Personal and undiluted views
rugby

454 days ago

World Rugby half calls out the transgender bullies - a half brave but welcome move for women's sport

In the sport of Rugby the World governing body did something that was, on the surface of it, quite brave: it commissioned a scientific study on transgender women playing the sport. To the surprise of nobody with half a brain cell, the report showed that people born as men but who had transitioned would, even if they took hormone reducing drugs, be faster and stronger than what World Rugby terms cis-women. Or, what you and I just term women. And worse. If real women played against trans athletes, the study showed that their risk of serious injury increased by 30%. As such World Rugby is not going to allow trans women to play against women born as women and is using safety as its excuse. That offers a get out of jail card to any contact sport to do the same.

---

1156 days ago

Photo article: the Greek Hovel starts to become an eco palace

And as a bonus, daughter Olaf and the Mrs will be able to get hot water for their showers. Those of us who remember the, post rugby, freezing showers we were forced to take at Warwick School with some old master perving at us all in the pretence that he had to ensure that we went home clean for our parents, do not need hot water. By the time the stuff has arrived up at the hovel in largely metal pipes it is already a lot warmer than those Warwick showers of old.

---

1336 days ago

For my father and I it was a great day as both our rugby teams won but its a history fail for the BBC

My father has been watching the rugby like a hawk. Here in Greece I have been unable to watch but have kept in touch via the internet and calling my father after each game. Now this may not go down well with England supporters but in an Irish supporting family it was a perfect team as both our favourite teams won.

---

1354 days ago

Ireland Captain Rory Best, an innocent victim of #MeToo hysteria

As a lifelong supporter of Ulster and Irish Rugby I was this weekend celebrating a famous and thrilling win in Paris. My father said he could almost not bear to watch the final minutes but he managed it and was euphoric.Our brave lads were led out by skipper Rory Best of Ulster but if you check out social media you will see that in the run up there was a most hateful campaign against Best. His "crime?"

---

1476 days ago

Photo Article - Teeling Distillery Dublin ( Bearcast on tour)

You may know John Teeling from a host of small AIM stocks like Botswana Diamonds (BOD). But his real passion as been his whiskey businesses. I should say that my friend and comrade in veterans rugby is a non drinker. The Teeling distillery in Dublin is just two years old and is actually managed by John's two sons but the old man takes a massive fatherly interest. I recorded a bearcast in the offices there on Friday but also had a tour of what is a working distillery. You can too and if you are in Dublin I'd recommed it big time. I sould declare that Jon did not try to bribe me with any free samples. But it is never too late and he has my address..

---

1668 days ago

Floreat, floreat schola Warwicensis at Twickenham today

Driving through the Warwickshire villages where I spent my teens, as I have gone to and from the hospital, it is hard not to feel some nostalgia for the old place. The same music blares from my car as it did 30 and a bit years ago and at least I am starting to formulate the play list for my 50th birthday early next year.. The Mrs is not going to like it. She is far more George Michael than Jon Bon Jovi.

---

1680 days ago

The Trouser Test - that was a pleasant surprise for a fat man

Too scared to actually go and use a pair of scales I measure how fat I am by what sized trousers I can fit into and also just how I, as a diabetic, I feel. If I am falling asleep in the afternoon that is bad. If I am full of beans that is good. This week saw a trouser test and I was amazed by the results.

---

1777 days ago

Photo Article day 7 ( and out ) of the olive harvest at the Greek Hovel

And so we entered what George the Albanian said would be the final day of the 2016 olive harvest at the Greek Hovel. The final trees were those around the house which had received special care from me in the summer and so I hoped for a good day. But it started badly with George, his women and me trooping off to the far corners of the hovel to collect sacks full of olives.

---

1858 days ago

Going back to the gym after er... a long break

I have had an on off battle with my weight for forty years. 2016 has not been my best year. The scores on the doors as we head through September are Fat 8 TW 1. Giving up smoking on February 15th was a great thing to do but I put on a few pounds in the Spring. In May and June I worked hard in the fields at the Greek hovel and managed to shed much of the post smoking gain. Since then, comfort eating, and the odd cider, with a bereaved father and with a pregnant wife has been bad news indeed. But enough is enough. The fight back is underway.

