Tag Archives: australia

Weekend musing – Test series wrap, Victoria wins the Sheffield Shield……

Sfan OB6A disappointing end to a very interesting test series in India with Australia capitulating in the second innings of the fourth test. Up until that stage, the series had been evenly poised and was one of the most talked about series in India that I can remember. Steve Smith clearly the star for Australia with the bat and Pat Cummins making a successful comeback to test cricket augurs well for the future. A lot has been made about friendships between the teams being sacrificed in an all out attempt to win. All I’ll say about that is the friendships cannot have been too solid in the first place if a bit of name calling and sledging has brought them undone.

Sticking with cricket, it was great to see the Vics salute again in the Sheffield Shield for a record third straight win. It also must be 81946500remembered that none of the wins have been on home soil. The first win was in Hobart, the second an away win against South Australia and the third was in Alice Springs. It cannot be underestimated how valuable Cameron White has been as Captain of the Bushrangers. His experience and tactical ability has come to the fore once again.

There was an article in the Herald Sun this week discussing the success of the Victorian horses in Sydney this year. It has been put down to the heavy tracks in Sydney which has meant the Victorian horses are going up there fitter than their northern counterparts. I think there could be a parallel with the two Sydney football teams based on their performances last week. Both Sydney teams played teams from Adelaide where the weather has meant that full training outside has been undertaken, whereas, perhaps the weather in Sydney has meant that a lot of their training has been indoors. Certainly something to keep an eye on in coming weeks.

I am also amazed that various pundits are prepared to write teams off after one round of football. It is a bit like making too many predictions on a pre-season series which doesn’t mean much.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – fourth test in India, Seltun, Sheffield Shield final….

Sfan OB6Great to see the Australian cricket team hang on in the third test in India. Peter Handscombe obviously took my previous musing to heart and produced his best innings of the tour and in the context of the series, perhaps the best innings of his fledgling career. I think thishanscomb is probably the first time since the third test of the 2005 Ashes series when the Australian team has batted out a day to save a test. On that occasion Ricky Ponting batted nearly the whole day and we escaped with a draw with one wicket in hand. The Indians really took the game away from Australia on Sunday and to hang on as we did was a great effort and keeps a very interesting series alive going into this weekend for the fourth and final test of the series.

I was tickled on last weekend to see the horse Gingernuts salute in Sydney. Being a chestnut gelding this is quite a creative name by the owners and I am surprised it got through the authorities. It reminds me of the horse Seltun which is Nutles(s) backwards.

It is interesting that this weekend we have two sporting finals where the host team is playing away from home. The Victorian Bushrangers have made a habit of it recently and are hosting South 81946500Australia in Alice Springs in the Sheffield Shield final and in the AFLW we have Brisbane Lions hosting Adelaide Crows on the Gold Coast. As Victoria has won the last two Shield’s perhaps it is a winning formula, but clearly not ideal for local cricket fans. This scenario was apparent at the start of the season, however, the AFLW grand final is a bit more embarrassing for all concerned. The groundsmen in control of the Gabba apparently see their primary job to prepare the ground for the first test match of the year and AFL football takes a back seat. Leigh Matthews has said that this situation has existed since the Brisbane Lions started playing there and perhaps now with the Queensland state government getting involved, football might be treated a bit better.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Test cricket, JLT Community Series……

Sfan OB6The Australian test team did us proud in India last week after I had speculated that they registered an below par score in the first innings. As it turned out, Australia’s score in the first innings surpassed India’s match total. Clearly India prepared a pitch to suit externaltheir bowlers and were hoist on their own petard. Steve O’Keefe did an amazing job to take 12/70, but the real test comes in backing it up. Most cricket followers will recollect Jason Krejza took 12 wickets in his first test in India and then played only one further test match and finished with an average of 43.23. Everyone also knows the Bob Massie story. After taking 16 wickets in his first test against Englad he only played 5 more test matches for another 15 wickets. I hope O’Keefe can back it up as, if he does, it will go a long way towards winning the series.

With the JLT Community pre-season competition now in full swing I am always amazed that people are prepared to bet on the Unknownpremiership and brownlow medal on the back of pre-season form. These are practice matches where clubs are experimenting, building up players fitness and trying out rookies. There is no real pressure and winning and losing have the same end result. Last year a lot of Collingwood supporters got excited on the back of three convincing pre-season wins and they were considered certainties to play finals. By the end of the season they had only nine wins and finished twelveth. Yes they had some injuries to key players during the year, but did not live up to their pre-season form.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – T20 v Sri Lanka, first Test in India, more supplement scandal….

