England do battle again in Dubai against Pakistan on the same pitch as the 1st t20 game, and possible the same strip. Before we have a look at the odds, let’s take a look at a few pointers from the 1st game.
What did we learn from the 1st game?
- The pitch is slow and scoring shots behind the wicket was difficult
- Batting 1st is an advantage as the pitch slows up through the course of the game
- Zia is the new boom boom, as Nasser would say ‘See ball, hit ball’
- Once you get in, stay in. It’s a hard pitch to come in straight away and score on, especially with the ball reversing near the end of the innings.
- Take advantage of the powerplays, while the ball is still hard and new.
- Bopara and KP look in great touch, Kieswetter and Morgan look out of touch
- Unlikely to be many caught behinds due to the slow nature of the pitch.
Advised bets based on this
- Zia – Race to 10 runs – 23/20 bet365.
Zia bats number 2 which mean Hafeez will face the 1st ball of the game. Zia showed he’s in there to blast over the infield in the 1st 6 and it looks like Hafeez will be aggressive but not super aggressive like the new boom boom. Back him to get off to a flyer again!
- KP – Race to 10 runs – 10/11 bet365.
KP will face the first ball and was on 13 last game before Kieswetter had even faced a ball. Kevin is seeing the ball like a beach ball at the moment. I suggest Pakistan open with spin against him rather than Khan or Cheema, but based on the form of the two players, it would be silly to ignore this bet.
- Under 150.5 runs Pakistan – 5/6 Ladbrokes
- Under 150.5 runs England – 5/6 Ladbrokes
Both teams struggled to get up to 150 last game and a run rate of 7.50 on this slow pitch with reverse swing will be tough, especially batting second. You get two bites at the cherry with this bet, because if team 1 gets under 151, both selections are winners, but if the 1st bet losses, then the other team might not chase down the 151 anyway. So have a point on each, with it difficult to bat 2nd, will be very unlucky to lose both, with a good chance of scooping
5. Kieswetter under 37.5 performance points – 5/6 bet365
If you’ve never backed performance points, you get 1 point a run, 10 catch, 25 stumping, 20 for a wicket. Kieswetter looked out of sorts in game 1, finding it hard to middle the ball. With the slow nature of the pitch, there were no caught behinds last game, which means it will be hard for to Kieswetter to accumulate 38 points unless he gets a stumping or has a blinder with the bat, both looking unlikely at this stage.
6. 1st 6 tie – 25/1 – William Hill
Amazing stat, but the last three t20 games on this pitch have had tied scores after 6 overs. Back the trend and hope it happens a 4th time!
7. Bopara Man of the Match – 14/1 – bet365
Other than KP, Bopara looked like he could handle the conditions, scoring twos freely and looked at ease with pace on the ball and spin. He’ll also bowl a couple of overs so if England record a victory he could well be the player to hit the winning runs.
City v Blackburn –
Blackburn have scored in every away game this year, if it wasn’t for this stat, we’d take City to Nil as the banker for the weekend. Trying to find a profitable angle when City are 1/5 isn’t easy. City have won 3 of their last 4 games 3-0 at home, Tottenham 3-2 in between so given the strength of the opposition, this looks a fair price. In the three 3-0s, the HT score was 2-0 everytime, so have a small wager on that as well.
City 3-0 -15/2 – Coral
City 2-0 Half time 9/2 Lads
City score both halves – 8/11 Tote
Norwich v United -
Man Utd have played 12 games away from home this season and have been leading 1-0 at HT on six of those.
United 1-0 Half time 11/4 Coral
Arsenal v Tottenham
This game always has goals. Back both teams to score or for a more adventurous bet, go for over 5.5 goals or the 4-4 correct score as in 2008.
Over 5.5 goals – 6/1 general
Correct Score 4-4 – 250/1 general
Pastoral to be a major Player at Ascot and Kohli to star for India whilst the Premiership takes a break
Today’s action sees So You Think take centre stage. The Australian superstar after losing at Royal Ascot was mightily impressive when wearing down Workforce in the Coral Eclipse. He is 1-3 to win the the Irish Champion stakes and it would be a shock if Snow Fairy was able to turn the tables on this equine warrior. Misty for Me runs in the Matron Stakes at Leaoparsatown and is very popular. The horse tipped up as one to watch on this site when running in the 1000 guineas at the start of the season has made excellent progress and I expect her to make it a coolmore double over in Ireland.
