That’s a wrap

In now-old news (so potentially not even news), I left my role at New Zealand Cricket back in May.

You can read a wrap up over on richardirvine.com.

Righto.

2013-10-07 13.26.06

Share Button
That’s a wrap

Taranaki man’s RWC blame list nears completion

NEWS: New  Plymouth resident Mike Neckwrench feels his Rugby World Cup 2015 blame list is in ‘a really good place’, with most names penciled in six weeks out from the tournament.

image

Mike Neckwrench of Taranaki spends much of his leisure time compiling rugby world cup blame lists and lives alone.

Neckwrench, who has prepared blame lists for every Rugby World Cup since 1995 when Laurie Mains topped the pile, began preparing his 2015 edition immediately after the final whistle at Eden Park in 2011. “Winning’s not an excuse to stand still. If you’re not reading the tea leaves, Ben Smith’s suddenly playing centre in the quarterfinal while you’re still distracted by leaving Andy Ellis at home. If I’m not prepared for every scenario, I’m not doing my job.”

Coaches, players, officials and Twickenham ground staff are in the mix – the final line-up will be inked in as the tournament kicks off, with the proviso that names can be added on an ad hoc basis to allow for injuries, loss of form or unforeseeable fuckwits.

77122599-008

Neckwrench identified Wayne Barnes as a Potential dick early in 2006.

When it comes to IDing blame list potential, Neckwrench is content to play the long game, evidenced by adding Wayne Barnes to his 2007 list eighteen months before the tournament. “He’s a shit ref, and I could see the IRB lining him up to fuck us over some distance out.”

The lists themselves are kept on Excel spreadsheets in a computer folder simply labelled ‘Rugby Blame.’ “Sure, my 2011 list wasn’t needed, but importantly, it was set to go. Plus, I could just cut and paste Sonny Bill from 2011 to 2015, saving seconds,” said Neckwrench, who has ‘I told you so’ tattooed on both arms.

Share Button
Taranaki man’s RWC blame list nears completion

Links on Friday

Couple of Tottenham links to get Our Year underway – here’s Harry Kane with a casual run and edge of the box screamer in first pre-season run. sportreview.net.nz reaction – “Woof,” and “that’s great but please can we have another striker to go with him? Thanks.”

From the Guardian’s tremendous Golden Goal series – a big read on Glen Hoddle’s Watford Chip:

We can just watch, jaws gently agape, and recall the words of Mike in Swingers: “That was so fucking money. That was like the Jedi mind shit.”

And here it is:

Karim Benzema posts an Instagram of himself on an aeroplane, and the grim corner of the internet that is Arsenal fans gets all excited over nothing.

Umbrellas blowing down a beach – not sport as such but sportreview.net.nz can’t take its eyes off it.

Share Button
Links on Friday

Links on Friday

Tour de France winner and stirrer Greg LeMonde says the most important thing when public speaking is staying relaxed.

Great read from the very, very smart Aaron Timms on Shane Watson, anointing him the most awkward of Australia’s long line of ‘non-blokey’ cricketers.

When I was eight, and still dreaming of a career in the baggy green, I would burst into tears whenever I got out. Fortunately, I outgrow the habit by the age of 10. Watto, even at the age of 34, greets every dismissal as if still in the throes of that impending juvenile trauma. He bristles with purpose, but it’s a purpose with no team solidarity; his sporting will is entirely self-centred.

Not only is Cristiano Ronaldo a pale imitation of the proper Ronaldo, it turns out he’s happy to hawk any old shit in Japan to make cash.

ScreenHunter_56 Jul. 17 16.03

 

GIF / Dad of the week:
qVfhQWh - Imgur

Share Button
Links on Friday

Links on Friday

Pirlo long ball to Baggio, who finishes exquisitely. This is basically pornography for football nerds.

BIG DATA! Picking a winner in a golf tournament is more difficult than combing an annoyed cat. Fivethirtyeight.com, however, have figured out that Rory McIlroy’s withdrawal has apparently increased Masters and US Open winner Jordan Spieth’s chances by 3% in the British Open – go deep and go figure.

The Cricket Monthly on the Greatest Ball. Great piece, Wasim and Waqar feature.

Paneka penalties are a sportreview.net.nz favourite, and to attempt one that only dribbles accross the line to win the Copa America, even if you are a gooner, is pretty classy.

Share Button
Links on Friday

Come on Aussie, come on

This blog is a counter-point to sportsfreak.co.nz’s Why England post – we’re arguing about who New Zealand fans should support in this year’s Ashes.

The Ashes are inexplicably the Most Anticipated Test Series in cricket. It’s rarely close, and most of the world-class play and players have been provided by the Ockers in recent years, despite England’s awkward flirtation with competency for a while there.
ScreenHunter_44 Jul. 07 23.07

Deciding which of these great sporting nations to get behind is a real quandary for NZ sport fans.

