Wednesday May 6th - 09:30
Today's song is 'It's the final countdown'. I thought about '24 hours from Tulsa' but that was a rubbish idea. This time tomorrow the polls will be open and we'll be able to exercise our democratic right.
It is an incredibly tight situation with, depending on your particular political hue, the possibility of some horrendous outcomes.
As much as I would like to rant and pontificate today this blog isn't the right place nor is it the right time.......... however.......... I will ask one question.
How do you feel about party leaders banging on about a range of subjects when these same party leaders have never, ever, at any time had a 'real world' job? They are career politicians living in an idealistic and unreal world.
We had an update meeting on The Summer Ball last night. It is going to be great. The plans look superb and we are pretty much sold out already. Wow! If you haven't already signalled you desire to attend then get your skates on and talk to Charlotte (our very own princess), Graysey or me.
If you would like to enhance the occasion we are accepting raffle or auction prizes. We already have a range of items including a signed British Lions shirt, including the signature of Alun Wyn Jones but more items will gratefully be received.
One vote has already taken place. Nick Abendanon has been given the prestigious European player of the year award.
Interestingly Richard Cockerill has gone on record saying it would be wrong to pick him for England whilst playing in France.
Conor O'Shea is asking for players salaries to be published to ensure fair play.
There was an excellent piece in yesterday's Gruaniad on many of the topics we have discussed here. Somewhat smugly many of my views match the article.
Our boys are looking forward to Saturday's cup final against Horsham. We have scraped a side together and I know the boys will be up for the fight. Having met many of the Horsham faithful they are certainly up for it. I think the men in green will start favourites but so have many sides playing us this season.
Must go. Got to read through all the manifestos in advance of the big X tomorrow. I did find the Ghengis Kahn manifesto a good read, and the Uncle Joe Stalin recommendations on gulags and pogroms worthy of note.
Tuesday May 5th - 09:45
As the Steffon Armitage for PM campaign continues apace so the Welsh election rules come under scrutiny.
What are you talking about?
Warren Gatland has stated he will give priority to Welsh based payers for RWC 2015 selection. This will be severely tested as Jamie Roberts agrees to join Harlequins. Time will tell.
Halfpenny, Charteris, Phillips and Jonathan Davies are all exempt as they were already in France before Gatland made his proclamation. Interesting on the basis that Roberts would also be exempt if he had stayed with Racing Metro.
RWC 2015 will be live on BBC radio for those on the move.
We are now into the ridiculous play-offs for promotion to the Aviva Premiership. Bristol, under the guidance of the excellent Andy Robinson, lost one game all season and finished six points clear of Worcester in 2nd spot so why oh why do they have to go through this nonsense? Yeah I know. MONEY.
You want a play-off then try this. Bristol up, London Welsh down, simple. THEN why not next to bottom Newcastle in the Premiership take on Championship 2nd place Worcester? If a long standing Premiership side can't beat a 2nd place championship side then they don't deserve to keep their status. As it stands a side who has lost eight games in the Championship; Rotherham, could still be promoted. If this happens then the outcome is clear. Yet another side that becomes the whipping boys of the league. Come on RFU - change the rules.
So its Princess Charlotte. Nice, but I had £10 on Princess Chardonnay.
Too late for you to move to Barnsley and vote for UKIP's aptly named candidate: Wayne Kerr.
On the campaign trial Steve Coogan has joined the ranks of the celebrities selling themselves as voices of reason. I'd rather ask my Bay tree what it thinks than listen to people like Brand and Coogan. Just for the record my Bay tree gives me a lot of advice.
In some papers there has been a lot made of kids arriving at school hungry and deprived leaving teachers to fund food and clothing. I am certain there are some poor kids who have very little but I am sure a lot of this is down to bad parenting where perhaps the parents priorities may lie elsewhere such as 52" TVs, and Betfred alongside Marlborough Lites etc, etc.
Before I get yet more hate mail let me put this into some sort of context. I was lucky enough to visit India on several occasions. During those visits I witnessed abject poverty and saw something of the slums many millions of people live in. What struck me was watching the small kids leaving the slums dressed smartly in school uniform with their books tightly gripped in their tiny hands.
