Bracket Breakdown: Schmoedown Innergeekdom Tournament 2020

Bracket Breakdown: Schmoedown Innergeekdom Tournament 2020

The Star Wars tournament is underway on Twitch and in just a week’s time, the Innergeekdom tournament will also be underway. 18 players preparing to go on a (hopefully) long run to victory… all starting Monday 1ˢᵗ June (or Thursday 4ᵗʰ for the general public.

mts kevin smets innergeekdom beltAt the moment, it is not confirmed whether the winner of the tournament will earn a title shot (though with current Champion Kevin Smets and #1 Contenders Mara Knopic & Chandru Dhanadapani not involved, it would make sense), but with things tight at the top of the faction standings, this could be the moment for a faction to take control of the league, while someone struggling like KOrruption could suddenly find themselves back in contention.

I recently tried to predict how the Star Wars tournament would play out and was proved wrong straight away with Andres Cabrera’s play in match victory over Josh Quevedo, so now I’m hoping that I can go a little better.

MTS innergeekdom tournament bracket

Play in games

mts kate mulligan ben goddard grace hancockJim Vejvoda v Ben Goddard: Kate Mulligan’s call to give Saul the guaranteed place in the tournament may have backfired as Ben Goddard now finds himself in one of the play in matches, against Jim Vejvoda. This is an interesting call from Roxy Striar as Vejvoda’s IG knowledge has never really been seen in the Division, so he could be a dark horse, but this will be his first match competing on his own, going up against a student of the game who knows Middle Earth back to front and has frequently shown to have a good all-round knowledge. Right now, I see Goddard qualifying for the main tournament and furthering his campaign for Rookie of the Year.

Greg Alba v Warfather: With Mara Knopic currently deactivated, I was shocked that Coy Jandreau did not look to add at least one Innergeekdom specialist. This has led to him entering the Reel Rejects as his representatives for the tournament. Now Greg Elba Alba looks like he knows his stuff when it comes to IG categories, but there will be questions about his ability to get the deeper cuts that you expect in the division, while this will also be his first match outside the Teams Division. The Warfather, by comparison, comes with 2 matches to his name, both competing alone and one in the IG Division. As far as debuts go, the Warfather looked good, so I think that experience could give him a strategic advantage. As much as I hate to see Robert Meyer Burnett celebrating a victory, I have Warfather earning the final spot in the 16-man bracket.

Round 1

The Barbarian v Adam Hlavac: The Barbarian has been one of the most impressive rookies so far this season and is already looking an absolute steal as a 6ᵗʰ Round pick, with superb performances in his Singles debut and the Jurassic Park Exhibition leading to talk that he wants to be the first person to hold all 4 belts. He faces a tough opponent in the experienced Adam Hlavac, his confidence makes me feel that he is able to hang with even the best. Is Hlavac one of the best though? He may be one of the more seasoned Schmoedown Pros in the division and will make some categories look easy, but he has some gaps in his knowledge that he has so far failed to cover and I can see these leading to an early exit. I have The Barbarian advancing to the next round.

Jeannine “The Machine” v John Humphrey: This is an interesting match-up between 2 veterans of the league who are both going to be making their IG debut. I get the feeling that John Humphrey has good knowledge of the IG categories, but I do question his competitiveness, especially going up against Jeannine, who will be looking to get her career back on track after losing her last 3 Singles matches against tough opposition (Mike Kalinowski x2, Mark Reilly). I have The Machine pulling out an important win here.

mts paul oyama chance ellisonChance Ellison v Paul Oyama: The first 2 Schmoedown Pros promoted from the fan leagues will meet for the second time in the Schmoedown in what I predict could be one the closest matches in the round. Oyama got the win in Singles on the way to winning the title, and will now be making his Innergeekdom debut. Chance Ellison may be 0-1 in the division, but he put in a super-impressive performance in that loss and has the benefit of having 2-time Innergeekdom Champion Mike Kalinowski as his study partner. I’d have picked Oyama over a handful of other winners that I will be picking in this round, but in this match-up, I have to give Ellison the advantage.

Robert Parker v Ben Goddard: “The Bandit”‘s prize for winning his play-in match is to be thrown into “The Spider”‘s web. I like the look of Goddard and his performance in the Middle Earth Exhibition against Parker, Alex Damon and Kevin Smets left me confident that he has a good career ahead of him in the division. However, Parker showed in his debut that he is just on another level, not missing a single question, which will put Goddard under heavy pressure to keep up. I think Goddard can force his opponent to answer in Round 3, but I have Parker winning this one.

Brandon Hanna v Saul: The match that most of us are currently looking forward to, it was clear this would happen the moment Kate Mulligan included Saul in the tournament over Hanna. Fresh off a trade to The Burning Droogs, Hanna has been on a quest to become the most hated person in the league, taking shots at Mulligan, Call To Action and even the darling of the league Brett Sheridan. What do we know about Saul? Saul can cut a good promo, but he is untested at this level and is against an opponent keen to prove that he is “nothing more than a Collider Live phone call that got through the line one too many times.” I have Hanna making it clear to Kate that she made a big mistake leaving him out.

mts alex damon star wars beltAlex Damon v Jen Kempe: Jen Kempe finally gets the chance to make her official debut after a cameo at last year’s Free 4 All and it will be interesting to see how she gets on. I have heard those in the know hold her in high esteem from the fan leagues, but I always got the impression that she was more of a Singles threat than IG. Meanwhile, Alex Damon comes in 1-0 in the division and will have been training since Atlanta in preparation for his next match. We know he knows Star Wars, but he is also a big fan of Indiana Jones and showed in the recent exhibition that he can do well in Middle Earth. Expect the Force to be with Damon in this one.

Emily Rose Jacobson v Eric Zipper: I must admit that I was surprised to see Zipper picked up as The Dungeon’s 3ʳᵈ pick at the Draft (after 2 IG specialists) but his recent loss in Singles impressed me as I could see that he is putting in the effort to succeed and was clearly improving. Now moving back to IG but knowing the fans’ focus will be on other matches, this is a great chance for him to pull off an important victory for The Dungeon. Jacobson showed a big improvement between her first 2 IG matches but looked out of her depth in Atlanta. The virtual format may help her here, but she needs to be more accurate and play a more strategic game. I see Zipper making it to the next round.

