THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #95 – Sailing, Snooker and Souths

A brief-ish one this week as much has happened, including my second short story published in 6 months, and this one by a group in another state. So I am, naturally, stoked. I also got a prize in another writing comp, so that makes this a good year. But the writing side of things has sort of taken over this weekend, so you’ll have to put up with this.

What? Sailing? Are you nuts?
            Jessica Watson of Queensland recently returned to Australia after becoming the youngest person to sail unassisted around the world. Even though she did not meet the strict guidelines for this sort of thing (not enough time in the northern hemisphere, a few hundred kilometres short), and even though they actually do not recognise this record any longer (to stop little twerps from going off alone), what she did was remarkable.
            She left when she was 16 and she turns 17 on May 18. This was a phenomenal effort, and one not to be taken lightly. She was well equipped and had people watching over her 24/7. However, here is a small issue I have. While some kids have great dreams like this, what would have happened if something had happened to her? How could parents live with themselves knowing they allowed their daughter to do this? Yes, I know, they said in interviews she would die doing what she loved, but that is not the point. The point is she is a kid. As an adult, sure, do crazy things, but she is a minor.
            While I applaud her and her efforts, I have concerns about the next one to try… and there will be a next one. Some American girl wants to go, and she’s 14 or 15, and a Norwegian court stopped one their citizens from doing the same thing at age 16. What next? A 12 year old? Because God knows I’ve met enough parents of precocious 2 year olds whose parents think they could do damn near anything.
            Bravo, Jessica, good to see you back home. Safely.

Australian Rules Football
AFL Round 8
Fremantle 15.7 (97) def by Collingwood 20.13 (133)
            Fremantle discovered that as well as they have been doing, they are still a step off the pace when playing with the big boys. But a valiant showing from them, and they were not completely embarrassed.
Western Bulldogs 14.17 (101) def Sydney 9.9 (63)
            And Sydney continue on the downward spiral, blasted by former player Barry Hall this time, the big felkla kicking 5 goals against his old club.
Melbourne 6.10 (46) def by West Coast 10.15 (75)
            Ugly game with neither team playing well at all. West Coast won, but really, the fans watching this one lost. And both teams played like a bottom side.
Brisbane 10.14 (74) def by Geelong 24.11 (155)
            Like Fremantle, Brisbane have a way to go at the moment to match the big boys. And Geelong looks to be back to – if not their best – some fine form.
North Melbourne 12.12 (84) def Adelaide 11.9 (75)
            A last quarter fight back by the Crowd could not hide the fact they were outclassed for the first three quarters and North Melbourne deserved to thump them by a lot more than they did. Adelaide were pathetic and deserve to be second-to-last.
Richmond 13.8 (86) def by Hawthorn 13.11 (89)
            Whether this was Richmond trying to prove a point after losing everything this year, including to Adelaide, or Hawthorn playing like crap is anyone’s guess. But having seen only part of the game I am guessing the former as it looked like a good spectacle.
Port Adelaide 14.8 (92) def by Carlton 17.16 (118)
            And Port Adelaide’s run comes to a crashing halt. They led at three quarter time and then fell away as Carlton found something. But don’t count wither team out just yet.
St Kilda 11.15 (81) def by Essendon 14.9 (93)
            For a team that were going to win everything in 2010, St Kilda certainly are not looking the goods at the moment. Essendon, on the other hand, whom many had in the bottom half of the ladder, are continuing to storm on.
SANFL Round 8
West Adelaide 13.10 (88) def Port Adelaide 11.9 (75)
            Port losing again, West back to winning – everything’s returning to normal in the SANFL again. Port fought back well in the last quarter, but Westies were in cruise control mode by then and were comfortable winners.
Glenelg 18.14 (122) def Woodville-West Torrens 12.11 (83)
            And thus the undefeated streak ends. It was Glenelg’s 8-goal third quarter that did it for them and the Eagles were struggling all day. But this might be just the wake-up they need to ensure it does not happen again. But, having said that, Glenelg looked the team everyone thought they would be this year.
North Adelaide 8.10 (58) def by Norwood 12.11 (83)
            Yep, that second, good Norwood team are still kicking arse all over the SANFL. North have been the yo-yo team so far this season, and another down match for them as Norwood completely dominated the game.
Sturt 15.8 (98) def South Adelaide 12.9 (81)
            Another week, another South loss. After such a promising start to the year, they are well and truly sunk, battling with Port for honours of worst team. Sigh. Not a good time to be a supporter, let me tell you…
Bye: Central Districts