Here is the point. The people who genuinely have very, very little of anything in life have the sole object of getting their kids out of poverty and giving them the best opportunity of a decent life ahead of them. Perhaps some people who claim to have nothing need a jab with a stick to get them to reassess their priorities.
Finally, and sorry if this is smugness, but I am pleased to read that someone else has woken up to the view that the three year residency rule for international selection is a nonsense. This comes after Nathan Hughes has refused to play for his country of birth: Fiji in RWC 2015 and would rather wait to qualify for England on residency. Yes it is a nonsense.
Monday May 4th - 12:30
So far so good as far as the Bank Holiday weather is going.
Not sure where to start today. Maybe the old Beatles line 'money can't buy me love'. It can obviously buy you the Champions Cup, the Barclays Premiership and the RFU Intermediate Cup. Well done to big spending Toulon, Chelsea (this one through gritted teeth), and Maidstone RFC on their successes this weekend.
Let us start at Twickenham with Toulon. Not the best game ever but gripping, exciting and enjoyable nonetheless. Toulon deserved the win but Clermont showed some glimpses of excellence. Steffon Armitage was not the wunderkind as many had expected despite Stuart Barnes extolling his virtues at every opportunity. Nick Abendanon was also a bit hit and miss.
The only soccer result that counts is the mighty Leicester City securing another vital win and three valuable points against Newcastle United.
Congratulations to Maidstone on lifting the RFU Intermediate Cup against Bridgnorth. Seriously disappointed for Bridgnorth and would have loved to see them round off an excellent season with the win. It was the Kent boys however who stole the show with some champagne attacking rugby in the first half and resolute defending in the second. A couple of things come out of the game. Firstly Maidstone will need to spend even more than they do currently if they are to achieve their objective of national league status. Secondly, from our point of view their win puts our status nationally into perspective. We are doing well, very well indeed.
Yesterday we hosted the Sussex County Colts Cup Final. An excellent day which I am sure both clubs enjoyed. It was a cracking game with Horsham much the better side in the first half but Hove coming back strongly to win in the second. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game to watch with a huge amount of young talent on show. I hope all the boys playing are really, really clever and will be off to university in September. If not Hove and Horsham seniors will have real quality to choose from when they play us next season.
I have thanked all those who contributed to us delivering a great event.
I am delighted to say the drainage work and repairs to our D Pitch have been completed today. The RFU, along with a grant from our friends at Wealden District Council, have generously funded this work which will give us a pitch of quality which will hopefully reduce the number of cancellations across the board.
It was very sad to read about the young Welsh rugby league player Danny Jones who died of cardiac arrest whilst playing this weekend. Likewise the sad death of Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca from cancer.
On a happier note the arrival of the new royal princess thankfully moved the election off the front pages.
Jamie Roberts is to join Quins next season and the investigation into possible salary cap breaches by Saracens and Bath has been dropped. This brings us neatly back to 'money can't buy you love' but obviously most other things are up for grabs.
Saturday May 2nd - 08:30
The Friday Club did us proud yesterday. The place is looking pristine ahead of Sunday's Colts Cup Final - Hove vs Horsham k.o. 2pm. Well worth popping along to watch this one.
Rod Stapley's funeral will take place on
All Saints Church, Crowborough
then at Crowborough RFC, Steel Cross
(family only will attend the crematorium service)
Club blazers and tie for those who have them.
What a fantastic result on Thursday night against a very good, well drilled Haywards Heath side. The fact they are so low in the league pyramid is not because they are a poor side it is because they pulled out of our league just before the season kicked off. The quality of their play reflected their previous London league standard and not their Sussex Intermediate status.
When you look at the side we managed to put out, with another 17 year old making his debut bringing the number of school kids in the side to eight, it really was a great result. The win is a testament to our junior system, the quality of coaching they get and their desire to win. We were tiny by comparison to some of the Heath players, some of whom obviously have day passes to the gym, making our ability to compete even more impressive.
Well done boys and now on to face Horsham on May 9th in the final.
I was impressed with the pitch but it wasn't as soft as I expected and the bounce of the ball was much higher off the artificial surface than off grass .... to state the obvious!!!!
The lights weren't as bright as perhaps they should have been for a full contact cup semi final and I was horrified to see the total ignorance of the person who allowed their dog on to the playing surface. There are enough concerns about these pitches holding in the body fluids lost by players, including phlegm and blood, without the possible addition of dog urine or dog sh!te.
