Flem clears out



I’ll make a disclosure here – I think Stephen Fleming is bloody fantastic. He came into the team as a young batsman with an elegant style of timing the ball to the boundary that reminded me of David Gower, one of the most gifted batsmen to have played the game. Flem has blossomed into arguably the best test and one day captain playing the game today. He’s given us moments of genius such as the way he sussed out Graeme Smith in the recent series here against South Africa, and of course the way he played the series that may be his finest hour, the tour to Australia in 2002. Recently he has fulfilled his promise with the bat, turning into the run machine we hoped he’d become. Flem’s only trophy is the ICC cup from that year, and I’d bet he would love to win some more before he leaves the international stage. An Australian Tri-series would be fantastic, or a test series win against the Ockers (let’s face it, it’s all about the Aussies). Fleming’s records today (most test runs for NZ and passing RJ Hadlee’s record of 86 test matches) consolidate his position as one of our best ever. Long may he continue.

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Fergie’s fledglings – where are they now?



Living in London during the 1999 treble season for Manchester United with a rabid red and a sky decoder, I watched most of the games shown on the way to the treble. The team was built on Fergusson’s youth FA Cup winning team of Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, and the Nevilles, along with the awesome spine of Schmicheal, Staam and Keane, who made the journeymen Johnson, Cole and Yorke’s jobs a lot easier. There were some classic moments and matches, such as the comeback in Turin, Giggs’ goal against Arsenal, and of course the Nou Camp. This article looks at why the wonder boys seem almost all washed up, and why they only won one European crown (which has always been Fergie’s greatest ambition). Still, even the most ardent member of the anti – united brigade (and it’s a big brigade) have to admit the ’99 team was a bit special.

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