendid advert for rugby was the game between Saracens and Leinster. It had a bit of everything. Some amazing passages of open running rugby alongside brutal collisions intermingled with amazing defence and technically excellent forward play. For long periods it was nip and tuck but as the game wore on there was only going to be one winner: Saracens. They were fitter and stronger and technically excellent for the most part. Man of the match Billy Vunipola was outstanding but there were some good cameo performances from Liam Williams, Jamie George and George Kruis. Leinster had their moments and in my mind if they had not conceded that try on the stroke of half time I think they could have gone on to win. When Sean Maitland went over there was something inevitable about the final outcome however.

Jerome Garces played his part. He was consistent and tried hard to keep the game flowing. Naturally there were some decisions that you could question but overall his contribution was excellent.

Having expected to see St James Park only partly full it was brilliant to see it packed to the rafters. Fans enjoying the game, their beers, each others company and the atmosphere they generated. It is heart warming that despite the intense level of competition and the passion the fans have for their clubs they don't need to be segregated and they can enjoy a beer before, during and after the game in the comfort of their seats. Soccer eat your heart out!

Bizarrely Saracens have one more league game before the pathetic and totally unnecessary play-offs. Leinster have the Pro14 and the equally pathetic play-offs to look forward to. After such a bruising encounter neither side will be looking forward to those. By the way with two conferences I understand why the Pro14 need a play-off but why oh why can't it simply be between the two conference winners. Silly me....... money, money, money and a little pandering to the sponsors.

Post match Alex Goode was named European Player of the Year. Well deserved despite him being a little anonymous yesterday. I cannot understand why he is not in King Eddie's thinking. Hey ho!

A sad day for Welsh rugby yesterday as Neath RFC dropped out of the elite division of the game. Their woeful plight of being close to going out business and winning just one of their 30 games all season means they finish rock bottom and drop into the obscurity that is the 2nd division of the Welsh game. As the league is being reduced from 16 clubs to 12 Bargoed, Cross Keys and Bedwas will join Neath in the lower league. When I was at home playing all those years ago I played against all three of those sides by the way. The once mighty Pontypool will now play Llanelli next weekend. Pooler looking for promotion. Llanelli hoping to stay in the Premiership. For the record Merthyr won the title thanks to their very, very rich benefactor ploughing millions into what was a small club back in my day.

Despite the Grand Slam win the game in Wales is in pretty poor shape. If a club with the history and pedigree of Neath can go out of business what hope is there for the others? It then begs the question why the WRU want to reduce the clubs revenue by going from 30 games to 22 games per season.

While I am at it can anyone explain why when player burnout and player health is high on the agenda that the season now goes on into June in England. What with the pathetic play-offs, the irrelevant cups and the long winded European leagues there must come a breaking point. In the pursuit of cash it probably won't. Players will burn out but do the clubs care? Maybe not. There is always a conveyor belt of academy players South African and South Islanders to fill the gaps!!

What a weekend of sport. Premier League final day, F1, ODI cricket, netball Superleague, rugby, MLB and the Giro d'Italia. Oh! and don't forget Newport County at Mansfield this evening.

In the news there is plenty about Archie. Yawn! My brother's dog is called Archie as it happens and according to him one Prince Archie is enough. The Brexit shambles is ongoing. Comrade Corbynov is looking beyond the devastation that Labour and the Tories will endure on May 23rd to the next general election. The bribes are on the table. Young workers minimum wage up to £10. Good idea until you ask who is going to pay for it and what is the impact going to be on business, especially small ones. I think I know the answer and neither makes happy reading.

Also in the news is the burning question of when will Theresa Maybe fall on her sword. It is oh so easy to blame her for everything but to be fair it is not all her fault. It is time for her to go however but who is the alternative. I think I know the candidates and quite frankly I would have none of those preening peacocks and peahens running the country. You think Brexit is a mess now.

Talking of going, I'm off now until tomorrow when as the season winds down you can look forward to blogs on the Gatwick flights over Crowborough, the current bun versus the cinnamon swirl debate, the importance of being Earnest and many other gripping topics.

Saturday 11th May: 08:45

Bridgnorth has been swapped for Bristol, or as they say down here Brizzle. Yeah we get about a bit!!.