Twenty20 World Cup
21st Match, Group E: Pakistan v South Africa
Pakistan 7/148 (20 overs); South Africa 7/137 (20 overs) – Pakistan won by 11 runs
            An easy win for Pakistan over the hot-cold South Africans. Pakistan have played well for most of this tournament and it is an indication that they may finally be finding stability in their team.
22nd Match, Group E: England v New Zealand
New Zealand 6/149 (20 overs); England 7/153 (19.1 overs) – England won by 3 wickets
            Tight contest which could have gone either way, but England proved too good in the end.
23rd Match, Group F: India v Sri Lanka
India 5/163 (20 overs); Sri Lanka 5/167 (20 overs) – Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets
            Off the last ball! This was an engrossing match and it was clear both sides desperately wanted that win, as the last over was about as tense as you can get in this form of the game. Great match!
24th Match, Group F: West Indies v Australia
West Indies 105 (19 overs); Australia 4/109 (16.2 overs) – Australia won by 6 wickets
            Australia in cruising mode as they easily took care of the host nation.
1st Semi-Final: England v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 6/128 (20 overs); England 3/132 (16 overs) – England won by 7 wickets
            And with this England cruised quite comfortably into the final of the tournament.
2nd Semi-Final: Australia v Pakistan
Pakistan 6/191 (20 overs); Australia 7/197 (19.5 overs) – Australia won by 3 wickets
            One ball to spare! And Australia showed they can not only post the big scores, they can chase them down as well. And this puts them into the final against England.
Final: Australia v England
Australia 6/147 (20 overs); England 3/148 (17 overs) – England won by 7 wickets
            And after all that it came down to a pretty comfortable win for the Englishmen, with their slightly up-and-down tournament finishing on an up and Australia losing their only game in the final. This does augur well for a competitive Ashes series later on this year, though. But congratulations to the English, and, speaking personally, I hope this does not ruin the Australians mentally… as has happened way too often in the past.
Women’s Twenty20 World Cup
And I have been COMPLETELY remiss in not including the results of this companion tournament, also held in the West Indies. Very bad of me. But I will not recap every game, so here are the finals:
1st Semi-Final: Australia v India
India 5/119 (20 overs); Australia 3/123 (18.5 overs) – Aust Women won by 7 wickets
            And so, much like their male counterparts, Australia have coasted easily into the final.
2nd Semi-Final: West Indies v New Zealand
New Zealand 5/180 (20 overs); West Indies 8/124 (20 overs) – NZ won by 56 runs
            And their opponents will be New Zealand… and after the recent series between the two countries which was split, it will be very interesting to see how they go on neutral soil.
Final: Australia v New Zealand
Australia 8/106 (20 overs); New Zealand 6/103 (20 overs) – Australia won by 3 runs
            A much tighter match than the men’s final, with Australia just keeping New Zealand out of it at the end, indicating that their close summer was not a one-off, and also that these two countries are the best in women’s cricket in all forms of the game… and, of course, I could be biased. But I’m not.

Rugby Union
Super 14 Round 14
Crusaders 40 def Brumbies 22
Waratahs 32 def Hurricanes 16
Sharks 27 def Force 22
Blues 30 def Chiefs 20
Reds 38 just def Highlanders 36
Cheetahs 59 hammered Lions 10
Stormers 38 def Bulls 10
            And there you have it – all the home teams won their matches.

