January 2012

Olympic Year but not Yer

You may have noticed that in my previous articles I have tried to avoid the use of slang but I failed miserably with the above title which seems to sum up our lot as an Olympic location.  No disrespect to the few events we have attracted to Wales, but come on, this is a London Games and no politician is going to convince anybody otherwise.  However, do you know where the revival of the Olympic movement and modern games all began?  No, not Athens, which staged the first modern Olympiad in 1896 but in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, in 1850, the brainchild of a local doctor, William Penny Brookes.  It seems to me that Dr Brookes had it about right, combining feats of athletic prowess with a wheelbarrow race, a womens’ race for a pound of tea and quoits! 

However, fear not fellow sports fans, all is not lost for us in Wales.  The August Bank Holiday will see all roads leading to Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid-Wales for the Annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships incorporating the World Alternative Games.  Not to be outdone by the London set, this will also include: Man v Horse; Underwater Hockey; Wife Carrying, Extreme Ironing and the throwing of Black Puddings and Yorkshire Puddings.  Lord Coe has not commented on this athletic feast as far as I can tell but I suspect that Dr Brookes will be smiling down on the events which are closer to his dream than the London shindig.  Believe it or not, this sporting event has attracted a £50,000 grant from the Welsh Government which I think is excellent value for money particularly when you consider the fragility of the Eurozone and how the price of black pudding has rocketed of late. 

I don’t know about you but I am one of those grumpy old men who cannot abide “Reality” TV shows.  My view is I do not care who the people are or what happens to them.  I want escapism and entertainment from people with talents I do have rather than the turgid diet of dross that is slopped out on a daily basis.  This set me thinking.  Over the Christmas break I took a bit of a survey at the Rugby Club and we have come up with a few ideas of our own to make better “Reality” TV shows.  What about, the self-explanatory Celebrity Shooting Fish in a Barrel or Supermarket Thief, where celebrities have an hour to steal as much as they can from a supermarket without being caught.  Thinking about it, this latter one may have been done before (and don’t try this yourselves).  We also came up with “Man Hunt” where an outspoken celebrity from the pro-hunting lobby is given half an hour to hide in the countryside and is then chased by a hungry pack of hunt-saboteurs, or, perhaps, “60 Minute Demolition” where again, a celebrity leaves their home for some spurious reason, say to collect their orange make-up which has just arrived in a truck at Dover, only to return an hour later to find their house demolished and no trace of the demolition team.  At least they will be fully made-up to talk to the Press.  If taken on by TV companies these programmes would help discourage the overuse of the term “celebrity” which has crept into modern culture.  You heard it here first. 

And now dear reader I need to make a confession to you all.  Despite my rant about “Reality” TV, we will be holding “The RoX Factor” talent show at the Club on 4th February.  In my defence, this has a judging panel of people who are widely known (and therefore by definition, non-celebrities) and a cast of talentless hopefuls to whom rehearsal is just one of many dirty words.  Audience participation is encouraged and no doubt there will be plenty of kibitzing (I had to look this up as well:  A kibitzer is a non-participant who hangs around a game, offering often unwanted advice or commentary…..top word).  Oh yes, variety is alive, but not very well. 

There was little rugby played over Christmas by our teams because both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve fell on a Saturday and the deluge of water that fell upon South Wales left our pitches resembling Roath Park Lake thus providing yet another amenity for the local community.  We only charged £2 a boat.  At the time of writing our 2 senior teams and youth team top their respective leagues.  The youth did manage to play against Llanishen youth in a very close game which we narrowly won officiated by a lady referee.  I have never seen our little angels so well behaved, and yes, she did well.

At the risk of alienating any female readers, this was heard after the above game:

Q “Why did God create Adam before Eve?”
A  “To give him the chance to speak.”

If you want a good example of the kind of people who are members of our Club, the Blues Coach Gareth Baber kindly “volunteered” to referee our under 13’s last week in their victory over Aberdare.  Gareth is a Club member and his son plays for us……….friends in high places and all that, something we would never seek to exploit.    

So what lies ahead in 2012 apart from the statutory lottery win, weight loss, hair gain, 6 Nations Victory, promotion for all our teams and full and final relaxation of our planning constraints?  I don’t know, this not a horoscope page but I think health and wealth are probably the best words I can leave with you or perhaps, always retaliate first and if all else fails, blame someone else (the last 2 suggestions were kindly provided by the potentially bestselling book “Tips for Politicians” wot I is writing).          

If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  admin@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby
St.Peter’s RFC

February 2012

6 Nations Winter Wonderland 

Vince NolanYou may have wondered about the wisdom of playing rugby in the Winter when England and Italy played on a snow-covered pitch the other weekend.  However, this was trumped by the debacle (French word) in Paris when France did not play Ireland despite an expectant crowd of 80,000 all seated and ready to go.   On the basis that they will each have paid at least €70 a ticket that is just over €5.5m to watch a pitch inspection.  What of under-soil heating I hear you cry or a roof, or even an accurate weather forecast, non, or should that be, none! 

Our Club plays a French side, Barbarians Champagne Rugby every year and the next away trip will be the 20th match between our two great nations so we take something of a keen interest in our chums in France.  The passage of time has meant that once-fit players have now become unfit spectators and our sons have now replaced us on the field of honour.  However, even we know how cold Paris can be.  A few trips ago it was minus 10 in the Stade de France which by a quirky design fault (also known as artistic French flair) meant that there is a large gap between the roof and the seats which invites arctic blasts from Central Europe into the arena.  When coupled with the ban on alcohol in the ground, you can no doubt imagine the delight of sitting still in sub-zero temperatures for 80 minutes.  Here’s the contradiction of the French though, no alcohol in the rugby ground but live Cockerels are permitted.  The cryogenic chamber the Welsh team have been using has nothing on Paris at this time of year.  A Gallic shrug does not quite cut it. 

The replay for Ireland and France will be set in March but it is unlikely that many of the Irish will be able to afford a second weekend in Paris and always assuming they kept their tickets as proof of having been in the Stade for the first game.  Our youth game with Rhiwbina youth was called off on the same weekend for the same reasons but we did a pitch inspection three hours before kick-off and cancelled the game before anyone had travelled.  Not a cockerel in sight!

