Tag Archives: test-cricket

Weekend musing – 3rd test wrap up, AFL rookie draft, Melbourne City take the FFA Cup……

Sfan OB6The 3rd test against South Africa was a dead rubber, but it was good to see the revitalised Australian team turn around their fortunes and get a win on the board. There were three debutantes playing in the game and I was impressed with Renshaw & Hanscombe. Unfortunately, Maddinson got a very good ball early in his only hanscombinnings, so it was impossible to say if he will be any good. Renshaw resisted very well on the first night and while he only made 10 in the first innings, he showed similar application in the second innings. In the second innings the commentators were criticising his slow play which was somewhat in contrast with their lamenting in the first and second tests the lack of players that could stick around. He was in his first test, they had plenty of time, so I could not see the issue. He did seem to play and miss a lot, but I think on some of those “misses” he actually deliberately played inside the line. Hanscombe got a 50 in his first dig and then hit the winning run so a very promising debut.

The cricket now moves to a one day series against New Zealand, which seems to be a puzzling piece of scheduling .

Sticking with cricket it was great to see the Bushrangers get up against South Australia after conceding a first innings lead. Just reminding the Australian selectors that there is some quality south of the border.

Monday saw the AFL Rookie Draft and there seemed to be a clear pattern of recruiters getting in ruckmen and taller players. There filipovicwas 27 players (ound half of the draft) over 190cm and ten of those were ruckmen. It does seem clear that clubs are not willing to waste a pick on a ruckman who may take 3-5 years to develop. This is a wise strategy, but does it jeopardise the future of ruckmen picking the AFL over basketball? I really think this is something which could cause long term problems with participation and needs to be monitored by the AFL.

Great to see Melbourne City win the FFA Cup on Wednesday night in a clash of the current top two teams in the A-League. I have been a little concerned about the City defence, but holding Sydney FC to atim cahill clean sheet perhaps indicates that my concerns were misplaced. On present form these two teams will be in contention at the end of the season and a win to City does provide some psychological advantage. Also great to see Tim Cahill amongst the goals….an inspired signing for Melbourne City.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Jordan Spieth, Faf Du Plessis, big changes in the Aussie Test team…..

Sfan OB6I watched the end of the Australian Open golf tournament last Sunday and it was no surprise to see Jordan Spieth in contention. He nailed some crucial putts and made it into the play-off with Ashleyspieth Hall and Cameron Smith. He then proceeded to birdie the first play-off hole and win the tournament. He has now competed in the Australian Open on three occasions for two wins and a second. For anyone, that is a phenomenal record, but for a 23 year old it is amazing. Aaron Baddeley won in 1999(am) & 2000 as an 18/19 year old which was amazing at the time, but he has probably not gone onto the heights predicted at that time.

It was noted with interest that Faf Du Plessis was found guilty of ball tampering in the second test and was then fined his match fee. As the captain of the team, with a history of ball tampering, this has got duplessisto be an inadequate penalty. I understand the previous penalty was three years ago and records are wiped clean after two years, but the man still has a history. A penalty such as the match fee is no deterrent to future indiscretions by anyone let alone the captain. The test started yesterday and Du Plessis clearly made the most of his reprieve with a not out century.

Sticking with the cricket, the Australian team needed a shake up and we got that with five changes from the team that was embarrassed in Hobart. Accepting that changes had to be made, I still felt a bit sorry for Callum Ferguson. He has probably deserved a chance at fergusontest cricket for some time, but when his form has warranted selection he has either been injured or no places have been available. He finally gets a chance at 32 years of age and loses his place after one test. That is probably the end of the road for Ferguson which is a bit of a shame as he probably deserved more of an opportunity. Joe Mennie also lost his place after one test, however, he is only 27 and therefore still young enough if good enough. I thought Mennie was lucky to get a spot for Hobart ahead of Jackson Bird on his home track, so maybe not so deserving in the first place.

