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Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
04 December, 2008 08:52
Get on with it then Annie!

Re: A Health Warning
andreww (IP Logged)
04 December, 2008 09:06
I too welcome William's posts

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
04 December, 2008 20:33
Dear Bod, Jules, Fud, Andrew, distinguished Ladies an Gentleman of the Bath Board
I have to say I'm totally astonished to find that you actually find the semi senile meanderings of this poor, elderly deluded and lost soul from the deep pit of misery that is currently Bristol Rugby, entertaining.

I had no idea that anyone actually bothered to read them, let alone appreciate, and of course I am deeply honoured and .....zzzzzzzz........zzzzzzzz.....

.....oh dear this is getting a bit like an Oscar Award Ceremony with Gareth left sitting grinning enviously at the table surrounded by Bod and Coochie, who just dont care anymore who wins.

I get so much stick from various boards where I dare to post that I actually get very nervous when I log on to see what torrent of abuse I have provoked by my mild mannered mumblings.

And so you will appreciate how very happy I am to be of some small service to this virile, boisterous, informed, literate and amusing site. I am indeed honoured....I am....{GET HIM OFF..Ed}

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2008 20:37 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
04 December, 2008 22:10
That's enough Bill - get back to your Sanatogen cocktails and Bovril sandwiches.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
25 December, 2008 21:33
A Recent History of Bristol Rugby Club.
by WilliamBlessing
25 December, 2008

I was trying to remember the various sequences of relegation and promotions over the last ten years or so, and my ability to recall them accurately was so sketchy that I decided to go to two sources of record, one on the Official Bristol website, which proved to be lacking in any form of detail and the other on Statbunker, which was far more comprehensive, if only starting from season 1996 to 1997.

Having collated the bare bones from Statbunker I thought I might present them to you with the hope that the official records are fleshed out and any errors that I make here are corrected, hopefully with the anecdotal thoughts of fellow Bristol lovers.

I know Mark Hoskins has written a brilliant account of Bristol from the very dawn of civilisation, but the recent history remains fertile ground for speculation, the most contentious issue being "where did our ground go?"

It would seem that the loss of our ground is held by most as the one great factor contributing to our present state of penury, a condition that some argue will always continue unless we get control of our own destiny. This might not be quite the case, as the finances of going alone, especially in the current economic ice age, could easily lead to a very final, final bankruptcy, as it almost did before the Rovers hove to into sight in their Pirate Ship back in, when was it?

There you are, the first question some budding historian might like to answer. What year did Rovers arrive at the Memorial Ground? I know I was working at the timber yard next to the ground and when I was first told by a very keen Rover's fan who was a regular customer, I couldn't believe it. "It's impossible to play football on a rugby pitch" I exclaimed, but never the less Rover's arrived and set about proving me right, ever since, alas.

Turning the clock back to the early 1990's and the painful beginning of league rugby, the then amateur game was convulsed by the RFU's brutal and totalitarian imposition on the English clubs of a first division of only eleven teams, with ten games, five at home and five away.

Am I right in thinking this was the case? It seems too incredible for words. At a stroke, our bustling season of up to 60 1st XV matches, plus endless United games full of sparkling rugby, was decimated, with lucrative games against Cardiff and all the other Welsh clubs consigned to being meaningless friendlies with second string sides whilst the Holy Grail of survival in the stifling new First Divison was pursued labouriously in a saftey first, boring up the jumper style of rugby.

The Committee, lead by insurance millionaire Arthur Holmes, toyed with the idea of knocking down the wooden main stand and rebuilding it, but there was too much history in those ancient tiled floors, where many a hero had trod and the decision was made to build the Centenary Stand on the popular side, which faced the wind and the rain, and was a financial and architectural disaster that caused the early death from heart attack of several members who wrestled with the dilemma. Another question. What year did the Centenary stand open? Most people are trying hard to forget, but there is a clue there in it's title, even if it's now probably renamed by the Gas Board as the "Pop Goes the Weasel Stand" or whatever.

But as we move on, I think I am on firmer ground. I know this because Statbunker actually gives me some facts and they are these.

1996 to 1997.....9th.P..22..w8..d1..L13.....Premier
1997 to 1998.....12th...22...2...0...20.....relegated

1998 to 1999......1st...26..22...0....4..ND1.promoted

1999 to 2000......6th...22..10...1....9....mid table
2000 to 2001......9th...22...9...1...12....survived
2001 to 2002......8th...22...9...1...12....survived
2002 to 2003.....12th...22...7...1...14....relegated

2003 to 2004......9th...26..10...0...16....ND1
2004 to 2005......1st...26..22...0....4....promoted

2005 to 2006.....11th...22...8...1...13....survived
2006 to 2007......3rd...22..14...1....7....highest ever
2007 to 2008......9th...22...7...1...14....survived
2008 to 2009........To be announced...........

source []

So we can see that there have been, since the introduction of leagues, three distinct eras, two of them ending in relegation with the third teetering precariously at the edge of the cliff top, with at last a chance of hanging on, and even clambering back to the the footpath.

The Arthur Holmes Era ended with the the Chief Executive drinking the bar dry and the players running around in pale green Ford space age cars running up a mobile phone bill that exceeded gate takings aone. The transfer of the accrued 2.3 million pound debt to the the Gas Board cost us the ground and permitted Arthur to wangle the sale of the Combination grounds to recoupe his interest free loan of a million to the Rugby Club. However, all concerned with this very smokey filled room transaction did not come up smelling exactly of roses but more of the stuff that is put on them to make them grow.

Into the carnage sailed a shining white knight, dear Malcolm Pearce, and if one looks back at the five year reign there were some memorable highlights, but alas it ended with Macolm as deranged as his predecessor, and relegated too.

And so bang up to date we are all familiar with the Consortium. Malcolm remains but does he still have the hunger or is he hanging on to recoup his losses? Who is the next man to have a dream? Consortia are a fine thing, but their dream of a horse ends up looking like a camel. We need, for better or worse, a leader to emerge. To pick up the cross and carry it. And be crucified when he fails, as we all do? Any takers? Must have a few hundred million in spare change available.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 25/12/2008 21:47 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: A Health Warning
CoochieCoo (IP Logged)
25 December, 2008 22:58
"It's impossible to play football on a rugby pitch" I exclaimed, but never the less Rover's arrived and set about proving me right, ever since, alas.
It seems that it is impossible for rugby to be played on a football pitch as well in your case, alas!

Turning the clock back to the early 1990's and the painful beginning of league rugby

League rugby started in 1987/88.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
28 December, 2008 09:18
Thankyou Coochie for those words of encouragement....

More Recent History of Bristol Rugby Club.
Posted by: WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
Date: 28 December, 2008 08:51

It would seem that John Lacock, owner of Brandon Hire, and a successful businessmen, is a leading contributor to the funding that has permitted the club to continue to function, at least until the end of this season. Bristol fans, and staff, are no doubt greatly appreciative of his generosity, but with it our benefactors need to have a hard headed approach to the future.

For me, yesterday was yet another afternoon of bitter dissappointment and frustration. Hurrying home from the cold, hearing two roars from the crowd in the last three minutes as each side scored a try apiece, as I couldn't bare to stand and watch anymore, I caught a post match interview with an amiable Joe El-Abd, our injured captain, who had been guest summariser, on Radio Bristol. Fluent, and diplomatic, as he must be, Joe was upbeat and positive about the spirit within the club, even confident and optimistic about our ablity to avoid the drop. Personally I would have thought the situation after yesterdays devastating defeat throws us back to the edge of the cliff, teetering forward looking down on the rocks, at least as far as the squad and coaching team are concerned.

I was amused at the attempts of a bulky if not rotund prop in the form of the approaching elderly Darren Crompton suddenly realising that it was he alone who had been elected to follow up a restart by Ed Barnes into the far corner. The result of his chase will be announced in next seasons progam, that is assuming he eventually gets there. Later in the game when Bristol had quick ball for the first time and Gloucester were on the back foot in their own half, the ball flew out into the ample midriff of a stationary Mr Crompton at inside centre. Is there no end to his versality and the way our coaches use him? Needless to say, Darren sought refuge in the nearest natural environment, a scrum of players.

The decision to take off Ed Barnes when were still in the game at 10-3 down was yet another masterstroke by our coaching supremo, as his replacement Adrian Jarvis came on, fired a punt straight into touch and then was nowhere to be seen as a few seconds later Gloucester's Mike Tindall waltzed through a gap in the wall in the outside half channel. I'm sorry to be personal, but there is no other way of putting it. Mr Hill's judgement, sacking the admirable Martin Haag, releasing the gifted and successful Danny Gray, getting in Adrian Jarvis, who was clearly flakey when he played for Quins, and I said so at the time, his recruitment of Peter Bracken, Kevin Maggs, and a host of players well past their sell by date, has not been an efficient use of scarce financial resources. It's easy with hindsight, yes, and some of his recruitment, such as To'oala, Lima, Perry and Lemi from nowhere, have been inspired. Let us say the jury is out and the verdict will be the final version of the Premiership table when the Fat Man has eaten the last pie, of which yesterday there were none left by half time.

Of course the players tried their hardest, of course they were up against an expensively arranged Gloucester team packed with rising stars of the future and existing stars of the present. If they resembled, therefore a Galaxy, a Galactico, we resembled at best a Red Giant wondering whether to become a black hole from which any finace would be sucked and dissappear forever, with the end result being a white dwarf, going around the Rugby Universe, small, hard and lonely.

So, whoever is stumping up the cash has to seriously evaluate the staff from top to bottom. I would say that if we survive this season then there would be grounds to retain the coaching team, but if we are relegated then it would be time to start again. Is that not fair? Would that not provide motivation? Everyone accepts that Richard Hill has been faced with a nightmarish scenario by the on-off ground moves and redevelopment plans, but he is not alone in so far as our rivals at Bath have lost top players and suffered insecurity over their ground, yet they prosper. Wasps are in a tail spin, Newcastle Falcons are financed by you and I, the tax payer, Sale seem to scrape by playing at a dump in front of smallish crowds, the tale of woe is endless.

