Monday, December 31, 2007

Thanks Gwyneth Lewis for speaking the facts

Recent Work / Gwaith diweddar
A Wooden Spoon for the WRU (A druid speaks)
I have consulted the mistletoe, stared at starling footprints in snow: the time is ripe for your overthrow.
I give you a spoon I shaped of ash because you didn't nurture the flash of play but thought, maybe, of cash.
Here's a dip I turned from oak but look, in your hands, it slips into smoke. You've made our last Grand Slam a joke.
Actual rugby can never redeem your backroom moves of dodge and scheme. It's you who need to raise your game.
How can a committee always outlive coaches, players? It’s hard to forgive shadowy men with hands like sieves.
Here's the last spoon, I carved it from gall: it's you, not the team, who have dropped the ball. Hang this up, with shame, in your hall.
Gwyneth Lewis National Poet of Wales

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Intentions for 2008...........

Big, Scary & Hairy Intentions for 2008 ~ 1st January 2008 ~ 1st Draft………

Re-work the novel “One death etc” and have in a shape ready for publishing by September 2008.
Take part in Script Frenzy in April ~ sign up now ~ 1st Jan. Intention is to produce a stage play on a subject not yet chosen ~ and complete the project aim ie 200 pages of script by end of April 2008.
Work on “The Mangle” ~ an outline of a novel on my mother and father and based around an art exhibition.Possible entry for NaNOWriMo 2008.
Work on Blog sites with more regularity this year. Drop first experimental site and regroup around “Blogger”. Discuss with Jules. Discuss before end of January with Will/Wendy the prospect of a blog through French Entree
Work up the poetry I have and produce a Book ready to give to members of the family & friends. Based on places I’ve lived and persons I’ve known.~ “Personal Places”.

Goddard/Smallman/Taylor/Dudley/Meredith Family Tree ~ get others involved eg Peter, David, Adrian, etc in developing and sharpening what I already have on line in “Find my Past”.Complete research by December 2008.
I have slimmed down from 15 stone 4 pounds to 14 stone 7 pounds. I aim to lose another 1 stone by end of February 2008 through diet and exrcise ie walking & garden work.
Aim to sell house in France by September 2008. Decide on next location prior to this ~ but I would support Carol’s idea of a trip to USA/Canada and then our final move to a location that is ideal for us both in the UK with something small in France.
Bear in mind if we return to UK the need to secure a place on a degree copurse in Art. Eg University College of Wales, Carmarthen.

For this year only ~ Better start taking seriously the learning of French ~ incremental improvements each month. Produce a schedule [ See elsewhere] to support this. Aim for an “intermediary” level by the Summer.

Work on my sketchbooks ~ in readiness for Art School. Produce 5 new sketchbooks based on our experiences in France ~ called “The French Interlude” by August, 2008.
Support all the children & grandchildren as needs arise.
Be particularly supportive of Catherine & Angharad in their pregnancies.
Return to UK to see baby in March, 2008.
Check all our cameras to see what is working by mid January and use as part of sketchbook work after that.

Simplify our lives by selling/giving to charity those items which clutter our house and our lives.
Maintain & develop our friendships in France & UK..
Finish “Desrt Island Disc” Choices And record the programme.
Work for a successful launch of Connect FF and step down in April 2008.

Work for the success of the St Yrieix Book Club and read at least 12 books this yeat ~ 2008

Thursday, November 29, 2007

He makes me so nervous.

Now we know what you've been doing and why you twitch!!!!!



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My View ~ Bite his hand off.......

Jose Mourinho is ready and willing to talk to the Football Association about becoming the new England manager.

The former Chelsea boss has emerged as the fans' favourite to take over the reins from Steve McClaren, who was dismissed last week after his failure to lead England to the Euro 2008 finals.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick is set to begin his hunt for England's new boss within the next week - and Mourinho admits he would welcome an approach.

"You will have to speak to the FA to see if they are interested in offering me the job," he told The Sun.

"I cannot say what I think until they say they are interested. Tell the FA to come and get me.

"We will have to wait and see, but I rule nothing out."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Swans get a great away result

Tranmere 0-1 Swansea
A late own goal was enough for Swansea to beat Tranmere.
The game was a closely fought affair with the better chances falling to the home side, who were initially frustrated by keeper Dorus De Vries.
Calvin Zola, Chris Greenacre, Ian Goodison and Shane Sherriff all then wasted gilt-edged chances for Rovers.
And they paid the price when Steven Jennings was unlucky to turn an Andy Robinson cross into his own net in the 81st minute.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

McClaren ~ Who was the mincepie who appointed this pudding????

Where it went wrong for McClaren
Feature: A look back at McClaren's tenure
By Phil McNulty Chief football writer
The Football Association has drawn a very thick line under Steve McClaren's reign of error following England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008.
When England needed inspiration from the sidelines, all they got was a man keeping his hair dry with a brolly
The under-whelming, expensive, spin-driven reign of a man promoted out of his depth to fatally guide England's football fortunes ended on Thursday when the FA board handed him his P45.
From day one, it was an appointment that had the pungent smell of compromise and eventual failure about it.
McClaren was Sven-Goran Eriksson's henchman in the under-achieving years of what we now know to be the laughingly-labelled "Golden Generation" of English talent.
The hand of McClaren was on the body of England's failures at major tournaments - so he was never the man to succeed the Swede.
And yet, with a curious mixture of accident and very little design, he breezed into London as England's new coach on 4 May last year.
Chief executive Brian Barwick drew mockery when he proclaimed he had landed his first choice, particularly after a very public courtship of Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari had ended in an equally public rejection.
It was an inauspicious start for a man very few actually felt was right for the post.
McClaren did not distinguish himself at Middlesbrough, even being pelted with a season ticket by a supporter despite subsequently leading them to the Uefa Cup final, where they were thrashed by Sevilla.
No tears were shed on Teesside when he left, but grumbles were heard when it was suggested Martin O'Neill's failure to produce a dazzling power-point presentation or show due deference to potential employers had ruled out the most obvious candidate to go before the FA.
McClaren was never liked by English supporters, and even his appointment of Terry Venables as right-hand man smacked of an attempt to get a few media pals onside rather than a neat managerial fit.
He was too much style and not enough substance. He did not enjoy a good public image, with too many syrupy pre-rehearsed soundbites and a well-manufactured smile that was not well received.
Even in his last hours, he "inspired" England's last-ditch bid to reach Euro 2008 at Wembley from underneath an FA umbrella, an enduringly stupid image that will haunt him for a very long time.
When England needed inspiration from the sidelines, all they got was a man keeping his hair dry with a brolly.
After an acceptable start the cracks started to show with a disappointing goalless draw at home to Macedonia, followed a calamitous tactical shift to 3-5-2 in Croatia that led to confusion and a 2-0 defeat.
He was unable to make England's talented but unbalanced midfield work, with Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard unable to deliver, with only the introduction of Gareth Barry giving hope for a while.
England scraped a 3-0 win against Andorra in Barcelona, but the actual performance was right down there with the worst in recent memory.
There was a run of wins, with a 3-0 beating of Russia the highlight, but McClaren's England bandwagon never truly gathered momentum.
The whole campaign had a stutter and stop-start feel about it that meant McClaren rarely presented a convincing case that he was a long-term bet for the job.
And then there was the David Beckham selection hokey-cokey. From showpiece axing to eventual recall.
In-out-in-out - all the way out of Euro 2008.
McClaren did suffer ill-fortune with injuries, the kind which ruled out John Terry, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen from the final game.
And being unlucky was another problem McClaren did not need among the others he brought on himself.
McClaren's final 4-5-1 format for his last defeat against Croatia was not necessarily a bad option, but it was applied in a naïve, almost Neanderthal manner which suggested little thought had been given to the game plan.
Peter Crouch was fed a constant diet of aimless long balls in that nightmarish first 45 minutes, when the formation could have produced much more imagination if McClaren had chosen to suggest it.
Instead of looking like they had received a measured message from their leader, England looked scared, negative, basic, desperate - and horribly lacking in technique compared to Croatia.
McClaren's big goalkeeping call of replacing Paul Robinson with Scott Carson went badly wrong after only eight minutes when the youngster made an amateurish hash of dealing with Nico Kranjcar's long-range shot and England were on the road to ruin.
The FA, for its part, also needs serious censure for settling for second-best and making what actually was an appointment of convenience and compromise rather than quality.
Its top brass can reflect on that at their leisure today and all through next summer as they contemplate the riches they miss out on as soccer's showpiece takes place without them.
And also while they negotiate what will presumably be a handsome pay-off for the so-called "first choice" coach.
For McClaren, we can reserve one of his favourites phrases - "we move on" - as a parting shot.
And the FA has made sure it has done so.
Story from BBC SPORT: 2007/11/22 07:43:19 GMT© BBC MMVII

Turnip swede and now sliced up pudding

At Last ~ the puddings gone.

Next England Manager

Jose Mourinho and Martin O'Neill have emerged as frontrunners to succeed Steve McClaren.
McClaren's reign in charge of England has come to an end following the failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

A miserable night for McClaren and his men ended in defeat as Croatia outplayed England to stun the Wembley crowd, securing a 3-2 victory. have former Chelsea boss Mourinho ranked as 7/2 favourite to replace McClaren, however the Portuguese tactician has previously stated he would only be keen to manage his home nation.

Meanwhile, Villa manager O'Neill is at 9/2 but spoke Wednesday - prior to England's exit - branding rumours of him taking the reigns as 'complete nonsense'.

