The View From Down Here #66 – Cricket Time!

Surprisingly a lot of sport watched this week! Unfortunately this was brought about by me aggravating an already serious knee injury and then still going on with what I had to do, screwing it up even more, and so had more time than expected to sit in front of the TV. So let’s see what I saw, shall we?

Cricket
International
Champions League Twenty20
The final of this tournament was played, and I watched it. Surprise! I have enjoyed this tournament and the chance to see teams from all over the world representing their clubs / states / regions. It seems a little more real having that genuine club feel to it, and actually made it feel more like a real competition. Having said that, I could not be bothered recounting every single match for this as it really is meaningless in the whole scheme of things. But the final, that’s worth writing about.
New South Wales 9/159; Trinidad & Tobago 118 (15.5 overs) – NSW won by 41 runs
            A tense match. It may not have had some of the huge hitting of some of the other matches, but the fielding and the tactics made this a completely enthralling contest, showing just where the style of cricket could head. And considering these two teams are now regarded as the best in the world, it may be that this style of intense gamesmanship becomes the norm instead of the over-the-top slogging which seems to mark Twenty20 cricket as it currently stands. And while the smash style is certainly exciting, it soon loses its spectacle as a genuine competition.
Australia-India Series
            A four match one day series between arguably the 2 best one day teams in the world.
Game 1: Australia v India
            Australia 8/292; India 8/288
            Australia won by 4 wickets
            Singh and Kumar at the tail for India were amazing and almost stole it in the end, but when Singh was dismissed, that was it for India as the tail stopped wagging and Australia managed to eke out a win. Australia’s batsmen were consistent with four half centuries scored, but the bowling left a lot to be desired. This is shaping up to be a close, interesting series.Check out today match prediction if you wish.
Sheffield Shield
No Shield matches this week. With Victoria and NSW both involved in the T20 tournament, the calendar has been thrown off a bit, but should soon start to get back to normal.
Ford Ranger Cup
Queensland v South Australia
            Sth Aust 184 (46.3 overs); Qld 4/ 187 (37 overs)
            Queensland won by 6 wickets
            South Australia was insipid. After all the controversy last week when last season’s most prolific run-scorer in the short game Klinger was dropped on the morning of the match, this week the team seemed to have something else on their mind. If last week was simply a tactic to make the team value their spots more, it backfired as it has made them feel they are not valued at all. And then they put forward this display.
Western Australia v Queensland
            WA 224 (48.2 overs); Qld 4/198 (36 of 37 overs)
            Queensland won by 6 wickets using the Duckworth-Lewis system of confusing the public.
            The rain was a deciding factor here, unfortunately. But Queensland looked out of it with 10 overs to go, and then turned it on. Bug time. They pulled out a great win and it will be interesting to see if their so far great form in the one-dayers translates to other forms of the game and lasts all season. In their favour, this was a team effort, and that can only bode well for them.
Women’s National Cricket League Twenty20
Australian Capital Territory v Tasmania
            Tas 6/103; ACT 0/107 (14.3 overs)
            Australian Capital Territory won by 10 wickets
            Very dominant win for the ACT women here. This augurs well for them for the rest of the season in all forms of the game.

Soccer
A-League – Round Twelve
Newcastle Jets 2 def Central Coast Mariners 1
Melbourne Victory 3 def Adelaide United 1
            Adelaide just cannot beat Melbourne. This is their 8TH consecutive loss to them! 8 in a row! On paper this match should have been one hell of a lot closer than this, but it failed dismally as a spectacle from Adelaide’s point of view. Melbourne is truly their bogey side and it appears that a change of mental attitude as much as anything will be required to defeat them.
North Queensland Fury 2 def Perth Glory 1
Wellington Phoenix 6 def Gold Coast United 0
            This is an embarrassing score for not only Gold Coast but the A-League itself.
Sydney 2 def Brisbane Roar 1
W-League – Round Four
Adelaide United 0 def by Perth Glory 1
Newcastle Jets 1 def Central Coast Mariners 0
Canberra United 2 def Melbourne Victory 0
Sydney 1 drew with Brisbane Roar 1

Basketball
NBL Round Five
Now before I go much further here, let me explain that I am not a huge fan of basketball. It is a game where too little happens to excite me. Things start to get going and then there’s a foul and we’re off to the free-throw line to slow things down, or there’s a time-out to stop things dead. The game seems more geared towards people playing selfishly which, to me, goes against team sports. Having said all that, I had the opportunity to go to the Adelaide-Melbourne match played here in Adelaide, where I was a part of the half-time entertainment with my performance troupe. It was here, on the third move of the routine that I blew out my already injured knee, but had to continue to ensure the ‘show must go on’. I therefore had a chance to watch this game first-hand, my first live basketball match for more than a decade at this level. I should also say that the new NBL in Australia is yet to sell itself to me after the debacle that has been the past few seasons, and so I was here with some trepidation…
Adelaide 70 def by Melbourne 81
            Adelaide had this! At half time they were up and even though Melbourne had just rallied in the dying moments of the half they looked comfortable. And then came the second half and it was as though two different teams came out. Melbourne were focused and Adelaide looked a little lost out there. But I was caught up in it all, and thought the way they kept the crowd going during the match was quite entertaining. It’s not a bad live spectacle and something different to do on a Wednesday night; I still don’t think watching it on TV is going to be something I’ll do often, but going live… maybe.
New Zealand 92 def Townsville 82
Gold Coast 80 def Cairns 63
Cairns 69 def by Adelaide 106
            Good to see the 36ers bounce back after their loss to Melbourne earlier in the week.
Wollongong 99 def Townsville 77
Perth 93 def Melbourne 90
WNBL Round Three
A big round this week! Lots of matches. I don’t understand this aspect of it either, but with such a large country as Australia, I think it’s probably good because of the distances involved to have teams in one part of our world to play every team there. But it still makes it confusing when some teams have played 6 games and some 3 on the table.
Sydney 72 def by Canberra 74
AIS 52 def by Adelaide 77
Townsville 97 def Perth 81
Dandenong 67 def by Bulleen 80
Canberra 100 def Adelaide 73
Bendigo 72 def by Dandenong 88
Logan 76 def Perth 65

