The View From Down Here #69 – Cricket And Golf

Hey! More cricket! And golf! And rugby! And soccer! More sport than you can shake a ball at!

Cricket
International
Australia-India Series
Game 7: India v Australia
            No Result – Not a ball was bowled.
            Rain won the day.
            Australia won the series 4-2. Australia now face the West Indies on home soil and Pakistan as well for a summer of international cricket. The West indies for a while looked like fielding a third- or fourth- string side, but a pay dispute has apparently been settled and they could very well give the Australians a run for their money. First test coming up…
            Now, I’m not going to wax lyrical again about the state of the Australian national team and how hard it is to get in and even harder to get out. Their results have been up and down this past year, but they have still had good results (apart from that embarrassing Ashes loss… again.). So I will save my invective for a later date. But even if Australia dominate, I still think they lack a youth policy which could well come back to haunt them in future years.
            Just saying.
Sheffield Shield
South Australia v Queensland
            Sth Aust 5(dec)/477 & 2(dec)/159; Queensland 308 & 5/228 – match drawn (SA – 2 pts)
            South Australia could have won this, setting a gettable but tough total for Queensland on the last day. But the bowlers failed to capitalise… and they cannot be faulted for that. South Australia suffered through its first November heat wave ever (here a heat wave is 5 consecutive days above 36 degrees Celsius, or 97 Fahrenheit) and these poor saps were playing cricket in it. An entertaining game, with the weather keeping crowds down.
Ford Ranger Cup
South Australia v Queensland
            Queensland 6/266; Sth Aust 236 (49 overs) – Qld won by 30 runs
            South Australia do so well in the long form but are crashing and burning in the short. This match was played in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory (and why they don’t have their own team yet, I do not know) but that was a new place for both teams. Most of the interest focused on Andrew Symonds’ return to the Queensland team, but he only scored 4 runs and took no wickets off a maximum over allocation (10). Some comeback. It is interesting to note that Queensland has flagged a few younger players to make their debuts this week.
Victoria v Western Australia
            Victoria 5/304; Western Australia 213 (44 overs) – Victoria won by 91 runs
            Victoria continue their one day form with an emphatic win over the hapless Sandgropers. They are really the form team at the moment.
New South Wakes v Tasmania
            New South Wales 8/271; Tasmania 4/272 – Tas won by 6 wickets
            Tasmania are going to be one of those frustrating teams this year, with some great results (like this one) and some not so great ones. New South Wales, on the other hand, must be worried. This was a match they should have won and, really, Tasmania cruised in with more than five overs to spare. The big news, though, is an injury to Phil Hughes ahead of the first test, and Brett Lee’s return from injury being nothing remarkable.
Women’s National Cricket League Twenty20
Tasmania v Western Australia
            Western Australia 4/107; Tasmania 9/86 – Western Australia won by 21 runs
            Tasmania did not play well. Western Australia were not really on form, but Tasmania were almost embarrassing. Some work is needed and needed fast by the Apple Islanders.
South Australia v Western Australia
            South Australia 3/151; Western Australia 5/116 – South Australia won by 35 runs
            Western Australia’s form against Tasmania carried over and against a stronger side they struggled quite a deal. South Australia are finally finding some good form, and that augurs well for the rest of the competition.
Women’s National Cricket League
South Australia v Western Australia
            South Australia 191 (46.1 overs); Western Australia 7/192 – WA won by 3 wickets
            It seems that WA play better in the full-day version of the game. But South Australia were rather ordinary here.
South Australia v Western Australia
            South Australia 191 (46.4 overs); Western Australia 8/192 – WA won by 2 wickets
            No, you did read that right – the next day, virtually the exact same scores! Played at the rather picturesque ovals of a prominent Adelaide private school, the game itself was intense and hard-fought in stifling heat. And it seemed the weather got to both teams. Shame because they were playing very well.

