Carnage IV: Shedweb v Cherrypickers, Its coming Holm

So I survived! And what a great day it was. I don’t think its really sunk in yet that I’ve played at kingsholm and it might be a while before it really does. But it certainly is a day I won’t forget anytime soon.

We lost the game not surprisingly 46  – 17 but everyone absolutely played their hearts out and ran themselves into the ground. I am so proud of the effort of all the lads and it really is a top, top team to be involved in.

The day started off with being treated to Gloucester v Sale, where sadly Gloucester lost, but it was fun to banter with the lads, who seemed relaxed before the game. Shortly before the end of the game we had to go and get ready. Soon it was time to wait and lead the team out. It was only then, that I got nervous. I don’t think I took in the run out, it was unreal to walk onto a pitch where so many of my heroes have played. It was just sheer noise, and I felt nervous as we warmed up before the game. Soon though it was time for the kick off.

The pace of the game was unreal and the intensity a step up from the last few years. The pitch was huge and we were being run ragged. But I thought we fronted up and held our own. It wasn’t long before the Pickers sneaked into the lead however the lads put their bodies on the line defensively and we held them and we had a great effort going forward. Eventually we broke and Andy Tee was able to cross the line and put us within 2 points.

Annoyingly in the build up to the try I presented the ball and my hand got stood on and soon ballooned in size, so I had to go off for a bit of treatment:

Luckily our top Phyiso Maria was able to strap it up and I got back on. During my time off the pickers cross again and we went into the second half losing but not by much. Half time we tried to focus and talk about how this was it and if we didn’t come off the pitch exhausted we didn’t deserve to be there. Everyone had been fronting up tackling giving it all they had and fully committed to the cause. It was hard to ask for much more.

The second half however the Cherrypickers went into another gear and were running some incredible lines, tackled like demons, and rucked us out the game. One maul they formed was unstoppable and they soon crossed. This was followed by some more quick fire scores. However we kept battling and Andy and our nine Danny Ryland were able to score and we kept battling, no one gave up and no one wanted to leave anything on the park.

Soon it was time for the last play, we went at it like mad desperate for one last score, but we just couldn’t get it. The Cherrypickers turned us over and broke, soon I was tracking across to try and tackle Martin Roberts, a centre v a prop it was a miss match and he turned me inside out, I tried everything to get near him but just couldn’t.

It will be my one regret of the day that I couldn’t stop him, Dale did brilliantly to track back and nearly stop him but it wasn’t enough, I had to keep going though just in case and busted my arse to get back but just couldn’t. The whistle went soon after and it was over.

It was a great great day and everyone went for it, no one could have put in anymore effort. A big thank you to Tony Robinson and Paul Routledge who stepped in at short notice to help with subs and played their arses off. No one had a bad game and everyone can hold their head high.

I’m so lucky to play with a great bunch of lads and feel blessed to call them all my mates.I felt I played ok I carried the ball a few times and ran as hard as I could, my tackling still needs work but carried into contact as well as I could. I still have a bit to learn as a captain but hopefully I will keep developing there.

For some reason Paul named me man of the match, I think this was because the other contenders weren’t there but I was honoured none the less, but it was definately undeserved. It did mean I had to wear a very stupid hat and as you can see Em was less than impressed.

It was a great night with a few too many beers, but it was nice to see so many friends and to cap off a day I will never forget. We have so far raised over a grand for the charity a great effort.

So today thankfully the swelling on my hand has gone down but it is still very sore and bruised.

Luckily it should clear up before next tuesday and the ride which is where my focus now turns. I’ve got a week to prepare and lots to do still. The nerves are now starting to kick in and I’m sure this will be a week of going through the emotions.

But thats for tomorrow, but for now and for a long time, I can reflect on an amazing achievement by me and a lot of top top guys who deserved the moment yesterday. I’m so proud of all of them and they are great great mates. I am so grateful to everyone who stayed and watched, and to Em who has put up with a lot over all of this who has cheered me on and been there the whole way with me.

So thank you shedweb lions, I love you all and phase one of my big month has been successfully completed thanks to you.




