The View From Down Here #18

Of course, sport this week has been dominated by India defeating Australia and some of the decisions made by Australian captain Ricky Ponting. And so I shall rant here and now… because I can. I am not going to keep repeating my disdain for the behaviour of both teams in the recent tour, but there is one thing that strikes me in the recent calls for Ponting’s sacking – who have we got to take over? Michael Clarke is too inexperienced and I think still inconsistent. Matthew Hayden is at the wrong end of his career, and may not actually be around that much longer after his poor returns in India, and with the current furore over some possible ill-advised (though honest and actually quite accurate) comments that have seen the UK media label him a ‘redneck’, he may not want the extra hassle. Andrew Symonds is not mentally tough enough for the top job. So who is there? No-one, and so we are left with this prima donna who, we can only hope, realises that denial and the spin he’s putting out are not good, and maybe he should look at constructive criticism (as from many former test captains and players coming out recently) without being so damned defensive. And having got that out of my system, here are this weeks’ results…

Basketball
NBL – Round 9
South Dragons 97 def. Adelaide 82
Sydney Spirit 115 def. Gold Coast 93
Cairns 81 lost to New Zealand 93
Wollongong 110 just – just! – lost to Gold Coast 111
Perth 86 def. Cairns 78
Townsville 108 lost to New Zealand 119
Gold Coast 96 lost to Adelaide 108
WNBL – Round 7
Townsville 70 def Logan 67
Perth 84 def AIS 77
Bulleen 75 hammered Sydney 58
Canberra 72 hammered Dandenong 53
Adelaide 90 beat AIS 62

Soccer
Asian Champions League
Gamba Osaka 2 def Adelaide United FC 0
Adelaide were outclassed. Now, while Adelaide’s result is a good thing for Australian soccer, showing that the sport in this country has actually improved somewhat, it is still not a brilliant result. To lose on aggregate 5-0 to the Japanese champions means that when it comes to the world club championships (which Adelaide has qualified for) they are potentially going to be humiliated. There is some truth to the saying that even the experience will be good, but if the results are as one-sided as is feared, it could end up being quite detrimental to the sport, shattering the confidence and self-belief that has infected soccer officials since qualifying for the last World Cup. I hope I’m wrong (despite not being in any sense of the word a fan of soccer), but it could have been worse. And next year, with Central Coast making it to the ACL it will be.
A-League Round 11
Central Coast Mariners FC 3 def Adelaide United FC 0
This was the delayed match because of the ACL final, and it shows just how exhausted Adelaide are, although eastern states media says it shows how undeserving Adelaide were to be there. Well, I guess we’ll see when Central Coast are humiliated next year in the ACL, won’t we?
W-League Round 4
Sydney 1 drew with Newcastle 1
Perth 3 def Adelaide 2
Central Coast 0 humiliated by Queensland 5
Melbourne 0 lost to Canberra 1

Cricket
New Zealand Tour
New Zealand  266 & 256; New South Wales 361 & 4/162 – NSW won by 6 wickets
Not a good start for the Black Caps, losing their only warm-up match before the first test against Australia. And that against an under-manned NSW side.
Australian Domestic
Sheffield Shield:

South Australia v Western Australia
WA 309 & 6/247; SA 9 dec. for 479 – match drawn (SA – 2 points)
One-Day
South Australia 6/270 (50 overs); Western Australia 5/272 (47.2 overs) – WA won by 5 wickets
Twenty-20:
Australia 139 lost to the All-Stars 4/203.
While this charity fundraiser held no actual official status as a match, it still showed that Australia is reeling after its recent tour of India, to go down to what was essentially a 2nd XI side so comprehensively. The only shining light was the form of the returning wayward traveller Andrew Symonds. But this still does not bode well for the upcoming series against New Zealand, with both teams apparently out of form.

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
Scotland 10 lost to South Africa 14
Ireland 3 defeated by New Zealand 22
England 14 lost to Australia 28
All three southern hemisphere teams won. Which is a surprise considering the northern hemisphere referees generally hammer our sides because heaven forbid rugby should be free-flowing and exciting to watch. No, much better it be as dull as ditch-water.

Rugby League
World Cup
New Zealand 32 def England 22 (first semi-final).
New Zealand through, no great surprise there.
Australia 52 slaughtered Fiji 0 (second semi-final)
Australia through, another lack of surprise.
Australia v New Zealand in the final is going to be a good match, I feel.

Boxing
Sakio Bika, originally from Cameroon, defeated American Peter Manfredo Jr to claim the vacant IBO super-middleweight title. Now, I know that there seem to be more international boxing promotions than there are Starbucks coffee stores, but for an Australian this is something. Although Bika is already known somewhat through his winning the third season of ‘The Contender’, this is still something good for boxing in this country (and I still recommend Drane’s ‘Fighters By Trade’).

Closing Comment
Not much to say, really. I think I’ve waffled on enough already this week. But I will reply to an email here. Steve from Illinois asked about the rules of cricket. Well, to put it quite simply, the rules of cricket are long and complex, and putting them in a column like this would require more bandwidth than Inside Pulse actually have. But, to be more specific and to answer the second part of your e-mail, the way the winners are decided (by wickets or runs) essentially comes down to if the winner bowls or bats second. If they bat last, they win by wickets; if they bowl last they win by runs. And LBW means ‘leg before wicket’, meaning you get out if the ball hits your leg and would have hit the wicket if your leg hadn’t been in the way. I hope that helps.

And that’s the rather boring view from down here.

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