Saturday, April 14, 2018

APJSC Under 11 Reds: Round 2 vs Albion Park Green

The unseasonable warmth for April persisted through to today's second round of the junior soccer season, and left its mark on the match-up between the Albion Park Under 11 Red tam and their cohorts the Albion Park Green team at the beautiful Terry Reserve for this week's match.

Down a pair of twin velociraptors in Belle and Claire Kadwell for the match the Reds got some top up value from the lending of Lachlan from one of the other Albion Park teams, as well as the addition of Zali Middleton. Both players helped to handle the workload on a warm morning for both teams.

Early on it felt as though the Reds were all still asleep. There was none of the usual energy and drive, and a lot of standing around and not willing to do the hard work to get the ball. Fortunately on a couple of occasions Indy Middleton and Jack-Ryan Eberwein were able to shut down some attacking raids that looked dangerous, and cleared the ball up to the forward line. Ky Van Helden did some good swerving in the mid-field from these deliveries, while Zali continued to be the live wire up front, never stopping and attacking at every opportunity.
The tough beginning was broken wide open by Indy, who stole the ball again and then make a big break himself down the right wing before getting the ball in to Noah Black, who made a great pass to Zali who was unmarked, and she crashed the ball home to open the scoring at 1-0.
Lachlan showed his own skills not long after, beating three opponents down the right before slashing a shot that passed right across the face of goal to just miss scoring. From the restart however Zoe Middleton forced a mistake from the defense before passing the ball to Noah, whose strike was not 100% but managed to go through the legs of the keeper to make the score 2-0

The team had started to get themselves moving now, as Brock Young found space down the left side before passing in to Noah, whose shot was wide of the goals. From the goal kick however Zali blocked the kick perfectly, and on the rebound slotted the ball home for her second goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Green team however was also coming to life, and from a goal kick at their end they managed to get past a slightly lax defensive unit to get the ball to the other end, where they scored a goal past keeper Josh Peters, who did his best to save by was beaten by a great strike, and the score at half time was 3-1 to the Reds.

The second half opened much better for the Reds after Coach Shane Black and CEO Andy Middleton had instructed their young changes on what was required. Ky took a ball early on from halfway, and found his way through the defenders to put the ball in the back of the net and extend the lead to 4-1. The Greens replied with a goal of their own to keep the pressure on. Some great work from Josh in the mid-field and then a perfect pass to Ky's feet up forward brought another goal for Ky and made the scoreline 5-2.
Some indecision in the backs and perhaps some exhaustion setting in (all of the kids were red in the face and puffing hard by this stage) gave the Green team several chances to score. Jack Tate in goals was busy, and made a great fist of his job. he made one excellent save to deny the Greens a goal, and then made a diving full length save against a cracking shot that should rank as save of the season, only to have his opponents sneak the rebound past him to make the score 5-3. With the defensive line too high when a great break was made it left Jack stranded, and despite his best efforts the Greens scored another goal to bring the game back to 5-4 and now it was very tight.

A good play between Josh and Brock saw the ball go out, with Brock making a great throw back to Josh who ran down the right wing almost to the flag, before making a perfect pin-point cross into the centre past three defenders to where he found Noah, who controlled the ball and then placed the ball into the back of the net for a terrific goal that extended the lead back to 6-4. These three combined again not long after, with Noah in the centre making a run before passing perfectly to Brock on the right, who then composed himself with a short run before blasting the ball home for a great individual goal, and the score was a more comfortable 7-4. This didn't stop the Green team, who again forced a goal from nothing at the other end to get the score back to 7-5, but time was against them and that was the final play of the match.

All the kids did well in tough conditions, but Zoe Middleton deserves special mention for her work rate. She didn't always get much of the ball, but she was in position all the time, and ran forward to present herself but got back quickly when the ball changed sides. She worried the ball off her opponents terrifically well.

Player of the Day was awarded to Indy Middleton who again showed great defensive skills (although his eyes wandered to the other match a couple of times) and continues to take his chances to make big runs through the centre and down the wings before getting the ball to his teammates in the scoring positions. Great work Indy.

A short break ensues for the school holidays, but the kids have already shown they should be in for a great season, especially if they keep listening to Shane and Andy's advice.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Selectors Eye World Cup in New Contract List

The probable direction for Australian cricket for the next twelve months, with a home series against India and then leading up to the 2019 World Cup and away Ashes series, appears to have been set by the announcement of the new Cricket Australia contract list, with a couple of winners and some notable losers standing out amongst the names announced yesterday.

The list appears to be heavy on current one day specialists, highlighting not only the emphasis on what will be an important twelve months leading up to the World Cup, but also on the dearth of immediately obvious candidates to take up positions in the Test team over the same period.

Neither Jackson Bird nor Chadd Sayers, who have been the number one support acts behind Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins this past summer in the Test squad, have been offered a contract, which suggests that the selectors have decided that are not the answer should injury knock down one of the ‘Big Three’, and that they will be looking elsewhere in the future.

It’s a huge comedown for both men. Bird has been the faithful 12th man for most of the past two years, only gaining a match on the stark and desolate road at the M.C.G. in December, while Sayers finally got his chance in the baggy green in the final Test in South Africa, but now looks as though he will join fellow Redbacks in Joe Mennie and Callum Ferguson as ‘One Test Wonders’.

The other major casualty of the new list is the casting aside of Adam Zampa, leaving his World Cup chances in great danger. He has been in and out of the ODI team over the past twelve months and while his results haven’t been startling he has shown good aptitude in difficult circumstances. It would appear that the selectors are siding towards the big hitting Ashton Agar and part-time spin options like Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell for their World Cup team, which squeezes Zampa out of the equation.

Coming in to World Cup consideration are the fast bowling Richardson pair of Jhye and Kane, and the economical trickery of Andrew Tye. All three will be looking to book places in the squad behind the ‘Big Three’, with Tye probably the favourite at the moment. Having toured South Africa as a back-up paceman, Jhye may already be considered as the next in line for a Test place as well given the fate of both Bird and Sayers.

There was also recognition for Marcus Stoinis who will be a major factor of that ODI squad and in some people’s eyes will also be looked at for the Test squad.

Tim Paine and Alex Carey are the nominated wicket-keepers at the expense of Matthew Wade, and Paine will no doubt have received a hefty increase given his rise in stature following the departure of Steve Smith and David Warner. Whether he captains the ODI team as well as the Test team, or that duty is given to Aaron Finch is yet to be seen. Also given Carey’s excellent debut in the T20I team in February, he may well retain that role in the future as well.