In England my eyes are firmly on looking for horses better priced than 1-3 and 11/10 to have a bet on and my first port of call is Kempton. In the first race Modun runs for Sir Michael Stoute in the Ballymacoll Stud colours. He has been an incredibly consistent performer in big runner handicaps all season. This could be his chance today in the 2.15 at Kempton; Green Destiny notched as soon as he returned to a smaller field from big runner handicaps and I expect Modun to win today at 11/4. Harris Tweed is the main danger, however I expect the drop in distance (last raced over 2 miles) may be a bit on the sharp side against a bang in form Modun.
More value can be found in the London Handicap – the next race on the Kempton card. Chapter and Verse hasn’t won since his victory in this race last year but he looks to be getting back to his best and I expect a bold show at 12/1 . After winning this race last year he has been entered into some hot races including the Suffolk and the Royal Hunt Cup. This drop in class and the fact he is a course, distance and race winner is a real positive.
Pastoral Player is the final selection of the day. He has been heavily backed to reverse the form with Eton Rifles and is currently about a 10/1 shot. He certainly is good each way value on the basis of his Stewards cup run. He is due to wi one of these soon and today could very well be his day. the one I really fancied in the big sprint at Haydock was Deacon Blues and seeing as he has withdrawn I would probably side with either the consistent Society Rock or the fast finishing Bewitched. Bewitched price has shortened all week and although 10/1, it is a gamble and a touch short. Favourite for the Golden Jubilee after some impressive performances his flop is a concern. If back to his best he is twice the price of some of the others but it is an investment in potential rather than proven ability at the top level.
In the cricket today Cornerman’s nap of the day is to back over 4.5 sixes with Ladbrokes @ 8/13 and I like the prospects of Virat Kohli having a big series. He was left out of the test team and has looked hungry to perform since arriving in England. He is 7/1 to be the top Indian series batsmen and 16/1 to be MOM today. He bowled well in the 20/20 on Wednesday and a wicket or two as well as some runs may be enough to scoop this prize.
2 pt win Modun @ 11/4 – Stan James
1 pt e/w Chapter and Verse @ 11/1 – William Hill
2 pt e/w Pastoral Player @ 10/1 – William Hill
.25pt win patent all 3 horses
1pt Virat Kohli Top Indian Series batsmen @ 7/1 – Stan James
1 pt Virat Kohli MOM @ 16/1 – Stan James
3 pts win over 4.5 sixes @ 8/13 – Ladbrokes
Twenty20 finals day is always an exciting day in the cricket calendar and this year it returns to a refurbished Edgbaston to ensure the venue fits the occasion. The new look home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club is fantastic and shows shades of the SCG in its architecture. However it is no secret that T20 cricket isn’t my favourite format of the game. I don’t dislike it, far from it, however it doesn’t beat the rigours and demands of a 5 day test match which ebbs and flows or in England’s case of late just flows and flows. India were poor in the recent test series; they (Dravid aside) showed no fight and guts when the chips were down, lacked application and showed a stubborn refusal to adapt their technique. Their bowlers aren’t great and with Zaheer out and no Haberhjan (interesting how his performance dipped when Zaheer’s absence also meant the lack of footholes and rough for him to bowl into) they struggled. However I cannot accept that the number 1 test side in the world, the world ODI champions can’t score over 300 runs in an innings – In 8 attempts. Let alone one that reads Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dhoni – A very weak effort. Sehwag’s attitude summed it up for me; in the nets he was practicing and after 4 balls he walked out, Duncan Fletcher (India Coach) said “where are you going” , “The bowlers aren’t good enough for me” replied a nonchalant Sehwag (the man who had just got a king pair!) He then walked into a spinners net whacked two balls out of the park and said thats enough for me. Fletcher approached him and said “Aren’t you going to practice a bit more?” ”England won’t dare bowl spin at me” Sehwag retorted. V Sehwag – Bowled Swann (his next innings). It is this arrogance that the money in the IPL has brought into the game which has seen the decline in players desire to achieve in the difficult