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West Country EagleMember Since 19 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active May 21 2014 08:17 AM
- Group Coach
- Active Posts 5,803
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- Age Age Unknown
- Birthday Birthday Unknown
Interests? I've had a few. But then again, too many to mention.
Posted by West Country Eagle on 20 March 2014 - 02:00 PM
Posted by West Country Eagle on 18 March 2014 - 10:09 AM
Over Christmas, at the tail end of 2012, I decided - in a spur of the moment kind of comment - that I would get myself fit and lose weight. I'd not thought about it much up until that point, though deep down I knew it was something I had to do for my health. I've always been overweight - even when I was more active in my teens/early 20s - but I'd let it slip to a point where I was well over 20 stones (probably closer to 21 and a half/22) and basically lazy. I always used to enjoy sport and exercise but had got out of it. Of course, the longer you leave it and the bigger you get, the harder it becomes to start anything.
However, having made the commitment I couldn't put it off any longer. I took a two-pronged approach. Firstly, I changed what I was eating, and when. I cut out almost all dairy products (bar some natural yoghurt with granola and fruit in the morning), reduced my non complex carb intake in the evenings (I.E no potatoes, pasta, white rice etc) and massively reduced my fat intake. I started eating much more fish(grilled, baked or poached, not fried) and chicken. Oh, and lots more fruit and veg, of course.
At the same time, I started swimming three times a week. To begin with, it was extremely hard. In fact, when I first started I had to stop and have a breather after every four lengths. Within a month of doing this, I'd managed to extend it to 20 lengths without a break. I'd swim for half an hour, and see how many lengths I could get through. By the middle of February I was up to 30-odd without stopping, then later 40, then 50. I signed up for the charity Swimathon and did 1.5k last April. It took me 39 minutes for the 60 lengths, swimming breaststroke. That's not super-fast, but at the time I was chuffed.
Since then I've kept up the swimming and the changes to the diet (I prefer to call them lifestyle changes, as thinking of it as a diet is restrictive, plus if you change for good then it's no longer a diet). I'm not as hardcore as I was about the food side of things, but I'm still keen and apply the same principles, with some additional leeway at weekends.
All the way through the process I didn't weigh myself once, until I recently joined my local leisure centre (I should have done this when I first started swimming, as it's the same place I go for that) and they told me I had to go for an intro session at the gym. Amazingly, it turns out I've lost just over 6 stones since I started in January 2013. Obviously I knew I was getting smaller, as my waist size has shrunk by about 7 inches, but I didn't realise I'd lost that much!
At Christmas I decided to set myself a new goal: this year I'm going to compete in, and complete, a sprint distance triathlon (400m swim, 20k bike, 5k run). I've been writing for triathlon magazines for 5 years and have never done one, so it was about time I had a go. Hence signing up for the gym.
The swimming I've got covered - my times keep coming down - and the cycling doesn't worry me that much. I've been doing combined sessions at the gym - 45 minutes on the bike, followed by 500m swimming at a good tempo - but have largely steered clear of the treadmill, other than a fast walk to warm up. Try as I might I just can't run on a treadmill - it just doesn't seem natural. So, I'm going out on the road instead, and today will start the "couch to 5k" programme (I.E start with alternating between fast walking and running, build up the time and distances over 9 weeks etc), running up and down the Bristol to Bath cycle path which helpfully passes by the bottom of my road. I have ordered a smart racing bike, too, which should be built by the local triathlon shop by the weekend.
The triathlon is in July. Brilliantly, my brother and his wife are also doing it. He's told me we're going to start, finish, and go through the whole thing together, which since they're much fitter than me is a bit scary - better get myself up to scratch!
Oh, and I've also been roped into doing the Swimathon again, though this time as part of a charity relay team. Should come in handy for the training!
Posted by West Country Eagle on 09 March 2014 - 07:59 PM
Hope to get to the All Golds v Scorpians game if my lad's football finishes in time.
All Golds to win by 10!
Almost right… won by 12! More importantly, that's the All Golds first ever home win… at the 13th attempt!
Good game, played in glorious conditions. All Golds scored some cracking tries, too. They look a much improved outfit this season - having experienced players in key positions (especially in the halves, hooker and loose forward), plus a bigger pack, makes such a difference. The clash with the union six nations didn't help, and the crowd was on the low side. Pity, as it was a very entertaining afternoon.
You can read my match report in League Express tomorrow
- Styx likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 03 February 2014 - 12:22 PM
Very many expansion sides are based at RU grounds and most of their players are primarily RU players.
Yes. In the amateur game, RL would not have been able to expand around the country without cooperation with union clubs, using union players - at least initially. In the long term being tenants at a union club isn't always for the best, or is over-reliance on union players. However, as the league club grows and players enjoy the experience, some will naturally prioritise League, have kids, get their kids playing league etc etc. Then the League club is in a stronger position to look for an alternative ground, or get something of its own.