Hope springs eternal. We live and learn. But the reality is that, in this game, he who pays the piper, calls the tune. And, if I were Mr Lacock, I would make it clear that at the moment the music playing is at best "Save the last dance for me" followed maybe by Chopin's "Funeral March." Only time will tell. Sport, don't you just love it?

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
15 January, 2009 11:12
Pants o mine season.

It's a grey day outside and it's my day off from work so I thought I might just attempt to interest a deeply drousy world outside about the mind numbing inconsequentiality of my own humble existence, of which without this posting, no one would be the wiser, and none the poorer.

However, for better or for worse, my descent into silence was prompted by the onset on Sunday 28th December 2008, of a 14 day blast of artic air which both froze the ground and stilled the keyboard. This sad decline into statuesque inactivity was mirrored on the rugby field by a "pantomine" performance by Bristol RFC at Franklins Gardens, provoking the crowd in the background to a radio commentary from the local broadcasters, of mutual righteous, unrestrained indignation, as Bristol attempted to run the clock down from the opening whistle. Thats showbiz!

The next day, Bristol Coach Richard Hill was to be found rummaging in the garage looking for that damn old lantern. Beads of sweat crossed his brow. It had to be somewhere! The cheery voice of his long suffering wife could be heard calling out to him.

"Darling the Sunday papers have arrived, do want to read them?"

"Err, just a minute dearest, do you know where that old lamp is, the one we got in the car boot sale?....oh.. it's alright I've found it.

"Feverishly, Richard rubbed the old lamp in the gloom of the garage. Nothing happened. He rubbed again and suddenly out of the spout a cloud arose that slowly materialised into the shape of a huge muscled genie in a turban, and with a deep voice and folded arms announced, " Oh Master, I have long awaited your call, your wish is my command!"

"Oh hello Martin" Richard said, sheepishly greeting his old colleague Mr Haag, his ex coach that he had foolhardedly "let go".

" I wonder.... if you could let me have another wish?"

"Certainly Master. What is it?"

" I wish I was the coach of a well run club, playing attractive rugby to full houses, leading the Premiership, err, like when you and I ran the club a few years ago and I,... err.. made a mistake?"

The genie's voice boomed.... "Master your wish is granted" and with it he dissappeared back into the old lamp.

"Darling!". It was his wife's voice. "The Sunday Barstard has just arrived. Have you seen the headlines! You've just been made coach of Northampton Saints!"

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
15 January, 2009 11:32
Happy New Year Bill!
thumbs down

Re: A Health Warning
Fudpucker (IP Logged)
15 January, 2009 11:42

Funniest words to come out of Bristol for many a year.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
22 January, 2009 07:59
When in Rome....

The Charity Commisioners are cautiously debating the redevelopment of Bath RFC's ancient and beloved ground, the Recreation Ground, but they could easily start by renaming it "The Recreational Drug Ground" after this weeks shock horror confession of a young man's use of an "illegal" drug and his subsequent banishing him to the wilderness. If there is one thing more widespread than drug abuse, then it is the hypocrisy that engulfes our tabloid, phoney, puritanical society.

This weekend, the High Streets of Little Britainnia will be awash with the puke and blood of armies of boozed up young and old brawlers and scrubbers from Lands End to John O'Groats, encouraged by the brewery industry, one of whom sponsors the Heineken Cup, by the way, to drink and fight their way to the oblivion of the Emergency and Accident wards and or prison cells quietly awaiting them. They are encouraged to do this for 24 hours a day seven days a week by the so called convenient "liberalisation" of the licencing laws promoted by the eager hand maidens of the alcohol industry in Parliament, despite the protestations of the medical profession, the council street cleaners and the police who have to endlessly clear up after them.

What the unfortunate rugby player has not done is, that he has not jumped up and down on the roof of a police car as one of our revered retired rugby pundits once did, he has not drunk a whole bottle of aftershave after a game, he has not been arrested for smashing someone in the face and either been nicked, or in other cases, denied it ever happened, he has not hurt anyone but himself, and by his character, that is the only person he is likely to hurt.

What he has done is, brought a beam of light and love to the world through his singing and care for the oppressed. Jet travel has brought alternative drugs from all over the world flooding into our islands, and as the pursuit of happiness is the life long goal we all hopelessly aim for, even if we are bound to fail in the process, we are free to try that which some might think can help. Alcohol is the legal drug sanctioned by Parliament, tobacco less so, but for some reason, could it be the brewers don't want the competition, equally harmful substances are banned and thus thrive in the black market.

The debate on sobriety will go on forever. I've tried the lot and can, after extensive research, tell anyone interested that abstinence is the only way to really enjoy yourself. But I was free to find that out for myself and in so doing, my beliefs are all the stronger for it. Let's hope our dear young friend from Bath will discover this for himself, and set his sights on that day, sometime in the future, when he will return to doing what he truly loves, running out onto the fresh green grass of the Recreational Drug Ground with a clear head and conscience.

In the meantime, can we all get off our High Horses?

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
25 January, 2009 20:09
Somme Battle at the Recreational Drug Ground.

If ecstasy was first used by the German Army in 1917 to alleviate the discomfort of their poor suffering troops in the rain, mud and bombs of the front lines, I'm not sure what was firing a belligerent crowd eventually celebrating an attritional draw, at their newly developed arena this sunday afternoon. Someone had, overnight, without a by as your leave from the planning department, built a swimming pool in front of the club house and the touch line was being simultaneously used for the minority sport of bog snorkling.

I watched this from the comfort of my next doors front room on his spendid new large screen, having earlier first dozed through a strangely distant game from Castres where the locals, one man and his dog, had clearly not read the script and neither had Danny Cipriani a text book on how to tackle.

Meanwhile, as 3pm approached, outside on the street, a small stream of faithful Bristol supporters went down the hill to a poorly attended Sunday afternoon prayer meeting at the Memorial Ground to watch the "dead rubber" against Montpelier. I guiltily missed out on this, as I confess to sinning and instead chosie to watch the Bath Toulouse game on TV, which was played appropriatley amid a torrent of biblical sunday school proportions, even though ten miles away here in Bristol the sun shone on us, the not so righteous.

Looking back on a weekend of wall to wall rugby on TV with the odd dozen or so FA cup ties thrown in what are my recollections? You know, I think I'm begining to forget it already. As the crowd walked back up the hill after the Bristol game I asked one of them the score. " 24-14 to Bristol" a family man said, as he passed by with his brood. "Any good?" I ventured hopefully. "No it was as poor as ever". Food for thought indeed.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
04 February, 2009 20:01
Snow, snow, quick quick snow.

"Come snowing", the latest TV reality dance snowing competition has swept the nation like an errr.... blizzard, and here in Bristol, the locals can talk of nothing else. For example I heard one conversation go as follows. "Snow what? Snow snow round yer!".

Indeed, there's snow business like snow business. Especially when it's not snowing....or is it? I'm marooned in my house today, Wednesday morning, waiting for a man from the electricity board who is supposed to be fitting, at their behest, an "onstream meter". I have booked the visit, on my day off, between the hours of 8 am and 1 pm , and as it's now 11 am and nothing has happened, I'm beginning to wonder.

Meanwhile, on the rugby front, Bristol have given their team a week off and several have taken a well earned break, visiting picturesque places they've always wanted to see, like the world renowned Tesco carpark in Northampton, the busy naval dockyards of Toulon or the polished mahogany pews of Bath Abbey, just praying that someone, in dark glasses, accidentally drops a shoebox full of unmarked used fivers in front of them, whilst negotiations about next year's contract continue with the understandably cautious Consortium at the Memorial Stadium.

One can imagine the dialogue. "Well we can't offer you anything at the moment until we know whether we avoid relegation, but if we do, we are still a bit short of the filthy lucre, so how about a nice big pay cut? How does that grab you? Let me know how you feel about it. Take a winter holiday somewhere cheap, there are some great bargains going at the moment, I hear the snow is fine for toboganing downhill on upturned dustbin lids in Totterdown at the moment. You can borrow my bus pass for the day if you wish. Don't worry, they never look at the photograph as long as you can pass for being around the 50 years old mark. See you soon."

Yes, things have never looked so rosy at the moment as the phrase "revenue protection" bursts onto the scene as Premier Rugby seek to squeeze a few more bob out of the empty and holed pockets of the unwitting supporter. "Do you think they will notice?" quizzed one PRL executive to another. "Got to give it a try have't we?"

"Whaddabout the RFU? Won't they spot somethin' changin' in the fixture list?"

"Wassit gotta do wiv them? After all anyone who arranges an Anglian Windows Saxon game against the might of Portugal on a freezin' night in Stockport minus Ronaldo has got to be off his trolley". What was that all about?

Oh yes, the future of the game is safe in the hands of the great thinkers controlling our game. The comforting thought that for the next 8 years we are guaranteed consensus, cooperation and certainty in how the "professional" game is run. After all it's all been signed sealed and delivered hasn't it?

I wonder if the man from the electricity board will turn up? Still no sign of snow..... Hello, a ring on the bell. He's here. And so the old meter, full of wheels, springs, clocks and dials is summarrily replaced by an anonymous little white plastic box with a small digital read out. In about four years time, so the young chap tells me, it will be upgraded to a smart on line facility, doing away with guesses and readings. Something to look forward to.

So, it's down the road to the Centre and a wander through the old part of town, the Corn Exchange. I notice a camera crew videoing something and the director signals to someone to walk through the crowd. Who can it be? Shock horror... it's dear old Austen Healey. I resist the temptation to ask him "WassitallaboutdenAusin?"