Congratulations to Gloucester on last nights Challenge Cup victory. They were the better side and the win highlighted the gap between the Aviva and the Pro 12 leagues.
A couple of talking points. Jonny May. I was very critical of him recently, rightly me thinks, for his poor showing. Last night he was excellent and well worthy of 'man of the match'.
Afoa got away with a lot last night. Edinburgh were harshly dealt with because Afoa's scrum technique is suspect.
Jerome Garces didn't referee the scrum well in my opinion and was flaky in other areas too. (NB there were lots of examples of the ruck being nothing more than an 'on the floor love in').
Bill Meakes red card. 100% correct and this is where Garces got it spot on. It was a cynical act of thuggery that has no place in our game and could have resulted in serious injury. A disgraceful act that needs a long ban.
So to today's rugby marathon. The Blues are sticking it to the Western Force right now. The wine is chilling ahead of the Clermont v Toulon clash. Come on Clermont.
Thursday April 30th - 09:00
First, well done 'Daggers' Dagwell. Just over 5 hours for the London Marathon and over £10k raised.
Despite the longest list of injured players in living memory we will put out a good side tonight in the hope of reaching the Bob Rogers Cup Final. See you at Brighton for what will be a good encounter.
In the rugby pages I read that the Vinupolas have signed new contracts at Saracens.
The RFU are planning to issue an idiots guide to rugby for RWC 2015. High risk as it could be seen as patronising. On the other hand if we are to win over potential new fans and players knowing what the heck is going on at the bottom of the Twister pile is important. The Torygraph has a nice piece on this.
In the same paper there is a 2015 Six Nations combined XV. Whoever put this together must have been on the whacky backy. Well worth a look though. There are other useless composite teams to ponder in the same paper.
Several papers are fretting over rugby becoming like F1 because of the money. I would see it more like Premiership football. Six to eight teams across Europe dominating the sport by buying up the best players leaving the other teams to scrap over the lesser places in cups and leagues. The last thing rugby needs is a 'supremo' like Bernie Ecclestone.
Quins are to take on US Eagles in Philadelphia in August as part of the US RWC 2015 preparation.
Ben Morgan is aiming to be back for the same tournament. A bit of a stretch me thinks but if he can make it England's chances of winning go up in my opinion.
Tickets for Saturday's Champions Cup Final have not been flying out of the ticket office door. Plenty left if you want to watch World XV 'A' take on World XV '1'. The ticket situation has already forced the organisers to move the final back to mid/late May next season.
Today's law is the tackle. The tackler must immediately release the tackled player. The tackler must get up or move away. How often do we see that. Where the support play is so good the supporting player is often over the ball before the tackler has obeyed the law. The consequence is the tackler acts as an extra shield to the ball being released by the tackled player.
The tackled player must immediately release the ball. It can be passed, as long as backwards, placed in any direction or released to an arriving player. This is not easy when the tackler is acting as a block. Equally tackled players often use the tackler as a reason for not being able to release ball immediately.
Result of both the above is the referee has an impossible decision to make. Who is to blame for the ball not being released. At tonight's game follow the tackle situation carefully and work out who is REALLY at fault. You'll quickly realise how difficult refereeing is.
The usual guff in the world of unreal news. Each party making more and more ridiculous promises for the post election apocalypse. The 4m Scots are buying up their dog tail outfits for the time when they can start wagging the dog itself.
A lot of brew ha-ha about the getting ready for summer ad and the imagery. Someone is missing the point. The fuss should be what the devil is in the protein pills the ad is pushing not the scantily clad skinny model.
Talking of ads, outside the slugs and snails advertising their injury law expertise, the most screamed at slot must be the moneysupermarket ad with that bloke in heels and hot-pants. Must go, I can feel the bile rising in my gorge now.
Finally try being a Leicester City fan. Great first half but Chelsea went into over-drive in the second. Watch the Nigel Pearson post match rant. Go Nigel go!
Wednesday April 29th - 08:00
Well, it's certainly not a glorious morning this morning. It feels like being back in Moscow ............ very cold.