Shaun Marsh returns to the contract list, which not only suggests he is still well and truly in the Test match frame, but may also make a surprise return to the ODI team as Finch’s opening partner in place of Warner. Marsh has good statistics as an opener in one day cricket, and retaining the left/right combination at the top of the order would be a bonus.

The glaring deficiency in the contract list is for the next line of Test batsmen. It reveals that the selectors have about as much idea as to whom will be in the team as every armchair selector in the country. It should be a signal to every batsman in Australia that big early runs in the Sheffield Shield, much like Cameron Bancroft did last season, could be the springboard to a Test cap.

Those not on the contract list are not finished. All can be added at a later date should their form and selection warrant it. But as an initial look at what the selectors are thinking for the Smith/Warner/Bancroft-less twelve months ahead, it is an interesting landscape ahead for the Australian cricket team.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Blaze Bayley / The Redemption of William Black: Infinite Entanglement Part III. 2018. 3.5/5

This is the second ‘trilogy’ of albums I have finished listening to over the past two weeks. The first was Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime trilogy story, which for me ended much the way it had started. When it comes to Blaze Bayley’s concluding chapter in his Infinite Entanglement trilogy, entitled The Redemption of William Black: Infinite Entanglement Part III, I have a similar feeling, in that I don’t think any part of the three albums has changed my mind over the whole concept of the story and the albums it entails. Indeed for some time I was concerned that it had in fact fallen backwards.

At my advancing age in listening to music in general and to heavy metal at the forefront of that, I have become less frantic in trying to devour every aspect of an album. In my youthful days in the 1980’s I spent hours poring over record covers and devouring lyrics to ensure I knew every single aspect of a song or an album, and was able to decipher this for anyone that would listen to me. The occasional concept albums that came my way found me even more diligent in this aspect. But old age has found I don’t have the time or devotion to go down that path anymore, and as my collections have moved from vinyl to disc to digital I don’t even have to know what the cover artwork is anymore. This becomes even truer as to the nature of the storyline that Blaze has set out over these three albums. I honestly haven’t taking in the lyrics enough to actually be able to work out what the story is he is telling. All I’m listening to are the songs, and picking up snatches of what is being said, and just wondering if I like it or not. My Past Self would be quite annoyed with my Present Self in this regard, suggesting I needed to take more time to envelope in the story. Past Self had much more time available to him to do such things that Present Self currently doesn’t have. One day I do intend to sit down and discover this storyline, but as yet I have not.

As to the songs themselves, I admit that after the first half a dozen listens to The Redemption of William Black: Infinite Entanglement Part III I felt disappointed. I couldn’t find much here that I truly enjoyed, that was jumping out at me and grabbing me, and at that time I felt this had some major flaws. Just allowing it to play through in the background while I did other stuff it felt like every song was the same, and that there was little to define these songs or this album from a lot of Blaze’s recent stuff. To be honest I was ready to cast it aside, and perhaps come back to it at a later time. Over the next half a dozen listens though I began to find my way into the narrative as such, and found the rhythm of the album, and then it became less of a chore and more of a pleasure to listen to. In the long run, I had to find the Blaze Bayley definition again. He has his own style that has been developed over recent albums where he now has no Blaze Bayley band to collaborate with, and instead he writes through his own thoughts while bouncing them off others he is close to at the time. In many ways it has brought a similarity to his music which can be off putting, especially for those that don’t enjoy his style. And that is the crux of this album. If you like Blaze’s style and substance, you will enjoy this album. If you do not then you won’t find anything here to win you over.

I’m glad that I stuck with this, and gave it time to win me over. It is not his best work, and there are few songs here I would consider putting on a greatest hits playlist of his work. That can be the problem with concept albums, the songs have to fit the story, not just win you over as songs themselves. Compared to other albums I have had on rotation over the past couple of weeks, this sits somewhere in the middle.

Rating:  The conclusion fits mostly with the first two parts.   3.5/5

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

T20 Calling as Cutting Calls it Quits

Ben Cutting’s announcement yesterday of his decision to retire from first class cricket and concentrate his career on the T20 game brought with it the usual concerns from some corners of the cricket world as to where the game was headed in the future, and if this was an indication of what modern cricket will become, with young(ish) men abandoning the ‘real’ cricket in order to play the more lucrative T20 tournaments around the world. There is a legitimate thought process regarding this kind of thing happening, but if you ponder this as an individual case, then surely Cutting has made a fair and rational decision for his own future, which will not impinge upon the future of his state and country.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the long form of the game above all others, and would hate to see it diminished in any way by players choosing to abandon it to feather their nest with quick cash from the T20 format at the expense of a longer career in the first class and international game. In this case, I don’t think either side of the argument would be disappointed.

Cutting has had a reasonably successful career with Queensland. In 51 first class matches he took 170 wickets at 28.41, and averaged 23.65 with the bat while scoring one century and seven fifties. At the height of his powers in 2013 and 2014 he played four ODI’s for Australia and also seven T20 internationals, but was never able to quite hold his place. He was on the verge of a dream Test selection when he was named in the squad to play against New Zealand in 2010/11, but again couldn’t quite crack the final eleven.

Over the past two seasons, Queensland has made a conscious decision to move in a different direction in regards to their pace attack. In 2016/17 Cutting played only three Shield matches and seven Matador Cup matches. Despite reasonable returns, he was unable to get a look in for a match in either competition in 2017/18. Given that Queensland won the Sheffield Shield competition this season without his input in any match, it is fair to assume that he has been surpassed for future selection.

At 31 years of age there is every possibility that if he put a solid pre-season behind him he could again challenge for a place in both Queensland teams next season. In the past, when in order to make money from playing cricket he would have had to have a State contract, this is most likely what he would have done. But it is the modern age, and given his success as a pinch-hitting batsman capable of massive strikes when at the crease, mixed with his straight, full and at times fast bowling, it is easy to see why T20 franchises would be looking to employ him, and for more money than he would be able to earn with a State contract.

This one is a win for one of the good guys. Ben Cutting served his state and country to the best of his ability, and gave Queensland and Australia everything he had on every occasion. Some may look at his career and say he didn’t live up to expectations. Perhaps they need to look at it from another perspective, and see that he was a very good state cricketer was given the chance to represent his country on several occasions, and he didn’t let anyone down. That he can still continue to play a high exposure form of cricket without holding up a state contract for a young and up-and-coming cricketer is perhaps the best scenario for both state and player.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Operation: Mindcrime / A New Reality. 2017. 1.5/5

I did promise I was going to steer clear of listening to future releases from Geoff Tate, a number of times actually. And I then also promised that I would stop reviewing those albums, mainly because it would give them an unfair skew giving that each time I listen to a new release it is poles apart from what I like. But here I am again, being sucked into the vortex, because there is always that chance that what I hear may again please me like Geoff’s original band pleased me back in the day.