Former FA target Luiz Felipe Scolari is ranked at 8/1, while Alan Shearer is rated as having an outside chance at 12/1.

How to be English.

Monday, November 19, 2007

NanNoWriMo 2007

I've been writing quite hard in the last week and I'm now up to:

40000 words

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Postings Suspended until end of November

Dear Readers

All postings are suspended until I've completed NanNowriMo 2007!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hamilton wins in Japan

Lewis Hamilton 'to be UK's richest sportsman'
By Richard Edwards
Last Updated: 8:06am BST 01/10/2007

Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of becoming the youngest ever Formula One world champion after winning the Japanese Grand Prix yesterday.

Hamilton wins in Japan
Lap by lap: As it happened
In pictures: Alonso misses out
The 22-year-old is now within one race of taking the title - which would make him the first driver ever to triumph in his debut season.

Lewis Hamilton is closing in on the F1 title
Commentators have likened Hamilton’s extraordinary year to the emergence of sporting legends such as Muhammed Ali, George Best and Tiger Woods - and he is tipped to become Britain's first ever billionnaire sportsman.

He will secure the championship in China next weekend if he beats his teammate and rival Fernando Alonso, or finishes no worse than one place behind him. Hamilton said it was hard to hide his excitement at the possibility of rewriting the history books.

But he added that he would not be celebrating until the title was certain. “I won’t be going partying,” he said. “At the back of your mind, in the subconscious, you do think about it a little bit but I think the key for me is just focus on the next race and just make sure my preparations are right and take it as it comes. We’ll see after the next race.”

Hamilton, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, is on a £400,000 contract this year, although bonus payments will push that to more than £1 million, especially if he is crowned world champion.


Keeping Hamilton will cost McLaren a fortune - some estimate as much as £150 million in salary alone for a five-year deal, making him the highest-paid driver ever.

He is already the face of Vodafone and Tag Heuer, and marketing experts predict his commercial appeal could transcend Tiger Woods and David Beckham in the lifetime earning stakes.

Retired seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, who is reported to have netted a total of around £500 million, earned about £17 million a year.

But Hamilton’s appeal will be even greater because he is F1’s first black racer and potential champion rookie.

“It is possible that Hamilton could become the first British sport billionaire. The fact he is black is a unique factor, but also the fact that he is likable and well-adjusted is key,” said Nigel Currie, director of Brand Rapport, a UK company specialising in sponsorship.

Hamilton has had to overcome adversity after a tumultous season for McLaren, who were stripped of all their team points after being found guilty of spying on rivals Ferrari.

He has endured a season of conflict with his teammate Alonso, who has struggled to come to terms with being beaten by his junior partner. And the young sportsman has also found it hard to cope with his worldwide fame, and the demands of the paparrazi.

He has called for and end to the incessant intrusion into his private life - and has warned that he will be driven out of living in the UK if it continues.

He said he was hurt by coverage which falsely portrayed him as a playboy. “They [the press] are all taking about having a British sensation and having a British world champion in Formula 1 - which I am trying my best to do,” he said last month. “I am proud to represent my country, but there is nothing worse than people in the country trying to bring you down and try to ruin your image and your reputation.

“It would just force me out and I would need to go somewhere where I don’t get abused and if that’s the case then it would be a shame.”

Wales & Ireland ~ The view from New Zealand

Six Nations sides Wales and Ireland were on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism from the British press following their early exits from the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland failed to beat Argentina in Paris this morning which saw them finish third in the "Pool of Death", while Wales, grand slam champions in 2005, were upset by Fiji in a scintillating match in Nantes yesterday.

"One of the darkest days in Welsh rugby history," said former Wales captain Iuean Evan in the Daily Telegraph.

"You look at the quality of players we have and the huge amount of experience, especially in the back line, and you wonder how on earth we can be so devoid of leadership, composure and clarity of thought and deed.

"It has been a really bad World Cup for Wales, who have only performed in patches," he said.

Wales on Sunday columnist Barry John also waded into the Welsh performance, expressing disbelief at how they lost to the lowly-ranked Fijians.

"The Welsh team were so static, they don't think on their feet, there's no drive, no mental spark and Wales somehow made a relatively average side looked like world-beaters," he said.

"We must remember yesterday that we were not playing one of the super-powers but one of world rugby's second-tier nations.

"I'm in total shock how Wales lost, won, then lost again a game they should have been able to kill off effectively," he said.

Another former captain, Phill Bennett, called for the Welsh Rugby Union to take action to keep interest in the side.

"We're in a bit of a mess in Wales at the moment. Welsh rugby is at a crossroads and I'm looking for leadership now," he said on the BBC.

"Some of those people on the WRU board - Roger Lewis, David Pickering, Gerald Davies - have got to come up with answers in the next few days to reassure the nation."

Ireland weren't treated much better.

A season which began so promising by winning the Triple Crown ended with the Irish exiting the World Cup in the pool stages for the first time.

"Attitude, that's what has been missing," said Irish legend Willie John McBride in the Belfast Telegrapgh.

"There has been no urgency and that comes from attitude. It's the desire not to be second best.

"We don't have that, we are living in the comfort zone," he said.

The Irish Times said it is time for the Irish to return home and face the music, while also signalling out first-five eighth Ronan O'Gara for his lack of performance throughout the tournament.

"Ireland must return home and analyse where it went wrong for a squad that was billed as one of the most talented ever to don the green jersey, not just by the media and the public, but by themselves and their coaching staff.

"The performance from Ireland was better than the previous three, but that says little considering the standards set.

"Ronan O'Gara, heralded by some as the second best outhalf in the world, again fell drastically short of the level required to compete on this stage."


Sad Sad Wales

Gareth fails to deliver
Sep 30 2007

by Simon Roberts, Wales On Sunday

GARETH JENKINS couldn’t even keep his appointment with judgement day after Wales’ humiliating exit from the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

The Wales coach asked to be judged on this World Cup, setting himself a minimum requirement of a quarter-final place.

But the former Scarlets supremo didn’t even make it that far as Fiji joined their Pacific Islands neighbours Samoa in claiming the scalp of Wales in the competition.

Jenkins became the third Wales coach to fail to reach the knockout stages of rugby’s showpiece event.

He joins Alan Davies in 1991 and Alex Evans four years later in an unwanted select band, but neither of them had the time Jenkins has had in charge.

Story continues


That pair were effectively caretaker coaches, handed mission impossibles on the eve of the tournaments.

By contrast, Jenkins has had 16 months to build a record of played 20, won six, lost 13 and drawn one.

Those statistics show how much Wales have stagnated with him in charge.

And for that reason alone, his position as national coach is now untenable.

He is a passionate and decent man, but it’s time for him resign and acknowledge that Test match rugby came too late in his coaching career.

Wales were clueless for much of this match and didn’t deserve to reach the quarter-finals.

Jenkins accepted his part in this desperate afternoon for Welsh rugby with dignity and deep down he knows his future as national coach is probably over.

But he isn’t the only one culpable for this sorry state of affairs – this has been coming for a long, long time.

Grand Slam-winning coach Mike Ruddock has to take his share of the responsibility.

His decision to walk away from the job, with 16 months to go until the World Cup, forced the need for a new coach when they should have been in the middle of planning for the tournament.

The Welsh Rugby Union Board, who bowed to the public clamour for Jenkins’ appointment, are also culpable.

They made a decision to ease the public pressure on their own positions, rather than on who could do the job. This was a mess of their own creation.

The Welsh players have to take their share of the responsibility for what happens on the field.

They didn’t even look like a team against Fiji and were embarrassed by the collective spirit of the men in white.

There is something rotten to the core of a team when you see the sight of Dwayne Peel being replaced by Mike Phillips and they don’t even acknowledge each other as they pass on the park.

One of the admirable qualities of this Wales squad was their tightness as a group. It evaporated in Nantes yesterday.

After the game, Jenkins quite rightly pointed to the unrealistic expectation heaped on the Wales national side and the lack of respect for what other rugby nations around the world are capable of doing.

But the finances and the so-called professionalism in Welsh rugby deserves better than the sorry shambles on this French field.

Wales are a better rugby nation than this – but one that has been struck by a real malaise and a lack of leadership.

Jenkins must have seen this defeat coming. The standards, on and off the field, have simply not been good enough.

The benchmark of any professional coach is whether he improves on what went before. Jenkins has not done that.

Graham Henry and Steve Hansen, two former Wales coaches now with New Zealand, both reached the last eight of the World Cup with less talented and less experienced squads than Jenkins has had at his disposal.

Four years ago, at the same stage of the tournament, Wales lit up the 2003 World Cup in Australia with a breathtaking performance against the All Blacks which breathed life back into our national game.

Four years on, a stronger and more experienced Wales squad have failed to realise their full potential, stuttered their way through and flattered to deceive throughout France 2007.

Wales did start with real purpose and were unlucky not to take the lead after only the first minute.

Stephen Jones spun out of a few tackle to launch a counter-attack, only for Shane Williams to be tackled into touch just short of the corner flag.

Fly-half Jones converted and missed a penalty before Wales were rocked by an incredible salvo of three tries in nine minutes by Fiji, which left the men in red reeling at 25-3 midway through the first half.

Wales only had themselves to blame after some of the dumbest rugby you will have ever seen on a rugby field.

They appeared to have taken the sting out of the Fijians, but then the Welsh players decided to throw the ball around.

The Welsh pack had been dominant in the scrum, but Gloucester-bound flanker Akapusa Qera, who was the most influential player on the field, started the ball rolling with his side’s first try.