Adoring ladies of a certain age with their daughters giggle and look back. "Issiminnit? IssAussininnit from Comesnowinorwassitcalledinnit?

Hurtling home on the bus up the Gloucester Road back to Horfield for a sandwich, the bus spends 20 minutes picking up passengers at the Haymarket, I look on the Bristol Official Forum and a thread invites one to attend a coaching session with the Barbarians tonight, lead by one Austen Healey of "Come Snowin'" fame. That is the Bristol Barbarians, I hasten to add. A local team in Stockwood to next door neighbours British Gas RFC.

It's all beginning to make sense, at last.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
04 February, 2009 21:19
Bill,Have you been hanging out with Matt?

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
18 February, 2009 10:09
University of Bath vs Bristol University, Wed. 18th Feb. k.o. 2pm main campus pitch
Date: 18 February, 2009 09:48

Marvels never cease! A phone call to the Bath University contact number, answered in 3 seconds by a bright bubbly young lady, confirmed that "Yes the game is on,and no it wasn't on the Sulis pitch but on the "Elite pitch next to the sports hall".

So it's off to the train station, bus pass in hand to watch the game. This is the penultimate game before the top six sides in the Premier southern Division go into the mix with their Northern Division counterparts and somehow a knock out is arranged with 14 teams competing, the other two being the top teams in the second division being promoted... I believe...however as the top team in the second divison is Hartpury Seconds......and the next is Oxford University Greyhounds.....err....I'll try and find out.

Bristol have played on through the bad weather, achieving a notable victory over Exeter University and they play Hartpurty away on Sunday, rearranged due to the cold snap we had.

So any of you gentlemen of a retired disposition I hope to see you on the touchline as the natural order is restored and a rugby team from Bristol give a team from Bath a solid good hiding for sure.

On the senior front, least said soonest mended. I have to say that some of the criticism has been a bit over the top. Newcastle Falcons played some splendid rugby, and it isn't the first time that a team such as Bristol have found themselves to be outplayed. Without failure success means nothing. The plant that can survive the cold of the winter and the heat of the summer, blooms in the spring and bears fruit in the Autumn. For better or for worse, Mr Hill and his squad have given us some good times. It's sad it will end with the bad times, but let's remember what was achieved.

Messrs Booy and Laycock, the new Chairman and his deputy, now take up the challenge and their ambition is heartening. The most important thing is to balance the books, and then let the playing side take care of itself.

Lets start planting a few seeds for next season and see what pops up!

Re: A Health Warning
Bath Fan Jack (IP Logged)
18 February, 2009 10:42
I think that the Natural Order, appropriate in this Darwinian celebratory period, is assertiong itself as the weak are sorted and sent to their rightful place and the strong survive.

Look at Richmond, London Welsh, London Scottish, Moseley, Coventry.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
18 February, 2009 11:30
Indeed BFJ
I used to enjoy my visits to The Reddings.........all gone now!

Re: A Health Warning
Fudpucker (IP Logged)
18 February, 2009 12:08
Twas indeed a shame about the Reddings, which is now a lot of new houses and impossible to recognise. Moseley do however have a new ground with decent facilities close by.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
16 March, 2009 22:03
Quarter Finals of BUCS cup Wed 18th March 2009

The results of the final 16, played last Wednesday 11th March, the winners going forward to this Wednesday's Quarter finals, were as follows.

Loughborough v Stirling....walkover to Loughborough

Newcastle University 14 Northumbria University 29

Hartpury v Aberdeen....walkover to Hartpury

Swansea 7 Leeds Carnegie 20

University of Wales Cardiff (UWIC) 43 Nottingham 0

Bristol 22 Trent University Nottingham 18

Durham 25 Exeter 26

Bath 43 St. Marys College Strawberry Hill London 18

The draw for the quarter finals to be played

Wed 18th..

Loughborough v Northumbria

Hartpury v Leeds carnegie

UWIC v Bristol

Exeter v Bath

Last Wednesday threw up some closely fought games as the battle for the 2009 Championship final at Twickeham hotted up. Notable wins for Exeter away to Durham and Northumbria away to Newcastle caught the eye, whilst Trent University Nottingham pushed Bristol all the way at Coombe Dingle.

Bath trounced their eternal rivals from St Marys and look strong at this stage and go on to a tough away fixture at Exeter this coming Wednesday.

Favourites UWIC Cardiff cruised through powerfully, overcoming plucky Nottingham, whilst bitter rivals Hartpury benefited from a walkover against Scottish conference runner ups Aberdeen's cry off, as did Loughborough against number one Scottish University team, Stirling. Presumably travel costs prohibited their travelling, a pity as it defeats the point of their taking a place from English teams prepared to travel lesser distances.

The last eight play this Wednesday and it looks likely there will be wins for all four home sides if games go to form.

The semi finals will be played a week later on Wednesday 25th. on neutral grounds equi distant between the two sets of teams and the venue is therefore often only known to the well informed few. I will attempt to post the venues by gleaning the BUCS website daily.

What is certain is that the final at Twickenham is Wednesday 22nd April, a fitting stage on which the cream of English and Wales University talent can decide who is the best. My money is on Hartpury, but as ever, UWIC and Loughborough will have other ideas.

Meanwhile one has spent the odd Sunday afternoon visiting the dearly beloved family member at the suitably named Memorial Ground Bristol, hopefully clutching a bunch of flowers and grapes, not expecting the patient to have much hope of an early recovery. But there were signs of life. By playing the favourite peace of music of "Bristol Bristol", the nurses and doctors seemed to detect a flickering of eyelids. "He can hear you" said the doctor, "but his grip is very weak. He's been starved of funds you know. He needs a very big injection"

Friday night against the Quins, the patient actually got up out of bed and ran around the ward, but collapsed, exhausted after 40 minutes. The crowd of well wishers seemed to blame the ref, but as most of us, including myself have no clear idea of what the Laws are, why should the ref? Be reasonable.

Anyway, as a result of a boardroom struggle, a few directors got bruised shoulders as they rushed to escape the room with a few bob still in their pockets, leaving Mr Booy and Mr Lacock nursing the Baby Jesus. Bless them!

We shall spend a few years praying for that miracle recovery. It will happen, we only have to have a dream and a belief, and a few zillion dollars from somewhere. Let's all look under the mattress shall we?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 16/03/2009 22:09 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
28 March, 2009 22:40
The quarter and semi finals of the BUCS Championship, played on the consecutive Wednesdays of the 18th and the 25th of March, passed by unreported by the National broadsheets, so I shall be forced to buy a copy of the excellent Rugby Times in the hope of gleaning some further knowledge of the events.

The game that I was able to watch, UWIC vs Bristol, was played on the most beautiful of early spring days, and as I travelled by train through the outskirts of North Bristol, towards the Severn Tunnel, my eyes blinked at the sight of a huge area of wasteland that had, over the winter, been cleared, ready for redevelopment. That was, until the Great Depression of 2009 began and presumably curtailed any plans.

I felt like a grizzly bear that had spent the dark winter months in the warmth of of his lair beneath the freezing ice of Yellowstone National Park, as so brilliantly portrayed by the BBC's latest Natural Sunday night Natural History three parter. Only I had been watching, in the warmth, endless Six Nations, Heineken Cup and Guiness Premiership games on next door's big new Sky TV.

The big city of Cardiff cruised into view, with it's ever increasing collection of exotic new sky scrapers, some finished, some still in construction. I decided to find out where the new stadium was which would house both the football and the rugby. Looking at the map, and guided by the helpful ticket collector, " you can go around it and have a look, it's easy to find, turn left out of the central station, walk across the River Taff and keep going for about ten minutes, turn left under a railway bridge and then...."

...lo' and behold, there it was, glistening brand new like a huge silver tin biscuit box from outerspace, set in a perfectly flat Victorian park.

To it's left, across the road, next to Ninian Park railway station, was the old Cardiff City football stadium, from the outside a familiar mixture of crumbling corrugated roof and breeze block walls.

As I breezed up to the security gates, I could see work was still in progress, yellow hard hats and familiar bleeping warning signs of diggers in reverse. I gave it a shot of getting in, before being politely requested not to, until it formally opens to the public on May 27th. The elderly security guard, who had belatedly come out of his own portacabin winter lair to help me, was dapper and smart in his uniform, with space age sun glasses gleaming.

He told me that of the rugby teams, only the Cardiff Blues, the Regional team, would be playing there. The Cardiff RFC team would remain playing at their ground, the Arms Park, next to the Millenium Stadium, which was good to hear.

Giving him a cheery goodbye, I cycled back towards the centre of town, noticing that this good city does not appear to possess a brush, or at least someone prepared to push it, judging by the archeological remains of crisp packets, drink cans and ancient dust and grime accumulated in the gutters outside the humble abodes over the last ninety or so years since the last Great Depression of the 1930's.

But what a spendid facility both the Blues Rugby and Cardiff Football Club will have. We Bristolians can but stand and stare in envy, scratching our backsides and our heads, as ever.

My next port of call was to be see how the new Sophia Gardens cricket ground looked, prior to the inaugural Ashes Test match this summer. Here there was no problem of gaining entry...

Excuse me, as it's time for my morning run around the common.. weight now down to 12 stone 12, to be continued...

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
10 April, 2009 16:24
I know that what will be going on beneath the Premiership will be of limited interest to Bathonians, but assuming that the Premiership clubs will boycott any Anglo Welsh competition, the RFU and Nat Div One clubs are making alternative arrangements. But where will that leave the Premiership with only 11 home games and the HC pool matches?

But at least we know what is happening next season.....NOT.

The meeting between the RFU and the National Division One sides, held on Monday 6th August, resulted in an adjournment for two weeks whilst the ND1 representatives considered proposals contained in a 50 page presentation by the RFU outlining a British Irish Cup competition for second tier teams.