Got to watch most of the Clermont Auvergne v La Rochelle match last night. As expected Clermont came out on top in what was a bruising, pretty unexciting affair. Well done to both sets of supporters for getting to Newcastle and creating a pretty good atmosphere. Well done to the organisers for the size of the crowd overall. Well done Wayne Barnes for the way he officiated and his use of French during the contest. This of course was not required as most of the players were not French, many being from the Southern Hemisphere.

Danny Cipriani is the players’ player of the year. No real surprise. He has been the glue, the playmaker, the inspiration in that very successful Gloucester team. He is a maverick which is probably why King Eddie isn’t picking him. The last thing you want in your England team is someone with flair and who can think for themselves. Oh no that would be awful. The playbook is the playbook in Eddie’s world. Kick, kick, kick, and kick again. Ruck, ruck, ruck and then kick. The Fez Heads will be up in arms that Alex Goode didn’t get the accolade. Fair shout but to be fair playing in the Sarries backline must be like playing from an armschair. All the CEOs of Nigel Wray’s companies do the grunt and the backs strut around like peacocks on heat. Alex Goode has been excellent however and it beggars belief that the Aussie wunderkind Jones keeps ignoring him.

So the CVC money is going on infrastructure, sensible investment and not on players which is probably why London Irish and Leicester Tigers have only splashed out on eight players so far. Eight players of which as far as I can tell seven of them are from overseas. When you look at soccer and see that the two showpiece European finals are both all English club affairs you might argue that rugby should follow suit. NO! NO! English and Welsh and Scottish and Irish rugby needs home grown talent to inspire youngsters to join local clubs and hope they move on into the big time. Right now why bother?

The debt carried by Cardiff Blues is a disgrace. £1.25m or there about plus millions written off and millions converted into assets. Rugby is going to implode at some point. Look at soccer and Bolton Wanderers and many others who have chased the dream. They are about to be wound up I think. It is a seriously bad thing to say but I hope that one of the big boys in our game goes to the wall. The others might just wake up and smell the coffee.

Howley leaving Wales is a big blow says Martyn Williams. I’m not sure. Gatland and McBryde and Edwards leaving Wales are a blow but Howley? That said Howley could be on his way to a third spell with The Lions under Gatland, Warren having agreed to a third term as head coach.

Richmond Council have complained to Twickenham about the behaviour of supporters at the Army v Navy game. I can understand the locals concerns and horror if some of the behaviour is as described in the press, however, many of these men and women have put their lives on the line in the pursuit of peace around the globe. We cannot undervalue what they contribute to the world and living in Richmond in your little empire doesn’t mean you can be holier than though.

No point in me rehashing the build-up for this evenings game. I go Saracens and by a lot.

The downside of mum not having the internet is I have missed probably two of the most amazing games of soccer in living memory. She does have SKY so I did get to watch Newport County v Mansfield. It was gripping in some respects but just like watching parks football in most respects. All that was missing was the manager with a fag on the side and the two centre halves punching the living daylights out of each other.

Wednesday 8th May: 10:45

Yep, here I am again in Bridgnorth. Another day of meeting and greeting NHS staff at The Princess Royal Hospital, Telford. Yesterday’s appointment was at 15:40. We were seen and on our way back home at 15:35, this despite the hospital appearing to be very busy. Can’t fault that can you! £3 for parking you can fault.

The other benefit of regular visits to the NHS in this part of the world is they have very fast and free wifi which is where I’ve managed to get the news James Haskell is retiring from the game. 77 England caps is a great tally, something he can quite rightly be proud of. I don’t think he was in King Eddie’s thinking for RWC 2109 anyway so hanging up his boots and protecting his body from further damage makes a lot of sense.

The other thing that makes sense is Stuart Lancaster staying at Leinster despite approaches from Bath and Leicester. He is well respected over there and is making a difference with a very successful team. You can’t argue with that.

The other thing you can’t argue with, or can you, is Rugby Australia’s decision to uphold Israel Folau’s sacking for breaking RA’s code of conduct. At no point has he been sacked for his deeply held beliefs, and nor should he, but he was warned about his use of social media and he ignored them hence the sacking. You also can’t argue that he wasn’t given a fair hearing; the proceedings took three days. It will be all about the money now.

Gregor Townsend has named his pre RWC 2019 training squad. No place for Richie Gray or Duncan Weir. No real surprise but then again experience during the World Cup cannot be underestimated.

