TVFDH # 63 – NRL and Champions Trophy

THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #63

Another weekend and a heap more grand finals to watch! Basketball season hits its straps, cricket matches were actually worth watching, and I managed to get to the movies… Remind me again why I’m so overweight? Oh, and we mark the end of a section.

Cricket
Champions Trophy
And it’s over!
            After their disastrous tour of England (yes, I know, they won six of seven one-dayers, but they lost the Ashes and that’s all that matters) Australia came into the tournament without much confidence. However…
9th Match, Group A: Australia v India
Australia 4/234 (42.3 ov)
            No result
            This made things very interesting as both teams now had a huge opportunity to make it through to the next round, the rain robbing both of full points.
10th Match, Group B: England v New Zealand
England 146 (43.1 ov); New Zealand 6/147 (27.1 ov)
            New Zealand won by 4 wickets
11th Match, Group A: Australia v Pakistan
Pakistan 6/205; Australia 8/206
            Australia won by 2 wickets
            They won on the LAST BALL of the day! What a match. I could not stop watching. It was awesome.
12th Match, Group A: India v West Indies
West Indies 129 (36 ov); India 3/130 (32.1 ov)
            India won by 7 wickets
1st Semi-Final: Australia v England
England 257 (47.4 ov); Australia 1/258 (41.5 ov)
            Australia won by 9 wickets
            The records Australia’s batsmen broke were amazing. England scored well, but their bowlers were just outclassed.
2nd Semi-Final: New Zealand v Pakistan
Pakistan 9/233; New Zealand 5/234 (47.5 ov)
            New Zealand won by 5 wickets
            An upset…
            BUT!
            There has been some controversy about this match. Pakistani captain Younus Khan dropped what must be said was a simple catch. With prior history and rumours going against them, this has been seen as somehow indicative of more nefarious aims (i.e. throwing the match). In fact, there is talk of a probe into it. Younis, for his part, is claiming an injured finger was the cause.
            My two cents: With the pressure of having to perform for the payday after so many abortive series caused by sectarian violence in their own country, he choked. The pressure was too much for him. I’ve seen players with less on their mind drop simpler catches and no-one wants to investigate that. Leave the guy alone; he’s feeling bad enough for blowing the match as it is.
Final: Australia v New Zealand
New Zealand 9/200; Australia 4/206 (45.2 ov)
            Australia won by 6 wickets
The difference between the two teams was Shane Watson, who scored a magnificent century. The fielding and bowling from both teams was very good, with the Australians particularly impressive in the field. But the batting from many left a lot to be desired. However, this means Australia has won the Champions Trophy and while it is no Ashes, it is something.
            I also understand this pushes Australia once more to the top of the ODI rankings… while remaining fourth in tests.
International Cricket Council Awards
            The ICC had its awards night as part of the Champions Trophy celebrations. Here’s the winners:
ICC’s Emerging Player – Peter Siddle (Australia)
Twenty20 International Performance of the Year – Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL) for scoring 96 not out off 57 balls against the West Indies in the semi-final of the ICC WT20 at The Oval on 19 June, 2009
Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year – William Porterfield (Ireland)
Umpire of the Year – Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Spirit of Cricket award – New Zealand
Women’s Cricketer of the Year – Claire Taylor (England)
One Day International Player of the Year – Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India)
            Dhoni was also named captain of the Test Team of the Year and captain of the World ODI Team of the Year
Test Player of the Year – Gautam Gambhir (India)
Cricketer of the Year – Mitchell Johnson (Australia)

Australian Rules Football
SANFL GRAND FINAL
Grand Final

Central Districts 13.14 (92) def Sturt 7.12 (54)
            AUGH!
            Biggest crowd in 10 years to an SANFL match. Centrals competing in their tenth grand final in a row. The matches leading up to it were close and indicated a good contest looming…
            Sturt fell apart.
            They were poor in the first quarter, woeful in the second, but their good final half was just not enough to catch the rampaging Bulldogs who have now won 8 of the past 10 SANFL titles.
            It was a disappointing game, but if Sturt don’t fall apart completely after this, then next year they will be better prepared and hungrier. That does not mean this match was any good as a spectacle, but it does mean next year might be…
            And can’t somebody beat Centrals?!