---

2055 days ago

The Guardian: Lies, rugby, Eton toffs and Homosexuals

The Guardian's Stuart Jeffries pens a lengthy piece on rugby and tackling in schools which says nothing in particular in a fairly tedious way. But in the way it treats No 8 and Eton College it says far more about this awful publication than about the art of the scrummage.

Mr Jeffries, a grammar school boy, seems convinced that many rugger players are toffs and thus manages to get in several paragraphs about Eton. The only minor issue with this approach is that because of the Wall Game and rowing, rugger is a relatively minor sport at Eton. To lambast rugger as a game which most public schools in England play would be accurate if rather pointless but to single out the one major public school where rugger does not dominate the winter term, is just the Guardian way. Never let facts get in the way of a spot of Eton bashing with a dose of Call Me Dave abuse thrown in for good measure.

For the record I am no particular fan of Eton or of Call Me Dave but facts do matter.

And that brings me to the author's insistence that at his grim North Midlands grammar school, as a Number 8, he was forced to bind onto the two second rows by sticking his hand between their legs, rubbing past their testicles and grabbing their shirt. At length he describes the homo-erotic nature of this encounter.

My father 

---

2060 days ago

Ban Rugby tackles & scrums in schools says the mad Professor Allyson Pollock & 70 Quacks

A lifelong hater of Rugby, Professor Allyson Pollock of Queen Mary College London has gathered together 70 doctors and academics calling for rugby in schools to be played without tackles or scrums, without physical contact. They cite data which the media - notably BBC Radio 4 - is just too lazy to expose as utterly bogus.

---

2196 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 1 October - blame Ireland - sticking it to David Lenigas & Lenigas Cuba

The rugby as left me in a bad mood and it is David Lenigas who take the consequent hit. I start with a reposte to a very silly smear posted on ShareProphets HERE. Then it is onto Lenigas Cuba (CUBA) which is listing on the mickey mouse ISDX market. that is not what was promised and it is raising less than was promised at 5p. Do you know what price Big Dave paid for 28% of the company? That's a scandal. the valuation is a joke and the shares are straight onto the bargepole list.

---

2208 days ago

The England squad ready for the Rugby World Cup quarter finals - new photo emerges

Big Nose, the mother of my Welsh speaking daughter, has obtained this exclusive photo of the English rugby squad to show that they are all ready for the Rugby World Cup quarter finals.  The Celtic party continues.

---

2209 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 5 October - Suspension is never good & a cheap joke

A visit to the quack today was not good news but at least the woes of English rugby and LGO Energy (LGO) are there to cheer me up. in this podcast I discuss Alexander Mining (AXM), Cloudbuy (CBUY), the hoods at Equities First Holdings LLC (EFH), Daniel Stewart (DAN), Imaginatik (IMTK), Wandisco (WAND), Mirada (MIRA), Range Resources (RRL), tech stocks vs mining stocks, Amanda Van Dyke and, to end, I can't resist a cheap joke about the rugby.

---

2226 days ago

Come on Fiji – I am 100% behind you

I am not sure that I could place Fiji on a map of the world. I know sweet FA about the Country. But that does not really matter. Fiji is playing England at rugby tonight.

And thus like folks across Wales, Scotland and God’s chosen country of Ireland for tonight “I am a Fijian”. There are only two teams I support in this World Cup. 

---

2413 days ago

My father and I are sent to purgatory by St Peter – thoughts on the rugby

The great day of reckoning arrives and as I wander along the road towards the Pearly Gates I catch up with my father who with his stick and poorly knee has been making slow progress. We chat and before long we meet up with St Peter.

