Ah, playing a Cricket World Cup in the UK, which has perfect weather all the way through the Northern Summer.
Playing this World Cup without reserve days was the holder of the “World’s Dumbest Idea” Title, until yesterday, when a crazed Bondi resident thought he was unveiling the New South Wales lineup for Origin II, only to give us the lineup for Sunday’s Perth Comedy Festival.
Actually, it’s unfair to assume that based on those changes, Freddie has lost his marbles… he lost them back in 2009, when they fell out of his pants in a Townsville hotel.
Cricket World Cup
Australia (7-334) defeated Sri Lanka (247) @ The Oval
Aaron Finch had scored the most runs of any player in ODI cricket this year, and after Saturday evening’s Demolition Derby against Sri Lanka, he’s still scored the most runs this year, setting up that nigh-on impossible chase with a massive 153 off 132 balls, including 15 fours and 5 sixes.
Only 19 runs short of his highest T20I score!
Finchy’s 153 is the new highest score by an Australian captain in a World Cup match, surpassing Ricky Ponting’s unbeaten 140 in the 2003 Final against India in Johannesburg.
Aided by cameos from Steve Smith with 73 off 59, and ‘Maxi’ with 46 off 25, the Aussies finally put up a decent total at this World Cup without being bowled out- 7/334, and that was in spite of the dynamtie duo of Marsh & Khawaja.
After 23 overs, the Sri Lankans were right on track to smash down 334 in 40 overs, rocketing to 1/153, but situations like that call for the fielding skipper to crack open the emergency glass, cover his/her hand in shards of glass, and whip out the fire extinguisher for the good of the team.
Pretty much immediately, Starc extinguished Perrera for 52 off 36 by carting his middle stump, and the loss of Thirimanne at 2/153 seemed to really kill the Sri Lankan momentum, and once Karuaratne (On 97) inexplicably pulled one sraight to Glenn Maxwell off Richardson in the 33rd over, the Sri Lankans were toast, ultimately losing 6/42 to lose by 87 runs.
If you back even further, they lost 9/97 after Thirimanne was dismissed.
Starc finished with 4/55, Richardson 3/47, and throw in Jason ‘Dorffman’ Behrendorff, who made his World Cup debut, and took the scalp of Thirimanne for 16.
Time for a break before the Bangladesh game.
The NRL: Round 14
Canberra 22 defeated Cronulla 20 @ GIO Stadium
A massive effort by the Raiders, snatching victory from the jaws of victory.
Anyway, here’s a brief synopsis; The Raiders led 20-0 after 25 minutes, John Morris unleashed Wade Graham and the Sharks tied the scores in the 2nd half, and Freddie played Where’s Wally during the pre-game Viking Clap,
All practice for life after the Blues give him the arse next month.
New Zealand 24 defeated Gold Coast 20 @ Robina Stadium
Adam Blair celebrated his 300th game in absolute style, earning a trip to the Sin Bin with 30 seconds to go for a late shot on Tyrone Roberts, an act that also earned him a one-match ban.
Fortunately it didn’t affect the result, because AJ Brimson decided to put in a dickhead kick and chase on the 2nd bloody tackle.
Meatheads will be meatheads.
Wests Tigers 27 defeated North Queensland 26 (Golden Point) @ 1300SMILES Stadium
Napoleon couldn’t conquer Russia.
Alan Border couldn’t beat the West Indies.
Greg Norman couldn’t win at Augusta.
Steve Waugh couldn’t beat the Indians in the subcontinent.
But the Wests Tigers can win a game in Golden Point.
And much like the Raiders, the Tiges snatched victory from the jaws of victory, blowing a 20-6 lead to trail 24-20, only to retake the lead 26-24 thanks to a penalty try, they then gave away a penalty goal with a minute to go to send the game, and then after pummeling the Boys’ line for 5 minutes, Benji finally smothered the game to death with a pillow.
Some Cowboys fans were a bit miffed about that penalty try, but nobody listens to them anyway, tucked up there in that sweaty little corner of the country.
Melbourne 34 defeated Newcastle 4 @ AAMI Park
Now, people will look at this game and think “Oh typical, Mitchell Pearce has failed his Origin audition”, but fortunately it didn’t matter in the end, because Mitch withdrew himself from contention with a hip injury.