Without cooperation with union clubs, there would be no RL in the West Country at all. The Sonics have played at and worked with a number of union clubs - in fact, when we set up our junior league, we placed sides around strong junior union clubs, with their backing. More enlightened rugby union clubs, coaches and officials can see the benefit in kids playing League at an early age, as it improves their core skills.
It doesn't always work and we've had some struggles with some union clubs and officials, too, but that's to be expected - the dinosaurs still exist on both sides. I'm naturally suspicious of union and not a fan, but I want what's best for RL in my area - if that means partnering with forward thinking and open minded union clubs/coaches etc, so be it.
- gingerjon likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 03 February 2014 - 12:14 PM
It looks to me that the Tier 4 teams lost heavily to the Tier 3 teams, regardless of region. I'd say that's fairly expected
To be fair we're a tier 3 team. We had chances in the first half - disallowed tries (correct decisions, I should add - foot in touch and losing the ball in grounding etc) - and defended pretty well for the first 40. We also used the wind well and nailed three 40-20 kicks, which helped. Second half they had the wind at their backs, got a roll on and ruthlessly exploited our weaknesses.
They're a good, well drilled side with bags of experience. At half time our aim was to see if we could score a few tries, defend better and realistically keep the score down. It was disappointing that we got such a hammering, but they didn't make any mistakes at all for about 25 minutes - scored on every set (we didn't even touch the ball). A lesson in how to put a side to the sword. We learned a lot and we'll be in better shape by the start of the Conference League South season.
We've had worse defeats, and being part of the Challenge Cup is great. Would loved to have had South West Chargers draw, or played Aberdeen for the trip (or a nice home draw), but it's just the luck of the draw - last year we had a pretty close game with Eccles and Salford, so it's not like we're not competitive. This was just one of those days. We've also lost a few first team regulars (and dual reg All Golds players) to Oxford RL, which probably doesn't help. Will be bizarre facing those players - all West Country based, some in Bristol, when we play the Cavaliers in CLS.
- gingerjon likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 10 January 2014 - 10:39 AM
A warm welcome to be had. Used to love reffing there, the walk back to the changing rooms could be interesting depending if Dockers had won or not!
Realistically I'm sure they'll all be happy at the end - it will take something special for us to win, I'd suggest. Still, one of our players started at Dockers and he's said we'll be made very welcome, so should be a good day out.
We've been lucky in the past getting home draws, so by rights it's our time for an epic away trip and a tough draw.
- GoffyLeeds likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 26 November 2013 - 05:10 PM
Sinfield wasn't a popular choice but I can't help think McNamara was utterly vindicated in his decision. Sinfield has been an excellent captain and played especially well on Saturday bar the last 20 secs; his pass for Watkins' try was sublime...
WCE, most people only see what they want to see in my experience of this game. Yes McNamara hasn't beaten the Aussies, has made unpopular choices and hasn't taken us to the World Cup Final but we have certainly seen a vast improvement in the England side and brand as a whole in my opinion. This is the best national side we have had since Reilly's era in the early 90s.
Agree with all that. We were undone by a couple of mistakes at the end, but for the 0ther 79 minutes and 39 seconds England were fantastic - dominant in the forwards, a constant threat in attack, largely solid defensively and clearly focused. The kicking game was a bit hit and miss, I thought, but not all of that was Sinfield - Tomkins, Roby and (I think) Widdop all kicked at different points. There are areas for improvement, but that was a tremendous performance. The Kiwis hung in the game really well and at times were on top, but there was a huge bit of fortune about Roger TVS's first try (although that flick back from Whare was impressive, he had no idea where it would end up - one of the England lads could have caught it and been off down the other end).
We shouldn't beat ourselves up. I watched the game again on Sunday was fresh (albeit hungover) eyes - it's one I'll return to in future, despite the result. If that game had been between Aus and NZ we'd never hear the end of it. In fact, that would have been the perfect final (bar the result, obviously).
- DoubleD likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 26 November 2013 - 11:06 AM
we beat france, fiji and ireland in the competition, hardly enough kudos for keeping the coach. he has shown on numerous occasions that he is out of touch with the weekly game and has only one game plan, yes we need a change of coach to one who will select players on form as opposed to past exploits.
Does he have one game plan, though? He changed it on Saturday - different personnel, more structure, attacking the Kiwis perceived weaknesses etc.
McNamara might not be the best coach in the World, but he's done no worse than his predecessors. Realistically, who else out there would ether want to do it, or do a better job?