Vilimoni Delasau then notched a superb opportunist score after he kicked his way around and over the Welsh defence, beating Gareth Thomas and Mark Jones to the bounce, before giant lock Kele Leawere crashed over from short-range to stun Wales.

Wales finally woke up and shunned some easy penalty shots at goal to apply the pressure through the scrum and after a handful attempts, No 8 Alix Popham crossed and they went in 25-10 behind.

After the break, they managed to reply, while flanker Qera was in the sin-bin, with a superb solo try by wing Shane Williams before Thomas celebrated his 100th cap with his 40th try for his country.

Wing Mark Jones added another, only for ex-Pontypridd outside-half Nicky Little to edge Fiji ahead.

Wales finally looked to have it won when Martyn Williams scored from a late interception. But the Fijians roared into attack and Graham Deves crawled over from short-range to send Wales home from the World Cup.

Sadly, it was all they deserved for such a disappointing tournament.

Wales Tries: A Popham, S Williams, G Thomas, M Jones, M Williams; Cons: S Jones (2), J Hook; Pens: J Hook

Fiji Tries: A Qera, V Delasau, K Leaware, G Deves; Cons: N Little (3); Pens: N Little (4)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wales v Japan

Rugby World Cup: Wales makes 10 changes to play Japan in Group B match

The Associated Press
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
CARDIFF, Wales: Wales made 10 changes to its team to play Japan on Thursday, while captain Gareth Thomas is expected to return for the following Rugby World Cup match against Fiji.

The five players to remain in the team from the 32-20 defeat Saturday to Australia are flyhalf Stephen Jones, winger Shane Williams, backrowers Colin Charvis and Jonathan Thomas and lock Alun-Wyn Jones.

Thomas injured his ribs while being tackled by Wallabies center Stirling Mortlock in the first half at the Millennium Stadium. He hopes to be fit to for Wales' last Group B match on Sept. 29 in Nantes.

"We are pleased to be able to announce that Gareth's injury is very much a short-term one," Wales coach Gareth Jenkins said Tuesday.

"He should be back and available to us in two weeks. We were always mindful of reacting too quickly to his injury before proper time and consideration had been given to assessing him, but this news does come as a real shot in the arm for us."

Jenkins brought in Kevin Morgan at fullback, Dafydd James on the wing, Jamie Robinson and James Hook in the centers, and Mike Phillips at scrumhalf in backline changes.

In the forwards, Alix Popham comes in at No. 8, moving Jonathan Thomas to blindside flanker and Colin Charvis to openside. There is a new frontrow with hooker Rhys Thomas and props Chris Horsman and Duncan Jones, while lock Will James will play his first game in 10 months after shoulder and collarbone injuries.

"We have kept a core of experienced players in key positions for us," Jenkins said. "But we have made a number of changes with two factors in mind: the short turnaround time for this game has an effect on selection, but we also have a need to give certain players game time as we are going to be calling on all resources during this tournament.

"A number of players will be itching to get out there and make their mark on this World Cup and we have the strength in a number of positions to allow us to reassess form and grow the experience in our squad."

Fullback Go Aruga has failed to recover from an ankle injury and is the only Japanese change from the 35-31 to Fiji in Toulouse on Sept. 12.

Coach John Kirwan has switched around his backs, however. Hirotoki Onozawa comes into the starting lineup on the left wing, with Kosuko Endo switching to the other flank and Christian Loamanu moving to fullback.

After being beaten 91-3 by Australia, Japan will be knocked out of the tournament if it loses to Wales.


Wales: Kevin Morgan, Dafydd James, Jamie Robinson, James Hook, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones (captain), Michael Phillips; Duncan Jones, Rhys Thomas, Chris Horsman, Will James, Alun-Wyn Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Colin Charvis, Alix Popham.

Replacements: Huw Bennett, Gethin Jenkins, Ian Evans, Martyn Williams, Gareth Cooper, Ceri Sweeney, Tom Shanklin.

Japan: Christian Loamanu, Kosuke Endo, Yuta Imamura, Shotaro Onishi, Hirotoki Onozawa, Bryce Robins, Tomoki Yoshida; Tatsukichi Nishiura, Yuji Matsubara, Tomokazu Soma, Hitoshi Ono, Luke Thompson, Hare Makiri, Philip O'Reilly, Takuro Miuchi (captain).

Replacements: Taku Inokuchi, Ryo Yamamura, Takanori Kumagae, Yasunori Watanabe, Chulwon Kim, Koji Taira, Tatsuya Kusumi.



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Wales not good enough!!

Size irrelevant to Wales’ failingsSep 18 2007

by Delme Parfitt, South Wales Echo

WALES’ World Cup deficiencies have nothing to do with size and bulk – and everything to do with pure playing ability and mental approach.

That was the stark message today from legendary grizzler Graham Price and former Wales and Lions conditioning coach Steve Black, as it emerged that the weight and height of the Welsh and Australian packs last Saturday were almost exactly the same.

The Wallabies eight tipped the scales at a combined 913 kilograms with Wales at 912.

Not only that, but the average weight of individual forwards was precisely level at 114kg per man – and all this amid claims Wales were wasting their time trying to arm-wrestle the Aussies. Even the average heights of the team showed a difference of just one centimetre.

“You can have the perfect body but it’s about how you apply yourself on a rugby pitch and whether you are smart enough,” said Price.
CARDIFF, 17 September - Just to play an IRB Rugby World Cup match would represent a victory for injury-plagued Wales second row Ian Evans.

Evans, 22, jumped out of the blocks in Test rugby, scoring a try on debut against Argentina in 2006.

But he managed just four more matches before a dislocated shoulder in December sidelined him until early August when he suffered a collarbone injury in training and returned to the casualty list. Until now.

"When I first got injured it was inconceivable that I'd be here in France," Evans said.

"It's been a long road but I've finally got here. To make the field would just top it off."

Repaying the faith

Wales play Japan at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Thursday and the 203cm forward is hopeful of wearing the number five jersey.

"Physically I'm in the best shape of my career," he said. "Obviously there is some pressure to repay the coaches for the faith they have shown in me but I have no doubts about myself whatsoever."

Evans, who spent the first five years of his life in South Africa, has made the gym his second home over the past 10 months.

"Probably the worst thing is training by yourself in the gym, away from all your team-mates. It's a lonely world," he admitted.

With this in mind, Evans has vowed not to let the opportunity slip should he be selected for Thursday's crucial encounter.

"After 10 months I'm sick of the sight of the gym. I'm ready to play some rugby."

Jonathan judges things so far...............

Early tactical plan cost Wales dear

Sep 18 2007

by Jonathan Davies, Western Mail

LOOK at England and Ireland’s struggles and you would rather be Wales coach Gareth Jenkins than either Brian Ashton or Eddie O’Sullivan at the moment.

Wales tried to play too much football early on against Australia.

You have got to get behind the gain-line, and they didn’t do it in the first half. The Australian defence absolutely smashed them.

When you try to play too much football and things don’t happen, you then lose patience and suddenly you are on the back foot. Wales also kicked badly.

When Wales get across the gain-line, they can cause problems for anyone, but Australia are a very good side and they were extremely clinical. I like watching them play.

Tactically, I thought Wales got it a little bit wrong in the first half.

Wales got over the gain-line in the second half and they didn’t get isolated so much.

But with Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock going off, they took their foot off the pedal a little bit. They knew the game was won.

It was painful – very painful – watching England’s inept World Cup performance against South Africa at Stade de France.

I watched it in a pub – the Butcher’s Arms in Llandaff – and I took a bet off a mate who said South Africa would win by 30 clear points. I gave him a tenner at half-time.

I just don’t know what England are trying to do.

They are very slow and ponderous up front, and there is a lack of creativity behind the scrum. I think they had a game-plan to kick the ball against South Africa, but they didn’t do it very well.

It all made for painful viewing. They were devoid of ideas, and now they have really got to start thinking about which personnel they play in the next couple of games against Samoa and Tonga.

I think England will win those two matches, but not if they perform as ineptly as they did against South Africa.

If you have difficulty scoring points, then it is obvious you are always going to be involved in close games.

Because England are not creating tries, then they are going to be caught up in tight games.

Make no mistake, this is a huge couple of weeks for England, and there is no doubt both Samoa and Tonga could cause upsets.

Much has been said about Andy Farrell’s presence in the team, but if other players are not running off him then there is no point in Andy (below) being there.

Maybe England will go with a direct midfield approach and field the likes of Dan Hipkiss and Mathew Tait against Samoa, and if Jonny Wilkinson is there on Saturday, his mere presence will give them confidence.

People have said that Ashton should have picked Lawrence Dallaglio for the South Africa game, but I don’t feel he would have made much difference. He is not the most dynamic player any more.

England had a game-plan that failed disastrously. They might think they can dominate the Samoans and Tongans up front, but if they want to progress in this tournament then they must find a cutting edge in order to score points.

As for Ireland, I don’t know what’s happened with them.

They were one of the favoured northern hemisphere sides, but they had a poor August and in the two games so far against Namibia and Georgia they haven’t shown any continuity or imagination.

They have really struggled and were lucky to beat Georgia.

Ireland’s group was always going to be a close one, and a spanner was thrown into the works when Argentina beat France in the tournament’s opening game.

Ireland have now got to beat one of those sides, maybe both. It’s going to go down to the wire, and they could end up ruing a missed bonus point against Georgia.

It is going to be extremely difficult for Ireland now. They are not playing with any kind of form, and the two matches where they could have played themselves into form – against Namibia and Georgia – have now gone.