Chris Barwin HillsLast Sunday Geelong hosted an international sporting event being the T20 game between Australia and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately the day was less than ideal for cricket with a lot of rain falling. This obviously deterred some of the crowd, but not the Sri Lankan supporters. There was approximately 13,500 people in attendance and I would roughly estimate that two thirds of the crowd were Sri Lankan fans. The game was good, with Australia failing to australia-v-sri-lanka-2nd-t20_1aa318fa-f6a0-11e6-800c-c780129a337acapitalise on a good start and probably fell 15-20 runs short of what I thought was a par score. The last 4 wickets fell cheaply and they could not get Moises Henriques back on strike. The Sri Lankan innings started poorly with the loss of early wickets, then they consolidated. With three overs to go they still needed 2-3 runs a ball but then Gunaratne cut loose. Moises Henriques came on to bowl the 18th over having been Australia’s most economical bowler to that time. His first ball was a dot, the next three went for sixes and he conceded 21 runs for the over and Sri Lanka went on to win on the last ball of the night which also went for six. Gunaratne was the architect behind the win and he did so playing proper cricket shots. It was a good night and there were no rain delays so those that stayed away missed a very good match.

Meanwhile, in India, the main Australian team started the Test series on Thursday. Australia won the toss and the top order all got starts with only Matt Renshaw going on to post a half century. Mitchell externalStarc later added some respectability with a half century of his own. I have always thought that if you bat first in a test match, that a score of 350+ is par. Australia fell short of that total but made up for it on the second day with an excellent spell with the ball. Steve O’Keefe’s six wickets in 24 balls has put Australia in the box seat to take this first Test and now they must rely on their batsmen to set India a big total to catch.

On Friday morning the sporting world was again burdened with further instalment in the Essendon supplements saga with news of aPaul-Little recording of a meeting that, the then president Paul Little says he
didn’t know was being recorded. Surely this now becomes a police matter if people are being recorded without their knowledge and consent. It is unfortunate that this saga continues to generate ‘news’ as I am heartily sick of it all. How about we concentrate on what is now happeneing on the football field.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Perpetual Loyal, Big Bash League & Boxing Day test match….

Sfan OB6When it took line honours earlier this week, Perpetual Loyal broke the Sydney to Hobart yacht racing record by nearly five hours. If a record is broken by that much you have to sit up and take notice. Theunknown 630 nautical mile race is said to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world, but this year conditions were tailor made for a quick journey as the second and third placed boats also beat the previous record. That record was held by Wild Oats XI. Even though it now no longer holds the race record, Wild Oats XI has set a Sydney to Hobart mark that will be difficult to beat in that it has the most line honours victories (8) and has twice held the race treble with race record, line honours and handicap honours all in the same year (2005 & 2012).

I have been watching a bit of the Big Bash League and the sloppy fielding by the Sydney Thunder in their match against the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday night got me thinking that it was so bad, a person might wonder what the coaching staff are teaching the imagesplayers. Three relatively easy catches went down and another was totally misjudged – mistakes so bad that the commentators spent two nights talking about it. The Hobart Hurricanes captaincy is also under question from me with Tim Paine failing to utilise his most economical bowler for the full four overs against the Melbourne Stars. Clive Rose started with 3 overs for 17 runs and was not used again in a very close match. I also thought Paine erred in bringing back Stewart Broad too late to have an impact. A case of poor decisions losing a match!

Sticking with cricket, it was interesting to hear Steve Smith say at the end of day 4 of the Melbourne Test Match that he didn’t think smiththe Pakistanis were trying to get him out. I would suggest that Smith was trying to apply some subtle final day pressure on the opposition through the media and it seems to have worked considering the dramatic second innings collapse by Pakistan that allowed Australia to win by an innings and 18 runs. Smith had a great match and was named man of the match after his 165 not out in the first dig. The experts must have been tested in selecting Smith though as David Warner and Mitchell Starc also had great games.

This is the last musing for 2016 so have a great weekend and Happy New Year!