The New Reality completes the trilogy concept plan that Geoff promised to deliver on the creation of his new band and name, which will apparently be mothballed once the tour behind this album is completed. Those that have listened to the first two albums – The Key and Resurrection – will therefore know what is coming on this album. I did too, but I still had to complete the journey just so I could say I gave it all a fair shake. So if you have listened to those two albums and you enjoy what has been offered then you can approach this album with open arms. If you found that the first albums were much of a muchness, and more tedious than experimental, then you can also steer clear of this album.
There are the odd moments when the Tate vocals come back into play, such as about halfway through “All For What?” where he sounds as though he means what he is singing and gives it some oomph. But for the majority of the album the songs crawl along in way that sounds like it should be 1970’s progressive rock, but without the rock part involved. The synthesizers dominate, and Tate’s saxophone becomes prominent in a number of songs, while Kelly Gray is back to offer some guitar and more producing of the album.
Yes, I assume there is more of the storyline that has been offered throughout, but as I’m sure I have suggested on reviews for the previous two outings, I just don’t have the inclination to find out exactly what it is about and what is happening. The story doesn’t matter a fig if the music drags you in, which is exactly what happened with the album that carries this project’s name. Unfortunately here, the music and songs do nothing to inspire me to search out what is happening within the lyrical content.

So I have satisfied my curiosity by wallowing through this release, and reached the end of what is the great Geoff Tate Trilogy following his exit from his previous band. Though none of it has tickled my fancy in the slightest, at least it is done. The next question will be, what is the next move by Tate, and will I feel as though I must continue to follow his music on the extraordinarily long off chance that he produces something that will rekindle his lacklustre appeal.

Rating: There's light at the end of the tunnel. 1.5/5

Saturday, April 7, 2018

APJSC Under 11 Reds: Round 1 vs Albion Park Yellow

The brand-new season for the Albion Park Junior Soccer Club began today, with the Under 11 Red team looking forward to a successful season. In retaining all ten players from last season, the kids and their parents all converged on Terry Reserve for their opening match against the Albion Park Yellow team.

It was a fast start from the Reds, with Kyan Van Helden jumping out of the blocks and putting the ball in the back of the net in just the second minute of play. Another volley two minutes later went just wide of the post, but his third strike of the morning brought his second goal in just five minutes, and the Reds led 2-0. A great incisive run down the left by Indy Middleton kept the pressure on their opponents, and not long after there was a great coast-to-coast play, as Brock Young tackled and stripped the ball, passing it to Josh Peters who manoeuvred the ball to Jack Tate and then on to Claire Kadwell who pushed the ball past the keeper, and made it a 3-0 lead.

At this point their Yellow opponents decided that they needed to attack via the long ball to get through the Red line, and they made a couple of good attacking raids. Josh was moved from back to midfield and made his presence felt immediately. He put through a great ball to Jack-Ryan Eberwein who just missed with his shot. Josh then moved past two players and took his shot only to have it well saved, and a minute later he got another shot in traffic, but this time hit the post. His next chance came from a long way out, and his great shot was saved by the keeper at a long stretch, but Jack Tate was on hand to score from the rebound, and the Reds led 4-0.

Indy made another great long run through the middle of the field and got off a great kick at goal, which was well saved. At the back, Belle Kadwell and Brock were fantastic in defence, working well together to strip the ball from their opponents as they worked their way downfield. This led directly to the next goal as Belle’s defence got the ball to sister Claire, whose fabulous pass to Ky allowed him the bury the ball in the back of the net for a 5-0 lead.

Perhaps the midfield got a little lax from here, and they failed to make the running back to help their defence on two occasions, and both were taken advantage of by the Yellow team who scored two goals to get back into the match at 5-2. Just before the break, another great show of passing between Jack Tate to Ky through to Indy, then back to Ky led to Claire bullying the ball past the keeper for the team’s sixth goal, and a 6-2 half time lead.

The start of the second half was highlighted by great defence by the back three of Brock, Josh and Jack-Ryan, and Jack in goals. They turned back four or five attacking raids. This pressure then allowed the front to take advantage, with a pass from Josh to Ky then moved on to Noah Black on the right wing, and his shot rebounded back to Ky who scored the first goal of the second half. Moments later a beautiful and pinpoint throw from Belle found Noah down the wing again, and he wound his way through the defence to score his own goal and take the lead out to 8-2. A defensive lapse allowed the Yellow team to get back to 8-3 before the Reds fought back again, as Belle pushed the ball out to Zoe Middleton who made a great pass to Josh in the middle, who in turn made a great pass to Jack-Ryan. Jack-Ryan may have blazed away himself in previous years, but his skills have developed no end, and he drew two opponents to him before expertly putting the ball at Ky’s feet, and he again beat the keeper to make the score 9-3.

Perhaps the Reds got tired from here (it was 29 degress), or perhaps they got complacent, but the Yellows kept fighting, and kept scoring goals. Two in succession and three of the next four in fact as the Reds changed their formations, and the score was soon 10-6. It could have been worse except for an exceptional piece of defensive work from Jack-Ryan, who saw his keeper drawn forward to try and save the ball, leaving the goals wide open. As the Yellows made their shot on the open goal, Jack-Ryan appeared from nowhere and cleared the ball away, right on the goal line. It was terrific, instinctive play, and for me was the play of the day. Ky’s sixth goal of the day came in the middle of this, after a terrific run and then pass from Josh left Ky with an open goal.

The final goal of the day was all down to Claire who was quite brilliant, making the play up the left side of the field and then making a stunning pass through three opponents to find Josh on his own, who dribbled to the goal and ensured he beat the keeper to score, and leave the game at a final score of 11-6. Josh himself said he felt bad being credited with the gal, because it had all been set up by Claire’s great work.

The Player of the Day was awarded to Jack-Ryan for his excellent efforts and improvement since last season.