- DoubleD likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 26 November 2013 - 11:04 AM
I'll take Bristol as an example, as I obviously know what's going on down here more than other areas. The Sonics have seen a relative surge in interest, with quite a lot of would-be junior and open age players getting in touch. We've also had a few new volunteers come forward and at last night's AGM there was a great feeling around the club for the first time in a while. The events at the Mem have fired everybody up and encouraged newcomers to get involved. The consortium that successfully bid for, and hosted, the game - the two local councils, mainly, with local universities, colleges etc - have arranged a meeting with us to talk about what they can do to boost the game over coming years. Although we've worked with these people before, we've not had as much enthusiasm from them and that willingness to really give us a helping hand. On top of this it looks like we'll have the biggest ever schools programme next year, and on the back of that an expanded local league for youngsters (all the clubs in the region are talking about this, which is a good thing).
Of course, League is still tiny in this part of the world, but there are signs that interest is growing and there's an appetite. The World Cup has given the game down here an enormous boost. That shouldn't be overlooked in a rush to contract and prioritise the same small towns and villages up North that have had the game for 100-plus years. We need to look after them, of course, but in the long run places like Bristol, the Midlands, the South East etc are just as important for the game's continued health.
Posted by West Country Eagle on 26 November 2013 - 10:54 AM
I guess most English fans will support the Kiwis and live vicariously through them, that is the usual order of things.
If you can't beat them support and hope the other team can do it.
Indeed. Plus, there's always something good about the "mighty Roos" getting their backsides handed to them on a plate (mainly because it happens so infrequently as they're too darn good).
We cal all appreciate how good the Aussies are, but there's no way we'd cheer for them. I hope it's a good final - anything approaching Saturday's England-NZ game would be good (difficult, since that was such a cracker, despite the result)
- boxhead likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 15 November 2013 - 11:01 AM
Posted by West Country Eagle on 15 November 2013 - 09:03 AM
good post. I dont quite get this Widdop obsession.
He plays in the NRL. THat's it, isn't it?
McNamara obviously thinks Chase and Sinfield together is a better option. THat might be right, it might be wrong. If he is wrong and it doesn't work against NZ, or even Aus after that if we get that far, then let's criticise him. Until that point, it's better to just see what happens.
Posted by West Country Eagle on 12 November 2013 - 11:00 PM
* Shorter domestic season to make room for internationals at the end of the season - I'd even shift everything forward to make it easier if needs be
* A shorter domestic season would be easier with less clubs in Super League. But that's another thread/argument/debate
* End-of-season tours. Alternate between England/other home nations hosting touring teams (and not just the kangaroos/kiwis - would be great to see short tours from second tier nations, particular from the pacific, where they play a series of one-off matches against people like Wales, Scotland, France and Ireland) and heading overseas
* Two or three sides touring the UK/Europe at the same time - so each of the home nations gets to play three games, similar to union's autumn internationals. For example, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand all in Europe at the same time. Kiwis play three matches against England, plus one warm-up against one other. England also have a warm-up against one of the other touring sides, E.G Tonga. For the other 2/3 weeks of their tour, Fiji and Tonga (as an example) play games against Wales and Scotland, or Ireland and Wales etc.
You'd end up with a schedule a little like this:
Week 1: Fiji v New Zealand, England v Tonga, Scotland v Wales
Week 2: England v NZ, Wales v Fiji, Scotland v Tonga
Week 3: England v NZ, Wales v Tonga, Scotland v Fiji
Week 4: England v NZ
If tours were extended (unlikely given financial restraints), France and Ireland could also be involved.
Obviously the costs of putting on tours for second tier nations are prohibitive, and it is unlikely that it would happen for those reasons. Maybe the RLIF needs to use some of the cash from the WC (assuming there is some) to help fund tours like this. When England/GB tour (which they should every other winter in my opinion), they should also play tour matches against smaller pacific nations - PNG, Cook Islands and the like, presumably in Australia or NZ (or PNG, in that case). This of course would mean extending tours to that part of the world, which again is expensive and clubs would no doubt be grumpy about.
It's pie in the sky thinking, but this is what we should be aimning for year in, year out - more internationals full stop, but definitely more for second tier nations who need developing to hopefully provide stiffer competition at World Cups.
- flyingking likes this
Posted by West Country Eagle on 08 November 2013 - 07:05 PM
The Eagles are doing some ground upgrades - better floodlights, installing seats etc, plus there's terracing for those who prefer to stand. It's not ideal in the long run but it will work really well for Championship matches. Hopefully this well help the Eagles build on their following - I hear that they're looking to do extra promo in Hillsborough to see if they can attract new speccies. That can only be a good thing.
So positive, really - for all its faults it will be a better place to watch RL than Don Valley ever was.
- Pie tries likes this