Easter musing – ICC World Cup – over!, ASADA – over?……

Chris Barwin HillsWell the ICC World Cup is finally over and while it was good to see Australia win, it was not much of a game. The Man of the Match was an interesting decision. It was clear that the bowlers had won the Cup for Australia, however, was Faulkner the pick of the bowlers? I faulkner-aussie-cricketthink not! Starc and Johnson had better figures and Starc’s first wicket set the tone for the Kiwi innings. In the end I couldn’t split them and I would have given the nod to Michael Clarke for his batting and his captaincy.

Another sporting saga that went for a good deal longer than the ICC World Cup was the Essendon supplements issue. It may not have reached a conclusion yet, but it has certainly got close to it depending on what ASADA and/or WADA decide to do. As a domestic sport I cannot see WADA having too much interest in pursuing the matter and ASADA will have to think long and hard if 1427929273480they want to drag this out any further. To my mind, as a Bomber supporter, it is the right result as the players were always the innocent parties and the club has been punished already. I hope it is the end of it, but there seems to be a body of opinion out there that still wants blood.

Perhaps the positive tests to the two Collingwood players will be enough to draw the attention away from Essendon where there were no positive tests. Reading between the lines of the comments from the Collingwood football club, the positive tests could be linked to the use of other substances. Time will tell no doubt.

Have a great Easter!

Friday musing – ICC World Cup, Sheffield Shield, EPL, Golden Slipper….

Chris Barwin HillsWell after six long drawn out weeks we are down to the last two teams in the ICC World Cup and it involves the two co-hosts. The only host team to win on their home turf was India in the previous World Cup. Sri Lanka won as a co-host in 1996, but the final was played in Pakistan. I think Australia should start favourite entering their 7th final, whereas New Zealand are playing their first game outside New Zealand in this tournament, in their first final.

Australia are also playing on the MCG and the Kiwis have not played there for quite some time, so the visitors will be out of their comfort zone. If it is a close game, I think New Zealand could come out on top as they have found a way to win the close ones, but if one side wins comfortably that is more likely to be Australia. I will be at the game on Sunday, so I would like to see a close game with Australia winning!

Turning to domestic cricket it was great to see the Vics get up in the Sheffield Shield during the week, but you have to question the tactics adopted by Western Australia. The WA team had to win the game, however, not only did they not declare towards the end of the fourth day and have thirty minutes at Victoria, they also continued to bat and knock up a further forty to fifty runs on the last day. They had the upper hand and didn’t push their advantage. They had to bowl Victoria out to win the Shield, but did not give themselves every chance to do so. All in all the Bushrangers were a worthy winner.

alexis-sanchez-arsenal-burnley_3223813Looking at the EPL, with Manchester United beating Liverpool during the week, the top four is almost set with eight games remaining. In the next round Arsenal play Liverpool at home and should Liverpool lose that would put them almost out of contention despite their very good form since the new year. Go the Gunners!

On the international stage, I didn’t see the game, but it was great to see Australia draw 2-2 with Germany in the friendly the other night. Maybe they are starting to turn the corner and be in a position to replicate their 2006 results at the next World Cup. Fingers crossed.

Finally, I watched the Golden Slipper last week and without any luck in the running and an average ride from the jockey, Vancouver proved that he was the best 2yo in Australia being able to draw away from the field in the final 50-100m. It was not an easy run and if I 6338076-3x2-700x467was one of the connections I would not be in a hurry to risk him in the Sires Produce Stakes next week. He is a magnificent looking animal and would have breeders licking their lips, so I would be putting him away until the spring.

Have a great weekend!

Aussie men’s tennis gets much needed shot in arm with Davis Cup win

Coors lightHaving languished in the doldrums for more than enough years (for that read since the mid 1970’s), Australian men’s tennis seems to be on the long road back. That recovery is evidenced not only in the better results during the recent Australian Open, but by the weekend’s 3-2 away win against the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup. Remember the Davis Cup? That trophy Australia has won on 28 prior occasions since it was first competed for in 1900. Recently we have not featured at the top level and even when we have, have usually come away empty handed. This is reflected in the fact that this was Australia’s first win in a Davis Cup tie in the Championship division since 2006.