Everyone was terrific. Jack Tate had been good in the first half and made two or three terrific saves as goalkeeper in the second half. Brock Young was brilliant in defence, reading the play wonderfully and his positional play as a result stifled the attacking options of the Yellow team. Claire and Belle Kadwell were unstoppable, running like the Energizer Bunny all match. Indy Middleton also made several long attacking runs and showed good control of the ball. Noah Black had several chances up front to get goals and made some good crosses to his teammates. Ky is a goal scoring machine and could have had a few more with a bit of luck. Zoe Middleton fought hard as usual and refused to take a backward step against her opponents and got some good balls into her teammates in the centre of the field. And Josh had some good moments as well, looking to set up his forwards unselfishly and also played a great role in defence. Overall the team played well, though the midfield got tired on occasions and left their defensive unit short staffed in trying to keep at bay the attacking raids of their opponents.

Next week the Reds are at home again against the Albion Park Green team and will be looking build on their solid start to the season.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Positions Vacant: Australia's Test Top Six

Australia’s capitulation with the bat in both innings at Johannesburg has raised the spectre of doom over the coming 12 months, especially in the make-up of the batting for the Test team. With its best performed batsmen on the sideline, and the continuing questions over the viability of those who remain, what options will the selectors look at to boost the top six leading up to next year’s Ashes series in England? 

Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns are the best two credentialed candidates to remain at the top of the order, having led Queensland to their Sheffield Shield triumph from that position. Usman Khawaja remains an enigma, unable to score away from home and yet continues to be prolific on home soil. Both Shaun and Mitch Marsh have reverted to type, following some promising form with a sequence of low scores again, while Peter Handscomb followed his long term 12th Man duties by chopping on twice in his return Test. Given that Tim Paine was the only batsman to average over 40 on the South African trip, it makes for some interesting deliberations on the batting line-up prior to Australia’s next Test match engagements. 

Let’s hope that the selectors will at least ignore the usual calls for the elevation of batsmen to the Test team who have done well in the white ball game. Runs scored on flat decks, on grounds with shrinking boundaries, against bowlers who are not allowed by the rules of the game to bowl down leg side or wide of off stump or too high above the shoulders, are not an indication as to how those batsmen will perform in a Test match atmosphere. Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis may have been quite successful in recent times in both ODI’s and T20 cricket with the bat, but you cannot judge that form as a possible selection tool to face Test bowlers on Test wickets under Test match conditions.

The juggling act between experience and youth is another delicate phase the selection panel will need to work through. If changes are to be made, and Paine is to remain as skipper, he will need some support when it comes to seniority in the team. Conceivably the selectors could choose to remain with the top six they put on the paddock in Johannesburg and insist they are the best available for the job. It may pay off, but I’m sure the general feeling is that a new sheet needs to be drawn up. 

Taking the Sheffield Shield averages and aggregates from the just-completed season, there are four candidates who could be considered for an opportunity. Glenn Maxwell (707 runs at 50.50) is the immediate respondent, having flown to South Africa as batting cover for the team. His 278 against New South Wales after missing selection for the 1st Test last summer was a perfect riposte, and his batting appears to have matured in recent times. 
The two senior pros who may come to attention are Victorian Cameron White (574 runs at 52.18) and South Australian Callum Ferguson (780 runs at 48.75). Both scored a century and five half-centuries and have plenty of leadership experience. White only recently forced his way back into the ODI team, though with little success, while Ferguson was one of the many chop-and-change selections of 2016, playing his one and only Test in the previous South Africa debacle in Hobart on their last Australian tour. White is 35 years old, Ferguson is 33. The recent history of success of elder statesmen Chris Rogers and Adam Voges is a pointer that they should both at least be considered in the final make-up of the Test batting line-up, if only as an emergency measure. 
The young buck waiting his chance is still Travis Head (738 runs at 46.12). He has played 34 ODI’s and 10 T20’s for Australia, and proven he can play at that level and also handle the responsibility it requires. At 24 years of age and with this experience behind him, the current impasse could be the perfect time to get him into the Test line-up and start showcasing his wares. 

If nothing else, the loss of three of Australia’s top order has left some holes in the national team that many may not have thought would open up for years. The resulting vacuum should at least give all first class batsmen a hope of perhaps gaining, or regaining, a Test cap in the next few months if they perform well enough.

When Do You Turn Off the Porch Light?

At what stage of the footy season do you, as a supporter, start to panic? When do you get that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach that your team isn’t up to it? That despite all of the bravado and positive words coming out of the press conferences of your team, you know that for you the long cold winter of disappointment has begun? If like me you are a Collingwood supporter, that tends to happen pretty early on, but in 2018 there are already a number of teams in a lot worse position, and their plans for the season ahead are looking mightily worrisome given we have only just clicked over into April. Perhaps there is still some daylight out there for them, but some supporters are almost at the stage of turning off the porch light and closing the front door on their respective footy seasons. 

Given the even competition that the AFL has again thrust upon us, there is no room for bad losses, even if it is against the better teams. Eighteen months ago the Western Bulldogs were on top of the world, Premiers of the game and with a bright few years ahead of the club. After two games of this season’s competition, their supporters must be wondering what has happened. They capitulated to GWS in round one in Canberra, and last weekend did so again at home against West Coast. They weren’t just losses, they were floggings. This week they come up against an Essendon side that will be hell bent on finding retribution for their own collapse against Fremantle. Recovering from this start will take every ounce of mongrel the Dogs have in them. 
Carlton fought hard against Richmond in round one, but their defeat to Gold Coast in round two leaves them again on the precipice. No one except Magpies and Blues supporters now cares too much about their match this Friday, but with both teams 0-2, the loser will be under enormous scrutiny in the eyes of the media and their fans. 
St Kilda has been mentioned in top eight discussions, but they were abysmal against North on ‘Bad Friday’ and will need to regroup quickly if they are to reignite their season. 
For all these teams, a successful season is quickly sinking into the mire, and only an immediate turnaround can stop that. Sydney may have made the finals last season after a 0-6 start, but none of these sides have the talent that the Sydney team had. 

The two teams that most had pencilled in for finals in the NRL in 2018 were the Eels and the Raiders. The Eels were being spoken of in some circles as premiership material. After four rounds, one wonders now how either team can find a way to win a game. Injuries haven’t helped either club, but poor defence and on field decisions have hurt them more. 
After 20 minutes of their first round match against the Panthers, the Eels led 14-0. They have since conceded 122 points while scoring only 24 in losing all four games. Meanwhile, the Raiders lost their first three matches after leading into the final five minutes in each of them, only to fall at the final hurdle as their opponents came over the top of them. Again it is early in the season, but turning around the defensive woes of both of these clubs to become finals contenders again would be a massive achievement. 
The Bulldogs haven’t been much better. The player and coach reshuffle is no doubt a work in progress, but one wonders if the coach wants the players his club bought. The Broncos and Storm appear vulnerable now that both have lost their halfbacks to other clubs, whereas those clubs seem to be travelling along nicely as a result. 