In previous articles I have talked about a variety of subjects, seldom rugby related but nonetheless of interest or importance to our Club, its members and the wider community we represent.  However, I think it would be churlish of me not to praise the current Welsh Rugby team who at the time of writing this are on track for a Triple Crown and Grand Slam.  Very impressive thus far and building directly on their World Cup experiences and having one of the youngest squads in World Rugby.  They have no hang-ups about winning and have the basic talent to be able to do so and with some strength in depth.  This is why clubs like ours exist to nurture young talent through our junior sections and on to representative and senior honours.  Nobody should underestimate the importance of the club scene and how Wales punches far above its weight.  Punching is probably not the best phrase to use here but you know what I mean.  By way of example, France has 1,737 Clubs providing facilities for 390,000 registered players.  I am not sure how many players we have in Wales in our 300 clubs but the French have more than 10% of the overall population of Wales playing regular rugby and they still cannot organise a celebration in a brewery!

Once the rugby finished last weekend I watched Match of the Day.  The headlines were the lack of a handshake from one player having been suspended for previously racially abusing another.  Soccer could learn a lot from rugby and not just about this vitally important subject.  I don’t know about you but I am still amazed how FIFA continues to ignore the use of technology to replay incidents for soccer matches and why soccer referees continually accept abuse from so called professional players.  If they had a referee to review difficult decisions on a TV monitor as we do in rugby, cricket and tennis this would improve the game, take the pressure off the match official and bring to an end any controversial red cards or disputed penalty or offside decisions.  If a soccer player had 10 minutes in the stands to cool down after a yellow card and if teams were made to retreat 10 metres every time they abused a referee they just might start to introduce a real respect agenda into soccer.  Could it be that soccer would then become boring and the legion of commentators and pundits would no longer be needed?  Maybe this is nearer the truth.          

I reported in the previous article the eagerly anticipated extravaganza that was the RoX Factor (our own version of the X Factor).  I suppose the only difference between ours and the real one was that ours was not broadcast to millions of people who have become used to accepting nothing less than average in entertainment.  Some of our budding artistes showed a level of true mediocrity which was so bad that it had to have been rehearsed.  The crowd (audience) could be likened to that attending a public execution in days gone by, all looking forward to somebody dying in agony.  They were not disappointed.  Some combined limited singing skills with a poor version of Burlesque, never nice in a man, whilst others had practised the art of not synching the words and music together.  We were only grateful for the non-appearance of jugglers, sword-swallowers, comedians and magicians.  Let’s face it, we are a rugby club and not the New York School of Performing Arts.  But here’s the thing, everyone gave it a go and it was entertaining even if no careers changed as a result of it.  Here’s the other thing, nobody is ever embarrassed about messing up in front of family and friends and that’s who we are, family and friends.

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I have been known to include a joke or two in this article and this one caught my eye this week.  In fact, Tim Vine, the comedian won a comedy prize with this. 

“Conjunctivitis.com – now there’s a site for sore eyes”.       

If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  root@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby
St.Peter’s RFC

March 2012

Ecumenical Half-Time Oranges
(Other citrus fruits are also available)

For my treatise this month I wanted to talk to you about cosmopolitanism, ecumenicalism and oranges.  A combination of topics I think you will agree are seldom seen together in a 1,000 word article (don’t count them …….actually, for the anoraks, there are 1,008 words), let alone in a single sentence.  It sort of draws you in to want to know more doesn’t it?  I don’t know whether you share my views on conservation matters but if I were to put them succinctly, I firmly believe we have a duty to preserve our history, flora and fauna for future generations, where we can; and to make positive interventions at timely moments to enable us to do so.  You can therefore perhaps imagine my shock, horror and surprise when I recently became aware of the demise of the half-time orange.  This was not something tracked by the Sports Council for Wales, WRU, or the little known, Citrus Council for Wales – Pontcanna Branch (C.C.Cymru), or any other representative body as far as I can gather.  Unfortunately the Dodo-like absence of oranges will now no doubt be mourned in rugby clubs across the land as the harsh realisation bites that the little slice of restorative vitamin C is no more.  The only hope on the horizon is the potential reappearance of scurvy which may prompt the WRU to issue an edict about the whereabouts of local fruiterers and perhaps by subsidising prices at least for the 1st XV.  Those of you with conservatories could have a market opportunity here to clean up if you start planting ready for next season!

So what did happen to the half-time orange?  Reliable information is like jockey’s legs, few…….and far between.   From trawling my extensive research database, I understand that this is probably all down to sports nutritionists working with elite athletes (both non-existent at our Club……just like the oranges).  One particular wag has said that if the All Blacks could find a way of advertising on an orange we would still be using them.  Since professional rugby teams now leave the field at half-time nobody is entirely sure what they consume back in their dressing rooms.  Electrolytes are the thing these days which provide an easily absorbed balance of vitamins and minerals used in the dynamic action of a rugby match.  These sports scientists obviously haven’t watched us play!  Some say that oranges have a high glycerine index which raises blood sugars quickly for an energy boost.  I knew that!  Whilst others say they are bad for you as they are acidic and mix with your stomach acids which can cause problems.  Just to take a different line, Queensland Netball banned oranges because of the potential damage to the teeth enamel of their players. 

Probably enough about the practices of years gone by but I was reminded by my good friend and exiled Rock, Dai Morris, of the forthcoming 20th anniversary of Club membership of our old and valued mutual chum, Gerald Phillips (a.k.a Assassin).  This is neither the time nor the place to go into the reasons for his striking soubriquet (you look it up as well) but suffice it to say, he is a gentle soul, now.  The presence of both Dai and Gerald as Club members for 20 years is perhaps even more remarkable when you consider that both were from the Brecon area and were “Bible Black” as in Welsh non-conformist Chapel stuff with a healthy fear of joining a Club with strong links to a local Catholic Parish, perceived by outsiders to be by Catholics and for Catholics only.  About as ecumenical as Father Jack in Father Ted but with a similar penchant for “Drink” was how we were described.    Of course nothing could have been further from the truth.  However, this prompted some research and I now confess to be confused.  Ecumenicalism which I took to mean all-embracing or open to all actually means representing the whole Christian world.  Now we are proud to say that our members and players span many and no beliefs and come from many countries and cultures.  In very recent times we have had Assassin (English), Semtex (Irish), the Camilleri’s (Maltese), Nic (French), Malcolm X (West Brom), Matt from Canada, Matt the Kiwi, Andrew the Kiwi and Archie and Steve from Latvia to name but a few.  We have had guys who had to be kept away from sharp objects plus a huge smattering of Irish and Italians from the old Parish of St.Peter’s not to mention a very good Sikh winger and Muslim hooker. 