Rugby League
International – Four Nations
The concept of the four nations tournament is that Australia, New Zealand and England invite a country from whatever part of the world they’re playing in to make a fourth for them all to thrash mercilessly. This year the lucky country is France; next time it will be some powerhouse from the South Pacific, like Tonga, Papua New Guinea or Fiji.
            Sounds like a great concept, right? Right?
England 34 def France 12
Australia 20 drew with New Zealand 20
            Cameron Smith saved Australia in this one. His score in the dying seconds forced the draw. New Zealand had the better of it for most of the match, but Australia fought back and the draw was a good result for them. Not so much for world champs New Zealand, however.

Auto-Racing
Last week I was very slack as it was an astonishing week for Australians in international motor sport.
            First of all, we had Mark Webber convincingly win the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix. It was his second ever win and it was a much better performance than his first as he really did dominate the event. This has been a good year for him with plenty of podium finishes, as he has finally shown that the potential he had is becoming reality. And yet he may not have a drive next year? In the same race Jenson Button’s high finish has made him the world champion.
            Next Jason Crump won the Speedway World Championship in Poland. This form of motorcycle racing is exciting and dangerous and hats off to Crump for going all the way.
            Finally, Casey Stoner won the MotoGP race at Phillip Island in Australia. Australians are notoriously bad in front of their home crowds in international events, but Stoner’s won this race three times now.
            So a great weekend.
            This leads into a brief rant… so bear with me. Webber was all over the news, and Stoner was mentioned, but Crump? The dedicated sports channel mentioned him, and Mark Webber’s column in the paper mentioned him, but that was it. The other two won races; Crump won a world championship. And yet he did not get a look in. The media in this country is so damn fickle, and they wonder why our home-grown stars are reluctant to do anything to embrace the very media which treats them like discarded rubbish. Even if they are written about, as soon as they do anything even remotely not winner like they are crucified. See Hewitt, Lleyton for the best example.
V-8 Supercars
I forgot to mention last time that Bathurst was the first run with a fuel mix which contained more ethanol than fossil fuels. While this is a waste of valuable food resources in a world beset by hunger, at least they are doing something to go green and not be quite the waste of petrol they have been…
C8 Supercar Challenge, SuperGP, Gold Coast
            Yes, it has the name of a sponsor, but I’m not going to mention them after the problems I’ve had with their cameras.
Race 19A
1st Ford Performance Racing – Mark Winterbottom (Ford Falcon FG)
2nd Toll Holden Racing Team – Garth Tander (Holden Commodore VE)
3rd Toll Holden Racing Team – Will Davison (Holden Commodore VE)
Race 19B
1st Toll Holden Racing Team – Garth Tander (Holden Commodore VE)
2nd Ford Performance Racing – Mark Winterbottom (Ford Falcon FG)
3rd Toll Holden Racing Team – Will Davison Holden (Commodore VE)
Race 19 Overall
1st Garth Tander
2nd Mark Winterbottom
3rd Will Davison
Race 20A
1st TeamVodafone – Craig Lowndes (Ford Falcon FG)
2nd Ford Performance Racing – Mark Winterbottom (Ford Falcon FG)
3rd Toll Holden Racing Team – Garth Tander (Holden Commodore VE)
Race 20B
1st Ford Performance Racing – Mark Winterbottom (Ford Falcon FG)
2nd Toll Holden Racing Team – Garth Tander (Holden Commodore VE)
3rd Jim Beam Racing – James Courtney (Ford Falcon FG)
Race 20 Overall
1st Mark Winterbottom
2nd Garth Tander
3rd James Courtney

Horse-Racing
I am not a fan of abusing animals in the name of so-called sport. We have had more jumps horses killed this year in race-related accidents than died in the last lot of bushfires.
            But in Australia you cannot avoid the harming of large innocent creatures at this time of the year. It is called the Spring Carnival, and it is based around Melbourne’s racing fraternity. On the first Tuesday in November we have the Melbourne Cup which can quite literally stop the nation as workforces stop whatever it is they are doing to watch twenty-odd horses run for two miles around an oval, even if they’re not in Melbourne. In one school I taught at the principal expected the staff to participate in the sweeps and classes that wanted to do horse-racing and gambling activities were encouraged. In Victoria I believe it is a public holiday, but the Adelaide Cup is a holiday here in South Australia, and I believe other states have the same concepts. So, yes, we have holidays to watch horses get whipped by midgets in pyjamas. Sounds like a bad S&M film.
            Apart from the Melbourne Cup, the other big race of the Carnival is this one…
The Cox Plate
Winner: So You Think (trainer: Bart Cummings; jockey: Glen Boss)
            2nd Manhattan Rain
            3rd Zipping
Glen Boss has been suspended for 10 days after his riding tactics, however. It should also be pointed out that Cummings turns 82 in a few days and this is his fourth Cox Plate winner.

And that’s another view in the bag!

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