Links on Friday

– Gordon Strachan is the undisputed master of the press conference – it’d be nice to see someone give Smithy a bit of this

– Sad to see Stephen Fleming retire, but this guy won’t be too upset. Still, I wouldn’t want to piss him off

– Remember Zidane headbutting Materazzi in the World Cup final? It’s fair to say he had some form

– On Facebook yet? It’s… OK, now I’ve started blocking people with the Vampires and fighting and that. This looks way better

IPL franchise CEO wakes up with hangover, Nathan Bracken

SRPA: Ever woken up racked with dread, wondering what you did last night? Bangalore franchise CEO Charu Sharma can empathise. He woke up this morning with a mind numbing hangover. And Nathan Bracken.

“What have I done?” said Sharma, after a prolonged bout of moaning and finding a cool, damp towel for his forehead. “Last thing I remember was enjoying the canapes and a little wine in reception. Next thing I have this guy in a headband sitting in my hotel room. What a horrible, horrible situation.”

An clearly tired and emotional Sharma bid $325,000 USD in last night’s Indian Premier League player auction, picking up Bracken unopposed while shouting “The headband! I want the headband! Hahahahahahahaaa!” After some strong black coffee Sharma was looking on the bright side this morning. “I guess I can use him. Fielding at cow corner. Shoring up an end. Mowing my lawn. Everyone’s good at something.”

Being there: Chiefs v Blues, Super 14

Friday, I was at Eden Park for the Cricket, but if this is Saturday, it must be Rugby.

IMAGE_016.jpg

Last year’s Super 14 was the testing ground for ‘Look, Ma, no All Blacks!’. This year we’re testing the Experimental Law Variations (or something). The players all looked like they’d been in the gym. There were some really big hits.

They’ll need to be fit, cos the new rules make the game FAST. There was lots of sevens-style chasing after the ball slowly, forcing the opposition to cover you all the way back.

There was a lot of kicking. The forwards spent much of the game wandering around the half way line like a Zombie hoard while the full backs and wingers played force back over their heads.

The Chiefs have a great team – Mils, Sivivatu, Anesi, Kahui, Donald, Leonard, Messam, Gibbes, Luaki, and Willis… that’s a really solid spine, with some real experience tucked in there. The only thing we’re missing is a couple of massive, hairy props, which is strange, as Waikato teams are usually renowned for its great hairy props.

Eden Park seems to be taking the threat of cinemas seriously in it’s bid to retain the title “Biggest, evilest rip-off merchant of the year, Food and Drink”. I’ll review the items one by one.

IMAGE_017.jpg
– Chips – these are OK. Still. Four bucks.
– Battered Hot Dog – Horrible, pitiful, pitiful amount of sauce, and a round stick. A round stick just seems wrong.
– Fish and Chips – I’d rather have gravel and chips than pay $8.50 for fish and chips at a rugby ground.
– Calamari and Chips – No way. Just… no way.
– Soft drink / water – Jesus, don’t leave yourselves short, will you?

Overall, it was a fun, low key night out, and Eden Park is not a bad place to be of a balmy February evening. The Blues will do well this year, and it’s only early days for the Chiefs. It did make me feel I need to make the most of what’s left of this summer, though.

Links on Friday

– American Football is so hot right now, with yer Giants, Brady, and second and seven and all that. I still reckon the Glasgow Diamonds are the best, though. They’re here to play football. And rap.

Scotty Pippen gives Spike Lee what-for

Out of context takes your Hollywood movie stars and makes them look like dicks – contains spooky foreshadowing of Tom Cruise’s Scientology rant

Sandwich encyclopedia – for those of us that think bread and dead animal are the cornerstone of any delicious meal

The Eden Park one-two

Tomorrow, instead of spending my best years sitting at a desk (I love my job, really), I’ll mostly be sleeping in then trotting off to the Cricket (if the rain stays away). Let’s see if we can wrap it up 3-0 and then play the kids. What? We’re beating them WITH the kids? OK then.

While I’m there, I’ll fire some insight (heh) through to the Sportsfreak. Their live blog of game two was a real larf and got picked up on the Guardian’s blog.

Actually, I’m just hoping to see the lights. I’ve been to two day night matches where it’s been all over before they’re even turned on. Come on, England!

Then on Saturday night, it’s Eden Park again for the Chiefs v the Blues. They will play a game called Rugby, you may have heard of it. Surreally, it’s that season again, seems like only yesterday I was wallowing in a black hovel of despair… Still, it’s not going to go away, and as much as I hate myself, I’ve got a nagging curiosity, and I’ll be interested to see the New Rules. I’ve got no idea what they’re about. It’s going to be a shambles. Nah, it IS far too early to be watching Rugby, isn’t it?

ICC brainstorms new Cricket format ‘Like Twenty20, but lasting five whole days’

SRPA: The ICC is set to rock the cricket world with a radical new format designed to take on the rebel Twenty20 leagues. The game takes place over five consecutive days, with no limits on bowlers’ overs, and team batting twice, if required. “There may well be scenarios where an individual could bat all day, if he’s good enough.” said ICC Chief executive Malcolm Speed at a press conference. “Imagine that!”

“There may be a few rumblings from the Long Room brigade, but we’re sure they’ll come around.” said ICC Director Of Communications Tim Strong-Ginbender. “Cricket’s a game of tradition – but we can’t be afraid to innovate. Where will the Michael Bevans and Chris Harrises of the future come from? Cricket’s forefathers, visionary men like Kerry Packer, would approve I’m sure.”

The new format was developed by a specially commissioned think tank, fresh from designing the 2007 World Cup format. “We holed up in a Dubai hotel with a whiteboard for three months.” explained Strong-Ginbender. “There was no such thing as a bad idea. Five days? Sure! Two innings? Go with that! Different coloured balls – why not red? Just a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm in the room.”

Players’ consultant Inzamam Ul-Haq, who spent the press conference slowly shaking his head and moaning softly, declined to answer any questions not related to the hotel’s buffet, which featured excellent Pain Au Chocolat and unlimited coffee refills before 10.30am.