With the ND1 reduced to 12 full time teams, funded by the RFU and televised by SKY, the need to produce 34 games per season, and the apparent refusal of the Premiership to participate in an extended Anglo Welsh cup and trophy, augmented by Nat Div One sides, the RFU are putting forward a revolutionary British and Irish competition.

The full details are contained in an article by Neale Harvey of the Rugby Times, reproduced below, with his permission. This was originally on the Exeter Chiefs Unofficial website, where it has generated a mixed reaction.

Neale Harvey

Re: RFU Meeting 6/4/09
Hi Guys, hope you don't mind me making a contribution.

Don't usually do this, but as we don't put our stuff online I thought you might be interested in seeing our centre page spread from last Friday's Rugby Times on proposals for the Championship and the British & Irish Cup.

We also ran a seperate piece on the Premiership clubs who are currently in negotiations with the four Welsh regions over continuing the Anglo-Welsh Cup. As far as we are aware, the 14-team Premiership idea is dead.

Anyway, it's quite long so get a cup of tea first. Feel free share it with other boards.

Regards, Neale Harvey
Chief feature writer, Rugby Times

Championship on Celtic Crusade


“A quantum leap forward” is how one First Division Rugby chairman has described the Rugby Football Union’s proposals for a ‘British and Irish Cup’ to sit alongside a new second-tier Championship from next season onwards.

Following nearly 18 months of debate and no little rancour, the RFU has finally decided on how it plans to satisfy the demands of clubs immediately below the Premiership, many of whom have campaigned long and hard for a more meaningful, fully competitive fixture list.

Rugby Times can now reveal that a new 12-team professional league to be called ‘The Championship’ will be established with effect from the 2009/10 season.

The regular season will involve each of the 12 teams playing each other on a home and away basis giving a total of 22 regular season matches. At the end of the regular season there will be promotion play-offs involving the top eight teams and relegation play-offs involving the bottom four teams.

The promotion play-offs would involve two pools of four teams each, with sides finishing in the odd numbered positions competing in Pool One, while those ending the season in even numbered positions would make up Pool Two. Each team would play the others in its pool on a home and away basis resulting in a further six matches for each of the promotion play off teams.

The top two teams from each Pool would then qualify for the Championship semi-final round, from which the winners would meet, possibly over two legs but most likely in a one-off final at Twickenham, to decide who will be promoted to the Guinness Premiership.

The relegation play-offs would involve the bottom four teams from the regular season playing each other on a home and away basis resulting in a further six matches for those clubs. The team coming bottom of the play-off Pool would be relegated to level three.

Whilst some of the RFU’s proposals have been known for a while – in fact, Rugby Times first revealed plans for the new Championship as far back as February 2008 – it is the RFU’s proposal for a brand new ‘British and Irish Cup’ that will really set the pulses racing amongst the 12 prospective Championship clubs.

With the Premiership clubs having effectively sidelined themselves from negotiations following their refusal to countenance a new look Anglo-Welsh Cup involving the Championship clubs, the RFU has been working on an alternative 24-team cross border competition which will involve the four Irish provinces, both Scottish pro teams and six Welsh Premiership clubs.

The new British and Irish Cup will be played in four pools of six teams each. Each pool will comprise of three Championship teams, one Welsh Premiership team, one Irish team and either a Welsh Premiership team or Scottish team.

The Irish and Scottish teams will NOT be second teams of the Magners League sides but will be drawn from their professional squads without their international players.

Each team will play the other teams once so that each team will have either two home and three away matches or three home and two away matches, providing an additional five games for those clubs.

The winners of each pool will qualify for the semi-finals, with the winners playing in the British and Irish Cup Final. A total of seven weekends will be required for this competition, which is intended to be played predominantly during international windows.

RFU officials are due to discuss details of both new competitions with the National League One clubs on Monday and Terry Burwell, the RFU’s tournaments and competitions director, hopes that now months of uncertainty has ended, the clubs will get fully behind the new set-up.

Burwell told Rugby Times: “We are now in a position where we’ve decided we need to protect the integrity of the Championship clubs and ensure we deliver to them a strong,
meaningful season.

“We’re all aware of the difficulties of finalising an agreement with the Premiership clubs, so therefore we agreed at our management board meeting last week that we would separate the issues and ensure that we deliver the right sort of competitions for the Championship clubs.

“We’re proposing a new British and Irish Cup and we’re very positive that that competition is going to create some real interest and significant features. And we’re also introducing a play-off structure in the Championship and a relegation pool to decide who goes down.

“We believe that we’re delivering what we promised to do, which is a minimum of 32 meaningful games per season. This proposal actually delivers a minimum of 33 games, with potentially an extra four games if you add in the knockout stages of the two competitions.”

But not everybody in National One is enamoured by the RFU’s proposals.

Exeter Chiefs, for example, are known to have opposed the play-off concept, believing that a season’s work should not boil down to a one-off game to decide promotion. Bedford are also understood to be unhappy with the proposals.

The Premiership clubs are equally concerned that the ability of their ‘13th’ club to make a swift return to the top-flight might be compromised, although that argument holds less water given that the Premiership title itself is decided via a play-off system.

In addition, there are legitimate concerns amongst prospective Championship clubs over issues such as the length of season and travelling costs, particularly amongst those who are likely to find it hard to fund squads large enough to cope with more games.

“I find it incredible that a team that does well in both competitions could end up playing 37 games,” said Esher secretary Dave Page. “If we get bad weather next year we could end up playing until June.

“We’re certainly not a great believer that you need that many games. We’re not going to get any more money for this British and Irish Cup and we have to think about the cost of this.

“Not every team will be fully pro in the first year of the Championship and with the play-off situation they’ve proposed, it’s ludicrous to expect sides to play this many games.

“I’m not a great believer in the play-offs either. How would you feel if you finished first after 22 games and a team that finished eighth got promoted to the Premiership? I don’t think the Premiership would accept that either.”

There are undoubtedly some anomalies. For instance, what would be the point of a team competing in the Championship play-offs knowing full well that its ground will not, and cannot, meet the Premiership’s criteria?

Also, will points won in the regular season be carried forward into the play-offs? If so, then it is perfectly feasible that the seventh and eighth placed clubs might start the play-offs so far behind that it would hardly be worth them competing at all.

Those and other issues are still to be thrashed out, but Burwell insists that play-offs at both ends of the table are vital to the success of the Championship.

“First and foremost, we’ve been to our broadcast partners and Sky are very excited by what we’re proposing,” Burwell explained. “They’re buying the product as part of an overall package for English rugby supporting both the Championship and the cross border competition.

“This has always been about how we deliver a meaningful climax to the season and whilst I understand there will always be mixed views, as there were when the Premiership introduced their play-offs, we believe this will create an exciting and vibrant end to the season.

“There’s also a new commerciality to our league structure below the Premiership which we haven’t had previously and if the French can run a 30-team professional structure successfully, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to operate a 24-team structure here.

“There’s no doubt that everyone’s going to go through a particularly challenging time in establishing these competitions, but we firmly believe that the product we’re going to create, and the interest it will generate, will be a significant improvement on what we’ve got at the moment.”

Under the terms of the RFU’s deal with the prospective Championship sides, each club will receive just under £300,000 from central revenues.

The league will be administered from Twickenham and Burwell insists that everything possible will be done to improve the commercial prospects of the Championship clubs.

For example, First Division Rugby currently has no title sponsor, which is something Burwell insists he and his RFU colleagues are very keen to address.

“That hasn’t been helped by the uncertainty over the Anglo-Welsh Cup and other issues associated with setting up the Championship, but Paul Vaughan (the RFU’s business operations director) has got a number of options he’s looking at for all our competitions,” Burwell said.

“It’s particularly difficult to convince people to put money on board, especially when you’ve got so much negativity around what you’re proposing to do, but I’m quite certain that once we get everything agreed on Monday things will start to happen.

“We as an organisation, both departmentally and across the other departments, are absolutely committed to making this work. It will have the necessary resources and time spent on it to try and make sure the sceptics are proved wrong.

“We want to improve the spectator base in the Championship and we feel we can get gates up to an average of 2,500-3,000 within a relatively short period of time. To do that there has to be a commercial attractiveness to the fixture list and that’s what we’re trying to deliver.”
Bosses welcome British and Irish Cup

Doncaster director of rugby Lynn Howells believes the RFU’s proposals for both the Championship and the British and Irish Cup will be “good for English rugby”

Welshman Howells has vast experience of cross border competitions from his time coaching Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors and Edinburgh and believes the proposed new structure can be a winner with players, coaches and fans alike.

“I think these new competitions will be good for English rugby and that’s the most important thing,” Howells told Rugby Times.

“Once you start doing cross border competitions it just gives you a break from playing the same teams all the time.

“Different cultures bring different things to the table and I think it’s good to go and play against teams with different qualities.

“What you find with the first division is that it’s the same teams year in, year out and there’s only so much you can change during the season.

“The way you play is pretty much the same, but when you go away to play against teams in other leagues they bring something different to the table and we can all learn from that.”

Whilst the length of the proposed new season will be of concern to Championship clubs who traditionally operate smaller squads than Premiership teams, Howells is hopeful that it will not be too much of an issue.

He added: “We have to be mindful of player welfare and it means that coaches will have to manage their squads more. The only way to rest guys will be to rotate.

“It’s going to be demanding but it’s about managing your squad, and then you have to keep your fingers crossed that you don’t pick up too many injuries.

“At the end of the day, though, I think these proposals are good. People can talk about politics and money, but as far as rugby is concerned it’s good.

“I think it’ll be good for players to play in this type of competitive environment, and it’s certainly good for coaches because it asks different questions of you.

“When you think that next season we could be going to Dublin, Edinburgh or Cardiff, there’s no comparison with what we have now.

