Dave’s Diary

An interesting development, this green, paperless match programme. Previously, I had a mind’s picture of my potential reader: a guest sitting down to enjoy the pre-match lunch; or someone standing on the touchline terrace trying to kill ten minutes at half-time. Now, I’m not so sure, but I have been asked to carry on and, for now, I will keep these Diaries to the same length as before.
However, it should now be possible to link photos and other stuff. I took a set of action shots at Wharfedale, which were not very good – though the game was excellent – and last Sunday I covered the Junior Colts’ Lancashire Cup game, where the reverse was true. The game was too one-sided to be enjoyable (though in Sedgley’s favour, thankfully), but my photos were much improved. You can view these pictures by clicking on the link below:
Wharfedale and Junior Colts.

I have been trying to come to grips with the new Laws for this season. These form part of the World Rugby Global Law Trials and, presumably, there will be a review process later.
The goal-line drop-out is an intriguing one (wherever did they get the idea?), but it took me ages to google the actual details, the stuff you would need to know as a referee. How far does the kick have to travel? How far back do the opposition have to stand? What happens if they don’t, or if it is kicked directly to touch?
I discovered a new term in rugby, new to me, at least, the ‘Sanction Line’. For a goal-line drop-out the sanction line is five metres; the ball must cross it, and the opposition must be behind it. (For a 22 drop-out, the sanction line is the 22 itself.) In each case, if the ball goes straight into touch, there are four options. Four! Quick throw, accept the line-out, kick again, or scrum back on the sanction line.
The 50/22 Law is straight out of League. I was against it initially, as artificial and gimmicky, but already it seems to work better in Union than in the Pass-and-Crash code. The idea is that a defending team will have to drop back wingers to prevent it, thus providing more space on the gain-line. Cautious approval, then.
The new ‘latching’ Law is quite technical, but designed to increase safety by preventing attacking teams ‘pre-binding’ before contact. Only one player may ‘latch’, and he must remain on his feet. This Law, taken with the goal-line drop out for ‘held up’, should reduce the endless pick and drive which was becoming a bit of a bore. A lot of a bore.

Over in the Premiership, last season’s party is over. The kids had their fun while Saracens were away, but now mum and dad are back, and nobody is going to enjoy having to face them. Bristol and Exeter have been sent to their rooms, with two defeats each already, as Leicester and Northampton also look strong.
Quins are still winning, however, which will please romantics like me. I noted a name on the Newcastle teamsheet against them: Iwan Stephens. He scored a try against Quins, and another at Bath last weekend.
It turns out that Iwan (19) is the son of Colin Stephens, the magical Welshman who was a player-coach at Sedgley a few years ago. Colin was a 10, but Iwan is making his mark as a winger. I see he played junior rugby for Morley, which is where Colin went after leaving Sedgley, but the lad was primarily a League player with Leeds Rhinos, before joining Newcastle Falcons.
He looks very sharp. I wonder whether he sees himself as a Yorkshireman or a Welshman? Ey up, sosban fach, si thee.