Saturday, December 30, 2006

London Irish/London

The splendid and celebrated city club faces a battle and a half on New Year’s Day. The visitors, London Irish, are renowned for their physicality and forward strength and I mournfully recall a defeat in the corresponding fixture last term when an immense Reading-based eight out-muscled and bullied the Gloucester forwards. A similar struggle meets the Cherry and Whites this time although the addition of Nieto, Califano and Bortolami to the pack will lend the home side more parity this time. The performance of Ryan Lamb (pictured) will prove crucial. The nipper has enjoyed an inconsistent season thus far but I am sure a performance where it all clicks and the Tredworth Tyro cuts an opposition fifteen to shreds will arrive sooner or later. Naturally I hope it is against Irish and the selection of energetic Scot Rory Lawson will help; the former Edinburgh scrummie has indubitably impressed recently and his keen pass and alert ways will help ‘The Lambster’ no end. I am glad the stylish Oliver Morgan is back at full-back but wish Balshaw was still in the fifteen, in place of the satisfactorily functional but vaguely underwhelming Foster.

I am taking the elder of the Cole girls to London next Wednesday, travelling on a locomotive for a change. We intend to visit the Tate Modern where Carsten Höller has filled the vast Turbine Hall with a series of huge slides. The Tate’s website calls it an ‘exploration of communal human experience’ but I sense we’ll just call it ‘a lot of fun’. I hope the weather is fine. I have embarked on a couple of ‘flights’ on the outstanding London Eye but each time the weather has been overcast and a touch damp. It would be good to enjoy the views from this remarkable erection on a clear day to really appreciate it. Third time lucky, hopefully.

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