France also know they can’t afford to lose against Ireland on Friday. It is effectively knockout rugby now.

For me though, the weekend once again underlined how well the southern hemisphere big three – New Zealand, Australia and South Africa – are playing.

It has been the story of the tournament so far.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I for one wished he'd applied

Kirwan: I’d love to coach Wales

Aug 19 2007

by Nick Rippington, Wales On Sunday

JOHN KIRWAN is eyeing a shot at the Wales job after the World Cup.

The All Black great is out to wreck Welsh hopes once again when he brings minnows Japan to Cardiff for the World Cup pool match on September 20.

Coach Kirwan could have been leading the Three Feathers into battle this autumn had circumstances been different, but the former Italy coach has not given up on one day taking on the job in the only country to rival his native New Zealand for their passion for the game.

He said: “I love going to Wales because the passion is still there and I’ve always said it would be a great honour to coach them.

“I was considering putting my name forward when Mike Ruddock left last year. But it became obvious that Wales were looking local and I didn’t bother applying. But it is still a job I would love to do.”

Wales by a slither beat Argentines

From The Sunday Times
August 19, 2007

Underfire coach sees dignity restored
Gareth Jenkins’ side thrived by going back to basics, a lesson that must be remembered in France next monthMark Palmer
THE DEBATE has lingered in the Welsh game for longer than you would expect from a country that knows and cares about its rugby. In a year of gut-wrenching fixtures round these parts, performance versus result, the philosophical struggle to determine the relative importance of each, has cause the most angst.

The roar that rattled round the half-filled Cardiff stands as the Wales pack gritted their teeth, hunched their shoulders and crossed their fingers to see off what seemed an inexorable late Argentine thrust finally put a full stop to the discussion.

After experimentation brought extermination at Twickenham, Wales have their dignity back, and Wales have their hope back. Only a win, any win, could have had such a powerful double effect. An occasionally panicky second-half display compared unfavourably with the impressive gloss of the first, but to hell with the aesthetics, the immediate future suddenly looks much better. After beating a side ranked three places above them, and whose recent scalps made the prospective gap even bigger, Wales can look upon the World Cup as an opportunity, rather than a penance. They stumbled, sure, but still cleared some significant hurdles here, not least warming a sceptical public that had arrived quietly braced for more trouble.

Jenkins is a man under pressure and a man under scrutiny as the public seek evidence that there is a master plan after all. Mercifully, his selections and his game plan yesterday seemed geared to no more far-reaching an aspiration than winning this match and winning it well.

Related Links
Fiery Wales get back on track
Not coincidentally, both objectives were achieved, although not without some anxious moments along the way. Coach and team went back to basics. The right players played the right positions. Elementary stuff, but something the Welsh set-up has had repeated difficulties with of late. Kevin Morgan, the hardest-running, surest-kicking full-back in the country, was given his head, and kept it admirably in the face of the exacting aerial examinations posed by Felipe Contepomi and Federico Todeschini. Gareth Thomas, a stronger tackler than James Hook or Stephen Jones, the other potential World Cup 12s, was keen to splinter the battering rams that Argentina tried to float up the midfield channels. Although short of a yard or three of pace, he brings clout to an area where Wales have severely lacked it since those heady days of early 2005. And because he offered immediate atonement at the other end, keeping pace well with the skiddy Hook, we won’t dwell on that eyewatering fourth-minute interception.

Suffice to say that it again threw neon light on the continued folly of Gavin Henson’s exile. Whatever the undulations of his private life, one thing he has never been in a Wales jersey is rash, or even just unreliable.

There was, mystifyingly, still no starting place in the front row for Gethin Jenkins and Chris Horsman against arguably the best scrummaging unit in world rugby, but the Joneses, Duncan and Adam, kept up well with the tricks and twists that make Rodrigo Roncero and Martin Scelzo such dastardly customers. Wales, on the whole, struck parity in the scrum, a resounding achievement in light of how pitifully they struggled against England and even against as apparently unthreatening a front five as Scotland’s in the spring.

You would hesitate to extend the compliment to their lineout. The first, unremarkably reached and slapped down by Jonathan Thomas, drew a round of ironic cheers from the crowd. This lack of confidence was shown to be based on sadly sound reasoning. The game progressed amid a sorry bag of tremulous throws from Matthew Rees, haphazardly coordinated leaps from the Welsh jumpers and general anarchy. Still, the breakdown was good enough, and two out of three was a better haul than most expected to be drawn from this brilliant Argentina pack. Yesterday was all about the bottom line, not the detail, and Wales, tentatively, are back in the money again.

- BAYONNE’S Mikaera Tewhata has been banned by the French Rugby Federation for punching Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll in a World Cup warm-up game. O’Driscoll will miss their first World Cup match after suffering a fractured sinus. The FFR said the Kiwi lock was banned until it received the match referee’s report and the results of its own investigation. Before the FFR ban, Bayonne had already suspended Tewhata for two matches. The New Zealander said he was deeply sorry for his actions, and wanted to apologise to O’Driscoll in person.

Wales win but only just!!!!!

Wales 27-20 Argentina
Wales (24) 27
Tries: G Thomas, Wyn Jones, M Jones
Cons: Hook 3
Pen: Hook 2

Argentina (7) 20
Tries: Corleto 2
Cons: Todeschini 2
Pen: Todeschini 2

Wales hung on for a morale-boosting win over Argentina to get their World Cup preparations back on track and relieve the pressure on coach Gareth Jenkins.
After Ignacio Corleto's interception try put the Pumas ahead, Wales hit back through Gareth Thomas's stylish score.
Alun Wyn Jones and Mark Jones put Wales 24-7 up at half-time but Argentina were much improved after the interval.

Federico Todeschini's boot and another Corleto try cut the gap, but Wales held on by the skin of their teeth.

Reaction: Gareth Thomas and Alun Wyn Jones
Jenkins has been under intense pressure in the Welsh media since his side's capitulation in the 62-5 thrashing by England two weeks ago.

Wales were eager to make an early statement but that ambition was ended after just five minutes at a sparsely populated Millennium Stadium when Thomas telegraphed his flat pass to Tom Shanklin.

The pass gave Corleto every chance to intercept on halfway and the winger made the most of the opportunity as he showed a clean pair of heels to Hook on his way to the tryline.

Wales had the chance to hit back through Hook's boot, but his long-range penalty struck the post and bounced away for Argentina to clear their lines.

But any Welsh nerves were settled soon after when Hook's textbook dummy took five Argentina defenders out of the equation.

The fly-half straightened his line, drew the full-back and handed the supporting Thomas his 39th Wales try on a silver platter.

Heartened by the try, Wales upped the tempo and punished a string of cynical Argentina offences when Wyn Jones went through two tackles to score from Dwayne Peel's quick tap.

Wales' next score came courtesy of a dreadful pass in Welsh territory from the out-of-sorts Agustin Pichot, which Federico Serra knocked-on.

Hook hacked the ball on for Tom Shanklin to take up the chase with two team-mates outside him, and Mark Jones finally dotted the ball down after the chance was almost butchered.

A dreadful challenge on the airborne Wales full-back Kevin Morgan by Argentina winger Lucas Borges was deservedly penalised by a yellow card and Hook's penalty two minutes later put Wales even further ahead.

Argentina offered little in attack, although they did manufacture an overlap only for Serra to inexplicably take an inside line off the ball carrier.

Dominating both possession and territory, Wales ended the half well on top and were unlucky to see Shanklin's scorching break end with the ball bouncing into touch.

Argentina's ragged first-half display was quickly put behind them though as Todeschini's early penalty got their scoreboard ticking again.

A clever kick to the corner from Peel saw Argentina concede another penalty at the subsequent line-out, and Hook had no trouble in converting it to three points.

Argentina were beginning to get their hands on the ball though, and the next score went there way after some dazzling play by their wingers, Borges and Corleto, opened up Wales.

Some delightful handling from a Felipe Contepomi-inspired backline kept the pressure on Wales, and the home side did themselves no favours with a series of missed kicks to touch.

With 10 minutes to play, Todeschini stroked the ball over from another penalty to narrow the gap to just seven points.

And Argentina pushed Wales to their limits in the closing stages, with some ferocious forward play keeping Thomas's side pinned in their own 22 and leading to Matthew Rees being sent to the sin-bin.

Replacement Martin Durand looked to have earned his side the chance of a draw in the dying seconds, but the video referee ruled out his effort for a knock-on in the act of scoring, thanks to a heroic tackle from Duncan Jones.

Referee Chris White promptly blew up for full-time to hand Jenkins and his team a much-needed victory ahead of their final World Cup warm-up Test against France next Sunday.

Wales: Morgan; James, Shanklin, G Thomas (capt), M Jones; Hook, Peel; D Jones, Rees, A Jones, Gough, Wyn Jones, J Thomas, Williams, Popham.
Replacements: Rhys Thomas, Jenkins, James, Charvis, Phillips, Sweeney, Robinson.

Argentina: Serra; Borges, Gaitán, F Contepomi, Corleto; Todeschini, Pichot (capt); Roncero, Ledesma, Scelzo, IF Lobbe, Albacete, Leguizamón, JF Lobbe, Longo.
Replacements: Basualdo, Bonorino, Alvarez, Durand, Vergallo, M Contepomi, Agulla.

Referee: Chris White (England).

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2007/08/18 15:21:28 GMT


Information on Rugby World cup starting 7th Sept 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jenkins ~ the future is bleak ~ Can he get the side to Semi Finals??????