Inside heaven we can see that it is just like Donegal in the summer. Green, wild but stunning. There is Brian O’Driscoll chatting away amiably with Darina Allen who is cooking up an amazing supper for all. Seamus Heaney is reading poems to Michael Collins. It is a free land. But St Peter shakes his finger and says that my father and I have been found wanting. I think that it is a bit harsh on the Old Man but accept that I have sinned and St Peter ushers us down a little path with a sign marked Purgatory.

As we prepare to enter Purgatory we can hear from inside drunken fools baying about Chariots while other imbeciles belt out the greatest hits of Max Boyce. I feel a tap on the shoulder and it is St Peter.  Fear not he says, suffering the unbearable crowing of both English and Welsh rugby supporters on the same day will not last long. You are only in purgatory for a short while. I smile. But then St Peter adds, it will just feel like eternity.

In the days of my youth

---

2427 days ago

Ireland brightens up my day

I could not bring myself to find somewhere to watch the match even online but it seems that it is a happy St David’s day for the Celtic world as the Old Enemy have been put to the sword in Dublin 19-9. And it is clear that the result was not unfair. It gets better….

Before the game the English press was full of talk of how if England win they will go onto win the Grand Slam and now the World Cup. It is that conceit and swagger of English Rugby that binds the Celtic nations together in supporting anyone who plays England.

So once again the Wheels have come off the Chariots as the men in green march on. Come on lads, my father waited 66 years to see his second Irish grand slam, let’s make it just 12 months for his third. Sadly my phone is dead so I cannot enjoy what is becoming an almost annual ritual of calling my Ulster born Aunt Valerie Booker to share in the joy. She will no doubt be having an extra Bushmills and teasing Uncle Chris as I write. Have fun!

---

2450 days ago

The Four Reasons I shall support Wales vs England today

My rugby thoughts this weekend are naturally focussed on matters in Dublin but the Six Nations kicks off tonight in Cardiff with a battle of two of the minor teams and there are four very good reason why I shall support the sheep shaggers as they do battle with the English.

1. My daughter, though only half Welsh. is turning into a card carrying cottage burner and it will give her great pleasure if Wales win. And that will make me happy.

2. One should always support our Celtic brethren against the old Enemy.

3. In fact one should always support absolutely anyone against the old Enemy.

4. Wales supporters are unbearable in victory but so too are English rugby supporters. Since I live in England I shall only have to suffer a modicum of online Welsh triumphalism should Wales win but will enjoy the mass displeasure of England supporters first hand. An English triumph reverses that equation and would thus be far less pleasurable for me.

---

2518 days ago

Picture article: Winter shower arrangements at the Greek Hovel

You may remember that my shower arrangements at the Greek Hovel are somewhat rudimentary. I attach a picture of the shower, aka a hose pipe dropping down from the vine on the "snake terrace."

---

2777 days ago

Ireland Triumph, BOD goes out in glory, God honours our deal

I told God that I did not mind West Ham losing as long as Ireland won in Paris yesterday and so won the Six Nations Championship. And God played ball. West Ham were stuffed at Stoke and Ireland scraped home. My stomach was in knots for the whole game, it was agony but in the end Brian O’Driscoll went out as he deserved with a win.

My thoughts as the match dragged on were of a game in Rome a few years ago. Ireland thumped Italy but knowing that the Championship would be decided on points tried for that extra score and Italy got a freak try. We then sat down to watch France vs. Scotland and with last gasp points France did enough to deprive Ireland of the Championship. It was agony. No doubt as the England team and supporters watched events unfold yesterday they felt the same agony.

---

2777 days ago

Weekly Video Postcard #58 – Great Uncles, Great Rugby, Bob Crow and the deceit of the left edition

Inevitably I start this weekend’s video postcard with the Rugby. I am sure that most of my English based readers were cheering for France yesterday. To my Celtic brethren who were rooting for Ireland – I am sure that you can share my joy. Gosh it was nerve wracking. 

I then move onto the mysteries of my dead Great Uncles. If there is anyone out there who can track down Diana Norman, born 1915 who married (after the death of my Great Uncle Francis) a Mr Caulfield Stoker in 1947 (he then popped his clogs in Guernsey in 1954) I would be grateful. I can find no death certificate for Diana who would be 99 now but for reasons explained in the video and this article I am keen to track her down. 

