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Wednesday Debate No.16- Rocket Ronnie blasting off again?

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The Rowan Atkinson of snooker?

Good evening and today I’m going to be talking about …snooker… a divisive sport which some people love and some people loathe. Even if you’re not a regular fan, I’d encourage you to at least give it a try with the World Championships next week. In this post, I’ll have a look at whether Ronnie O’Sullivan, perhaps the most gifted player to meet the baize, can return triumphant. Puns are also going to be planted here and there.

In my opinion, if Ronnie gets his head in the game, he has every chance of winning this year. As far as singing his praises goes: he’s scored the fastest 147 of anyone and won last year’s World Championships, the third of his career.  And it might sound absurd but he still has not reached his potential. Without fully being committed, Ronnie has reached a number of semis and quarters, but I suppose he can chalk those down to experience. Moreover, his competition is not entirely daunting, with the two Marks Selby and Williams his main competitors. Williams has prevented his career going to pot after last year’s defeat but his form is unconvincing and Selby has never won this event before, in my opinion he lacks the temperament. For raw talent, no one can match O’Sullivan, which is why he remains dangerous.

No break in this debate, I’ll now stop glorifying the Rocket and be more realistic. He hasn’t played since this time last year and in a game such as snooker where practice is everything that could be damaging. His win of last year could have been a baize for more progress but by leaving to go and work on a farm (I’m serious) Ronnie could have ensured his defeat next week. Whilst he has been working with a sports psychologist, Ronnie has never been a stable personality, threatening to quit the ‘sport’ more times than can be counted. It is unlikely that he will be able to fit all parts together, as one really has to for a tournament such as the World Championships, where a match can span two days and 35 frames.

So in summary I reckon Ronnie will reach the quarter final, give me false hope, and then shatter my dreams. Typical. My personal tip is Mark Allen, who is the only other slight personality in a game that is becoming more devoid of character than a party of estate agents. Still, I think it should be a fascinating fortnight and I for one will be staying tuned. If you enjoyed this post and would like to do the same for me, then please remember to like and follow! Also leave a comment with your opinion on Ronnie or perhaps the sport in general. Until the next time!

Augusta Masters Review: Great Scott!

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Can’t see the Woods for the trees…

Good evening and welcome to my review of the Masters, which finished yesterday with a first Major win for Aussie Adam Scott. I thought it was a a good tournament, which became all the more interesting with the heart-wrenching play-off at the end! I made a previous blog on this toppic midway through the rounds so go back and laugh at my poor predictions if you so wish here.

Let’s start with the embarrassing- my long standing prediction about Sergio Garcia was horrifically wrong. He finished alright though at -3 and I’d still like to tentatively say that he’s got a chance in the majors this year. Another point of interest was the 14 year old Guan making us all feel old by making the cut despite not being able to reach most of the par 4s in two shots. Tiger did not make his fabled return, tying for 4th on 5 under par over the 72 holes. At times he threatened to win but the two shot penalty really did the damage to his hopes of victory.

But the main talking point is bound to be the ‘Aussie Rules’ which hung over Augusta. Amongst the significant challengers from Down Under there was the winner Scott, the slow playing Jason (takes all) Day and new rival Martin (let off the) Leishman. They all looked like they can be champions at some point during their careers, especially Day, whose enthusiasm and hunger for the game were remarked upon by all manner of analysts.

A final few notes:

  • Cabrera was really unlucky not to win, losing in the playoff. At his age you could fear that was his final chance. 
  • Blubber Watson did a poor job defending his green jacket, scraping through the cut with no repeat of his last round heroics of last year.
  • Did anyone else notice that Lee Westwood was sponsored by UPS? Ironic for a player renowned for not delivering when it counts.

That’s all I’ve got on the subject for now: please leave a like and follow if you enjoyed it. Also leave a comment with your thoughts on the 2013 Masters if you’re that way inclined. Until the next time!

Weekend Review No. 17- Good evening, I’m mourning because of midday.

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I set the two managers’s reactions from the derby against eachother and they contrast fittingly don’t they?

Hello to all! I hope you managed to deflect the deliberately confusing headline because today was derby day and there’s an awful lot on the dock to review from the weekend. As you might guess from the mourning and the  manager reactions above, the derby didn’t go so well but on with the post!

So addressing the poorly hidden elephant in the room (how well can an elephant hide in any case?): Yes, Newcastle United lost convincingly to the Mackems (Sunderland). It was really disappointing because we had a goal wrongfully disallowed for offside at 1-0 down. It was Papiss Cisse’s third offside ‘goal’ in four days and he must be almost fainting from all the false hope. I don’t want to jynx it but that goal could have been really damaging towards sending us down and whilst goal line technology is coming in for next season I don’t really think it’ll have the difference video relays could. They would probably have saved the match for us and, like I said, the match could have had even greater significance than mere bragging rights. Manchester United continued their inevitable march on the title with a 2-0 victory against Stoke, who are bottom of the Premier League in terms of results this calendar year. They could yet be relegated. Arsenal did well to come behind in ten minutes against Norwich, with just a little help from the referee to keep their challenge for fourth place alive. Finally, to the FA Cup, where it was no wonder that Wembley didn’t sell out for the match between Wigan and Millwall, who attempted to dispel their holliganistic reputation by causing a fight in the stands. Still, it was good for the relegation-threatened Wigan to reach the Final. There they will face Manchester City, who hung in to beat Chelsea 2-1 today. I don’t imagine that being much of a contest.

