July 24, 2018
TUESDAY 24TH JULY
“Life is beautiful”
Last Sunday afternoon I attended “Life is beautiful” a garden party to launch the first three Steve Burne Rooms within Ronald McDonald House at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Ronald McDonald House contains 60 rooms to allow parents to be near their children whilst they are spending time in hospital and we were given a tour of the splendid additional accommodation named in honour of Steve.
Steve Burne has been chair of the board of governors at Ronald McDonald House Manchester for six years and by now you are all familiar with Steve’s own personal fundraising campaign and the reason behind it.
With an initial target of £250,000 Steve has now raised over £400,000 and two further rooms will be created later in the year adding a total of 1,825 nights of much needed accommodation each year.
During the afternoon Steve thanked me for nominating the Steve Burne Rooms as our chosen charity for our World Cup competition and asked me to thank everyone who had contributed to the cause.
MONDAY 16TH JULY
THE POINTLESS MATCH PROVES DECISIVE
Who thinks the match to decide the 3rd/4th place is pointless? Certainly not Brent Shore who pipped Paul Newman at the top of the table by virtue of Belgium’s second victory over England in this much maligned fixture.
Many congratulations go to Brent whose winning selections were:
France (Banker), Belgium, Croatia, Peru, Tunisia and Panama.
You will note that Brent is listed as an author and despite some of the other ‘tongue in cheek’ occupations this is absolutely true. Brent has written three books to date and is currently working on his fourth, surprisingly none of them relate to the glorious game but following his success you never know. You can find out more about Brent’s writing and even purchase his books by visiting www.brentshore.co.uk.
All of the top seven chose France as their banker and a special mention goes to David Holland who was the only person to predict the total number of goals including penalty shootouts (26) would be 195.
Sean Whatmough receives the wooden spoon for these spectacular selections:
Germany (Banker), Spain, Argentina, Tunisia, Panama and Saudi Arabia.
THE STEVE BURNE ROOMS
The real winner here is the Steve Burne Rooms which benefitted from over £2,000 due to your generous donations. Steve has now raised over £376,000 and this Sunday there will be a special event to mark the official launch of The Steve Burne Rooms at Ronald MacDonald House , Manchester Childrens Hospital, Steve Connolly will be attending to represent Poole Dick and all of you who contributed to this worthy cause.
Despite the many doom merchants Russia 2018 was a tremendous success and we can now look forward to Qatar which begins on 21 November 2022 and may yet be expanded to 48 teams, that’ll test the Poole Dick competition organisers, speaking of which thanks to Chris Heavey for all his hard work in organising this year’s world cup challenge.
See You all in 2022,
All At Poole Dick
FRIDAY 13TH JULY
THE DREAMS OVER
It’s taken just 24 hours for the glorious English summer to completely flip and normality to resume. England are on their way home but football isn’t coming with them. The weeks of sunshine have come to end and been replaced by the traditional grey, wet and miserable conditions we are used to. To make matters worse and ruin everyone’s mood even further the moron that is Donald Trump has arrived and Theresa May’s take on Brexit has been announced which pleases neither ‘leavers’ or ‘remainers’. It was good whilst it lasted!
On a positive note it is only 4 weeks until the start of the new Premier League season and a week less for all you Stoke City fans looking forward to your first season in the Championship.
THE MEANINGLESS GAME MEANS EVERYTHING
It might mean absolutely nothing to anybody else and it’s practically a form of torture for the losing semi-finalists, who surely just want to get home, but for Paul Newman and Brent Shore the 3rd / 4th playoff will be the decider for our competition. With both men having France as their banker and Croatia as a selection the only difference between them is that Brent has Belgium as a selection and Paul has nobody in the 3rd / 4th playoff.
WEDNESDAY 11TH JULY
It’s looking like a two way battle between Paul Newman and Brent Shore. Both have France as their banker but Brent has the advantage of having Belgium in the 3rd/4th playoff. There’s also surely going to be a late surge from somebody with England as their banker when they bring it home!
TUESDAY 10TH JULY
THE SUMMER OF 2018
Long will it be remembered. The weather was glorious, a heatwave that lasted longer than two weeks. The beer gardens were packed and even the government’s incompetence couldn’t ruin the mood. World Cup fever had swept across the country. From having no hope at the start of the tournament all of a sudden everyone believed. What started as typical English humour quickly became the common belief… “Football’s Coming Home”
IT’S ALL RESTING ON TONIGHT
Paul Newman clings onto 1st spot still but everything could change tonight. Many of the chasing pack have Belgium including Martin Howard who has Hazard, De Bruyne and Co. as his banker whilst Paul has France has his banker. There is still a chance that those crazy 6, mentioned in our very first update, who selected England as their banker could make a sudden and last ditch surge to win the competition.