Soccer
A-League – Round Nine
Gold Coast United 0 drew with Wellington Phoenix 0
Perth Glory 1 drew with North Queensland Fury 1
Melbourne Victory 2 def Brisbane Roar 1
Sydney 1 def Central Coast Mariners 0
Adelaide United 1 drew with Newcastle Jets 1
W-League – Round One
            This is the women’s soccer league. Many teams are the female versions of the men’s A-League teams, but some are separate. I’m not sure of ownership / partnership status, so I won’t speculate. The names are the same, but the people are not (nor the gender).
Brisbane Roar 3 def Canberra United 0
Melbourne Victory 2 def Perth Glory 0
Sydney FC 1 def by Central Coast Mariners 3
Adelaide United 0 drew with Newcastle Jets 0

Rugby League
Grand Final
Melbourne Storm 23 def Parramatta Eels 16
            This was a great game! Melbourne have now established themselves as a rugby dynasty. Five grand finals in a row for three wins. But this one was not easy. Melbourne got out to a ten point lead, but the Eels just kept on coming back. They came so close, but then a really doubtful call by the referee for a free kick gave Melbourne the win. Not saying they wouldn’t have won anyway, but to have that sort of thing mar the final minutes of an enthralling grand final was not good. And considering they got it right most of the rest of the evening only made it worse.
            However, you will be doing yourself a favour if you manage to catch a replay of the match. Hard tackling, hard-hitting, deft ball skills, agile running – the game had it all.
            And you get to see Fuifui Moimoi in full flight. I know Billy Slater was voted best on ground, but Moimoi almost single-handedly stole it for the Eels in the second half.

Basketball
NBL Round Two
Melbourne 86 def New Zealand 81
Gold Coast 84 def Wollongong 78
Townsville 89 def by Perth 91
Cairns 89 def Perth 71
            Perth came out of what for them was a horrific road trip 1 and 1 for an excellent return. There is nowhere further in Australia or New Zealand they could have travelled.
Adelaide 80 def New Zealand 76
            Adelaide retired Brett Maher’s singlet and gave the former champ a nice farewell. I’ll be there to watch (and participate in some small way) in a couple of weeks, so I’ll be giving some sort of live report!
WNBL Round One
            The women have also started! In contrast to the men’s competition, the women have the same 10 teams as last year and look settled. And, I have to say, put on as good a show as the men. However, it is a concern that quite a few of the scores seem so lop-sided already…
Dandenong 55 def by Bendigo 70
Logan 79 def AIS 42
Perth 61 def by Sydney 73
Canberra 73 def by Bulleen 88
Townsville 97 def AIS 62
Adelaide 86 def Sydney 73

Sporting Morons
And our tally will stand / stop at 62 for the year.
            I have been informed that I am no longer to do this.
            Yes, that’s right. My mother’s house is broken into (they kicked the door and its frame in) and her stuff stolen. A friend of mine is mugged in the city by two thugs in broad daylight. My sister had her car stolen a few years ago. None of the perpetrators were caught. So who do the authorities hassle? Me, for writing something online.
            No real surprise. In South Australia our government is trying to make sure there is no freedom of association (if you so much as talk to a member of a bike gang more than 4 times a year you can be arrested), no freedom of press (the amount of stuff hidden by this government is novel-sized) and no freedom of expression or speech (me). Why chase the crooks who steal things from 60+ year old ladies? Who beat people up? Who steal and trash cars? No! We have people who write things to go after!
            This state and this country is going to hell in a hand-basket. And no-one cares.
            Okay, sorry for the rant.

Movie Review
Charlie & Boots
My wife and I went to see a new Australian movie last weekend – Charlie & Boots, starring Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) and Shane Jacobson (Kenny).
            Now, from the start, it’s not a classic film. It’s not going to be in anyone’s top ten films of all time. But the recent crop of Australian movies have been depressing, involving death, murder, incest, abuse, escape and other fun topics. This was a road movie, a movie of discovery, which starts with the saddest bit, has another sad bit in the middle and ends on a high. It was a pleasant and enjoyable two hours.
            It involves Boots (Jacobson) taking his father Charlie (Hogan) on a fishing trip to the other end of Australia by road. On the way they discover themselves and find more to be close than apart. That’s it. It’s a fun and funny road movie – my wife hasn’t laughed that hard at a film for a long time – with no joke or set-up or situation overstaying its welcome. None of the jokes are pummelled into the ground. The characters they meet are just that – characters. Apart from the title characters none of them really have much depth. The one who influences them the most is Jess (Morgan Griffin), a young country music singer, and she’s no more than a sounding board who responds.
            Like I said, this is not a classic, but it is a pleasant film. I understand it is due for release in the United States at some point later on this year, the UK not long after that, other places I have no idea. But if you are a movie go-er and don’t mind having a pleasant few hours, you could certainly do far worse than Charlie & Boots.

             But we now enter a lull in our sporting world until cricket season hits its strides.
            Until next time, catch the NRL grand final and Charlie & Boots and we’ll see you in seven.

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