Talking of RWC 2019 Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens will make their final bows in Japan. They have been included in the list of referees who will officiate in the land of the rising sun. Another Japan by-line is the concern about beer supplies. The hospitality trade in Japan has been advised not to underestimate the consumption of beer that will come with the visiting hoards.

Then there is the AGP debate. Only last week I was talking at the club about concerns expressed by senior players from senior clubs about injuries sustained on AGPs. The equivalent of carpet burns scabbing over and going sceptic. Ankle and knee strains on the hard surfaces are also an issue. I know Scarlets have complained about Cardiff’s and Glasgow’s AGP. What is interesting is that players at the lower levels of the game don’t seem to suffer the same problems. Horsham are delighted with theirs for example. The Daily Telegraph carries this story.

Spurs new stadium has already been chosen to host the two European showpiece finals in 2021. Great call. It looks magnificent. That said it will be interesting to see how full St James Park is on Friday and Saturday.

I will be unable to blog until Friday evening / Saturday morning so let me put my cards on the table now. I go Clermont Auvergne in what could be a tight affair. I go Saracens over Leinster in the second game and I suggest there will be clear water between the two sides.
Five hours it took us this morning to get to Bridgnorth (this was before the body was found on the M25!!!) so lots of news and music and of course Pop Master on the radio. It came as no surprise that Brexit has not moved one step forward. There is talk of a deal between Maybe and Corbynov but no sooner had those words travelled across the airwaves did the cries of “over my dead body” come from all quarters. Entrenched or what? I still want to hear from the second referendum gang what happens if the proles vote even more clearly to leave?

Finally a word about the air accident in Moscow. What sort of selfish, mindless tosser stops to collect their carry-on luggage with the aircraft blazing away? You look at the pictures and you’ll see those mindless, selfish tossers for yourself.

Addendum: What a result for Liverpool. Wow!!!!!!

Monday 6th May: 08:30

Excellent afternoon at the club yesterday. A birthday party for club stalwart Simon Davies who is 70 on Wednesday. Mal Bec was there helping out. Jacqui did the food. The place looked great. Good fun all round.

Today it is my grandson Matthew's 5th birthday. Off to his party in a couple of hours. Not sure if Mal Bec will make this one.

Bath left it late to secure a bonus point win against Wasps. They are now in the box seat for the Champions cup spot.

The Israel Folau saga rumbles on into a third day.

The ring-fencing debate continues. I remain convinced it makes sense. Super Rugby is ring-fenced and it is a far better product than the Premiership serves up.

Is Brexit close? If you believe the papers, which I don't, it is. That is until the Labour Party demand a second vote and the Tory Hooray Henry's insist that the only way forward is like lemmings to throw ourselves off the Brexit cliff.

No blog tomorrow but it will be back on Wednesday mid morning. Bridgnorth beckons..... again!!!!

email bleater@crowboroughrugby.com if you have ideas on what to debate during the summer months.

Sunday 5th May: 09:00

The inevitable came to pass yesterday as Newcastle Falcons were relegated. The table doesn't lie so no-one in the North East can blame bad luck. Gloucester were simply too strong, as have most clubs been against the Falcons. With the money at their disposal I expect an immediate return, especially as the gap between the divisions appears to be growing.

I wanted Leicester Tigers to go down. Not because of any animosity towards the Tigers but I feel that would have caused a seismic wave to roll across the game potentially getting the blazers to make fundamental changes to how it operates.

Advantage Northampton Saints with regard to the play-off. As expected they cruised past Worcester Warriors. I was a little surprised at the scoreline between Saracens and Exeter. It certainly highlights the strength in depth Saracens have.

Bath v Wasps today with a European spot at stake.

The Pro14 play-offs got underway with Munster scraping past Benetton and Ulster getting past Connacht.

Watched a couple of Super games yesterday. Highlanders v Chiefs was a cracker. Ring-fenced leagues are not a good idea. I would beg to differ based on this game alone. The Jaquares v Stormers wasn't bad either.

Congratulations to Canterbury beating Chester in the play-off to secure promotion to the National League. Some years ago I met their Chairman, top bloke, who gave an insight into the costs of playing at National League 2. Whilst promotion is great I bet the club is sweating on how to fund the increased costs that inevitably will head their way.

The Israel Folau case has gone into a second day. Rumours have it that Folau has turned down a significant pay off and is determined to have his day in the limelight.

When we moved home to Wales from Leicester I started to follow Cardiff City. John Toshack was playing for them then. It was a sad day yesterday as the Bluebirds were relegated back to the Championship. Just like rugby there are the "haves" and the "have nots".

