The View From Down Here #47

What a week! State of Origin, Professional Wrestling, international cricket… it’s had it all. So let’s not waste any time and get straight into it!

Cricket
ICC World Twenty20
Real hit and giggle stuff – the Twenty20 World Cup. O won’t bother recapping the warm-up matches, but will endeavour to put down all the actual match results. And comments when I have actually seen the match in question or feel I have something to add. Here goes:
1st match, Group B
            England 5/162; Netherlands 6/163 – Netherlands won by 4 wickets (Netherlands – 2 pts)
Netherlands, a country with around 5000 registered cricketers defeated the powerhouse that is England on the last ball, in front of an English crowd. This does not auger well for England’s upcoming Ashes series against Australia…
2nd match, Group D
This match was reduced to 7 overs a side.
            Scotland 4/89; New Zealand 3/90 (6 overs) – New Zealand won by 7 wickets (NZ – 2 pts)
3rd match, Group C,
            Australia 7/169; West Indies 3/172 (15.5 overs) – West Indies won by 7 wickets (WI – 2 pts)
Australia lost this more than the Windies won it. They fielded poorly and threw away their wickets, while the Windies were saved by Gayle’s magnificent innings. What I said before about England looking shaky for the Ashes? It doesn’t matter because Australia look just as bad, although the Andrew Symonds stuff may not have helped (and more about that later).
4th match, Group A
            India 5/180; Bangladesh 8/155 – India won by 25 runs (India – 2 pts)
5th Match, Group D
            South Africa 5/211; Scotland 81 (15.4 overs) – South Africa won by 130 runs (SAf – 2 pts)
This was more like it for the top tiered teams!
6th Match, Group B
            England 5/185; Pakistan 7/137 – England won by 48 runs (Eng – 2 pts)
Better result for England, but nothing can wipe the humiliation of their first loss…

Australian Rules Football
The ladder is far from settled, with literally any of maybe a dozen teams capable of filling the spots behind Geelong and St Kilda in the final eight. Of course, the AFL has tried to ensure Collingwood are there by giving them, for the umpteenth year in a row, the most favourable draw of any team, with matches at their home ground virtually every week. The AFL are so determined to have Collingwood win the flag don’t be surprised if some by-law is enacted to ensure Geelong and St Kilda lose their home finals to Collingwood if a match happens between them. But it won’t work. Collingwood are past their prime and still living on past glories, and if they could not do it with Buckley as captain, they won’t do it now, especially with a jaded Mick Malthouse as coach who does not look like letting go of the apron strings any time soon…
AFL – Round 11
Richmond 14.5 (89) def by Western Bulldogs 24.13 (157)
            And Terry Wallace’s coaching career ends with a whimper as his Tigers are hammered by his previous team – who he left in the lurch – with not a hint of sentimentality. Bye, terry, don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out…
North Melbourne 9.3 (57) def by St. Kilda 15.13 (103)
            The Saints did not get out of second gear and did enough to win. That was all for not a brilliant game.
Brisbane 16.10 (106) lost to Carlton 16.16 (112)
            A good close game, with Fevola’s eight goals for Carlton the difference between the sides. They should both feature in September come the finals.
Port Adelaide 14.10 (94) def Fremantle 11.4 (70)
            Again, Port did enough in a dour game to win, but they did not convince. And the smallest AFL crowd of the year in Adelaide (and, yes, the weather was terrible, but, seriously, less than 19000 people?) shows just how little the so-called ‘Port faithful’ really think about their team and its chances…
Essendon 18.6 (114) def by Adelaide 21.4 (130)
            Adelaide came from behind to score the upset win, and they had to work hard for it as well. Their accuracy in front of goal ended up being the telling factor; not bad for a team that only two weeks ago was being accused of not having a goal-kicker in the side!
Hawthorn 12.14 (86) def Sydney 11.9 975)
            A close, tight, hard-fought match. But, really, the Swans had the momentum going in that last quarter until Barry Hall gave away a stupid free kick.
West Coast 11.11 (77) def by Geelong 15.9 (99)
            The Eagles pushed the Cats all the way, but Geelong, much like St Kilda, did enough o keep their unbeaten streak alive and well. West Coast did well, but not well enough.
Melbourne 8.12 (60) slaughtered by Collingwood 19.12 (126)
            Melbourne really are pathetic. They turned it on briefly in the third quarter, but lost it comprehensively.
SANFL – Round Ten
Woodville-West Torrens 5.4 (32) hammered by Norwood 15.19 (109)
            The Eagles were destroyed by the Redlegs. Norwood are playing more up and down than a hyperactive kid’s yo-yo at the moment, while the Eagles looked inept, especially their second quarter where they scored all of 2 behinds.
West Adelaide 9.8 (62) def by North Adelaide 11.12 (78)
            The weather robbed this game of any real spark; the conditions just made it a slog.
Glenelg 16.11 (107) def Port Adelaide 8.9 (57)
            A good crowd saw Glenelg outclass Port completely. This win has created quite a log-jam at the top of the ladder, because…
Sturt 19.11 (125) hammered Central Districts 6.4 (40)
            After being completely dominant for the first half of the year, Centrals have now lost two in a row. This means they are equal on wins with Glenelg and Sturt, and this huge loss have enabled Sturt top overtake them and now sit on top of the ladder. The finals suddenly got very interesting…
Bye: South Adelaide