In some instances it is too early to tell whether or not the dream of a finals place or even a premiership is already in ruins. For those clubs mentioned above however, that nauseous feeling will be evident for their supporters as they head to their games this weekend, knowing that another loss will add further nails to their coffin in 2018.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Jessibill: Death By Multimedia. Episode 17

This week on Episode 17:

Crap That Jess Has Been Watching On YouTube! – Exciting times for Jess, who has new stuff from Brendan Urie and his pet project Panic! At The Disco! to check out, as well as finding some karaoke tunes to keep her vocals in good working order. Meanwhile, Bill has been freaking out over the first full length trailer of YouTube Red's long awaited revival series of the Karate Kid, entitled Cobra Kai

Rubbish Songs Jess and Bill Have Been Listening To – Jess has more songs stuck in her head this week from those bands you know she is going to stick with, while Bill has gone with a fresh angle, finding five brilliant songs whose title all start with "Children of the..."

Crap Movies Bill is Forcing Jess to Watch! – This movie does generally have a mixed reaction around the place, but when it is scripted by and starring John Cleese, and has brilliant performances from Michael Palin and Kevin Kline, how can you NOT want to check out A Fish Called Wanda! HEY! Don't you call me stupid!

There’s Something on the TV! – One wonders if this Voltron obsession will ever end, but Jess has now finished series four and wants to share its secrets with you. meanwhile, Bill has witness the conclusion of Series 11 of The X Files, and finds that while it might be new, there is a lot similar to previous series conclusions about it.






Time to Retire the Sheffield Shield Final

The Sheffield Shield Final has become irrelevant and obsolete in the cricket calendar and should be removed from the summer schedule. This has been a recording.

Once again we are at the end of March, with AFL, NRL and Super Rugby dominating the local match attendance prerogatives of families. We are hearing about the Dragons and the Eels (for different reasons), about GWS and Richmond, and of the Reds surging under Brad Thorn. 
Meanwhile in Brisbane, the once imperious Sheffield Shield competition was finishing in a damp squib, a final that few people knew was happening let alone what the result may have been. That result came yesterday afternoon, when a contrived finish due to losing so much play to rain saw competition leaders Queensland win the final against Tasmania by nine wickets. 

What began back in 1982/83 as an effort to revive the fortunes of the domestic four day competition, to give it a glamorous finish and a taste of Test cricket with a five day final, has become even more irrelevant than the competition itself in the modern game. In that match, hosts and table leaders Western Australia was beaten by the visiting New South Wales team, breaking a drought for the Blues of 17 years. Only four times in the following 35 seasons has the visiting team actually won the Final and thus the Shield itself – Queensland over Western Australia in 1996/97, the reverse result in 1998/99, and New South Wales twice over Queensland in 2002/03 and 2004/05. 
The leaders and home team have won 21 times, often as the visitors lost trying to make something of a game that was out of reach, and there have been 10 draws which resulted in the top team winning the Shield anyway. 
At times it has been ludicrous. In the 2003/04 final in Melbourne, Victoria scored 710 batting first in 212 overs, ensuring they couldn’t lose but killing the match as a contest. No doubt boiling over this, two years later in Brisbane the Queensland team responded to Victoria’s first innings of 344 by piling on 6/900 before finally declaring with Jimmy Maher (223), Martin Love (169), Shane Watson (201 – retired hurt of course) and Clint Perron (173) cashing in. The folly of there not having to be a result for one team to lift the trophy has often been the cause of the Final being a complete waste of time. 

In recent years the domestic four day and one day competitions have been forcibly removed from the public’s eye due to the constant expanding of the International calendar, and the burgeoning money pot that is the BBL competition. The one day competition now runs for three weeks in October in the shadow of the football codes finals, and if you blink you will miss it completely. The Sheffield Shield retains some relevance running up to the first Test matches of the summer when we see most of the International players having a hit or a bowl as a warm up session, but once the Tests start it moves back into a second class system, halting completely for almost two months to ensure it does not interfere with the T20 form of the game. 

Despite having seen some fantastic finals in the past – the one wicket victories of New South Wales over Queensland in 1984/85 and 2004/05, and South Australia’s stonewalling draw against Western Australia in 1995/96 - the game rarely lives up to its standing as the crowning jewel of the domestic season. In most cases it only delays the victory celebrations of the top team on the table for a week. In an overcrowded and overlapping season, and with the football codes in full swing by the time the match is scheduled, now is probably the time to go back to the ‘first past the post’ winner that served the competition so well for its first 90 seasons. Sadly, the best excuse for this happening is that so few people would actually miss it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

How Can Cricket Australia Save Australian Cricket?

At the time of writing this, something I am doing to hopefully draw the anger and disappointment of this whole situation out of my body and onto the computer screen in front of me, no one knows exactly what Cricket Australia (CA) will do in regards to punishment for the ball tampering saga that has occurred in South Africa. Steve Smith has been suspended for the 4th Test for his part in the show, while Cameron Bancroft has been handed 3 demerit points which means he is theoretically available for the 4th Test that starts on Friday. 
But surely, if CA is to have any credibility in the world of cricket, there must be more done. And I don’t even mean about this particular incident. 

How does a team – how does the captain and vice-captain of the Australian cricket team – get to the point that they decide that doing something that they know is against the laws of cricket is worth doing if it gains them an advantage? How far gone into your own delusions of grandeur, of your own position in your own protected world, do you have to have risen (or sunk) to think that this is something that you should do? Did they ever consider the consequences? Did they honestly believe that they wouldn’t get caught out, with so many cameras focused on every player and piece of the action? Did they think that even if they were caught, that there would be no backlash? Did they honestly believe that the cricket loving public of Australia – and beyond that just the public of Australia – would be on their side, or would think little of it? Exactly how far have they got their own heads up their own collective arses to actually think they are above the Laws of Cricket? 
If it comes to pass, however many people may have been in the know that this was going to occur, that NONE of them actually spoke up and said that you can’t do this, then they are all as guilty as those who have already been punished for it. Because every single person who has heard about this knows it was not only against the laws of cricket, it was JUST PLAIN WRONG! And no, I won’t use the phrase ‘spirit of cricket’ anywhere here, because that is a made up term that is inaccurate every time it is used. 