Mike Kalinowski v Warfather: Warfather will be coming in with some momentum following a win over Greg Alba, but he will be facing a much harder test in Kalinowski. The former champion had a match to forget when he lost the title to Smets at Spectacular and was taking a break from the division, but the faction’s place in the standings has seen him return to his strongest division to pull KOrruption up the standings. Honestly, I can’t see anything but a Kalinowski win here.

Quarterfinals

mts tale of the tape craig gaynier the barbarian singlesThe Barbarian v Jeannine “The Machine”: This is not an easy pick right now with so little IG-related gametape on the pair, but I have to make a pick here. Jeannine will surely have been benefiting from The Usual Suspects’ close links to former Innergeekdom Champion Rachel Cushing, but The Barbarian‘s knowledge looks insane at this point and right now, I can’t look beyond him for a place in the semis.

Chance Ellison v Robert Parker: Chance Ellison continues to get screwed in brackets. He has lost the opening round of the last 2 Singles tournaments to Ethan Erwin and William Bibbiani, and now after one of the harder opening rounds in this tournament, comes up against Robert Parker. The pair come in with the backing of the best sparring partners in Mike Kalinowski and Kevin Smets to extend the Dungeon v KOrruption IG rivalry even further. Kalinowski has been impressed by Ellison’s knowledge and I think he can push Parker close, but I expect Parker to reach the final 4.

mts brandon hannaBrandon Hanna v Alex Damon: This is where we will see the level Alex Damon can reach in the Innergeekdom Division. Brandon Hanna enters the tournament the 6ᵗʰ most accurate all-time in the division (4ᵗʰ among active Schmoedown Pros), despite having a 2-2 record and I would say that he can beat anyone in the division on his day. Damon looks good but I’m not sure if he has quite the breadth of knowledge as Hanna right now, but if he can hit Star Wars in Round 2 and on his 5-pointer, it will give him a good shot. I think Damon will show that he can hang at this level and be competitive, but I have Hanna progressing.

Eric Zipper v Mike Kalinowski: The second match-up between The Dungeon and KOrruption in this round is one with a bit more history, following KOrruption humiliating him ahead of Kaiser picking him up last season. Zipper will be going into this match with no pressure on him as everyone will expect “The Killer” to win, which could play into his favour, but I think that Kalinowski will have enough to continue on in the tournament.

Semifinals

The Barbarian v Robert Parker: And so the left side of the bracket comes down to a battle between 2 likely contenders for Rookie of the Year. It’s always hard to call this so fa in advance with so little game-tape but I can see this going down to the 5-pointers and right now I need to give the benefit to the Schmoedown Pro I’ve seen more game-tape on: Robert Parker.

Brandon Hanna v Mike Kalinowski: Another match that could easily go either way, both Kalinowski and Hanna have the potential to go near-perfect but also have a bad day and struggle with their accuracy. Hanna will be keen to prove his quality with a win against a big name in the division, but I think he will have to wait for this as I see Kalinowski‘s experience earning him the win here.

Final

Robert Parker v Mike Kalinowski: And so my bracket comes down to the 2 faourites in the final. Mike Kalinowski played a key part in making the Innergeekdom Division what it is, while Parker is part of the new breed looking to take things to a new level. Now if this was a 3-round match, I think I would give Parker the advantage, but with this being a 5-rounder I think that Kalinowski could benefit from his experience of playing the format within the Schmoedown. Add to that, I recently heard Kalinowski talking about how he had changed his study techniques to bring them closer to when he was cutting a swathe through the division. When planning my bracket, I had Parker to win… but in the heat of the moment I’m switching to Kalinowski.

 

So that’s what my bracket looks like, what about yours?

Pick a Squad: 2019/20 Scarlets

Pick a Squad: 2019/20 Scarlets

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, my need for rugby is still struggling to be met, despite recent stories surrounding player movements and Bill Beaumont’s re-election. As if I needed any further proof about how much my life revolves around rugby, I’ve noticed how my WhatsApp chats with one of my close friends Gez have gone from pretty much daily and going on for hours, to a couple of hours per week.

So in search of a reason to keep conversation going, it was time to look at another “Pick a Squad” (not the catchiest of names but I’ve been doing so many of these I needed to think of something!) and take a look at the team he supports: the Scarlets, who have also become my PRO14 team of choice over the last 10 years.

For this, we have looked at this season’s squads and each put together what we think would be our ideal 23-man matchday squads, assuming everyone was fully fit at the same time. I’ll be comparing mine and Gez’s picks (Spoiler: there is a lot of agreement, which is actually rare for us when it comes to Welsh rugby!) so Gez’s selections will be shown in brackets and red.

1: Rob Evans (Rob Evans):- There were 2 clear ways to go at loosehead, with Rob Evans and Wyn Jones both in or around the national team in recent years. Surprisingly, we both went for Evans as the starter and I imagine that a key reason for this is his carrying in the loose, which fits very well in an open attacking team like the Scarlets.

2: Ken Owens (Ken Owens):- Of course “The Sheriff” takes this spot! Owens is one of those players who leads by example and will do what is required of him by the team – I always remember when he had a stint at number 8 during an injury crisis a few seasons ago.

3: Samson Lee (Samson Lee):- He may have fallen out of favour with the national team, but Samson Lee is a unanimous vote here. The tighthead has impressive hands for a prop and car carry well into the defensive line to help the team get on the front foot.

4 & 5: Jake Ball & Sam Lousi (Jake Ball & Sam Lousi):- I get the feeling that Jake Ball was the nailed on pick for both of us here. Though he wouldn’t personally make my Welsh 23 (which may be something I look at if this lockdown continues much longer), he brings physicality to the pack and will carry and tackle hard. Though he needs to watch his discipline, Sam Lousi got the vote from both of us as he is a player who has played at a high level recently for the Hurricanes, while looking very good for Tonga in the Rugby World Cup. At 28, he is just entering his prime and once fully settled could become a key member of the pack.

6: Aaron Shingler (Aaron Shingler):- At times, there were thoughts that he wouldn’t be able to come back from a knee injury suffered in 2018’s PRO14 final, but he is back now and has fully earned his place in the 6 shirt. A dynamic blindside who is also a key operator at the lineout, he provides something different than most Home Nations 6s.

7: James Davies (James Davies):- A favourite of both of us, the fact that “Cubby” has just a handful of caps to his name shows just how deep Wales are at openside. Davies is a highly talented jackal but his key point is his ability to get around the park from his time playing on the World Sevens Series for Wales and in the Olympics for Team GB – I remember one match where he was moved from the pack to wing following a red card in the first half and covered the position better than many specialised wingers would have.