I then move onto Bob Crow. I celebrate no death. Equally I do not mince my words and Crow screwed the poor working classes and that should be noted rather than simply eulogising Saint Bob.

This is a wider issue: how and why the left systematically keep the working classes poor and that this the main theme of this video.

My weekly financial video covers shareholder activism a major theme of UK Investor Show which is now a day less than three weeks away.  Tickets start to go out tomorrow. If you have not booked please do so at once HERE

You can watch my financial video postcard HERE

---

2784 days ago

Come on Wales, Reflections on Ireland – Paul you are too calculating show Celtic loyalty!

My new Welsh friend Paul emails me before the Ireland match to say that he is rooting for Italy as part of some diabolical calculation allowing his beloved sheep-shaggers to win the Six nations Championship. Hmmmmm.

Despite a catalogue of errors Ireland utterly routed Italy yesterday. It was an emotional Dublin send off for Brian O’Driscoll, the greatest ever Ireland player. My father and I watched and as BOD was interviewed post match, the emotion poured over in Shipston-on-Stour as I am sure it did in every outpost of the diaspora. The way the points stack up, barring some utter freak, if Ireland can manage to defeat the hit or miss Froggies in Paris, the Championship is ours. Surely God wishes to reward his loyal servant BOD thus?

And now to Wales vs. England. For me there are no diabolical calculations. Indeed shame on you Paul for thinking that way. Paul says that he is so excited about today’s game that he cannot sleep. I would suggest that he tries counting sheep. But I guess that might make him even more excited. I digress.

I can put aside the fact that the mother of my daughter (Big Nose) will be sitting at home munching nuts nervously as she roots for Wales. I am beyond that for I also know that my daughter will be dressed in a Welsh jersey or National dress, belting out the National Anthem, passionately roaring on the men in red.

This is a simple matter. The Old Enemy are playing. Thus naturally my mind is wired to support the other side. I do not feel this way about soccer – in Ireland’s absence I will cheer for England in the World Cup for as long as its campaign lasts which will not be very long. I gather that England are 33-1 to win the World Cup. For those who do not understand betting that means that if you wager £10 on England you will lose £10.

No, this is just a rugby thing. I think of the swagger 

---

2785 days ago

The Mrs Catnaps my cats who are now officially Indian

My poor cats, they must be getting culturally confused. Tara & Oakley were born in the Isle of Man although like 99% of Manx Cats they have full tails. Rescued by me from the MSPCA they then came over to England with me but having to watch me heaping abuse on England whenever the rugby is on. So are we Irish daddy?

Of course on Sunday they will suffer extra confusion as this household stands shoulder to shoulder with our Celtic brothers in Wales. Come on the sheep shaggers please put the old enemy to the sword. Humiliate them!

But the confusion gets worse for in taking them to a new vet for their booster jabs the Mrs made the appointment. Being a deluded lefty, the Mrs is not Mrs Winnifrith but has retained her own (Indian) surname. What say you? Political correctness gone mad?

As such the cats have come back with a form showing that they too now have an Indian surname. Born Manx, naturalised English, adopted Anglo Irish and now finally Indian. Such is the melting pot that is Britain today but it is understandable if Tara and Oakley are this morning feeling a little culturally confused.

Incidentally the vet said both cats were in great nick although Oakley (the one with three legs) was a little on the plump side and could do with a bit more exercise. Plus ca change on that front.

---

2798 days ago

A Mixed sporting weekend – Ireland, Wales & West Ham

Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained on Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.

Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish

---

2812 days ago

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

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

---

2819 days ago

Ireland & West Ham both win on the same weekend – when did that last happen?

As you might have gathered, teams that gain my support on the sports field can rarely be described as consistent models of success. West Ham, Northants CC, Ireland & Ulster at rugby, Eire at football and England at Cricket. The less said about the last on that list the better – for now I have decided that supporting the England women’s cricket team is less painful.

