Sunday, 18 September 2011

Touch. Pause. Engage

The main highlight of the last two weeks for me has been the Rugby World Cup. Before it started, I didn’t think I would watch much of it (just trying to stick to England and Scotland games) but I have found myself really getting into any game I can watch. The first game I watched was actually the second half of France/Japan in which the scores were fairly even until Japan switched off and France just strode ahead, eventually winning 47-21. After that was the first England game of this campaign against Argentina. A particularly ugly affair in which England played fairly poorly but managed to get the win 13-9. The next day, I was only awake in time to catch South Africa v Wales, which has been the second best game of the tournament for me thus far. It was a superb contest from start to finish where the current world champions were given a real scare by the welsh with one point separating the two nations at the end. I streamed a game at work to listen to while working, which was Scotland v Georgia. Scotland were not dominate, but Georgia were fairly poor. This resulted in a Scotland victory 15-6.

I really wish I had caught the game on Friday (work is a right bugger isn’t it?!) as the hosts New Zealand destroyed Japan, running out 83-7 winners. This weekend there has been some fantastic rugby on display. I caught most of the South Africa – Fiji game. It was 3-0 to RSA when I turned it on. It finished 49-3 to the reigning world champions. South Africa is always a strong contender to go all the way. After this match was the match of the tournament thus far for me. Ireland v Australia was an outstanding game of rugby. I don’t support either team but tend to favour the underdogs when I am a neutral. This meant that I wanted Ireland to win and that they did. The two teams seemed really evenly matched and it was just a great match. I think Ireland deserved to win and I was delighted at the end when they won 15-6. I intended to wake up at 4.30am this morning to watch all of today’s rugby. However, my desire to sleep outweighed my desire to watch Wales v Samoa and I stayed in bed until about 7am, waking up to watch England. The game started off slow with England giving away far too many penalties but at HT, England was in front. The second half was significantly better with England scoring 4 tries. The discipline was still a worry though. The final score was 41-10. The final game today was France v Canada. What should have been a walk over for France (5th in the world rankings vs. 14th) was really quite a challenge from the off. Canada took first blood with a penalty, which France reversed by scoring a try but then Canada equalised. The two tries were a result of shocking defending. After the half being fairly level, France scored 3 penalties towards the end and never really looked back. Canada scored a couple of drop goals but never looked like getting back into it which I thought was a real shame.

It is a real shame I have work on Thursday and Friday because I would love to watch South Africa v Namibia and Australia v USA (both games I predict being high scorers...if only for one team!) though I might stream the games and listen at work like I did the Scotland game. Another 7am start next Saturday for England v Romania and I hope that will be a comprehensive win for England as well. The game after that is the first major clash of the tournament really. Two teams from the top 5 of the world rankings meet when hosts New Zealand face France. I might try and wake up on Sunday for the Ireland v Russia game but seeing as that starts at 6, I may fail. I will definitely be watching the Argentina v Scotland game however as that is a vital game in England’s pool. The final weekend of the pool games is the first weekend of October where there is a real chance I will tape all the games and spend all weekend watching rugby if possible. The main match for me of this weekend is England vs. Scotland. A real local derby which usually is a fantastic game of rugby. I will probably also try to watch France v Tonga (6am 1st Oct), Wales v Fiji (6am 2nd Oct) and Ireland v Italy (8.30am 2nd Oct) live as well. I am really into this world cup right now and I am really looking forward to the final stages so much. I haven’t seen enough to convince me that England will win the tournament but I remain hopeful. New Zealand looked unbelievable against Japan, but I have to keep in mind that they were playing Japan! I honestly don’t know who will win, but I think my pick has to be New Zealand.

The more of this world cup I am watching and the more of Bath I am following, the more into rugby I am getting. The truth is I am finding myself caring less about football as the days go on. I still support Portsmouth but I am beginning to wonder if Rugby will become the number one sport that I follow. I mean, I am going to see Pompey next Saturday, and I am really looking forward to it – but at the same time, I am finding myself getting increasingly annoyed with footballers – how they act on the pitch and off of it. I am just growing disillusioned with the once beautiful game. Will this be the case when the rugby world cup concludes? I can’t answer that now.

Anyway, moving away from rugby.

I went to go see Adam Hills at the Wedgewood rooms on his Mess Around tour last Tuesday night. The concept of the tour is that it is different every night (although truthfully, I imagine he will have a bank of stories he can fall back on which will make appearances regularly). He told stories about an American comic, Chelsea Handler, and her show in Australia; meeting the queen and ordering pizza in Australia. There was so much more though, including getting a twitter account set up for an audience member and getting his thousands of followers to guess an audience members job as well as some tribal warfare between Portsmouth and Southampton residents (the concept of “scum” and skate” seemed to be lost on him which made it more funny). There was one awkward bit which I’m sure was supposed to be funny which after a 2 or so minutes really just became awkward. In his 2009 show, he bought an audience member who he met at his Reading gig on stage. They proceeded to have a bit of back and forth banter which really was quite funny, albeit slightly long. This time around, the funny died off quickly and it turned into “hey crowd, turn against the guy you bought a ticket to see” – which didn’t happen. Oh well – his involvement ended and the show continued fine. I hope if Adam Hills comes back to Portsmouth again, it is without the special guest. The show was great though.

My last post on here was about me giving up smoking and the blog it is on (I'm Done With Smoking btw). Today will see me have gone 7 whole days without a smoke if I make it to 9.30pm without going for one. Seeing as I don’t have any and most shops are now closed, I think my chances are quite good. I am proud of myself for doing this and hope to continue and keep it up for quite a while yet.

That’s all folks!

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