test arena. Gambhir on $1.5 million for 4 weeks work doesn’t want to be dodging bouncers in the cold English summer on pitches with a bit of movement against a hostile attack. He, along with a few other Indian players (and I include Sehwag in this) cannot be bothered to adjust their technique to cope and that is a shame. Thankfully the English players seem more grounded than this and their desire to develop their performance and win, in all formats, seems to be their primary motivation. There is no way Andy Flower would let our players get like Sehwag…but then we said the same about Duncan Fletcher. The story came from Michael Vaughan and his words speak volumes…”Fletcher has a big job controlling the Indian egos” – A team sports worst enemy. My favourite comment as so often it does, came from Geoffrey Boycott “If India were Bangladesh we would saying they shouldn’t be allowed to play test cricket!” The truth is that it wasn’t mainly down to India’s futility and poor performance, though that had a bearing, England are on fire at the moment, in their last 12 test matches their record reads 3 draws 9 wins of which 6 have been by an Innings. Impressive.
The main focus of this article is to preview finals day and in particular the impressive rise of young performers via the shop window of T20 cricket. The Friends Provident competition is often seen by counties as a good arena to try out a few youngsters for example Durham’s Scott Borthwick, a recent graduate into the ODI team, made his debut in the 20/20 format. This season some of the stand out performers have been young inexperienced players shining in the T20, James Vince and Danny Briggs have impressed for Hampshire, Roy and Ansari at Surrey also look good prospects. However no county have been quite so forward thinking in showing faith in their youth as Somerset and the new kids on the block have not let their county down. Quite the opposite actually; Buttler, Meschede, Gregory, Kieswetter and Waller have all been given their opportunities and performed with aplomb. In the case of Craig Kieswetter he has taken his performances onto the international stage winning the 20/20 world cup as well as establishing himself as England’s premier Wicketkeeper in limited overs cricket. Somerset are a progressive and forward thinking county, in Trescothick they have a captain with a wealth of experience and their ground is a batsman’s paradise, proving an ideal breeding ground for some of the games most exciting prospects. However it is my contention that their success is down to more than just these factors. The standard of local schools in Taunton (and in the surrounding areas) is astounding. By standard I am referring to the quality of sports provision; Taunton is blessed with 3 independent schools that have facilities, coaching and infrastructure that some international sides would envy. Kings, Taunton School and Queens are all located within 2 miles of each other yet each has magnificent grounds, top class facilities and a commitment to developing high class sports performers. Add to this mix Wellington school 6 miles away and Millfield 15 miles away, competition is intense. There are also 5 state schools within a 10 mile radius of these schools where, should they wish, the Independent schools can offer scholarships to talented youngsters in need of a more intense sporting programme to achieve their potnential in sport, something that isn’t feasible with the 2 hours a week PE a standard state school offers. Taunton is well prepared and well equipped to excel in sport and subsequently does so.
Leading the way in Cricketing terms appears to be Kings College on the East side of the Town. Under the stewardship of Director of Cricket Phil Lewis, Kings have developed a very strong production line of exceptional cricketers. Least well known is talented youngster Alex Barrow who has been in fine form this season for Somerset second XI and England under 19′s. Barrow (aged 15) and Buttler (aged 17) actually share the national schools record partnership of 340 off 49 overs (Buttler 227*)! It is however some of Taunton’s newest stars who have captured the imagination of Somerset cricket goers young and old. Craig Meschede is an exciting all rounder who bowls a heavy ball and has shown he can be explosive with the bat. A strike rate of 128.00 and an excellent 53 against Glamorgan illustrate he is capable with the bat, and with the ball his maiden First class wicket was Sachin Tendulkar! Need I say more, he is one to watch for the future.