My big loves are, for my sins, Irish rugby and West Ham. For the former I can blame my father. For the latter I have only myself to blame. But this weekend both Ireland and West Ham won. I really cannot remember the last time this happened. 

At this stage of the season I usually have a conversation with God on the matter of sport. Heavenly father, will you allow West Ham to avoid relegation and as a trade-off I will give you that Ireland will not win the six nations. But would you mind terribly if we won the Triple Crown? I sense that God is not really interested in such discussions (although why he should have anything against Irish rugby is beyond me, surely he cannot support England?) and thus Ireland will probably not win the Triple Crown and as for West Ham? If the appeal against the red card shown to Horseface (Andy Carroll) on Saturday is successful – as I think it should be – we actually looked like a half decent side. 

Okay we are still in the 3rd relegation spot ( 18th) but in theory just one win would put us 11t

---

2865 days ago

In defence of John Teeling & David Horgan at Petrel

We ran a piece yesterday by Doc Holiday on Petrel Resources (PET) and on its bosses Dr John Teeling and David Horgan. I approved it for publication because I like Shareprophets writers to say what they think not what I might think. But I think it was harsh on the Irish fellows.

I declare an interest in that I have known John and David for years. I like them both. They are clever and entertaining. I also play rugby very now and again with John in the Clontarf Veterans side. That is an amazing achievement for both us. Me because I am very unfit. John because he is 107. Only kidding, John. But he is not quite as young as he once was.

---

3126 days ago

Paulo di Canio off to Sunderland - I have fallen out of love with football & sport

Announced just before April 1st Paulo di Canio has been appointed the new manager of Sunderland on a 30 month contract. Good luck to him.  He replaces Martin O’Neill whose managerial career seems to be heading rapidly south and who was fired after Sunderland’s most recent defeat. The team now lies just 1 point ahead of Villa and in form Wigan and the last relegation spot. If di Canio can turn this around he will be a hero. And it should not take much. Both Villa and Newcastle who are a place above Sunderland look pretty useless. Wigan are useless but always seem to escape the drop.

Di Canio has seven games to secure two wins and a couple of draws and ensure safety. Naturally I now hope that he manages to save his side from the drop (unless it is at the expense of West Ham who still need one more win). In response, David Miliband has announced that he is quitting the board in protest at di Canio’s “past political views.” That would be the David Miliband who is also quitting his poor constituents because he fancies earning loads of wonga in New York. Di Canio is a well-known anti-racist campaigner. Admittedly he is also a great admirer of Mussolini and Fascism, a philosophy rooted not (like Nazism in concepts of racial purity) but in the idea of a big state which controls the economy and spends lots of money. A bit like the last Labour administration in which Miliband served.

I cannot see how Miliband added much to Sunderland’s board. As a London boy I am sure his support for the team was down to appealing to his constituents rather than a real passion. And the man was clearly happy for an excuse to sever another tie with the UK. I suspect that Miliband will be missed at the Wearside club almost as much as they will miss Martin O’Neill.

And sadly I am now resigned to Fat Sam Allardyce staying on at Upton Park after May for at least another two years.

The performance on Saturday by the Irons was exciting and attractive. But that has been the way this season. One game on and a couple off. It is not enough to get me to renew my season ticket. I may renew in a couple of years but £650 for 19 games when half of them are dire and I only manage to attend nine games (all of which are the dire ones) seems poor value for money.

I suppose that for a number of years I have felt less and less minded to renew my season tickets. The truth is that I have just fallen out of love with football.

---

3141 days ago

Weekend Video Postcard Number 32

I think sound and vision nailed once again. I am finally getting the hang of this.  I am meant to be celebrating St Patrick’s Day with some Irish-for-a-day folk which means just mindless drinking. Since they were not Irish yesterday they will not understand why there is nothing to celebrate today. And so I may dodge that for some more writing. Pro tem here is the video postcard for this week

On the Agenda

  1. The end of an era for Irish rugby –see also my sad thoughts on that HERE
  2. The Budget – I do not expect much
  3. The markets
  4. Nigel Wray again - ref Alliance Pharma
  5. Cyprus, the Euro and theft
  6. Leaving the EU
  7. UKInvestor Show on April 13th

Approximate Running time 10 minutes

---

3142 days ago

Ireland Rugby Humiliation – what can I say?

