will_plant: (Cloak Division)
for insurance purposes - note the addition of a pesky underscore to user name
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Southern Trains at Gatwick Airport Train Station are rip-off merchants preying on the unwary traveller.

The Fast Ticket Machines are seemingly set up to cheat foreign visitors and others who are unwary or have limited english.

if you want to go from Gatwick to London Victoria there are 2 options (i'm not counting Blackfriars then Tube for the purposes of this rant)

1 hideously expensive Gatwick "Express" - the fact that there are no stops en route is about the only thing going for it, except perhaps at peak times in terms of space on the train and extra luggage space.

2 Southern Trains - only a few minutes slower than the "Express" and stops at East Croydon and Clapham Junction.


When you first approach the machine you can choose London Victoria (any Service) or London Victoria (Southern Only)  the bits in brackets are shown much smaller than the destination on screen.

OK at this point you know what service you want and make your choice:

I chose Southern Only - I expected to then have to choose whether I wanted to travel First Class or Standard but no, despite clearly making a choice to travel via Southern Only - the choice of prices showed the (via Any Service) prices including First Class.

The Southern Only service was NOT displayed on this first screen-full of prices - I had to choose the Next Page Option to see the (via Southern Only) Price.  I.e the machine is set up to make every effort to obscure the cheaper price from you even when you have specifically requested it.

So, as far as I am concerned, this means that the Fast Ticket machines are set up to over-ride any specific choice of service that is made and try to overcharge every customer (I don't think that you can legitimately call it up-selling in this case).

I feel sorry for anyone who cannot read english well enough to catch out the machine, is jet-lagged, or assumes that having made the choice of via Southern Only that they wouldn't have to make it again.

It makes me wonder how many passengers get onto a Southern train heading for Victoria when they've actually paid for a Gatwick Express ticket?
will_plant: (Default)
not begging honest...


EDIT - I've now got one - thanks! the internet is great.
will_plant: (Roasted in Black)



But what I really love is that the comments on Youtube are all 'in character' and almost as good as the video itself.
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BOD, originally uploaded by will_plant.

Harlequins vs Leinster Rugby, Heineken European Cup Quarter Final held at the Twickenham Stoop on Easter Sunday 12th April 2009.

The final score was Harlequins 5 - Leinster Rugby 6. Leinster progress to a semi-final against Munster at Croke Park.

Harlequins played pretty much all the rugby because they had to play catch-up rugby for most of the game, Leinster's defence was awesome and since they never went behind they didn't really have to do much else.

Quins missed about a dozen points in kicks and still could have nicked it at the death depsite having broken two fly-halfs. Plus we scored the only try of the game.

Elsom , Jennings and Co were brilliant cheats at the breakdown (in all the best senses of that word : you play the ref)

Frustratingly Mr Owens appeared to believe that offside line and coming into rucks from behind the back foot was optional.

Just going through my mountains of photos showed that something weird was going on in respect of offside etc as in lots of photos Bernard Jackman is amongst or behind the Quins line on nearly every occasion - hilarious.

I am aware that loser's comments on the referee cannot fail to sound like whinging so let me state clearly - We lost the game - the referee did not lose it for us! He just made it frustrating for the usual one-eyed home support... ;)

In actuality Leinster had some in reserve and an extra level of quality and streetwise awareness.

I hope that this will be a formative experience for this young Quins team, for whom this game probably came a little early in their development.

Had someone offered me a Heineken quarter final and potential top 4 in the Premiership I would have bitten their hand off.

So we've two games left to define our season: Sale away next friday night and Newcastle at home - we might even get into the play-offs...

will_plant: (Default)

Stretts with support, originally uploaded by will_plant.

IMG_9810_1

David Strettle leads another attack into Worcester territory.

The game finished 60 -14 in favour of Quins and we scored 10 (ten) tries.

Fixture congestion and injuries meant that Worcester were fielding a weakened team as they are targeting their home game on saturday against Saracens as a must-win. Many of the Worcester forwards were making their Premiership debuts. They had a tough night.