On the more recent horizon; Craig Kieswetter (Millfield) and Jos Buttler (Kings) have been two of the highest profile players to come through the Somerset system of late. Ironically Buttler has developed more as a result of Kieswetter’s success. The more times Kieswetter spends away from Somerset the more chance Buttler has got to display his talents. In fact he has made such an impression that when Kieswetter is back Buttler retains his place as a specialist batsman. Kieswetter’s meteroric rise has seen him overlooked somewhat as a fans favourite and it is Buttler who all the kids around Taunton idolise; Buttler has quickly become the apple of the eye of all Somerset fans and it is clear to see why. Born, raised and educated in Taunton Jos Buttler is an illustration of what can be achieved by hard work and dedication coupled with the right support and guidance. ”Jos was exceptionally hard working in training and used every opportunity on and off the field to improve his knowledge of the game” commented Phil Lewis, Buttler’s Coach at Kings. Buttler made his T20 debut in India of all places facing Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger in the Champions league of cricket – the Somerset coaches must have a lot of faith in their man to throw him into this game on his debut! David Lloyd is also a huge admirer, often championing Buttler for England honours and I suspect it won’t be long before he breaks through in one of the shorter formats.
Buttler’s strike rate is nearly 150 in both the 40 over and 20/20 formats illustrating he is a batsman who can change a game in a few destructive overs. An average of nearly 70 in the 40 over game is highly impressive as is his average of 25 in the 20/20. Most counties would love a young player with stats like these, in fact any player with stats like these. Lewis considers the attacking style of Buttler and Meschede as their real strength “They are both naturally aggressive players and it is great to see this continue whenever they play for Somerset” says Lewis who must take some credit for instilling a positive mentality, a clean striking technique and belief in their own aggressive nature. In contrast, Buttler’s most impressive knock for me was his 100 against Sussex. Coming in when Somerset were in the mire at 54-5 he played an accomplished knock that saw the big shots, at the right times. This is key for Buttler, he has such a talent and it was great to see when things got tough he ground it out before freeing his arms to fire an 112 ball century with 11 fours and 4 sixes. He turned the game on his head and Somerset won. He clearly cherished this moment and was obviously nervous spending nearly half an hour on 99 before indicating his sheer joy when reaching three figures. He has a bright future in all formats.
With the Kings college production line now in full swing Somerset must be licking their lips at the prospect of potential new recruits in the future, as I commented before, the local schools are providing such a strong foundation in terms of cricket that these performers are arriving at the County stage ready and raring to hit the floor running. No longer do cricketers have to adopt the A-levels, University route. Students are leaving these independent schools well rounded and well educated but at a level of competence which means they pursue their sporting career over academia. This obviously doesn’t work for everyone and many players flourish in the university game and develop their abilities much later, but in Somerset the policy seems to be; if you are good enough you are old enough and the gamble seems to be paying off. Jos Buttler is regarded as a really good lad on the circuit and it is his likeable personality, grounded nature and passion for his home county that is the cornerstone for his popularity amongst the Somerset faithful. All kids want to be Jos Buttler, which proves everyone loves a local hero.
The 20/20 finals see the two favourites clash in the Semi-Finals and I expect Edgbaston to have prepared more of a seaming wicket rather than a spinning one. England wanted bouncy pitches for the test matches and the lack of sunshine will mean the pitches will be anything but dry. This will nullify Hampshire’s t20 strength and I expect Somerset to qualify and win the final gaining revenge for their unlucky defeat last year. Mcdonald is a real danger for Leicestershire but I don’t expect either of the Northern sides to get the better of their Southern counterparts. Somerset’s batting attack is frightening with strength in depth and some power hitters throughout. Khartik and Thomas are excellent t20 bowlers and I don’t think any team match up anywhere near as strong. 2/1 is well worth a few quid and if they win the semi final they can easily be layed at odds on. Other special bets of note: Ladbrokes are offering 16/1 that someone scores a century. 6 innings represents 6 shots at this bet. As it does with the 12/1 offered against a 5 wicket haul. Kieron Pollard is 5/2 to be top Somerset 6 hitter and with his track record that looks a bet too.