My formative rugby years were in the 1970s watching on a black and white TV screen with my Dad. Why do we support the Men in Green is asked my Dad: they always lose? Well my father and I still support the men in green. He taught me to do so as his mother had taught him and we have had a great couple of decades. But it is over. The good times have officially ended and we return to what I consider normality. That is to say a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

This season has been terrible. For the first 45 minutes against Wales we looked like world beaters. Since then it has been just dreadful. Frankly the Irish ladies team (who, I think, won their grand slam) have played with more passion and discipline and – at times – skill.

It is the end of an era. Not once have I had a chance to call Aunt Valerie (an Ulster woman) to share joy in a way that she cannot with her husband Uncle Chris, as Ireland have triumphed. Calls to my father have been sad as we wonder if those glory years – a twenty year period when Ireland were not good but great as opposed to the normal fare of brave also rans – are just over.

I am not even sure that I would describe Ireland as brave these days. Back in the 70s we would pray for the rain to poor down on Landsdowne Road. Keep it tight in the forwards and fight with passion, pray and hope. The late Moss Keane, Fergus Slattery, those were the days. In defeat those Ireland teams were brave.

And now?

---

3150 days ago

New Look Tom Winnifrith and New Look TomWinnifrith.com

You were getting used to the scruffy look. Well both I and my blog have had a makeover today. Me? I am not in court for another libel trial. I am off to a City lunch in Chiswell Street as the guest of Nigel Wray. It is a sporting lunch. As there will no doubt be a lot of chatter about English rugby in triumphalist terms I shall have to bite my lip. Please can we talk about English cricket instead?

Textpattern CMS

And TomWinnifrith.com – well what can I say? I hope that it is easier to read and easier to find your way around.

It is now easy to tweet or email a link to an article to all your mates and also to do the same via Reddit (not that I have the foggiest what Reddit is). I really would not discourage you from doing all three things. Go on…have a go.

I hope that you like the new look. The old one was okay to launch when this was just a sanity project for me. Now this blog is a central part of my life and I want it to look as smart as its owner.

 

---

3176 days ago

I have abandoned the White Bear - sporting Disaster x 2 and now it gets worse

The white bear in Shipston seems to be populated by folk who support Aston Villa and England. Given that we are on South Warwickshire that should be no great surprise but as a West Ham and Ireland support I have had enough. And it is going to get worse.

West Ham lost 2.1 and were useless. This is the third time this season that we have given hope of a kickstart to useless sides (Reading, Wigan and now Villa). I hope that we stay up although that is by no means guaranteed. But surely no-one can want another season of this nonsense. At the end of May Fat Sam’s contract is up and he has got to go. West Ham will finish this season between 12th and 18th and with two early cup exits to our name. Enough is enough.

At half time Ireland are trailing and our captain could not catch a cold at the North Pole. So much for the Lions Jamie. My father is earnestly praying for divine intervention at Church right now but I fear the worst and if we are to be vanquished by the Old Enemy I’d rather watch in misery alone than surrounded by cheering England supporters. What next?

Oh, my sister Tabby and her family (England, Man United and deluded on all matters) arrive for supper. I have a long list of restricted subjects which I am not allowed to mention but she has none, I am under orders not to respond on any matter.

Postscript: No rows with Tabby. I bit my lip once but all very amicable. Her husband opined that only aristocrats read the Daily Telegraph ( theirs is a Guardian reading household, natch) and I was unable to hold back then generally all peace and brotherly love.