After a period of reflection at this Lenten time, we have concluded that we should replace ecumenical with cosmopolitan which means free from national limitations………at last a word that does what it says on the tin.  I guess one of the measures of how an organisation is viewed is how many members it has and whether this is growing, shrinking or changing its composition.  A very simple barometer of this for us is that every year students come to study in Cardiff, join our Club and never leave.  Given the variety of alternatives on offer to younger people in and around this fair city of ours, we must be doing something right. 

Now for this month’s prediction.  At the time of writing, Wales are poised to win the Grand Slam with the final game against France only days away.  Will we win it?  Of course we did!

And the joke: 

A depressed boxer walks into a doctor’s surgery.  “Doc you have got to help me”, he moans.  “My insomnia is terrible,  I just can’t fall asleep at night”.
The doctor peers over his glasses.  “Have you tried counting sheep?” he asks.
The boxer sighs.  “That’s no good at all” he moans.  “Every time I reach nine I get up”.              

If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  admin@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby

April 2012

Spring has Sprung (a leak)

Vince Nolan

It is strange writing a regular article like this which tries to appeal to an anonymous number of readers who may or may not be interested in tenuously linked matters about the life of a rugby club.  I wouldn’t blame you if you have turned the page over already.  Of course if you have, you have no idea what you are missing!  I went to a funeral of one of our Club stalwarts this week, Phil Driscoll, a nice guy who is sadly missed by his family and friends.  Some of the mourners provided “feedback” to me as they were Cardiff Times readers.  On a positive note I suppose it goes to show that somebody reads this stuff but let us just say that I was offered some suggestions about where I could file some of my copy.  Now Dear Reader, I never professed to be able to entertain any of you with my ramblings but some of the comments I received are probably biologically impossible to fulfil.  Still, at least I know you’re out there.

Whilst not being a huge fan of holidaying in this country because of the inclement weather and sometimes inclement locals, I was gladdened the other weekend to have a break from rugby and to enjoy the splendours of a rented Georgian house in Ilfracombe.  All right, the keys did not fit the door and we had to send for a locksmith but we repaired to the pub whilst waiting for him.  He was very happy in his work, coming out with the immortal introductory line “Locked out are you?” To be followed by the equally penetrating “Are you sure you have got the right house”.  How we smiled at his wit and canny appreciation of the situation.  It quickly became apparent why he was happy in his work when he produced a staggering invoice for opening two doors faster than Gavin Henson was shown the door by the Blues.  To add insult to injury he told us his name was Gareth and that his father had named him after a Welsh rugby player called “Gareth somebody or other”.  We decided not to keep in touch.

It was strange being away during the rugby season, even just for a weekend and I thought I would give you a flavour of what I have been doing in my role as Director of Rugby in the month before I had a weekend off.  This will be news to both you and many of our Club Members who aren’t entirely convinced that I do anything: 

  • Make a short welcome speech at a Sponsor’s Lunch at our Club before the French match.  We made £300 on the raffle because I threatened to carry on speaking if they did not give generously.  Just my luck though, a non-English speaking group of Spaniards won it.  What were the chances of that happening? I was lost for words!
  • Help organise and assist hospitality for French visitors.  Accompany the visitors to the bars in town in case of language and currency difficulties.  Scary. 
  • Quietly celebrate the Grand Slam.  Cannot remember.
  • Attend meeting with the WRU and representatives of the Welsh Youth Districts.
  • Attend meeting of Cardiff and Vale Youth Rugby Clubs.
  • Attend St. Peter’s Committee meeting.
  • Attend Cardiff and Vale District Youth Cup Match (we had 9 players involved and won).
  • Attend St. Peter’s Youth and Senior Club matches.
  • Attend WRU disciplinary meeting.  To give evidence – we were not in the Dock, this time.
  • Obtain permission from the WRU for our Youth team to go to Magalluf to play rugby at the end of the season.  Unfortunately I will not be going on this trip.  It clashes with a meeting I have yet to arrange but I know it will clash with it.  Also, I have already mentioned my limited grasp of Spanish.    
  • Assist a former Youth player, now in University, to source some content for his rugby-based dissertation.  He is now doomed to failure.
  • Assist a former Youth player with a job reference.  Unemployable.
  • See off my son and heir who is also our Club Captain to a new career in Qatar.  Jealous.     

This is a typical month apart from the latter point.  The current Mrs Nolan whilst being very supportive of my rugby activities is always happy to see May come along and have hostilities parked-up for a few short months.  I really do need a Summer hobby.  I wonder if I should take up golf……..?

I don’t know if you have been following this but the London Press seem to be under the misapprehension that somehow England had been the only good side in the recent 6 Nations Competition although their trophy cabinet remained bare.  Okay, Wales had some lucky moments, particularly in the late win in Ireland but they deserved it.  Last-gasp victories are by no means a new phenomenon.  Wales still hold a scoring record that is never likely to be beaten.  In 1931 Wales scored both before normal time had commenced and after it had finished in the same match against Scotland.  The game in Cardiff was scheduled for a 3 pm kick-off but as the ground was full and both teams were ready to go they kicked off at 2.55.  By 2.58 Wales had scored the opening try, two full minutes before the “official kick-off”.  Just to rub it in they scored again in the 2nd minute of injury time to win the match.  Can you imagine this happening today with TV dictating all kick-off times?  The lawsuits would be endless.   

We have experienced some rugby-highs this month.  Our congratulations go to Sam Parker who recently played for Wales Under 18’s against Italy in Madrid.  Sam was playing a year above his age group and this is some achievement.  Not to be outdone our Under 16’s provided three players for the Wales team for their age group in Jordan Viggers, Callum Sheedy and Rob Lewis with England as opponents.  Unfortunately, a fourth player, Rory Harries narrowly missed out on selection.  Having watched Rory play last weekend, all I can say is that Wales must have some player if their 9 is better than this guy.  Finally we had 9 players in the Cardiff and District Youth team which beat Neath/Aberavon District. 

These achievements are perhaps one of the best illustrations we can give of the hard work put in by all our coaches, helpers, teachers, parents and the boys themselves over many years and in all winds and weathers. However, we remain equally committed to encouraging greater participation at all levels of ability, little acorns and all that. 

If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  root@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby

May 2012

New Pitches; The Royal Family and Little Stars

Granted, not a title you read every day in the tabloids.  It seems like only yesterday that I was writing with fervent hope about the season which lay ahead of us.  Once again we enjoyed great success in both the senior and junior ranks and with the recent appointment of Byron Lloyd as Junior Secretary, taking over from stalwart Joe Sweeney, I hope to be able to bring you some fresh and broader ideas and opinions over the coming months. 