3pts – Somerset to win T20 finals day @ 2/1 – General
1pt e/w Jos Buttler to be top run scorer @ 20/1 (Victor Chandler)
1pt Century to be scored @ 16/1 (Ladbrokes)
2pts Five wicket haul @ 12/1
1pt Pollard top 6′s for Somerset @ 5/2
Footnote: When writing the article Jos Buttler was not selected for England. However upon publishing the article nearly 20 minutes later it was announced Buttler is to join up with the England T20 team to face India on Wednesday at Old Trafford.
Sports Leviathan’s cricket columnist Chris Nash was yesterday included in the 12 man England Lions squad to face Sri Lanka ‘A’ . This is Nash’s first inclusion in the squad regarded as an England ‘A’ team and is a small step towards his ultimate ambition of achieving full international honours.
Nash was previously included in the England Performance Programme (EPP) 2 years ago, however had to withdraw from the tour to South Africa with a broken thumb.
His selection this year, has come off the back of another very solid season in all competitions and it appears his form in the shorter format of the game is making the selectors sit up and take note. Yesterday against Yorkshire he vindicated his inclusion; in front of the sky cameras, Nashy starred with a Man of the Match performance scoring 79 with the bat and 1-35 off his 8 overs. Read More…
The upcoming series between England and India promises to be one of the best sporting events of the summer. A strong showing from england will push them to the top of the test rankings against the best side in the world. The coming years will prove to be a transitional time for the Indian team but the current crop of ageing yet exceptional batters will be keen to put in a strong showing on their last tour of England. Much has been said about Tendulkars desire for his 100th hundred at the home of cricket. Having lived his life with expectation and pressure he will handle it with ease and will have the desire to put personal milestones aside and would be content with a series win. The series could prove to be one of the final appearances of a batting unit widely considered as one of the best in the game. Gambhir, Sehwag, Laxman, Dravid, Tendulkar and Dhoni are all icons of the game and England will have to be at their best to beat them. If the batting unit fires the bowling mainstays Zaheer khan, Harbajan Singh and Ishant sharma will be very effective on english wickets, Khan especially with his experince of English conditions. I also predict that Praveen Kumar will play a key part, a skilful swing bowler should excel in helpful conditions and with runs on the board this Indian team look very strong. Read More…
Sports Leviathan contributor Chris Nash produced two outstanding innings over the weekend scoring a sparkling century in the four day format on Friday guiding Sussex to another impressive win over title favourites Somerset. Nashy’s 120 included 16 fours and another substantial opening partnership of 201 with Ed Joyce. Both players have now passed 650 runs for the season with Nashy 5 ahead of his teammate on 656.
On Sunday Nashy weighed in again leading the Sharks to a 19 run victory over Kent. Nashy’s 124 not out came off 119 balls with 9 fours and a six. It was his highest score in the pro40 competition and illustrates the red hot form the man from Horsham is in, scoring runs in all formats of the game. This week Sussex have a brief rest from the County championship programme when they play Oxford UCCE at the Parks before playing Yorkshire at Hove on Sunday.
The IPL is compulsive viewing for a cricket fan and whilst it isn’t the Sports Leviathan’s favourite, it is exciting. Today the Kolkata Knight Riders set a decent total of 175 and defended it with aplomb…until the last few overs when the wheels spectacularly came off. Mumbai Indians spearheaded by James Franklin (45 off 23) scored 58 runs off the last 5 overs, needing 21 to win off the last over! Franklin started the over with four 4’s before Rayudu smashed a six to win the game. A great comeback for Tendulkar’s men who now play the Knight riders in the playoffs but crucially have home advantage as a result of their win. I only turned on when the Indians needed 12 an over and immediately I was cheering them on to try and pull off an unlikely victory. There is something habitually British about supporting the underdog and there is a similar level of excitement when a team or performer produces a comeback or revival from an unlikely position. This weekend was full of sporting ripostes which seemed to be evident whichever sport I watched.