Talking of Moscow I see Russell Brand is back in the papers this morning after his interview with Mr Milliband. Brand is a hypocrite who claims to be a man of the left but lives the lifestyle of the spoilt moneyed brat that he is. I question the merit of being interviewed by a man who supports social unrest, is urging the young NOT to vote and is seen by some as an unstable nitwit. Hey ho! What do I know about anything.
What I do know is the boys trained hard last night ahead of Thursday's cup clash against Haywards Heath at Brighton RFC. Not sure of the exact kick off time but it will be well worth getting to Brighton to watch. The boys from Heath must be up for it as their coaches watched our game vs Combined Universities on Saturday at Lewes.
What I also know is the clamour for Steffon Armitage's inclusion in the England World Cup set up won't go away. There are a combination of excellent articles in this morning's Gruaniad setting out the opposing views. As you may guess I remain firmly in the 'No!' camp. He is a very good player but with the massive amount of money in the French game any relaxation of England's stance will simply open the door for more and more England players to play overseas. This would reduce the appeal of the English game. I do like what the Aussies have done though. This would be a positive way out of the mire.
A couple of stories caught the eye this morning. The Libyan who has a drink problem has committed 70+ crimes but can't be deported because of his human rights. Yet again a total disregard for the human rights of his victims. Returning to alcohol free Libya might just be the best thing for him. Off the alcohol he might be able to turn his life around. That can't be such a bad thing can it?
Eight out of the nine convicted drug traffickers were executed in Indonesia yesterday. This has caused an outcry against the Indonesian Government but, and yes this might be very controversial, it might just be a message to the criminals who peddle drugs that Indonesia is a no go area.
Finally the best news story of the day was about the mother who found her son rioting in Baltimore. She unmasked him, cuffed him around the ear, and dragged him off him for a serious telling off. There are two aspects to the story. It reinforces the point that for some these are not protests against a tragic and unjust shooting of a black man, it is an opportunity to riot and loot and cause criminal and wanton damage. Secondly it is a powerful reminder that where parents intervene with their children and play an active role in their lives behaviour can be improved. Well done to this mum. I want to hug her.
Tuesday April 28th - 08:45
What a stunning morning. Crystal clear blue skies, the sun glinting off the car roofs, the trees coming into full bloom. It makes you happy to be alive. Sadly there are millions around the world, especially those in Nepal, who are not waking up to such a joyous scene.
Great news for Burgess Hill as they overcame Sheppey to reach London 3 South East. I am delighted for them as they have worked hard to get from a position some seasons ago where the wheels appeared to be coming off the bus to be being a force to be reckoned with in Sussex and now beyond.
Sad news for us, great news for Medway as they beat our friends at London Cornish to take the leap into London 1 South. Whilst the table doesn't lie and Maidstone were the best team in the league, against us I think Medway were head and shoulders the best team and a thoroughly nice bunch too.
Chiswick also made it into London 1 South after beating Diss away. I think it is a measure of how well we have played this season that we nearly beat Chiswick in the cup having already knocked out London Cornish.
Congratulations to Salisbury following their excellent win over Aylesbury. This is a tremendous turn around from one season to another.
Bridgnorth, runaway leaders of Midlands 2 West (North), had their game against rock bottom and relegated Tamworth 'postponed'. There is no re-arranged date so it will be interesting see how that one pans out.
Gloucester have made an approach to us to use Ian Geering's services after they were fined for playing an illegible player.
Interesting article on the proposed 14 team Aviva Premiership with Rob Baxter suggesting a closed shop is not necessarily the best solution. (BBC.co.uk)
More RWC tickets go on sale today at 10am, including tickets for the Amex ..... whoops Brighton Community Arena.
Finally, and it isn't a political story even though there is plenty to get your teeth into, nor is it a debate on the rights or wrongs of the Indonesian execution of drug traffickers, nor is it a comment on last night's Skint programme on Channel 4, it is a comment on Bakkies Botha lamenting the loss of the 'dark arts' in our game.
Basically he is lamenting the reduction in cheating, thuggery and other unsavoury aspects of our game. Yeah, great!!!! I think not. Being serious though Botha has been a fantastic player for club and country who takes his final bow against Clermont Auvergne on Saturday. New Zealand's Ali Williams, another wonderful player for club and country over many years will also exits stage left on Saturday.