The work does not stop just because the season ends and that is one of the problems that face organisations like ours.  Many of our neighbours will have noticed that some new fencing has gone up around the ground as we are about to undertake major playing-surface improvement works which have been generously supported by grants from the Council and the WRU.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but we are keen that you have no health and safety issues whilst the work is being carried out since some fairly substantial machinery is being used.  New drainage and re-laying a pitch are the aims and we should be ready to commence operations with better facilities for everybody’s use before the new season kicks-off.

I read recently that there is much concern about the Olympics soccer tickets not being sold for the Millennium Stadium matches.  At the time of writing, only 11,000 tickets have been sold for 8 soccer matches.  Of course we saw this coming and offered to host these games at our ground as we could cope with these sorts of numbers.  By charging £3 admission including a hot-dog we felt it could have been quite lucrative.  Lord Coe did not respond to our suggestion but who’s smiling now then?  In all seriousness, if they want people to watch Olympic soccer in any numbers they should give the tickets away and chalk it up to missionary work in Wales.  In other news, the Blues are back at the Arms Park with a Scarlet, Phil Davies as Director of Rugby, and Cardiff City Bluebirds are discussing changing their shirt colours to Scarlet.  We however will remain in our Emerald and Black colours.  Nobody is precisely sure how our colours were chosen back in 1886 but I have to say that the Irish connection at the Club was so strong then and now that this must have influenced the final choice of our founding fathers.  Any move to change our colours would also result in our supporters staying away in their droves, all 7 of them.  How many in a drove anyway?  Apparently the collective noun is a drove of bullocks but that is probably enough about that.

I have no desire to turn this column into one for obituaries but I could not let the recent tragic and premature passing of Billy O’Keefe go without being mentioned.  Billy probably holds the record for most games played for the Club.  He was one of those people who saw things in black and white and was not afraid to say so.  He was an avid reader of this column and made one or two suggestions on how I could improve matters every time I saw him.  The politest of which was when he told me to stop writing it!  Refreshing honesty like this has been largely sanitised from our society but the message had not reached Billy, or if it had, he chose to ignore it.  Ok, he was a black-belt in judo and an 18 stone 1st Team prop in his heyday and so he was probably entitled to his opinion.  One of my favourite stories about him was Pentyrch v St.Peter’s in 1982 with a scrum on the half way line….. Push over try from 50 metres! Dennis McCarthy and Billy our two props, had smiles on their faces for weeks.

On another occasion our Junior Coach Denfa Davies reported that he had survived a particularly hard encounter over Blackweir Fields against tough opposition playing alongside the great man.  Denfa said:  “Billy gave me a pat on the back and a nod of the head. I think he even afforded himself a little smile. This I took with great pride and strode from the field feeling 6ft tall. I’m actually only 5’ 10” (and a half). That was the most you would get from Billy as far as praise would go. But it’s the things that are never said that sometimes mean so much.  Even recently when I was acting the goat at the Club, Billy fixed my gaze through a crowded room gave me the look and shake of the head like a disapproving father”….Sadly missed. 

I mentioned in a previous column that my son is working in Qatar in the Middle East.  He recently attended the Doha RFC end-of-season dinner where the guest speakers were All Black legend, Sean Fitzpatrick and English centre, Jeremy Guscott.  As you might imagine, the pearls of wisdom from Mr Fitzpatrick were truly inspiring and a great motivational speech received a standing ovation.  Unfortunately, poor Jeremy had to follow this and no doubt overcome by nerves had decided to have a few beers with the players by way of a warm-up.  It did not go well but finished on a spectacular high when Jeremy told the story of Mike Tyndall’s recent wedding to Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne.  As many of you will know, Mike Tyndall is an England rugby player who looks like a rugby player (which is unusual for a back).  Let’s just say he has a face that only a mother could love.  The wedding was attended by the Royal Family and we can only guess at a rugby boy’s nervousness at  saying something appropriate in front of The Queen and assorted Royals.  Apparently Mike started graciously by saying that he was fully aware that he was batting far above his average in marrying Zara but added that he was not the only one in the room in this position since Prince William had done exactly the same with Kate Middleton.  Apparently this went down brilliantly with all the guests, including the Prince, gained Mike a major ovation and allowed Jeremy to leave the stage in Doha with his head held high to ringing applause.  You see rugby is a great leveller. 

Finally, we were recently approached by the WRU Development Officers to see if we would be prepared for them to use our facilities for coaching sessions for the “Little Stars Programme”.  This is a fun programme for 3-7 year olds which encourages children to use core skills such as agility, balance and co-ordination as well as developing personal skills.  Specially designed rugby-based activities and games are used to develop the children’s physical learning and understanding of the game and the skills used in rugby.  The course will commence at St. Peter’s in mid-June.  Bookings can be made direct with the WRU by going to http://camps.wru.co.uk/little_stars.php 

If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  root@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby
St.Peter’s RFC 

June 2012

Summertime and the Living is Easy!

Vince NolanWhat do you mean, you missed it?  If you are continually surprised by the unpredictability of our Summer weather, don’t be.  Actually, it is becoming all too predictable.  We have periods of warm rain interspersed with flooding.  Most societies around the world either build their houses on hills or on stilts and carry on regardless.  We rely on the jovial weather forecaster who seems to delight in telling us the weather we have already experienced that day.  How very helpful.  I happen to live on a flood-plain and if the local seawall decides to give up the ghost I will be writing the next article from under the Bristol Channel.

Anyway, a Summer of sport beckons.  Let’s start this months’ rant with the European football competition, something I am not bothered about either way.  I am not one of those patriotic Welshmen who will only watch sport if Wales are involved (also known as bigots).  I cannot understand the permanent state of disappointment players and supporters habitually seem to feel.  For example, the England team visited an orphanage in Poland this week. “It’s heartbreaking to see their sad little faces, with no hope whatsoever” said little Dobroslaw, aged 6.

So what about this Olympic Flame carry on?  Dear me, it is wearing a little thin.  It even detoured across the water into Eire.  Of course I have nothing against my Celtic cousins, particularly with a name like Nolan, but why stop in Ireland at all?  I don’t know if you saw this week the initial ideas for the opening ceremony which include a cricket match and artificial rain clouds.   I wouldn’t tempt fate on the rain front if I were them.  I have mentioned before about the lack of Welsh input into these games from an organisational and contractual point of view but fear not dear reader, there is hope.  A novel way to start off proceedings and the culmination of the torch procession from Mount Olympus in Greece to London might be for a drunken Welsh rugby supporter to idly toss a lit cigarette into a golden chip-pan to let the games begin. 