Starting with Football, it appears Carlo Ancelotti has finally reached his stop on the Oligarch express with the news breaking of his departure – hardly surprising given Abramovich’s merry go round style of employing managers. With the topic of comebacks high on the agenda and in light of Gus Hiddink claiming today he has been working at Chelsea as an “advisor” for the last two years it may be the canny Dutchman who returns to the helm at the Bridge.
Survival Sunday didn’t fail to disappoint, with team’s fortunes changing more times than Chelsea’s managers. In fact with 3 minutes to go Wolves were down (and the Leviathan was smiling) but late goals from Hunt and Pavlychenko condemned Birmingham and Blackpool to the Championship despite the Tangerines heroic efforts in Manchester. Both sides have had an awful end to the season with Birmingham only picking up 8 points after their Carling cup victory against Arsenal, ending with 5 losses and a draw from 6 games. On New years’ day Blackpool were 8th! They only picked up 14 points for the remainder of the season as they produced streaks which saw them lose 5 in a row and then draw once and lose 5 out of 6 games; sadly for Ollie’s band of zesty warriors that is relegation form and their inability to reach the hallowed 40 point mark cost them dear (despite only spending 22 days in the bottom four). In contrast Wigan were 2-0 down to West Ham last weekend with 30 minutes to go – Half an hour to save their season the commentator noted. They not only won that game 3-2 but then beat Stoke to survive, somehow Martinez has led a monumental revival and their achievement ranks as one of the premiership’s greatest comebacks.
In Horse Racing a past selection came back in style today. Misty by Magic was a fancy of mine in the 1000 Guineas but didn’t seem to enjoy things at Newmarket – She had never raced in Britain before, having had all her previous success in Ireland and France. She was clearly below par on Guineas day and reversed a 17 length defeat to stablemate Together with her victory in the Irish 1000 Guineas today. There is talk of a tilt at the Oaks but I think she may go to the Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly instead. The race is 2 furlongs shorter than the English Oaks, so there will be no issue with her not getting home, and the way she swooped late today illustrates the step up to 1 mile and 2 furlongs looks ideal. Either way Aiden O’Brien’s string are in great form and that bodes well for Seville, who although disappointed in the Dante will hopefully be spot on for Epsom. Given his price remained unchanged after the Dante the news regarding him must be fairly positive. I will be doing a more in depth look at the Derby after final declarations but I am very intrigued by Pour Moi and think, if a confirmed runner ,will shorten in price a fair bit, so it may be worth a little ante post punt to ensure the best odds – He is currently best priced 10/1
A note too on Ian Poulter – He was asked before the Masters why he couldn’t transfer his Ryder Cup form to tournament play. Poulter said that he was due a win and felt he was swinging the club really well, citing the camaraderie and nature of matchplay events better suited his mental approach. Poulter seems to thrive in the match-play environment and he duly succeeded in the first matchplay event since his quote! Sometimes it pays to believe what you read in the press.
The Heineken Cup final on Saturday saw another impressive comeback – the biggest in Heineken cup final history. Northampton led 22-6 at the interval until Johnathon Sexton ruined the Saints party. ”We were shellshocked and needed leaders. I said comebacks happen in finals – I knew we could come back.” Said Sexton who, by all accounts was inspirational. Sexton used Liverpool’s Turkish turnaround as motivation and it clearly worked. Leinster replied with 27 unanswered points to lift Europe’s premier club trophy. Having the right mental psyche in situations like this is vital in maintaining your self belief. The best performers are the ones who can ‘chalk off” their errors and mistakes and not let them effect their future performance. This is crucial in golf and the match-play format makes it easier to do this. I would suggest Poulter needs to develop his mental dexterity to ensure he can produce a good swing consistently over 4 days and not let his mistakes get the better of him before he is going to win a major, though is his getting closer. In rugby and football the half time break provides the ideal forum for this psychological regrouping. Teams often come out galvanised in the second half and an improvement in performance is immediately evident as a result of a change in their psychological approach – conscious or not . The process of resting and regenerating our bodies mental capacity is crucial in succeeding in professional sport.
