Phillip Hughes RIP

I was awoken this morning as usual by the news on “Today” to be rather shocked by the reported death of Phillip Hughes, the Australian batsman.

This shows that cricket, as in most sports, does have a dangerous aspect to it and I’ve suffered a few minor but painful knocks in my time playing the great game. But to be killed by a ball in sport is a terrible tragedy.

It’s odd that this week I have started to read Douglas Jardine’s “In Quest of The Ashes” the England captain’s account of the notorious 1932-33 Ashes series commonly known as the “Bodyline” controversy. In those days, England had a couple of ferocious bowlers, Larwood and Voce, and the batsmen didn’t wear  much protection except leg pads, gloves and a presumable a box. Given today’s news, its amazing that no-one was killed in that series.

But our thoughts should also go out to the bowler, Sean Abbott. When you bowl any delivery, you never expect the consequences to be so severe.

On a positive note, it was good to see the whole of the cricket world come together in the way it has. Acts like postponing a days play (as New Zealand  and Pakistan have) show that despite the problems of the world, cricket  can rise above all of this and break down barriers put up by politics.


UKIP’s bubble burst?

Despite the win in Rochester last night, are we seeing an apparent drop off in UKIP’s impetus?

Reckless’ majority cut by 70% from when he was a Tory; polls now showing support for EU membership back over 50%; numbers of people voting UKIP in By-elections this year who say they will also vote UKIP at the general Election next year is down by 15% (if you believe polls!).

I still think they will win a few seats and might be the party to coalesce with, if the Lib Dems continue their current trend – only got 350ish votes last night, did you see?! But the public are getting wise to them – especially the lack of cohesive policy and desire to demolish the NHS.

But I do think the General Election next year could be fascinating. With UKIP in England and the SNP north of the border both giving the “main parties” a right going over of late, we might see a far more representative House of Commons come May next year.

If only they would give us a vote on getting rid of this archaic and regressive first past the post system…

Essington RBL Poppy Quiz 2014

A close run quiz last night at Essington RUFC saw the one and only Major Orton ably assisted by JC and June win a tie-breaker to claim this years trophy.

With this years theme “Remembering WWI”, the usual subject areas tested the teams and the winning score was 70 out of 130.

With a presentation of a cheque by Lori for £279, the night raised £85 for the raffle and £50 from the players so raising £414 on the night.

One of the features of this years quiz was a mastermind round where Mr Five Pints sat people in a chair and read out 10 general knowledge questions to the teams nominated player. A grilling under a bright light really but a gag round that went well.

You can download the scores here:

A lot of planning and a team of 6 to run the quiz but as we had nine teams and nearly filled the room which was more than I expected. Big thanks to to Ian, Phil, Dash, Nick and Paul for help me out and making the event a great success.

Well done to all the participants and a good night in a good cause. Well done as well to Major Orton – he’ll be dining out on this for years!

Get ready for next year now – the theme will be Escape to VE day!

Shrewsbury Town 1:0 Walsall

Last night, the Brother in – Law and the Niece & Nephew went to the F A Cup replay between Shrewsbury and Walsall.

It was a tight game but Walsall didn’t create enough chances to deserve to win and Shrews played well enough to edge it.

Having said that the referee, Gavin Ward, made some poor decisions that didn’t do Walsall any favours.

One of the “entertainment” parts of the evening was the banter between the fans – some of which you can well imagine, but Walsall’s away support was very vocal and came up with the full repertoire of terrace songs, much to our amusement .

I’m glad it didn’t go to extra time as it was along enough night as it was for a school night, but a good diversion for the middle of the week.

Walsall 1:0 Sheffield Utd

Last night, the old gang myself, me Dad, The Brother in Law, The Nephew, 5 Pints and his youngest (now 6ft 2in and mid 20’s) went to the Bescot to see the Johnstone Paint Trophy (Football League Trophy ) match between Walsall and Sheffield Utd which Walsall won 1-0.

It was one of the best games I’ve seen at the Bescot for many a year and Walsall deserved more. They passed the ball well and after Manset came on, created a of chances. United though were dangerous on the break and should have scored themselves.

United are at the moment under the cloud of the Ched Evans scandal so maybe had other things on their minds.

Two games in succession: and may be the F A Cup replay next week!

Fire and evade

Very busy this weekend with a number of social engagements notably two firework displays at the local Rugby clubs, one of which was a bit sour as one of the stewards coped one in the eye and ended up in the hospital.

Also,  first footie game of the year at Walsall in the F A Cup which was quite exciting as Walsall only equalised in the 90th minute!

And of course, it was Remembrance weekend so a packed Short Heath Cenotaph in the sun was a solemn moment. And to finish it off, Went over Birmingham to see Duffers Band.

One thing remains constant though a  bonfire weekend – we always end up with a firework emergency with the Brother-in-Law. This year, he had the bright idea to watch the embers of the fire whne one of the lads from the rugby club chucked the supposedly dead remains of the fireworks onto the fire.

And of course they weren’t entirely spent so off we legged it in great haste chased by so cartwheeling and banging chemicals.

Another close escape to go along with the burnt window of a few years ago.

80’s TV

In the dark nights since the clocks went back, I’ve been catching up with some TV, notably Edge of Darkness which is really good.

I remember watching this when it came out and it hasn’t lost any of it’s impact as a great piece of TV drama. You can tell it’s era though – the police are running around in Rover SD1′s and the computers are gigantic mainframes. However, it’s themes haven’t really gone away and still pervade other dramas about Government and cover ups etc.

I find it odd that  there was less choice available back then but the quality was better, certainly in terms of scripts if not special effects etc. These days, we have some much choice, there is very little quality -(take Downton Abbey for example amongst others). Another one I watched and regretted was The Honourable Woman. Rather heavy and badly acted I thought but the concept was good even if the scripts were somewhat contrived.

Have the days of good British TV drama gone for ever?



You couldn’t make it up

Most of us know it’s human nature to foul up but this week has been a good week for UKIP, and Mr Farage must be rubbing his hands. If ever a political party had the keys to Downing Street handed to them, this must be that week.

Firstly, the foreign crime figures. One of the biggest issues when I speak to people around here is they are fed up with crimes committed by people who come over here from abroad. And you have to say they have a point. Some of the biggest cases have involved criminal gangs from Eastern Europe. I thought we had abolished slavery back in the 1800’s?

Second , Cameron’s attempts at immigration control within the EU – a non-starter if ever there was one. This is one of the fundamental principles of the EU so he’s as likely to get that approved as much if The Beatles reformed.

Third, this EU surcharge announced today. If ever a politician wanted an excuse for us to leave the EU this must surely be it. To demand extra money for having a successful economy whilst poorly performing economies get money back is simply ludicrous. Why do the Greeks have to pay? An ailing economy now with a bill just like us!

Have the people who have come up with this done it without any thought to the political reaction around Europe is is this an a deliberate attempt to usher Britain out of the EU?



Change of venue

Last night marked a watershed in the social aspects of life in The Principality, namely, we’ve finally abandoned The Min. Thursday nights post-sport activity drink is now held at Willenhall Rugby Club where we were made most welcome. And they serve the local real ale and a decent pint of Guinness.

All-round a good move for us in the village and some money for the Rugby Club – and we’re drinking he local ale!

Have we been rescued?