On a brighter note Newport County snuck into the League Two play-off with a late equalizer against Morecambe.

In one of the last election results to be declared it appears hot cross buns failed in its bid to be elected. The current bun topped the poll and will now renew its battle to leave Europe thus removing Danish pastries and Black Forest Gateaux from the shelves of our supermarkets. Bit ironic when you consider Aldi and Lidl are German and Asda is American.

Maybe and Corbynov are deep in the shit discussions about how to get Brexit through Parliament. If you thought the local elections were going to make things clearer you were very much mistaken. The hard line Brexiteers are saying they will vote against any Brexit fudge. The Remainers are saying nothing will be agreed unless there is a second referendum. I cannot see any way through this shambles. Perhaps we should ask Kim Jong-un to give us his views on how to break the impasse.

Emma Thompson. Back to the US with BA. So much for fighting against climate change. It is irrelevant that she flew first class but that fact does highlight how it is easy for those living in the comfort of middle class England and beyond to spout on about climate change ignoring the challenges of those struggling to put food on the table and those who can only dream of flying anywhere let alone in first class.

Saturday 4th May: 10:15

Another busy day at the club yesterday. Change of emphasis now summer is on its way and the season is over. Grass cutting and tree management was the order of the day yesterday. Maintaining the grounds in an environmentally friendly way is part of what we do and have always done. None of this jumping on the "green" band wagon for us. It has been what we do for a long time.

Yesterday was also a first for CRFC and the Friday Club. Tommy Toms made a guest appearance and helped around the place. Who is Tommy Toms I hear you cry. Tommy played MLB for the San Francisco Giants in the 70s. He was a starting pitcher and a useful back-up batter and had pretty good stats for his short time there.

I think he summed up the US opinion of Big Orange Trump: a jerk. He also got an insight into British politics as the FC disseminated the results of Thursday's elections. Bleater went off on one but what is said in the FC stays in the FC.

Leicester Tigers inched closer to Premiership safety with a last ditch try to earn a valuable bonus point. Yet another pretty ordinary game. You could see why the Tigers are languishing at the bottom of the table. Their discipline at times was appalling, their skill levels woeful, and their game management like Theresa Maybe's fan club nowhere to be seen. Quins weren't much better and unless they find a way to put sides to the sword and play for the full 80 minutes they won't be anywhere near the play-off final.

King Eddie was watching this one and might just be thinking recalls for Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown make a lot of sense. He might also consider asking Joe Marler to come out of international retirement, especially as Dan Cole was pretty ordinary.

Against everything the TV pundits said I thought Jack Clifford's yellow card was harsh. I can understand it but for me it was a genuine attempt at a charge down. What do I know?

Bristol and Sale fought out a 20-20 draw in what sounds a pretty good game. It blows Sale's slim play-off chances out of the water.

Dean Ryan to be head coach of the Dragons. Didn't see that coming but not a bad call. He is an abrasive character and perhaps that is just what the Dragons need. The clear out has already started with Gavin Henson on his way out of the door along with nine others.

Shaun Edwards has confirmed he will definitely be leaving the Welsh set up after the World Cup. France have shown some interest in him joining their set-up but I'll believe that when it happens.

As expected the Tories were hammered yesterday. The worst set of results for 24 years. It comes as no surprise after the Brexit debacle. The Labour Party also suffered and again that was a car crash many had seen coming. What happens next? It is difficult to know. The schisms over Brexit haven't gone away. The trenches haven't been filled in. It is clear when you look at the results those in remaining areas have rebelled because they don't want to leave the EU. Those in leave areas have rebelled because we haven't yet left. Many are saying the issue is about not having left the EU yet but how can that be when the biggest winners were the party whose simple message is "stop Brexit". The Independents benefitted because those voting against the two big parties couldn't bring themselves to vote for the other. The Greens had a good day but that is just a fad based on the recent high profile climate change has had. I am not sure planting more trees is a long term financial strategy that will deliver economic growth!!!!

Talking of climate change we in the UK can declare all the emergencies we want. Unless China, The US and India sign up to proper climate change measures we are simply being holier than thou over the issue. Ask Emma Thompson, she knows all about being holier than thou!!!!!