And how else could I end an article about comebacks but mention Bernard Hopkins. The new Light Heavyweight champion of he world is old enough to be David Hayes father but give him credit; he was impressive against a very disappointing Jean Pascal and at the ripe old age of 46 is the oldest man to hold a world boxing title. Sometimes the idea of running around like a teenager again fills the mind with excitement, but it seems Hopkins isn’t just thinking it; he’s living it and fair play to him.
Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Nash AHHHHH he scores another run for us!
Sports Leviathan are thrilled to welcome Chris Nash as a contributor. Nashy will keep us updated on the goings on at Sussex cricket club, give us an insight in the life of a cricketer and preview some of the up and coming Test and ODI cricket over the summer – Thats if he’s not on the golf course!
For seasons Nashy has been questioning his path into cricketing stardom. And despite the stewardship of Graham Dilley, once he was dispatched through a 5th floor window by a Northants Second XI player it was evident that it was with the willow in his hand where his strentgth lay. Two seasons ago Nashy was the third highest run scorer in the County Championship Division 1 and has regularly passed 1000 runs in recent seasons. His form earned him a call up to the England Performance Programme and also saw him represent Otago in New Zealand. He is one of the most consistent run scorers in the County Championship and alongside his 2 league winners medals lie a C&G success, a Pro 40 title as well as a 20/20 trophy. He has won it all in the domestic game and has also played in the Champions league of Cricket. Nashy bowls a bit too and his off spin has proven a useful tool for Sussex. The spiderman has been known to take crucial wickets and can add Michael Vaughn and Justin Langer to his prize scalps. C’mon lets be kind and call him an ‘all rounder ‘ and hope his blogs meet the standard of his batting or more realistically his bowling!
“With the cricket season in full swing I can give my early thoughts on how the summer is shaping up. Although it is only mid-May most teams will have completed 7 championship games by the end of the month. Thankfully with the good weather we have played on good wickets and haven’t lost many days to rain. Division 1 looks like being a real close one. Sussex, after a poor start have produced a couple of brilliant results winning against 2009 champs Durham and 2010 champs Notts inside 3 days. This has given us real confidence in the competition so we will be looking to continue this against Somerset this week. It looks like a really hard competition to predict with all sides having good players and once a team gets on a roll they could move quickly up the table. Our one day form has been very strong since our opening game loss to Derbyshire with 3 wins in 3 so we have good momentum to take into the busy month of June. June also signals the start of T20 which is an exciting time for all players. Currently the tough schedules of 4 day games mean very little time off to hone the golf swing. However the late starts during the T20 season gives me some great opportunities to work on my handicap. As is the case with most cricketers my driving can be wild but long which isnt always a good recipe. Hopefully the next few weeks can give me some time to work on that, coupled together with some more runs and I’ll be very happy.”
In the County Championship Nashy has currently scored 402 runs with 4 fifties at an average of over 50.
In light of Andrew Strauss’ sparkling 150 on what must have been a road at Uxbridge, given that Middlesex didn’t even take a wicket in the first innings, AlphaSpur responds to KP’s comments on whether the 3 captain rule is a valid one.
The England cricket team has broke new ground recently, voting ‘Yes’ to the Alternative Captain system. Three formats now means three skippers! But with high profile players such as Pieterson admitting that ‘no-one knows whether it’s going to work’ what is the idea behind the forward thinking and will England’s decision to appoint different captains for each format of the international game be a success? Read More…
Both Teams to score Blackpool vs Newcastle 4/7 – Won
Wolves vs Fulham 23/10 – Won
Phillipe Gilbert to Win Liege Bastogne Liege – 5/4 – Won
Andy Schleck E/W 16/1 in Liege Bastogne Liege – Place
The Sports Leviathan enjoyed a successful weekend slaying the bookies with the tips posted up on Saturday morning. Late goals, Non league trophies and an inspiring short game have been the highlights of a sun kissed Easter weekend.