“The Championship and the British and Irish Cup will certainly promote the game and if the English clubs get it right and eventually go fully professional across the board, it can only be good for the English game.”

Nottingham chairman Geoff Huckstep is another who welcomes the RFU’s proposals.

Along with Doncaster, Plymouth, Cornish Pirates, London Welsh and Coventry, hard-up Nottingham have been major players in driving through plans for the new set-up and Huckstep hopes it will lead to a brighter future for all concerned.

He told Rugby Times: “I think it’s a quantum leap from where we are. The cross border competition looks really exciting – even better than we thought it would be.

“We need to get our crowds up to 2,500 and that’s not beyond the bounds of possibility when you’ve got a fixture list that’s as attractive as this one.

“There’s a lot more meat to be put on the bones but it’s all moving in the right direction. All the 12 clubs in the Championship next season should grasp this and be positive about it.

“There’s been a lot of negativity, and understandably so when you’re losing five teams out of National One, but let’s be positive now and let’s make it work.”
How the British Cup will work

The new tournament will consist of 24 clubs (12 Championship, 4 Irish provinces, 2 Scottish pro teams and 6 Welsh Premiership sides)

Based on current league positions and the desire of the RFU to aid clubs by grouping Championship clubs locally, the four Pools of six COULD look like this:

Pool A – Exeter Chiefs, Cornish Pirates, Plymouth, Ulster, Llanelli, Edinburgh
Pool B – Bedford, London Welsh, Esher, Munster, Cardiff, Aberavon
Pool C – Doncaster, Nottingham, Rotherham, Connacht, Pontypridd, Glasgow
Pool D – Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham & Solihull, Leinster, Newport, Neath.

Each side will play five pool matches – three home, two away or vice-versa – during the international windows with the four winners contesting semi-finals and then a final at a venue to be decided.
Season structure

The Championship season will run from the first weekend in September until the Final rounds of both new competitions on May 8th and May 15th 2010.

Each Championship club will play a minimum of 33 games and a maximum of 37.

A draft fixture list will be circulated to all clubs by the end of April for comment and possible amendment.

Re: A Health Warning
TCM2007 (IP Logged)
10 April, 2009 16:48
That's a right old overcomplicated mess.Would suit the Nd1 equivalent of Wasps, as you only need to finish 8th to get into the playoffs.

It sets up a lot of games, and makes it harder for the likes of Bris to bounce straight back, as they could win the regular season by a mile, but it would still come down to a couple of knock out games at the end where anything could happen.


Former ed.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 08:55
Players get drunk in a church and then dry out in a monastery. If the body is a temple then it's comforting to know they are so well served by various religious reposes. Meanwhile like some Artic summer the sun never sets on the world of modern professional rugby. Perhaps thats why the players are driven to getting spaced out of a Saturday evening and Sunday morning...... and Sunday afternoon....

So, this Saturday, England are playing Argentina at Old Trafford 4pm on SKY followed by the final of Le Top 14 at 8pm on Eurosport between Clermont and Perpignan, both having beaten the historical favourites of Toulouse and Stade, respectively, last weekend.

This means more time for me in the armchair, but not after having pounded Horfield Common on my 20 minute training run. One has to be fit to take in all of TV's offerings.

Somewhere one will find time for about 30 games of 20 20 World cup cricket matches, and this form of sport is now providing 3 and a half hours of solid excitement, but at least we have done with football haven't we? Or are England playing someone?

And one final consolation. Bristol, in the snoozily redesigned "Championship", which puts on hold any meaningful games next season until the final third, will not be bothering the sports pages with frantic copy.

There's always a silver cloud somewhere isnt there?

Finally, I have to confess that this obscure ramble is soley designed to get this thread, to which I am usually the sole contributor, off the bottom of the pile where it has slipped to fully 6 pages back, the last contribution being 10 04 09. And now that a view count is provided, I can see how many people are reading it. Strangely enough, I noticed that there had been 263 reads even when it was so far buried in the ever growing mountain of words on this flourshing site.

Poor Glen must be employing an army of editors to monitor the traffic for potential scandalous libel. I hope at least this poster won't trouble him unduly.

Now, if only Bod can be prodded into commenting I can watch the view count soar. Even perhaps Coochie, but that's expecting too much......

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 09:07 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 09:09
This thread will flummox many lurkers, especially the Journos - hells teeth Bill, this just might be your BGT moment!

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 20:57

So far 387 visitors to this site have read this thread so thats 100 reads in a day! We always seem to be quite polite to each other, which is refreshing, is it not?

I had to "google" the phrase BGT moment to discover it's meaning. It comes up with "Britain's Got Talent".

Too true but don't you find the pressure of being a "star" of the Internet a possible source of stress that can tip one over the edge and end up in "The Priory"?

In the next bed to recovering drug addicts with cauliflower ears poring over Legal Textbooks open at the chapters on "Libel and drug testing".

Re: A Health Warning
Rawce (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 21:07
And there was me thinking WB was confined to the offy!

Yes, Khazakstan are playing England in the WC qualifier, helpfully at the same time as the England vs Argentina match. As Dad's more of a footie fan (though a Bath supporter for years) and I'll be at his in Cornwall AND he's got Sky and Setanta, I suspect it'll be Lions, England then England for me. The missus will not be happy.....

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 21:16

I can't believe anyone actually read my posting on the upcoming deluge of televised sport. Even I found it a bit boring. However, as I was standing in the toilet at the urinal at work today, a colleague told me that "Yes England are playing Kazikstan and then Andorra...and could you mind not peeing on my shoe?"

Ahhh...Andorra....what a romantic play footie in the the way will that Borat chappie be playing for Khazikstan?


Re: A Health Warning
Rawce (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 21:28
I even read a couple of your War and Posts on the offie too. At the time I felt more informed about Bristol than I did Bath. Admittedly, the first read I was waiting for a punchline.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 21:41
I used to take terrible flack from those hard core Offy posters about how boring I was and how they didnt want to know about Bristol Rugby Club thankyou very much for nothing but I just kept going in the hope that someone might enjoy it, and also I could see how many views I was getting. I'm up to 22,000 views on the Official Bristol website, but no one comments, which can be unnerving. For some reason I've just dried up recently and the urge to post has gone. But once the stream of drivel just seems to go on and on, slowly driving sensible people like yourself completely insane.

Eventually I gave up on the Bath Offy site and when I tried to return I found my log on seemed to be nobbled and I couldn't post. I just assumed that the Editor had blocked me.

420 views! Beat that Bod. I'm hogging the top of the board and not a word about drugs!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 21:43 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
02 June, 2009 23:25
Keep it coming Bill.........and as any sane Ere poster knows, the Offy mob are right up each others' ar$€s , so just don't worry about them!

Re: A Health Warning
Rawce (IP Logged)
03 June, 2009 09:21
Keep it coming Bill.........and as any sane Ere poster knows, the Offy mob are right up each others' ar$€s , so just don't worry about them!
Up your own, thank you very much!(Sm145)

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
10 June, 2009 10:39
My vanity partially stroked by a healthy 582 views, I'm sure most of us are similarly motivated, could I compare and contrast the four recent club cup competitions?

Top of the class, as a spectacle, in my mind, was the latest offering on TV this last weekend when Le Top 14, (translation...The Top 14, for those of us linguistically challenged), in which a splendidly robust and skilfull game between Perpignan and Clermont went to the former, their first win since 1954, at the expense of the latter who, astonishly have failed to win in ten appearances in 104 years of trying, so Nigel Starmer-Smith's pleasant commentary informed me. Has it been going that long? Extraordinaire mon brave! (French for "extraordinary my friend")

Next in ranking was, in my humble opinion, the game between Tigers and London Irish for the winner of the Guinesss Premiership. Next in merit as a contest the Super fourteen final in South Africa between a home team and a New Zealand side that was too one sided.

The Heineken Cup win by Leinster over Tigers I'd begun to erase unwittingly from my limited memory bank, ask me not why, except perhaps it was a while ago.

However, freshly entered is the 20 20 World Cup Cricket. Can someone tell me why games are relegated on the BBC to 11.30pm when most working people are sound asleep? Is it because of some contractual obligation enforced on them by SKY? As it is, I miss these games and only see games live, when I can, on next doors TV. Poor coverage for the oppressed licence payer. Well done SKY for covering it.

I had an argument with my next door neighbour who dismissed Australia's efforts by saying that he thought they didn't take it seriously and the Ashes meant far more to them.

I argued that this World Cup, broadcast live to almost a billion viewers, registered higher in importance on a global scale than the Ashes, and to suggest that the Aussies weren't too bothered does a disservice to the competitive mentality that has made them the team they are, or perhaps were.

After our near humiliation on Friday and the gripping comeback against a struggling Pakistani side on Sunday, the triumph of Ireland and now Sri Lanka, the magnificent performance by the Windies and the ominous power of the South africans, not to mention what India can bring to the table, can I suggest that this tournament is giving a wonderful feast of cricket from the best players in the world in a format that is perfect for the armchair viewer, and quite rivals now the allure of the Football World Cup.

Cricket is making football look a little dull. Let's celebrate and not diminish it by the use of "hit and giggle" which it is patently not. It is a gripping contest played for the highest of stakes in front of a world wide audience that can only enhance the game, of which test matches, one dayers, county games, club games and matches on the sands with mum and dad and the children are all happy aspects of the wider picture, all to be enjoyed, according to one's preference.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
14 June, 2009 22:38
Wonderful cricket. Well played Paul Collingwood and his team . Well played the MCC. Those lounges in the members pavilion were almost full, for once.

Condolences to India who must be feeling as bad as we did, after Holland and South Africa. Despite the passion it was played with a good spirit.That's as important as anything.

What an incredibly exciting game cricket is. And now for the West Indies, Monday 5.30pm. At 5pm I shall hang up my headphones as soon as I have soothed the nerves of the last caller, pedal like fury up the Gloucester Road, ignoring all the red lights as usual,(Bristol has a special rule for cyclists who are allowed to ), and get in front of next doors SKY TV, not knowing what will happen.