In other Mid-Summer news, we had the Diamond Jubilee to endure or enjoy depending on your point of view.  I thought the Duke of Edinburgh’s bladder infection was timely.  Unfortunately this meant the Queen missing some of the Concert at Buckingham Palace, very wise.  Presumably she became bored waiting in casualty at the London hospital they took the Duke to and so repaired to the Palace before he was found a bed 36 hours later? We had the Dai-mond Jubilee round our way which involved nothing at all, not a street party in sight.  A friend of mine said “well, at least we had a couple of days off”.  I reminded him that Bank Holidays mean little to those of us that are self-employed. 

Now here’s a little story for you.  I am a regular blood donor and the other day gave my 25thcontribution to those great folks from the Wales Blood Donor Service.  I did this in a local supermarket in one of those mobile units.  Believe it or believe it not some supermarkets do not readily give up car parking space to allow people to donate and one, who shall remain nameless, wants to charge for the piece of tarmac they provide.  I will leave you to judge what I think of them.    

All this talk of blood brings us nicely round to rugby.  At the time of writing, Wales are paused to win the Second Test against the Australians and we are paused to hold our end of season presentation lunch with Rick O’Shea from BBC Wales Scrum V programme as our guest of honour.  Rick specialises in supporting and publicising community clubs like ours and we are looking forward to welcoming him and of course of bending his ear.   

Attention all you athletes out there, pre-season rugby training commences at the Club on Tuesday 10th July at 6.30 under the watchful eye of Coach John Dunleavy.  Both new and old players welcome.  We are going to run 3 senior sides this year so I really do mean “old players” welcome. 

I mentioned in the last article that we have been in the process of carrying out improvements to our pitches.  I am pleased to report that this has been achieved and the first signs of new grass can be seen growing on the cabbage-patch that was the pitch outside the clubhouse.  If the rain keeps up we might as well plant rice and make some money.  

In other news our baseball teams, both male and female are doing well since they moved from the Harlequins Ground to accommodate our ground maintenance work.  Bit of a message there somewhere.  We also have a cricket team playing throughout the Summer and St. Peter’s Bowling Club is now in its 31st Season and welcomes new players.  If you fancy taking up bowls or even just seeing if you might like it, please contact the Club Secretary, Vince Sullivan on 029 2048 7133 or 07929 330127 for further information. 

Finally, the jokes (courtesy of Tim Vine):

I phoned the local gym and I asked if they could teach me how to do the splits. He said, “How flexible are you?” I said, “I can’t make Tuesdays.”

This bloke said to me, ‘I’m going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser legs and put it in a library.’ I thought ‘That’s a turn-up for the books.”

“I rang up a local building firm, I said ‘I want a skip outside my house.’ He said ‘I’m not stopping you mate.’

So I told my mum that I’d opened a theatre. She said, “Are you having me on?” I said, “Well I’ll give you an audition, but I’m not promising you anything.”

Enjoy the sunshine!

If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  root@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Best wishes
Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby

July 2012.

No rugby but still a busy time.

Vince Nolan

I always become disillusioned when the administrative side of any business begins to outweigh the primary functions of that business.  But there is hope Dear Reader.  You will no doubt recall from my previous notes about our ongoing battle with some Members of the Planning Committee at Cardiff Council over opening hours.  This has been a very expensive diversion at a time when our funds are severely limited.   It has also been a “colourful” journey punctuated at times with a number of falsehoods which if true, makes us more like a branch of the Ku Klux Klan rather than a rugby club.  Nonetheless, I have glad tidings for you.  At the recent meeting of the Planning Committee, it was unanimously agreed to lift the planning restrictions on our trading hours on a permanent basis.  We could talk about this being tantamount to Saul’s biblical conversion on the road to Damascus but that would be churlish and Damascus has more serious problems of its’ own to deal with at present.  Suffice to say we wish to pass on our thanks to all those who supported us in this campaign over many years and to the Planning Committee and Councillor Kelloway who supported us most recently.  Now the ball is firmly in our court, on our pitch, in our hands,…….you know what I mean.

Time for a wee swipe at our friends across the border in England-land.  I don’t know whether our neighbours’ apparent arrogance is deliberate or accidental but it never ceases to amaze me.  Their latest foot-in-mouth comes via Westminster based Tourism Minister John Penrose who recently described Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau as a song and not a National Anthem.  Tell that to the 3 million of us who have been brought up with our Anthem.  The Prime Minister has now become embroiled in the matter.  God Save the Queen is of course a dirge but does contain the memorable lines “May she sedition hush and like a torrent rush, rebellious Scots to crush, God save the Queen”.  No doubt endearing our Celtic cousins North-of-the-Border.  The PM and his Minister are now suggesting “Jerusalem” as an appropriate English National Anthem and I could not agree more.  Carry on boys since it was written by Hubert Parry, whose name originally derived from shortening ‘ap Harry’ and is clearly of Welsh origin.  Don’t know about you but at a time when we are suffering from the worst recession in living memory it is nice to see our senior politicians grappling with the issues that matter most.

Which reminds me, a Welsh man is walking through a field and sees a man drinking water from a pool with his hand.
The Welsh man shouts
“Paid a yfed y dwr mae’r gwartheg yn cachi yn y dwr”
(Don’t drink the water, it’s full of cow’s—).
The man shouts back
“I’m English, speak English, I don’t understand you”.
The Welsh man shouts back
“Use both hands, you’ll get more in.”     

Watch this space for the Governments’ handling of the newly announced electrification of the Swansea to London and the Valley Lines.  Two HP2 Batteries will be about the strength of it if you ask me.  Also, a new rail link to Heathrow has been announced.  We cannot have a rail link to Cardiff Wales Airport 15 miles away but we can join up to the busiest airport and piece of sky in the world, some 150 miles away.  I begin to question whether those Severn Bridges are a good idea.  

Which brings us neatly round to something to do with rugby.  We have appointed Matt Murphy as Club Captain.  Matt comes from the legendary Murphy clan who have been the backbone of the Club for many years.  I played with the 6 Murphy brothers and Matt is part of the next generation of “Murphs”.  I have talked before about the importance of family in our Club and of history and here is another example.  We wish you a successful season Matt.  James Mullane will skipper the 2nds and Gerald Phillips will lead the mighty 3rd XV this season.  Adam Howard has been appointed Youth Captain and will skipper the team in the Blues A Division, the highest level of youth rugby attainable in the Region.    So if you are 16-60, new to rugby or have decided to dust off your boots for one last hurrah, training has now commenced every Tuesday and Thursday at 6.30pm at the Clubhouse.  New players most welcome.