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When Saturday comes

So this saturday i’m playing at Kingsholm… i’m not sure i’ve mentioned that!

It’s something i’ve dreamed off for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid (oh ok then even sometimes i still do!) i dreamed of being brought off the bench to score the match winning try at Kingsholm in the last minute to beat Bath. As I jog back to the halfway line I’d bask in the adulation of the crowd as a new local hero was born. Now I’m under no illusions this was never going to happen. I’m simply not a talented enough rugby play to ever have fulfilled this dream. But that never stops me wishing i was. Now I have a career and i’d like to think i’m pretty good at what I do. But I don’t love it, Rugby has always been my biggest passion. I’d love to have been able to have done it as a career.

So saturday is such a gift, to get to grace a pitch i’ve looked at with envy always hoping for the opportunity to run out onto it. To lead a side in a game against some of my heroes is the icing on the cake. It’s as close as I will ever get to wearing a Gloucester shirt and representing my home town. I’m still not sure I really appreciate that its going to happen and I am waiting for a spanner to be thrown into the works, stopping it from happening.

So as each day ticks by it becomes more real to me.

The best of it all, is that all money raised will go to Winstons Wish, which is a charity very dear to me, as you all know. So I am running out with some mates, against my heroes, at a place i’ve dreamed of playing at, raising money for charity. Sometimes life can be awesome.

 

 

Update 09/04/12

So it’s been an eventful week or so. With the deadlines of everything fast approaching my free time is becoming less and less, its taken a bank holiday to find time to update the blog! So yes its all coming up scarily quick now and I’m working hard to make sure i’m in shape and ready and that everything is organised.

And wow did my blog yesterday touch a nerve! I asked some friends to share the blog and appealled for support and I certainly got it, in the last two days this blog has been viewed 329 times, which is staggering and I’ve had an amazing amount of money donated my way to the point that i’ve hit my initial fundraising target! This now puts added pressure on me to ensure that I put on some great events, and cycle my fat arse accross this great country. So with that in mind its time to get serious, get my head down and focus on training. But first lets get you all up to date:

The first thing i’ve done lately, is to ensure I maintain a serious and professional appearance at all times, so it was vital I got a new helmet, to go with that look:

I’m sure with this look everyone will take me very seriously….

Bike:

So not done a lot of fitness this week, as my bowels decided to put a stop to that. I had a real issue all week that finally went thursday but left me needing to rest up. Luckily I was able to do that and get out on the bike over the weekend. I rode to Glos on the sat and then back on the sunday. It was good to get out and do two days back to back and a much needed boost to the confidence as I felt good doing it. The late evening ride on the sunday, although windy was brilliant and a geat end to the weekend. I cannot stress how eager I am to get out on the bike now and earn all the support i’ve had.

Annoyingly I am working next saturday and out on the sunday so its getting hard to find time to get out on the bike before I go and I need to find time to get out on it. I’ve only got three weeks to go now and would feel better getting out as much as possible. Luckily with it being lighter in the evenings I can get out at night now so thats what i will have to do.

Rugby

So the Dowtys season has now come to an end, with a good win over Cheltenham Civil service. It has been a good season over all with a great ending and plans are afoot for the next one already, I can’t wait!

Two games left this year, luckily they are minor affairs…. one at Kingsholm the other 24 hours plus… so piece of piss really.

Two training sessions left now for the shedweb game, its flying up on us. I cannot wait for the game, and the lads are training hard so should be a belter.

Fundraising

Cycling:

http://www.justgiving.com/Russell-Brookes

current total: £3,610

100% reached.

Just wow, I cannot believe the support I have had, I am staggered. Yesterday I was a long way off the target, but thanks to a massive donation from someone I’ve hit the target. I’ve had some smaller, but by no means less significant donations that have helped rocket the total up. Every penny is a big help and I know the charity appreciate it so thank you to all who’ve given so far.

I have now set a larger target of £4,500 which would pretty much destroy me if we hit that, but now I’ve hit the initial target I need to push on all the more. I’d had a flat few days, with the bug, missing dad etc, but you lot really have lifted me.