Thursday 2nd May: 09:15

I have been contacted by the Election Commission and they have insisted I make it clear that there are other buns in today's election and hot cross buns are not the only candidate. Chelsea buns, current buns, Danish pastries, and for the sensitive millennials there is the soft bap. In some constituencies the crusty cob is also standing. For a full list of buns visit your local supermarket.

Plenty to play for this weekend in the Premiership. Newcastle Falcons need to win both their last games with Leicester Tigers getting nothing out of their final two matches if the drop is to be avoided. Tomorrow the Tigers travel to Quins and with the home side still in with a chance of the play-offs and keen for a Champions Cup place this is no easy fixture. Also on Friday is Bristol v Sale. Bristol have achieved their goal of Premiership survival. Sale only have a very, very slim chance of the play-off so Champions Cup is their goal. Sale are rubbish away however.

On Saturday The Falcons are at Gloucester. Never an easy place but with the Cherry & Whites already in the play-offs and their Champions Cup place secure will they rest players this weekend? Tigers might just cry foul if they do and Falcons get a result. Saracens host Exeter. I expect both sides will play second string XVs in this one. Finally on Saturday Northampton Saints host Worcester. Worcester are staying up so only pride at stake. Saints currently 4th in the table want to stay there. I see this is a "one-way traffic" game. Sunday it is Bath v Wasps. Top flight European rugby is the goal for these two.

The start of the long winded Pro14 play-offs. Sorry but I can't be bothered with that.

Will Dylan Hartley be in Japan in five and a bit months. It is rumoured he might make Saints last few games of the season and therefore could feature in King Eddie's training camps and England RWC 2019 warm-up fixtures.

Danny Cipriani is in the running for the English games top award. King Eddie still won't pick him. Madness, but not as mad as ignoring Alex Goode. That is madness.

Talking of madness did you watch Spurs v Ajax on Tuesday. I did. Wasn't it outrageous the way Jan Vertonghen's head injury was managed. An absolute disgrace. He was clearly banged up and needed a proper HIA a la rugby's protocol. No, they sent him back only for him to collapse in serious trouble. What makes it crazy is whilst he was off being treated Spurs were disadvantaged having to play with ten men. Why doesn't soccer introduce the blood replacement concept? They have enough subs on the bench.

Then from madness to the sublime. That Messi goal for Barcelona last night was something else. He couldn't have placed it better even if he had walked to the goal and placed it with his hands.

In other sport the Caster Semenya ruling is interesting. I feel for her as she is caught up in something not of her making. Personally, as hard as it is for her, on balance I think it is the right thing to do. Where the powers that be must now turn their attention is to those who have changed sex and are still competing. There is a cyclist who has become a women from a man and is now winning all before him her. That cannot be right.

The papers are full of the Gavin Williamson story. Did he really do it or has someone jumped to conclusions and our already embattled Prime Minister is going to have more egg on her face. Not just egg a whole omelette with all the fillings included. If he did leak the story to the press then he should face the full force of the law. Yes many, many people will have concerns about Huawei being involved in our communications infrastructure, I am one of them, but a secret is a secret and The Officials Secrets Act is sacrosanct.

Justice is justice and at times not enough people face it or when required receive it. Hoorah for the people of Peterborough. They have ousted their lying MP Fiona Onasanya who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and did jail time for it.

Time to go. Must limber up my body for the walk to the polling station and get my fingers and thumbs ready to vote. Don't forget vote for................... you know I can't say but they are delicious lightly toasted with lashings of good old fashioned British butter.

You can contact me on bleater@crowboroughrugby.com or my lawyers on parasitesRus.conyou. co.uk

Wednesday 1st May: O9:30

What was breakfast like Bleater? As always good quality for an amazing price. Did the Friday Club get much organised? What do you think? Of we course we did. Damper and The Bard throwing tasks out there like politicians on heat. Actually no. A limited number of tasks were agreed that the FC will deliver in full and on time and within the agreed budget that has been fully costed by the club's Exec. Perhaps our Governemnt should be run like that. Common sense and practicalities prevail. Hoorah!! Vote Friday Club tomorrow!!

I read with great interest that Saracens have signed yet another player for next season; Josh Ibuanokpe (hence forth known as Josh I). I am hoping my good friend Paddy O'Fez can explain to me how within the salary cap and an already star studded squad Saracens can seemingly go after any player who in the Premiership who has two legs and can walk. Perhaps it is because they are not actually being paid by the club. Perhaps they are playing for the love of it whilst their income comes from working with Mr N Wray as a £300k per annum office cleaner working 3 hours per week.