Maybe he was visited by the Ghost of Origin Past, warning him of what would happen if he tried to play.
Anyway the moral of Saturday’s story is this; if you go at a 58% completion rate, you’re probably going to lose.
If you go at 58% against the Storm, you’re probably on a one-way ticket to a thumping.
Penrith 19 defeated Souths 18 @ ANZ Stadium
I said in the preview that Penrith could seriously win this game, and they did seriously win this game.
And like the Raiders & Tigers, the Panthers also snatched victory from the jaws of victory, blowing a 14-6 lead to fall behind 18-14, and then Brian To’o tied the scores in the 70th minute, and then the win was sealed by James Maloney’s drop goal in the 75th minute, which Souths never got the chance to respond to, probably because they couldn’t get out of their own half in the final 5 minutes.
Well done to Jimmy- He’s literally played himself back into the Blues lineup in leading the Panthers’ turnaround.
Parramatta 38 defeated Brisbane 10 @ Bankwest Stadium
What a blinder of a move, going for the two points down 26-0 close to half time.. and then Anthony Milford missed the kick.
The Broncos are the joke that writes itself.
“What’s got 26 legs and keeps falling down a ladder?”
“The Brisbane Broncos.”
See what I mean?
It’s a shame that Brisbane had to play like fecal matter, because the Eels were actually very very good- The game was done by the half, although the pessimistic air of doubt lingered, primarily because it was the Eels holding that 26-0 lead.
Anthony Seibold gave one possible excuse for the performance– The Broncos had their minds on Rep Round.
“We have 12 guys going away on rep teams tomorrow. They’ve all got their bags packed down here… I reckon they had their heads in the rep camps already- That’s the simple, hard facts of it.”
Well, that’s a slightly better excuse than Darius Boyd saying he “Tries too hard” on defence.
It got even funnier, when I assumed for the whole night that I’d tipped Brisbane, only to check Footytips and find out that I’d picked the Eeels.
Manly 34 defeated St George-Illawarra 14 @ Brookvale
“When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious s**t.”- Des Hasler on Tommy Turbo
Tommy Frikkin’ Turbo.
Bless his hamstrings and keep them healthy, he is a human highlight reel.
Easts 38 defeated Canterbury 12 @ The SCG
Well, it’s fair to say that Latrell Mitchell’s 22nd birthday was one to remember.
He plays his first league game since Origin I, he scores a double to lead the Chooks to their first win in a month… and then gets the arse from the Blues.
That demotion overshadowed everything that happened at the SCG, and rightfully so- It was a boring arse game that Easts were so confident about that they rested James Tedesco.
And it also overshadowed the bigger Blues demotion- Angus Crichton.
I was shocked, SHOCKED!
Well, not that shocked.
ORIGIN II TEAM SELECTIONS
7 changes for the Blues, highlighted by the shock axing of Latrell after the Lang Park nightmare, with the inclusions back James Maloney (A reasonable), Wade ‘The Tripod’ Graham, and noted Origin performer Blake Ferguson.
It’s a shame Mitchell Pearce hurt his hip… I was looking forward to the ‘Joh For PM’ style disaster that was going to be the Pearce-Cleary halves pairing.
On the flip side, the Maroons ‘only’ had to make two injury-forced changes on the bench- Jarrod Wallce for Tim Glasby plus they had the advantage of flying out to Perth on Sunday evening, some 12 hours before the Blues.
Since the fooy had finished last night, I tuned in to watch Controversy Corner after the news dropped about the teams.
Having watched only one full episode, I can happily declare it the best one yet.
I just sat there waiting for Blocker to jump the desk and clock Buzz.
FIFA Women’s World Cup
The Matildas 3 defeated Brazil 2 @ Montpellier
After a shattering loss to Italy, and then going 2-nil down against the former superpower Brazil, the writing was on the wall for everyone concerned at the FFA, with the Fourth Estate loading up the Stajcic questions like shotgun pellets.
But thanks to that classic attacking dare and a touch of luck, it turned into probably the finest win by The Matildas since they knocked Brazil out of the last World Cup, or the 2017 Tournament of Nations win.
