NEW TEAMS ADD EXTRA SPICE TO AN EXCITING COMBINATION
At the North Gloucester Combination Cup draw on Monday night, it was fitting that Andy Hazell pulled out Coney Hill and Shaun Knight pulled out Matson.
My brother who is the Longlevens Combination representative was also at the draw.
This competition adds a bit of spice towards the end of the season and it is held in high regard.
Tredworth have entered in the Junior Cup and this shows how much they have improved in Gloucester Three.
It will be interesting to see how the competition goes, and if one of the big teams like Coney Hill or Matson go out then it opens it all up.
If you stay on the correct side of the draw and avoid Old Cents then you can go all the way.
Longlevens were going to put a third team out because they have formed a veteran’s team recently, but it’s probably a bit too soon for them.
They thought they had the depth but they’ll wait another season and hopefully go in next year which will be good to see.
If the Combination gets as many clubs involved as they can then it will be good for the competition and will be as fiercely contested as ever.
It’s great to see Quedgeley and Hardwicke Harlequins make their debuts in the Glanville Cup which is brilliant that the competition is attracting new teams.
It further strengthens rugby in the region because Quedgeley is a big catchment area but they’ll be up against it against one of the strongest sides in the competition in Coney Hill Thirds.
That’s unfortunate but that’s how the draw goes and it can be unforgiving.
But it’s testament to the guys at the club who have put a lot of hard work in to get them to where they are.
They might not get to the next round but it’s a starting point for them and I hope they enjoy the experience of playing in the Cup against a great third team side and in front of a decent crowd.
They may not get many people watching but they’ll know they’ve been in a game against Coney Hill.
Hill have many supporters and always take a lot with them from the firsts to the thirds so it’ll be a big occasion.
But as I said in my column last week, the ones to beat will be Old Cents.
I DON’T THINK WE’LL HEAR FROM JIM TELFER FOR A WHILE
I was pleased Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan did well for England against Scotland because it put Jim Telfer in his place.
He’s had a lot of press recently, perhaps he wanted it I don’t know, but considering what he has done in rugby for Scotland and the British and Irish Lions, he got it very badly wrong.
Stuart Lancaster is a very humble man and instils humility in every English player.
If they’re arrogant then that may have been from before Lancaster’s time because it is certainly not the case now.
That’s one of the reasons they’re playing well now because they’re concentrating on their rugby and not off-field matters.
For Jim Telfer to say the things he did were off the mark and inaccurate.
I doubt he still thinks the same now after England beat Scotland quite comfortably and even should have got to 50 because they did it with hard work and skill.
I don’t think we’ll hear from him again in the Six Nations.
Perhaps he wants to worry about Scotland a bit more and how they’re going forward because following the great Italy win over France, Scotland are nailed on for the wooden spoon.
ALL BETS ARE OFF, WELL DONE TO RFU
The RFU sent out a letter first thing on Monday to the rugby world, about betting in the sport.
It stated that if you are involved in rugby in any semi-professional or professional manner, then you can’t bet on any rugby.
It was interesting to see all of the rules and regulations that they’ve brought out to enforce.
There are no grey areas and everyone understands it which is fair play to the RFU.
If you were playing for Gloucester against Bath and you bet on your side to lose then that wouldn’t be allowed.
We’ve seen incidents in cricket where someone has bowled a no ball on purpose.
It may be harder to legislate in rugby because there are more technical things going on.
Maybe they would take bets on how many scrums Gloucester would win in a game.
Then whoever is playing can try to ensure that those scrums are won and lost – it’s a minefield of a subject.
I don’t know whether this RFU letter came as a reaction to the recent controversies in football about match fixing because that same day stories about rigged Champions League matches were in the media.
It also goes to show in professional sport how betting online nowadays is really popular.
Such sad matters potentially impact across all sports, including rugby, and our governing body were correct in sending out a statement to remind us all.
IT’S A MASSIVE SHOT IN THE ARM TO WIN AFTER BATTLES FOR CONSISTANCY
It was great for Cinderford to get the win against Fylde last Saturday because we deserved it after battling through a period of inconsistency.
It was nice to play at home for the first time in a while and secure a convincing victory.
Sometimes when you lose you start to think is this going the right way?
But the win gives us a massive shot of confidence in the arm and will push us on for the last ten games of the season.
It also endorses what the team is capable of and if we improved our defence we could be in a higher position than are current eighth in National One – but I’ll take where we are at the moment.
It’s still a case of working hard on our defence to ensure we’re striving for improvement.
It’s very difficult to say what the difference was precisely, we just did most things right and turned more opportunities into tries.
We urged the boys before the game, in the changing room, to think of it like a relegation battle, needing to win to stay in the league.
With the young side we have, this league is unforgiving sometimes and we’ve got to have that attitude every time we go out.
If that’s what it takes then we’ll be okay.
It just proves to me and the guys, that we if go out with the right mindset it just shows what we’re capable of on the field, what we can achieve.