My job is on the line - Jenkins Aug 12 2007

Wales On Sunday

GARETH JENKINS has admitted his future as Wales coach hangs on his side’s performance at the World Cup.

The former Scarlets supremo’s contract as national coach ends after the 2008 Six Nations campaign.

But he acknowledges Wales performance in the quarter-finals in France 2007 will decide whether he will get a new contract.

Jenkins has publicly stated Wales are good enough to reach a World Cup semi-final in this year’s tournament.

But a victory or even the manner of the defeat at the quarter-final stage in Marseille holds the key for his reign in charge.

“If we can get to the quarter-finals and we get a win it means we are in a semi-final,” said Jenkins.

“If we do get to a quarter-final it will be acceptable, but if we win and get to a semi-final it means I will have an opportunity to coach Wales for another couple of years.

“If I had three or four years as national coach I could then reflect and look back on what I have done.

“But I know it all depends on getting to the quarter-final and its result.

“What I do think will need to happen after the World Cup is that Welsh rugby needs to appraise itself.”

Jenkins was appointed as coach in 2006 and was handed a two-year contract.

He was the people’s choice for the job and his appointment was greeted with great fanfare.

But since he took charge Wales have hardly set the rugby world alight.

Jenkins can rightly point to the fact he was given the job with a World Cup looming on a horizon and with little time to prepare.

He has drawn up his own plan for the tournament and is sticking to it.

He knows, and wants, to be judged on Wales’ performance at the World Cup.

But Wales’ abject capitulation to England at Twickenham saw his ability to do the job called into question.

He has been a successful coach for more than 20 years but does he feel his reputation is on the line now?

“I don’t feel that,” said Jenkins. “It’s nearly an impossible situation I have found myself in.

“I had just over a year to a World Cup. Clive Woodward took seven years to win it, Eddie O’Sullivan and Bernard Laporte are going to a second World Cup.

“What chance have you got in 15 months to actually do something.

“Coaching takes time and it takes three years to get instant success.

“I am not daunted by it and I will give it my best shot with all the experience I have. I know I will have done it my way.

“I am on course and I wouldn’t change any major thing I have done. I am excited and I have waited a long time for this opportunity.”

Jenkins, though, does admit he plans to drop his monitoring role and start coaching himself.

He has clearly been stung but the flak which has been flying around this week.

“The time has come for us to switch on,” said Jenkins.

“I am definitely going to have a bigger influence now we are going into the tournament.

“I have tended to oversee the coaching and give others the responsibility for particular jobs.

“It’s time now that I become tighter with the coaching group. I have to be more hands-on.

“I will be accountable for all aspects of performance.”

But would he consider adding another pair of hands to his coaching team?

Would he consider going down the same route as Jake White, the South Africa coach, who has appointed Eddie Jones, the former Wallaby coach, to his Springboks backroom team for the World Cup?

“You cannot be an island but I am choosing to involve myself more,” said Jenkins.

“It’s not as if we don’t look for views or input from around the game.”

Jenkins has already laid down the marker for Wales’ clash with Argentina at the Millennium Stadium next Saturday.

He has told his players there is a minimum requirement for that game - a victory.

“We do need to evolve and develop our performance but more important than that we need to win,” said Jenkins.

“If we win, that is the most important thing. We win well and it’s a bonus. It’s certainly not about playing well and losing.

“We have to realise that every game we now play is about winning. We have to be absolutely clear that everything is about winning.

“It will be a bigger achievement for me than performing.

“The England defeat was tough and we all got bruised by that. But our reaction has been that we are better than that.”

Jenkins and his players know it’s time to prove exactly that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

I've heard it all before....

Jenkins: We must learn our lessons
Eurosport - Sat, 04 Aug 20:32:00 2007
Wales coach Gareth Jenkins vowed his side would learn from their record 62-5 defeat to England at Twickenham.

Jenkins's second-string pack was completely outplayed as England ran in nine tries to one, scored by wing Daffyd James.

Despite England making it quite clear from the early stages how they intended to play, the Wales forwards provided feeble resistance.

"We've learnt a hard lesson but it's a lesson that's not impossible to come back from," said the Wales coach."People back home are going to be totally unsatisfied but we've got to keep our heads up.

"There is no doubt this could have been an emotionally denting performance and we have to protect ourselves from feeling as poor a side as we looked."

Not surprisingly, Welsh defence folded late in the game, the constant tackling clearly taking it toll on the players' energy levels.

"The last 15 minutes we were completely out on our feet and could do little about half-a-dozen tries that were easy run-ins," Jenkins added.

"England dominated as a pack, they really put us under the hammer and there was nothing much we could do.

"We played with 29% of the ball again and you can't play Test rugby without having a share of possession.

"There were a couple of phases where we put rugby together that showed we have a lot to offer.

"But we're not getting enough of the ball and penalties are a major factor, we're too expensive and we give sides like England an opportunity to put the ball in the corners.

"It wasn't attractive from England, to say the least, but it was very effective."

Terence O'Rorke / Eurosport

Just not Cricket

Bish: "Hold your hands up"
Eurosport - Thu, 02 Aug 14:39:00 2007's cricket expert Ian Bishop says the England side should take the lead in improving behaviour in the final Test.

More StoriesCook: We didn't overstep the mark
Whatever the players and coaches said after the match, there is no doubt in my eyes that the aggression shown between England and India went too far at Trent Bridge.

The way I looked at it is that any father would not want his son to see players reacting in such a manner and he certainly wouldn't want his own son behaving that way on a cricket pitch - and I think that all of the 22 players would agree with me.

It crossed the line. There is talk of 'mental disintegration' and 'gaining a mental advantage,' but the West Indies team that I was involved in did little of that; we were of the view that the bat and the ball should do the talking.

England should come out and take responsibility. Before the next Test, as a team they should come out and apologise and promise to improve their behaviour on the field.

I know Michael Vaughan quite well, we used to play together a long time ago in Sheffield; Vaughany isn't someone who usually likes to get involved in chat. It was out of character for him.

Now, I don't blame the players for defending themselves afterwards. They have to stick together and defend their approach and their tactics; that is what helps build good team spirit. But, deep down, I think they will all be thinking that the match went over the line of acceptable behaviour.

By all means play the match hard, offer no quarter and play with intensity. But no-one wants to watch players constantly chatting, shoulder-barging each other, dropping jelly beans on the pitch or brandishing bats at each other.

In the end, India were deserved winners. Last week, I spoke in this column about India having to start the match well, to put England under pressure from the first ball to give themselves the confidence to go on and win the match - well, they certainly did that.

Winning the toss helped, but they utilised the conditions well and in the end, their bowling performance in the first innings went a long way to winning them the match. Their lines were much tighter than in the first Test at Lord's, and with regular seam and swing movement it was very difficult for the England batsmen to make a decision on whether to play or not.

That said, I think if England had managed to set India a total of around 180 in the second innings, they might have been able to defend it, as Chris Tremlett showed with his three wickets on the final morning.

He is a bowler that is ideal on a wearing, last-day wicket. But more than that, when I saw Tremlett bowl yesterday I saw a guy who is quickly becoming an ideal bowler in almost all conditions. I think Tremlett will be a tremendous bowler for England if he can stay fit.

He is acclimatising to Test cricket quickly and gaining confidence. His obvious asset is his bounce, but he also gets the ball to regularly move away from the right-hander thanks to a brilliant seam position. Comparisons with Steve Harmison are obvious but he goes for far less runs than Harmison, meaning he can be used as a defensive option as well as an attacking one.

Finally, on to matters closer to home, with the news that the West Indies Cricket Board on Sunday appointed Julian Hunte as their new president.

I am pleased that Mr Hunte immediately spoke about rebuilding the confidence and credibility in the board, although it is going to be a very demanding but not impossible task.

As president, what people don't always realise is that he has to try to convey to and convince a number of people as to his vision of the way forward. Governance by committee can be challenging, and he has a democratic system to abide by therefore presiding over such a large administration is a tremendously difficult task.

I am pleased thar Mr Hunte has identified the topic of confidentiality and issues leaking out in the press, also improving the relations with the players, because these have deteriorated recently.

I wish him all the best. It is unwise to prejudge him and I hope he can make a difference. He will have to call on all his life-skills to be a success.

One of his first jobs will be to try to sort out the row over the proposed Stanford 20/20 tournament in the West Indies. Personally, I don't agree that the tournament is in anyway hampering the West Indies cricket.

The Stanford tournament is moving in a very professional manner. Sir Allen Stanford is giving over US $250,000 to each territory for preparation and development; that is development money that these territories have not been able to comeby in West Indies cricket before.

A lot of cricket pratice facilities at, but particularly beyond the test venues in the Caribbean are not great, as some players echoed during the World Cup earlier this year. Players have never had a truly professional system through which to develop in the sport. This money will go some way to assisting in this vein.

Sir Allen Stanford and the Stanford committee have always sought to work hand-in-hand with the WICB. The allocating of over a quarter of a million US dollars to each territory for development, and additional funds to the board itself shows that he is interested in a mutually beneficial relationship with West Indies cricket.

If both parties can work together, it has the potential to be a good venture for all concerned.

Ian Bishop / Eurosport

Still not ready to play

Becs retired to LA

Hamilton has his say!

Hamilton tells Dennis: Go f*cking swivel!
Mon 06 Aug, 07:23 AM

The full extent of Lewis Hamilton's temporary falling out with McLaren team boss - and long-time mentor - Ron Dennis came to light ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, revealing the heated post-qualifying exchange that was the apparent cause of Dennis' headphone-throwing display on pit-wall.