To put Thursday’s win into context, it was the only the second time in a Women’s World Cup match that a country had overturned a two goal deficit to win.
The other was Sweden in 1995, who came back from the deficit to defeat Germany 3-2.
After the win, Sam Kerr had some advice for the online flogs like myself who gave it to the Matildas after the Italy loss.
“There were a lot of critics talking about us but we’re back, so suck on that one! It’s just outside noise, we don’t listen to the haters. “
“Suck on that one.”
So the Matildas are now in the position where a win against Jamaica in Grenoble on Tuesday evening is a straight shot into the knockout stages, considering Brazil and Italy are going to take points off each other.
Super Rugby: Round 18
Can RA just send the entire Brumbies squad to Japan in September, disguised in Wallabies uniforms?
It worked in 1999.
Highlanders 49 defeated Waratahs 12 @ Rugby Park
Thank Christ Almighty, the Tahs’ season is over, and the less said, the better.
Chiefs 59 defeated Rebels 8 @ AAMI Park
After staring at a maiden Playoff berth not even a week ago, the Rebels managed to lose their final two games by a combined score of 125-8.
In my opinion, next season they should ask the referee if they can bowl first at the coin toss.
This wasn’t a game of rugby, this was an arse-kicking that epitomised Australian rugby, as the Chiefs ran in 9 tries, capped off by a hat-trick to Shaun Stevenson.
After winning their first three games, and then only winning 4 for the rest of 2019, the Rebels have proved beyond all doubt they’re all shit and no substance, and if any of them get picked for the Wallabies team for the Rugby Championship and the World Cup- which they probably will- The Wobblies may as well forget about seeing old mate ‘Bill’ for the next 40 years.
Three months ago, the Chiefs were last in the comp, and the Rebels were on track to win the Australian Conference.
Funny how life works out.
Brumbies 40 defeated Reds 27 @ GIO Stadium
Amazingly, despite all that success back in the Gregan & Larkham days, this is only the second time in the Professional era that the Brumbies have won 6 games in a row.
The Rolling Maul of Wild Horses got the decisive break when Scott Higginbotham, in his last game for the Reds, was shown the yellow card in the 41st minute for trying to pull down a rolling maul and from there, the Horsies went wild, smashing the Reds forwards to score through Rory Arnold, and then Tom Wright scored three minutes later to extend their lead to 26-10, a break the Reds never truly recovered from.
It was also skipper Samu Kerevi’s last game for the Reds, as he prepares to join David Pocock in making the move to Japan, and on the subject of moves to Japan, Brumbies skipper Christian Leali’ifano is also on the move to Japan and will retire from Super Rugby, as announced on Monday morning.
There’s nothing like an ill-timed announcement before a major game.
So after the regular season, the Brumbies, pretty much by default, will be seeded 3rd for the Super Rugby Playoffs, and are set to take on the 6th seeded Sharks on Saturday evening in Canberra.
I wasn’t aware the Sharks had infiltrated Lake Burley-Griffin, but there we go.
Rugby Sevens: The Aussie women have qualified for Tokyo 2020!
Despite yet another unconvincing performance at the 2018-19 season-ending Sevens tournament in Biarritz, in which they lost in the Quarter-Finals to No.9 Spain, our Olympic Champion Aussie Women have secured qualification into the tournament at the Tokyo Olympics next year!
The other teams to qualify were the Kiwis, plus the USA and Canada.
They will have a crack at defending that gold medal from Rio, but based on the past season, in which they only finished in the Top 3 three times, it’s going to be a huge ask.
Golf: The US Open at Pebble Beach
For the first time since 2010, the US Open returned to the windswept California coastline at Pebble Beach, with Brooks Koepka chasing a hat-trick of US Open victories, but as it turned out, he got lost in the California Woodland.
The Gary Woodland, that is.
Woodland led into the final day, and uncharacteristically held his cool, as the shadow of Koepka loomed large all afternoon, finishing off proceedings by casually draining a 25-footer for a birdie on the 18th, to claim the title by 3 shots from Koepka.
Adam Scott was comfortably the best of the Aussies once again, coming home with a final round 68 to finish at 6 under in a tie for 7th with Louis Oosthuizen.
