The much anticipated test series in South Africa started overnight and all the Australian batsman bar Cameron Bancroft got a start and did not go on to get a century. I have always said that 350 runs in the first innings of a test match is par and at the time of writing the Aussies need another 125 runs with 5 wickets in hand. Our bowlers can bat a bit so hopefully one of Mitch Marsh or Tim Paine go on to make a ton and this would place Australia in a good position to win the test match. Cameron Bancroft must be one of the luckiest players in world cricket at the moment, he has had nine innings at the top of the order and if you take out his 82 not out in the second innings of the first Ashes test he is averaging less than 13 runs. Peter Hanscombe had three failures at the start of the Ashes with one of those innings being a 32 in difficult conditions in Adelaide and he lost his place in the team with an average of 47. He must wonder why someone who hasn’t proved themselves gets more chances than he got. I certainly do!
Earlier this week Robbie Gray from Port Adelaide chose to challenge a suspension for a head high hit on Jeremy McGovern. The AFL has changed the process this year and Michael Christian is the sole arbiter on penalties so in my opinion the tribunal was never going to overturn the first challenge to one of his decisions. To my mind this was a complete waste of $10,000 by Port Adelaide.
Winx, the biggest name in Australian horse racing, makes her return to the track this weekend and again it is hard to see her getting beaten. The only real chance could be the VRC Derby winner Prized Icon who may have an edge in fitness.
Have a great weekend!!
Great to see young Victorian batsman Travis Dean make two unbeaten centuries on his first class debut last week. He joins four other batsman to have done the same thing, but he is the only one to remain unbeaten in each innings and he also scored the most runs. My only concern would be that the other four are hardly household names. Arthur Morris also achieved the feat, but the game was not an official first class game. Hopefully Travis goes on to emulate Arthur Morris who was a very good opening batsman for Australia.
Tarzino was a very impressive winner of the Derby as he hit the front very early in the straight and nothing could run him down. However, two things stand out regarding the race, firstly no horses were able to make ground out wide on Saturday (or Tuesday for that matter) and secondly, the horses that finished behind Tarzino really looked to lack a little class. He beat second by a length and a half with a further four and a half lengths to third. Hardly a vintage year, whereas the Oaks looked to have three or four genuine chances and I think we might see a few of them go onto bigger and better things.
The Melbourne Cup provided a bit of the “romance of the track” with Michelle Payne saluting with a 100/1 shot with her disabled brother the strapper, I don’t think anyone begrudged them the success. What a great story. A lot of traditionalists have decried the internationalisation of the Cup in recent years and it was great to see the race won by local owners, with a local trainer and a local jockey.
Enjoy the weekend!
Well the AFL Grand Final is over and the competition has seen it’s second three-peat in the space of 15 years and this is in the context of a competition which has a salary cap and draft which is supposed to even out the competition. You factor in that Geelong has also won three in five years in that same period and the Swans have played in four Grand Finals and won two as well and it seems to be an indicator that once clubs get to the top it is hard to topple them despite the draft and salary cap. It has meant that Brisbane who completed the initial three-peat struggled after competing in the last of their grand finals in 2004 and Geelong are starting to struggle now having finished out of the finals for the first time in nine years. It seems though that teams are having long sustained runs at or near the top. Free agency and trading also favours teams up the top as good players only want to go to ‘destination’ clubs.
The NRL provided a lot more interesting grand final than the AFL with the high drama of the golden point result. While it might be sour grapes on the part of Wayne Bennett, I must say I think to lose a game in that circumstance would be pretty hard to take. If they are going to have extra time, it should be ten minutes each way as the golden point comes down to luck or bad luck as Brisbane’s Hunt would attest.
It was good to see last years VRC Derby winner, Preferment win the Turnbull Stakes and last years VRC Oaks winner, Set Square run third in the same race. Too often these days the winners of those races disappear the following year to be never seen again. I hope they both go on and have a successful spring carnival as it adds to the value of those races.
It was also great to see the Gunners fight back after a very disappointing display at home against Olypiakos during the week to come out and trounce Manchester United by 3-0. The three goals came in the first 20 minutes and Man U did not look like scoring. I think this year Arsenal have a side which could be good enough to win the title, they just need to be consistent through the entire season.
Have a great weekend!