Saturday, February 3, 2007

Cornish captain saves England!

It was with considerable excitement that I settled down to watch the rugby this afternoon. Strangely enough, it wasn't Jonny Wilkinson's return that was exciting me the most.

It was the sight of Cornishman Phil Vickery running on as England Captain. In fact, if I might wax lyrically for a little bit, Phil Vickery is not only a Cornishman, but it is not hugely inaccurate to call him a "Bude Boy", like me. However, purists might point out that he is in fact a "Kilkhampton Boy" but the distinction involves only a couple of miles and a rather large hill from which, incidentally you can see Brown Willy on a clear day (cut the ***p - Ed).

As I settled down, I couldn't help remembering another fine Cornishman, Derek Prout. He was a Rugby veteran and my cousin. He tragically passed away a couple of years ago. I am very proud to see that the British University Sports Association are holding their annual Rugby Sevens event in his honour this year. As you get older, you are conscious that you are enjoying things that those who have passed away would have enjoyed, if they were still here. This was one of those occasions. Derek would have certainly been brimming with pride to see a Cornishman captaining England!

The BBC turned into the Jonny Wilkinson appreciation society for a couple of hours. When the team were lining up for the national anthem, we got a minute of Jonnyboy staring ahead and a quick flash of the rest of the fellows in the team!

Incidentally, why do we sing "God Save the Queen" when Scotland sing "Flower of Scotland"? It seems very strangely lop-sided, like as if we are a loyal enclave and Scotland aren't. "God Save the Queen" is the national anthem of the whole UK, not just a bit of it. I would have thought it would be more appropriate for us to sing our own song in such circumstances.

Anyway, the BBC stopped short of having its own "Jonnycam" although I felt they might need a "CheckingJonnygetsupcam" to check that he was getting up OK after each ruck/maul.

He did have a bleeding mouth (he needed stitches at half time) and a bleeding ear.

But, what a heck of a match! Scotland put up a bold fight. But Jonny W's kicking was superb. Jason Robertson's two tries were brilliant. And Jonny's "try" and conversion were the icing on the cake.

They'll be dancing in the streets of Nuneaton tonight!


  1. Totally agree on that awful dirge GTSFQ!!!

    Jerusalem every time (ref)!

  2. Thank you Tabman. This post is turning out to be more controversial than I at first envisaged.

  3. Was a good game, with some good performances all round :)

    The old 'English anthem' problem is always there... We shouldn't be singing God Save The Queen, but what should replace it? I'd say no to Jerusalem, but that leaves Land Of Hope And Glory really...

  4. Wow. I'm not sure how I missed this post. As a Scotsman, I find it very difficult to muster any real enthusiasm when singing "God Save Our Queen" - and please believe me, I have tried.

    The secret to this lethargy lies in the unsung verse:

    Lord grant that Marshal Wade
    May by thy mighty aid
    Victory bring.
    May he sedition hush,
    And like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush.
    God save the Queen!

    You'll see why, I hope, so many of us chippy little Jocks look elsewhere for a motivational anthem. It never really made us feel that good about ourselves, truth be told. How in the world we alighted on the alternative dirge that we did, however, remains something of a tragic mystery.

    I just LOVE "Jerusalem", by the way. Gets me every time.

    I trust you are doing well.

    Kind regards as ever....

  5. Thank you PE - yes I am doing very well - and I hope you are too?

    I wasn't aware of that verse of the national anthem! So we sing the extended verses at our civic services but that verse obviously slipped off the end!

    It reminds me of the "Star Spangled Banner" which has been played by the military band outside Buck House, but in fact celebrates the death of British soldiers.

    All the best!

  6. Actually Phil Vickery is a Devonian, not a Cornishman.

  7. From Wikipedia: "The son of a farmer, Vickery was born to Cornish parents in Barnstaple, Devon, but says he is proud to be a Cornishman and an Englishman.[1]."

    His father was born on a farm at Bagbury just outside Bude Cornwall and then moved to farm the other side of Bude, just outside Kilkhampton in Cornwall. This is where they lived at the time of Phil Vickery's birth and where he was brought up (he went to Budehaven Comprehensive in Bude, Cornwall) and where his parents still live. He played rugby at Bude and Redruth - both in Cornwall. Most of the pregnant mothers in Bude and area are taken to hopsital to have their babies, usually in Plymouth or Barnstaple, both of which are in Devon. So, yes, he was technically born in Devon, but then so are many of the people in and around Bude - but they still call themselves Cornish and are right to do so. Apart from a short trip to the hospital, Phil Vickdery's family have lived in Cornwall for donkeys' years and he was brought up in Cornwall.