Mr O'Fez has drawn my attention to an article in The Guardian, a similar piece appeared in the Genghis Khan Times so I wouldn't have missed. Wallabies rising star Taniela Tupou has issued an ultimatum to Rugby Australia saying "sack me or back Israel Folau". In essence he as a South Sea Islander says his (their) deep religious beliefs guide their lives and come way ahead of rugby. His argument is you can't just dismiss people because of their religious beliefs. As the article goes on to say it is sure to turn the heat up on the problem. In my opinion Tupou is missing the point. Folau is not being sacked because of his beliefs he is being sacked because he has contravened rules and polices dictated by Rugby Australia with regard to the use and content of social media. He had been warned at least once before about his behaviour yet continued to flout the rules. If you do that you are liable to sanction and dismissal, which is what has happened in this case. Nobody has said throw away your beliefs, just make sure when you talk about them you do not cause offence to others whilst you are being paid (handsomely) by Rugby Australia. I am ok with that.

Wallabies John Eales came mighty close to suffering the same fate for expounding is republican views on social media causing offence to Britain and The Queen. He stepped back from the abyss and kept his job.

By the way I am not ok if Israel Folau somehow manages to keep his salary but is prevented from playing. If he is paid he plays, end of. Any other scenario is madness. A second by the way, and for the record, I have agreed with CRFC that I can express my views in this blog but there are some topics that are taboo and will be avoided.

Warren Gatland is thrice in the news. The nonsense that he might become England coach once King Eddie abdicates. The fact that he is getting increasingly frustrated with his long term friend and right hand man Shaun Edwards about his next steps post RWC 2019. The announcement of his pre RWC 2019 training squad.

The squad is pretty predictable with all the Grand Slam stars included. No place for Rhys Webb as he continues his journey in France. It is clear Gatland wants him in his squad but the WRU won't compromise. Uncapped Rhys Carre and Owen Lane, both Cardiff Blues, are included. The injured Shingler, Faletau, Navidi,and James Davies are all included. Wales have the luxury of leaving out other top flight back rowers Thomas Young and Ellis Jenkins due to their long term injuries. It is not a bad looking squad to be fair. More on RWC 2019 once the domestic season ends but needless to say I am getting excited....... as more and more of our travel plans are finalised.

Manu Tuilagi will miss the rest of the season with yet another injury. Miracles are required for Newcastle to avoid the drop but yet another top line player injured will give the Tigers the jitters.

Voting tomorrow. I am not allowed to discuss voting tomorrow so can I remind you no matter how disillusioned you are you should vote and when you do put a tick against "hot cross buns all year". You know it is the right choice.

Two quick things caught my eye.

"Let poor students into Oxbridge with lower grades, says regulator". Oxbridge is a breeding ground for upper class tossers who go on to f..k up the country. Boris and Cameron are perfect examples. However as a university its entry standards should be its entry standards. As long as there is no financial barrier to entry you should not compromise. When school milk was abolished for all but the poorest families you might as well have put a sign around those kids heads and say "look at me I'm poor". Yeah, yeah I know there will be the landed gentry where Oxbridge make concessions for or those with buckets of cash who Oxbridge will court. In my mind that is where the regulator should be focussing their attention. Stop that elitism from the other way around. It does matter if you are Lord or Lady Muck your son or daughter or gender neutral offspring has to meet the same entry standards as anyone else and by the way waving your credit card doesn't wash either.

Marks & Spencer has made all its sweet veggie. It has allegedly removed any ingredients such as a gelatine that aren't considered suitable for vegetarians. Talk about appealing to minorities and following a fad. The world is going mad. Three people are this or that so everyone else has to suffer whilst we pander to them. Nonsense. Vegetarians don't have to eat sweets. They can suck on a carrot instead.

No fat boy breakfast this morning. A coffee with cream, toast and marmite with a banana mashed on top followed by a nice prune yoghurt.

Tuesday 30th Apr: 08:00

An early start as its a Friday Club planning day; breakfast at Spoons, so lets get on with it. As it is a Tuesday let me start with some fantastic club news: young Ben Chapman earned his Under 18 English Counties cap when he recently played against his Irish counterparts at Donnybrook, Dublin. Playing the whole game and from what I've heard playing extremely well too. Ben, along with his brothers has been at the club since being a toddler. Not only has he and the family been great players on the field, he has been a great contributor off the field working at league lunches and other club events. He and the family epitomise everything that is great about CRFC. Well done Ben. Well done The Chapmans. Well done CRFC. Finding a space on the wall for the shirt is a FC priority.