Greg Miles announced his forthcoming retirement during the week milesand while he has had a few hiccups in the last few years I have always regarded him as one of the best race callers I have heard. He probably lacks the impact of a Bill Collins, but for someone listening to a race and wanting to know where your horse is placed I think he has had few peers. A great career.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Australian Test cricket in free fall, Socceroos need to start winning….

Sfan OB6The Australian cricket team sank to a new level this week with another comprehensive defeat at the hands of the touring team proteasfrom South Africa. This is an absolute embarrassment to go down so meekly on home soil. I don’t think I have seen two consecutive implosions like this in Australia since the rampant West Indian teams toured here in the 1980s. It has got a lot to do about the quality of our batsman. The South African bowlers have been good, but not that good.

We now have the chairman of selectors, Rod Marsh step away from marshhis position and I think scrutiny needs to go onto the coach as well. Darren Lehman was brought in at a time when the team needed to relax a little after the regimented approach of Mickey Arthur’s, but it seems to have gone too far and batsmen don’t seem to know how to work through difficult periods of play. To me this is a coaching issue.

The bowlers have been okay, but I could not see how Joe Mennie deserved a spot ahead of Jackson Bird, with Bird being on his home track. I am also a bit surprised by the lack of success by Nathan Lyon. Lyon usually picks up his 2-3 wickets an innings, but he has had a hanscombpoor run recently and will probably be dropped for the next test as long as someone else puts their hand up in this weekends Shield games. It also is a bit strange that Victoria has won the last two Sheffield Shields and yet cannot get anyone in the test team. Admittedly Peter Siddle was injured and may have been picked and the same could be said for James Pattinson, but surely someone is doing something right to win twice in a row. Peter Hanscomb with a century in the current Shield game is surely staking a claim.

There was more bad news for Australian sporting teams with the Socceroos only getting a draw in Thailand. This puts Australia back angein equal third position behind Japan & Saudi Arabia and in danger of missing out on the next World Cup. Thailand were on the bottom of the table with only one goal and no points before the debacle the other night. There is still a bit to play out and Australia is the only team in the group without a loss, but they really can’t afford to drop any more points if they want the direct pathway into the World Cup.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Australia’s Test woes, Ireland defeats the All Blacks…amazing!

Sfan OB6Last week I wrote that Australia had got off to a great start in the first test match in Perth, but that was about it as far as Australia was concerned as South Africa dominated the rest of the game even without their best bowler. The Australian batsmen did not show the resilience required to win a test match, although they did do better in the second innings lasting nearly 120 overs. In fact if they had made 360 in the first innings, the result may well have been different.

This is the first time in 28 seasons that Australia has lost the first test match on home soil, but it also must be one of the only times testthat there has only been one round of Sheffield Shield matches before the first test. By contrast the South Africans had a warm up match in Australia after two first class games in South Africa. International sides have often been criticised for only having one lead up game before the first test and yet the home side falls to the same lack of preparation here!

Well we thought the Chicago Cubs 108 year drought breaking effort
the-amazed-international-media-reaction-to-ireland-beating-the-all-blacksin the World Series was a significant milestone and then, coincidentally in Chicago, Ireland beats the New Zealand All Blacks in the rugby union for the first time in 111 years. What am amazing year we are having in sport around the world.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Spring Carnival, Kieran McEvoy, Chicago Cubs, First Test…….

Sfan OB6While I did not back the winner of the Victoria Derby, Prized Ikon, it was a great story for the Cummings family. Four generations of the one family training a winner of such a prestigious race would beprized-icon unparalleled not only in racing, but probably in sport generally. There has been a number of father/son combinations and even grandfather/father/son’s in various sports, but I cannot think of any to equal this effort. Three generations of the Aitken family played for Carlton and three generations of the Hird family played for Essendon. Perhaps one of James Hird’s sons could make it a fourth generation for the Bombers.

Keeping with the family theme Kieran McEvoy won the Melbourne Cup on Almandin and he is the brother-in-law of last years winning almandinjockey, Michelle Payne. Almandin is the third son of Monson to win the Cup in the last four years. The other two being Fiorente and Protectionist. When you think about it, racing produces probably just as many family associations as AFL football. A lot of jockeys had fathers that were jockeys and a lot of trainers had fathers that were trainers.