It could’ve been closer for Scotty, after he moved to 6 under by the 12th hole, but he put his 13th hole tee shot out of bounds, and that was it.
A well-earned win for Woodland, who was under par during all four rounds, and his 72 hole score of 271 (-13) broke Tiger Woods’ Pebble Beach record from 2000 by one shot.
That is quite an achievement, considering Tiger ended up winning that title in the biggest rout in the history of Major golf- a mere 15 shots.
Super Netball: Round 8 (Indigenous Round)
Sunshine Coast Lightning 64 defeated Collingwood Magpies 41 @ USC Stadium
After the Magpies gave the Lightning a first-up 57-41 belting in Round 1, the Lightning now had the chance to return the favour.
And they did, by ironically holding the Maggies to 41 goals, their lowest ever score in Super Netball.
In fact, by 3/4 time, the Magpies had racked up more penalties (54) than they had goals (35), a statline that didn’t improve by any great measure in the final quarter, when the Lightning held them to a mere 6 goals, which must be the lowest tally for any team in a quarter this season.
All 8 points went the way of the Lightning, and their well-performed GD Karla Pretorious was recognised for her defensive masterclass with Player of the Match honours.
West Coast Fever 53 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 52 @ RAC Arena
With 6 seconds to go, Jhaniele Fowler had the chance to hand the Fever their fourth draw of 2019.
Instead, the Empress of Jamaica did what she does best, and that’s shoot goals, putting the Fever ahead by a goal, and giving them just their second win of 2019, and avenging that Round 1 loss in Adelaide.
And it sure wasn’t easy- The Thunderbirds rocketed to an early 10 goal lead thanks to several turnovers, and led 16-7 at Quarter Time, but an 18-11 2nd Quarter got the Fever back into it, and on Fowler’s back, they kept it close throughout the 2nd Half, and then won the final quarter 14-11, claiming 6 points to 1.
Fowler’s 47/48 shooting was the decisive factor, and she earned Player of the Match honours.
Melbourne Vixens 71 defeated Queensland Firebirds 60 @ QSNC
In front of the biggest Super Netball TV audience of the season, the Vixens returned to the winner’s circle, overcoming the winless, but still spirited Firebirds.
Yes that’s right, the winless Firebirds pulled the biggest TV audience of the year.
Beat that with a stick.
The Firebirds managed to pull both 1st Half bonus points, but after the formidable twin defensive towers of Weston and Mannix got rolling, the Vix turned the screws in the 2nd Half, winning the final two quarters by a combined score of 39-25.
After shooting 43/47 for the Vixens, GS Caitlin Thwaites was named as Player of the Match, in a good warm-up before the World Cup.
Sydney Swifts 59 defeated GWS Giants 55 @ Qudos Bank Arena
The Swifts are the best team in Super Netball right now, and they more than backed up that statement by pulling off a 3/4 time comeback to knock-off their Sin City rivals in a roughhouse Sydney Derby.
The Giants led for most of the night, and held a 30-27 lead at the half, and 43-42 with a quarter to go, but the Swifts always looked ready to explode, and they did, claiming the final bonus point 17-12 to claim the major points.
Helen Housby’s performance against the tough Giants defensive trio of Kristiana Manu’a, Sam Poolman and Amy Parmenter was recognised, as she slotted 11/12 goals and set up most of Sam Wallace’s 48/50 goals, earning her Player of the Match honours.
For all that good work, the Giants could only claim one bonus point (1st Quarter was a 14-all draw) and have now gone 3 games without a win.
And now, the ladder after Round 8, with one round to go before the World Cup break!
Tennis: Grass Court Season Begins!
Grass court season in underway, with Wimbledon now only three weeks away, and our own Jordan Thompson made a run to the final at Hertogenbosch in Germany, on the way beating Frances Tiafoe, compatriot Alex De Minaur, and two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet.
Thommo took another Frenchman in Adrian Mannarino, but he just couldn’t crack Mannarino’s serve- He had two break & set points at 6-5, and in the tiebreak, he had two set points, and had the set on his racquet at 6-5, but couldn’t get it done, lost the tiebreak 9-7, and then dropped serve at 3-1, and ultimately lost the final set 6-3.
And there was also news this morning/afternoon- Perth will host the Fed Cup Final in November!