Neither will anyone relying on BBC TV One. This morning the sports slot consisted of a ten minute puff interview with some anonymous tennis coach promoting Andy Murray's final at Queens. At the end of the chat we viewers were informed as an aside that England were playing against India at Lords. They didn't even give the time the game started. Poor public broadcasting.

Next thing is for the Lions to beat the Springboks next week. Unlikely perhaps. But I can start to dream.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
15 June, 2009 09:20
Nice to hear the Indian crowd give the England team a traditional Indian welcome of cat calls and booing.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
18 June, 2009 10:05
In yesterday's Guardian, Andy Bull reports that the statistical half of the Duckworth Lewis partnership, Frank Duckworth, pourned scorn on the rival method employed by the Indian Cricket League.

They use the Indian VJD method which would have set a far more realistic target of 94 runs from 9 overs, and is a result of "keeping fiddling his figures". Even after revision of the DL tables after the World T20, the DL target would only be increased by a run or two to 81 or 82.

Which goes to show how dumb Duckworth Lewis patently are, the second half of the team being Tony Lewis, which was news to me. Marcus Trescothick in his column in the Bristol Evening post expresses the mildest form of criticism.

"Paul Collingwood's decision to bat after winning the toss was a bit strange as it's standard practice in the county game to bowl, if rain is around and the DL sysyem is likely to come into play".

I myself think, considering we have a multitude of physio therapists, psychologists and suchlike assisting our team, perhaps we could add someone with commonsense and a meteorologist. As long as we rely on a skewed DL table, we lost the game not on the field nor on the toss, but in making the wrong decision, to bat first.

It seems to be the accepted opinion of professional pundits that the West Indies were the better team and deserved to go through. I can't see how we can say that. The game was decided by the decision to bat, knowing how unrealistic and wrong headed was this supposedly infallible piece of boffin inspired mathematical buffoonery. Another cock up to add to the collection.

Next on the menu is a God Almighty Hammering by the Springboks this Saturday I fear and no hiding behind the ELVs!

Re: A Health Warning
purplepatch (IP Logged)
18 June, 2009 10:18
Sorry WilliamBlessing but I disagree.England lost against the Windies becasue of poor judgement,poor team selection not least in opening with a young man,Luke Wright who has absolutely no techique whatsoever.He may as well have batted with a leg of lamb for what good a bat does for him.But clearly the real error of judgement was having won the toss deciding to bat on what was anticipated to be a rain interrupted evening.Ironically England did extremely well to drag the Windies innings out to 19.5 overs - IMO

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
01 September, 2009 23:09
The Chumpionship.......?

Some of us on the Bristol forum have wondered whether two pre-season friendlies against lower league opposition, Clifton and Newbury, has been sufficent preparation for the start of the new season.

However, considering that there will be 22 more friendlies before the top eight in the league of twelve are sorted into the sheep and goats, that should be long enough for us to decide, by about March 2010, our strongest side, if, that is, anyone is still awake by then.

The cynics, of which I might be unfairly said by some, to be one, argue that this lunatic league structure is determined by one motive, and that is, of course, money. In the business world in which all professional clubs operate, there is nothing wrong with that. Far from it.

But what are the economic gains to be had from the culling of Nat Div One from 16 to 12 teams? A subsidy from the RFU of 192,000 pounds per team, up from 156, 000 pounds, is hardly big bucks. However,the substitution of games against the likes of Esher with games against Munster and other Celtic teams could be attractive both at the gate and for those of us who enjoy "foreign travel".

As the Board and major shareholders quite rightly and delicately point out, without their support, both financial and administrative, Bristol would probably be playing Dings and Clifton this season and that would clearly not do, would it?

Bristol is their club, I'm little more than a customer who can make my choice and pay at the gate if I want to, and their job is to try and encourage as many of us to do likewise with the product they offer.

Of course the players, coaches, employees and shareholders have to put a positive spin on things, but I can afford to speak my mind and state the obvious.

And that is this that, the last time when we were relegated and the time before when we almost got relegated again, in consecutive years, our fight back, first to survive, then to win promotion that ultimately lead to a triumphant third place in the Premiership, was a thrilling experience from the very first day of the season right up to the end, notably our superb demolition of Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Ground in the spring. But that had been preceded by a fantastic battle a few weeks earlier down at Plymouth. What excitement we had.

So, if the earlier 16 team league provided such undeniable thrills, who in their right mind would replace it with this Chumpionship? Were not the Board of Bristol consulted on this? Or was it "a fait a complis", imposed from above by the RFU? Was there any debate? If only Bristol and Exeter qualify in meeting Premiership ground criteria, why not just have them play each other 30 times home and away and the top two teams, that is Bristol and Exeter could have a play off at Twickers. Even if Bristol won 20 of the 30 games, of course, whoever wins at Twickers goes up. Crazy? Not really, because at least we would know that the top team would actually be promoted.

So the board own the club, they make the decisions. I decide whether to attend. I've paid my measly 100 quid for a season ticket, so I shall probably turn up, whilst really wanting to watch a proper competitive Premiership game, red in tooth and claw on Sky, this Sunday 3.30 pm from Kingsholm between Gloucester and Bath. Can you blame me? Or can you blame whoever dreamed up "The Chumpionship"? Were they tested for drugs after it?

At the end of the season we shall see, in the bottom line of profit and loss,attendance figures and the like, whether this format deserves to be retained. Will it serve to select the best team in the Division to be promoted? I doubt it. And that is the the folly that ultimately devalues any short term financial gain, if any.

Re: A Health Warning
Bod (IP Logged)
02 September, 2009 15:32
Have you enjoyed your summer Bill?

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
05 September, 2009 23:01
Bod, indeed I have, and I trust all you down the road have too..anyway, at the risk of, even certainty, of continuing to bore the pants off you all, you might be interested in.....

Dings Crusaders 29 Richmond 22

5 September, 2009

This game fizzed with spirit and ambition as two young sides flew at each other with commendable passion and skill, making for a splendidly entertaining game, enjoyed by a good sized crowd, with the result in doubt right up to the final whistle.

The coaching set up at Dings has completely changed since last year with Alan Martinovic retiring from teaching at Colston's and taking up a well paid job with the U 18's at Hartpury College.

However Ding's have been augmented by an influx of bright young backs from Colston's and under the guidance of seasoned old timer Pete Johnson, young assistant, RFU based coach, James Farndon, who has achieved success with Bristol University, and on the touchline ex Bristol and Scotland favourite Dave Hilton coaching the forwards.

A reinvented Dings played an all round game where forwards alternatively deftly passed out of the tackle and then thrusted powerfully through the middle where returning captain Stean Williams lead by example.

The game breaking try, brilliantly scored in broken play by a young Ding's centre, was thrilling to watch. On the touchline the cultured tones of the Richmond committee urging on their team was pleasing to the ear, mingling with the contrasting down to earth comments of the locals, whilst a small army of rugby refereeing assessors noted assiduously technical points on their clip boards.

One gentleman with a Richmond tie and blazer remarked that London Scottish, their tenants at the Athletic ground, who were promoted last year from this division, have lost their sponsor, who has gone over to London Welsh, just up the road, wiping out their 400,000 pound debt and guaranteeing them 3,000,000 pounds backing over the next two years or so, forgive me if my figures aren't accurate, but it's that sort of thing.

Also, the Scottish RFU, apparently allegedly, have failed to come up with 38,000 pounds worth of support for the Scottish exiles and a court case is in the offing.

Moreover, as a result of the increased support from the RFU to the 12 team Championship, teams lower down the divisions are receiving less, in this case Richmond and teams in their division getting 3,000 pounds as against 8,000 pounds last year.

So, all of a sudden Bristol's game against London Welsh tomorrow takes on a different complexion. Their new found financial backing makes them a real challenge and that wets my appetite.

When I quizzed Ding's officials about their plans for relocation they said that the University of the West of England were planning a massive rugby stadium on the fields beyond Dings and Bristol RFC were determined to get away from the Rovers after all the fiasco that they've been put through and would be in a partnership with UWE.

This was no secret but it was the first I'd heard of it. When I said "are you joking?" they said "no, there have been talks....."

Oh my giddy Aunt.......not another ground share saga....please.....

In the meantime it was great to get back to the game and be reminded how very enjoyable a good game of rugby can be, and this was one, and not a blood capsule in sight....thank God.

So tomorrow...come on Bris... all of a sudden we have a fight on our hands. A win tomorrow is no foregone conclusion. We may even have to fail before we succeed. We shall know more come 4.40 pm tomorow.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2009 23:06 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
17 September, 2009 23:02
Clifton 30 Henley 21 Posted by: WilliamBlessing
17 September, 2009

On a perfect late summer day, I cycled over to Clifton, by way of the hidden, deep wooded gorge of Coombe Dingle, past huge ancient pine trees and craggy heights up to the lawns and monkey trees of Blaise castle estate.

In the old Georgian Manor House, now a museum, an exhibition of butter making was being held in the dairy. Not to be delayed I pedalled on past a sumptuous new leisure and sports centre built on the grounds of Henbury School and on into the semi rural playing fields of Clifton RFC.

As always the welcoming party at the gate was headed by ever green finance director Mr Anderton, who with honeyed words invited me to become a member for only 25 pounds a year. This was so cheap I couldn't bring myself to rob him so I paid my 7 pound entrance fee, and chatting away asked where was the groundman who normally helps collect the entrance money.

"In hospital with emphysemia....alas."

His stand-in was a bright, youngish chap who was a freelance IT consultant who had been trying to fix Bristol RFC crashing website and online booking service.

The CEO Steve Gorvett was up a ladder all week replacing the dodgy wireless connection with a cable. Hopefully it will fix it...."