ANZ Championships – Round 9
WBOP Magic 72 def Tactix 52
            An easy one for the Magic as they cruised to a comfortable home win.
Thunderbirds 58 def Vixens 47
            The Vixens are not looking like the team they were last year. Adelaide are now comfortable in the top four, while Melbourne is struggling to even win at the moment.
Mystics 61 def Pulse 60
            51-all after regulation time, extra time was started, and a one-point win! This was one hell of a match. Back and forth all night. If you can find it, catch the replay. This is what competitive netball is all about.
Swifts 44 def Firebirds 40
            Swifts remain undefeated, but the Firebirds pushed them hard all night. Tight game.
Bye: Steel; Fever

Rugby League
NRL Round 10
            The biggest story out of this week was the performance of some of the referees. There were some decisions that just did not make sense, and at least one coach said so. But it wasn’t just his team that suffered. Many did. For the game to expand in Australia and really compete against the AFL, this is the sort of thing that needs to be eliminated by the powers-that-be.
            If they can drag themselves away from harassing Melbourne for a few minutes.
Canterbury-Bankstown 6 def by St George Illawarra 19
            A game of two halves with St George made to loom ordinary at the start, and then running all over their opponents. A bit of a grind, but a hard-fought victory.
Brisbane 28 def Gold Coast 6
            Brisbane are becoming more and more a one-man team – Israel Folau IS the broncos. Sure, people may disagree, but watch what happens when he’s next not on the paddock – they will be lost.
Warriors 24 def North Queensland 12
            Warriors’ first win a while, and they set it up with a 20-zip first half. The Cowboys, to their credit, did come back at them, but could not rein them in completely.
Sydney Roosters 18 def by Newcastle 34
            The Knights were hit by injury so badly they ended up with no interchange bench, and yet still pulled off a win, including one of the most amazing tries ever. Unbelievable.
Canberra 6 def by Melbourne 17
            And Melbourne’s “All For Nothing” tour continues as they score yet another win for no reward except the knowledge they are sticking it to everyone else just by being there. On the Melbourne issue, it now seems that Melbourne’s board is going to sue the NRL for something somewhere sometime. Just keeps getting nastier and nastier.
Wests Tigers 10 hammered by South Sydney 50
            Wests did not look like they belonged out there. Souths were just so completely dominant it was embarrassing. But afterwards the enthusiasm of their fans was amazing. They have the most rabid and passionate fans in Australia, and their actions afterwards showed just that.
            What? Big statement? Well, some history then:
            Back in the 1990s we had a thing called Super league. Basically some clubs thought the NRL wasn’t fiving them what they wanted, so they spat the dummy and formed a new league under Murdoch’s News Ltd newspaper group and his money. And the money was huge. Contracts were thrown around left, right and centre and the cash was disgusting. Teams sprung up everywhere. We even had one in Adelaide (which I went along as a proud supporter). But two leagues trying to kill one another was never going to work long-term and they actually sat down and worked out that what would be good for the sport would be to join back together and actually put the sport first and not self-controlling media interests.
            I know, stunned me as well. Fancy putting the sport ahead of lots of money!
            Well, part of the amalgamation of the Super League and NRL was the culling of clubs. Adelaide was one (so to this day we still don’t have rugby league represented in the big league). And South Sydney was another. And the fans went ballistic. Led by celebrities and literally thousands of ordinary punters, they marched and cried and rallied until, through sheer force of will, Souths were re-entered back into the fold. Now, under the helm of Russell Crowe and friends, they are a viable concern, but those days of non-existence will never be forgotten and the fans remain as rabid and loyal as anything ever.
Cronulla 14 def by Penrith 34
            Cronulla are still last, but this was a far better performance than the one we saw against St George. Still, they are struggling to win and in this day and age, that ain’t good.
Manly 12 def by Parramatta 19
            Tight game with Jarryd Hayne the difference between the sides.

