Wednesday, 12 December 2012

One of Bath's idol and a legend!!

In any child's life growing up you develop a sporting hero, be a football player, tennis, golf, cricket or even athletics. Coming from Bath predominately the majority discover a love of rugby and find a player that they aspire to be like or regard them as a legend.

I grew up through the 80's and first attended the Rec in 1984 when I was a knee high five year old, for me there was one player who stood out a country mile. Not the fastest, most athletic or even the fittest but a man with passion, heart and an abundance of character........Mr Gareth 'Cooch' Chilcott!

1993 saw Cooch bow out of a 16year career playing in the Blue, Black and White where he enjoyed some of Bath rugby's most successful years, not to mention pulling on the red roses crested white shirt of England on 14 occasions.
"It wasn't a hard decision to retire. It was becoming a young man's sport. I don't miss the training but miss the camaraderie"

Even though he retired the game has not left him and through after dinner speaking and working on various rugbying tours the game hasn't lost him.
"After dinner speaking was great as it keeps me in with the sport and helps pay for the odd holiday or two!"

Now with Cooch going solo with VenaTour he's embarking on a new challenge and hitting the sports Travel full on.
"I have been in the sports travel business for over 20 years and it seemed like a natural thing to do. Still going on tours but as an expert and not as a player. Still doing your passion but in a different way to let other people enjoy the experiences."
The idea and premise behind VenaTour is to supply a unique experience for sporting fans and a personal touch, and what a great concept. Have a quick look over their page you never know there could be something that grabs you. Tours organised by somebody whose been there and done it will just enhance the whole trip, its a good touch!

Despite the all this tour organising Coochie still finds time to put his hand to a little charity work, bringing rugby to disadvantaged children. As the honorary president of Wooden spoon and an ambassador IRB kit aid is not too shabby on the charity front.
"I enjoy the charity work decided a few years ago to put my time into just a couple of charities I seemed did a fantastic job in getting kids playing rugby"

The refreshing point about Cooch is that even though he retired a 'few' years ago he is still Blue, Black and White through and through. Due to the professional era of the game now you very rarely get a player who does such a long stint at one club, and a faithful player to one team are few and far between. But this is the progression of the game and to know such a Bath rugby legend still supports the club must be embraced.
"I'm very much still a huge supporter and get there as much as I can. Bath is still my number one team and I'm Bath through and through."
As is now a career for players contracts and offers mean players move on, its the game now and money is part of it, who knows if Cooch had played pro-era perhaps he would of gone? Thank god he didn't!

One thing I think many all love about Cooch is just how damn west country he really is, listening to him do commentary is a delight. With the ex- player contingent of commentators now about I think a resurrection of Coochie Commentary is required!!
"I would love to do more commentating but pronouncing some of the Samoan name could be a bit of a problem."
Who would you rather listen to.....Healey, Dawson, laugh a minute Stuart Barnes or Cooch? I know where my choice, imagine a combo of Cooch and Moore now that would be entertaining.

There are not many characters such as Cooch in the game now and that's a shame, think the closet we've got is Flats and he's gone and retired as well.
In many avid Bath Fans book case they'll have Before and After the lemons and nestling next to that pair will be 'Cooch- Mr Chilcott to you' a fore runner in sportsmen's books. He inspired so many through his years of playing and I hope One day to see another player replicate him but then there is only one Gareth ' Cooch' Chilcott.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Inconsistent RFU

Where to start.......think The word inconsistent is probably the best way forward.

Bath against Tigers is always a fraught affair and is steeped in history. For two clubs who were so hotly contested as the biggest clubs around for a lengthy period an animosity grew and became grudge fixtures, that still is the case and always will be. The latest episode still leads us that way, as It's safe to say the game didn't go to plan. Up to the point where François Louw was issued his marching order Bath had a strong opportunity to win the fixture at Welford Road and take a large scalp on their journey back up the table. Unfortunately this did not come to pass as it appeared Louw's red card saw a collapse of what was turning out to be a good bout between two giants. The decision for Louw's red came from the touch judge as opposed to Mr wigglesworth who was officiating the tie. As we all know everybody is human and mistakes happen and every referee has a bad day at the office, to reduce the impact of these errors we now are graced with TMO to aid the officials. With a lot of regret this combination failed in this instance, where it appeared even the Leicester faithful were in charge. A game that descended into chaos leading to three red cards and three yellow in not an advert the Aviva premiership or RFU would relish.

So how do the RFU resolve this almost farcical fixture? By selecting key infringements and citing the players involved. Or picking some players and citing them, yep that's right the go for the latter!!

From Bath Louw (red) for dropping an elbow, Mears for a punch and Banahan (red) for a high dangerous tackle. Deacon (red) from tigers was pulled in for a punch. No Murphy and Kitchener from Tigers or Donald from Bath all were seen to be involved in the incidents, Donald even receiving a yellow for a punch. So stage one of the RFU's inconsistent citing committee is complete, now on for stage two.

Joining the players from the Bath v Tigers game was Chris Hala'Ufia from London Irish who also received a red for a tip tackle against their fellow exiles London Welsh. Hala'Ufia plead not guilty but gained himself a five week ban, showing this panel were in no lenient mood. Deacon was up first and plead guilty for punching Banahan after his high tackle on Allen, Deacon who already has been hit by a one week ban by Tigers was given the same punishment by the panel.

Next up it was the time for the Bath boys to stand in the dock, Que the next bout of inconsistencies. Banahan plead guilty to a high dangerous tackle and rendering Allen unconscious, an unintentionally high tackle but regardless still high, he received a three week ban. Mears also to the guilty plea for a punch and gained himself a two week ban. Louw was the more interesting as he had his card expunged and no further action to follow.

If to dissect and compare these punishments is where we really see the true inconsistent manner in which the RFU are administering their sanctions.

Mears, Deacon and Donald all landed a punch in the game. Mears two weeks, Deacon one week and Donald left just with his yellow card. Regardless of intent a punch is a punch and equal punishments should be administered, more punches obviously then harsher sanctions, but one punch all punish equally.

Banahan admitted the tackle although Allen ducked into it and Deacon left him slightly unsighted, still accepted what was to come. My issue with this comes from the punishment given to Andy Powell from his trip to the Rec with sale raise this season. Powell hit Day around the neck and earned a quick ten minutes on the naughty step, Powell wasn't so gracious on leaving the field delivering a hand gesture and expletives directed at the booing crowd. So what did Powell get punished for? He was issued no ban for the tackle or reaction to the supporters but given a £5000 fine. Powell was ordered to pay £1000 upfront and the remainder at the end of the season. Not only does a ban punish a player it punishes a club, a fine punishes the player only!!

Louw's red card many would say  was the turning point of the game, dropping a team by a player puts extra strain upon the rest of the players. With Louw having his card expunged it leads to the officials having inconclusive evidence against him therefore wrong decision was made, sadly a decision that changed the game but cannot be reversed.

My own personal view is the RFU need to have set sanctions as to administrating loosely based guidelines. A long hard look by the powers that be in the RFU is certainly required, as we all know the IRB need to do similarly regarding the All Black allegedly leniency!

Time for a shake up!!