Gravel in my ice cream – Cricket World Cup roundup

If this long summer’s Cricket was a relationship, the BNZ series was meeting at a party when too drunk to talk, the Commonwealth Bank series was a ‘getting to know you’ dinner and movie without being asked in for coffee, Chappell-Hadlee was getting drunk and swimming naked, the World Cup was slowly realising something just wasn’t right, while McCullum sweeping Muralitharan down square leg’s throat in the Semi was getting a fax with “YOU’RE DUMPED! LOL!” on it.

So that’s it – we’re third in the world, which is arguably a great result for us – but I don’t feel like arguing, I feel like staying in my room for the weekend, wearing black and listening to The Smiths. It feels about as appealing as yesterday’s Asparagus rolls given 6 minutes in the microwave. The whole tournament has been, well, a bit shit, with empty stadiums, the early exits of Pakistan and India, the poor form of the hosts, England and South Africa adding up to make this tournament drag on more than a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond “just to see what’s there”. This is all underlined by Bob Woolmer’s death and subsequent botched-up investigation, the exact opposite of what this enthusiastic and wise cricket man deserved.

New Zealand were consistent but not world beaters – and it was our old friends the Aussies and Sri Lankans that dented and finally totalled all that optimism that ‘this could be our year’. This sucks, because we’ve played them loads this summer – yet our guys were just as clueless about Malinga and Muralitharan’s bowling in the semi final as in January. We had some great moments, but like a steak sandwich made from Richard Loe’s jandals – this season’s best bits were in the middle (the Chappell-Hadlee series was just thrilling), with nasty business at the start and end.

Fleming took responsibility and his reign as captain of the one day side is over, but he was was hardly alone in a ‘New Zealand top order batsman not scoring runs’ club. Fleming was chucked in as captain as a 23 year old, and lead us to two World Cup semi finals and an ICC trophy. It’s a real shame we missed out on that test series win in Australia in 2001, Fleming deserves better than Richard Boock’s unreadable book and some of the most bizarre endorsement choices around (Dressing as a can of Rexona? Flogging air conditioners backed by country singers? “Thanks, Mr Hooker!”???) to remember him by.

I feel like that dreadlocked groundsman at the final putting the 30 yard circle back out when the umpires had finished fucking around – I’ve had enough Cricket for the moment, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m glad Malcom Speed and his crew were roundly booed at the final presentation – lucky the crowd bought their torches, eh? The Guardian’s Gideon Haigh sums it up better than I can:

Maybe they saw this spectacle for what it was: a bunch of overcoached, overcooked lookalikes providing third-rate content for Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps the idea all along was to soften us up for the inexorable advance of Twenty20 cricket. It has never looked better.

When’s our next test series, anyway?

Ah well – that’s Cricket over with – bring on the Rugby. I’ve watched hardly any Super 14 this year, I feel the same way as when the Lions came out – there’ll be Rugby hysteria aplenty this year, so why not put it off as long as possible before succumbing? Following the Black Caps is about hoping for a miracle, while the All Blacks operate under grave, crushing, deadly, deadly serious and humour-free expectation. It’s still fun, mind, just different. I was really hoping for that Caribbean miracle, though. As a toe in a hot bath, I watched the Chiefs beat the Warratahs in a close, entertaining match on Friday evening, the kind they usually lose. It’s good to be back…

Links on Friday

Diving is a blight on football – as always, when you need some simple, violence-based common sense, Mr. T comes to the rescue
Wow – Argentinian Lionel Messi scores for Barcelona. Handily for The New Maradonna they’ve put his goal next to another famous Argentinian’s finest hour – uncanny
Runout of the day – AB de Villiars with a runout David Blaine would be proud of (‘cos rarely for him, it wouldn’t be utter shit)
Rio Ferdinand is a twat – reason # 378
Rich guy wins yacht race – har
Ever wondered what happened to Adam out of Adam and Joe? – now you know

Bay Of Plenty man torn between Cosmopolitan Club, couch for Cricket World Cup Semi Final

SRNZPA: Pensioner Barry McDonnell can’t decide between watching the Black Caps’ semi final appearance against Sri Lanka from a Mount Maunganui Cosmopolitan Club bar stool or his couch. “It’s a close call, I tell ya” he said today.

