Category Archives: Sports

Friday musing – Tennis, Bernard Tomic’s career is a ‘sell’…..oh dear!

At 25, Bernard Tomic has accomplished much in the tennis world but with Tennis Australia choosing not to offer Tomic a ‘wild card’ entry into the Australian Open field, his tennis career looks like it is on a very slippery, downward slope. Without automatic entry, Tomic has already indicated he had no interest in competing in the qualifying rounds.

Having attained his highest ATP tennis ranking of 17 in January 2016, he managed only eight wins after last year’s Australian Open causing a fall in the world rankings to #140. He has not played competitively since November 2017 and, after withdarwing from this month’s Brisbane International, we may have seen the last of Tomic at an ATP Tour or Grand Slam event.

If that is the case, then he will be like a number of young Australian tennis professionals who streak across the sky only to burn out in the heavy atmosphere that is the pro tennis circuit. Poise, composure, work ethic and tact are all qualities that go into making a good professional in any sporting field. After observing Tomic’s career, it is difficult to say he has any of those traits. One only needs to look at Tomic’s performance in a first round straight sets loss to Mischa Zverev at last year’s Wimbledon tournament and his petulant comments made at the aftermatch press conference to confirm this. It led to him being fined a record USD$15,000.00 by the All England Club for unsportsmanlike conduct after he admitted feigning injury during the match. He also told the press that he had felt a little bit bored and only played for the money.

If we have seen the last of Tomic, then I for one am not sorry to see him go. There have been many moments to celebrate in Australian Tennis over the years, but Bernard’s career is not one of them. The Wimbledon fine may be the low point of his career but there have also been more cringe worthy moments than memorable victories. With the suggestion that he could be one of the mystery contestants in the next ‘Get Me Out of Here, I am a Celebrity’, his career is definitely a ‘sell’ option at the moment.

Wednesday musing – cricket, MCG pitch mania…….

The International Cricket Council (‘ICC’) has now called the MCG pitch ‘poor’ based on the report by match referee, Ranjan Madugalle. It hasn’t taken the press long to jump all over that with the Age reporting that the MCG pitch produced for the Boxing day Test has become ‘infamous’ because it is the first Australian pitch to be described as poor. If that pitch was poor, then I wonder how pitches prepared on the sub-continent or in England would be described?

One only needs to Google the topic to find descriptions of sub-continent pitches as ‘diabolical’ and ‘a minefield’. One article reported the much vaunted South African Proteas’ batting line-up being skittled for a mere 79 runs with 33 of 40 wickets taken in the match falling to spin. In the 2015 Ashes series, there were complaints that pitches at Trent Bridge and the Oval had been doctored to suit England. In the Trent Bridge Test, Australia made only 60 runs and were all out before lunch on day one.

Certainly the MCC served up nothing as bad as that. The match referee’s rating was driven by his view that the pitch did not allow an even contest between bat and ball. Is that a bad thing? Clearly the ICC thinks so but I think it is much ado about nothing. But the fans didn’t agree as 260,000 spectators watched the Melbourne Test over the full five days.

With the new ICC points system coming in from 1 January 2018, the MCG has dodged being slapped with a three point penalty. Any ground that totals five points over a five year period can be
suspended from being used for ICC matches for one year. Given the past history of Test pitches, it would seem there will be plenty of grounds not seeing Test cricket due to suspension….can the ICC or Cricket Australia afford to suspend a ground that draws a crowd of 260,000? I think not!

What do you think?

Weekend musing – cricket, the Ashes, a ‘lifeless’ pitch…..

The MCG curator must have felt sorry for the English cricket team with the pitch he turned out that was more in keeping with slower English conditions. As I expected, the match ended in a draw with the Aussies retaining a 3-0 lead in this Ashes series.