Netball
Round Ten
Pulse 45 def by Tactix 59
Thunderbirds 58 def Mystics 34
            Adelaide made a meal of the Mystics. They are the only genuine threat to the Vixens at this point (although the Magic may have something to say about that), and this was little more than a training run.
Firebirds 62 def Swifts 61
            The Swifts made the comeback, but a goal in the dying seconds saw the Firebirds get the deserved win, and the Swifts may not even get the chance to defend their title this year if this keeps up.
Magic 55 def Vixens 48
            The Vixens were defeated for the first time this season, putting their conquerors, the Magic, on top of the ladder by percentage. The three-way tussle between Vixens, Magic and Thunderbirds means this season is going to go down to the wire.
Fever 59 def Steel 48

Rugby Union
First of the Internationals, as French team the Barbarians – including runaway Kiwi and some-time boxer Sonny Bill Williamson – faced a Wallabies side full of determination. The Australians normally start the international seasons slow, but not this year, in what could well be a forerunner of things to come.
            Australia 55 smashed Barbarians 7

Soccer
            After a few emails, yes I know I have not mentioned the Asian Champion’s League for quite a while. And there is a reason for that. It has been dull. I really only covered it originally because Adelaide United were in it and doing well, and so we got coverage in my home state. But we barely hear the results and soccer not being my game of choice, I don’t follow it closely enough to warrant really waffling on about it. So I don’t, and I won’t. Having said that, I did watch a soccer match recently…
World Cup Qualifier
Qatar 0 drew with Australia 0
And with this dull result after a dull match, Australia are the second team after Japan to gain entry to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, following their 1-0 win over Qatar at home. This is the first time ever Australia have managed to make it into back-to-back World Cups. But if this match is anything to go by, it is going to be a boring, defensive tournament yet again.

Rugby League
State Of Origin
This match may not have been as good as some in the past, but it was still well-played and a good, hard-hitting spectacle. Queensland sped out to a 24 to 6 lead before a spirited New South Wales comeback. But it was not enough and Queensland have gone 1-0 up in the best of 3 series.
            Queensland 28, New South Wales 18
Round Thirteen
Wests Tigers 10 def by Penrith 26
Melbourne 48 hammered Brisbane 4
Manly 38 def Sydney Roosters 18
North Queensland 46 hammered South Sydney 12
            Ahh, it was the crap South Sydney that showed up this week. I wish they’d make up their damned minds!
Cronulla 18 def Warriors 10
Newcastle 18 def by Parramatta 20
            Another umpiring controversy! I wonder which high profile player is in trouble now that they need a distraction? (That’s my conspiracy theory again…) But, seriously, another controversial penalty deciding the outcome of a match? This is getting beyond a joke even for rugby league.
Gold Coast 28 def St George Illawarra 24
            Despite a spirited fight-back from St George Illawarra, Gold Coast hung on for the narrow win, leaving them on top of the NRL ladder.