Harlequins vs Worcester Warriors

Round 12 of 2008/9 Guinness Premiership Rugby Union Match between Harlequins and Worcester Warriors held at the Twickenham Stoop on Wednesday 1st April 2009

This match was being played midweek as the original fixture earlier in the year was unable to be played because of a frozen pitch at the Stoop.

will_plant: (Default)
in response to David De Beers post here:

http://david-debeer.com/2009/03/two-minute-rule-for-rugby/

also posted there as a comment.


I preface this by saying I do not having access to satellite TV and therefore have not seen any Super 14, I am basing this on the Guinness Premiership and Six Nations coverage.

 ELVs: I may be a northern hemisphere fan but I am not a knee-jerk reactionary against the ELVs, some have been good, some have not worked, and some have had unintended consequences. Progress is good but needs to be carefully balanced against changing the character of the game fundamentally.

 But more importantly the changes to the game this season have come about not as much from the ELVs but because of the IRBs directives on policing the breakdown - like a lot of these rules they were designed to take minimise the impact of the referee on the game and make it flow but they have had the opposite effect.

 Nothing is going to remove the pointless up-and-undering from fullbacks and wingers, but the new rules do keep the ball in play longer. Mostly?

 The kicking duels are, not actually pointless, they are down to the fact that attacking is considered too dangerous. Breakdowns policed on the whim of the referee mean that the risk averse option is to kick rather than run with the ball - e.g being caught in possession and only allowing a microsecond for a ruck to form before blowing for the attacker holding on - for this reason something needs to be changed as there is a disincentive to play the game / go forward with the ball in hand.

 Ball in play statistics are almost meaningless especially if you are counting every kick as ball in play. I am just glad we have not trialled the short-arm penalties here in the Guinness Premiership - if even the Australians [yes the Australians  ;) ] are conceding it is effectively a cheat's charter - a free kick being a scant 'penalty' for an infringement in defence.

 

Scrum - a well-meaning emphasis on safety led to introduction of crouch - touch - pause - engage but what conversely this has done is to amplify the importance of the hit. In my opinion this means that the scrum is more likely to go down if the advantage in the hit has not gone your way.

 Admittedly, the scrum is difficult to referee and few referees have played in the front row and do not understand what is going on and which side is trying to do what to gain an advantage. But resets and essentially random penalties meaning that there isn't any scrummaging actually happening.

 They negate the rolling maul which is simply the most horrid — and dull — thing to ever happen to rugby. I don’t care about how effective it is, it’s bloody dull to watch.

1. about 15 seconds in; the problem with this under the old rules is that opponents are not allowed to collapse the maul, they can only push back and it’s simple fact that all the momentum is with the side that has the ball. Near impossible to defend effectively

 Maul - I differ here and this is of course a matter of personal taste - i liked the old maul, power, technique and skill were required to get it to actually work. Properly deployed a rampaging maul with proper forward momentum is a good spectacle to watch.

 I believe that application of the pre-existing laws to the maul would have sufficed 1) use it or lose it - you have a time limit - lack of forward momentum means the ball must be spun wide or you lose possession and 2) truck and trailer to ensure it is properly formed, i.e. you can't hang the ball of the off the back.

 The video example you posted of the Scotland maul actually illustrates my point. You stated that it is almost impossible to defend - but why did the Scottish maul work? IMHO because the French refused to commit defenders and had poor technique / wrong body positions and were trying to stop it as individuals and not as unit.

 If you force the defenders to commit men to defend a maul, this means two things, firstly that there is more space out wide as there are fewer defenders (fewer backrowers clogging up the midfield) and likely more tries, and secondly mauling tires out the forwards so that there are spaces later in the game (this is the same for the scrum - too many resets at the moment means not enough energy exerted in proper scrummaging) Having props still running around on the 79 minute mark is unnatural even given professional levels of fitness ;)

 Also you could collapse a maul under the previous rules if you were the original tackler and had not yet been joined by your teammates - Chabal got mistakenly penalised for doing this a couple of years ago.

