Recent Comments

Hugo on Eurosport beams Nations Cup matches: Really hoping Nigeria do well in this tournament b ...
Delivery Hero on England, France paired in Euro 2012: Can't wait for Euro 2012! ...
Wes on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Thanks Sybil, I think Man City cannot easily be di ...
Wes on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Thanks Bambo for the comment. I think its going to ...
Phil on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Good post, this looks like a very unpredictable se ...

Archive for March 2009

Good start for Brawn GP

It was a very good start for the Brawn GP team as its drivers Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello finished first and second respectively in a dramatic race at the Melbourne Australian Grand Prix.

This is a team that looked like disappearing from the grid when Honda decided not to continue with it last year but it has had a very good start but I am keen to see what will happen next week in Malaysia.

The Brawn GP drivers also qualified first and second and whilst it was a normal start for Button it wasn't so for Barrichello who had problems with starting but he fought his way to fourth but the clash between Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica gave him second.

I was so surprised to see Vettel and Kubica clash with just three laps to go and all the hard work by the two drivers went up in smoke.

In the race third place went to Toyota's Jarno Trulli but a 25 second penalty meant that he ended up finishing 12th.

So in third place came Lewis Hamilton who had started the race 18th on the grid and this must have been a very good result in the circumstances.

Fourth place went Toyota's Timo Glock and in all I think it was also a good start for Toyota.

Behind Glock was former champion Renault's Fernando Alonso and sixth place went to Toro Rosso-Ferrari's debutant Sebastien Buemi.

The last points place went to Torro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastien Bourdais and so this meant only two teams Brawn GP and Rosso-Ferrari had both cars collecting points in the race.

I was also impressed with Force India's Adrian Sutil who finished just outside the points places. I am hoping that this season Force India will be able to pick up a few points.

Mark Webber finished 13th and his car was the last in those cars that finished the race. I think he didn't have much of a chance after his clash early in the race.

So the next race in Malaysia next week and I am keen to see whether Brawn GP will continue with its good form.

Ten to show opener live

Channel Ten will now show the opening match of the new AFL season between Richmond and Carlton live after the match was sold out.

I think this is a good move on the part of Ten because there is a lot of interest in the match because of the match up between Ben Cousins and Chris Judd.

Showing the match live means also that the match will finish earlier especially on a Thursday night.

Its always good to see television responding positively to public demand and showing the Carlton/Richmond is a good sign.

I hope that they will do the same should there be other similar circumstances rather than sticking to schedule.

South Africa gets IPL

South Africa will host this year's edition of the Indian Premier League(IPL) after security concerns in India forced organisers to seek an alternative host.

This is the second tournament that South Africa will host which was meant to be hosted on the sub-continent.

Last week the ICC announced that South Africa were going to host the ICC Champions Trophy which had been scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan but security concerns meant that it had to be moved elsewhere.

This is going to be good for the South African cricket fans and I hope they will go and attend these matches and enjoy world class cricket.

I am keen to see the schedule and see what the times will be like for Melbourne but I am sure we will be able to watch the night matches in the morning here.

Meanwhile South Africa saved face by winning the last Test by an innings and 20 runs.

Next in line will be the Twenty20 series followed by five one day matches.

Points scoring backflip

F1 will now no longer change the scoring in this year's competition after the changes failed to win support from most people in F1 and especially the drivers.

It didn't make much sense to change the rules less than two weeks before the competition started and expect everybody to accept such sudden changes.

I think the problem can be solved by making sure that the winner is given a buffer from second place.

The current two points difference between first and second positions does not make sense and I think that gap must be made bigger to say four or five points.

That way the winner will most probably have won the most races. I don't think it would be good to have a driver have more points and lose the championship because he didn't win enough races.

If a driver consistently picks up points in races then he must be rewarded and if that means the championship then let it be so.

I think these changes need to be thought through to come with a fair set of rules.