8: Blade Thomson (Blade Thomson):- I did wonder if Thomson’s versatility (he can cover lock, blindside and number 8) would count against him here, but the Scottish international gets the number 8 shirt by unanimous vote. Injuries may have hampered recent seasons, but the former New Zealand U20s and Maori All Blacks back row provides a physical challenge while also being able to open his stride in space to harm a defence. If he can get a period of clean health, fans will get a chance to see his true potential.

9: Gareth Davies (Gareth Davies):- The fact that Davies’ spot in the Wales 23 is now at risk just shows the quality of scrum halves Wayne Pivac has to pick from. Though I am not a fan of Davies in his more combative moments and think that his kicking game needs some work, he is a great attacking threat, but his true value comes in defence, where his tackle numbers are what you’d expect from a back row, while he positions himself and times his runs so well, he gets in his opposite number’s mind and is always good value to pick off a pass from the back of a ruck and take it back to the house.

10: Rhys Patchell (Rhys Patchell):- Another to have had his injury issues in recent years, Patchell is such a talented playmaker who will take the ball to the line to create a gap to put his runners through. A regular in recent Welsh squads when fit, it will be interesting to see where he fits in the national team’s pecking order once Gareth Anscombe returns from injury.

11: Steff Evans (Steff Evans):- He fell down the pecking order a few years ago but has done well to pull himself back up and ends up getting a starting spot in a very deep back 3. Evans is a great attacking talent with the footwork to beat some of the best defenders. At just 25, he still has time to work on the defensive side of his game to get back into international contention.

12: Hadleigh Parkes (Hadleigh Parkes):- Let’s be honest, there were never going to be any surprises in the midfield as things stand, though things could get interesting soon with rumours of a move to Japan. Parkes has not had the best of seasons and the enforced break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is probably what he needed, as he has been one of Wales and the Scarlets’ best players in recent years. Parkes is a strong and willing carrier but the key point here is his defence, where he makes a solid midfield pairing with…

13: Jonathan Davies (Jonathan Davies):- One of the best 13s in World Rugby when fully fit, “Fox” brings solid defence and skilful attack to the midfield, while he also has a cultured left boot to help in the territory game. One of the easiest picks to make.

14: Johnny McNicholl (Johnny McNicholl):- One of the key players for the Scarlets in recent years, McNicholl is a fantastic attacking talent either at wing of fullback. He hasn’t had the best of starts for Wales since becoming eligible, but I think it’s just a matter of time before he begins to shine there too.

15: Liam Williams (Liam Williams):- The lockdown may mean that he hasn’t played for the Scarlets since re-signing as the first stage of Saracens attempts to stop cheating their way to victory, but he is contracted to the region and therefore eligible for selection, taking the 15 shirt ahead of Leigh Halfpenny. Like with Gareth Davies, I’m not the biggest fan of the way he comes across on the pitch, but he is an undeniable talent and a great player for the Scarlets to get back on their books despite already having options in the back 3.

 

16: Ryan Elias (Ryan Elias):- If Elias is getting selected by the national team despite being the understudy at regional level, it shows just how much talent he has. Owens and Elias very much pick themselves in this squad, and it will be interesting to see how long he is willing to remain second fiddle to his captain.

17 & 18: Wyn Jones & Werner Kruger (Dylan Evans & Wyn Jones):- Having just missed out on a stating spot, Jones clearly secures a spot on the bench, bringing international quality to the pitch as the opposition front row begins to tire. One extra benefit of Jones is his ability to play both sides of the scrum, which has led to our first difference in selection as Gez and I pick our other replacement prop. I have chosen to keep Jones on his preferred side of the scrum and partner him with South African tighthead Werner Kruger, who has been a regular for the Scarlets and the Bulls before that, while Gez has preferred to go with experienced loosehead Dylan Evans.

19: Tevita Ratuva (Lewis Rawlings):- Gez and I have gone different routes for the replacement lock position. I have favoured the youthful promise and natural talent of Fijian Ratuva, who has just turned 25, while Gez has gone for the more experienced Rawlings, who also provides some cover at blindside.

20: Uzair Cassiem (Josh Macleod):- I’m not to surprise to see us differ with this pick due to the quality of options available – even I was struggling between 3 picks until the moment I had to finalise my picks. Dan Davis is a talent I really rate, but at 21 he is the future and just misses out. Josh Macleod is a great young pick and I expect to see him fighting for a starting spot over the next couple of years, so I can understand why Gez picked him. I have instead gone for Cassiem, as he is a more experienced option while I also feel that he provides a bit more versatility than the other options (including number 8), increasing the tactical flexibility of the squad.

21: Kieran Hardy (Kieran Hardy):- Hardy has looked a phenomenal talent in the matches that I have seen and showed his quality by making experienced scum half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne surplus to requirements. Having the benefit of being able to learn from Gareth Davies and then take the reins during international windows is giving Hardy the perfect chance to succeed and I look forward to seeing how he progresses over the coming seasons.

22: Angus O’Brien (Angus O’Brien):- Dan Jones on form is a quality player but you can’t always guarantee that he’ll be at that level. O’Brien gets the nod from both of us here due to a greater consistency, while he is also able to cover 15, giving extra tactical flexibility.

23: Kieron Fonotia (Leigh Halfpenny):- And finally we reach the position that actually caused the most debate between Gez and I. Gez has understandably gone for Halfpenny due to his years of top level experience and the amount of money going onto his contract. While Halfpenny is a great pick, I felt that he was somewhat redundant technically due to Liam Williams being able to move to the wing and Angus O’Brien covering 15 (while Halfpenny would not be able to take the 22 shirt due to not being a legitimate option at 10), so I have instead looked to provide cover for the midfield in Fonotia, who provides a great experienced option off the bench or if one of the starting centres is unavailable.

 

Who would make your 23?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

The Gloucester Rugby XV of my Life

The Gloucester Rugby XV of my Life

Anyone else missing rugby during this pandemic? Yeah, me too!

As you may have seen with my regular posts, I have been keeping my rugby brain working during this lockdown by creating XVs or matchday 23s. Recently I selected my Gloucester 23 for this season, but as I was doing so, I found myself going down memory lane and thinking of some of the brilliant players that have featured for the cherry and whites through the years… and so that is what I am looking at today.