In the Masters golf, on the topic of which I posted on Friday, (https://gibberishsport.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/mastering-augusta/) Tiger Woods caused some controversy by not being disqualified after a penalty. However I don’t think it matters as Snedeker, Day and Cabrera are all more than 3 shots ahead of the 14-time major winner. I’ll do a more complete review of the tournament tomorrow so be sure to follow to see that!

In the rugby, London Welsh are now sadly doomed to relegation after failing to get a losing bonus point against Northampton. It was always going to be a tough ask for them to try and stay up and sadly they haven’t made it.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and if you did and would like to see more please like and follow up above! You’ll be seeing me soon hopefully for a look back at the Masters.

Mastering Augusta

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Is the back in form Tiger so good he doesn’t need a club?

Hello and welcome to what will be my thoughts on the Masters weekend. It’s one and a bit days in, perhaps two by the time you read this, so do excuse any errors. Also, I predicted Sergio for the Masters in January, so just remember that when he lifts the trophy later *hopeful look*.

So as this post goes to (word)press, Sergio Garcia has made a bit of a Serge to  6 under par before plummeting to 2 under. I’d really like him to win it after all these oh-so-near moments. Fred Couples, the 53 year old, is doing ludicrously well still near the top of the leader board meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum the 14 year old Guan Tianlang looks like he’s going to make the cut. Tiger looks increasingly dangerous, just coming out but there are no big names near the high ends of the leader board that couldn’t be out-prowled by him (EDIT: wow okay Tiger really moving. Earlier than usual for him.). Certainly a fascinating weekend is shaping up very quickly.

On a more general note: I can’t help myself from thinking that the boiler suits the caddies wear look more suitable for ghost-busting than golf-walking. It has been reported that ‘mashed potatoes’ is one of the cheers emanating from the grandstands this year and I for one find it completely unfathomable. Is it a reference to the whiter than an albino polar bear bunkers? Could it be talking about the growth in Irish talent in golf? Asking for a return to the screens of the ‘MASH’ TV series? Your guess is as good as mine… leave it in the comments.

I think that’s all I have to say for now. I hope you enjoyed it, remember to like if you enjoyed and please follow to keep up to date with any further posts I make about this most exclusive of events. Until the next time!

Weekend Review no.16- The bums they are a squeakin’

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And we go marching away from relegation…

Hello and welcome to my review of this weekend’s action. On the dock tonight I’ll cover the Premiership action as well as some rugby. It hasn’t been the busiest of sporting weekends so excuse me if the post is a tad short. 

The title reflects the main theme for today’s post- nervous times at top and tail of the table. As we reach the final 6 games of the year, Aston Villa pulled off a crucial win against Stoke to put the Potters in trouble and give themselves a little breathing room. See previous post for my more detailed thoughts on relegation: https://gibberishsport.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/wednesday-debate-no-15-dropzone-danger-for-dogfighters/

Wigan added a rung to their ladder away from the lower divisions by drawing with QPR, which has surely consigned Harry’s men to demotion. Papiss Cisse rescued my Newcastle from a poor result (see picture) with a last minute winner and coming off the back of a disappointing Europa League result it was just the tonic we needed. Cisse isn’t up to his wizardry of last term but is certainly improving. At the top, Liverpool might have kissed goodbye to any remaining hope of Champions League football next year with a draw to West Brom but Chelski came from behind to beat Sunderland. However I think Paolo di Canio will reinvigorate the Mackem squad, just hopefully not before next week’s derby! 

I’ll do a quick round-up of the rugby for this weekend: MunsterbeatHarlequinswellawayfromhomethenClermontthrashedMontpellierallezlaFrance SaracensgotastrongwinagainstUlsterwiththeobligatorycockyswandivefromAshtonfinallyToulon withalltheirpointsscoredbyWilkinsonbeatLeicesterwithalltheirpointsbyFloodformistemporaryclass ispermanent. *deep mental breath* I did say it would be a quick round up….

Thanks for reading my review on the weekend, I’d appreciate it if you dropped a like or followed if you want to see more! Until the next time! 

Wednesday Debate No.15 Dropzone Danger for Dogfighters?

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Don’t celebrate just yet Cabaye… even if you do look like Harry Judd…

Good evening! I’m back! Had a great time in America (thanks for asking) and it wsa also my birthday! (so why not drop a sympathy like or even a sympathy follow?). So I’ve returned and this week’s debate is going to be on who will be relegated from the Premier league this year. I sadly didn’t have the heart to brush over Newcastle as contenders for a fall so with them in consideration will be Southampton, Norwich, Newcastle, Sunderland, Wigan, Aston Villa, QPR and Reading. Clubs are always reluctant to be relegated but with all the extra money coming into the Premiership from next year the stakes are higher than ever. This has been reflected by the very twitchy trigger fingers of Chairmen in firing managers. I hope you enjoy the review and please remember to vote in the poll below!

