Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rugby league returns!

So, I need to get back into the blogging habit. It's a curious thing, that Skolars' two pre-season friendlies may be their biggest gates of the season. Wigan XIII (the kids) at the Honourable Artillery Company is a great season opener, and certainly draws in the crowds. Having the Broncos to the New River also brought a great crowd two (and it was good to hear they were in full voice). It was good to be back New River, and my regular seat. Enfield was nice, but the green view around the ground on White Hart Lane is hard to beat. Skolars played well in both games, only losing by respectable margins, rather than 60-nil drubbings (although it was clear from the error strewn Broncos that they are clearly not a Super League team, but maybe the test of the season will tell. They only need to escape the Championship and recruit. Last season showed what the core of their support is, and that will stay while they're in the Championship, and they can only grow from here). A bit of flash basketball throwing here and there they could cut out, bu the basics are in place, and only pace and size will tell against them (and it will). I look forward to some humdingers. (Oh, and seems the New River has been renamed New Camp. Ho Hum). It took me a little while to adjust my head from watching union matches (kept expecting kicks to touch and ten minutes standing around for the next set piece). The pace has been terrific, as well as the physical courage. A new season, loads to enjoy. Howay the Skolars!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

On a workers wage...

faintly heartening BBC story doubtless there is some lurking evil somewhere, but a President prepared to stick by his principles (hardly a workers wage, since his wife has property, but still, sometimes the littlest steps make the biggest differences).
The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers. This austere lifestyle - and the fact that Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000 (£7,500), to charity - has led him to be labelled the poorest president in the world.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Blown away...

"CHINA’S political elite has been shaken by a lurid new scandal over the death of a senior official's son who crashed his Ferrari during what appeared to be a sex session with two women." (story here).

So, that kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it. All the analysis of the whispers from the corridors of the Chinese government are neither here nor there. It is symptomatic of a sort of decadence within the second generation ruling elite, the ones with privilege gifted them. (It also shows how the accoutrements of wealth, including almost ritual sexual performances and prestige objects (like Ferraris) are now in available to the elite). For the ruling party, of course, it is the symbolism that matters, if only a handful of their number are so debauched, they will come to stand is as a metonym for the whole.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Brown trousers time

According to the BBC: Chinese growth is falling. Now, you might say, wow, 7.6% growth (however much of that is real), but China has been growing much faster than that recently. Given it's scale, its importance to the world economy, China doesn't actually have to go into recession in order to cause a great deal of damage. Here's former Aussie PM Kevin Rudd explaining why. Couple this with warning squeaks from Germany and we may be seeing the world crisis move into a new phase: first the shock, then the slow down. Bob alone help us if China goes into negative growth (or, such negative growth that it can't massage the stats to look positive). I have my tins of beans and sacks of porridge ready.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Papal endorsement

Official: the Pope loves Fanta - so much, he splashes it around. Nasty accident there, could sink the Titanic.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Bradford bull

It's always terrible whenever a swathe of lay-offs is announced. It's always sad when a town's club dies. I have to confess, at first I thought about digging into my pockets to help the dig-out fund for the Bulls. I checked who owned them, decided they were privately owned, and kept my cash in my pocket. If they were a co-op or a supporters trust I've have chipped in. But I didn't see why I should help someone make a profit (either directly or ultimately).

On top of that, what with the mess at Rangers, I've become less tolerant. Financial mismanagement of a club is cheating, it keeps them in place when other clubs who are working hard and managing on a shoestring could step up and benefit from the earnings. So many families rely on a club for their incomes, it is despicable to play fast and loose with that. Even star league players aren't super rich in this country.

I hope a new club arises from the ashes, even if it has to start from rock bottom. This link leads to a very pissed off fans forum. And they rightly are. I hope that the game with Broncos goes ahead this weekend, even if it has to be played on some local rec.

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Monday, July 02, 2012

Double trouble... (London Broncos v. Leeds Rhinos & London Skolars v. Barrow Raiders)

I was lucky enough to have two home games to watch this weekend: Broncos v. Leeds and Skolars v. Barrow. Both games seemed to illustrate the concept of the score not reflecting the match (Broncos were murdered 12-58, while Skolars managed a more creditable 17-30)). They also illustrate the fact that a terrible damage can be done to the score line in a very short time.

The first twenty five minutes of the Broncos match were scoreless: indeed, the London side were mostly camped out in the Leeds half, and the West Yorks team locked a shadow of the sides I've seen. Broncos' tackling was efficient and their rucking was tight. They just seemed to lack finishing, relying on dink kicks that were inevitably scooped up on the line. Leeds' first try was disallowed for a forward pass: but it did show how they could cut Broncos apart ion the wing. The visitors were ahead at half time, and despite London scoring first, began to build a steady lead.

Then came the last ten minutes. Leeds drove home try after try, and suddenly a close match became a drubbing. The worst thing was they were soft tries: not bulldozered over the line but gaps exploited mercilessly. The dreaded fifty mark loomed and was approached with terrible inevitability. Ten tries are hideous to be on the receiving end of. The Southern side just, almost literally, took their eye off the ball, and their spirit crumpled. The victor's coach, however (admittedly an ex-manager of the then Harlequins) said afterwards that the score didn't reflect the work and the quality of the contest for most of the match.

Much the same could be said for Skolars. They're mitigation is they were up against the top of the league side who only are slumming it in Championship One because of financial difficulties (tomorrow I'll have a rant about the Bulls, don't let me forget). They were 11-0 up at half time (including a cheeky drop goal). The match had been tight and scoring opportunities few. Then, second half, the league leaders remembered what they were there to do, they drove through three in succession (in the space of 9 minutes). From there on the struggle resumed, but Skolars had men sent off. The perennial strugglers clawed one back, before a final two tries finished them off. The bonus point slipped out of grasp. The thirteen point gap in no way represents the real gap between the teams: the difference was those nine minutes and the entirely preventable third try. At this rate, the occasional cries of Skolars' fans that their is the best team in London might just, terrifyingly, and for all the wrong reasons, be correct.

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