While many guessed that the displeasure was directed at Fernando Alonso, after the Spaniard had blocked Hamilton at the session's final tyre change, analysis of the radio traffic between Dennis and his protégé provided interesting reading for Britain's Sunday newspaper buyers.

"The 22-year-old Brit then swore at Dennis over the team radio, blasting: "Don't ever f****** do that to me again"," reported both News of the World and The Sunday Times.

"Dennis hit back, blasting: "Don't ever f****** speak to me like that."

But Hamilton responded: "Go f****** swivel."

Things were rosier following the race, which Hamilton won from a pole inherited when Alonso was demoted five places on the grid for his pit-lane indiscretion, but the Briton admitted that there had had to be a lot of bridge-building in the aftermath of the session, in which he was accused of precipitating the blocking incident by not allowing Alonso through in the fuel-burning phase.

"I came back, everything was quiet, we didn't really speak too much," Hamilton revealed in the post-race press conference, "I went back to my engineers, we did the same job as always, a debrief. Then we had a sit-down with Martin Whitmarsh - Fernando and his mechanic and me and my mechanic - and we went through what the programme was.

"They asked me why I didn't do the part that they want me to, and I explained to them. I said 'I made a mistake, I apologise, it won't happen again. But it has happened, let's forget about it and move on. We are both on the front row, so we can still smile'.

"I thought that, because of the argument I had with Ron over the radio, he was obviously angry, I thought that perhaps he was just teaching me a lesson, so I just took it on the chin. Obviously, yesterday, he wasn't very happy. We just had to be professional, we spoke about it. I told him my views, he respected those. He said 'okay, I respect that because it is part of your personality and perhaps, in your situation, maybe that was better for you or whatever'.

"We came to a mutual understanding and started on a clean slate today. It is not great because of all the problems we are having already with the FIA and with Ferrari. It is just more pressure on the team. The comforting thing is that considering we have all this stuff going on, even this weekend, it just shows how strong the team are because we still came here and still qualified 1-2. We came here and weren't distracted from our job. That's the main thing.

"I think, going on from now, we need to analyse the weekend as always. We need to sit down, I guess, and talk as a team and re-unite. But I have no worries about it.

"I have been working with Ron for nearly ten years now so, okay, it is quite a big event and a problem for the team, but I think the relationship we have is very very strong and something like this is not going to come between us. We will move on and move on to bigger and better things."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Well done both of you!

Padraig ~ Now you've gone & done it!!!!!

Padraig Harrington - With This Win
22 Jul 2007

Padraig Harrington has achieved..........................

*His 12th European Tour International Schedule victory in his 260th European Tour event as a professional.

*His first Major Championship victory in his 37th Major Championship appearance.

*Becomes just the second Irishman to win a Major Championship, joining Fred Daly, who won The Open Championship in 1947.

*Becomes the first European-born player to win a Major Championship since Paul Lawrie at The 1999 Open Championship also at Carnoustie – a gap of 31 Major Championships.

*This victory beats his best previous Major Championship performances of fifth in the US Open Championship in 2006 and tied fifth in the 1997 Open Championship, 2000 US Open Championship, 2002 Masters Tournament, and 2002 Open Championship.

*Wins The Open Championship in his 11th appearance.

*His third top ten finish in The Open Championship from his 11 appearances – and ninth overall top ten from his Major Championship career.

*Third consecutive first-time Major Champion, following Zach Johnson (Masters Tournament) and Angel Cabrera (US Open Championship). First time this has occurred since Phil Mickelson (2004 Masters Tournament), Shaun Micheel (2003 US PGA Championship) and Ben Curtis (2003 The Open Championship).

*His victory becomes the 32nd Major Championship victory since 1979 by a European Tour Member.

*Becomes the 14th different European Tour Member to win a Major Championship since 1979.

*Second victory on The 2007 European Tour International Schedule, following the Irish Open.

*Third victory of 2007, following the Irish Open and Irish PGA Championship last week.

*Fourth time in his European Tour career he has recorded multiple victories in the same season.

*Joins Henrik Stenson (Dubai Desert Classic and WGC – Accenture Match Play), as the only two multiple winners on The 2007 European Tour.

*His six shot final round deficit by a winner equals the largest on The 2007 European Tour, matching that of Nathan Green at the Blue Chip New Zealand Open.

*Gains an exemption into The Open Championship until the age of 65.

*Gains a five year exemption into The Masters Tournament, the US Open Championship and USPGA Championship.

*Gains a place in the 2007 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, joining Johnson and Cabrera.

*Gains a place in the 2007 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC World Match Play Championship.

*Gains a place in the 2008 HSBC Champions.

*Extends his European Tour exemption until the end of 2017.

*Gains his largest European Tour prize of €1,106,617 (£750,000)

*Moves over €16 million in European Tour Official Career Earnings.

*Moves to€2,059,507in The European Tour Order of Merit – the fourth time he has amassed more than €2 million in a single season.

*The second Irish victory on the 2007 European Tour.

*The 41st Irish victory on The European Tour.

*Fifth top ten finish of the 2007 season and 89th of his European Tour career

*His 20th win as a professional.

Tour De France

Favourite sport even in the floods

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Look at me...I've got 8 teeeve....James Martin

Dark clouds over Limoges, Wimbledon & the world

Today in Limoges, we have dark clouds, heavy rain and temperatures of between 10/12 degrees. "Today" has lasted from May through June and is now set for July.

Wimbledon is on then off then on etc etc............

So what's happening? A blip in the weather? A poor summer? A one-off?

I think not. The trend of unusual and unseasonal weather has been with us for some years & the scientists have been examining and appraising the situation for many years now.

See the problem for me is not that something is happening and accelerating ~ that's obvious. I see it with my own eyes.

No! The problem for me is that the experts themselves disagree both on the causes of what we are witnessing and the potential solutions.

* There are those who blame mankind. They argue ~ We have developed and built our societies on the fossil fuels & simultaneously polluted our atmospheres with so much carbon as to alter the normal balances of nature, weather etc. The only solution ~ and it may be too late ~ is to reduce carbon emissions.

* There are those who argue that what we are going through is a natural adjustment ~ part of the cyclic nature of the earth. They also indicate that man's contribution is negligible and the major cause in the shift is the sun. There is no solution. Things will get worse.

So here I am in the Limousin watching the rain ~ [ not watching tennis!] and also seeing the first signs of confusion & doubt in our usually confident approach to life.

There's one thing that's certain ~ there's much more of this to come and the process will accelerate.

The recent floods in UK give us an insight into how quickly someone's life can be turned upside down.

I guess we need to worry more about Global warming than any other current problems and, of course when will Wimbledon restart!

Monday, July 2, 2007


Storm thunders back to grab maiden win and deny Montgomerie

Gordon Richardson in Paris
Monday July 2, 2007
The Guardian

Graeme Storm, the former amateur champion, strode to a maiden European Tour triumph in the French Open at Golf National in Versailles as Colin Montgomerie again dramatically failed to breast the tape. The Scot looked set to end his 18-month drought when a clear leader with seven holes left but a brace of birdies dashed his hopes.
Storm who holed the winning putt in the 1999 Walker Cup after carrying off that year's amateur crown, fired 66 for a seven-under par 277 and a one-stroke win from the Dane Soren Hansen (72). It earned him nearly £450,000 and a place in the starting line-up for the Open at Carnoustie in two weeks' time.

Not long now

Tour de France

Vinokourov defends Ferrari link

Tour de France favourite Alexander Vinokourov insists he has nothing to hide about his relationship with trainer Dr Michele Ferrari.
Vinokourov has been training with the Italian, who has been linked with drugs allegations but had a suspended prison sentence reversed.

"Ferrari has never offered me any medicine. He is only in charge of my physical preparation," the Kazakh said.

"I know the way he works and I know I have nothing to be ashamed of."

Vinokourov is considered one of the leading lights for this year's race, which starts with the opening time trial in London on Saturday.

His best finish in Le Tour was third overall in 2003 but several leading names from the last few years, including last year's winner Floyd Landis, are absent because of drug allegations.

Vinokourov, who also came fifth in 2005, was one of last year's favourites but Astana had to withdraw after several of the team were implicated in the Operation Puerto doping scandal.

"Vino", who two months later won the Tour of Spain, was not involved himself but was left without enough team-mates to compete.

Ferrari has worked in the past with seven-times Tour winner Lance Armstrong - who defended the relationship in similar fashion - and Vinokourov's manager Tony Rominger.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2007/07/02 08:57:57 GMT


Hatton v Mayweather ???????????

Mayweather gets £5m Hatton offer

Mayweather v Hatton could happen later this year
Promoter Dennis Hobson has offered Floyd Mayweather £5m to fight Ricky Hatton in Britain later this year.
Mayweather says he is willing to come out of retirement to fight Manchester's light welterweight champion.

"I've spoken to some of his people and they've been very receptive. It's a very substantial offer," said Hobson.

However, Hatton's former promoter Frank Warren claims he could promote some of his future fights after settling his libel row with the fighter's father.

Watch this space..........

England beat Westindies easily!

Cooke shines..........

Murray's thoughts on British tennis......

Murray blames British attitudes ...................

British number one Andy Murray has launched a wide-ranging attack on underachieving British tennis players and the authorities that run the sport.
"The problem with British tennis is that there's always so much negativity," Murray told the Sun.