Since stumps were called yesterday, I have read and listened with interest to the pundits advocating long and loud for a ‘better’ pitch at the MCG. Those making the call include Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide and MCC CEO Stuart Fox. A comment was even provided by the Australian captain Steve Smith. Apparently, the pitch was ‘lifeless’ and needed to provide ‘more variation’. Smith’s observations appear a bit disingenuous given he and his team were batting to save the match and prevent an unlikely England win. I am sure he and the other Australian batsmen were pleased that the ball was bouncing straight and true on day five of the match.

Correct me if I am wrong, but test match cricket has three possible results….a win, loss or draw and, unlike in most other sporting contests, the ‘dead rubber’ matches are still played. While limited over matches have their place in the lexicon of cricket, they should not be used as a yard stick to judge test cricket. They are different games with different expectations. In my opinion, the commentators have been blinded by the hit and giggle of the short form of the game and seem to want all cricket played the same way, finishing with a win or loss.

Having been raised watching five day test matches, I find the battle of wits and skill over the extended period to be a true ‘test’ of ability. It is clearly still a popular form of the game as more than 88,000 flocked to the first day of the MCG test, even though the series had already been decided in Perth the week before. I did read with interest pitch critics saying the pitch was to blame for the fall off in attendance after day one. I think those writers conveniently overlooked the fact that Boxing day was a holiday but many people needed to return to work the next day.

Have a great New Year!

Professor’s tips for Sandown on 30 December 2017

The Professor has taken over the mantle of Sportzfan Radio’s racing tipster for the forseeable future. Whilst he has been schooled by the Gelding in how to pick favourites, he looks to put his own stamp on the tips and will search for at least one selection with a bit of value each week for punters.

Needless to say the Professor sees the tips as an each way chance but he doesn’t see the need for the ‘all up’ bet as well.

Sandown

Race 1 Horse 1 – Fake
Race 2 Horse 4 – Domesticated (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 3 Horse 6 – Life on the Wire
Race 4 Horse 4 – Mawzoona (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 6 Horse 7 – Ozi Choice

Good luck and good punting!

The Professor

Weekend musing – The Ashes, Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh, Tim Paine…..

I didn’t see a 3-0 start to this Ashes series on the cards but after watching the first three test matches, it appears Australia’s bowling
is a cut above the English and the Aussie batsmen seem to have been able to make runs at important times in each match. With the Ashes firmly in our grasp, all the carping at the selector’s decisions prior to the first test seem like so much hot air now. Just stuff to fill tabloids and the internet. I think we over analyse things at times.

Before the Perth test I didn’t think Peter Handscomb deserved to get dropped and when Mitch Marsh bowled only nine overs without taking a wicket I thought the selectors had pulled the wrong rein. How wrong was I? Marsh came out and made 181 and his partnership with Steve Smith probably won the test match for Australia. Perplexingly, at the start of the English second innings he only bowled three overs and that was it for him for the match. I thought he was brought in by the selectors to support the bowlers but he only bowled a total of twelve overs across two innings. I am perplexed, but on his batting alone, it is hard to say the selectors got it wrong.

I was a supporter of Tim Paine from the start of the series and now people are starting to sing his praises. As I mentioned at the time he
was always considered to be the heir apparent to Brad Haddin, but finger injuries cruelled his chances and now he is getting his opportunity and taking it with both hands, literally!

The Melbourne test is now a dead rubber, but day one is sold out and last time the English were here it was also a dead rubber with over 90,000 people attending that game. Seemes everyone loves a winner.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year and we will muse again in the New Year!

Gelding’s red hot tips for Moonee Valley on 23 December 2017

The Gelding’s attention turns to Moonee Valley for the last metropolitan meeting before Christmas. The Gelding has put some extra work in on the tips this week in an endeavour to give punters a little extra Christmas cheer.

As always the bets are on an each way and all up basis.

Moonee Valley

Race 1 Horse 2 – Miles of Krishan
Race 2 Horse 10 – Pleasuring
Race 5 Horse 2 – Imperial Aviator (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 7 Horse 2 – Muraahib (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 9 Horse 9 – Widgee Turf

Good luck, good punting and best wishes for Christmas!