A quick update on Matt Cheney. He has had an operation to reset his ankle and repair the broken bones in his leg. Inevitably it will be a long road to recovery but I am sure if the best wishes that have flooded in from all quarters, thanks on behalf of Matt to Sussex RFU for their kind words and offers of support, it will be one that he will not make alone. Keep smiling Matt and for those into Facebook and that guff keep posting the updates.

What a game. What an advert for the Pro14. I got to see the highlights of the Dragons v Scarlets game. It was a cracker. End to end stuff with some top drawer tries. Dragons, where have you been all season? I haven't heard but I am certain that the Under12s present would have had an amazing day out.

Congratulations too to Abergavenny RFC beating Oakdale in the WRU junior Cup played at the Principality on Sunday. They came from behind to win late on. Saw some of this on S4C. It wasn't half bad actually.

The Pro14 play-offs are now set in stone. Not a Welsh region in sight. Play-offs after a long hard season are a nonsense. It is just money making boll...s. In the case of the Pro14 with two conferences there does need to be a final but why oh why can't it just be the teams at the top of each conference rather than the pathetically complicated and long winded set-up the Pro14 has agreed on.

When I reread my missive of yesterday and reflect back on previous ones readers could interpret my views on paying players and the influx of overseas players as a desire to turn back the clock and return to the amateur days of yesteryear. No, the genie with regard to professionalism was let of the box never to return. I have absolutely no problem with fully professional teams at the top of the game. Slightly through gritted teeth I have no problem with players being rewarded financially as you come down through the leagues. Where I have problem is the current rate of wage inflation and therefore the massive indebtedness across the board is unsustainable. I also have a problem with the impact on clubs who choose not to pay players or don't enjoy the largesse of a well heeled benefactor suffering as players are poached on a regular basis. I KNOW life is like that and the weak fall by the wayside but it seems wrong and looking at the bigger picture it is eating away at the game in a truly negative way. Perhaps the time has come for transfer fees????

In this blog I bleat on about overseas players. Racist fascist I hear you cry. I am neither of those but simply passionate about grassroots rugby. Who helps fund that? The RFU. Where does their money come from? International rugby. If we follow soccer where over 75% of top flight players in The Premier League are now foreign what will happen? The international game will suffer as it has in soccer, revenue will fall so grassroots rugby will suffer. You go through Saturday's Premiership team sheets and count the overseas players. You'll recognise the issue then. Who are currently the top three scrum halves in England right now? All South Africans. Already cuts are being made to the grassroots game because of financial issues at the RFU. You imagine what it would be like if the international game started to fall further back in the rankings. I rest my case.

Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty will join Ireland's coaching team after RWC 2019. Robbie McBryde of Wales will fill the void he leaves behind.

Brexit: has it all been resolved? Have I slept through the final arguments? It seems to be awfully quiet on the Brexit front, which is worrying. If we are to avoid a serious waste of money by taking part in the EU elections then people need to pull their fingers out.

Do we have an election coming up? Yes, on Thursday. Is that why we have politicians of all hues on our TV screens throwing proposals around like confetti with not a single answer to how much it will cost and where the money to pay for them will come from? I find it galling that we are going to spend on this, that and the other and when pressed there is no concept of how. Taxes or further cuts? Both are unpalatable but someone at some point is going to have to come clean and make it clear that the magic money tree is dead and either we cut more, switch money from one place to another or raise more via taxation. That is the only way these proposals will be funded.

By the way I will be voting. No matter our views or antipathy towards politicians and politics it is a democratic right to vote. If you don't vote please don't be first to social media to complain about life and the universe.

Must go, the full English Wetherspoons breakfast beckons.

Monday 29th Apr: 09:30

Fascinating game at Sixways yesterday. Worcester desperate to stay in the Premiership beat Gloucester to put themselves out of reach of Newcastle Falcons and therefore safe from the drop. Gloucester were somewhat "off colour" but Worcester ran out worthy winners. Worcester have been in financial trouble for some time and this will be a boost to them........ or will it. Assuming ring-fencing doesn't happen then what is there to indicate they won't be battling relegation next season? Nothing. Others seem to have money to burn