Rugby:

http://www.justgiving.com/shedweb24hoursofrugby

Current total:

£940

31% of total reached

Again a great start and with more due to come in. We now have some sponsors who I will start to reveal as the money comes in.

We have now sorted the first aid, publicity will be starting soon and things are really taking shape.

The shirts are now finished:

We still have a few weeks to go and loads to do but its all getting there!

We have some sponsors taking shape as well now and i cannot believe how much we have accomplished.

So thats a snap shot of how things are shaping up.

Before I dash off, as I’ve so much to do, I just want to thank everyone for reading my blog, sharing links to it and for all the messages of support, i cannot explain how much it helps with the days of feeling a bit down or the tough days of climbing hills.

Big love,

Russ

What do you say dad…

Its all coming up so fast. I have less than three weeks till I cycle from Land’s End  to John O’Groats, 6 Weeks till I attempt to break a world record for rugby. I’ve so much to do in terms of the organisation as well as take part in the events myself. Not to mention that I am playing a rugby match at Kingsholm, against some of my heroes. Yes i am excited about all this, yes I am crapping my pants about all i’ve got to do for it, yes I’m worried about if we can do it all, yes i’m thinking i will give it my all and prove a lot of people wrong, and that i will show a lot of people they were right to put the support and belief they’ve placed in me. But most of all, today I am sad.

I am sad that I have to do all this in the first place, for, you see if my dad was still alive i would never have had to do any of it. The truth is, its hard to know how life would have been if he was here. I don’t think i’d have the same focus and chip on my shoulder that drives me on so much, but equally i’ d have my dad with me. If it wasn’t for my dad,  I’d not have a love, nor an obsession, with the sport of rugby or of the greatest team in the world; Gloucester. I loved going as a  kid. to start with I didn’t really understand the sport (i still don’t know all the laws!) but i didn’t care as I got to spend time with my dad. My brother didn’t always go, so it was time for me and my dad and i grew to love it, the atmosphere, the passion, the spectacle, the lot. I’ll never forget how much it meant to dad and its the same for me now. I can have a great weekend ruined by a Glos score, I know deep down its only a sport and it shouldn’t be like that, but I don’t care, i love it. I grew to love the players as a boy and to be playing them is going to be an honour.

But can I let you in on a secret, deep down I wish the game wasn’t going ahead. I wish I was in the stand watching my heroes, beer in hand, talking to my biggest hero, my dad watching someone else play them. It still makes me angry at times that he was taken from us so young, I never got to know him as a man, to share a beer, to argue, to get advice, to be driven mad by him. I had 11 years with him and i wish I’d treasured them more. I’d swap the bike ride, the game, all of it it for as many more as i can get.

But the reality is I cannot do that. The above is not to get sympathy, I am blessed really. I have an amazing family who support me and fight for me through everything. I have the best girlfriend anyone can ask for, who backs me 100% and puts up with my childish nature, nerdyness and sporting obsession. And I have the best group of friends, I could ask for, who have given up time and money to help me raise money. The fact that I get to play in the same side as them to raise money for the charity is an honour and a priviledge, i love them all for being prepared to destroy their bodies to achieve this.

What the above is, is a reminded of how lucky I am, that I had a charity like Winstons wish to support me, when I need help. At 11 how do you deal with the death of a parent, you can’t, not without help. I cannot imagine how it was for stu who was 9, or for people younger who have suffered.

So the reality is I have to do all of this, I will succeed, the Gremlins and self doubt can fuck right off, i’m bored of it now. But thats where all you lot come in. If all of this is to be a success it will be measured by what we do for Winstons Wish. That comes from raising awareness and as much money as possible.

So please if you are reading this, donate a quid, just a quid, hell more if you feel like it but whats a quid really? Then share the link. Please. The other week 49 people viewed this page, thats 49 quid and 49 shares of the page. It makes more of a difference than you imagine:

http://www.justgiving.com/Russell-Brookes

Trust me, its just as, if not more significant, that what i’m actually doing.