The Gelding

Gelding’s red hotties for Caulfield races on 16 December 2017

The Gelding’s attention is back at his home track at Caulfield today and he is looking to provide some festive cheer for punters.

As always the bets are on an each way and all up basis.

Caulfield

Race 1 Horse 11 – Ennis Hill
Race 3 Horse 3 – Holy Freeze
Race 4 Horse 6 – Vinland (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 5 Horse 1 – Mrs Gardenia
Race 8 Horse 1 – Crystal Dreamer (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Gelding’s red hot tips for Pakenham races on 9 December 2017

The Gelding’s attention turns to the provincial track at Pakenham today with the running of the Pakenham Cup. More rain during the week, makes for a tricky and difficult race meeting to pick winners. That being said, the Gelding thinks he has some tips that he hopes will give a return to punters today.

As always the bets are on an each way and all up basis.

Pakenham

Race 3 Horse 7 – Fontein Lad (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 5 Horse 1 – Jungle Edge
Race 6 Horse 11 – Silvera
Race 7 Horse 2 – Grey Lion (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 8 Horse 1 – Burning Front

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Gelding’s red hotties for Sandown races on 2 December 2017

After flirting with a provincial race meeting last weekend, the Gelding’s attention is firmly on metropolitan Melbourne today with racing at Sandown on the Hillside track. With all the rain around over the last twenty-four hours, the track will probably be heavy by the time racing commences.

As always the bets are on an each way and all up basis.

Sandown

Race 2 Horse 5 – Holy Freeze
Race 3 Horse 1 – Mrs Gardenia
Race 6 Horse 8 – Sprightly Lass (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 7 Horse 2 – Gun Case (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 8 Horse 9 – Night’s Watch

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Tuesday musing – Farewell Ange and Aussies off to a bolter in the Ashes

I have been a longtime supporter of Ange Postecoglou and was especially pleased when he was appointed as Socceroos coach to replace Holger Osieck. There can be no doubt that Ange has turned the team’s fortunes around as at one stage the Socceroos had slumped to number 100 in the FIFA world rankings but he now has them back at 39 after qualifying for the World Cup. Ange also managed to win an Asian Championship along the way so he is definitely leaving the National team in a lot better shape than when he took over. Given that success I was most disappointed that he decided to pull the pin on his time as the manager of the team. A bit like David Gallup, I am puzzled as to why you would walk away after having scaled the mountain the hard way. It reminds me of David Hall, who was the original trainer of Maykbe Diva. After the first Melbourne Cup win he went overseas to pursue a training career leaving the Diva with Lee Freedman to chalk up two more wins. At least he had the first win! The search is now on for a new manager and I have heard many names mentioned including current Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold, Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi, former Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic, Melbourne Victory’s Kevin Muscat and, in a blast from the past, Aussie Guus Hiddink. I hope the powers that be stick with a well credentialled Aussie coach. Personally I think Arnold has the ability to do the top job. He already knows the difficulties having been the Socceroos coach from 2006-2007 and he has been a success in the national competition with his A League side currently holding all three trophies.

Great to see the Ashes series has started as it is the most anticipated series in world cricket. In the recently completed First Test, the Australians gained the ascendancy after being able to scratch out a slim first innings lead then managed to take some crucial, early second innings wickets. The Aussie speed trio of Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc were wonderful and had the English on the back foot in both innings. Providing the three can stay fit, they will be more than a handful for the English over the final four tests. A special mention to the skipper too. Steve Smith’s innings was the real difference between the sides and the only reason the Aussies had a first innings lead. Without his contribution we would have been facing a sizeable deficit to make up and that would have completely turned the tables. Our top order needs to take a leaf out of Smith’s book and seek to occupy the crease rather than go after quick runs all the time. After all it is a ‘Test’ not a 20/20 game.