Finally, just a quick reminder to those who have not yet made the donation that they put on their entry forms. We will be checking all donations over the next day or two and will be sending emails to those whose donations we cannot identify. Anyone whose donations have not been made prior to the World Cup Final will lose their bonus points. Possibly the only way Sean Whatmough might avoid the wooden spoon.
WEDNESDAY 04TH JULY
“IT’S COMING HOME”
It really is time to start getting excited and believing if you already don’t. England have just won their first ever World Cup penalty shootout. All of the pre-tournament favourites are struggling for form or knocked out already. The route to the final is the easiest in memory (on paper at least) and that’s not to mention all of the coincidences that show 1966 is repeating itself…
IT’S GETTING CLOSE
Paul Newman currently leads the way but with a gap of only 6 points from Rennie Evans and 10 points to Daniel Calter. With the big games still to come there are still plenty of points available for people to pass Paul at the top although he has to be quietly confident with France as his banker and also both Croatia and Russia in his selections.
At the bottom it’s a completely different story for another of our own at Poole Dick. Poor Sean Whatmough who was full of beans at the start after picking Germany, Spain and Argentina now has the shame of finishing bottom with all of his team selections eliminated ahead of the quarter final stage.
We have decided that the only prize for winning this year’s competition is the satisfaction of winning and our sincerest congratulations, we will be donating the prize money to take the total to at least £2,005 for the Steve Burne Rooms which I am sure you will all agree is the right thing to do. We will soon be sending chasing emails to those who put a donation down on their entry form but whose donation we have not been able to identify within the Just Giving page (bonus points will be removed should any donations not be made before the end of the tournament – a possible lifeline for Sean Whatmough). Should we receive all donations the total raised will be £2,200. Thank you again to all for your contribution to this wonderful cause.
TUESDAY 03RD JULY
BRAZIL ROLL INTO THE QUARTER FINALS
Neymar’s antics pretty much stole the show whilst Belgium need a historic fightback to beat Japan in yesterdays matches.
The Brazil win means that Sean Whatmough will be guaranteed bottom spot should England win tonight, something we all want to see happen even Sean himself.
Finally a quick fact for you all… The last team to come from 2+ goals down to win a World Cup knockout match within 90 minutes was Portugal who beat DPR Korea in 1966 – It’s Coming Home!
MONDAY 02ND JULY
MORE SHOCKS THAN A BADLY WIRED LIGHT SWITCH
Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Spain; four countries you wouldn’t be surprised to see make up the semi finals of the World Cup but not this year, all of them are out before the quarter finals.
Paul Newman from our Keele office has taken the lead but as Paul Harris, leader for so long early on, will tell you things can change very quickly.
The wooden spoon looks like it’s going to one of the current bottom 4, Ian Powell still holds the dreaded bottom spot but Sean Whatmough is going to be nervously watching the Brazil and England matches as a victory for both will condemn him to last place thanks to all of his teams already being eliminated.
FRIDAY 29TH JUNE
SHOCKS, VAR AND “IT’S COMING HOME”
More penalties than ever thanks to VAR
England cruise into the knockouts and guarantee themselves what seems to be the easier route to the semi finals at least.
LAURA FLIES TO THE TOP
Our very own Laura Owen leads going into the knock out stages and with only 16 games remaining.
Ian Powell is stuck to the foot of the table but with England as his banker he’s surely confident of climbing the table. Poor Julian Pitlovits must be fearing the worst now though, in the bottom three with his banker Germany already back home and England and Russia being his only remaining teams it seems almost inevitable that the wooden spoon will be his come the 15th July.
THURSDAY 28TH JUNE
Germany crash out in the group stages for the first time since 1938 thanks to a goal awarded via VAR, lets hope they take it a little better than last time and don’t go starting any World Wars.
We finally have a new leader in the challenge as Joseph Lowndes takes the lead closely followed by Richard Skirrow as it seems Paul Harris may have peaked too soon.
WEDNESDAY 27TH JUNE
The chasing pack are starting to close in on Paul Harris at the top and our very own Deb Davies is now leading the race for the wooden spoon.
TUESDAY 26TH JUNE
Portugal and Spain stumble through proving England have nobody to fear… It’s Coming Home.
MONDAY 25TH JUNE
RECORDS TUMBLE AS ENGLAND HIT SIX!
SIX – ONE, I repeat SIX –ONE. England’s best ever start to a World Cup campaign has got the nation excited as many of the pre-tournament favourites struggle particularly Germany who look to have scraped through with a 95th minute winner, more jam than Hartleys, and don’t write them off just yet.
More people watched Harry’s Panama Hat Trick than the recent Royal Wedding and only two other England players have recorded a hat trick in the World Cup, pretty easy that one though.