I’m no good with words, I’m no athlete, and I don’t have a lot of money to give. So I cannot help the charity in those ways. What I am, thanks to my mum and dad, is a stubborn, determined little shit, who doesn’t know when he’s beat. So I promise you i’ll cycle the length of the country and we will smash the world record for rugby. All I ask is you show your support so it means  something. I cannot thank you enough if you do.

So what do you say dad, shall we go out and do this? And i’ll look forward to coming out onto that pitch, knowing you’ll be somewhere with a beer waiting to take the piss when the pickers cut me in half. And you’ll toast me when i get to John O’Groats. And both times i’ll take time out to remember you, miss you and tell you I love you.

Update 18/03/12

Phew finally found 5 minutes to blog! Its been a manic week but a good one! As the Lejog start date creeps up i’m finding less and less time to, I don’t know have any kind of life! With work being mental as well, 24 hour match organisation and actually getting on with getting fit, i’m afraid the blog has got a bit neglected.

So i’m sorry about that and will try to do more to keep people updated with whats going on. But on the whole everything is going well, the to do lists are getting smaller and things are starting to take shape. I’ve still got some major stuff to sort but I am doing my best to crack on and get everything in place. The clock is ticking and i’m working like mad to get it all done but things are shaping up well.

So with all that said lets get down to updating you all!

Bike:

This week:  30.28 Miles

Total for 2012: 221.77 Miles

So I finally got out on my bike Saturday morning and a fun ride it was too! I went out on a ride that took in a lot of hills and i’m definately feeling in good shape, i’m not as knackered doing the ride as i have been in the past. This therefore motivates me to put more effort in and I wish I could find more time to get out on the bike. But this just makes me all the more eager to go out and enjoy the Lejog when it comes up. Next weekend i’m off to Dorset but thats not before I get out on the bike to do the same route saturday morning. It’s my last chance for a training run before the Bath 100 the following sunday.

I also now, thanks to a new phone, have a map my ride app, which is good at tracking my distances accurately, as well as the calories burned, so hopefully this will help develop my cycling.

Rugby:

So our last game was against the league leaders Cheltenham Saracens. Now I went into the game thinking it would be a good chance to lay down a marker but i didn’t think we’d lay it down as well as we did! We ran out 41 – 0 on a gorgeous day, with some great rugby played and it was a great day to have run out.

This week we have  a game against Widden but I will be missing it, as I’m off to sunny Dorset with Em, to catch up with the not-quite-In-laws. This has been beneficial in letting my wrist heal up a bit and focus on getting some prep work in for the bike ride.  Wednesday I will be back at shedweb training though and hopefully stepping up the intensity of it. Last week we did not have a good turn out but hopefully this week we should have a good showing, and begin trying to look like a proper side. With only 5 Training sessions left before the game, time is against us but I am confident we will be able to put on a good showing.

Fitness:

So the main event of the last week has been getting back to the gym. And thus far i’m enjoying it. Except the bike riding, god its dull in the gym! I need to do it as in the evenings its the only way I can chalk up some bike miles whilst it gets dark early. It just takes all the magic out of it, as you  stare at a wall and peddle. I can’t wait until the evenings stay light for longer so I can get out on the bike more.

That said, I’ve been to the gym for a week now, focusing on exercise designed to develop my core strength and tone up for the bike ride, and think i’m going to see the benefit from it. It should improve my recovery times and allow me to go harder for longer (oh er!)It also allows me to practice my SPM and try and maintain a pace between 70 and 90.

The other aim of the gym, is to lose another stone before the bike ride and so far i’ve been 4 times and lot 3 pounds, so hopefully i’ll tone up and not just drop weight. All my efforts in the next few weeks is focused on getting in as good a shape as possible for the bike ride.

Fundraising:

Shedweb:

£935

31% of target.

http://www.justgiving.com/shedweb24hoursofrugby

Bike ride:

£2.031 .50 58% of target.

http://www.justgiving.com/Russell-Brookes

So the fundraising continues to go well, and the to do list is going down.

The main thing over the next few weeks is to get as many volunteers as possible in place and then really start publicising the event. Hopefully we’ll be in really good shape by the end of next week.

