England Triumph Again
The England cricket team have retained the Wisden trophy, going 2-0 up in their 4-match series away to the West Indies. If they actually win, rather than tieing, the series, it will be their first series win in the Caribbean since the 1967/8 season.
One of the unlikely English heroes of that series was Welsh bowler Jeff Jones. Well, Jeff's son Simon has been a large part of the success of this England team. Along with Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard, Jones forms a rather impressive pace bowling trio. And considering that trio doesn't include Mark Johnson, who got the best bowling figures of an England debutant ever against Zimbabwe last year, or Jimmmy Anderson, who broke into the team in Australia last year and looks highly useful, or young Worcestershire bowler Kabir Ali, who has real potential, the England pool of players is looking very good at present.
Rumours abound, as they have all season, that Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri will be dismissed at the end of the season, regardless of what his team achieve. Chief executive Peter Kenyon has refused to offer any assurances to Ranieri, and it looks increasingly likely that he will go, even if Chelsea win the European Cup, and even if they were somehow to overturn the nine point deficit and beat Arsenal to the Premier League title.
Ranieri is an astute, capable manager, he is doing a good job at Chelsea, and the only reason he is spending vast sums of money is that new owner Roman Abramovich has given them to him. He was achieving things with the club even when they didn't have this huge transfer fund, and to dismiss him for second in the Premier League (ahead of last year's champions) and a Champions League Quarter final place seems unfair. When you bear in mind that they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal, if Arsenal knock them out of the European Cup, and also are the only team to beat them in the league, then it will be clear that the only team proven better than Chelsea are Arsenal. This shows just how good they are and that it's not been a bad season for the Stamford Bridge team.
And finally, a word for Footballer Craig Winter. Craig had been an integral part of the Cowdenbeath midfield since his 1994 transfer from Raith Rovers. Craigie was club captain and made 326 appearances for the Blue Brazil, scoring 31 goals. Now, at the age of 29, and with Cowden's hope of promotion to Division Two gone, Craig has left for pastures new, scoring for new club Brechin City at the weekend. Brechin are involved in a relegation battle in the First Division with Ayr United, who boast Johannesburg-born striker Graeme Brown, another Cowden legend, who made that switch in January. So, from a Cowdenbeath fan, a big thanks to both Craig and Broony for their services to Cowden, and I hope that both Brechin and Ayr somehow avoid relegation this season.
Several A/K/A Random's 'sporting blues'
It's a beautiful day for baseball! This week the planets are lined up in the sky so that I can see three Cleveland Indians spring training games on the telly by day and from here I can see four planets and the crescent moon by night. Perhaps Saturday I can see a fifth plant, too! From the southeast is Jupiter, then Saturn in the south, old friends Mars and Venus to the southwest, and maybe Mercury low in the western sky over the weekend. (I'll have to go into the back yard to see Mercury.)
So with the planets lining up, baseball starting up, all I have this week to talk about is women's soccer? Oh well.
Abby Wambach scored three goals and set up Lindsay Tarpley for another in a 4-1 US National Team victory over Norway in the Algarve Cup, played in Faro, Portugal last week. It is Wambach's second 'hat trick' for the National Team, which is headed to Athens for the Olympics, I do believe.
Oh, yes, there is something else in Amsports this week, called the National Collegiate Atheletic Association (NCAA) basketball playoffs. Of course, the players don't get 'paid' but they stay in luxury apartments, must at least attempt to get a college education and get to fly across the country to raise million$ for their respective schools.
Anyway, after last weekend's games, we have two of the four number one seeds knocked off, with only Duke University and tiny St Josephs College remaining from the predicted winners. The University of Alabama Birminghan (UAB) defeated top seed Kentucky in St Louis, while the University of Alabama knocked out 30-1 Stanford in Phoenix, Arizona - Alabama is better known for college football, but they grow some athletes down there, it seems.
So what we have is UAB meeting Kansas, Georgia Tech meeting Nevada, Duke and Illinois, Texas meeting tiny Xavier University, St Joe's and Wake Forest, the Pittsburgh Panthers and Oklahoma, Alabama-Syracuse, and Vanderbilt facing Connecticut. Further information from the Las Vegas betting parlors, where some $70 million is expected to be wagered, possibly more than what was bet on pro football's Super Bowl. That was a one-time event, the NCAA's are over three weekends.
And I get to fall asleep during the baseball game this afternoon! Whoo-hooo ! A little exploration led me to Guide entries on National League baseball and American League baseball that I highly commend. Baseball's regular season opens in two weeks, and some of us baseball junkies can't wait. Five months is a long time between games.
So this is several, a/k/a random, from the south shore of the Great Lake named Erie with the weekly Post Amsport report, saying 'Play ball' over and out.
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