Takapuna Beach Criterium

We went to watch last night’s North Shore City Grand Prix, which took over downtown Takapuna (such as it is) for the night. Criteriums are fantastic to watch, as you can stand in one spot, eating a lovely Pizza, for example, and watch the riders come past you again and again.

Standing roughly a metre away from a group of 20-30 Cyclists head down in a big gear at 50ish KPH downhill, as close to the other riders as you are to your computer now makes you think of how brave you have to be to ride this kind of race – it’s not for wussy sports bloggers like myself.

We caught the Open Men’s race, featuring the legendary Olympian and PRO Graeme Miller, who bagged second place behind a rider whose name I don’t know, who made an early break and held on in an extremely gutsy ride in blustery conditions.

After watching the Elite Women race, we strolled down to see the Elite Men line up for their race. I kept an eye on Gordon McCauley, the ‘people’s champion’ as the MC called him about 37 times. He has a reputation for being an extremely hard rider, and sledger, we caught a little glimpse as he sharked up to the start / finish, muttering something to a young rider, breaking him out of his pre-race trance. McCauley set a hard and fast tempo in the little of the race we saw, bringing the peloton extremely close to the barriers early on – McCauley finished up third – turns out he’s on Twitter too.

Rugby voiceless

“Bill’s preparation was meticulous and involved a lot of card-play. He would shuffle a deck and flash through the cards, matching a player with a number. Having memorised the names, he then liked to watch the players in training, listening to them. It hurt him just before his retirement in 2002 that he was once denied access to an Australian training session. Professional rugby has not always been kind to the romantics.”

Guardian obituary of Rugby commentary legend Bill MacLaren – some of his best work was on Jonah Lomu Rugby


Links on Friday

Roy Keane scares the living shit out of a press gallery. He’s just doing it for fun now.

Steve Waugh, another scary look master, makes direct contact with batsman’s head using a ball. Watch it in slo mo, look how QUICKLY he gets over causing harm to his opponent, and instead, gets into pissed-off, hands-on-fucking-hips stance. You could tell early he was destined for Australian captaincy greatness, this one.

Required reading: Bike Snob NYC takes down ‘fixie’ ‘riding’, ‘cockle’ ‘eating’, ’boutique’ ‘beer’ ‘drinking’ Brooklyn hipsters with the cool calm brutal accuracy of John Wayne nailing a prowler’s nuts with his foot.

Chris Waddle was a Tottenham hero, and much like sportreview at subfootball, has still got it.

Kicking 2009 when it’s down

Doing a half-arsed wrap up of the year is becoming a tradition here on sportreview – here’s 2009.

If there was one week that summed up 2009 for me, it was seeing the All Blacks *cook* with Italy’s Next Top Model contestants in Milan in the most embarrassing and wooden photo op since Don Brash walked the plank, before our second string players participated in a shitty, shitty match at the San Siro, deeply marred by some shocking officiating from an experienced ref trying to enforce god knows what version of the rulebook is on top of the pile. Any Italians unfamiliar with Rugby watching the match would have found the oval ball code as appealing as toenail ravioli.

Earlier that day, New Zealand qualified for the Football World Cup in front of a crowd wholeheartedly supporting their team.

I don’t want to get into a Rugby v Football debate (although I think the nation’s office kitchens are going to be ringing with that mid year), but I really wish the first of these scenarios was more like the second – clear rules, supporting and having fun, and winning. That would do nicely.

Here’s my year, in sport, in sportreview.net.nz and for me.

2009: big sport stuff

All Whites making the World Cup finals
All of a sudden it’s 1982 again. I’m sure I’m not the only one who this qualification kind of sneaked up on. I wasn’t paying that close attention to the qualifiers, and then suddenly we were two games away, and the whole country was going All Whites crazy and calling it ‘Football’. Wonders never cease. For a country used to grim, po-faced ‘support’ of its Rugby heroes, where Grizz Wylie’s statuesque pose when watching matches is seen as a model for manhood everywhere, not, perhaps more appropriately, something to lean on to keep warm, the Latin explosion of noise and color in the Caketin that night could change our country’s sporting landscape forever. Could. Anyway. We really have something to look forward to this year. Leg Break or ‘lucky git’ as he’s known around here, will be our man in the Guardian’s Fan thingo.

Black Caps
Can’t I just skip this? Andy Moles was out faster than a sneaky fart in a meeting room, and suddenly Dan is player, captain, coach, selector and god knows what else – we would be deeply fucked if we lost him at the moment. We got a little taste of how un-fucked we are without Shane Bond in Dunedin before going back to being just fucked without him.  Everything in my July 2008 Black Caps coach application still applies – we need two things – 1. John Wright and 2. a plan.

Chiefs make the Super 14 Final
Not sure how they got on after that, ah har har

The All Blacks.
We’re still South Africa’s bitches, but how long they can continue a coaching panel the equivalent of a Benny Hill chase scene, I don’t know. I only got to one match, the bitter bitter disappointment in Hamilton. NZ’s other national sport of kicking the All Blacks when they’re down is still alive and well. To me, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the way we played on the end of year tour and in the Tri Nations, it’s just we executed better, and playing against poorer quality sides up north would have helped. It’s still not going well, though, is it? The All Blacks’ 2011 preparations (and make no mistake, it’s ALL about 2011) is still in the ‘Hey! Let’s build a waterfront stadium!’ phase. Must try harder.