---

3177 days ago

Ireland vs. England – God vs. Pub

Lo and behold a resurgent Wales beat the Froggies (who are now 0 from 2 but were pre tournament favourites), Scotland thrash Italy in what was meant to be the wooden spoon game and today’s match in Dublin could be the Championship decider. Although I would not rule the sheep shaggers (Welsh department) out yet.

England are, of course, the old enemy and when they arrive in Dublin full of swagger and arrogance as they do now, the desire for victory is greater than ever. And there is also the romance: in Brian O’Driscoll’s last season of six nations rugby might the men in green pull off a famous victory? If they play as they did in the first half against Wales they might win. Play as they did in the second half and there will be misery in Sheep Street, Shipston.

For I am back with my deluded lefty father and step mother. It is the former who brought me up to support “the Old Country.” For me tomorrow afternoon is a simple matter. Lunch. Then the White Bear to watch West Ham away at Villa. And shortly before 3 my father will arrive. I shall remove my West Ham hoodie to reveal an Irish shirt, we will switch bars and off we go.

My father has a dilemma. At 4 PM my step mum is preaching in Shipston Church. If Ireland are behind he will not want to watch and will head off to Church to pray for a BOD inspired comeback. If it is even Stevens he has assured my step mum that he will go to Church where he will pray earnestly for an Irish victory. So, I asked him: what if Ireland are 50 points ahead with 30 minutes to go: God vs. Pub, a chance to watch a famous victory with your son, the landlord ( also wearing green) and a bunch of miserable England supporters, or your second church service of the day? Hmmm. He admitted that would be a tough call. But it is – sadly – also an unlikely scenario.

---

3183 days ago

Olivia won’t be happy – Wales vs Ireland

The past few encounters between Ireland and Wales have not made my father and I terribly happy. Our parting words after each recent let down have been “at least Olivia will be happy”. The mother of my daughter Olivia is a Welsh speaker, a dyed in the wool cottage burner and I am sorry to say that she has led Olivia astray in that she also supports Wales with a passion. She kindly says that Ireland is her second team but in post match calls in recent years she has not been able to contain her glee. Ha!

Ireland were magnificent in the first half, er…less good in the second. Brian O’Driscoll was inspirational. The Old Country were deserved winners and I will be calling Olivia ( and her mother) later to discuss. I shall try not to crow with Olivia. With her mother there will be no such restraint.

I did note one English reporter on the news commenting that after England defeated the poor Scottish team that the English should have no worries about beating France to win the six nations. He seemed to assume that next week in Dublin was a given. Such is the arrogance and swagger of English rugby right now. A home win in Dublin next week would be all the sweeter for that.

---

3249 days ago

Great Western Mining & US Oil & Gas – An Observation or Two

Tin hat on I offer up a couple of thoughts on our favourite oil and gas joke company valuation play US Oil & Gas (USOP) and a little company on AIM, Great Western Mining (LSE: GWMO). You see they are from the same stable and the connection does not end there. Both companies were set up in Liam McGrattan’s pub in, how can I put this, one of the less salubrious parts of Dublin. It is the sort of place where I try to overcome having an English accent by ostentatiously wearing an old London Irish rugby shirt. These days there are different folks fronting up the operations but if they wanted to they could share on travel expenses as while US’s Brian McDonnell heads off to Nye County Nevada to look for his oil, Western’s Emmett O’Connell heads off to Mineral County Nevada to look for his uranium, gold and silver. And guess what? These two counties are right next to each other.

---

3265 days ago

Petrel Resources – Valuation Not Justifiable

Apologies to my friends John Teeling and David Horgan who run AIM listed Irish oil explorer Petrel Resources (PET) but the valuation of your company is just not justifiable. At 19.375p the company is valued at £14.4 million. Even the house broker Northland gives a valuation range of 3.6p (base case) to 14p (maximum best case). The share price is simply far too high and here is why.

---

3267 days ago

When in Wales...

My weekend has been spent walking in mid Wales. I needed a break from non-stop writing. And as always I am one who tries to be aware of local cultural sensitivities and so when in Wales…do as the Welsh do.

Hence on Saturday afternoon

---