Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

So 2016 is nearly done.

It's been a funny old year. Lots of famous people passing on....and democracy driving some of us mad.

That said, it was the year that finally Ebbw Vale RFC won something in my lifetime! 
Premiership Champions 2015/16...and that can never be taken away from us.

Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year.

Next up.. home games versus Cardiff and Cross Keys, and a 2017 where Iron Maiden tour, as maybe do Metallica. Already I have tickets for Deep Purple next November in what may be the last time I see them, Ian Gillan is 72 in August, yikes!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Planet Rockstock, Trecco Bay, Porthcawl, 02-04 December 2016

Another splendid weekend down at Trecco Bay, Porthcawl with the Planet Rock Radio crew. Good bands, good venue, great value for money, and a really good sound and stage set up.


After nearly 40 years in the business, these women (they're hardly girls are they?), never fail to delight their loyal fans. With 3 of the original 4 members still in situ (and you don't see much of that these days), they stuck closely to their festival set, heavily biased towards their early 80s heyday, and I, for one, loved it: Emergency, Demolition Boys, Race With The Devil, Hit'n'Run, Screaming Blue Murder, Future Flash, Watch Your Step.

Girlschool on a Friday night...splendid..

Jackie Chambers....

...getting closer.

Jax and Enid

The Dead Daisies

Friday night headliners, The Dead Daisies, really did steal the show. With power, energy and stage presence all in abundance and now containing 3/5ths of the Whitesnake line up of 10 years ago, plus frontman John Corabi, once of Motley Crue, there is more than a hint of stardust about this band, as they returned to entertain the Trecco Bay throng.

With the new album 'Make Some Noise' going down well, and plenty of the good stuff from 'Revolution', they certainly rocked the Main Stage. A fine end to the evening.

A well oiled crowd enjoying the Daisies.

John Corabi, looking more like Roy Wood every year

John and Marco Mendoza

Doug Aldrich

John, close to the crowd

and Marco, in the crowd!

Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash)

Martin Turner playing all of the 1972 Wishbone Ash opus 'Argus' was always going to divide opinion. 

Some punters at the weekend were bored to tears.
Me? I thought it was great, but I've always been a sucker for early 70s hard rock with a proggy feel.

With a touch and feel reminiscent of 'Dark Side' Pink Floyd, the playing and sound quality were pure class. Interestingly, hearing this material live made you realise just how much Iron Maiden have 'taken' of this sound in their latter day albums, especially in the slower passages.

Steve Harris's British Lion

Well I gave it 15 minutes.

Iron Maiden fan to my shoelaces I may be, but I really can't get into Steve Harris's side project.
So it was a quick listen, and away for a swifty and Match Of The Day.

A good weekend nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fuengirola Costa Del Sol, 24-27 November 2016

Well, we do like a cheeky weekend in Spain as time allows, so it was off to Fuengirola in Andalucia at the end of November for a bit of late autumn sunshine.

Sadly, it was a bit more Costa Del Blackpool than Costa Del Sol, as light rain interspersed with heavy rain for most of the weekend.

Never mind, the walking, food and drink were good. 

The square..

and church... Fuengirola


Loads of pescado (fish)

But gloomy weather

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ebbw Vale 40 Carmarthen Quins 20, Principality Premiership, 12/11/16

An excellent home win for Ebbw Vale was achieved with a bonus point to go, as the backs turned on the style in the second half against the visitors from Carmarthenshire.

The first half was rather abrasive affair in all honesty, with Ebbw's defence holding firm against some lively play from the Quins. Two Josh Lewis penalties plus a drop goal ensured that the Steelmen went in 9-3 up at the break, a lead which they scarcely deserved.

The second half was a much better spectacle. Free flowing tries from Chris Thomas, debutant Liam Jones, Craig Duncan and Ben Papp were supplemented by a conversion from Josh Lewis and another 3 from his replacement Dai Langdon. Lewis added another penalty.

All in all an exciting second half which was better than what followed in the Wales v Argentina team, and a worthy five pointer for Ebbw Vale.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ebbw Vale 10 Llandovery 20, Principality Premiership, 29/10/16

The last day of British Summer Time saw Ebbw Vale fall to a disappointing home defeat to a faster, sharper and more streetwise Llandovery outfit, who thoroughly deserved their victory at the top of the Gwent Valleys.

It was hoped that the Premiership Champions had got 'back on the horse' with another comprehensive win at the self styled House of Pain, aka Sardis Road, Pontypridd, during the previous midweek, but a lack of control and shape, lackluster defence and the absence of key men Matthew Williams and Ashley Sweet contributed to Ebbw's first home loss in the league.

In fact, after turning around 0-17 at the interval, the home side responded during the second period with a Josh Lewis penalty and a classic Catch'n'Kynes converted by Lewis. But it was too little too late so that the Drovers returned West with the spoils; and not even the hardcore on the bank were disputing that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

UFO, Tramshed, Cardiff, 02/11/16

Probably lost count of the number of times I've seen UFO over the years, but they never fail to disappoint, and this night at the Tramshed (in Grangetown) was no exception.

Main man Phil Mogg was in top form at the front of the stage and he and Andy Parker are the sole survivors from the original incarnation in 1969. That said, Paul Raymond has been a mainstay since the 1970s, and are superbly supplemented by the guitar ace Vinnie Moore and Rob De Luca on bass.

Vinnie and Phil

Set list

We Belong to the Night
Ain't No Baby
Run Boy Run
Lights Out
Only You Can Rock Me
Burn Your House Down
Love to Love
Too Hot to Handle
Messiah of Love
Makin' Moves
Rock Bottom
Doctor Doctor
Shoot Shoot

Mother Mary

Mogg, in his pub brawler look

Phil, Rob and Paul

Andy and Paul

Mr Moore...

...on great form

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ebbw Vale 32 Bridgend 0, Principality Premiership, 24/09/16

Ebbw Vale turned on the style in the second half to record a bonus point victory over a limited Bridgend side.

Only 2 Josh Lewis penalties separated the teams at half time, but after the break, and playing towards the cricket ground, Ebbw Vale scored 4 fine tries from Rory Pitman (pushover), Lewis, Jared Rosser and David Rubasniak (another pushover).

Lewis also added 3 conversions to make the final score 32-0.