Sporting Morons
You know, I have a feeling this is going to grow into the largest part of this weekly report…
Peter Wakefield: This former Olympic boxer is to stand trial for rape. Whether he is guilty or not is yet to be decided, but he has still placed himself in a stupid position.
Andrew Symonds: This is actually a sad case. Symonds was rushed back into the Australian cricket team after being kicked out for some drunken antics. While Cricket Australia said he was fine, the public who saw him continue to drink and some of his team-mates disagreed. Well, over in England for the Twenty20 World Cup he went off again, got hammered and was sent home with probably his international career in tatters. The reason this is sad is not because he did this to himself, but because Cricket Australia gave him more chances than anyone but did not actually really help him. They let him fail over and over. They are as much to blame for this fiasco as Symonds himself. Still, he’s another one, so onto this list he goes!
Barry Hall: I wasn’t going to do this – put in some-one for something they did on the field. I like Barry Hall; he is a throwback to the days of tough footballers. But you think he would have learnt his lesson recently. But no. In his team’s losing performance against the Hawks, it was his brain snap when he “allegedly” hit some-one in the face and then gave away three 50m penalties that probably cost his team victory.
Tony Zappia: Another thing I did not think I would do – put an administrator in here. But Mr Zappia, boss of the Cronulla Sharks rugby league club (not the rather good federal politician), allegedly hit a female employee in the face, blackening her eye last year. He said he was shadow boxing and it was accidental. This weekend the young lady in question has said there was no way it was accidental. There are taped conversations involved and all sort of other shenanigans, but, really, it’s no wonder he’s in charge of a rugby league club…
Tally: 21

Auto Racing
Formula One
A quick mention here, because Mark Webber, one of Australia’s most over-rated sports people, actually was second at the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix. Yes, another podium finish, making him fourth overall in the drivers’ championship. He might actually yet make it as a sports person of note.
Turkish Grand Prix
1st: Jenson Button
2nd: Mark Webber
3rd: Sebastian Vettel

Tennis
French Open
Ladies’ Title
Australia finally had a female do something beyond a token appearance in the third round. Samantha Stosur, looking big and powerful, made it through to the semi-finals on the back of some impressive play. She also did well-ish in the Australian, but I think if she’s going to do anything it’ll be at Wimbledon. She might be worth a bit of a dark horse betting…
Svetlana Kuznetsova def Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-2
Men’s Title
Congratulations to Roger Federer. Equalling Pete Sampras’ record for Grand Slam wins, and also getting the career slam with this, his first French Open title., something Sampras could not do. I dare say he’s got more in him, and he may well go down as the best tennis player in history… and we’ll be able to say we saw him. But the thing I like most about Federer? He’s a human with human emotions, he does not come across as arrogant, does not trash talk, he just plays, plays well, and is a genuine person. Too many other sporting superstars could learn something from this young man. He is a sporting person worthy of being called a hero or a role model. I just hope that nothing happens to tarnish this…
Roger Federer def Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6, 6-4

