Sporting with Egon

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Welcome to the resurrected Sporting With Egon. Unfortunately, the star attraction of the previous incarnation of this column will be absent, as American sport correspondent several a/k/a random unfortunately passed away recently after a short illness, and he'll be sadly missed.

Ashes to Ashes, Warne to Vaughan

The England cricket team have won back the Ashes. The biennial competition between England and Australia is so named because when Australia whitewashed England for the first team, the stumps were cremated to commemorate the death of English cricket, but the current squad are certainly alive and kicking. A 2-1 win, with two drawn games also dominated by the hosts, have put the tiny urn in England captain Michael Vaughan's hands.

The series has seen brilliant performances from several players, Andrew Flintoff standing out for England, and Shane Warne at his imperious best for the Aussies. Warne managed to extract spin from the most innocuous surfaces and bamboozled England players all series, ending with forty wickets.

The victorious England team, who spent most of the series not quite throwing away insurmountable leads, were greeted by massive crowds when they paraded through Trafalgar Square and the series was played in a good spirit of mutual respect as cricket pushed itself to the forefront of English sport again.

Meanwhile, in the England football world

England 0 Northern Ireland 1. A result in the World Cup qualifiers which has many people calling fvor Sven Goran Eriksson's sacking as England manager. Apparently the players aren't to blame for not looking arsed, it's the manager's fault.

What people are failing to do, amidst all the weeping and wailing about tactics and player power and Eriksson's private life (which should remain private), many people seem to be ignoring the fact that the real reason Northern Ireland won is that they cared more, and David Healy had a killer touch that England lacked- his goal was top class.

So, in summary, well done Norn Iron


In a hopelessly inadequate substitute for several's fantastic 'Sporting Blues', I'll give you a shambling report on US sports.

US Open tennis- Roger Federer stopped 35-year-old Andre Agassi from clinching a farewell ttitle in his home grand slam, while Kim Clijsters won the women's competition.

The NFL is underway. Superbowl holders New England Patriots started as they mean to go on, with an opening day victory.

Major League Baseball is approaching the business end of the season and the sport's richest team, the New York Yankees, are proving that money doesn't always buy success. A hint of desparation is visible in the Yankees, who have used FIFTY different players this season, and are still struggling to catch Cleveland for the wild card.

Johns Jets In

Back in English sport, my home town of Warrington turned out to the Halliwell Jones stadium in record numbers, filling the ground as the Wolves gave a debut to new signing Andrew Johns, apparently the best player in the world. And he should be as he will be paid fifteen grand a game for a short term deal. But he was man of the match as they won on Saturday and, if he leads the club to victory in the playoffs, then it will be seen as money well spent.


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