So bring on the Belgians, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard but then again they also have Marouaine Fellaini, they can’t be that good!
HARRIS LEADS AT THE HALF WAY POINT
We are exactly half way through the World Cup with 32 games having taken place, 85 goals have been scored in those 32 games which would suggest the total number of goals will be 170 but we now move into the knock out stages which will of course feature extra time and if needs be penalty shoot outs, so this could be misleading.
Paul Harris of Port Sunlight Village Trust still leads the way, Paul has been at the top of the table every day except for one when he slipped to second place, as a staunch Evertonian Paul has developed a serious nose bleed!
King Harry Kane may be in line for the Golden Boot but at the moment Anthony Dean of the Medicines Evaluation Unit is favourite for the Wooden Spoon.
The MEU are strongly represented in the competition but I am sure Anthony’s colleagues will not have mentioned that he is stone cold last. They’re not like that at the MEU!
FRIDAY 22ND JUNE
ARGENTINA CRUMBLE AS WILLY CABALLERO LIVES UP TO HIS NAME
All those who selected Argentina, especially those who made them their banker (such as organiser, Chris Heavey!) are now regretting their choices.
No change at either the top or bottom, Geoff’s getting good use out of the wooden spoon.
THURSDAY 21ST JUNE
Paul Harris remains top of the table after recent results.
Geoff Hillman still stirring the wooden spoon.
WEDNESDAY 20TH JUNE
HE’S ONE OF OUR OWN AND OTHER SHOCKS
The World Cup is well underway now and every nation has now played at least once after yesterday games. The most important news is that England actually managed to win their first group game despite some dodgy refereeing and countless missed chances early on. Russia have made the best start by a home nation in any World Cup, all previous home nations to win their first two group games have gone on to win the tournament – Kultaar Singh and Mark Smith will both be hoping this continues being the only people who backed the host nation as their banker.
The most popular team both generally and as a banker, Germany, were outplayed and deservedly beaten by Mexico. All five of the pre-tournament favourites failed to win their openers adding fuel to the excitement that it really is “coming home”. Iran somehow manages to top a group including both Spain and Portugal despite being the only nation in the group not to have a player actually score a goal.
FRONT RUNNER AND LAGGING BEHIND
Although still very early days and on the back of a number of shock results the early leader is Toffeeman, Paul Harris of Port Sunlight Village Trust, perhaps he will be the next in line for the Goodison job……………….. in early October?
Cast adrift at the bottom and an early front runner for the wooden spoon is Potter, Geoff Hillman of Ellis Hillman Partnership who’s been hit hard by the most satisfying result of this and many other World Cups, Mexico 1 Germany 0, come on who didn’t enjoy that one? Well, apart from Geoff Hillman that is!
AND FINALLY A FAMILY FEUD IN THE LOWNDES HOUSEHOLD
Joe Lowndes has made a solid start and is already putting his dad, Steve, to shame sitting an impressive 54 places ahead of him in 10th, but Steve remains confident in his selections and says ”It’s a marathon not a sprint”…………………………… the voice of experience!
TUESDAY 19TH JUNE
The Three Lions led by Captain Fantastic Harry Kane roar!! Unfortunately for Julian Pitlovits and Geoff Hillman they aren’t doing as well as England and they’re leading the race for the wooden spoon.
MONDAY 18TH JUNE
Chicharito cries as Mexico stun the Germans, Messi cant score from 12 yards whilst Ronaldo shows him how it’s done.
FRIDAY 15th JUNE
As the first game of the World Cup 2018 in Russia kicks off we thought it a good time to issue our first update.
First of all, thank you for joining in this year’s challenge and donating for an extremely special cause. We have received more entries and raised more money than ever before and whilst we’d love to claim that’s because were more popular than ever we know the real reason is because of the amazing support everyone is giving to Steve Burne.
At the time of writing we have raised almost £1,800 and the Steve Burne Team Page is over a staggering £364k!
As is always the case with our challenges there has been a variety of tactics used by entrants from those selecting low ranked outsiders as their bankers to save points and have more of the big teams to those who have put all their eggs in one basket and selected one of the big favourites as a banker.
The most surprising tactic this year though has come from those who we can only assume either don’t like winning, are more patriotic than Donald Trump or simply don’t understand football and have actually chosen England as their banker. Yes, that’s right, 6 people have been crazy enough to choose England as their banker, we won’t start the naming and shaming of these people yet but they know who they are.
For once though England aren’t currently the most shambolic established nation at the World Cup, that award goes to Spain who have decided to replace their manager 2 days before their first and probably most important group game against Portugal. We would love to give those who chose Spain as their banker the opportunity to resubmit but how does the old saying go – Life’s a …
Best wishes to you all, thanks again and we hope you all enjoy the World Cup.