Sunday, November 30, 2008

England fail to put the wheels back on the hand cart

From England v NZ 2008
England where going to need all the luck in the world to pull of a shock recovery after two heavy defeats - and to break my jinx of them failing to win on every occasion I've had the privilege to watch them live! Maybe I'm using all the luck up getting tickets - I'd not expected to be at the final match of the Autumn - but thanks to SUN, I not only had a ticket but a free lunch, and drinks to drown the sorrows of a third defeat to the southern hemisphere.
As some had predicted the game started as a kicking match - everything possible kicked from hand - by both sides. Leading to a lack of any flare or entertaining play from either side. Then the ref intervened, and the yellow cards for England started flowing. By the end of the match England would have played half the match with a man missing! Yet again England went in at half time in touch with the opposition, and but for a tap tackle would have taken the lead shortly after the break. But partially due to the yellow cards they quickly lost control in the second half as the All Black disappear in to the distance - but unfortunately not enough for the 30 point defeat I put in the sweep - it would have been consolation for the final nail in the coffin England hand managed to turn the chariot into!

So the conclusions from the three matches are:
  • South Africa are currently the strongest side in the world - they are world champions after all.
  • England need to learn to play to the interpretation of rules the ref is playing to, to avoid giving away more points than they can score themselves.
  • England need to strengthen their defence - in both the Australia and All Blacks matches England had plenty of opportunities to score - but put themselves under too much pressure and relieved the pressure on the opposition by not being able to hold them whenever they cross England 22 - both Australia and New Zealand scored far to easily - and the Boks played as if England U16 where defending the goal line!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Boks knock the wheels off the chariot!

On a cold autumnal afternoon the Spring Boks showed England how rugby should be played! In defence they where wall like, repeatedly blunting hard fort for good position, and twice quickly returning the length of the pitch to score a try from England's encampment on their line. Every time they entered England's 22 they seamed to simple move straight past the defence put up but a static England.
From England v SA 2008
6-42 was probably a little harsh - but reflected the apparent panic or desperation from England towards the end of the game - throwing caution to the wind with some ridiculous pass attempts - but nothing else had worked against the wall of green. If the All Blacks don't give England a similar drubbing next weekend it will be a small miracle - and might mean I need to re-think watching England live as they've lost every match I've seen at Twickenham!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn Rugby against the southern hemisphere

Much to my surprise I manage to get tickets to two of the Autumn matches against the southern hemisphere sides. Luck in the RFU members draw got me a pair for the match against the Spring Boks, and even more surprising a ticket on Ticket master to the match against the Wallabies ... having witnessed the pour performance of the England team against the team they knocked out of the world cup maybe the normal takers of the tickets simply stayed away. While England failed to play well, it has to be said that the southern hemisphere match officials actually had a worse day than the very poor England. England lost this one because they didn't managed to convert territory to points.
From England v Australia 2008
England did manage to hold their own in the first half, even managing to score a try after much huffing and puffing to cross the line - and if the ref had allowed the match to flow, they may have been far enough ahead to survive, what appears to always be the case when I watch them live, not being able to keep up the standard of their performance in the second half. And so it proved to be a drubbing by Australians - I have a feeling the reigning world champions will be far too strong for this fledgeling England team...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Next stop the savaners of Africa and the relaxation of Mauritious

Following my aim to act more on impulse I've booked my next holiday - the attraction of a first class British Airways, air-miles paid for, trip to South Africa and then Mauritius, that will take me for the first time south of the equator was too much! So in the middle of February I'll add Africa as another continent I've visited, and Mauritius to my growing collection of islands. South America, Australasia and the two polar regions are left in terms of continents - and hundreds if not thousands of potential island visits! I will have done both hemispheres and most of the way round the world - maybe I'll manage the round the world trip I've planned in my mind (and using OneWorld's RTW tool) one day soon....

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Katie and support cheer a Autumn evening

A trio of artists brought to an end my week of O2 music - Jay Jay Pistolet started an evening to contrast the rock of my last two visits to the O2. Andrea McEwan and band followed, upping the pace, "Candle in a chat room" is a great title and commentary on modern internet life....
From Katie Melua Novermber 2008
Katie Melua then completed a great week of music for me at the O2 with a refreshing set of bluesy jazz that brighten up a rain sweep autumn evening. I should act on impulse more often and enjoy the wonderful entertainment London has to offer. Even a a soaking in the heavy rain in the way home couldn't dampen my spirits...

Friday, November 07, 2008

We Will Rock the O2

From Queen + Paul Rogers 2008
Half of Queen + Paul Roger and assorted incidental musician brought Queen to the O2 and part II of my trip down memory lane, and half way mark of my residence at the Dome. Miraculously my "restricted view ticket" was replaced with a prime view - thanks to a set design that would have meant I could only see the back of a curtain!
Having never seen Queen with Freddie I had no reference point, but Paul Rogers was a great stand in. Brian May can certainly still rock the world - and Freddie also put in a virtual appearance.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bryan Adams made it a night to remember at the O2

From Bryan Adams O2 November 2008
First night of my residence at the O2 - three events in a week. It began with the first of two trips down memory lane. It was great to re-live the summer of 91 - a summer spent rowing on the Isis, well coxing actually, and listening to "Everything I do" in the beer cellar every evening for 12 weeks!

It was a very nice touch for the concert to start on a mini stage towards the back of the crowd - giving those of us not able to be there as the doors opened a great view - at least for three songs.