Those calling for lifetime bans and the like are far too caught up in the hype and hysteria of the moment. Similar offences for ball tampering in the past have brought about fines and a slap on the wrist through to two match suspensions. Life bans is a complete over reaction to what has actually happened on the field. However, and this is a big however, the main difference here is that this was a pre-meditated conversation between those who rank highest in the Australian cricket team to try and cheat themselves an advantage against the rules of the game, and it is in that situation that further and heavier action must come from CA than has been handed down by the ICC. 

Still, what CA must also do in the same instance is to reign in the current culture of the Australian cricket team, and put an end to the animosity that appears to occur on the cricket field every time Australia play, and to instill a return to the kind of behavior the board and the Australian public expects from its national cricket team. In this series alone we have witnessed a serious and planned attempt to sledge the opposition to the point of abuse, all in the name of unsettling their opponents. It is calculated and it is planned, and it is completely over the top. Suggesting that sledging is something Australian teams have done for decades is a lie, and is used to promote this current team’s belief that it is a fair tactic to use of the cricket field. That it spilled over during the 1st Test into almost provoking fisticuffs between Warner and de Kock is appalling at all levels. The fact that the Australians then felt compelled to complain about what may or may not have been said by de Kock made them look like whingers and hypocrites. This continued into the 2nd Test with more fines, and of course the start of the 3rd Test where the Australians complained both officially and in press conferences about the abuse from spectators. Once again, they looked like prima donners. And now they look like complete gooses. There is no doubt that sections of all Australian crowds are just as bad to all touring teams in our country, and yet little has been done by either the board or the team to quell that. It is seen as ‘supporting the home team’, but when it happens to Australia overseas, suddenly they feel as though they must complain about it. 

So here we are, not at the Australian cricket teams metaphorical ‘line’ that they believe they don’t cross when it comes to their behavior on the field, but at Cricket Australia’s ‘line in the sand’. For more than 12 months, cricket in Australia has been building to the point. It started with the pay dispute over the Memorandum of Understanding between CA and the Australian cricketers Association (ACA). CA lost that dispute so spectacularly, with the players actually striking and abandoning a tour such was their belief in their fight, that they have appeared weak and lacking in influence ever since. And from this, it appears as though the playing group and their support staff have formed into an Elite Protected Group, able to do as they wish with a bubble of invincibility around them, answerable to no one but themselves. And once again, whilst they were winning, it was hardly questioned – and I was as guilty of that as anyone else. But as that winning feeling has worn off, firstly against England in the ODI’s at home and now against South Africa in this Test series, either the behavior of the team has become worse or just more noticeable. Probably both. And with these revelations in recent days, Cricket Australia has the chance to re-impose itself on the national team and the way it wants it to be reflected to the public of both Australia and the World – and they must take this chance before it is too late. 

I don’t know what CA will do, if anything. If I was in charge, I would make some drastic changes and others that mightn’t feel to be enough. It seems unlikely that they will want to take out their best two players and the two to whom Australian kids most identify for a long period of time, but to me, in the best interests of the players and the team, I think they must. 
  • I believe both Smith and Warner should be given a 12 month suspension from all cricket, in order to exacerbate just how serious this decision was by these two senior players. CA must be shown to be serious in ensuring this never EVER happens again under their watch, and while such a decision will not only hurt the team’s chances of winning matches but hurt at drawing spectators to watch cricket, it will be seen as a tough but ultimately correct decision. The long term benefit would also be that both players will have a chance to reevaluate their careers and the way they want to be remembered as cricketers when they finish. By having 12 months out, they would also be able to return for a fresh assault on the 2019 World Cup and Ashes tour with clear minds and having had these controversies paid for by their absence. But obviously never as captain or vice-captain again. I don’t believe it will happen, but I believe it should. 
  • I believe Darren Lehmann should be relieved as coach after the 4th Test, and Justin Langer should be announced as his replacement effective immediately. All coaching staff who have been appointed within Lehmann’s purview should be moved on as well, and a whole new set up needs to be considered, along with a review as to whether the excessive amounts of people who are employed in the support staff are required. Langer has been praised for the culture change he has made with Western Australian cricket. Let’s give him a chance to do the same for Australian cricket. 
  • I believe that Cricket Australia needs to redefine just how Australians act on the cricket field, and have it set such that if there are any transgression in the future they can be acted on immediately. The team has to take ownership of their behavior, but if they transgress according to the BOARD then they must be pulled back into line. It is not enough anymore to suggest that the team knows what is right and wrong, or what is pushing the boundaries and what is beyond them. It needs to be held accountable, and better than it has been in recent times. 
  • I believe George Bailey should be appointed as captain of the Australian team, and flown to South Africa immediately. He may not be the best batsman to slot into our batting line-up – averaging 33 this summer with one century and five half-centuries - but apart from the captain and vice-captain, no one has confidently nailed down a spot in that order for a long time. Giving Bailey the job will mean the team has a confident leader with a good record as captain, and a man who will be respected both by his teammates and the opposition, Brendan McCullum notwithstanding. It may only be a short-term solution, perhaps for the Australian summer, but his public persona and almost constant lopsided grin will help to restore public faith in the office of Australian Captain. 
  • I believe any player who was involved in the ball tampering decision – including Bancroft – should be stood down from the 4th Test. If this includes Starc, Lyon and Hazlewood who have been reported as being in the ‘leadership group’, then so be it. This may be harder to trace, given it appears that the inner circle is now trying to keep the culprits down to as few people as possible, but if it is six players out then it must be done. Handing places to Jon Holland, Jhye Richardson and Chadd Sayers wouldn’t be the worst thing, and the chance to get Matt Renshaw back at the top order would also be a good thing. Anyone who was involved in the decision must be made to feel the weight of what has occurred. 

Whether or not all of this will play out, or if we just see an attitude of it all being forgotten about soon enough, only the next week will show for sure. There is a real possibility that Australia could wipe the slate clean right now, and start to rebuild its tattered image in the world and become what it was once again – a team at the top of the world that is renowned for playing hard on the field but for also for its fair play, and for being able to enjoy a drink after the day in the right spirit. Surely it can’t be that hard. More than anything else, Cricket Australia and its team has to regain the faith of all of the children of Australia who have had their heroes crush their belief in the game of cricket in the past few weeks. If they can’t do that, then the sport in Australia, which is struggling at the grass roots level as it is, may just collapse completely.

Mike Carlton Lays Out Why Australia is Fucked

Sunday, March 25, 2018

"How Did They Think They Wouldn't Get Caught?"