I’ve always had a soft spot for Norwich and I hope that Chris Hughton can continue steering Norwich safely on their way away from relegation. The impending return of Grant Holt should aid their rise to 40 points this year. Southampton rolled the dice with their baffling sacking of Nigel Adkins just as things were beginning to look up but they now look safe as houses on  34 points. From being one win away from 10th place in early march, the Magpies (Newcastle) have dropped themselves in it and we’re no longer quite so certain to escape the drop with only 3 points separating us. However, our problems were partially due to an injury list longer than Peter Crouch’s leg and now that that is shortening (the injury list, not his leg) we should re-establish our good form.

All the above teams I breezed through fairly quickly because I didn’t think they were altogether especially likely to be relegated. These following teams, on the other hand, are in real danger. I can’t help but take a little delight in seeing Sunderland falter although the strange thing about rivalries is that I’d quite like them to stay up so that the Tyne-Wear derby can be retained. I also think that di Canio will beat all the criticism and do a swell job as manager. Wigan clearly spend their days watching ‘the Great Escape’ as they are perennially staving off relegation. Martinez knows how to lead the somewhat troubled club and I just hope that next year he gets some funding to perhaps rise up the table. Conspicuously, I’m now left with three clubs. These are the ones I reckon will face life next year in the Championship:

QPR have not managed to be revived from their appalling start by Harry Houdini and the significant investment of their Chairman has been wasted on sub-standard players who will most likely leave on the cheap. The club could be in serious trouble, a pity all round. Reading were never expected to stay in the top tier and whilst they’ll be disappointed I’m anticipating that they’ll compete strongly next year and we’ll see their return fairly soon. Both of those teams are 7 points off safety and that’s why I’ve discounted them, but Aston Villa could yet escape. Big Benteke has been good for them this term and if he keeps scoring the Villans may yet stay up. Unfortunately, I don’t think that their defense is strong enough and I’m sorry to say that for me, Aston Villa will be going down, albeit narrowly. Benteke will almost certainly be snapped up by a big club though due to his great potential.

So there you have it… I reckon Aston Villa, QPR and Reading are going to fall. However, there is certainly still a chance for all three teams to redeem themselves, stranger things have happened. What do you think? Vote in the poll, leave a comment and remember to like and follow if you want to see more! Until the next time!

6 Nations Round Up

ImageEvening all, I thought that the dramatic finale of the 6 Nations meant that the Tournament as a whole deserved a round up, so here’s mine, award style!
ImagePlayer of the Tournament:
3-Mike Brown-the bald winger did a fantastic job for England holding down a flank, whilst he scored no tries he looked dangerous and did a cracking job in defense.
2-Mike Phillips-ignoring that first game Phillips was great for Wales, putting in some hits worthy of 6ft7 back rowers and making some really crucial breaks offensively.
1-Sergio Parisse-where would the Azzuri be without this man? He is an absolute mammoth and I can’t remember a game when he wasn’t an enormous presence for Italy. Instrumental doesn’t cover it adequately.
Frederic_Michalak53
Flop of the Tournament– Freddie Michalak. It’s not often that a player’s mere presence can worsen a team to the extend that poor Freddie does to les Bleus. A real game changer, Michalak excels at missing kicks, dropping the ball and slipping off tackles. He can’t even open his eyes while playing (see picture)!
Hot property– Owen Farrell- the young poster boy could have a real future on this stage if he can stay just as composed and perhaps develop his attacking game. Better at putting the ball over the bar than Torres, his metronomic boot almost propelled England to the Grand Slam before Wales spoilt the party.
Surprise package– Italy- I’ll admit I basically just invented this category to wax lyrical about Italy… but they have been fantastic this year. The ultimate example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Italy have few great players but were unlucky not to win more than they did, with narrow losses to Scotland and England joining fine wins against Ireland and France. Perhaps a year for the record books as when Italy started challenging for titles. I’m sure we’d all love the usual giants to be slain.
World Cup Chances 2015:Ireland on this form will struggle to beat the group stages. That is all, an awful performance after the first half of the first match of the competition.
France looked great during the Autumn but are now failing to maintain that momentum. Their team is stuffed more full of talent than a roomful of Usain Bolts but they also clash more frequently than a roomful of Mario Balotellis.
Italy look to finally be making their impact and could come to a nice peak for 2015, which could be Parisse’s swansong.
Wales picked themselves up after a dreadful bout of form to claim the title and their young team still has plenty of potential.
The end of Scott Johnson’s interim leaderdhip for Scotland might spell the demise of their decent performances this term and I hold no high hopes for their future. Sorry Scots!
Finally to England, where the press is being unreasonably gloomy after one defeat. I would maintain that with home advantage England could put up a real fight in 2015.

So that’s your lot! Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed it please remember to like and follow if you want to see more. Also leave a comment with your opinion on the 6 Nations. I’m going to America for a week so this is my last post until my Weekend Review in a fortnight. I’ll see you all then!

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