  Obviously you can still use the maul under the ELVs but have to deploy it carefully - but the defenders do not have to commit too many to defend it, therefore there is less space.

 Your proposed 2 minute rule - in the northern hemisphere the "running the clock down" tactic is usually based on the maintenance of possession at ruck after ruck and then boot the ball into touch when you've got to 80:00. But this often happens just after you've scored to go ahead or to extend a slim lead - so you have to ensure that you reclaim the restart kick.

 This was the basis of the Henson vs Jones argument in the Wales v Italy game a couple of weeks ago - Henson wanted the ball put into touch to end the game but Ryan Jones opted for the penalty kick at the posts meaning that there would be a restart and Italy would have a chance to reclaim the ball from the restart and potentially keep the ball alive long enough to score.

 I think a lot of your objections about timewasting / re-set scrums could be handled by application of existing laws.

 You note that scrum is not a fair fight for possession when compared with the lineout, therefore your preference for lineouts in the last 2 minutes.

 But I would say the scrum is primarily not a fair contest for possession because EVERY scrum is fed: the ball is not put in straight, unlike the computerised 'ideal' video you linked to.

 If you went to a zero-tolerance approach on crooked feeds it would make the potential of strikes against the head much higher. And would probably be an incentive for defenders to actually scrummage rather than just disrupt. Good point about wanting to deal with timewasting, though this does happen in lineouts too. Perhaps in this scrum situation you could start the game clock when the ball is actually put in? Although this is probably too hard to implement.



The Chain

Mar. 25th, 2009 03:13 pm
will_plant: (Default)
Formula One is back on the Beeb after an extended commercial break.

No more adverts, huzzah!

But I might have to stand outside TV centre with a petrol bomb - until it is confirmed that the theme music to the show is the un-altered, un-modernized, un-rerecorded, un-jazzed-up, untouched by JayKay, original as used 14 years ago version.

Fuck with it at your peril Auntie Beeb - it is iconic.


Duh, Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh
will_plant: (Roasted in Black)
Two articles I have read recently meshed in my mind.

Sport free magazine from last Friday 20th March

Special Report on British Cycling Success

http://www.sport-magazine.co.uk/More.../Special-report-Cycle-of-success.html

“If it’s all so compassionate, what’s this story we heard about plans to break Ed Clancy’s collarbone? “Oh, that one,” Brailsford laughs. “We were working on aerodynamic riding positions and somebody jokingly said: ‘If we could just get rid of a bit of your collarbone here, that might help.’ Ed was up for it, but then somebody said ‘what the hell are we talking about?’ and the madness stopped.””

And today’s news about Lance Armstrong:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/cycling/7961578.stm

“A scan revealed Armstrong's collarbone had fragmented into "multiple pieces" following the crash, which happened about 12 miles from the finish of the first stage of the five-day Vuelta event.
He will be operated on by Austin-based specialist Doug Elenz on Wednesday.
"The (scan) showed the clavicle in quite a few more pieces than we originally thought," said Armstrong.
"There will definitely be a plate placed on the top of the clavicle so he (Elenz) can anatomically put all this stuff back together."”

So how long before L’Equipe runs an “Armstrong rebuilds clavicle for aerodynamic advantage” story…?
will_plant: (Default)

The story behind this one is that late in the game Sale Sharks had to go to uncontested scrums as they had run out of front-row qualified players.

Immediately Harlequins substituted one of their tired props with the replacement flanker Neil McMillan - unfortunately replacing the job of a prop as a lifter in the lineout does require a certain technique, George Robson got dropped from a rather large height!