Yes. I have spent a great proportion of the past 40 years of my life watching the game of cricket, idolising the great players it has been my pleasure to watch, and living on the edge of ecstasy and despair, depending on the outcome of those matches played by our national team.

For the most part of that time I have felt pride in the Australian team. They didn't always win, they didn't always play well, but they held the values of the game at their hearts. If they lost they accepted it and hoped to do better. If they won they celebrated and looked to do even better in the next game.
Not always, but mostly.

Something has changed in the current Australian team, and there needs to be some serious conversations and changes made at the highest level if the actions of the past few weeks are to be rectified.

After the actions of yesterday's play in South Africa, does anyone believe there are any redeemable qualities remaining in the Australian cricket team? There is simply no excuse or explanation for what happened except that at the very least the leadership group of the team are cheats. By having a player use a piece of tape with granules of the pitch on it to try and rough up the ball in order to change its condition, this was a deliberate and knowing flaunting of the laws of the game. Don't believe any kind of watering down of language that may be brought forth in the coming days. It was no mistake, or an error of judgement. It was blatant cheating. And the penalties for this must be severe. And not just from the ICC.

What has happened to the Australian team? We sledge mercilessly and without favour constantly, but suddenly carry on like school kids as soon as someone dares to do the same thing back at us. We ignore how poorly our home crowds treat opposition players and teams in Australia, but complain to the referee and the media the second it happens to us in overseas conditions. We dare to call others cheats when they appear to contravene the rules, but somehow expect that when we try to do the same thing we won't get caught, and when we do we expect that an apology and saying we'll never do it again should be enough to end the matter. The question has been asked for some time but never really answered, as to why it appears that the only series that seem to have bad relations between the teams playing are the ones that Australia play in.

Steve Smith is embarrassed by this? AUSTRALIAN CRICKET SUPPORTERS ARE EMBARRASSED BY THIS!!! These last few weeks have made ALL Australians feel awkward and nauseous about our own team. Their conduct overall has been appalling, and so far it appears nothing has been done to rectify it and pull these players back into line and reminded of the privilege they have of representing our country and the way they should behave to uphold it. It has been bad enough recently, but this is the final straw. South Africa - and the world - are now laughing at Australian cricket and its followers. Our team and its leaders have made a mockery of the game of cricket and how it should be played.

Whoever is a part of this so-called 'leadership group' that decided this tactic should be used, should be immediately suspended by Cricket Australia for the 4th Test. Steve Smith must immediately fall on his sword, or if he won't, then Cricket Australia must sack him as captain, and also ensure anyone who was a part of this decision never captains Australia again.The board also needs to come in and set the terms to what is acceptable behaviour on the cricket field and what is not, starting from now. The players may well have thought that they were in charge of the show after their victory in regards to the Memorandum of Understanding back in August, but they have forfeited any of that with their deplorable actions in recent times. This is the board's chance to show why it exists. This cannot be tolerated any longer, and if CA doesn't show strength in this then we forfeit any right to consider ourselves as leaders in the cricket world again.

I feel sick this morning, and it has nothing to do with what I drank last night. This is a line in the sand moment. Let's see if cricket in Australia has the leadership and moral conscience to fix this properly immediately.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jessibill: Death By Multimedia. Episode 16

This week on Episode 16:

Crap That Jess Has Been Watching On YouTube! – It's more amazing stuff from Jessica as she introduces us to Ryan Higa, yet another doofus who seems to be able to make a living off YouTube, while Bill reminisces on the loss of Stephen Hawking by tracking down all the TV shows he appeared in.

Rubbish Songs Jess and Bill Have Been Listening To – Yet another amazing playlist of ten awesome songs put together for your pleasure, with Jess giving us a series of songs that have stuck in her head this week, and Bill gives us some songs that may sound familiar but that you just can't place where they come from.

Crap Movies Bill is Forcing Jess to Watch! – "GET TO THE CHOPPER!!!" Yes, Arnie is back in his biggest and baddest film, along with some other crazies and a super performance by the main bad guy as we lose ourselves in the awesome action adventure that is PREDATOR.

There’s Something on the TV! – Jessica is still obsessed with VOLTRON and gives us the low down now she has reached Series 4, while Bill tries to work out who the murderer is every week in the long running British crime show DEATH IN PARADISE








Thursday, March 15, 2018

AFL Prediction 2018

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Jessibill: Death By Multimedia. Episode 15

This week on Episode 15:

Crap That Jess Has Been Watching On YouTube! – Jess has decided that everything is up for grabs and to be torn down by anarchists as she gives us the good oil on the Film Theory channel on YouTube, while Bill relives a classic from his past as he tries to explain through his laughter the worst version ever of Europe's "The Final Countdown".

Rubbish Songs Jess and Bill Have Been Listening To – This week's playlist contains Bill trying to show that he doesn't only listen to 1980's heavy metal, while Jessica instead shows us her complete fixation on everything My Chemical Romance.

Crap Movies Bill is Forcing Jess to Watch! – When it comes to comedy that comes from the 2000's rather than the 1980's, you can still find a ridiculous movie with no storyline and a bomb spent on how it looks and still comes up with the goods. This week we delve into Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's touched-by-genius movie entitled ZOOLANDER.

There’s Something on the TV!
– Bill has been watching the excellent Aziz Ansari in his latest role of Dev Shah in the critically acclaimed MASTER OF NONE, while Jess has spent four non-stop days staring at her iPad and taking on what appears to Bill to be the ridiculous and far fetched antics of VOLTRON.





Saturday, March 10, 2018

APCC Under 11 Golds: Round 18 vs Albion Park Green

ROUND 18. Albion Park Under 11 Gold Vs. Albion Park Green at Keith Irvine Oval. March 10, 2018.

Well done by the local (or not local) idiots who decided to dig up the ground at Con O’Keefe Oval on Friday night, which meant that instead of the local derby between the Albion Park Under 11A Golds against Greens being played at home, it had to be shifted to Keith Irvine Oval. It made for a disrupted start to the game.

With the relocation achieved, the Golds won the toss and elected to field against a very good opponent, and with both teams fielding six players. The Golds overall bowled well, but also too short and not full enough to put any real pressure on the batsmen, who ran well between the wickets and generally batted terrifically. For the Green team, openers Aiden Campion (20) and Will Schofield (18) both hit the ball well, selected the gaps and ran hard between the wickets. Jordy Marshall (8) and Lucas Glover (7) showed good technique, Lucas especially batting with great composure for his age, and both had good initiative between the wickets. Liam Clinch (8) only suffered from trying to hit the ball too hard and too far, while Riley Hayes (26) is nothing if not entertaining when he is at the crease and played some lovely shots.

