Wednesday February 21, 2018
Slated by the Guardian within hours of his death, RIP Billy Graham - when did I hear you at Villa Park?
Photo Article: Lovely Eleni and Joshua's intended, Little Red Riding Hood - its Carnival!
Tom Winnifrith podcast - the real scandal with charities is that they don't work

PERSONAL, UNDILUTED VIEWS FROM TOM WINNIFRITH

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When did Ireland & West Ham both win on the same day last? Er…7 days ago

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- Tom Winnifrith

Last week I expressed my shock that Ireland and West Ham had both won on the same day and wondered when this happened last? You see, I am used to supporting sporting sides that are just not very good. Well blow me down Ireland and West Ham have now both put in back to back wins on the same day – when did that happen last?

For Ireland it was a home game against Wales. Such occasions usually prompt a post-match call between my father and myself “At least Olivia will be happy.” My daughter is like her mother (Big Nose) a proud Welshie. But not this time.

Ireland were ruthlessly efficient and made Wales (who are not hopeless) look just ordinary. The pack lead by Paul O’Connell was magnificent at the lineout, with the rolling maul and in all aspects of secondary play. The scrums were a bit of a mess but overall it was a powerful display. Throw in the kicking of Sexton and the tackling of the backs – and their strength under the high ball - and Ireland looked really good.

Next up is the Old Enemy at Twickenham. England also looked good yesterday but that was against a Scottish side that was truly dreadful. If you lose nearly all of your own lineouts and give away penalties you will never win rugby matches. As a hooker myself I have some sympathy when a lineout goes awry but Scotland’s was a shambles. It was not that England were just beating Scotland to the ball but that the ball was being thrown anywhere, almost at random. In my prime (London Irish, Wild Geese) I threw better than that.  Notwithstanding how useless Scotland were, England are a good side so the next outing will be tough.

For West Ham, a 2 nil win away at Villa despite not having Andy Caroll available as he serves a ludicrous three match ban. Two goals from Kevin Nolan did the trick and by all accounts the best team won. We are out of the relegation zone but the bottom half of the table is still incredibly tight.  In theory, a win against Norwich at Upton Park on Tuesday could see the mighty Hammers up to 10th.  Yes I know we would need to win 4 nil but let me dream for a day.

What matters is the three points. Norwich at home is the sort of game we need to win because safety is still at least 4 wins and a draw away.  Somehow there is confidence back in the side.  Happy days.

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