There’s a hell of a lot of news to cover prior to this weekend, so rather than a couple of lengthy pieces we’re gonna provide you with a series of short snippets to wrap your snouts around. But before we get into it, you absolutely have to check this out: the most incredible downhill cycling ever witnessed by the Comments team. The wall rides at about 1.55 and 2.30 into it are totally out of hand.
Right, onto the news.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has come up with yet another farcical suggestion in an effort to improve the flawed spectacle that Grand Prix racing has become in recent years. After overhauling the points scoring system last season- thereby devaluing the achievements of every driver in history- he now has a new scheme to liven things up: artificial rain. Now as Comments Motorsport Reporter Toejam Odelay has pointed out on many occasions in the past, rain is generally the best thing that can happen to a Grand Prix. It causes havoc on the course and in the pits; different teams go onto different tyre strategies; some drivers are adept at adapting to the changing conditions whilst others just aquaplane into the barriers; and on some of the great old circuits, like Spa in Belgium, it often rains on one part of the circuit whilst other parts remain bone dry. All of which makes for often breathtaking action. However.
However Bernie’s plan is to have some sort of sprinkler systems installed at race circuits that may or may not turn on once or several times during a race to simulate rainfall, with teams given maybe a two minute warning when this was about to happen. Farcical. Firstly, part of the excitement of rain during a race is watching the teams nervously watching the sky darken slowly and furiously changing strategy minute-by-minute as they try to predict when exactly, if at all, precipitation will arrive. And secondly, and more importantly, imagine this scenario: it is the Melbourne Grand Prix, held in March every year, usually during a period of severe water restrictions throughout the city, state, and country after drought-like summer conditions. Are the residents of Melbs likely to be enamoured with an event- which many already believe places a heavy financial burden on the city- suddenly showering vast quantities of water over a patch of concrete in the middle of the city? We would suggest not.
If Bernie really wishes to make races more unpredictable, how about bringing back manual gear boxes? Or limiting the number or crew-members for pit stops? Both of these factors would inevitably increase the possibility of human error, and make racing that much more unpredictable. Fat funking chance though, eh.
Firstly, football in New Zealand has had some very bad news and some very good news this week. The good, nay, excellent news is that NZ has been chosen to host the 2015 U-20 World Cup. This will bring some of the most incredible young players from around the globe to the country and will showcase many talents who will go on to be the greatest players worldwide. Past competitors have included the likes of Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Financially it will also be a boon, with the previous tournament in Canada pumping a huge sum of cash into the economy.
On the bad news front, the All Whites path to the next World Cup could well become much tougher. Last time around they were guaranteed to play the fifth placed Asian qualifier before reaching the Finals; this has now been changed. Next time around a draw will be made between the American regions and the Asian regions. It is not yet certain how this will pan out, but last time around the playoff match in the Americas featured eventual World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay, surely a much tougher prospect than Bahrain. We shall see.
A big weekend approaches in the Premier League, with the Liverpool-Man U clash on Sunday to be pivotal. A loss to the Mancs combined with an Arsenal win over Sunderland would see the Gunners close to within a point of Man U, and with a game in hand. Which karmically would be fitting, as supreme hole-of-ass that is the Manc manager Sir Alex The Purple One Ferguson showing again that he is a supreme tosser. After Wayne Rooney escaped punishment for elbowing a Wigan player in the head- an offence that is deemed to be a straight red card in the law book- he said you should accept the judgements the ref makes on the field and leave it at that. Then, after the loss against Chelsea he said:
"You hope you get a really strong referee in games like this," he said. "It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee, you know ... You want a strong referee, anyway, and we didn't get that. I don't know why he's got the game. I must say that, when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst."
He has been charged by the FA, will get a slap on the wrist, and nothing will change. No wonder you see players surrounding officials and screaming at them over every call made when this is the example set by those at the top.
Cricket World Cup
Its turning out to be a pretty dang interesting tournament so far, and the Black Caps will have to be on their guard today to get past a decent enough Zimbabwe team. Spinner Ray Price is definitely a threat, as is of course the mindlessness of our top order. In fact, their undisciplined approach has gotten so far out of hand that coach John Wright forbade the players from hitting the ball out of the nets during their most recent practice session. This is the kind of approach one would generally take with fifteen year olds. Today really is a crucial game, because with Pakistan and Sri Lanka still to come, a loss today could leave us short of the knock-out stages. The other huge game in the group this weekend sees the Lankans take on Australia; hopefully the Slinga will decimate them.
The other group is even more delicately poised, what with England losing to Ireland and drawing with India. Big games this weekend feature the Windies vs Bangladesh today, and England taking on South Africa on Sunday.
What most websites insultingly refer to as ‘Other Sport’
Firstly to cycling, where NZ’s contingent of European pros really begin their seasons in earnest over the next few days. Most notable is Greg Henderson riding for major outfit Team Sky in the prestigious Paris-Nice. He won the opening stage last year, and with the first three stages this year being for the sprinters, here’s hoping he can replicate that success. Hayden Roulston, riding for another very strong team HTC-Columbia, will take part in the equally renowned Tirreno Adriatico. Jesse Sergent, Sam Bewley and 2010 National Road Race Champion Jack Bauer are all also pedaling off in events around Europe shortly.
The other sport we would like to mention is basketball, and the continuing success of the New Zealand Breakers. They are having a great season and stand a real chance of becoming the first NZ based side to win a Trans-Tasman club competition. Of slightly more interest to us is the reporter who follows them, one Marc Hinton, who must suffer from some extreme form of bipolar disorder. His articles swing so widely from certainty of the Breakers success to their imminent demise that there can really be no other explanation for his reporting.
And lastly, Boganity
Yes, that’s right folks, the Drunk Brawling Match-Fixing Sex Scandal phase of the Rugby League and Australian Rules seasons are almost over, which means actual matches can’t be far off. We hope to bring you a preview next week of the seasons to come, but any help from those of you out there who are closer to the action would be much appreciated.
So that’s it from us for the week. Have a crack at leaving a Comment at the bottom, if only to prove to us that it actually works for anyone other than the Geeza. Cheers for all the support we’ve received about the first real blog, and enjoy your sporting weekends.