V-8 Supercars
Winton Motor Raceway
Race 11
1st James Courtney (Falcon FG)
2nd Craig Lowndes (Commodore VE)
3rd Jamie Whincup (Commodore VE)
4th Steven Johnson (Falcon FG)
5th Shane van Gisbergen (Falcon FG)
Race 12
1st James Courtney (Falcon FG)
2nd Craig Lowndes (Commodore VE)
3rd Lee Holdsworth (Commodore VE)
4th Rick Kelly (Commodore VE)
5th Michael Caruso (Commodore VE)
            And to show how fast things can change, Courtney has taken over from Whincup as the overall leader after 12 races, amazing when you consider how dominant Whincup was at the start of the season.
Formula One
Monaco Grand Prix
            Yes, two weeks in a row! And, yes, that does mean mark Webber’s won two races in a row! He’s now equal first in the drivers’ standings! I am acting excited!
            Okay, fun’s fun. This is great news for Australian sport, as it means another local boy is making it really big on an international stage. Now while Webber may not be liked by the media here (he has a habit of telling the truth without tact – like his criticism, quite rightly, of the Melbourne Grand Prix), he is doing the country proud.
            So, yes, congratulations.

World Championships
            Snooker? Yes, snooker.
            Because Neil Robertson has become only the second Australian EVER to win the world championship.
            The first was Horace Lindrum way back in 1952.
            28 year old Robertson defeated Scot Graeme Dott 18-13 in a best of 35 frames final. 12 hours and three days of snooker.
            Congrat’s young man!

Professional Wrestling
Riot City Wrestling
Match 1 – Fuzion def Blue Blood
            Okay opener. Afterwards, Fuzion and Brad Smyth, his protégé, got into a shoving match.
Match 2 – Del Taurino and Marvel def Mimic and Voodoo
            Holy cow, what a match! Off the charts! Scramble (or Mexican) tag rules made this just wild and out there. Some of the best tag wrestling I’ve ever seen live.
Match 3 – Rocky Menero def Mike Burr
            Burr’s RCW debut (he’s from Victoria) and it was a decent match. Would have blown away many other shows, but not tonight…
Match 4 – Luke Santamaria def Brad Smyth, Warship and Jacko Lantern in a 4-way match
            Smyth took the pin from a rejuvenated and much improved Luke. The match was just filled with great wrestling, but the ending – with Jacko and Warship on the floor recovering instead of beating each other on the floor as a more legit ay of keeping them out for the ending – did seem odd. But Brad and Luke were the stars here.
Match 5 – Sway def Savannah Summers
            The women’s division in RCW, with the interstaters coming in and adjusting to the RCW style, just keeps getting better. Solid match again.
Match 6 – GD Grimm def TJ Rush (title match)
            What a match! Again, they just keep outdoing themselves, and for twenty minutes these two beat the holy hell out of one another. Grimm got the win with the curb stomp to retain…
TJ decides to cash in his key to the city there and then!
Match 7 – TJ Rush def GD Grimm (new champion)
            I have NEVER heard a pop like the one when TJ won. The loudest sound I’ve been in the middle of. Short, sharp and shiny, with TJ getting beaten, then managing to hit a coast to coast van Daminator before the shooting star press gets the pin, the win and the explosion.
            Well, this was yet another great night. I think the tag match was match of the night, but the title match was up there as well. And it was a full house with people being turned away. Great night, great wrestling. The RCW crowd appreciates and accepts longer matches and technical wrestling, and so the styles of the matches can vary. Just great. This promotion should be out there much more!
            Fan-boy rant over.
            Great show. Buy their DVDs.

Wow! Wasn’t that brief after all, was it? Lots of sport and lots of results… and no feedback yet.

And that’s the View – May 11 through 17.

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