Liverpool to face Chelsea again

In the 2009 UEFA Champions League quarter final draw, Liverpool will once again meet Chelsea in what is slowly becoming an annual contest.

This time the first leg will be played at Anfield with the second leg a week later at Stamford Bridge. I think once again its going to be an interesting tie and after Liverpool's recent wins over both Real Madrid and Manchester United they must riding high with confidence.

But for Chelsea it will be time to avenge the two losses in the league suffered at the hands of Liverpool.

But one thing has changed though and to me I think that could prove to be significant and that is the change in coaches at the Bridge.

When Liverpool won the league matches Felipe Scolari was in charge and now Guus Hiddink is at the helm and that could swing the match to Chelsea.

I don't see playing the second leg at home as a huge advantage because if you are playing away your goals are very significant and that can put the home team under a lot of pressure.

On the same side of the draw Barcelona will come face to face with Bayern Munich. Barca and Bayern have scored the most number of goals in the competition so far and this tie must be very interesting but I expect Barcelona to prevail.

The winner between Liverpool and Chelsea will play the winner between Barcelona and Bayern Munich. I consider this to be the stronger side of the draw.

On the other side of the draw, Arsenal will face Villareal whilst holders Manchester United will face Porto. I can see an all English semi-final here but Porto and Villareal are quite capable of springing surprises of their own.

Its very likely that there will be an English team in the final if not both teams like last year but lets wait and see what will come out of the quarter-final matches.

I am nearer the bottom on the Champions League tipping ladder on TipsChallenge and I hope I will get my predictions right this time.

Wins to decide F1 champion

From this year the F1 champion will be decided by the number of wins a driver has during the season.

The new system will reward the driver with the most top podiums and points will only be taken into account if two drivers are tied together on the number of wins.

I think it might be a good change especially towards the end of the season as drivers and teams realise that they have to get wins to be in with a chance to win the championship.

Just finishing on the podium will not be good anymore but I still think the problem is in the way in which the points are allocated more than anything else.

By giving points in the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 way I think a driver can afford to finish second or third and as long as they finish the majority of races they can possibly win the championship.

I still think the old points system of 10-6-4-3-2-1 was far much better because the more races you win you would eventually become a champion because the winner has a four points advantage over second place.

I think they should also have awarded the driver with the fastest lap a bonus point to encourage drivers to get the fastest lap.

It will be interesting to see this new points system in action and we don't have long to wait as the Melbourne Grand prix is just ten days away now.

2009 F1 Season Preview

Its now less than two weeks before the 2009 F1 season starts here in Melbourne and maybe its also time to preview the coming 2009 F1 season.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won the driver's championship last season in what was a very close season and I am expecting this year to be be even closer.

Unlike at the start of last season, there hasn't been driver movements in the top teams which means there will be continuity in the teams.

One of the big changes this season team wise is the fact that there is no more Honda team and that team has been replaced by Brawn GP.

Brawn GP is going to be powered by Mercedes and I am waiting to see how they in the first few races. I doubt they will finish bottom of the constructors championship.

Starting with McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, one thing for sure is that Hamilton will be more experienced this season and therefore he will more competitive.

This will also be the second season for Heikki Kovalainen at McLaren and I expect him to do better than last season after what I thought was a poor season for a driver driving for McLaren.

Its going to be interesting to see who finishes in front for Ferrari between last season's runner up Felipe Massa and 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Massa showed he is a good driver in his own right last season when he came a close second to Hamilton and he will be looking to better that this year I suppose.

I think this is the year for BMW Sauber to finally challenge the top two teams. I think over the last two years the team has established itself as one of the top three teams and this time I think they may have a challenge from Renault for that position but I think they should be able to compete with Ferrari and McLaren.

Renault finished strongly last season with Fernando Alonso accumulating a good number of points in the last few races. I think the challenge for Renault is to pick it up from there and have former champion Alonso in a position to challenge for the championship.

