THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #84 – Winter Olympics and too much cricket!

Opening banter: Nope, got nothing. Lots of scores, and we got another gold at the Olympics, but…. nope. Nothing.

Winter Olympics
            Another Winter Olympics piece! Because Australia has won another gold medal! Seriously! Although, it must be said this one was not a huge surprise, with Lydia Lassila taking gold in the women’s aerials. Australia has actually had a good tradition in this sport for a long time, but to beat the Chinese was still quite an accomplishment.
            Special mention should also be made of young Cheltzie Lee who qualified in the finals of the women’s figure skating, which is a huge achievement not only for any Australian, but especially for one so young, and who received a late call-up to the Games. Watch for her in 4 or 8 years to actually make an impact, barring injury or lack of funds.
            I should also point out that I saw my first ever game of women’s ice hockey, as Canada beat the USA 2-0. Man, those girls hit hard! And Crosby’s golden goal in the men’s! Wow! What a game! I could get to love this sport.
            Okay, so this is short… mainly because the Australians and their results were not the most awesome things out there. But it has still been a fun 2 weeks of seeing sports that normally we only get small highlights packages of if we’re lucky in some international sports recap shows.
            And here’s the medal standings:
1 Canada 13G, 7S, 5B
2 Germany 10, 12, 7
3 United States 9, 14, 13
4 Norway 8, 8, 6
5 South Korea 6, 6, 2
6 Switzerland 6, 0, 3
7 China 5, 2, 4
8 Sweden 5, 2, 3
9 Austria 4, 6, 6
10 Netherlands 4, 1, 3
11 Russia 3, 5, 7
12 France 2, 3, 6
13 Australia 2, 1, 0
14 Czech Republic 2, 0, 4
15 Poland 1, 3, 2
16 Italy 1, 1, 3
=17 Belarus 1, 1, 1
=17 Slovakia 1, 1, 1
19 Great Britain 1, 0, 0
20 Japan 0, 3, 2
=21 Croatia 0, 2, 1
=21 Slovenia 0, 2, 1
23 Latvia 0, 2, 0
24 Finland 0, 1, 4
=25 Estonia 0, 1, 0
=25 Kazakhstan 0, 1, 0

Cricket
International
2nd Twenty20 International
Australia Women v New Zealand Women
Australia 7/115; New Zealand 5/116 (16.5 overs) – New Zealand won by 5 wickets
            What a difference a change in game format makes! New Zealand were so completely outclassed in the 50-over form of the game that this was threatening to be a complete blow-out, and yet they’ve won the first two Twenty20 games!
2nd Twenty20 International
Australia v West Indies
West Indies 7/138; Australia 2/142 (11.4 overs) – Australia won by 8 wickets
            And Australia have gone through their home summer undefeated by anyone. But this game they really deserved to win. Their fielding was spectacular with some catches that verged on the “holy cow! how did they do that?” variety, while young Warner blasted 50 runs in 18 balls – the second fastest half century ever – on his way to 69. A great display from Australia, but with the current form of their opponents this season, it can only be hoped they have not grown complacent over such an undemanding summer.
3rd Twenty20 International
Australia Women v New Zealand Women
New Zealand 7/141; Australia 7/134 – New Zealand won by 7 runs
            And so New Zealand do a complete form reversal and clean sweep the Twenty20 series in Australia.
1st Twenty20 International
New Zealand v Australia
New Zealand 118 (20 overs); Australia 4/119 (16 overs) – Australia won by 6 wickets
            And Australia continued their form with a win in New Zealand over their Trans-Tasman counterparts. This match, however, was a much closer affair, and was highlighted by more amazing catches and fielding.
4th Twenty20 International
New Zealand Women v Australia Women
New Zealand 7/132; Australia 73 (15.3 overs) – New Zealand won by 59 runs
            On home soil New Zealand’s Twenty20 form continues unabated, with the embarrassment tables being well and truly turned around. Yowch!
2nd Twenty20 International
New Zealand v Australia
New Zealand 6/214; Australia 4/214 – Match drawn
            …but wait! There’s more!
            A one-over eliminator to determine a winner!
            The way this works – the chasing side goes first. They face one over with the batsmen. If they lose two wickets, it’s over, otherwise they score as much as they can. Then the other teams tries to outscore them with their 3 batsmen without losing 2 wickets…
            Got that? Good!
            Australia – 6 runs, New Zealand – 9 runs (4 balls)
            New Zealand win!
            Well, that was certainly exciting! I think I like the sudden death concept. And Australia’s first loss in many months. Are they being exposed, or is it just the fact that they have not had a break for –  what? – six months now? Or is it a little from column A, a little from column B… Let’s wait and see.
Second One-Day International
India v South Africa
India 3/401; South Africa 248 (42.5 overs) – India won by 153 runs
            Hang on, you’re probably asking – why in the Sam Hill are you putting in a score that does not involve Australia? Because of one very simple reason – Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian maestro has become the first person in the history of one day cricket to score a double century. That’s right – he scored an unbeaten 200. This is huge. I cannot think of an equivalent in another sport. He is known as ‘the little master’, and at age 36, on this evidence, it is not a misnomer. And he could keep going for a few more years yet. I think he will be remembered as the finest batsman of his generation, and probably second only to Australian Sir Donald Bradman as the greatest batsmen ever.
Sheffield Shield
Queensland v Victoria
Victoria 316 & 104; Queensland 170 & 9/252 – Queensland won by 1 wicket
            Another really close 4-day match in Australia! Victoria looked to have it all sewn up when they dismissed Queensland for 170 in their first innings, but then they collapsed in their own second innings and then Queensland almost lost it as they made their way to victory. This has been a great year for the Shield!
Ford Ranger Cup
South Australia v New South Wales
South Australia 7/243; New South Wales 5/246 (46 overs) – New South Wales won by 5 wickets
            This was the battle for the wooden spoon… and South Australia got it! Finishing last on the table, just missing out on the Twenty20 final and finishing in the middle of the Shield table, it has not been a hugely successful year for South Australia.
Final
Victoria v Tasmania
Tasmania 6/304; Victoria 194 (42.1 overs) – Tasmania won by 110 runs
            After such a close season with teams pushing each other all year, the final comes down to a completely dominant performance by Tasmania that embarrassed the Victorians exceedingly. Full credit to the Apple Islanders, as they deserved the title, but Victoria – what happened?