Professional Wrestling
RCW Rites Of Passage II, June 6 2009
            Well, I’ve been complaining all year that we haven’t had the blow-away show like we had so often in 2008. That’s all changed. THIS was THE blow-away show, and if you missed it, buy the DVD when it’s available.
            And the crowd was finally into it! A few times they had to be gee-ed up, but for the most part, especially the main event, they were right into it. Which made for a great atmosphere. And with a near-capacity crowd – largest this year by far – that was important.
            And finally, the wrestlers all seemed to step up a gear. The main event had been hyped so much and at such length that it was like everyone else felt they had to step up to the plate to try and match it. Did it live up to the hype? Well… let’s see.
            We start the show with Brad Smythe coming out. TJ responds. TJ forces Brad’s hand by demanding he wrestle without the knucks or Fuzion at ringside to show who is the better ‘wrestler’. Brad accepts, and we’re on.
Match 1: Brad Smythe v TJ Rush
            Good match to start the show. They started off slow, feeling each other out, and ended up fighting a great professional wrestling match, almost face v face in its pacing and layout. And Smythe fought clean throughout, showing just how much he has learnt in regards to actual wrestling. The move of the match – both guys were groggy, climbed to opposite corners, then leapt at each other and met in mid-air over the middle of the ring. The end came when TJ nailed the shooting star press for the three-count.
            After the match, TJ offered Brad his hand, and Brad was about to accept when Fuzion came out and took out TJ from behind. Brad was reluctant in getting stuck in, and they did not look a team when they went to the back, with Brad even telling Fuzion that it was a good match. Nice character development.
Match 2: Jacko Lantern v Danny Psycho
            Two Victorians, but both are familiar to RCW fans, with Psycho especially making a big impact with his match against Grimm. This was the least match of the night. I won’t say worst because it was not bad, but compared too all about it, it was not up there. The punches were weak and the kicks lazy, especially when compared to everything else. But these guys know how to throw a variety of suplexes. And we are talking Jacko hitting Psycho with T-Bone on the wooden floor. Ouch! And Psycho returning the favour with a snap. Ouch again! The end came when Jacko misted the ref, and then hit a low blow on Psycho while he was checking on the official, then hit another suplex variation for the pin. Jacko’s first win in RCW.
            Mimic comes out to talk and thank the fans for their support, and to tell the other faces that he does not want them to interfere at all tonight, no matter what.
Match 3: Fuzion v Jim Raze
            Raze is from Victoria, making his RCW debut, and he is built like a competitive gymnast. Fuzion overpowers Raze, but Raze makes a series of high flying and speed-based comebacks. It should be noted that Brad looks unhappy to be out there, and he and Fuzion argue a bit, and Brad even cheers some of Raze’s good moves. But Fuzion is too big and strong, and wins with a brass knucks punch, much to Brad’s irritation.
Match 4: Del Taurino & Marvel (with Plasma) ‘The Masked Stable’ v Luke Santamaria & Voodoo
            I’ll say now I was looking forward to this one more than the main event. Seriously. And it was a good old fashioned tag match. The heels performed some great double team moves, and a little bit of cheating, but, really, they simply out-wrestled the faces. Now, for a grudge match with so much build-up, the heels were very subdued. It made the match, much like Brad v TJ, a weird combination, but it did make for a good, entertaining match, being it was not what I expected at all. The end came when a face miscommunication led to Luke tagging himself in, then getting pinned after a nasty double team, giving the win to the masked stable. Not at all what I was expecting, but I really got into it. I must say, however, my view is not shared by some in attendance…
Match 5: Miami v Savannah Summers v Jessie McKay
            Jessie is from Queensland, and it’s always good to see her back. And, man, does she know how to work the crowd! Interesting dynamic between Miami and Summers, two friends, but they really turned on one another. And stiff! The girls were hitting one another as hard as. Their kicks still need some work, and some of the moves were a little off, but those chops and slaps. Ouch! Miami got the pin (yay!) with the stroke / party-crasher on McKay, upsetting Summers again. And again, Summers skulked away… Her subtle change in character is coming along well.
Match 6: RCW Title Match: G.D. Grimm b Mimic, brother v brother
            This is what drew the large crowd out in the driving rain to come here tonight. And did it deliver? Did it what! Holy cow! And Dave Morgan was back as the ref! Woo-hoo! The match started with a long time outside, and Mimic was attacking from the word go with an intensity not often seen from him. And then the chops started. Grimm laid into Mimic’s chest. The bruising has to be seen to be believed. It got to a point where the entire audience (and I kid you not) was cringing and wincing with every new red welt added to Mimic’s chest. The moves were high impact, no quarter was given and the match really did feel like it was only ten minutes long, but went for closer to half an hour. Just superb. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Grimm hit Mimic with 2 curb stomps and won the title! And, like Brad and the masked guys, he did it by out-wrestling Mimic. No real cheating, just superiority.
            Mimic then gave a speech, thanking the fans, Grimm came back out, attacked him and cut his hair.
            I have never seen in local wrestling such emotional investment in a storyline. The crowd was in shock, some were in tears, it was amazing. It was well done. And I was exhausted emotionally. I’ve been watching wrestling since 1980, I started wrestling in 1988/89, and yet I was marking out like a little kid and in shock when the ending came.
            It was that well done.
            The show was well done. Watch it. Buy it. See it over and over. Freakin’ awesome.
            Show of the year.

And on that amazingly positive and high note, I shall end this view. But, seriously, if you want to watch some good independent wrestling, go to www.riotcitywrestling.com and order the DVDs (although, remember, they are in region 4 format). And when this show becomes available – get it.

Have a good one!

 

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