"There's always someone complaining, whether it's a coach moaning about the players or players criticising coaches.

"The attitude of some of the players is terrible. Why can't everyone just get on with things?"

With Murray absent because of an injured wrist this year's Wimbledon has been Britain's worst for 17 years, with no home player making it into the third round of either the men's or women's championships.

The people who are allocating funding say a lot of the players are spoilt but surely these players have been made spoilt
Andy Murray

Murray's criticism echoes that of Boris Becker, Tim Henman and British tennis chief Roger Draper over the past few days.

Murray praised fellow Scot Jamie Baker's attitude, saying: "Players with his type of discipline and work ethic should get the funding, not the ones who try to blame something else and say, 'it's this guy's fault or that guy's fault'.

"Just get on with it. Tennis is an individual sport. The funding you get is a bonus. We are very lucky.

"The people who are allocating it say a lot of the players are spoilt but surely these players have been made spoilt.

"We have to stop making excuses. It's not just about numbers. It's about finding the kids who want it."

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2007/07/02 08:22:41 GMT


Hamilton Predicts


Hamilton makes Silverstone pledge

Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren can match Ferrari at next weekend's British Grand Prix despite coming third at Magny-Cours.

And so do I !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Henman out today

Henman hopes crushed by lopez

Henman - hopes over for another year.
Tim Henman served up another epic on Centre Court but this time neither his fighting spirit nor a boisterous home crowd could keep his Wimbledon dream alive.

After a topsy-turvy tussle lasting three hours and 17 minutes, Henman departed with a wistful wave after a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 2-6 6-1 defeat to the world number 78 Feliciano Lopez.

Having done the hard work in clawing his way back from two sets down to force the 13th All England Club fifth-setter of his career, Henman flopped in the decider and with him went the host nation's last singles representative from the draw.

To the credit of former quarter-finalist Lopez, he shrugged off the disappointment of losing two sets in succession and produced a virtually flawless final set, which he wrapped up with a flashing cross-court backhand at the net.

Both players had served strongly in the opening two sets, but Lopez's nerves held best as he charged through the first tie-break 7-3, and clinched the second 7-5 having repelled a Henman fightback from 5-0 down in the breaker.

But the Centre Court crowd had come to expect the customary twist from Henman, who had survived an epic five-setter stretching over four hours to win his first-round match against Carlos Moya.

Henman pushed their belief to the brink when he dropped his opening service game of the third set, but responded in spectacular style by punishing Lopez's serve for the first time to break twice in succession.

Having served out to take the set with aplomb, Henman was well on top, as the Spaniard's serve began to crumble and self-belief clearly became a problem for him.

Briefly, tantalisingly, it looked like the Henman of old in the fourth set, as he rounded off a thoroughly dominant passage of play with a delicious lob to level the match at one set all.

But the momentum swung in the fifth set, for which Henman had to be strongly favoured having won nine of his previous 12 of his All England Club final-set encounters.

Lopez restored confidence by serving out in the opening game to love, then attacking the Henman serve and being rewarded with the first break.

Brimming with belief of his own, Lopez rediscovered his booming serve of the first two sets and began to punish Henman's faltering play.

A second break, after Henman had netted the simplest forehand volley which would have kept him in the match at least temporarily, hushed the home crowd and ended contest, and with it home interest for another year.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Giggs never plays on World stage ~ exits stage left!

Tears as Giggs bows out for Wales
Jun 4 2007
by Paul Abbandonato, Western Mail

Wales 0-0 Czech Republic

WITH a tear in his eye, Ryan Giggs said his goodbyes deep in the bowels of the Millennium Stadium, got into his car and drove back home to Manchester on his own.
Almost immediately, he then flew out for a well deserved holiday in the sun at the end of a 2006-07 campaign which has been so arduous, Giggs has deemed it necessary to call time on his Wales career.
John Toshack’s team may, or may not, be better off without their captain, as Giggs himself maintains they will.
Personally, I think Ryan has got that wrong – and the manner of his performance against the Czechs, where he was one of the stars of the Welsh show, underlines my belief that I’m right.

But the one thing we do know for certain is that two years down the line, we won’t be seeing banner headlines from Giggs on the morning of a big match declaring that Wales are a “shambles”, scraping the bottom of the barrel and the manager has to quit.
Ryan will retire with dignity, as befits an individual who has given glittering service to his country over a 16-year period.
Wales were unable to bow out with the win Giggs cherished so much on Saturday, thus putting the final nail in the coffin of any outside hope Toshack’s men retained of reaching Euro 2008.
But they came as close to getting those three points as was possible, without actually achieving them.
Considering the quality of the opposition, this was arguably the best performance yet under Toshack’s reign.
Young Wayne Hennessey brought a calm assurance in goal that Wales had previously lacked during this qualifying campaign.
The defence, in which James Collins, Lewin Nyatanga and Joe Ledley excelled, barely gave Czech dangermen Jan Koller and Milan Baros a sniff of a goal.
Carl Robinson and Simon Davies totally snuffed out the Tomas Rosicky threat in midfield.
Jason Koumas hit the post, Giggs almost scored an individual wonder goal and, while Craig Bellamy was somewhat subdued, he will have more support up front from here on in when Freddy Eastwood comes into the team.
The emotion of the occasion clearly caught up with Giggs as he wiped away the tears and said his farewells to team-mates, management, back-up staff and the fans.

The rapturous ovation the Welsh supporters gave Giggs as he was substituted in the 89th minute clearly touched him.

He could be spotted wiping a tear or two away in the Welsh dugout. Such is the camaraderie within Wales, he was red-eyed again as he left the ground an hour or so afterwards to drive back home.

For a moment, it seemed the magnitude of what he was giving up had dawned upon Giggs.
He wouldn’t pull on the red No 11 shirt any more; he would not stand there for the national anthem any more; he would not hear the Welsh fans roaring out his name and willing him on any more.

But there could not be any going back on his decision, Giggs insisted. Although he wouldn’t be human if part of him doesn’t wonder if he could have carried on for another couple of years as he sits on his sunbed by the pool over the next three weeks and reflects upon everything.

The platitudes and good luck messages Giggs has received since announcing his plans to quit Wales on Wednesday have genuinely bowled him over.
He was touched by the “thanks for the memories” tributes from readers in the Western Mail on Saturday morning.

As Toshack said after the game, if Giggs didn’t realise before how much he was loved and valued in Wales, he certainly does from this moment on.

The ovation Giggs received when Toshack replaced him with Rob Earnshaw in the last minute against the Czechs exceeded anything any individual has had at the Millennium Stadium.

Toshack has previously criticised Mark Hughes for taking Gary Speed off 15 minutes from the end of his last match, a World Cup qualifier against Poland, when the score was level at 1-1, with crucial qualifying points at stake.

As such, I suppose, Toshack could be accused of hypocrisy by replacing Giggs with Earnie, because the Czech game still had 60 seconds to go and was there to be won.
But the reality is that Giggs deserved that special moment from the fans and it wouldn’t have been right if Toshack had not given him that send-off.
As for the game itself; almost a sideshow but not exactly an unimportant 90 minutes for Wales. Well even then Giggs was the player who came closest to winning it.
In the second half, he dribbled past four Czech defenders, shimmied at the last moment to create a shooting opportunity and was only denied a stunning solo goal by Petr Cech’s reflexes.
It was vintage Giggs, the sort of mazy run we saw from him during the early and mid-1990s, without quite the finish it deserved.
Giggs kept the best until last because this was without doubt his most potent display of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
He wasn’t the only one, though. Collins was a colossus at the back, handling the Koller threat as well as any centre-back anywhere in the world can have done in recent times.
Nyatanga, after a couple of iffy performances for Wales, was back to his calm, composed, assured old self again.
Old, did I say? Nyatanga is only 18 years of age.
At 20, Cardiff City youngster Ledley is a positive veteran compared to Nyatanga and 17-year-old Gareth Bale!
Ledley produced a sensational performance at left wing-back, one that was so full of class that Toshack might have to reconsider where he plays Bale.
Yes, Ledley was that good. The wing-back role, where he can use his energy and stamina to rampage up and down the pitch, suits him perfectly.
Ledley may actually play in that position regularly from here on in, with Bale’s undoubted class utilised in a more advanced midfield position. Whatever, the thought of that trio – Bale, Ledley and Nyatanga – purveying the ball down Wales’ left flank for more than a decade is a mouthwatering prospect.
It would be better were Giggs there with them, of course, but his loss will enable Toshack to pick Freddy Eastwood up front.
Having a presence inside the penalty area is still a problem area for Wales, as was underlined by the fact that, despite impressive approach work, they were still scoreless on Saturday.
Eastwood is no Giggs, but he will offer things to the team in advanced positions that even Ryan couldn’t.
With him up front, Wales might even choose to utilise corners properly. Against the Czechs, almost every set-piece was taken short, and then squandered – a tactic doubtless arising as a result of Wales’ own lack of physical presence and height up front.
It was an irritating tactic, though. When Wales finally chose to just put the ball in, Collins got on the end of it and almost scored with a header.
Set-piece is still an area for Toshack to address. He also could do with a fit Mark Delaney as right wing back, or Richard Duffy to come good again.
And, well though Robinson played – it was his best game yet for his country – there are still nagging doubts about him in that midfield dynamo role, although not if he continues to play as he did on Saturday.
At least goalkeeper isn’t a problem any more, because debutante Hennessey looked the real deal at No 1.
I’m sure if he is being honest, Toshack will probably regret sticking with Paul Jones for earlier games away to the Czech Republic and at home to Slovakia and wish he had gone with Lewis Price.
But that is what this learning curve we are in the middle of is about. Wales have a very young team, one which Giggs himself insists will get better and better and better.
Toshack must get them to continue to play with the poise, passion and purpose that they displayed on Saturday. They will have to do it without their inspirational captain, but they have no option but to cope with the loss of Giggs.
Ryan has gone, but he certainly won’t be forgotten. We won’t see the likes of him again in the red of Wales.
As such, everyone should be grateful for the memories with which he has left us.