For this, I will be selecting a Gloucester Rugby XV of my favourite players to have represented my beloved Gloucester Rugby since I took an interest. I got into rugby when I went to secondary school, which was just in time for the success of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph and Gloucester’s 2003 Powergen Cup win and loss in the Premiership final. What I have also done is made the decision to pick my favourite players rather than the players I think are the best (although some will be the same!) as the game has changed so much over the years, making it difficult to give a true comparison.

For this article, I also reached out to my friend and occasional contributor Phil for his list, to see the similarities. As we go through, Phil’s selections will be bracketed and in red.

1: Nick Wood (Nick Wood):- This was not an easy pick at all. For ages, I was thinking to the formidable Gloucester pack of my early years and trying to pick between World Cup winner Trevor Woodman and Argentine hero Rodrigo Roncero. Then, a couple of clips on YouTube reminded me of Nick Wood. “The Commander” was an underrated player and a great operator at the scrum. Since retiring, he has gone on to become a referee – how great must it be to a have a ref who knows exactly what is going on in a scrum?!

2: Richard Hibbard (Olivier Azam):- There were 2 clear standouts at hooker and it appears Phil and I were split as to who came top. Ollie Azam was a part of those legendary Gloucester packs and I always remember my cousin once saying that you could tell were he was on the pitch by seeing the opposition players being thrown into the air. Hibbs got my vote here though (potentially in part a recency bias) as he always looked to give 110% on the pitch and always enjoyed the sight of him in either attack or defence looking like a little cherry and white cannonball with flowing blonde locks.

3: Phil Vickey (Phil Vickery):- John Afoa was under consideration here, but recency bias wasn’t enough this time as he lost out to Phil Vickery. The Gloucester and England captain and World Cup winner certainly earned the nickname “The Raging Bull” with his physicality and was a fantastic player whose career was unfortunately hampered by injuries, which eventually led to his release in 2006.

4 & 5: Alex Brown & Jeremy Thrush (Alex Brown & Marco Bortolami):- This was not easy to pick at all and the fact that I probably missed names even in my honourable mentions (Bortolami, Ed Slater, Franco Mostert, Jim Hamilton and Tom Savage) shows just how great our options have been at lock. Bortolami was such a big name for club and country and at the time one of the best locks in the world, but I went for a much more recent (though not as long-serving) player in Jeremy Thrush, who brought his All Blacks quality to a team severely lacking in the pack at the time. Both of us were set on Alex Brown, though, in no small part due to his consistency (a record 87 consecutive starts, despite a series of injuries through his career) and his mastery of the lineout. Though injury forced him to retire in 2012, he continues to work at Gloucester Rugby to this day.

6: Jake Polledri (Jake Polledri):- That both of us picked a young flanker who only came into the squad in the last couple of seasons and probably hasn’t reached his peak yet shows just how highly we rate Jake Polledri. The Italian back rower is a fantastic talent, with the pace to cause trouble in open space, but the power to make ground almost every time he gets the ball. I can see him going on to be one of Italy’s superstars.

7: Akapusi Qera (Akapusi Qera):- The fact that we both picked Akapusi Qera over one-club man Andy Hazell shows just how highly we regard the Fijian. Q was a fantastic back rower for Gloucester and England, combining FIjian flair, physicality and breakdown nous to create one hell of a player. Though he left Gloucester in 2014, he is back as part of the Glaws family as he currently plays for Hartpury College.

8: James Forrester (Luke Narraway):- Luke Narraway was a fantastic player and a great servant to Gloucester Rugby, but my mind could not pass beyond a player who could have gone on to be a superstar were it not for injuries: James Forrester. Forrester had the blend of pace and power and also the ability to produce at the lineout, but his career was cut short by a knee injury aged 27. Despite this, he was a key part of Gloucester’s success in the early 2000s and scored the winning try in extra time of the 2006 European Challenge Cup Final, getting on the end of his own grubber kick through.

9: Dan Robson (Andy Gomarsall):- There have been so many quality 9s at Gloucester even just in the time that I have been watching rugby (Jimmy Cowan, Greig Laidlaw, Rory Lawson, Willi Heinz to name just a few) while I also just missed Dmitri Yachvili’s time at Kingsholm. World Cup winner Gomars quickly became one of my favourite players in my early days and the story of his career post-Gloucester that saw him go from struggling to find a club to being England’s starting scrum half in the 2007 Rugby World Cup is a great tale of not giving up. Having said all that, I was shocked to not find myself picking him, but I instead saw him just beaten out by Dan Robson. Robson was a fantastic player for Gloucester (and has remained so for Wasps) but I always felt that he never got his fair shot at the starting spot with a litany of star names being brought in ahead of him, and it was this defence of him during those seasons that came to mind first when picking my scrum half.

10: Danny Cipriani (Danny Cipriani):- Considering the amount of quality fly halves Gloucester have had since I became a fan (including Ludovic Mercier, the Burns brothers, James Hook and Nicky Robinson), the fact that Danny Cipriani was a unanimous pick says a lot about him. He is one of the most talented players I have ever seen and his golden wrists were key to Gloucester’s success last season. But what has elevated Cips even further is his openness regarding mental health and his #BeKind campaign this year – he’s made mistakes in his life but he is becoming a real role model and I would love him to see out his career at Kingsholm.

11: Jonny May (Lesley Vainikolo):- Big Les was a fantastic attacking player when on form and had an impact similar to that of Taqele Naiyaravoro currently at Northampton. Ollie Thorley has the potential to take this spot if he stays at Kingsholm long-term, but my current pick is Jonny May, who I am thrilled to see returning to the club next season. May is pure pace and I always loved seeing his meandering runs that would result in him finding and exploiting a gap by turning on the afterburners. His try for England against New Zealand will live long in the memory.

12: Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu (Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu):- I was very close to selecting Mark Atkinson, who I believe to be highly underrated, but in the end I found myself agreeing with Phil’s pick of Fuimaono-Sapolu. The Samoan may be a controversial figure, but there were 2 big moments that stuck in my mind making this selection: his intercept try in the dying seconds to salvage a 41-41 draw at Welford Road in 2011 and the craziest of one-handed dummies against Newport.

13: Terry Fanolua (Terry Fanolua):- Had injuries not ruined so much of his career, Henry Trinder had the potential to compete at this spot, but right now it was an easy choice. One of the first overseas players in the Premiership, I still remember to this day hearing the Shed chanting his name. Fanolua was a key player in the successful Gloucester squads of the early 2000s and at the time he left the club, he had more Premiership appearances and tries than any other player in cherry and white.