The biggest story in sport this week was the Chicago Cubs breaking a 108 year drought in the World Series. Even if the Cleveland cubsIndians had of won they would have broken a 68 year drought. This continues a wonderful year for drought breaking title wins. The Cubs also did it by winning the last three games, with the last two away to Cleveland. This was somewhat reminiscent of the NBA when the Cleveland Cavaliers took the title in an away game to Golden State.

A good start in the Test cricket yesterday and it further proves the testvalue of good bowlers. Australia struggled in the recent one-day series in South Africa with a second string attack, now with more like their front line attack in place they were a lot more effective. If we can get James Pattinson and Pat Cummins back playing consistent cricket with Mitchell Starc, the Australian attack will be formidable. Bowlers win matches.

Have a great weekend

Weekend musing – Rio no go, the Nevill stumping and Michael Hurley re-signs with the Bombers…..

Sfan OB6The Olympics are coming to a conclusion and I must say that my interest levels have been as low as I can remember for an Olympic Games. I don’t know if it is the timing of the events or all of the negative stories before the games started, but I have been boltsignificantly underwhelmed. Perhaps my level of enthusiasm is matched by the Australian results where very few of our competitors have performed at their best. It would appear from the vision I have seen that the crowds have stayed away too. If the athletics didn’t have Usain Bolt these could be the dullest games of all time where the side stories have far more interest than the performances.

I was interested in the Peter Nevill stumping during the third test in stumpingSri Lanka when he waited for the batsman to lift his foot after playing the ball. The batsman was clearly out, but was it in the spirit of the game? I must admit some bias here, I was dismissed in a similar fashion playing school cricket and while I too was clearly out, I had avoided a bouncer and moved out of my crease before the keeper had passed the ball onto the fieldsman. I always thought it was unfair as it wasn’t the skill of the bowler that got me out of my crease. The same applied to the Nevill stumping.

Great news for Essendon supporters with Michael Hurley re-signing. When the players were suspended at the start of the year I hurleythought Essendon would lose one of Hurley, Hooker or Heppell and they have all re-committed to the club. Essendon now need Jobe Watson to play another year so he doesn’t conclude his career as a banned player. He deserves to finish on a high note even if he does lose the Brownlow medal.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – limited overs cricket a lesser version of the game…..

Chris Barwin HillsLate last year I lamented the decline of West Indian cricket and the impact on world cricket and now we have the West Indian men’s team, women’s team and the men’s U19 team being the current windiesWorld T20 champions. While I think that is great for West Indian cricket and it should engender significant more people wanting to play cricket in that region, I hope that first class and test cricket is not overlooked. Whilst it might be my age and what I grew up with, test cricket is still the pinnacle of the sport in my opinion and the limited overs competitions are lesser versions of the game. Do you agree?

I was a little disappointed to see Jason Day drop down the leader Dayboard at the Masters on the first day. He got off to a great start, but a triple bogey late in his round brought him back to even with the card. He is still in contention, but it would be good to see Spieth, McIlroy and Day in the final groupings on Monday morning.

I tuned in to watch a little bit of the Footy Show last night to see how Rebecca Maddern fitted in to the format. She was clearly nervous which is understandable and some of her material was obviously maddernrehearsed/scripted to get her into the program, but I think she acquitted herself quite well and should be a welcome addition to the show which now has a very strong Geelong flavour. I don’t think her addition to the show will make me want to watch the show more often, but it is good see a bit of diversification and Rebecca is obviously a big footy fan which is essential.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Sheffield Shield, Peter Moody, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsWell Easter must be one of the most diverse periods for sport in Australia, we had the start of the AFL season, the Stawell Gift, the bellsBells Beach Surfing Classic, the Sheffield Shield Final and some big horse races from Sydney. We also had soccer World Cup qualifiers either side of Easter.