We believe we have also set a new Club record before the season has started.  We have two very talented outside-halfs in the Youth Group, Ed Poynter and Callum Sheedy.  Callum will be joining Ed at Millfield School in Somerset.  Quite an achievement lads but a great shame we won’t have their services every Saturday.

Sponsorship is another key area that has been focussed on in the last few months.  Mark Gould our Persuader-in-Chief has done an amazing job raising almost £10,000 thus far.  This will go towards providing new kit for all our teams, junior and senior.  Our sponsors’ generosity will be publicised on our website and in our match-day programme.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors for their support in these challenging times.  An organisation like ours costs a lot of money to run.  For example, maintenance of the pitches alone costs between £8,000-£10,000 per year before we consider insurance, wages, rates, electricity, laundry, First Aid etc. 

And now the jokes:

“Crime in multi-storey car parks.  That is wrong on so many different levels”.

“Somebody guessed my computer password so I had to rename my dog”.

 If you have any questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  root@stpetersrfc.co.uk

Best wishes
Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby

August 2012

50 Shades of Green and Black

Be fair, the title grabbed you didn’t it? For the uninitiated, (largely male readers I suspect), the all time bestseller out there in book-land at present is 50 Shades of Grey, described by most critics as “mummy porn” which lifts the lid on the racy adventures of a woman who is empowered in all matters including bedroom gymnastics. Of course I have not read such things myself because my strict Catholic upbringing prevents me from doing so. However, if you ever wanted to see really empowered women over recent weeks you needed to look no further than the splendid London Games which recently climaxed (not the best choice of words perhaps). Now there are women who can out-run, jump, swim and box me. What would Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the Father of the modern Olympiad say? He was famously on record as saying that the presence of women athletes at the Games was bad for the male athletes. In a strange historical parallel, Emmeline Pankhurst was tying herself to railings about this time when the good Baron was around in the furtherance of female emancipation. Indeed she featured in the opening ceremony. Now, all these years later, one of her fellow countrywomen has written a book about being tied up by men which has become a best seller! Confusing for us blokes isn’t it?

Moving swiftly on, I suppose it is only fair to admit that I was not the biggest fan of the Olympics in the run up to it largely because of Wales’ negligible slice of the financial cake that went with it. However, I have to say I was hugely impressed with the whole event. I was also curious about some of the names of the athletes and I am thinking in particular of Kenya (not in a racist way, just as an observation). I knew that Jomo Kenyatta gave his name to this proud and successful nation back in 1964 but did you notice that almost all their athletes have a name beginning with the letter “K”. So then I got to thinking, imagine what the telephone book might look like in downtown Nairobi?….”A”….nothing, “B”….nothing, “C”….. nothing, “K”…..2.75 million names!

Believe it or not there has been a complaint about my last months’ scribbling, albeit an anonymous complaint. Well I never claimed I was writing this drivel to please anyone other than myself. The complainant felt that my comments about the English could be viewed in certain circumstances as bordering on racism. For the record, I do not have a racist bone in my body and with an English father, have been brought up on national rivalry rather than the other “R” word. Furthermore, I have spent all my working life looking for inward investment opportunities for overseas companies to domicile here. I am perhaps more welcoming of visitors from overseas than you might imagine Dear Mystery Complainant.

So what of rugby I hear you cry. At the time of writing we are engaged in pre-season training and a series of trial matches have been arranged against local opposition in order to blend together players from last season and the new draft. In keeping with St. Peter’s tradition we have signed some overseas players, in this case from Romania, thus keeping our proud record as a truly international and welcoming Club.

Our congratulations go to three of our former players, Ed Dobbs, Sonny Driscoll and Kris Barry who all recently played for Cardiff RFC with Kris captaining the side. Sad to lose you guys but another good example of how we do our best to help players maximise their talents.

I shall be away when the next article is due to be penned. Hurrah I hear you say. Unfortunately for you I fully intend writing it from the roof terrace of our rented medieval townhouse in a far-off sun-baked port (or so the brochure describes it). I too will have had some far-off sun-baked Port when I pause from my hectic activity holiday to share my long distance thoughts with you. Those of you who know me will know that I was of course joking about the activity holiday. It is a sure sign of age when travelling overseas if the contents of the Boots pharmacy one takes with one far outweighs ones hand luggage. Sounds like the kind of thing Oscar Wilde might say.

And now the predictable Olympic jokes:

A Yank, a Brit and an Irishman wanted to go to see the Olympics but they hadn’t got tickets. So the Yank picked up a manhole-cover, tucked it under his arm and walked to the gate. “Obama, USA” he said, “Discus”, and in he walked. The Brit picked up a length of scaffolding and slung it over his shoulder. “Waddington-Smythe, British,” he said, “Pole vault,” and in he walked. The Irishman looked around, picked up a roll of barbed wire and tucked it under his arm. “O’Malley, Ireland,” he said, “Fencing.”

A reporter meets a man carrying an eight-foot-long metal stick and asks, “Are you a pole vaulter?” “No,” says the man, “I’m German and how did you know my name is Walter?”

Finally, the Olympic Games have enabled some commentators to cover themselves in glory whilst others have taken the opportunity of covering themselves in the brown stuff. My favourite came from the Radio 5 Live guy who said:

“Once in a lifetime opportunities do not come along very often”. Pretty profound stuff I think you will agree and I may use this in a team-talk later this season!

September 2012

A Letter from Abroad

No, I am not in France or this would be a “French Letter” and that would not do.  As promised in my last article,  I have written this latest diatribe from beneath the Mediterranean sun.  I had forgotten how hot the golden-orb can become having suffered along with the rest of you the flooding of our Summer landscape.  The soldiers during World War 1 developed “Trench Foot” which was a disease brought on by standing around for long periods in permanently damp conditions.  Fortunately, mine is clearing up nicely now but got as far North as my knees.

Fear not Dear Reader, the power of the inter-web thing is such that despite these travelling hardships you are still not safe from me.  I had thought about subjecting you to a replacement writer in my absence but frankly, they may well have proven to be far better than me which would simply not do.  So where am I and what could I possibly find to write about?  Well, I am in Malta which is a first for me and the current Mrs Nolan.  Fortunately, it is the rugby season and Maltese rugby is quite strong so it is very much like home apart from 31 degrees, clear blue sea, exotic and inexpensive food, cheap beer and a strong exchange rate.  As I look out from our medieval townhouse into the back of the one across the road it reminds me of home albeit this one has long outlived its 10 year National Housebuilding Council Warranty.  I didn’t know they had air-conditioning and ensuite facilities in medieval times though.  No sign of those in any illuminated manuscripts.  What of the people I hear you cry?  Well they are of course very friendly but then again I knew that because I went to school with so many kids of Maltese origin.  A walk to any shop or restaurant here and reading the name over the door is like looking at the school register again.