14: James Simpson-Daniel (James Simpson-Daniel):- Of course this was a unanimous pick! Charlie Sharples deserves a mention and Louis Rees-Zammit has the potential to fight for a spot in the XV in the future, but it would be at the expense of Jonny May, such is the level Sinbad is on! Ask a Gloucester rugby fan who should have received more caps, I doubt many would say someone other than him, such was his quality, but his career was heavily impacted by injuries. As well as scoring a wonderful try for England against the Baabaas that saw him round Jonah Lomu, he also played a key part in one of the greatest tries in Gloucester Rugby history – turning Lawrence Dallaglio inside out right in front of the Shed before feeding James Bailey for the try. He is without a doubt my favourite player in all of rugby.

rugby thinus delport15: Thinus Delport (Tom Marshall):- Very interesting selections here and it’s certainly one I look forward to discussing with Phil much more over a pint when the lockdown is over. Marshall is a fantastic all-round player but never really came into serious contention for me. Jason Woodward is a player I could watch with ball in hand all day, while Olly Morgan is the James Forrester of the backs, but Thinus Delport gets the nod for me. Perhaps a big part of it is the memories of him as the starting 15 during my early years as a fan as Gloucester fund success, but I think a big part of it is remembering my cousin having a massive crush on him. I finally managed to help her get a picture with him a few years back and was immediately cropped out of the image – that’s gratitude for you!

 

Who would make your list?

Until next time!

Premiership Rugby 2019/20: 6 to Watch

Premiership Rugby 2019/20: 6 to Watch

While the World Cup is in full flow, fans will be starting to split their focus over multiple competitions as the Premiership begins shortly. The Premiership Rugby Cup is well underway and we have started to get an early idea of how teams may look this season, but this is something at we will not know for certain until the league begins.

As I have done the last couple of years, I have taken a look at the players new to their teams this summer and tried to narrow everything down to 6 players to watch this season. Like with my recent look at the Pro14, I have chosen to limit myself to a maximum of 1 player per club. With a number of players set to arrive after the World Cup, the quality of player coming into the league this season is incredible (before we even begin to look at players moving from other Premiership clubs), so much so that some high quality players like Elliot Daly made the shortlist but found themselves cut when picking my final 6!

Who are you excited to see with a new club this season?

Dave Attwood (Bath – Bristol)

Starting this list off in the pack and to me, Dave Attwood has been the best second row on Bath’s books in recent seasons but has never seemed to get the minutes he deserved since returning from injury, despite an impressive loan spell at Toulon. Now moving to Bristol, he will be looking to form a top-quality partnership with Chris Vui. Attwood is a great all-rounder, dangerous when given too much space but also a highly physical player that will cause you problems at the ruck and maul, while his experience will be invaluable for a team hoping to make it into the Champions Cup.

Stuart Hogg (Glasgow – Exeter)

One of the best 15s in the world is on his way to Sandy Park. Exeter are often talked about as a “boring” team who just pick and go through their forwards repeatedly, but they are so much more than that and a joy to watch attacking. While fans will likely still miss Santiago Cordero, Hogg brings his own great attacking talent, while his style of play will also help control the game as he can come into the line to cause mayhem or work as a second fly half. Add in his monster boot and opponents won’t want to give away a penalty anywhere near their own half.

Dan du Preez (Sharks – Sale)

From one set of Sharks to another, Dan du Preez was initially coming on loan but has now signed perfectly alongside older brother Robert and twin Jean-Luc. Able to cover lock or the back row, Du Preez was a star for the Sharks in this year’s Super Rugby, scoring 7 tries (joint 2nd among forwards, level with Kwagga Smith and behind Folau Fainga’a) and coming 1st among forwards for carries (168) and 3rd among forwards for metres made. With the Du Preez and Curry twins, Jono Ross and Mark Wilson all fighting for 3 starting spots, Sale may have just got themselves one of the strongest back rows in the league.

Matteo Minozzi (Zebre – Wasps)

One of the starts of the Italy squad, Minozzi made my Six Nations Team of the Tournament in 2018 but missed this season’s tournament through injury. At just 23 years old, he is still to reach his prime, but has shown himself to be able to consistently find the try line, which will be helped even more by an increase in the quality of the players around him.

Paddy Jackson (Perpignan – London Irish)

Perhaps the most controversial signing of recent years, I’m not going to get into my thoughts on the morals of signing Jackson but instead look from the rugby perspective. With a raft of internationals arriving (including Allan Dell, Sekope Kepu, Sean O’Brien, Nick Phipps and Waisake Naholo), it looks like Irish are trying to emulate Bristol last season by not just avoiding relegation, but pushing for a Champions Cup position and potentially even a playoff spot. One thing that will be crucial to success is a top quality fly half and Jackson is certainly that. Before off-field issues brought an end to his Ireland career, Jackson was looking to be a high-quality backup for Johnny Sexton and while he didn’t get the chance to shine in the Top 14 for a Perpignan team that were relegated, he will be hoping to show his quality in one of the strongest leagues in the world.

Melani Nanai (Blues – Worcester)

Fans who don’t follow Super Rugby may not be familiar with Melani Nanai, so let me give you some figures. Despite playing for the Blues (5th in New Zealand Conference, 13th overall in 2019), Nanai finished the season with 178 carries (5th), 60 defenders beaten (5th), 1204 metres carried (1st) and 22 offloads (5th). Assuming he can quickly adapt to the change of scenery, if Worcester can get him the ball with a decent amount of space, he is going to be a thrill to watch in the league and potentially one of the signings of the season!


I will be running a fantasy rugby league for the Premiership on The Rugby Magazine, and you are all welcome to join! You can find the league here and using the unique token 429eb544c2c9

KNOCKOUT KINGS: The Unlikely History of Critically Acclaimed!

KNOCKOUT KINGS: The Unlikely History of Critically Acclaimed!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 12/2/2019


The Shirewolves’ next opponents have been found: Critically Acclaimed! The dashing pair of William “The Beast” Bibbiani and Witney “The Beauty” Seibold just took down the second place finalists of the Anarchy tournament, The Harris Brothers, to set up a title match with Clarke Wolfe and Rachel Cushing.

Newer viewers of the Schmoedown can be forgiven for not knowing who this team is, since this was their first match together since June 2018! So it’s time to take a trip back through the history of the Schmoedown, with a story that begins way back in late 2016…

Faction Wars

William Bibbiani announced himself on the Schmoedown scene towards the end of Season 3 with a match against fellow debutant Marc Andreyko. In a fantastic show of movie trivia knowledge, Bibbiani managed a to answer all of his questions correct on his way to a victory over “The Android,” breaking the points record for the Singles Division in the process. Following the match, John Rocha invited him to become the 3rd member of his faction, with Robert Meyer Burnett joining a just few weeks later to complete the Four Horsemen.

