Regular visitors to This Sporting Life might have noticed recent comments by a young lass from the Hawke's Bay who goes by the name of HB_Proud. We know her identity; she's a Facebook friend. He comments are usually right on the money, and it's safe to say that she's a sports freak. She's away from her computer for a few days so she e-mailed me her comments earlier in the week, and they were so good that we've decided to make them the main post today! Bear in mind that they were written on Tuesday, wo we've taken the liberty of updating where appropriate [in brackets and different font].
So welcome to our second guest post in recent weeks! Here goes:
Well what a sporting week, one which unsurprisingly was dominated by the success of the rivals we love to hate Australia.
However while our performance at the Commonwealths may not have been convincing as we would have liked we have discovered hidden talent among our ranks. While the faithful such as Adams, Roulston and Shanks all delivered our track and field athletes have by far been the surprise of the games. Miller, Newdick and Hamblin were probably unfamiliar to most kiwis before this week however all three will now be a part of our sporting history. Hamblin’s splitting of the Kenyans in the 1500m and a come from behind second placing in the 800m were nothing short of astonishing.
Not to be outdone by these athletes were our pool representatives. Young Gabe Armstrong-Scott made an impressive effort in the women’s 10m diving and while maybe outside her desired top 6 finish she still pulled off a NZ record – amazing for a 14 year old. And our swimmers proved that come London 2012 we should bring home some Olympic medals.
Then there were the women’s hockey team through to the final against our nemesis Australia ensuring that they would bring home a medal, the second only to that won at Kuala Lumpar. [Bugger; they lost in a heart-breaker!]
Other sporting news saw Jorge Lorenzo claim his inaugural MotoGP title, Australia’s Hayne claiming Benji to be NZ’s Darryn Lockyer, Kirk Penney looks set to return to the Breakers after being released from the NBA, Henare to controversially start as the Breaker’s point guard and a cricket match where on a dodgy wicket NZ failed miserably with only 4 batsman scoring 20 or more we were trounced by 7 wickets. The only saving grace was Nathan McCullum once again proving a success with the ball and his spin. [A first-ever series win to the 'Deshis - great effort; sad that we had to be on the receiving end!]
And if that wasn’t enough to get our hearts racing during the week there was Bathurst. After a horrifying crash in the sand pits Coulthard surprisingly managed to exit as though he was walking into the corner dairy to get the bread and milk. The rest of the race was somewhat uneventful compared to this crash although with a late safety car Bathurst once again proved the last 10 laps are everything. Much to my disgust, because I can’t stand the man, Lowndes and Skaife came through to win and Holden finished 1, 2 and 3.
Sitting in a pub full of Southland supporters and my very vocal Cantabrian friend was an experience in itself. But the shield match produced some stunning rugby and was a highlight of true southern style. With an unlucky ruling by the TMO just before the half Southland were lucky to run in a late to narrow the gap. With a few poor referring decisions, such as a knock on by Maitland which came from the foot not the hand, Southland loosing Robbie Robinson through what appeared to be one of the most painful injury, and a one handed league fend from SBW late in the second saw Canterbury extend their lead over the Southern lads and took the shield home with them once again.
And on the very same night the All Whites floundered what should have been an easy win over Honduras. With opportunities a plenty their finishing was poor and they failed to convert the points were needed. Although Woods produced some stunning finishing with his header we relaxed the pressure far to match at let the visitors back into the match. With a controversial penalty to win the game Smeltz proved, even to his disarray, that even he falters.
After an eventful week things settle back down with only the ITM Cup and A-league the big features of this weekend. Starting with the football the youth division sees the AIS vs Perth, Gold Coast vs Newcastle and Melbourne vs Adelaide after the performances over the past couple of weeks Perth, Newcastle and Adelaide would have to be the picks this week.
Moving into the big boys North Queensland line up against their western counterparts in a game that Perth should take comfortably, the Victory should have a comfortable win over cellar dwellers Sydney, Adelaide should have a hard fought game against the Gold Coast but I think they will sneak home with a one goal advantage. Brisbane v Newcastle should be another interesting game but I think on form I’d have my money of the Brisbane boys to bring it home. The Roar take on the Central Coast in another tight game but the coast should be able to edge it out come game day. But game of the round for me would have to be the Nix vs Heart and while the result didn’t go our way at the last encounter we all know the boys are dangerous at home. With the support of the Yellow Fever Nix 100% for the win.
And finally our nation’s sport rugby. Manawatu kick things off against Waikato on Thursday, and while I support the Turbos teaming up with CanTeen, this should be an easy victory to the Moo Loos. [It wasn't; Waikato needed a last-second converted try to win 27-25] Tasman then takes of Northland and while Tasman has been seemingly struggling this year, Northland’s consistency is under scrutiny and I think the Mako’s maybe in for a win this weekend. BoP Southland is next on the cards and with two losses in a row the Stags are looking for revenge. Sorry steamers be prepared to be steam rolled by a McIntosh lead Southland forward pack.
Canterbury Counties is the big match up of the weekend. After a flying start to the season and Tana injecting same pace in the midfield the second half of the season has seen counties’ demise and the Cantabs should securely retain the shield this weekend. Wellington then takes on Taranaki, a team who may be without both star wings, but should still have the form to edge out their capital counterparts. Otago v Auckland doesn’t even seem worth the mention given Otago’s performance this season – an easy victory to the supercity lads even if they did poach Berquist!
And what a way a better way to round out a stellar weekend than with my boys taking on Harbour at home. Currently sitting in ninth position and a performance flourish occurring we may even sneak into top 7 by the end of the season to stay in premiership division 2011. They have proven time and time again that just like the Nix they are a force to be reckoned with at home. Hawke’s Bay victorious on Sunday to conclude the sporting spectacular!
What do you reckon, dear readers? Shall we invite her back? Is my job in jeopardy? Feel free to share your thoughts ....