New Zealand cyclists kick the world’s arse
New Zealand cyclists had 15 world titles this year, and just this week, up and comer Jack Bauer outsprinted Tour De France riders Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean to win the national Road Race title. We’ve got cycling talent coming out our ears, and it’s looking all on on the track and the road for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Pro wise, this year’s Tour De France should be a ripper, with Alberto v Lance and the new Brit Sky team. Can’t wait.

2009: sportreview.net.nz related highlights

I really enjoyed putting this together, there’s some great stuff in here, but NOT ENOUGH! I’m still accepting stalks team.

L&P take down
I wish more companies would piss me off so I could do This Kind Of Thing more often.

This is a lot of fun, and something I’m keen to do more of, if I can find a decent place to record them. The fist few have a certain charm, but the French preview one is where it hits its stride

The Herald showed some love

I won a copy of JRod’s first book

Best 2009 posts: Bowling through Wexford, Dan drops himself, Fight Club Duos, Keith Quinn on Twitter, Rattue joins the All Blacks, Tua / Cameron fight move, Bloggers at the Basin,

Best 2009 cartoons: Player Power, Dingo + shark, SuperDobbers, 18 and life to go,

Tech Talk with Phil Waugh – secretly probably my favorite thing I’ve done all year. Too weird?

2009: Rocking my world

Getting MySky
I CANNOT emphasise enough how much arse MySky kicks. Having long sent the VCR to the downstairs storage of doom, the ability to quickly ‘tape’ anything on a whim has changed my and sportreviewloveinterest’s lives. As a sport blogger, this means I can actually WATCH SPORT again – imagine that! It also means I can fast forward through the weather for the South Island – this makes me very happy indeed.

Starting a tumblr is a pretty low hassle way to make a neat site, and a great way to find new links and photos.

New Bike – conquered some sweet hills on this already.

Top 5 tracks in last.fm
1. The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
2. Beck – Sing It Again
3. Ben Kweller – Thirteen
4. Harry Nilsson – Turn On Your Radio
5. The Velvet Underground – I Found a Reason

In The Loop, Avatar 3D. I didn’t see many movies released in 2009 this year.

Pathetic effort reading wise this year, due to watching too much iPod TV on the bus. I loved White Teeth and Cannery Row, while Man In Full made me very frustrated. Sport-wise, it was Summer 0f 49 and Tana‘s Up Close, continuing the All Black tradition of mildly revelatory bios after they’re safely retired.

So, another year down. I hope you all are enjoying the site, I really enjoy your comments and having some larfs, especially on the twitter. My personal sporting highpoint this year is watching sportreview jr, who’s 19 months now, kick a ball – he hits it hard. He’s going to break the back of some poor unsuspecting net one day.

Related: best of 2008, best of 2006 one, two

Our motivation? Pissing everyone in the world off – Ponting

This is the excerpt of your first post template…

NEWSDESK: Annoying every man, woman and child on the planet was all the motivation Ricky Ponting’s players needed to complete their 36 run win over Pakistan in Sydney. “I told the boys we’ve got a great chance of pissing off everyone in the world if we got those wickets, a great chance,’ said Ponting. “I bet there’s a whole lot of blokes in Laos really fucked off with us right now – we’ll all be laughing about that in the bar tonight!”

Offspinner Nathan Hauritz, who pissed off Johannesburg, large parts of Ethiopia and the Maldives with his five wicket bag in Pakistan’s final innings was unrepentant. “Everyone likes to see us lose, but that’s tough. I used the tear stained faces of Cricket mad kids in India to help get us home. Damn, it feels good.”

“Those ‘blogging from their parents’ basement’ fucks on the internet helped me get a ton,” said Michael Hussey, who was voted “Number One Most Unpopular And Dastardly Man” in a Columbian website poll on Wednesday night. Hussey added he was thinking of changing his ‘Mr Cricket’ nickname to ‘Mr Suck My Balls’.

Several of the world’s leaders registered their disapproval on behalf of their nations: “Nothing unites the world like seeing Australia lose at Cricket,” said French Premier Nicolas Sarkozy, who watched the last few overs. “I hate seeing those smarmy fucks jumping around when they win. Carla is inconsolable.” Sarkozy confirmed he would instruct Parisian waiters to be ruder than usual to any Australian tourists this weekend.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said he deeply regretted the Australian win; “Here we are trying to grow our game and those frickin Australians go and annoy the piss out of everyone. I was on the phone to the IOC panel and most of Belgium this morning to make amends.”

While global annoyance levels for this match weren’t at the all time highs of The Great Plague or England’s Adelaide collapse, Lorgat warned that we were due for a big one. “Just imagine if this was New Zealand with a test or even series win in their grasp, before being cruelly pegged back by those Baggy Green douchebags. Actually, having thought about it, we’re all pretty much fucked.”