Its always very hard to tell with Toyota. I actually think that last season they disappeared from the radar altogether and I as usual I expect them to do better than last season. I hope they will not disappoint this time.

I think Williams had a steady season last year and there is a time when they collected points in a string of consecutive races.

If Williams can maintain that then they can continue accumulating points here and there but I don't think they will be in a position to challenge for the championship.

Mark Webber will now be joined by Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull following the retirement of David Coultard. I think Vettel did very well last season and infact performed better than Webber.

I think he is a good driver and will possibly finish with more points than Webber. As a team I don't think they will be much of a challenge but I could be wrong.

Brawn GP is a new team and in testing they have been very fast according to reports that I have read. Although its testing I think its a good sign and if they can be a competitive outfit that will be good for the sport.

Isn't it surprising that once again Toro Rosso-Ferrari have found another Sebastien in Sebastien Buemi? Last year they had Sebastien and Sebastian but this year they have two Sebastiens!

Back to racing, Rosso's driver's lineup consists of Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais. I think they performed very well last year after some good results from Vettel but with Vettel now gone its interesting to see how they will fare this year.

Lastly but not least Force India. I don't expect a lot of them but I can only change my view if they start the season well.

I think it is one of those teams where just to have both cars finishing the race is good but maybe this time they will be able to draw on the experience of Giancarlo Fisichella and score some points.

Force India was the only team to fail to score a single point last season and I hope they will be able to pick a few this time.

I hope its going to be another interesting with all the drama happening on track and not off it.

Champions Trophy to South Africa

At last the ICC Champions Trophy will be run but this time it will be hosted by South Africa.

Its unfortunate that because of the security problems in Pakistan they can't host the tournament but its fair to say that the ICC has tried to delay as much as possible but they cannot keep on postponing the event.

So the tournament will start late September and finish in early October.

I am keen to see what the ICC will do with the 2011 Cricket World Cup. I think its better to give Pakistan as much time as possible but at the same time I think its not a bad idea to think of what will happen should they not be part of the 2011 showcase event.

I think its going to be a difficult issue for the ICC but a time will come when they have to make a decision and I will wait and see what they will do.

This tournament will mean yet another tournament for South Africa because in June South Africa will host the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and then next year will be the big one - the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Australia clinches series win

Australia clinched a Test series win over South Africa after beating the home side in Durban by 175 runs.

Australia won the first Test in Johannesburg by 162 wins and I thought South Africa were going to fight back in Durban but they have failed to do that.

South Africa won the Test series played here in the summer and it looked like they were going to win the current series given that they were playing in their own backyard but they have failed to do so.

In their two innings in the first Test the home side failed to reach 300 runs. They managed to do so in the second Test in the second innings when they scored 350 but that came after a lowly 138 in the first innings.

On the other hand the tourists have been superb and have shown why they are number one.

Philip Hughes has been exceptional and I hope he can maintain his form going into the third and final Test and he could be crucial especially when Australia tours England in winter.

Also on the bowling side its been a good all round performance with everyone grabbing a couple of wickets and also restricting South Africa to fewer runs.

I would like Australia to win the third and final Test to complete a whitewash.

A difficult week for Zimbabwe

Its been a difficult last few days for most people in Zimbabwe and those who follow events in Zimbabwe with the news of the passing away of Mrs Susan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife, in a road accident along the Masvingo Road.

Over the past few days a lot has been said about the accident with some thinking that it wasn't just another accident even though Tsvangirai himself has since said it was just an accident.

The problem is that Zimbabwe's history is littered with many unexplained accidents and its only now that a lot of people have been recalling many of them.

My prayers and thoughts are with the Tsvangirai family as they go through this difficult time.

I wont dwell on that a lot myself but I hope Tsvangirai will be able to gather himself and continue in his bid to rebuild Zimbabwe.

It was a difficult task already and now without his wife I think its going to be even more difficult but like most people I hope and pray that he will soldier on and that Zanu PF will not give him unnecessary headache by co-operating as much as possible.