Out the back, Clifton were warming up under the leadership of Matt Salter. Mark Regan the new forwards coach was absent attending the SKY sports box as pundit analyst.

And then onto the field the home team trotted out in modish skin tight stretchy black and lilac hoops looking quite fetching, no doubt to the ladies eyes. Henley looked like they meant business and things went pear shaped big time when Clifton lost the ball on the half way line and the visitor's no 8 ran away down the hill and scored a try. 13 -5 .

Mr Salter, drawing his men under the posts as the conversion sailed over, went completely mental with more F words than Gordon Ramsay after hitting his own thumb with a hammer. The air was deep blue, if not lilac.

In the second half things got even grimmer as a bustling Henley camped on Clifton's line. But fierce resistance held out and at last a Henley knock on gave Clifton a scrum, wherefrom skilful solid play from Salter at the base shipped the ball to the scrum half to his fly half who cleared the lines to halfway.Classic piece of play.

And then Clifton clicked. Salter tore into the rucks, caught everything going, passed to the backs where old England and Bristol hero David Rees, aided by the young bucks, scored three tries on the bounce whilst young prop Marco Vainopolo showed enormous strength in the mauls. The tide had turned and Clifton had secured their first win at this new National League two South level to the delight of the appreciative home crowd.

After the game in the club house the match on the TV from Wembley between Saras and Saints was on in the background as reports of Bristol winning at Birmingham and Dings away to Lydney cheered the gathering. Only Bath losing to Wasps tempered the mood , even more so the next day when Glos got thumped at London Irish.

So what a splendid day, for Clifton in particular, and the game of rugby in general. My thanks to all those who entertained us so royally and thoughts to those who had to be on the losing side. Their day should come, but not this time.

Re: A Health Warning
Fudpucker (IP Logged)
18 September, 2009 08:47
Keep'em coming WB - always an entertaining read.

Re: A Health Warning
Tiger in the Bath (IP Logged)
18 September, 2009 10:44
The thread on the Glos page as Two Sheds is driven insane by these postings is entertaining. Worth a visit.

Re: A Health Warning
Fudpucker (IP Logged)
18 September, 2009 10:55
After some of the emotive postings on ERE and other boards, WB's witterings come as a light relief to me. In fact we keep a copy on the coffee table in Fud's corner (Well actually it's a beer table, but it didn't sound right)

If posters find WB's epistles annoying, then why do they bother to read them? And then moan again !!

Or are WB and Fud the same person? Have they been seen together? (Sm115)confused smiley(Sm128)

Re: A Health Warning
Tiger in the Bath (IP Logged)
18 September, 2009 10:59
No they aren't. You wouldn't use so many words

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
18 September, 2009 22:11
Tiger in the Bath and Mr Pudfucker and countless other admirers the world wide ( or perhaps not)

You have no idea how relieved I am to get a positive review of the endless drivel that I spend so much time dreaming up and perfecting as I run around the common or lie in bed at night. Try as I may, I can do nothing to avoid the angry response I get from Two Sheds. But I shan't give up.

After all it's only he and I who actually post on the Glos Unoffy website, so we need each other.

To be criticised is better than to be ignored and I owe him that honour. Maybe one day. In the meantime I thankyou deeply for the kind words and sentiments.

Now tomorrow. Shall it be Dings vs Barking? It has a nice "ring" to it. It could be the posting that finally sends Two Sheds over the edge. I hope not.

Re: A Health Warning
22 September, 2009 07:35
Keep'em coming Mr Blessing(Sm1)

Bonjour Jacques, my adopteee 2010/ 2011
Pic to follow

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
23 September, 2009 10:24
Dings Crusaders 9 Barking 18 by William Blessing 19 September, 2009

Once again Saturday came, a perfect late summers day for rugby at all levels throughout the land. Earlier that morning, in the local Tesco supermarket at Golden Hill, a Dings fan, of the more literate kind, gazing at his texts on his mobile, merrily informed me that.. "that chap from Bath who got banned, what's his name....Crocket....Adam Crockett....he's gonna be playin for Dings after they say....he's a friend of Stean Williams (the Dings captain) and he's signed for Gloucester for next season, so he just wants to get fit at Dings......"

"Alex Crockett?" I replied. "Yes.. Alex Crockett..." he said dashing away..."see you at the game!"

Later that day at the ground, the rumour was backed up by the very highest of authorities, on the crowded touchline, by the bustling bar where the great and the good gather, so that probably means it's just another wind up, but I can only report what I'm told with a straight face.

They gather there at the crucial corner, where, due to the slope of the ground, the fieriest of battles ensue, usually in Dings favour, and this game was no disappointment. If there are phases such as "ruck", "maul", "scrum" and "line out", we need to add another phase...and one that was unending from start to finish and that is, I suggest a "braul". This is to describe a "maul" that includes all 30 players, even the referee and touch judges by accident at times, not a "brawl" for that would mean the referee blowing his whistle to end it.

The "braul" is just one filthy great big scrap for the ball, a bit like the 100 years war, with intermittent schoolboy pleading to "sir" "the fugging dirty animal has just bit my shirt off" much to the amusement and jeering of the bear baiting crowd who, clutching their pints, pitch in with a volley of abuse at all come sundry.. Great fun...

The determination to win was shared equally by both sides, but Barking had a slight advantage in that their pack was frightenly huge, had Dings stuffed in all phases.... except for the "braul", a no hold barred arm wrestling match which reached it's highpoint as Dings defended their special corner with real pride and passion, the young scrum half, Ricky Jones, throwing himself fearlessy into a lethal combine harvester of thrashing arms and legs to win the ball for Dings and save the day.

And then the seas parted and Dings were away, free, in precious open space and powering for the line to score a try that could have won the game, but they too were cut down by a last gasp flying tackle, and so the moment passed. 12-9 to the visitors became 15-9, and with the last gasp of the game a drop kick denied Dings even a losing bonus point.

Scurrying away on my bike through the slumbering council housing estate of Lockleaze, I eagerly took up residence back in "posh" Horfield, in front of next doors TV to watch Leicester vs Newcastle. A nice new stand but I wondered who had enjoyed themselves the more at which game. The Premiership match involved strange things like "passing" and attempts at "running" with the ball, though the end result was the tries.., so you pays your money and takes your choice..(4 pounds at the gate for over 60's, sort of, at Dings ....or 8 pounds if you really isnt the be all and end all it would appear)

An so to the next day, Sunday, the sun still shone and after pounding around the common in a good time of 23 minutes and 10 seconds, straining my groin slightly in the process, I once again settled down in front of next doors TV to watch Man United vs Man city....and it was just getting interesting at 2-2 when, like a reluctant child having to go to afternoon Sunday school, I tore myself a way to watch Bristol vs Rotherham at the Memorial Ground, just a hundred yards down the hill.

It was still a nice day, but I became confused as to whom Bristol were playing. Apparently the "sat nav" on the Rotherham coach took them to the Westbury on Trym Womens Institute where a party of ladies from Rotherhams Knitting Club were due to share secrets in crocheting and the like.

At the same time, the Knitting Club went to the rugby ground by mistake, and by half time had created a multi coloured scarf long enough for Tom Baker's Dr Who to wear. Bristol meanwhile, had thought they were at a screening of "Come Dancing" and had merrily waltzed, cha cha chaad and tangoed unopposed to a 29 -3 lead.."Very strange" I mused as I lolled lazily against a barrier, chatting to my mate Pete who seems to enjoy the odd coach trip himself here and there in his old age to various religious sites such as "Lindisfarne oopp north.." "very pleasant" he said. Although his next door neighbour Mr Sedgley had taken a fall and was in hospital. (As a result Pete couldnt watch his SKY TV. "He likes golf and tennis mostly, but I get to watch the odd game of rugby and cricket..."

After half time the Rugby side from Rotherham arrived and trotted out and gave Bristol a thorough deep rectal examination which gave us pause for further thought. But looking at the argy bargy of the Premiership I'm not sure where the most fun is to be had, but once again perhaps rugby in all it's forms was the winner, especially "braul" and all.

And so as Autumn truly arrives and Gloucestershire CCC prepare for the very last game of the season against Kent with a very faintest chance of winning promotion, the rugby season gathers apace with the commencement of the University games to end next spring at Twickenham. Last season Hartpury College (Gloucestershire) narrowly defeated Loughborough College in the final. Hartpury also beat Clifton in the intermediate cup and continue to burn up the oposition in the South West One West Division they have won promotion to.

Bath University take on Bristol University at the Recreation Ground, Bath Wednesday 6th October 7.15 pm, entrance 3 pounds only...

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
05 October, 2009 22:06
If you think you might have read this somewhere before, an edited version of this posting appears on another thread........

I was on a train to London many years ago, so long ago it might even have been a steam engine, but I remember it had corridors and as I walked along, looking for a compartment, I noticed a spare seat, and sliding the door squeezed in next to a group of chaps wearing smart black blazers with badges and ties, white shirts, short haircuts. I asked the elderly gentleman opposite me, similarly attired, if they were a rugby club travelling away and who they were?

A few players looked up from their card game, cautiously wondering who this long haired wierdo was, ( I've lost the long hair, as to whether I'm still a weirdo, I'll let you draw your own obvious conclusions), and the old chap said "We're Exeter Rugby Club".

"Who're you playing ?", I asked. "Saracens" I think he said. I honestly can't remember who I was going to watch. It could have been Bristol at Blackheath for all I know. But I was indelibly impressed by their sober good manners, combined with a hint of James Bond like potential violence, if I stepped out of line.

And so 40 years on what has changed?

Bristol 25 Exeter 36 October 4th 2009......