“At the bar, you’re getting all the atmosphere. They’ve got some pretty decent numbers for the second innings considering it starts at sparrow’s fart. We’re still going on that meat pack they raffled for the Ireland match, too”. The increased chances of alcohol consumption are a major factor in his decision. “If I’m at the bar, and we’re winning, I’ll probably have a jug. Be rude not to. Then again, I’ll probably have one if we’re losing too. Elsie’d kill me if I had a drink at home before midday” he said.

There are major doubts about his couch as a viable option. “At home you can concentrate on the match alright and see all the replays, but there’s about as much atmosphere as a Richard Petrie fan club AGM. Elsie will be asking where Chris bloody Harris is every five minutes, too.”

McDonnell concluded his wife’s concern about neighbours’ opinion of the deck that’s needed painting for three years while he’s sitting on his arse in the middle of the day, for heaven’s sake would curtail his enjoyment of the match and that “I’ll be at the Cossie. Fuck it.” He went on to express similar concerns about his ability to peacefully view this years’ America’s Cup yacht racing and Rugby World Cup. A TV in the shed was one option being considered.

Links on Friday

– Turns out Youtube is a cavalcade of sledging – there’s Freddie Flintoff dealing to a junior West Indian, Kumar Sangakkara’s mental disintegration of Shaun Pollack in the last World Cup, but the best is Mark Boucher – that is HARSH
John McEnroe loses it – he even has a pop at the crowd
This table football table is the business – it’s a pretty fun game if you can get over that whole Joey / Chandler thing. Still, if you’ve got the room there’s no excuse for not going for a pool table, really
A compilation of every single death from the Friday 13th films – this brings back some happy, happy memories
Chrysler halts production of neck belts – Whew
60 things worth shortening your life for – some of those burgers look gooood

England lose, un-invent cricket. World Cup thrown into chaos

SRNZPA: In a bold move, England un-invented Cricket following their crushing nine wicket defeat at the hands of South Africa. Former ECB Chairman David Morgan told reporters “Our supporters have long faced taunts about England inventing the game, but being crap at it. Well, sod you lot quite frankly, we can ruddy well un-invent it. That is all.” When pressed further while leaving the press conference, a clearly tired and emotional Morgan blurted “You Aussies think you’re so smart – well stick this up your jacksie, Trev.” before being quickly lead away.

Chartered accountant Micheal Vaughan said “Obviously we’ll take full responsibility for ending Cricket forever – that’s life. Batting first after winning the toss wasn’t the best move, but hindsight’s 20/20 isn’t it? We just have to make the best of it.” Yorkshire plumber Andrew Flintoff: “Well the lads are pretty disappointed at how its worked out, but we mustn’t grumble, we’d had a good innings. We’ll always have fond memories of 2005, and that WAS a tremendous piss-up afterwards.”

“I’m absolutely devastated” responded Malcom Speed, unemployed. “One or two results have gone against England, and they’ve made what must have been an extremely tough decision. We’d bought the finest around to the Carribean for a carnival of Cricket, now we’ve just got a bunch of guys in tracksuits buying duty free booze. It’s a nightmare.”

Former Cricketers may not be out of a job if Saatchi & Saatchi Chief Executive Kevin Roberts’ planned breakaway sport “Loveball” gets off the ground. “Oh boy, I am super, super stoked! You guys are gonna love it! I haven’t been this excited since the Gillette Fusion razor! Woooooooo! Yeah! Woooooooo!” enthused Roberts before spontaneously exploding.

The repercussions of this unprecedented move will be felt far and wide, with Lords, Home Of Cricket facing a future as Lords, Home Of Gardening, and Rugby and Netball administrators fearing copycat uninventings before their own world cups later this year. The Channel Nine commentary team are now lobbying Rugby League for a job, with Tony Grieg making a breakaway bid for Polo and Basketball.