Bring back Dallagio!!!!!!

Chantilly Lace for Ace Jockey

Dettori makes it a Derby double in Chantilly

Frankie Dettori was in Derby-winning mode again yesterday, this time in France. Just over 24 hours after landing his first Epsom Derby on Authorized, the Italian celebrity jockey added the French version, the Prix du Jockey-Club, on locally trained
favourite Lawman. Dettori had to survive being thrown from his mount on the way to post, but returned to wild applause at Chantilly as his astonishing big-race winning run continued. This weekend has taken his career to new heights, emphasising his great riding talent to the critics who considered his star to be on the wane.
(JA McGrath, Daily Telegraph)
“People wait all their lives to win a Derby and I win two in 24 hours.” — Frankie Dettori, winner of the English and French Derbies this weekend

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Beckham Back

David Beckham claims he has never taken his England place for granted following Friday night's impressive return to the international arena against Brazil.

The Real Madrid midfielder's England career looked to have been over when Steve McClaren cast him into the international wilderness upon succeeding Sven Goran Eriksson.
However, a combination of England's poor form and Beckham's renaissance at Madrid has forced McClaren's hand somewhat and the former England captain responded to his recall in some style at the new Wembley.
Adding guile to the right hand side of England's midfield, Beckham was the architect of his side's goal in the 1-1 draw and left the field to a standing ovation when substituted 15 minutes from time.
"I have never taken playing for England for granted," said Beckham. "I have always felt I have had to play for my place. That should be the case regardless of who you are.
"You have got to play for your place, earn the right to wear the shirt, and I have always done that in every team I have played for during my career. I'm just going to take each game as it comes.
"It was such an historical night for all of England and it was great to be out there. It is always nice to have the support of the fans and I have had that throughout my career.
"It was amazing out there for me. I was happy to have been part of such an historical occasion. It was good to be back in the England squad and it was nice to be with the team and just be part of the set-up again."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Andrew takes centre-stage with an outstanding centre forward!

Andrew Vine, seen here on the right, is presented with a Huddersfield Town shirt in recognition of his support to the local team over many years.
Andy Booth an outstanding player with HT presents Andrew with his shirt ~ No 60!!!
Andrew was hosted by the club with his son Anthony, before returning to Limoges where he now lives.
I understand Andrew will be 60 in June 2007.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Beckham to return........

Premiership - Yallop: No Beckham loan
Eurosport - Sun, 27 May 13:41:00 2007
Premiership - Los Angeles Galaxy coach Frank Yallop has insisted David Beckham will not return to a European club on loan later this year.

In the wake of Beckham's recall to the England squad by Steve McClaren, reports have suggested the midfielder could return to the Premiership in November following the conclusion of the MLS season.
Everton, Tottenham and Blackburn have been linked with a move, while Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has already expressed an interest.
Yallop told Sky Sports News: "He won't be going on loan anywhere. He'll be taking a break at that point and getting ready for our pre-season.
"He's shown he's a world-class player, he doesn't need to go back and go on loan anywhere."
Yallop believes Beckham's performances will make it difficult for McClaren to drop him again.
"I think David is going to have such an impact when he joins the squad again it will be difficult to leave him out to be honest," he said.
"We realise David wants to get to the 100-cap plateau and we will never stop him doing that."
Madrid coach Fabio Capello again praised Beckham's recent form after he helped keep the Spanish giants on course for their 30th Primera Liga title.
Beckham played a pivotal role as Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-1 at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Capello said: "I said that David Beckham was playing better than he has over the last two years.
"He is in extraordinary physical condition. When he puts the ball into the centre he does it with much precision, speed and quality. He is in great shape."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time For a Joke from Frank Beevers

The Fisherman >

One Saturday morning he gets up early, dresses quietly, gets his lunch made, puts on his long johns, grabs the dog and goes to the garage to hook up his boat to the truck and head down the road. Coming out of his garage rain is pouring down; it is like a torrential downpour. There is snow mixed in with the rain, and the wind is blowing 50 mph.

Minutes later, he returns to the garage. He comes back into the house and turns the TV to the weather channel. He finds it's going to be bad weather all day long, so he puts his boat back in the garage, quietly undresses and slips back into bed.

There he cuddles up to his wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispers, "The weather out there is terrible."

To which she sleepily replies, "Yeah, Can you believe my stupid husband is out there fishing in that?"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Its that man again......HHHHHHHamilton!

Hamilton takes lead in title race Circuit de Catalunya, Montmelo, 13 May, 2007
By Andrew Benson

Lewis Hamilton has taken the outright championship lead just four races into his Formula One career by finishing second in the Spanish Grand Prix.
But the McLaren driver could do nothing about Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who dominated at the Circuit de Catalunya to take his second win in succession.
Hamilton kept team-mate Fernando Alonso behind him to go two points clear of the world champion in the title chase.
The Spaniard survived an off-track moment on lap one to take third place.
Report: Massa wins Spanish GP
Alonso's hopes of winning his home race were over almost before it began when he made an ambitous attempt to overtake Massa around the outside of the first corner.
After a good start from second place on the grid, the McLaren was marginally in front as they went into the turn but not far enough to claim the lead and the two cars touched, pitching Alonso sideways into the gravel trap.
To come out of my fourth Grand Prix leading the world championship is incredible Lewis Hamilton
"I thought I was very much in front of him in the first corner - and he didn't think so - and we touched each other," Alonso said.
"It was dangerous. We were very lucky because 99% of the time in incidents like that you would finish the race in the first corner."
Massa countered: "I was inside, so I don't understand his point.
"As long as I am inside, I will stay there. I won't move. If anybody was aggressive, it was Fernando, not me.
"If I am wrong, then I am the first to say I have made a mistake.
"But this time don't tell me I've made a mistake. Come on, this is racing, Formula One, the first corner.
"The first corner is important. You don't want to lose like I did in Malaysia. I wanted to stay there.
"There was contact. He tried to push me inside - it was only small contact - but fortunately nothing happened with the car."
Alonso lost only two places as he rejoined the track, slotting into fourth place behind Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who was passed by the Englishman on the run down to the third corner.
But one of the aerodynamic deflectors on the world champion's car had been damaged, which will have affected his pace for the rest of the race.
Alonso moved up to third when Raikkonen retired with a rare Ferrari failure on lap 10, but he could not close on Hamilton, who was equally helpless in the face of the charging Massa.
The Brazilian edged steadily ahead in the lead and was nearly 10 seconds clear by the time he made his first pit stop on lap 19, the same time as Alonso.
Hamilton stayed out for another three laps but was no closer to the Ferrari when he rejoined the track after his own stop.
The first stops were the end of Alonso's already slim hopes of winning his home race for the second year in a row.
McLaren fitted the harder of the two tyre options to his car for his middle stint, while everyone else stayed on the softer tyres and saved the harder ones until the final push.
The plan was presumably for Alonso to limit the damage in the middle of the race and make a charge in the closing laps.
But he slipped back to more than 10 seconds behind Hamilton in the first few laps after the stops as the tyres took their time to come up to speed.
Alonso continued to lose ground to his team-mate throughout the second stint and was more than 16 seconds adrift by the time Hamilton made his second stop on lap 47.
Alonso followed him in a lap later and began to close on Hamilton after they rejoined, but in the final 10 laps the gap stabilised.
The eight points for second place put Hamilton two points clear of Alonso at the head of the drivers' championship, with Massa a further point behind.
"I keep saying I'm living my dream, and it's really true," Hamilton said.
"I've been working so hard for this and to come out of my fourth Grand Prix leading the world championship when I'm driving against two of the best drivers in the world is incredible."
BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica was fourth after a strong, steady race, with David Coulthard fifth following an impressive race in the much-improved Red Bull-Renault.
The Scot lost a gear in the closing stages and had to fight hard to hold off Nico Rosberg's Williams-Toyota.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen, who was hampered by having to make an extra pit stop because of a faulty fuel rig, finished seventh.
Kovalainen's team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, similarly hampered, lost the final points place to Super Aguri's Takuma Sato when he had to make a final splash-and-dash pit stop with seven laps to go.
Spanish Grand Prix result:
1. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari one hour 31 minutes 36.230 seconds 2. Lewis Hamilton (GB) (McLaren-Mercedes) at 6.790sec 3. Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren-Mercedes at 17.456 4. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 31.615 5. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Renault 58.331 6. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota 59.538 7. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) Renault 1:02.128 8. Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda) one lap behind 9. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1 lap 10. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda 1 lap 11. Anthony Davidson (GB) Super Aguri-Honda 1 lap 12. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1 lap 13. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Spyker-Ferrari 2 laps 14. Christijan Albers (Ned) Spyker-Ferrari) 2 laps R Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 50 laps completed R Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 48 laps R Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 18 laps R Scott Speed (USA) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 laps R Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 10 laps R Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 9 laps R Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 8 laps R Alexander Wurz (Aut) Williams-Toyota 0 laps
Fastest lap: Massa, one minute 22.680 seconds, lap 14.
Key: R = retired