The fact that some political detainees have been released is good but I don't see the reason why it took so long to do that and why also not all of them were released at once.

As I have said before if Zanu PF does want to retain some support come the next elections then they have to be seen to be co-operative especially when they are moves being taken to make the lives of people better.

Any move contrary may easily confine them to the history books at the next poll especially if it is free and fair.

Ponting overtakes Waugh

Ricky Ponting overtook Steve Waugh to be the the fourth highest run scorer in Test cricket.

In the ongoing Test match against South Africa in Durban, Ponting made 81 runs from 106 balls and has now amassed a total of 10,948 runs.

Waugh who was in fourth place has 10,927 runs in his name. Ponting is now also the second highest Australian run scorer and is now just 226 runs behind Allan Border who made 11,174 runs.

I will not be surprised to see Ponting in number three overrall after the Ashes tour in England because I cannot see him failing to make 226 runs in the next twelve innings or so.

Another player making history for himself in the same match was Phillip Hughes who became the youngest player in Test history to score two centuries in the same match.

Hughes scored 115 runs in the first innings and is still unbeaten on 136 in the second innings.

I expect Australia to win this series after this match because I cannot see South Africa making a recovery at this point to force a draw.

Australia has played far much better than they did in the home series in the summer and I think the success of the opening bowlers Simon Katich and Hughes has helped a lot.

South Africa must now know that they have a lot of work to do to overhaul Australia at the top of Test cricket because before the Test series started this looked like their best chance.

From Honda to Brawn GP

The former F1 Honda team now has a new owner in the form of Ross Brawn and it has now been renamed Brawn GP.

So this means that when the first F1 race of 2009 comes to Melbourne there will be ten teams on the grid.

I think its actually good that a new owner has been found because its good to have at least ten cars on the grid as this promotes competition and if some cars retire during the race at least there will be a reasonable number at the end.

The new Brawn GP will keep last season's drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Buttonb which will probably help the team under the new owners because the drivers are familiar with the existing team.

The interesting bit is that the engines will come from Mercedes which probably means that they will have very good engines.

Brawn was formerly at Ferrari as Technical Director and I thought that now that he is in charge he will get the engines from Ferrari but he has instead sourced the engines from Mercedes.

The new season is only three weeks away and its going to be interesting to see how the team will fare but I hope that they will do well.

Stability pays off at Victory

Melbourne Victory won the A-League grand final on Saturday to become the first team to win the grand final twice and so its far its the only team to have won both the premiership and the championship.

If you were to go back to the pre-season cup then Victory won the treble and also the first team to do so and I think that the stability at Victory has contributed to this.

Out of the eight foundation coaches only Melbourne's Ernie Merrick and Central Coast Mariners' Lawrie McKinna remain and the Mariners have also been consistently good and are in Asia this year.

I was at the grand final and it was tense and I knew that whoever scored first would definitely win it.

Unfortunately Adelaide lost a player early in the match when Cristiano was wrongly send off and from then on they did not play well and Victory dominated a lot and I think they should have scored.

I think referees should take their time when making some of those big decisions especially in a final. Its not surprising that both red cards issued in the final have now been revoked.

After half time I think Adelaide came back stronger and could easily have been two up before the Victory scored but once Victory scored I knew that was it.

Its good to see Adelaide's recovery after the mauling two weeks before and I think in the end Victory deserved their second championship.

Its going to be interesting next year when the competition will have ten teams and already the Gold Coast team looks strong.

But I think its the continuity at Victory that will help defend the title. I am hoping that next season will not be like the season after winning the last championship when Victory even failed to reach the finals.

But Newcastle Jets fared even worse getting the wooden spoon a year after winning the title.

The disappointing bit though is that the team will have to wait a year to play in Asia. I think by then the squad will have changed but it also underlines the need to go into Asia in consecutive years.