Other:

  • Now in other news, and disturbingly i’ve started growing ear hair. Its not pleasant. Its made me think all the fitness stuff is pointless and I should embrace the pipe and slippers. I’m 30 I can’t have ear hair yet.
  • I hope my mum had a nice mothers day. I sent her some flowers and card. I wouldn’t say my mum is the best, as all kids think that. However mum did a great job in difficult circumstance with me and stu. Fathers day however is a day that truly sucks for me.
  • In all of this, i’ve been very busy and neglecting poor Em, who has been great and just grin and bares it (i think she enjoys me not being around secretly!) It makes me appreciate the time we do have together more.
  • Congratulations to Wales on their six nations win. I had fun spending the day in the pub with some good mates, bantering and enjoying the rugby.
  • Started watching game of thrones. Its amazing.
  • I hope Muamba makes a full recover, really puts sport into perspective.
  • This morning it was a struggle to get out of bed. Then I reminded myself that a month ago I’d have killed to be going to work and getting up. It suddenly didn’t seem like a hardship.

Right thats it for now, i’ll be back soon with more inane ramblings! TTFN!

“A champion is someone who gets up, even when he can’t.”

“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you ther

Update 01/03/12

Wow its blog time again! That’s come around fast! Lately it feels like I don’t have enough hours in the day and with February creeping by and March commencing in the next few days, everything is fast approaching! We have less than 8 weeks till the Cherrypickers game, 63 days till the LEJOG and 82 days to the 24 Hour rugby match!

Exactly how hard all of this is going to be and how much I have to do is starting to hit me now. I’m working hard to fit everything in and make sure it all gets done and we are starting to get progress on a number of things now. I’m looking forward to the bike ride, if only because I don’t have to stress. I can just worry about getting from point a to point b and not worry about all the behind the scenes stuff that is in need of getting done!

Anyway here’s what’s been going down…

Bike Ride:

So Saturday I went out and did a bike ride from Bristol – Gloucester and back again. It was a lush day and a thoroughly enjoyable ride.  I did 63.04 Miles in about 5 hours and 30 minutes, not including a rest stop at mums! I really enjoyed the challenge of it all and it was good to just get back out on the bike and eat up the miles. I was pretty tired by the end of it, but after a few months of not doing a long distance that was to be expected!

It was a nice long ride, in glorious sun, with a good mix of hills and flat roads, hopefully a good replica of the LEJOG ride and I now cannot wait to get out on the road. This weekend I am hoping I can get out and do a 30 mile or so bike ride.  I do miss getting out on the bike as much, but truth be told i’d rather be working than not!

I’ve also signed up for the Bath 100 on the 1st April now, I really hope that date is not a bad omen! Hopefully chuck in a couple more cycles to Glos and back and I should be in good stead for the LEJOG ride.

Rugby:

Training has been going well of late. Dowty’s training was fun on tuesday and we hopefully have a big game against Tewekesbury 4ths this weekend. They beat us with the last play of the game last time, in a game when we were the better side but we just lacked composure.  We appear to have a good side to field so hopefully it should be a good game.

Shedweb training went really well last night I thought, we had a good number turn up and were able to put on some good run throughs. As this was only our second training session I was really surprised and pleased by the turn out and hope we can keep the numbers up.

Fitness:

Bit annoyed with myself as i put on 3 pounds this week. Which is frustrating given the distance I did on the bike ride. Two training sessions and a bike ride should help, but I now need to be losing weight not putting it back on! So its a case now of doubling my efforts and stepping up the training and healthy eating. This weekend i’m hoping to pop down to the gym and get signed up and get cracking there. Then if i can get down a couple of times a week that will supplement the bike and rugby training i hope. Throw some swimming into that equation and it should really help develop my fitness.

Fundraising:

http://www.justgiving.com/shedweb24hoursofrugby current total: £875

http://www.justgiving.com/russell-brookes   Current total: £1866.50

Total so far: £2741.50

So the big news of this week are the designs for the 24 hour match shirts have gone in, now i’m biased as i designed them but i think they look pretty good:

The last one is the refs shirt. They look good eh? All we need now are some nice sponsors on the front. So if you can help out then please get in touch. We have a couple of interests in sponsors but nothing definate so if you know a company that would be interested in sponsoring us, please drop me a line at: cyclingfordad@wordpress.com.