We at Sportzfan Radio have been rather critical of Bernard Tomic’s seeming inability to keep his mind on the job and play at a level expected with a person of his talent. In Ostrava, Tomic certainly led by example and won both his matches giving him an impressive 14-2 win/loss singles record in Davis Cup play. The tie also saw the emergence of Thanasi Kokkinakis who won his first match and confirmed Australia can now call on a number of talented young players to champion the cause. Although Lleyton Hewitt was used in the doubles match with Sam Groth, Australia’s fortunes no longer solely rest on the ageing Hewitt’s shoulders.

Sure, it can be argued that the Czech Republic were weakened by injuries to Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek but Australia also was unable to select talented Nick Kyrgios due to a back injury.

A review of the men’s ATP rankings sees Australia with five men in the top 100 being Kyrgios at #36, Tomic at #38, Groth at #69, Marinko Matosevic at #72 and Hewitt at #98. Contrast this with the fact that several years ago, we did not have one player in the top 100 and it is easy to see why results have improved.

Australia now hosts Kazakhstan in a mouth watering quarter final and given the team’s form look set for a long run in the 2015 tournament.

Professor’s Monday rant – AFL and International Rules…

meThe hybrid game of ‘International Rules’ football (the rules somewhere between Gaelic football and Australian Rules football) played between teams representing the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Australian Football League hasn’t been able to hold the attention of supporters in Australia or Ireland.

The contests date back to 1967 with the first three game series taking place between the teams in 1984. Since then it has had more downs than ups. In 1990 the series was suspended due to crowd ‘lack of interest’ but was resumed in 1998 in a different format with the matches reduced to two. This also failed to interest crowds as did the selecting of an all Indigenous team to represent Australia in 2013. In 2014 the two game format was reduced to one game with the Australian team featuring players selected as All Australians in that year.

That format seemed a first step back from the abyss with the game played at Subiaco where a 30,000+ crowd was attracted. The sensible next step would be to build on the format that had met with approval by the population.

It comes as a surprise then that, notwithstanding the relative success of last year’s format, it is rumoured the next game is set to be played in November in the USA, possibly in New York. The venue mentioned – Central Park…..really? There is no stadium in Central Park…..does the AFL really intend a team of All Australians play an international in a park? As for a stadium to play in, clearly the AFL has forgotten the problems in staging exhibition games there in the past due to the relatively small playing fields in US stadia.

The AFL’s treatment of the concept with such a suggestion indicates to me they don’t really care about international football. One thing for sure, there will be fewer people interested in a hybrid one off game in New York, especially as it will be played at the peak of the NFL season. In addition, I doubt anyone from Australia will pay any attention to it. The only beneficiaries here will be the players and coaches who get a junket to the USA.

The observations made by the GAA’s Paul Earley are close to the mark when he says “I don’t see the logic in playing it in the US to be perfectly honest. I think it has got to establish a foothold again in Ireland and Australia first of all before you take it internationally.”

Now there is a person who should be listened to, if anyone cares!

Friday musing – Cricket, World Cup, Essendon FC…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell the Cricket World Cup is about to begin and I note that Australia is drawn play a game against New Zealand in New Zealand, so much for the home World Cup. With 2 pools the Australians and the New Zealanders should have been placed into different pools so that there was no away game for either team. In the previous World Cup in 1992 the same thing happened with Australia drawn to play New Zealand in New Zealand (and we lost!). With the 2 pools it is unlikely that either side would miss the next stage, however, I do have an issue with that type of fixturing.

It will be interesting to see how the World Cup goes. It would appear that some games will be very popular, like the opening game of the tournament tomorrow with Australia v England and the India v Pakistan game in Adelaide which was apparently sold out some months ago. However, many of the others could be television games only. The tournament is scheduled to go over seven weeks which to me is way too long and there is a big risk that the interest in the game will wain over that length of time. I think a compressed format of 4-5 weeks would have been more appealing. The Big Bash was played over a period of a month and I think they got that right.

I was bemused to hear Mick Malthouse and Nathan Buckley’s comments about the Essendon players and their stance regarding the NAB Challenge series. I think the club should field a team for the series, however, I also agree with the approach that the entire list from 2012 should not play to at least try and preserve the anonymity of the players to which they are entitled. There should be enough players that have come onto the list since 2012 and I wonder what Malthouse & Buckley’s views would be if the boot was on the other foot and it was their players that had to bear the brunt of this continued saga.

Have a great weekend!