His time in the Horsemen was not a good one though. While he beat Eliot Dewberry via TKO, he opened Season 4 with a loss to JTE (who had not won a Singles match since Season 1) and he also fell to Kristian Harloff during the Chairman’s revenge tour. Meanwhile, his relationship with John Rocha soured. As the months went on, Bibbiani had his head turned by Ricky Hayberg and famously left the Four Horsemen at Collision, announcing that he was creating a new faction with Ricky – The Growling Commandos – and bringing in his podcast co-host Witney Seibold to become his new teammate, thus creating the team of Critically Acclaimed.

The Debut

Announcing that “We’re smarter than you!”, Critically Acclaimed moved quickly to prove it. Their first match was against Only Stupid Answers, and Round 1 saw them take a monumental lead with Bibbiani going 7/8 and Seibold getting a perfect round on his debut in the league, and hitting his bonus question. While Only Stupid Answers pulled it back slightly in Round 2, they were only able to hit their 2-point question in Round 3, handing Bibbiani and Seibold a 23-19 TKO victory.

Bracket Busters

Critically Acclaimed’s next match came in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown against fans and reactors Late To The Party, who entered into the match with 0-1 record, following a loss to Team Action. This match saw Critically Acclaimed have their worst Round 1 performance as a team to date, finishing 10-7 up. Late To The Party got maximum points in Round 2 with a spin of Comedies, but on their spin of Hitchcock, Critically Acclaimed could only manage 8 points, while their opponents also managed to steal a point. Round 3 was a close affair but Late To The Party held on, winning by one point. It was the 2017 Upset of the Year, and it broke fans’ brackets around the world.

Back with a Vengeance

Bibbs and Witney returned in Season 5 with a match against Superhero News, with Hayberg quitting as their manager in the middle of the opening promo. Critically Acclaimed came out of Round 1 with a lead of 3 points, which had doubled by the end of Round 2. This lead proved unassailable as Superhero News could only answer their 2-pointer, resulting in a 25-21 TKO victory. They looked to quickly back this up with a match against M.O.D.O.K. and although both teams had identical entrances, their performances were vastly different, with Modok falling 4 points behind in Round 1. They pulled back 2 points in Round 2, but were unable to answer any of their questions in Round 3, giving Critically Acclaimed their second consecutive TKO victory, this time by a score of 19-17.

An Enforced Split

Critically Acclaimed were on a roll and looked set for a Number 1 Contender match in the near future, until it was announced that teams would be split up as part of the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy tournament. Bibbiani was given a new Anarchy partner in Matt Knost and under the management of Emma Fyffe they went 1-1 in the tournament as the Cinemaniacs, losing to eventual tournament winners Who’s The Boss. Witney was paired with Mark Edward Heuck as The Self-Righteous Brothers, with Jonny Loquasto managing. They lost to Take The Cannoli in the opening round, but the 35-31 score had Critically Acclaimed fans worried that Witney would chose to stick with his new partner.

While their new teams had limited success, Bibbiani also used this period to cash in his Free 4 All MVP award for a Number 1 contender match with former teams champion Jeff Sneider. He KO’d “The Insneider” and defeated Marc Andreyko to win the Singles title that had been vacated by Samm Levine’s retirement, although Bibbs lost the belt to his old rival John Rocha two months later.

Contenders

And so that brings us to 2019. Season 6’s first match in the Teams Division was a Number 1 Contender Match between Critically Acclaimed and The Harris Brothers. Though Lon Harris managed a perfect Round 1 and the bonus question, the score going into Round 2 was still tied at 12-12. Bibbs and Witney opened up a 4 point lead in Round 2 and when it came to Round 3, The Harris Brothers went 0/3 to give Critically Acclaimed the 24-20 TKO victory and setting up a Championship Match with the Shirewolves in March.

The Future of Critically Acclaimed

Who will win the Championship Match? The Shirewolves will likely be the favourites as they have the 5-0 record and the extra title match experience, but Critically Acclaimed are not to be underestimated. Though Witney is the only one to have managed a perfect Round 1 in this team, both he and Bibbs managed the feat during the Anarchy tournament.

Critically Acclaimed’s 4-1 record is also better than all current teams bar the Shirewolves and Who’s The Boss (4-1), but Bibbs and Whitney’s haul of 4 KOs/TKOs beats Who’s The Boss’ 1KO and the Shirewolves’ 2KOs.

One thing you can almost guarantee though: these are two of the premier teams when it comes to entrances, so we will probably get as much excitement from the entrances as we will from the match itself!

Beyond that, I’m sure Bibbs while be looking to get back in the hunt for the Singles Title, having not been involved in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament, while Witney will be making his long-awaited Singles debut against David Del Rio on February 22nd!

Best of luck and a hearty “Growl Growl” to both of them!

RWC2019: Players to Watch – Pool D

RWC2019: Players to Watch – Pool D

We are just days away from the start of the Rugby World Cup and we now know the players who will be on show. With the 31-man squads finalised, it’s time to start taking a look at the squads and looking at who will stand out during this tournament. In 2015, Nehe Milner-Skudder made his all Blacks debut in August, before going on to be a star of the tournament and make the tournament dream team, along with Japanese fullback Ayumu Goromaru, who definitely wasn’t known to the masses before the tournament.

With so many people who aren’t die-hard rugby fans set to watch the tournament, or many whose knowledge is maybe limited to their own nation’s players, I decided to do something similar to my Players to Watch in the Six Nations article, and expand that to each team of the World Cup. While I try to watch as much rugby as I can around the world, you’ll see that even I have blank spots as I select some players that may be bigger names in their teams, but they still may be lesser-known names to the wider public.


Journey to RWC2019 series:


Who are you looking out for during the tournament? And so we make it to Pool D:

Australia

Samu Kerevi may have 20+ caps to his name already, but I would argue that he has never really made a name for himself until this season. Though the Reds failed to make the playoffs this season, Kerevi finished in the top 10 for carries (220 – 1st), clean breaks (26 – 5th), defenders beaten (71 – 2nd) and offloads (26 – 2nd). He has carried that form into the Rugby Championship and has surely secured himself a spot in the Wallabies midfield.