The rest of the fundraising i’m making great strides on, we have a committee meeting next week so hopefully after that I can reveal more information, so watch this space!

A good friend of mine Julie Darwin is doing some half marathons and kindly donating the money to my fundraising appeal. I’ve mentioned Julie on here before and she is an amazing Lady who makes me feel very lazy!

Misc:

So tonight I’m actually getting to spend some time with Em which is a nice bonus, we’re only going out to cribbs and grabbing some food there but it’ll be nice to have some quality time together. With how busy i’ve been the last few weeks we’ve not had much time together so i am looking forward to it.

Right thats it for now, i’ll be back soon with more, till then have a good one all,

Russ

Update

Work: Its great to be back working! The first day flew by and I have so much to learn and take on, but it looks an exciting opportunity. I was knackered after the first day but it was worth it and beat sitting around at home with nothing to do! I feel in some ways like I have no idea what is going on, but hopefully at somepoint the penny will drop and I’ll be flying! In the meantime its just good to be back at work and hitting the ground. The week has flown by and think its going to be a challenging job with no real place to hide, but if you work hard it seems there will be a lot of opportunity to progress. So thats what i’ll have to do!

Rugby:

So didn’t make training on tuesday as I settle in at work, this week has left me knackered. I won’t be playing on saturday as something else lined up, more on that below.

However, we are starting Shedweb training on thursday which I cannot wait to get going on. We don’t have long now to the game and have a lot of work to do if we are to make ourselfs a competitive side against the Cherrypickers. Hopefully i’ve picked up a few coaching tips I can bring to the table from Dowtys training which will help! It’ll be good to catch up with everyone and a nice unwind after a busy week.

Cycling:

So cycling in the week is now out the question which puts more pressure on me to get out on the bike a lot at the weekends. So as above I won’t be able to train this week which is annoying but getting out and relaxing is just as important. (so i keep justifying to myself) I am looking into joining a gym as soon as possible and hopefully will get down for a swim sometime this week. I’m being careful with what I eat at work, so as not to undo the good work from the last few months.

On saturday I am planning to cycle from Bristol to Gloucester and back again. This will be a distance of about 65 miles and the longest ride i’ve done in a long time. So it’ll be good prep before the 100 Miler in April and hopefully i can fit another few more goes at this ride before I leave in may.  I’m really looking forward to getting out on the road, the only thing I miss about not working is having the time to get out on my bike, but as it gets lighter it will get better.

Fundraising:

LEJOG:

http://www.justgiving.com/Russell-Brookes

Current total: £1,846.50 % of target: 52%

Rugby:

http://www.justgiving.com/shedweb24hoursofrugby

Current total: £850 % of target: 28%

So the fundraising has progress a bit, but I need to find more time to really crack getting some sponsorship etc tied down. Hopefully I can sit down on sunday and send off a load of e-mails etc and get the ball rolling there.

Misc:

I’ve started reading a book about someone else who has done the Lejog and its proving really useful. Giving me some useful tips on the ride itself as well as insight into what I have to look forward to. It makes me all the more eager to get on the bike and get going on with the ride. Most of all it reminds me to make sure I enjoy it! It’ll be over all to soon and I need to make sure I take in all that I am seeing.

Em is off back to Dorset to see her parents this weekend, whilst I’d love to go, i’ll be staying in Brizzle as it gives me a chance to crack on with fundraising and cycling training.

As much as I like the new office so far, I am working with a lot of Welsh folk; so I really hope England win else the office will be unbearable come Monday! Gloucester are also playing Harlequins in a big game, so i’m being greedy and hoping for wins for Dowty, Gloucester and Harlequins.

Right that’s it i’m writing this just before heading off to training so I better get a shift on! Have a good weekend all, I’ll be back next week with an update on how my Bristol – Gloucester – Bristol bike ride went.

Quotes:

Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” – General George Patton