It was great to have the football back despite Essendon not having much to look forward to. The debut of Patrick Dangerfield for Geelong was clearly the difference that got them over Hawthorn and Dangerfieldif he had of kicked straight they would have won by more. Collingwood and Fremantle were very disappointing, but I think both sides will perform a lot better this week. The Bombers first half was probably as expected, but their second half was a bit better. Given the number of new players due to the supplement scandal outcome it might take a while for the team to gel, but the wooden spoon still is theirs for the taking!

Also great to see Victoria win the Sheffield Shield away from home. A couple of weeks ago I was going to comment about the demise of Cameron White as a cricketer and while he has not put himself backsheffield in the frame for Australian selection, he has redeemed himself. When he lead Victoria to the Shield win just after David Hookes died I thought he was a future Australian Test Captain and while he did play a couple of test matches, he was mainly a ODI and 20/20 player, but his star had dimmed in recent times to the point where he missed selection for Victoria.

I was sad to see Peter Moody retire from racing and he has now sold moodyoff all his gear to resist the temptation to return to the sport, but I think, once his suspension is over, he will come back and establish a smaller boutique stable just to keep his hand in. It is very hard for real horsemen to simply walk away from the sport it is too ingrained in their DNA.

Also good to see Jason Day back to the world number 1 position in golf and I just hope he maintains his form going into the Masters.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Cricket, Aussies #1 in Test Cricket

Chris Barwin HillsWell the Australian test team went to number one in the world test cricket rankings during the week on the back of the defeat of New Zealand in Christchurch and a 2-0 result in the series. Some people have suggested that this ranking over inflates their current “real” ranking in world cricket, however, you can only work with the system1440188864611 in place. I think the wins over the West Indies do not mean much, but defeating New Zealand on their home turf is no mean feat as they have had some very good results at home recently with a win over Sri Lanka and a drawn series in England last year. Australia’s loss to England last year and the subsequent win by England in South Africa recently would have England notionally right up there. The Aussie batting line up looks to be solidifying, however, our fast bowlers keep getting injured and in the future if we can keep Starc, Pattinson, Hazlewood, Siddle, Bird & Cummins on the park consistently(obviously not all at once) I think the side does deserve the number one ranking.

While it was good to see the Aussies successful in New Zealand, it was disappointing to see the bad behaviour of Hazlewood and Smith. faulkner-aussie-cricketThis continues a run of indiscretions which the Australian team trumpet as playing the game hard, but to my mind spitting the dummy and carrying on like idiots has nothing to do with playing the game hard. I think New Zealand in the recent home and away series showed the Australians how the game should be played. At least Steve Smith acknowledged his mistake and vowed to improve in this department. I hope he does learn, because I like him as a player and he could be a very good Australian captain. Smith should besetting the example to the rest of the team though.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Jose Mourinho, Louis Van Gaal, A League, West Indies….

Chris Barwin HillsWell the Chelsea manager’s job continues to be a poisoned chalice with Jose Mourinho being moved on by the same Club for a second josetime the year after he took the title. It is pretty clear his team is not playing for him and being on the brink of the relegation zone, it did look to be inevitable and a case of when, not if.

Sticking with the EPL, Louis Van Gaal has also come in for some stick louisas well. While Manchester United have not been winning, they certainly haven’t been conceding many goals with the least “goals against” in the League so I don’t think it is all doom and gloom or as bad as the situation at Chelsea.

On the local scene we have the big local A League derby this weekend with Melbourne City coming off three very impressive wins as Unknown-4opposed to Melbourne Victory coming off three disappointing losses. The form guide couldn’t be more opposite. Personally I would like to see City continue their winning ways as they have been quite entertaining slotting the goals away at a consistent rate.

The Hobart test match finished, as predicted by most of the pundits, smithwith an easy victory to the Australians. I think it is time the ICC stepped into the West Indies situation to provide more finance and support. Cricket needs a strong West Indian team as they are the only test playing “nation” in that part of the world and like the AFL commission fostering football in the northern states, the ICC have the same responsibility to world cricket.

Have a great weekend!