However, you will be pleased to know that everything was not plain sailing.  The journey from Bristol to Malta was not without its challenges.  As we made our way to the front of the queue at check-in we were faced with a sign offering us extra legroom on the plane for a decent fee.  Being in the holiday mood I booked the extra space and to hell with the expense. I was then told that I would not be sitting with my wife.  I went to unbook it and was told I was not sitting with her in the first place.  To recap I had paid extra to sit with a complete stranger.  Oh what fun we were having and we had not yet reached passport control.  The extra legroom team only accepted cash so I had to find a cashpoint.  By now we needed a holiday.  Once aboard our luxury Airbus A320 (impressive eh?), I found I was sitting next to a very big bloke.  More accurately he was sat all over me.  I put my table down to make more room and he lent on it to read his newspaper which he did from back to front.  I needed the skills of a gynaecologist to eat my meal (working with a knife in such a confined area).  Luckily the flight was only 3 hours and we arrived refreshed and having made new friends.  Well at least we had extra legroom.

Before leaving my last rugby act was to attend our AGM followed by an EGM.  I am pleased to report that it was a lively affair and mixed together some new parents with us older stagers which was a clear step forward.  We recently held a raffle for a car which believe it or not was won by Tim Carless.  What are the chances of that happening?  Still on the rugby front the youth won their first league game in the Blues A Division beating a good Beddau Youth side whilst the 1sts, 2nds and 3rds all won their opening encounters.

I will be back in Cardiff to pen the next article but I am not looking forward to the journey home.

And so to the joke:  ”Last night me and my girlfriend watched 3 DVD’s back-to-back.  Luckily I was the one facing the telly!”

If you have any opportunities, questions, issues or ideas please do not hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  <root@stpetersrfc.co.uk>

Best wishes
Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby

October 2012

More Travellers Tales

Last month I regaled you with tales of foreign climes and my holiday journey exploits.  Well the tan has long washed-off and the rain has poured as usual but my travelling tales are not yet finished I fear.  I recently went to London on business (posh, I know) and guess what………rail travel can also be just as much fun as flying.  It is not enough to pay £300 for a rail journey of 300 miles but to be sat alongside an “eccentric” was an unexpected bonus.  No doubt she would say the same.  Picture the scene – free tea and coffee from Cardiff to Paddington.  My erstwhile travelling chum had a passion for frothy cappuccino which involved the steward going to the laughingly described “Travelling Chef” to provide such luxuries.  The “Chef” had of course been trained with a microwave and the single instruction not to poison anybody.  What do you want for £300?……….edible food?  Anyway, the first cup of foaming brightness arrived with my neighbour and she proceeded to put the foam and chocolate sprinkles onto the stirring stick in stages interspersed with loud sucking noises to gather up this caffeine-infused nectar.  I happen to know that it takes 30 “stick-actions” to remove all the froth before arriving at the main event, well I know now.  3 cups later and the novelty had worn off (somewhere around Bristol Parkway).  I was prepared for phone-calls, lap-tops and the usual business activities seen on such journeys but the coffee was a new one on me.  I wonder if it’s me?

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were recently invited to attend a Civil Partnership Ceremony for two of our mates from the local pub along with a number of the regulars.  It was a great day if not a little unusual and if this is something any of you are considering committing to, then go for it.  As part of the excitement we had the mother-in-law to stay overnight (who was also a guest at the Ceremony) and another of our female friends from the pub.  Nolan Towers is not usually noted for its guest list and hospitality.  Nevertheless, this was an exception and we “pushed the boat out”.  Believe it or not I am very fond of my mother-in-law despite the fact that she has moved from Cambridge to Cardiff.    

Our other house guest was no trouble whatsoever, or so I thought.  She left early on the Sunday morning and did not disturb any of us leaving her sleeping facilities in immaculate order.  But imagine my shock and disappointment Dear Reader when I subsequently found that our hospitality had become the subject of some mad-deluded ramblings she had posted on Facebook about the lack of hospitality she had experienced.  Not being in the B&B trade I thought it harsh to pick on defenceless non-hoteliers in print.  Whilst I am not au fait with Facebook I have since warned her that I do have more of a conventional audience and go into print which is widely circulated across the great Metropolis of Cardiff to thousands of unsuspecting but grateful readers.  So here is the truth.  I restocked the wine supplies and bought smoked salmon in honour of our guest which I was going to combine with poached eggs for breakfast (“Travelling Chef…. eat your heart out) but the lack of gratitude on her part of leaving early and not drinking my wine left a bad taste in the mouth.  I have been stuck with umpteen bottles of wine which I will now have to work my way through in case they go off.  Admittedly I forced her to watch an episode of Dad’s Army on arriving at our place but so what.  Admittedly she tidied the room before leaving and tied back the curtains whilst thoughtfully tiptoeing out and pushing the key through the letterbox after locking the door but how ungrateful can you be?  Next time I am going to give a lot more thought before inviting ill-behaved and ungrateful guests into our home who chuck our hospitality back in our face whilst making political capital out of us in print.          

Anyway, I do have some rugby matters to share with you this month.  Those of you who are misguided enough to read this article on a regular basis will know that I try to studiously avoid such references normally but there has been much activity at St. Peter’s HQ of late.  Picture the recent scene if you will.  Our first team had made short work of the opposition and by way of celebration decided some fancy-dress attire would be in order.  I ended up deep in conversation with an 18 stone green-elf who had scored 2 tries that afternoon and a slimmer Fred Flintstone who had also featured on the score-sheet.  It was all a bit surreal for someone of my sheltered upbringing and sensitivity.  I was also asked to investigate an article in the Penarth Times (clearly not as good or unbiased as this magazine).  It was a match report from last season which was less than kind about our 1st XV and their match against Penarth RFC.  Well two things immediately leapt off the page – in the first instance there was not a single joke in the report and in the second, it was highly critical of our team and its efforts.  As you know, I will not lower myself to engage in cheap shots and unkindness in print.  However, our 1st XV beat Penarth at their ground last Saturday 43-5.  We even let them score first just to be neighbourly.  I don’t think I need say any more. 