Wales

The Wales squad has been relatively settled in recent years, allowing all the players to establish themselves, but for this I have gone for Josh Navidi. Having competed for minutes with Martyn Williams and Sam Warburton, he is a great openside flanker, who is at home anywhere in the back row – giving Warren Gatland more options with Taulupe Faletau out injured. Dangerous at the breakdown, he is also well accomplished at holding a player up to turn the ball over with a maul and his skills with ball in hand are massively underrated.

Georgia

Vasil Lobzhanidze was going to be my pick here, until I got the chance to watch Georgia’s warm-up matches against Scotland. While watching this, fly half Tedo Abzhandadze caught my eye and I was shocked to find that he was already a regular starter for the senior side despite being just 20 years old. Captain of the Georgian U20s team that beat Scotland and Fiji in the most recent World Rugby U20s Championship, the young 10 showed his range of skills at Murrayfield and controlled the game well. Now the question will be how he holds up in a major senior international tournament.

Fiji

I was going to write about rugby league convert Semi Radradra initially, but when push came to shove I couldn’t ignore Viliame Mata. The Edinburgh number 8 was named Players’ Player of the Year at the end of season Pro14 awards. Part of the Fiji 7s squad that won Gold at Rio 2016, he is an incredible danger in the loose with his strong running and ridiculous offloads. The thought of him, Semi Kunatani and Leone Nakarawa in the pack together is mouth-watering!

Uruguay

Probably one of the hardest to pick due to my own unfamiliarity with the Uruguayans. While I was tempted to go for Gastón Mieres, one of the Uruguayans making a name for themselves in Major League Rugby, I found myself instead picking Felipe Berchesi. Playing for Dax, who were just relegated from Pro D2, he is used to a decent level of rugby, while he has over 30 caps for Uruguay including 3 starts at RWC2015 and also featured at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.


I’m running a fantasy rugby league for the World Cup on the Rugby Magazine website, and you are all invited to join! Simply follow this link and use the Unique Token: b6c1e40d48e6

Will you be picking any of these players in your squad?

My Sporting Preferences

My Sporting Preferences

Hi guys! Something a little different today as I realised that I’ve been writing on here for almost 3 years now (time flies!) and alluding to some of the teams I support but not actually really talked about the sport I like to watch and who I support in them, so I thought today it would be a great chance to get to know me a bit better.

Rugby Union

Rugby Union is unsurprisingly my favourite sport, both the 15 and 7-a-side variations of the game. I got into rugby when I started going to secondary school and quickly fell in love with the sport. Over the years I’ve played for my school, grassroots club (shout out to Longlevens RFC!) and also started my own social 7s team in my last year of uni, and played a number of positions: all the front row, lock, blindside flanker and one match I will never forget against our local rivals where I played at outside centre!

featrugby gloucester sale 4Being a Gloucester boy born and raised, there was only 1 club I was ever going to be following once I was into the sport and that is the Cherry & Whites – Gloucester Rugby – and by extension, Hartpury RFC and Gloucester-Hartpury Women.

I have started watching a lot more rugby around the world in recent years though and the Scarlets have beat out Munster become my second team, courtesy of one of my best mates being a Scarlets fan and their attacking mentality making me always want to watch their games . I’m also really excited by the growth of rugby in the USA, so I consider the Eagles my second international team (after England) and I have tried to pay attention to the MLR – I put my support behind the Seattle Seawolves last season but with the league still expanding and new teams forming I would not say that I have adopted them as my American team. I’ve also tried to pay more attention to Super Rugby in the last few years but would not say that I have adopted a team, although I found myself firmly behind the Western Force when they were put at risk of being axed.

Football

As with (I’d assume) most English kids, football was my initial sport. Just having a kick-around on lunchtimes of after school and with highlights of the Premier League still available on terrestrial TV, it is something that is relatively easy to follow.

football shirt chicharitoAs for my favourite team, I have to admit that I’m a fan of Manchester United. *Runs for cover* Granted, I’ve never been to Manchester, but my support from United came from a number of my closest friends at school being United fans, so I found that we would talk about them more and I found myself paying more attention to their matches. I do also have a soft spot for Cheltenham Town, my local team in the football leagues. As for internationals, I am an England supporter, but I have found in recent years a bit of an apathy towards internationals and I have rarely watched outside of the Euros and World Cups.

American Football

me12189588_10153126166241332_5035862288422859710_nI’ve got family in America and went to visit them a couple of times as a kid, so vaguely remember watching some NFL games on TV when I was out there, but not really understanding what was going on. Then during secondary school one of my friends let me borrow Madden 04 and in learning to play the game, I fell in love with the sport. This love continued as I went to university and started watching games more often and making friends with a number of the uni’s American football team.

From those times I used to go to America, I remember us rushing home one day to watch the Tennessee Titans play back in the days where the late Steve McNair was at QB, so once I finally got into the sport they were always going to be the team I picked. Ironically, when I next went to see my family in the USA, it turned out that they are Cowboys fans and hate the Titans… oops! Too late!

cyc20180730_193504Road Cycling

I’m not even sure how, but I’ve really started enjoying watching the Grand Tours in recent years and also by extension some of the other televised races like the Tour of Britain and the Critérium du Dauphiné. It is a great example of teamwork seeing the domestiques working on behalf of their leaders and then the combination of tactical nous and sheer determination among the lead riders to race each other up climbs that make me shudder just watching on TV. Team Sky are my team and I really love a number of their riders including 2018’s Grand Tour winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, while I also really enjoy the Yates brothers and Mark Cavendish – so 2018 was a pretty good year for me!

Rugby League

I just love rugby in general! While I prefer union, I do also enjoy watching rugby league as it is generally a more fast-paced game than union. I really got into watching the Super League a few years back but I’m so busy these days I struggle to find the time to watch anything beyond the England matches and the odd big club game. For this reason I wouldn’t say I fully support a team, but I would say I have a soft spot for Canadian team Toronto Wolfpack, who were founded around the same time I started paying more attention to the sport.

Formula 1

I used to watch Formula 1 religiously when it was on terrestrial TV and I didn’t have such good access to pay-TV sports channels, but these days with the way the sport has come to rely on tyre degradation and pit strategies in order to win, I’ve largely gone off the sport – though I will still watch on occasion. Back from his early days at Mclaren, I’ve been a big fan of Kimi Räikkönen, while I also cheered for Jenson Button when he was in the sport and have found myself supporting Fernando Alonso for a number of years as he has tried to do his best in cars that are nowhere near the quality he deserves.