Culturally, the series is an absolute ripper, with the moustachioed, swearing, we-drank-85-beers-each-on-the-plane-over-mate crowd from down under taking on Mother England in their own St John’s Wood Home Of Cricket in a game they invented, but have been pretty woeful at ever since.  This year’s series is harder than usual to predict with the World Champions looking strong as always, if slightly old and tired. They’re playing New England, fresh off an extraordinary series against our lot, showing an uncharacteristic rip, shit and bust approach.

So who to support if you’re a New Zealander? Again, this series is going to be starting at really good viewing / tweeting times for the NZ couch / TV / laptop crowd – Graeme has already made the case for getting behind England, but here’s (gulp) the case for supporting Australia. And having a really thorough shower afterwards.

First, it’s better for the BLACKCAPS if Australia wins. We are fourth in the world in Tests with 99 points, while England are just two points behind on 97 in sixth. We get to have a crack at the jandal-lickers (who are second on 111 points) in five Tests this summer, so have plenty of chances to haul them in. Also, if Australia get through an Ashes summer with the creaky / old Clarke / Haddin / Watson crowd, there’s a better chance they’ll get picked to play us, and I fancy our chances against them.

You also have to factor in that England are feckin’ unbearable when they win. Queen Victoria, who has been dead for over a century, is sick to the back teeth of whizzo tales of 2005 and how Freddy hugged Brett Lee that time, and then was drunk on an open topped bus, and it was KP wot won it at the Oval. If England won it again, having been pummeled in Australia last time, you’d never, ever, hear the end of it.

ScreenHunter_43 Jul. 07 22.49

If we can get over the under arm, surely the poms can get over 2005.

Conversely, England losing at cricket is my favourite thing on Twitter. From the snippy, stiff upper lip gallow-tweeting from the press box, to the fans who veer between ‘we’re the new 1980s West Indies’ to ‘we’re worse than Micronesia’, often in the space of a few overs, this is Twitter entertainment at its finest. If things don’t go to plan in the first Test or two, the ‘Bring back KP’ drums will provide a snappy backbeat to the misery and woe.

But let’s be clear – you don’t have to like or even respect the Australian players in order to want them to win. Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson, David Warner, etc have a long track record of the idiotic and rude, encompassing bad sportsmanship and a criminal lack of humility, self awareness and irony.

You won’t get any argument from me that they’re hard to love, but some – some – of them are great to watch. Mitchell Starc, even though he annoyingly bowled our skipper third ball in the World Cup final, is a top fast bowler and top viewing. Same goes for Steve Smith. Same would have gone for that noble Rhino Ryan Harris, but for his body letting him down at the final hurdle.
ScreenHunter_42 Jul. 07 22.49

Haddin – yes, it’s OK to think he’s a dickhead.

Anyway. It should be a cracking series and we can watch safe in the knowledge that the BLACKCAPS ae riding a wave of performance and personnel and playing the best brand of cricket going at the moment. These aren’t aspirational teams for us, these are our peers. Let’s take the high road and get behind our trans-Tasman cousins, if only for purely selfish reasons.

Share Button
Come on Aussie, come on

Links on Friday

Tennis racquet abuse – a top ten

Things get cooking at number four. McEnroe, the master, smashes a racquet, then argues he hasn’t smashed it. Then a guy smashes all his racquets and has to abandon the game, while number one smashes about nine in a row, not even bothering to get them out of the plastic. It’s hardly Pete Townsend smashing guitars-level rock ‘n’ roll, but still satisfying action.

Let’s face it – sports fans are bloody nerds hey. This Power Rankings list for NBA court markings shows just how easy it is to succumb. At first I was all ‘this is a shit list, just for nerds,’ then I was all ‘HOW can they put the magnificent Memphis Grizzlies court markings at a lowly 17 ???!?” You were warned.

Here’s a tremendous profile of Andrew Jennings, the English TV reporter who thoroughly investigated and exposed FIFA corruption.

“I know that they are criminal scum, and I’ve known it for years,” he said. “And that is a thoughtful summation. That is not an insult. That is not throwing about wild words.”

Hockey player gets sent off, has a ‘mare trying to leave the ice.

Share Button
Links on Friday

QUIZ: Can you tell a Young Adult Dystopian Novel from Kearnsey’s commentary?

Untitled

Pop quiz time – are the following quotes from:

A: A work of Young Adult fiction set in a post-apocalyptic world, or

B: Ex-Wallaby skipper and TV colour commentator Phil Kearns’ call from the New South Wales Warratahs v Otago Highlanders Super Rugby Semi Final?

“Am I the only one who sees the truth, the way that is right? All around me is dark. All around me is pain.”

“The Ruler may be all seeing and all powerful, but he’s been badly let down by the fourth official there. Absolute Barry Crocker.”