Abramovich quiz

What’s happening in this picture?

a) Chelsea FC Chairman Roman Abramovich celebrates his team’s progress to the FA Cup final with a late, late, winner against Blackburn on Sunday?

b) Russian Oil magnate Roman Abramovich checks out the crude oil prices?

c) Zombie overlord Roman Abramovich receives word his rouge scientist working feverishly in a Siberian lab is nearing completion of the super virus that, when released into the world’s water supply, will turn the population into brain eating walking dead trained to do his bidding?

d) Bad boy Roman Abramovich orders his KGB-trained bodyguard (front) to beat someone up?

Links on Friday

An utterly crap start to today, flipping between Sri Lanka thrashing NZ and Spurs going out of Europe. The only thing that could have made it worse would be if Rove came in and shat on the rug. Here’s some links, anyway…
– Matthew Hayden is the form batsman of the tournament so far – still, he’s pretty easy to wind up, as England find out, not to mention Glenn McGrath, age 12.
A frankly stunning goal by Ricardo Quaresma – the ball seems to slow down in mid-flight
Gazza’s semi final free kick – just to cheer me up
Turns out Tiger did win the Masters after all – “I even came in second with all the strain, and I’m Tiger Woods”
Vampire hunting kits – I would have LOVED one when I was 10. Bloody handy though, as we get into those cold winter nights
Griffiths Games Megamart – the Brit gaming industry at its finest

World Cup upsets continue unabated – Australia lift ICC Pub Quiz trophy

SRNZPA: The little fancied Australians won the ICC World Cup Pub Quiz in the Barbados Holiday Inn’s conference rooms 3 & 4 last night. They beat pre-quiz favourites South Africa in a play off round, with the closest guess to the 1893 invention of Peanut Butter. This was a massive boost for Australia, who have an ignominious record in competition requiring brains, while South Africa added to their history of failing at the final hurdle.

A jubilant Ricky Ponting told journalists “The boys are made up. No-one gave us a VB’s chance in Warney’s fridge to win, but we showed some real ticker in here to pull it out. Every Australian can be proud of their team. We’re going to enjoy ourselves tonight, yeah.”

Australia were almost written off early, making schoolboy errors like identifying Bob Hawke as The Muppet Show’s Sam the Eagle in the world leaders round. Crucially, their choice of double point Joker round was ‘Offensively Moronic Commentators’, in which the Channel Nine team featuring heavily.

South Africa established a massive lead early on, before being slowly dragged back to the pack. Sean Pollock proved his worth as a world class all rounder in the music round, picking up a Stock, Aitken Waterman hat trick of Kylie Minouge, Sinitta and the Reynolds Girls in quick succession. “There are a lot of long faces at that table” admitted Pollock. “I’m disappointed ‘cos we haven’t learned from our mistakes – I’m not looking forward to facing the music back home.”

Dark Horses New Zealand made the semi finals with a minimum of fuss, and were many critic’s choice for the title, but spectacularly collapsed on the ‘Celebrity Babies’ round. Stephen Fleming said “I’m gutted, Ham Marshall bought a stack New Ideas with him, and I thought our gossip was going to very, very strong indeed. We argued and argued over Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s kids names. I wrote down Scout, but Macca rubbed it out and put Brownie. That’s quizzing, I guess.”

Abramovich: Werewolf

Check out this photo of Chelsea FC’s sugar daddy Roman Abramovich at his first wedding – I reckon he’s a werewolf, eh.

That would explain a lot.

UPDATE: Holy. Shit. The shaved werewolf might have fooled (and possibly devoured) one unfortunate Russian bride, but now he’s going out with a Zombie! Check out that brain-hungry mouth, the dead, dead eyes and listing posture. She is FULLY a Zombie. What’s going on at Stamford Bridge? And why does Roman look so pleased? What does he know that we don’t? Does that smug, far-away look in his eyes mean he’s dreaming of a post-zombie-infestation apocalyptic world where he rules the few survivors through a callous blend of terror, fear and ritual humiliation? I think we should be told.