The ball began rolling on Friday. 11am kick off in the South West Peninsular league saw the two big Exeter rivals Alphington and Exeter Civil Service lock horns. Two strikes from Harry Taylor wasn’t enough as Alphington swooped late to claim a point through Grant Lesley in stoppage time. The Non league Easter groundhop continued on Saturday where the Sports Leviathan saw himself at a very picturesque Trinity Sports Club on Croydon. Beautiful weather was contrasted with a scrappy game. And despite the linesman clearly flouting his divine powers “I can do whatever I want “he bufooned whilst trying to disallow penalties from the sideline. Goals from, Carson and Chandler set up a dramatic late win to see Project Clapham cruise to League and Cup double glory.
But the success was only just beginning. Peter Lovenkrands and DJ Campbell had the first selection wrapped up inside 32 minutes as Blackpool’s home fans got their ritual serving of goals from both sides. It was just as well Mark Hughes wasn’t up front for Fulham,! His three attempts to bury a lucozade bottle into row Z was as embarrassing as Wolves’ defending when Andy Johnson popped up with his first touch to bring home the bacon in SL’s second selection. Interestingly enough the advice for Leighton Baines didn’t hold up and in hindsight hoping for an away penalty at Old Trafford was always unlikely. However Everton had two decent appeals which could have gone either way and provided some serious satchel filling.
As posted in this blog before Hernandez is a high class player and again proved his worth on Saturday. His movement was superb for the goal and a good header from a tight angle. Wayne Rooney’s twitter account (yet to be officially verified) quoted “Loving playing with Hernandez, what a player. The buy of the century and a top bloke too”High praise indeed. High enough for Fergie to be able to leave Berbatov at home playing Pro Evo on Tuesday night instead of facing Schalke in the semi final of the champions league!
Chelsea still have a glimmer of hope at the title but need Arsenal to snap out of their routine ‘last 10 games of the season self destruct mode’ and somehow beat United instead of churning out another draw! And Torres, he scored at last! Chelsea’s celebrations were similar to the time Makelele scored his scuffed penalty against Charlton at the second attempt. Currently it stands at Makelele 2 Torres 1 from 159 games – Prolific.
The Heritage tournament was heart breaking for Luke Donald who came within a Snedekers Mullet of winning the tournament but ultimately was outplayed in the Playoff which finished on the 3rd extra hole. It was a brave effort from Donald who is surely going to add a major to his honours roll soon. His short game is so good. His bunker play is outstanding and the stat of 55/55 putts from inside 5 feet is unreal. WGC winner, top ten at Augusta and this near miss have to put him at the forefront of our mind for future tournaments – Maybe at Wentworth where SL backed him last year only for him to implode late on. He is a much better player now and will surely dethrone Lee Westwood, who to his credit closed out a win in Indonesia to regain his grasp on the World No.1 spot. This is a tussle, which has a lot of mileage in it and is excellent for the players, fans, tournament organisers and sponsors alike. In fact the Sports Leviathan found his own success on the course this weekend defeating a pro golfer at the Leviathans Lair – Lavender Park. SL carded a sublimely consistent 1 over par round to take the bragging rights for some time to come!
Sussex pulled off an unlikely victory and fantastic century from youngster Luke Wells saw Durham surprisingly defeated. I will be interested to see how the match vs Lancashire is now priced up. Furthermore surely Wells will keep his place when Yardy and Wright return? An interesting one! Cricket is only just into its swing but already the buzz is beginning to hit.
The Liege Bastogne Liege classic on Sunday wasn’t quite a classic. But with 5 Km left and Gilbert and Schleck out in front (Gilbert is the much better sprinter too) SL knew it was going to be another winning selection. Gilbert has shown he is unbelievably powerful and one of the great classic riders of the last decade. No-one can live with him at the moment. Sure enough the best rider did win – as he predicted! Kolbnev rode a brave race and almost rode himself into contention but having selected the winner and a nice each way place Sports Leviathans’ two wheeled followers will be pedaling away as happy as a Frenchman with pannier full of chocolate croissants.
This week is set to be a thrilling one; Champions league action is set to cast a vicious cloud over the Royal Wedding, Chelsea play Spurs and Arsenal face Man United in the Premier league. We will be a lot clearer who will be taking home some silverware in 7 days time. One thing is for sure as long as the Spartans from Clapham don’t throw their league trophy under a parade bus they will be a step ahead of Real Madrid!