Australian Rules Football
AFL Pre Season Cup
Round Two
            It should also be pointed out that other games also occur – the losers face one another for extra match practice. These are not official matches, and so no, I won’t be covering them here.
Hawthorn 7.12 (54) def by Western Bulldogs 15.12 (111)
            Barry Hall’s six goals were all the difference here. He gave the Bulldogs some-one up forward to aim at, and was such a dominant player that he intimidated by his mere presence. While I rue the fact he left Sydney, his new surroundings seem to have given him a new lease on life, and he could be the difference in the Western Bulldogs’ season this year.
West Coast Eagles 2.8.14 (80) def by Port Adelaide 4.19.8 (158)
            Port are on a roll this early in the season, defeating one of their bogey sides of recent years. Mind you, it is pre-season, but still, good indications.
St Kilda 2.9.7 (79) def Sydney 0.12.6 (78)
            A mistake from one Swans player is being blamed for the loss… but how did they let themselves get into that situation? Still, no surprise that the Saints won. However, using regular season scoring rules, Sydney would have won.
North Melbourne 0.13.12 (90) def by Fremantle 1.12.13 (94)
            Well done to Fremantle, but let’s hope this is not one of their typical seasons – promising so much and yet failing to ultimately deliver.

Netball
International Series
Test Four
England v Australia
            England 48 def by Australia 53
Australia responded in the best way possible to their shock loss – by winning. And winning comfortably. They went into the match with much more aggression and determination, and the final test between the two countries should be an absolute humdinger!
Test Five
England v Australia
            England 43 def by Australia 45
And it was! Tight game. Australia backed it up with a hard fought win in the fifth test match. England are once more going to put pressure on the top teams come the next world titles (or Commonwealth Games – I should really find out if netball is still in the old Empires), if this is any indication.

Rugby Union
Super 14 Round 3
Crusaders 35 hammered Sharks 6
Stormers 17 just def by Brumbies 19
Hurricanes 33 def Lions 18
Reds 18 def by Blues 27
Force 19 def by Chiefs 37
Cheetahs 24 def by Highlanders 31
Bulls 48 def Waratahs 38

Soccer
A-League
            A break in the finals series because of:
Asian Champions League
Adelaide United 1 def Pohang Steelers (Korea) 0
            After such a rubbish domestic season, how can Adelaide have this sort of result in the ACL?
Beijing Guoan 1 def Melbourne Victory 0
            Melbourne by all accounts looked tired.

Basketball
NBL Semi-finals
First Semi-Final

Gold Coast 78 def by Perth 82
            And Perth are through in straights sets.
Second Semi-Final
Townsville 82 def Wollongong 53
Second Semi-Final
Wollongong 88 def Townsville 76
            Down to the third game for these two teams! And ultimately Wollongong are through.
WNBL Finals Week Two
Preliminary Final

Sydney 56 def by Canberra 61

Motorsports
V-8 Supercars
Sticking to the Middle East, the second round is coming from Bahrain and the Gulf Air Desert Circuit. Again, a good response from this part of the world will only help the sport. I still say, though – expand the manufacturers!
Race 3
1st Jamie Whincup – TeamVodafone (Commodore VE)
2nd Mark Winterbottom – Orrcon Steel and Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon (FG Falcon)
3rd Craig Lowndes – TeamVodafone (Commodore VE)
Race 4
1st Jamie Whincup – TeamVodafone (Commodore VE)
2nd Mark Winterbottom – Orrcon Steel and Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon (FG Falcon)
3rd Shane van Gisbergen – Stone Brothers Racing / Irwin Racing and SP Tools Racing (FG Falcon)
            Whincup very impressive, with wins in the first four races of the season. If this continues, the season will be all over by May.
            Oh, and I don’t think I’m going to bother with team sponsors after this. I only did it because of some-one complaining last year, but with some teams having eight or nine sponsors, it’s getting ridiculous. So driver and car will be it, I think.

That’s this view – Feb 15 through 28.

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