“I do my best to conform, to speak the words they will have me say but it  overwhelms me. Turn it up!”

“I stole a sausage. It’s hidden where They’ll never find.”

“The young run, run on fields of green, not knowing of how The Ruler owns their destiny. But I see all. From the comms box and the on the instant replay.”

“The Laws serve only the Ruler. Poor from him, boys will be gutted.”

“My voice is measured to avoid detection, but inside I scream. Only when I am safely inside the commentator’s bogs can I truly scream what must be heard.”

“Joubert, you’ve had a fucking nightmare.”

Answers: all Bs.

Share Button
QUIZ: Can you tell a Young Adult Dystopian Novel from Kearnsey’s commentary?

Links on Friday

Injured BLACKCAP / Twitter superstar Jimmy Neesham’s Reddit AMA is second only to Channing Tatum’s for humour and honesty.

Q: What are you thinking as you are batting?

A: “Ok get through the first couple of balls. Jeez that was quick. Ok knuckle down here. Oooh that girl’s quite pretty-Oi stop it, concentrate. Watch the ball. Shit that came off the bat quite nicely. I wonder how long it is til lunch? These pants are a bit tight, maybe I should get some new ones. Watch the ball. NO KANE NO. Come on mate there’s no run there, jeez. Oooh it’s lunch, I wonder if there’s cheesecake?”

Turns out Unleash The Quiche is a Reddit regular. Go read the whole thing.

Absolutely tremendous footage of an All Whites v Newcastle United friendly from 1985 at the Basin bloody Reserve. Peter Beardsley, 9, features and I like to think there was a piece to camera post-match, with kids leaping around pulling faces in the background.

sportreview.net.nz is a big fan of the retro-inspired football kits, and it turns out turning out in a classy, classic kit that respects your club’s history makes you play better than the standard ‘seagull vomit‘ most clubs settle for.

Good things come to those who wait.
PUJwYbh - Imgur

Share Button
Links on Friday

The summer ODIs went batshit

In years to come, dads will tell their kids about the Accumulation Period.  It went like this. At around an ODI’s 20th over, the batsmen would decide to only score runs by lapping down to third man, the dibbly-dobbly bowlers would lazily chuck down (sometimes literally) 6 overs each on a nagging length at 4.5 an over – everybody woke up at around 35 overs to rack up an imposing 280.
asleep-at-the-cricket-skysports

The accumulation period – bad for watching cricket.

For fans, it was a chance to get things done. If you were at the ground it was time for (mostly liquid) refreshment, and starting, participating in and resolving fights before batsmen started hitting out again. If you were watching at home it was possible to get in the car, get a few jobs done and get back to the couch via the bottler and the drive-through without missing too much.
cricket_wideweb__430x253

The accumulation period – good for chopping beer

Those days are over. Post CWC15 going batshit is the new accumulation period, 400 is the new 300 and bowlers are the new cannon fodder.

The Influence Of T20, big bats, pitches friendlier to batsmen than liniment and boundary ropes slinking from the fence like a Shane Warne walk of shame are all being blamed for turning the Once-Dying Format into an experience like watching eight hours of highlights.

If this England / BLACKCAPS series was a blue light disco, the batsmen were the ones who necked a cask of screwdriver in the car park and spent the night dancing and pashing, while the bowlers sat alone, looking moody, thinking about how they can’t feckin’ stand Come On Eileen.

article-1252288-085DDCD0000005DC-504_634x424

Big bats – a scourge on the modern game.

So is this what it’s going to be like from now on, with death bowling required for 50 overs? Limited overs innovation has given us new-ish bowling tricks like the wide yorker and slow bouncer to limit the damage – but they don’t seem to be working on the feather bed pitches, in this series anyway.

There’s talk of changing the ball, the ropes, the bats and the power play format, but cricket is notoriously slow to change its rules (which is a good thing when compared to Rugby, who are always up for a bit of Touch, Pause, Shambles). sportreview.net.nz suspects future re-balancing of bat v ball will come from bowlers, captains and coaches working out new plans or indeed, groundsmen having mercy. Big scores and big hits sell tickets, I expect ICC leadership or action is unlikely to swift or potentially effective.

Anyway. You probably remember Kevin Pieterson from being England’s all time Test run-scorer. And from Piers Morgan’s Twitter account. Trust issues between KP and former team mate /  current England director of cricket meant his involvement in this series has mainly been online, where he’s been putting his hand up loud and clear.

ScreenHunter_11 Jun. 17 21.34

Man who once scored 158 at the Oval to win the Ashes returns to pose about in puce chinos.
ScreenHunter_10 Jun. 17 21.30
A clear message to Straussy – KP’s fit and ready to go.
ScreenHunter_08 Jun. 17 21.27
Tequila > Powerade.
Share Button
The summer ODIs went batshit