Soccer
A-League
No games this week because of the international fixture. Orr maybe it’s a mid-season break. It’s hard to tell because I’ve seen both excuses given. I like to think it’s a scheduled mid-season break, however.
International
Asian Cup Qualifier
            Oman 1 def by Australia 2
            Yes, Australia won, keeping themselves on track for 2011. However, that having been said, Australia had to come from behind and Oman really did dominate. Only goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer saved the Australians from humiliation here. I don’t mean it being humiliating being beaten by Oman in Muscat with ten men for the final 72 minutes; I mean humiliation in what could have been a 3-0 trouncing. Australia’s character really did come through, and this should serve the Aussies well for the World Cup.
W-League – Round Seven
Adelaide United 0 embarrassed by Central Coast Mariners 6
            This was an error-riddled match from Adelaide and, frankly, the Mariners deserved their emphatic victory.
Sydney 1 def Newcastle Jets 0
Canberra United 4 hammered Perth Glory 0
Brisbane Roar 1 drew with Melbourne Victory 1
            Watched this game and I stand by my comment from last week – at times, the women’s game is proving more exciting than the men’s in this country. Melbourne pushed hard and it was only a late goal that scraped them through with the draw.

Golf
Australian Masters
Tiger Woods –14
Greg Chalmers –12
Francois Delamontagne –10
Jason Dufner –10
            Golf has suddenly wiped every other sport off the back pages of the newspapers. Again, I say I do not find golf an exciting sport to play or watch, but I do appreciate it. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t watch the final two rounds. Tiger Woods dominated the first two days, had a shocker on the third falling into being level with two other players, then streaked away in the final round to take the Golden Jacket. And, yes, that was all this was about.
            A few others golfers whinged about the amount of publicity Woods was getting, but without him there would have been virtually no publicity for their game and there would definitely have been no sell-out and less sponsorship. Others complained that the $3 million appearance fee for Woods was excessive. Victoria planned to benefit by $19 million from his stay through tourism; it is estimated now they maybe got more than double that figure. Gold clubs across the nation are noting an increase in youngsters inquiring about starting the game. Just one man in one tournament has made that much of an impact on the game.
            However, some things were excessive. When he arrived at the airport, three helicopters followed him. Three! Why? He’s just a man who plays sport. On our Pay-TV dominant force, you could elect to have ‘Tiger-Cam’ as your interactive selection, with cameras focused on Tiger for the whole tournament.
            Look, I appreciate he is a great golfer, but that’s just it – he plays golf. That’s all. No cures for cancer, no world peace. He hits a ball with a stick. Sometimes I think our priorities are totally screwed…

Basketball
NBL Round Eight
Cairns 70 def by Townsville 85
New Zealand 83 def Perth 74
Gold Coast 93 def Townsville 77
Perth 79 def Cairns 64
Adelaide 83 def Wollongong 76
            I admit it, I watched this game. And Adelaide are starting to work as a team better than the last time I saw them. And Wollongong have been the team to beat this year.
Melbourne 91 def by Townsville 98
WNBL Round Six
Perth 92 def AIS 75
Logan 56 def by Townsville 77
Bendigo 76 def Dandenong 63
Bulleen 65 def by Sydney 79
Adelaide 99 def AIS 77
            AIS came so close to their first win in this rather scrappy game, but Adelaide ran away at the end.

Rugby League
International – Four Nations
Final
England 16 hammered by Australia 46
            The final was one-sided and looked almost like an Australian training run. No, that’s unfair. The first half was very close, but then in the second half Australia ran away with it. The Australian side does not look like the best side in the world yet, but with what they’ve shown in this tournament and how much they improved as a team as it went on shows that they have an excellent basis for once more taking the world title for themselves.

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
Ireland 20 drew with Australia 20
               The grand slam hopes are gone for the Aussies just like that! Ireland’s captain Brian O’Driscoll scored a last-minute goal to snatch the draw and Australia were a shattered unit. The game itself was a very good one (well worth staying up at 1am our time to watch it!) and both teams look the goods. However, Australia were clearly the better side and some of the refereeing decisions were confusing and, it would seem, very biased. (Yes, from my vantage point as an Australian watching on television, he seemed biased. Deal with it; this is my opinion.) Australia now have to regroup before their next match, against Scotland.

Other Sport
Some swimmers did well at the short course, including a world record, but while swimmers insist on cheating, I will insist on ignoring them
               No Australians did any good in the tennis. Again.
               Australian Marcos Ambrose is doing remarkably well in NASCAR. We don’t get a lot of NASCAR in Australia and I am not entirely sure of its rules and regulations, but it seems like the USA’s version of the V8 supercars. I would be glad if some-one could educate me.
               Casey Stoner had the pole position for the Spain MotoGP but crashed out on the warm-up lap! Sorry, but that’s funny.
               In the AFL, well regarded coach Kevin Sheedy has been brought out of retirement to head up the competition’s eighteenth team in Western Sydney. Quite a coup for the fledgling outfit.

That’s this view – November 9 through 16.

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