Cricket

For years I had no interest in cricket whatsoever, however I have found myself paying a bit more attention to the shorter forms like one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches. I will say thought that I have no real interest in the game beyond England matches and would struggle to watch a Test match live for more than a couple of hours, though I would watch a condensed highlights show.

Tennis

Another sport that I find myself watching less now that I have access to extra sports channels. It’s rare for me to watch much beyond Wimbledon, and even then it has often just been Andy Murray or Laura Robson’s matches in recent years. Back in the day though, I was also a big fan of Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick and also found myself cheering for Maria Sharapova back when there were no highly rated Brits in the women’s events.

Snooker

Much like tennis, the amount of snooker I watch has dropped off drastically as my options have opened up. I think the BBC show “Big Break” went a long way to helping stoke an interest in the sport when I was a kid and I have been lucky enough to watch in the heyday of Ronnie O’Sullivan! If I’m at home writing, I may have it on in the background, but its very rare I find myself watching these days.

Baseball

Not something that I usually watch but I do enjoy going to a couple of matches when I’m in the US. Despite having been bought Yankees, Cardinals and Rangers branded goods over the year, there’s no Major League teams that I would say I pay attention to, however I do try to keep up with how the Memphis Redbirds are doing in the Minor Leagues.

 

and finally…

MTS Rocha v Reilly 3The Movie Trivia Schmoedown

I know what you’re probably saying: “How is movie trivia a sport?!”… But the Schmoedown has done a great job of making it one. Taking a movie trivia quiz and combining it with WWE-style entertainment has created a wonderful product that I have fallen in love with! The show has become such a big part of my life and I even write for their website (links to all my articles can be found here) and if you want to know a bit more about this, you can find a piece I wrote over a year ago here.

Movember 2018: Day 30

Movember 2018: Day 30

And so, we reach the end. The 30ᵗʰ and final day of November means the end of Movember for another year. It may have only been 30 days and at times that feels like nothing, but then other times it feels like so much longer.

Movember updates 2018:

As always, I have really enjoyed taking part. As someone who can grow a pretty decent amount of facial hair in a couple of weeks, I’m always excited to grow the Mo this month, even if it does mean going clean shaven at the start of the month and showing off the chins, which I hate doing!

46902093_724278121288492_5756995561085468672_n.jpgA massive thank you to my fellow Mo-Bros in the office – Gaz and Mike – and everybody who has once again supported me and donated. There is still time to donate to our office’s fundraising efforts for Soft UK, who support families affected by Edward’s syndrome. If anyone wants to donate, our office’s fundraising page can be found here. Any donations, big or small, will be greatly appreciated!

20181130_110130Also you may have noticed the colourful shirt in my latest picture, which is an OddBalls product. OddBalls are a clothing brand that specialises is funky patterned clothing. They initially started with boxers but have widened their range to a number of underwear styles, socks, sportswear, sunglasses, shirts, towels, hoodies, pyjamas and more. While the products are fun and comfortable, the reason that I mention them now is that the sale of these products covers the running costs of the OddBalls Foundation, which is a charity that hopes to make a difference to men’s health all around the world.

Interested in buying some of their products? I am a brand ambassador and as such have a code for 10% off all orders. So if you want to put in an order head to their website www.myoddballs.com and use the discount code TIMOTHYETHERIDGEBALLS and get a bit of money off some great products.

Now as we prepare to enter December, the fun begins of growing out the Mo back into the beard, as well as beginning to make plans for Movember 2019…

Until next time!

Movember 2018: Day 22

Movember 2018: Day 22

Hey guys! So it’s been a longer than planned but I’m back with a Movember update! We’re two thirds of the way through the month and that means there’s just over a week left to go of Movember.

Movember updates 2018:

Now part of the reason I have been doing less updates than I hoped is that I had some time off work at the start of the month to use up my holiday, so getting back into the swing of things with work, combined with watching a lot of rugby for my write-ups of the Autumn Internationals and working on some articles for the Schmoedown’s new website, has taken up a lot of my time!

The good thing about going back into work though was finding 2 of my colleagues were joining me for Movember this year. Now I would happily be the only one in the office doing it but having some fellow Mo-bros taking part – especially in these days when so many people are quite protective of their beards and don’t like going back to a naked chin – makes Movember so much more fun. So without further ado I give to you the Zurich trio taking part in Movember: myself, Mike and Gaz.

We are all raising funds as part of our office’s fundraising this year for Soft UK, who support families affected by Edward’s syndrome. If anyone wants to donate, our office’s fundraising page can be found here. Any donations, big or small, will be greatly appreciated!

Movember 2018: Day 8

Movember 2018: Day 8

Hi guys, so we’re just over a week into November and that means I’m far enough into Movember to be able to style the Mo.

Movember updates 2018:

mov20181108_105237Now some people may see growing the ‘tache for a month as a bit of fun, and admittedly it is, but there is a more serious side to this. According to Cancer Research UK:

  • There are around 2,300 new testicular cancer cases in the UK every year
  • In males in the UK, testicular cancer is the 17th most common cancer
  • There are around 60 testicular cancer deaths in the UK every year, that’s around 1 every week
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, all men with testicular cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with around 8 in 10 men when diagnosed at the latest stage

 

  • There are around 47,700 new prostate cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s around 130 every day
  • In males in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer
  • There are around 11,500 prostate cancer deaths in the UK every year, that’s 31 every day
  • Prostate cancer accounts for 13% of all cancer deaths in males in the UK
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, all men with prostate cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with less than a third of men when diagnosed at the latest stage

Also from a variety of mental health websites:

  • In 2013, 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older. Of these, 78% were male and 22% were female
  • 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
  • In a 2016 survey of 1,112 employed men conducted by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum
    • 34% would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for mental health concern such as anxiety or depression compared to 13% for a physical injury
    • 38% would be concerned that their employer would think badly of them if they took time off work for a mental health concern – compared to 26% for a physical injury

If these stats don’t show the importance of charities like the Movember Foundation, then I don’t know what will!

But this year I am raising money for Soft UK, so I also want to give you some stats about Edward’s Syndrome:

  • It occurs in about one out of every five-thousand births
  • Approximately 90-95% of children born with Edward’s Syndrome die prior to their first birthday
  • The average lifespan for half of the children born with Edward’s Syndrome is less than two months

If anyone wants to donate, our office’s fundraising page can be found here. Any donations, big or small, will be greatly appreciated!