Harlequins vs Sale Sharks Sunday 22nd March 2009
Guinness Premiership 2008 / 9

will_plant: (Default)
I think Paul has a good sense of humour, i wonder whether there will be letters to the editor about this risque clue:

Unpleasant person in gardener, perhaps, in trouble when in this? (3,5)



The solution or at least my solution )
will_plant: (Default)

Tap Tackle Close Up, originally uploaded by will_plant.

Tom Guest breaks the Saracen's defensive line and only the lightest of tap tackles prevents him from motoring away...

Harlequins vs Saracens in the 2008/9 Guinness Premiership match held on the 7th March 2009 at the Twickenham Stoop.

will_plant: (Default)

here comes the sidestep, originally uploaded by will_plant.

Ian Balshaw doesn't pick the sidestep as Nick Evans cruises past.

From the 2008/9 Guinness Premiership game Harlequins vs Gloucester 21st February 2009 @ the Twickenham Stoop

will_plant: (Default)
I admit that, as an interested foreigner, I have only limited knowledge of the intricacies of the the US political system.

However, aren't Republican complaints about the stimulus package a bit like giving someone the keys to a burning house and then complaining about the colour of the bucket they are trying to fill to douse the flames?
will_plant: (Default)
15 picoseconds of internet fame

I got my name into the Guardian Over By Over Cricket coverage today. see the 34th Over of the West Indies First Innings here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/feb/17/west-indies-england-cricket-third-test

"34th over: West Indies 129-2 (Powell 21 Sarwan 13)
For the many of you out there who found our caption a little too easy to crack, here's another version from Will Plant. Of course the answer is just the same, so umm, not quite sure where that leaves us. But still, I like it: "Cobbler's form compounded with risk and a well appointed lounge provides final bar. (4,6,6)". Just a single from Swann's latest over."

the original caption under a picture of Steve Harmison was "A place where folk imbibe for the final time (4,6,6)"
will_plant: (Default)
It looks like Cheryl may get her wish for pictures of Brian O'Driscoll - assuming he is fit to play on the 12th April.

Harlequins have decided to host the Heineken European Cup quarter-final against Leinster at the Twickenham Stoop, rather than moving the game over the road to the Twickenham Stadium.

This is an interesting decision:

Limited capacity: 9,000 Quins fans and 3000 Leinster fans - Twickenham would hold at least 30k (which was what Wasps got for their group game against Leinster last month)

No tickets will be on general sale - at all.

Quins share the gate money 50% / 50% - The European Rugby Cup's incentive scheme to get Quarter Finals moved to bigger venues would have given Quins 65% of the gate.

Ticket prices are a fair bit more than usual - and of course as a knockout stage game were not in the season ticket - approximately £10 - 15 per ticket dearer when compared to list price of single tickets, depending upon category of seat.

However this still means lost revenue when compared to selling lots of cheaper tickets at Twickenham.

This decision gives us home advantage - something that the players, by all accounts, and most of the fans are really happy about.

The home and away wins against Stade Francais got us the home draw - i am happy that we considered it valuable enough to turn down the opportunity of extra cash.

IMG_7851

Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:39 am
will_plant: (Default)

IMG_7851, originally uploaded by will_plant.

There is indeed snow in old Lundun Taan.

Obviously no transport.

but then it could be worse - a volcano hasn't just erupted in Hackney or anything.

Apparently the Japanese Stock market was delayed opening because of the eruption of Mount Asama - a 2km high plume of ash is somewhat more troubling that a few inches of snow - surely...?



snowpocalypse update:

Sled count - 5 in the last 30 mins
snowball fights - 4 in the last 10 mins

Penalty!

Jan. 31st, 2009 07:56 pm
will_plant: (Default)

Penalty!, originally uploaded by will_plant.

Hot off the press from Quins v Saints

will_plant: (Default)
Lots of interesting people keep dying this month. :(

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/tms/7861363.stm

Bill Frindall cricket scorer par excellence (apart from that pesky ODI stuff, which he didn't rate) has died.

TMS will not be the same.

But how the hell did he die from Legionnaires Disease?

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