I also have to share a tragic tale with you about professionalism creeping into our game.  This is something we have tried to stamp out but it occasionally it rears its ugly head.  Our 3rd XV (The Cavaliers) were unable to fulfil a fixture recently because 6 of them were running in the Cardiff Half-Marathon the next day.  Gentlemen, you should be ashamed of yourselves.  That level of dedication and fitness is simply not called for at 3rd team level and is in my opinion tantamount to cheating.  Your Captain, Gerald “Assassin” Phillips will be having a quiet word with you over a pint to stamp out this practice before it becomes endemic.              

And so to the jokes:

So I went to the local video shop and I said, “Can I take out The Elephant Man?” He said, “He’s not your type.” I said “How about Batman Forever?” He said, “No, you’ll have to bring it back tomorrow. I said “How about Another 48 hours?”, he said “Tomorrow!”

My mate Dave drowned. So at the funeral we got him a wreath in the shape of a lifebelt. Well,………………. it’s what he would have wanted.

If you have any opportunities, questions, issues or ideas please do not
hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  

Best wishes
Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby

November 2012

Food for Fought?

Dearly Beloved, December is upon us yet again and so please spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves.  I still believe that Christmas is a time of goodwill to all, whatever our differing beliefs.

With the above sentiments in mind imagine my shock when once again I was forced to witness a portion of our society whose only interest is in scamming the system and every one of us in the process.  Alas what follows is a true story and concerns 3 generations of the same family.  A few short days ago my wife and I were ensconced in our local hostelry watching the world go by and in particular watching an extended family eating dinner.  (We are of course too poor to eat-out ourselves).  We witnessed an orchestrated scam by all family members.  Orders were placed, food arrived and so the game began.  The Patriarch had ordered fish and chips.  This was of whale-like proportions (as was he coincidentally).  His wife (the Matriarch) challenged him to eat it since it was indeed a challenge.  She recognised the enormity of the task as she was no stranger to the dinner-table herself.  He managed to polish it all off as did the rest of the gang for indeed they were a gang.  Between courses and having told the waiting staff that their food was “great, excellent, lush”…I hope the picture is emerging here, they then ordered sweets.  Whilst the waitress was speaking to the kitchen they put into operation their tried and tested plot.  They took it in turns to complain that the fish was too small, cold, the cheese sauce on the mushrooms was not good enough, service was slow, it was too expensive etc etc.   This was all lubricated by lashings of diet-coke (other brands are available) which flew in the face of the calorie consumption the party had just subjected themselves to.  I was minded of the Basil Fawlty sketches when someone had the temerity to complain but alas Basil does not run my local pub.  Had it been my pub I would have shown them all off the premises after taking their money and then banning them.  In the event they were let off paying for their sweet course.  They left congratulating themselves on another scam successfully carried out.  There is a word for people like this beginning with “W” but I won’t spell it out.   

Later on we spoke to the staff about what we had witnessed and they said…….. “What’s it got to do with you” They didn’t actually, but they told us that this was commonplace and that there was even a website dedicated to advising how to avoid paying in restaurants.  As you know, I seldom have a bad word to say about anyone but this lot must have gone back to their cave suitably satisfied that they scammed yet another restaurant.  All this was bad enough but the icing on the cake was when one of the infamous family, a junior rugby referee, started showing off that he had sent an 8 year old off earlier in the day and reduced him to tears.  Nice people and Merry Christmas to them.    

On a brighter note, Panto Season is here again and the aforementioned family had some prime candidates for the Ugly Sisters, Baron Hard-up and King Rat.  See the seamless link there.  I am a great fan of Panto which is probably one of the last bastions of innocence, overacting and good fun left in the entertainment world today.  After all, how could they turn this into “reality TV”, well mercifully, they probably cannot since it involves both talent and hard work.  However, it struck me the other day that the “Politically Correct Police” have yet to take a squint at Panto.  I know that The Brothers Grimm resurrected many of the old fairy-stories and legends that have provided most of the popular Panto titles but if we look closely at some of these you will see what I mean:

  • Little Red Riding Hood – What is a young girl doing on her own in a wood and was it necessary to kill a wild animal?  NSPCC and RSPCA investigation.
  • Cinderella – Child labour.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  – Not allowed to use the “D” word any more. 
  • Babes in the Wood (see first point re NSPCC).
  • Jack and the Beanstalk.  Robs and then kills a very tall man and lives happily ever after.  Not what we should be teaching our children is it?
  • Peter Pan – The tale of a boy of dubious age whose friend is a fairy with magical powers.  Together they take children to Neverland.  Of course they do.
  • Robin and his Merry Men.  How merry would you be?  Unemployed, living in a wood in the Midlands and being hunted down daily by a Sherriff. 
  • Dick Whittington – No comment!

So there we have it.  There are many others but I leave them to you. 

From one type of comedic farce to another, I am of course talking about the recent low profile Police Commissioner Elections.  I thought it might have been a better idea for each candidate to line up outside the Polling Station and sing the Policeman’s song from The Pirates of Penzance.  You know the one “When constabulary duty’s to be done to be done, a policeman’s lot is not a happy one, happy one”. (Bet you sung it).  This would have provided us with a much deeper insight into the candidates and back to reality TV, could have given us a chance of voting them out of office.  Maybe next time.   

Talking of the law, a mate of mine recently attended Jury Service and was shocked by the juries he sat on since many of the younger jurors were sympathetic with the bloke in the Dock and had largely ignored all the damning evidence put before them during the trial.  Despite this attitude I can report that the Law is still being upheld elsewhere in the UK.  I recently read Radio 2 Broadcaster Ken Bruce’s autobiography and he tells a story that a Magistrate friend of his told him about.  The Magistrate had listened to a pack of lies from a known felon who had defended himself in Court.  In his summing up the accused said….. “As God is my judge your Honour, I’m innocent”.  Whereupon the Magistrate said….”He isn’t, I am and you’re not”.   

And so to the jokes:

This bloke said to me, ‘I’m going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser legs and put it in a library.’ I thought ‘That’s a turn-up for the books.”

“And the back of his anorak was leaping up and down, and people were chucking money to him. I said ‘Do you earn a living doing that?’ He said ‘Yes, this is my livelihood.’

You will note that I managed not to mention anything about rugby in this article which is a first for me.  However, there will be plenty of events at the Club over the Christmas and New Year period so please keep an eye on the website for details www.stpetersrfc.co.uk

It is strange wishing you all the compliments of the season since I am writing this in mid-November, nevertheless, keep happy, keep safe and we will see you all in 2013.

If you have any opportunities, questions, issues or ideas please do not
hesitate to contact us at the Clubhouse on 029 20 460461 or e-mail:  

Best wishes
Vince Nolan
Director of Rugby