Yes, it was an enjoyable game, a bit like the old amateur days when the result was important until the final whistle and then all was forgotten as players shook hands and everyone merrily went their way to the bar and beyond. I half expected to see an advert for the Beatles at the Colston Hall, although the mountains of uncollected rubbish littering the streets hark back to the bin strikes of the 70's.

Yes, it was a pre season friendly, of sorts but the next question is whether there is much advantage to be playing in the Premiership for Bristol? Both these sides would have lost by about 40 points to most Premiership teams. The best they could have hoped for was a win once a season against perhaps Leeds.

To Exeter such a fate would be a novelty worth trying but for myself, the attendant grief, team chopping and coach persecution worthy of Montezuma at his most boodthirstiest, is of doubtful pleasure.

As Exeter are the only other team in the Championship that fulfil Premiership criteria, how about establishing a pact that ensures they win the play off finals?

For real drama I have particularly enjoyed two Premiership games played at 6.05pm on Saturday nights. This new kick off time has permitted me to watch either Clifton or Dings Crusaders at National Division Two South level in the afternoon. A week ago I became a season ticket holder at Clifton for 25 pounds and the standard of rugby is high and the ability to watch the play, close up and in the corners, really permits one to appreciate the skill and courage of these players.

So this simple rescheduling by SKY and the Premiership is bound to increase gate takings throughout the country especially at the lower levels and, I would imagine, increase TV viewer figures at the same time.

The only people it might not suit is the supporter of the teams being televised, but what's new? As an impartial observer of the Bath Vs Leicester game a week or so ago I thought it was a tremendous match. Imagine my surprise to read Stephen Jones in next days Sunday Times comprehensively rubbishing the match. These critics should take a break sometime to rediscover their appetite. Being an "expert" can blind one to the simple facts of a thrilling game.

And if the Bath Tigers game was a cliff hanger, the Quins Bath game this weekend topped the lot. But thats what you get when there is something to play for. The designers of the "Championship" in contrast take us back in time to a gentler age. As it is, Bristol supporters can enjoy both eras at the same time.....perhaps.

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
21 October, 2009 09:48
There has been a debate recently on whether the coaches should be pitch side urging our team on and shouting instructions. One poster on the Unoffical site, Yorkie Boy enlightens us

Re: Memo to Paul Hull...

..makes me laugh with all the folks on here who say the coaches should be on the touch line but the championship regulations state only the team manager or who is acting as team manager is allowed in the technical area so, before sprouting off, know the rules people.

I responded ...

Yorkie boy,

I take your point, but, alas if we all knew what we were talking about we wouldn't be on these boards, myself included. None the less I thank you for your shining light on the problem. I'm always irritated by football managers such as Fergie and Wenger standing on the touchline, like nerdy trainspotters with their every ranting grimace and spittle flecked raving on show to the viewing public, followed up by their one eyed mind bending distortion of the obvious truth about whether it was a foul or a goal or whether the ref was too fat.

I prefer our rugby coaches to remain in dignified silence with our own very dear to our hearts Mr Brain in his usual position, high up in the "Centenary" stand, hanging upside down as it were, in the belfry with his batman suit on, blood dripping from his fangs, closely accompanied by "Robin" Mr Hull, as they looked on at the truly Halloween Horror Show put on by the lads last Friday night against "Sir Oswald" Moseley RFC.

Watching him closely in his towering erie I realised that, what I thought was blood dripping from his jaws, was in fact splurges of an over generous appication of tomato sauce on his mid game jumbo burger, which came as relief considering recent past events at other equally famous rugby clubs .

Once again I came away with a mild sense of happiness, a win is a win, and I shall refrain from tearing the few remaining threads of hair and shooting myself in the head for the play offs in Spring, as like lemmings, we all once again run head long for the oblivion of promotion and a trip over the side of the cliff.

Next stop Doncaster!

Re: A Health Warning
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
01 November, 2009 20:28
British Universities and Colleges(BUCS) prem Divs A North and South Pool games results

The battle to the BUCS cup final at Twickenham in Spring has got into full swing with the first four rounds providing, as ever, some marvellously entertaining games played in a true Corithinian spirit embellished with a touch of modern day fisticuffs that even pre video monitoring days of the 70's would be proud of.

In the Northern Division Premier A, Leeds Metropolitan and Loughborough University remain unbeaten whilst in the Southern Division Premier A, Hartpury, last years champions, top the table after beating Bristol University 30-15.

The Hartpury College ground is about 5 miles north west of Gloucester on the Ledbury road. I can tell you exactly where it is because I keep cycling there from the train station, the latest ride being exceedingly pleasant in the warm sunshine of this exquisite Indian summer we are enjoying.

Looking back towards the Vale of Gloucester, surrounded by the Cotswolds to the east with the tiny figure of the towering cathedral nestling in the town around, one could wonder at the picturesque nature of rural England, occaisonally rattled by the roaring swirl of a thundering 40 ton lorry sweeping by.

Bristol entered this game in fine form having the previous week turned over UWIC 33-30 at Coombe Dingle in an astonishing game which ended with one team jumping in the air with joy and the other slumped on hands and knees in despair. Bristol's win, after conceding two tries in the opening 10 minutes could not have been guessed at and we spectators turned our minds to our favourite past time of slagging off everyone concerned, past, present and future with the fortunes, or lack of it, with our city's main side, Bristol Rugby Club, only now and then desisting as a present encumbent wandered by with a steely eyed hautuer.

But all of a sudden the young Bristol team, lead by a small speedy centre, Tom Mitchell scored a brilliant try, Mitchell skipping, swerving and ducking past a series of belligerent but unsuccessful cover tackles by the visitors.

Somehow half time arrived with Bristol still in the game and in the second half Bristol continued their fight back with outstanding play by their quick No 8, a roll over try that left the hardened UWIC coaches spitting fury with their team, and Tom Mitchell once again putting Bristol in the lead with another brilliant try from centre.

A late penalty to UWIC levelled the scores and with the final play of the game Bristol's fly half, a dead eye kicker, dropped a winning goal to leave Bristol the most unlikeliest of winners. After the game Professor Bob Reeves of Bristol University entertained an invited party of ex University players, including Bristol legend Dave Rollitt and good wife, an annual event all the more poignant as Bob retires after a life time of distinguished service to the game.

A week later Bristol attempted to repeat the magic trick but it ended up with the conjuror going to pull a rabbit out of the hat to find nothing was there. Hartpury, who play a stronger team on saturdays in newly promoted to South West One West, were their normal speedy selves, but turned around at half time 13-12 down. But Tom Mitchell pulled a muscle, Hartpury grew in strength and Bristol succumbed as I hot footed it on my bike back to Gloucester train station, the sun setting to the west over the hills of Wales.

Next Wednesday 4th November Filton College play London Wasps at home 2.30 pm at their excellent Wise campus opposite the AXA building near Parkway railway station. This a team I intend to inspect and hope to report back on, their having recently won at home to London Irish 10-9 with two second half tries, the latter in the closing minutes.

Northern Division

P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Leeds Metro Carnegie Men's 1st 4 4 0 0 111 46 65 12
2 Loughborough Univ Men's 1st 3 3 0 0 106 47 59 9
3 Uni of Nottingham Men's 1st 3 1 0 2 65 80 -15 3
4 Northumbria Uni Men's 1st 3 1 0 2 90 103 -13 3
5 Newcastle Uni Men's 1st 3 1 0 2 51 45 6 3
6 Nottingham Trent Univ Men's 1st 2 0 0 2 20 67 -47 0
7 Uni of Durham Men's 1st 2 0 0 2 37 92 -55 0

* = points deducted/awarded
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Leeds Metropolitan Carnegie Men's 1st 31 - 15 University of Durham Men's 1st
Loughborough University Men's 1st 56 - 14 Northumbria University Men's 1st 1st XV
Nottingham Trent University Men's 1st 12 - 41 University of Nottingham Men's 1st Directions on
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Northumbria University Men's 1st 15 - 25 Leeds Metropolitan Carnegie Men's 1st
Newcastle University Men's 1st 26 - 8 Nottingham Trent University Men's 1st
University of Nottingham Men's 1st 17 - 24 Loughborough University Men's 1st
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Leeds Metropolitan Carnegie Men's 1st 44 - 7 University of Nottingham Men's 1st
Loughborough University Men's 1st 26 - 16 Newcastle University Men's 1st Towers
University of Durham Men's 1st 22 - 61 Northumbria University Men's 1st
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Newcastle University Men's 1st 9 - 11 Leeds Metropolitan Carnegie Men's 1st

Data maintained by: BUCS Fixtures - Rugby

Premier Division South A

1 HARTPURY 3 2 1 0 68 43 7
2 UWIC 4 2 1 1 104 53 7
3 BATH 2 2 0 0 46 22 6
4 BRISTOL 4 2 0 2 85 97 6
5 EXETER 3 1 0 2 34 57 3
6 ST MARYS 3 1 0 2 31 78 0*
7 SWANSEA 3 0 0 3 42 60 0

Playing today/results awaited: 1* = points deducted/awarded
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
UWE Hartpury Men's 1st 30 - 15 University of Bristol Men's 1st
University of Exeter Men's 1st - UWIC Men's 1st Fixture reversed -now playing at Sandy Park 1930
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
St Mary's University College Men's 1st 14 - 24 UWE Hartpury Men's 1st
University of Bristol Men's 1st 33 - 30 UWIC Men's 1st
University of Exeter Men's 1st 20 - 10 Swansea University Men's 1st
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Swansea University Men's 1st 22 - 29 University of Bristol Men's 1st
University of Bath Men's 1st 31 - 14 University of Exeter Men's 1st
UWIC Men's 1st 44 - 6 St Mary's University College Men's 1st
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
St Mary's University College Men's 1st 11 - 10 Swansea University Men's 1st
UWE Hartpury Men's 1st 14 - 14 UWIC Men's 1st
University of Bath Men's 1st 15 - 8 University of Bristol Men's 1st

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