What a hell of a game! How the hell did they miss that? And what the hell was she thinking? That all adds up to one hell of a ‘Good, Bad, and Ugly’!
Top billing goes to the Wairarapa-Bush women, scoring a try in the last act of the game to deservedly grab third place from Thames Valley in the North Island Women’s Heartland Championship.
The Welsh dragons were on fire, dishing out a 40–6 hiding, effectively ending the Aussie’s chances of getting out of Pool C at the Rugby World Cup, barring a minor miracle.
Hats off to the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos thrashing the Melbourne Storm and NZ Warriors to progress to Sunday’s NRL grand final. Too classy all around!
Liton Das take a bow. The Bangladeshi captain earned plenty of plaudits for calling back Black Cap Ish Sodhi, who had been adjudged run out at the non-striker’s end, commonly known as a Mankad, in a World Cup warm-up game in Dhaka. As Sodhi was walking off, Das showed his class by withdrawing the appeal. The legspinner went on to score 35 valuable runs and later snagged 6–39 as New Zealand cruised to an 86-run victory.
Back to the RWC – Ireland held on 13–8 in a classic with the Springboks. One for the purists, but Yuk, the ball in play for only 27 minutes. Please reassure me that’s not what we can expect for the business end of the tournament.
In contrast, the 18–18 draw between Georgia and Portugal – two teams playing without fear, and that’s what rugby should be all about.
Staying with rugby, it’s good that Wai-Bush’s fate is in their own hands, and they just need to do the business over Mid Canterbury and lock in a home semifinal. Now, that would bring a smile to the ‘Gravel Pit’ faithful.
As good as the Welsh were, the woeful Wallabies were worse, worrying signs for rugby in this part of the world. Many will salivate over their demise, but we need Australia to be strong. With an already cavernous gap between the two countries’ Super Rugby teams and the national sides, we cannot afford for the West Islanders rugby to get any weaker. The folly of sacking Dave Rennie has certainly bitten the ARU boffins fair and square on the backside. This fiasco, fuelled by Eddie Jones picking a young team, narrowly avoids slipping into ‘Ugly’.
How did they miss that? It would probably not have impacted on the outcome of the Warriors’ preliminary final with the bucking Broncos, but the outrageous forward pass was a momentum changer. NRL referees’ boss Graham Annesley admitted the onfield refs got it wrong, but again, it’s too little too late. They have the technology, so why not use it? Bizarrely, though, the NRL bunker cannot rule on forward passes.
Former World Superbike star Aaron Slight once mused to me that if it wasn’t for bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all. And it’s a bit like that at the moment for promising rally driver Jackson Clendon, who, for the second rally in a row, succumbed to mechanical failure, this time an inexpensive driveshaft bearing ending his championship hopes.
A one-goal loss to England in netball would not normally figure so far down, but following the outcry and gross underestimation from Netball NZ chiefs that a second-string side was coming to our courts, that is a fair justification for its inclusion. Also, a good example of how not to give your opponents more motivation. Plus, four losses in a row [probably close to uncharted territory for our netballers] puts this fairly in the ugly category.
Veteran Hannah Wilkinson was shown a red card for appearing to strike an assistant referee on the arm during a football friendly for New Zealand against Chile. Enough said, and a long suspension is on the cards … and deservedly so.