The star with the ball today was Bodhie Rodda. He has been working hard all season to get his bowling action right and get the ball down the wicket and as straight as possible. Today, it all came together for him, as he bowled three full overs, and only four of those were no balls, and only two of his deliveries bounced more than once. It was a fantastic effort from a young boy whose passion for bowling has never floundered over the course of the season. Success is not always measured in wickets. Today it was measured in line and length, and Bodhie today was the star of that measure. Well done Bodhie!
As was mentioned, the ball had to be straight and full today, and the kids couldn’t quite get it there. Lucas Brown picked up the only wicket of the innings, surprisingly enough with a ball that was full and straight. He also fell foul of having his cap as his marker, which cost him five runs when a straight drive hit it perfectly. His four overs today finished with 1/20. Max Sciberras and Charlotte Rodda bowled some good deliveries today, mixed with some wide no balls to go in their bag of liquorice all-sorts. Max finished with 0/14 from three overs, and Charlotte with 0/22 from three overs. Blake Ison tried hard to get the ball straight but found it drifting down leg side too often to be effective. His three overs cost 0/17. Josh Peters was a little wayward today but still managed to find the edge of the bat on a few occasions and asked questions of the batsmen. His four overs cost him 0/13, and he just failed to take a screamer at square leg as well.

After their twenty overs, the Green Eagles had lost just the one wicket and scored 124 runs, with 87 of those coming off the bat.

The Golds went in to bat with instructions to be positive but keep wickets to a minimum. The Greens bowled very impressively, by keeping it simple and bowling the ball in the right areas. The spin options were excellent, with Liam’s left arm orthodox (0/17) and Lucas’ right arm leg spin (2/21) great to watch, asking questions of the batsmen with flight and length. Will (0/8) and Aiden (2/2) both showed exactly how faster bowlers need to bowl in this age group – full and straight, which not only offered wicket-taking chances but tied up the runs as well. Great stuff. Jordy (1/12) and Riley (0/8) were also both good in their spells at the crease. Along with the excellent wicket-keeping of Riley and Liam, and the up-tempo fielding, the Greens showed why they have been so successful this season.

Through all of this, the Golds stuck to their fight. Josh and Lucas opened the batting, and kept out the good balls, looked to find the singles, and tried to dispatch the loose deliveries. Josh has had a great season with the bat and again showed his improved patience and picking the right ball to hit today, hitting three boundaries in his top score of 23. He was well supported by Lucas, and their understanding in their partnership helped to push the score along. Lucas showed good defence again today in his innings of 4. Blake batted at three and would have scored more runs if he had played straighter rather than trying to whip everything to leg. He still made 11 good runs.

At the halfway mark the Golds were 0/52, which compared well to the Greens at the same stage, who had been 0/56. The fact that the Golds did not lose a wicket until the 12th over was a great effort from the batting unit. Eventually the excellence of he Greens bowling came through, and six wickets were lost in the innings. Max was not one of those, and he again showed his improvement in getting his front foot out to the pitch of the ball, and he played a couple of lovely punches in his innings of two runs. Bodhie again showed he has an excellent pull shot, and also defended a couple of good balls off his middle stump, which was pleasing to see. He made two today in his innings. However, the shot of the day came from Charlotte, who waiting for the right ball, and then pulled in hard and high to the mid-wicket boundary for her first four of the season. Great stuff Charlotte, let’s hope we see a few more of those next week!

At the end of their twenty overs, the Golds had lost six wickets for 71 runs, of which 47 had come off the bat.
With wicket penalties added, the Greens ran out convincing winners of the match by 148 to 75. Congratulations to Mick and his team, they are a very good cricket team who play in the right spirit and with plenty of skill.

I was especially proud of the way the young Gold team fought out today. Apart from the last five overs of their bowling, their fielding was good and mostly enthusiastic. The wind came out of their sails a little in the last few overs. Then the batting showed a purpose, and they stuck it out against some very good bowling from their Green opponents without dropping their heads. They may have lost their last two games, but they have not stopped trying against their excellent opposition, and they should be rightly proud of their efforts.

There is one game left in the season, and the Golds will be playing the first placed Oak Flats Blue side to complete their year. Hopefully they will put in one last effort and give the Oak Flats team a real run for their money next week.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Jessibill: Death By Multimedia. Episode 14

This week on Episode 14:

There’s Something on the TV! – Jess does an excellent impression of a politician, but explaining to us that she is watching a brand new show called EVERYTHING SUCKS but that she can't reveal anything about it. Awesome. On the other hand, Bill has been binging on FAMILY FEUD for reasons that he would prefer not to reveal.

Crap Movies Bill is Forcing Jess to Watch! – The switch from comedy to action at the last minute meant that Bill had to bring in a film related somewhat to a film she saw last year but didn't enjoy. This week we go t the wilderness for FIRST BLOOD.

Album Review Switcheroo! – With Jessie's albums having dried up it's time to go in a new direction, and so we present to you our weekly playlist of ten songs, five from each of us, and we give you a run down on why we like them, and even give you a chance to experience it yourself! This week, it's cover songs.

Crap That Jess Has Been Watching On YouTube! – Jess has found more Vine madness in the eyes of ISSA TWAIMZ who is also apparently hilarious. If that is even possible.




Saturday, March 3, 2018

APCC Under 11 Golds: Round 17 vs Gerringong Green

ROUND 17. Vs. Gerringong Green at Boxsell Reserve. March 3, 2018.

OK. Well, it is fair to say that the Albion Park Gold Under 11A team discovered the gap between the excellent work they have put in during this season, and what they must do if they want to be one of the teams at the top of the tree. And though they may have gone down in their match today against Gerringong Green, they certainly didn’t lower their heads. In fact, parts of today’s cricket were the very best this team has achieved all season, and that is saying something.

Skipper Max Sciberras won the toss and elected to bowl, and the Eagles kids were absolutely superb, something which was remarked upon by many from the opposing team. Their fielding topped everything they have done this season, although they were helped by the slow and spongey outfield which kept the ball within reach at all times. Unlike the sleepyheads of last week, this week the whole team was on their toes and superb in the field. There were again two direct hit run outs, one from Blake from mid-wicket and one from Lucas from deep cover with the batsmen chasing two. Both of these two have been dynamite in the field this season and showed it off again today. Blake also took an excellent catch at mid-wicket off Max’s bowling to inspire the first wicket of the day.

It was a very spongey and dewey outfield, and the Gerringong team did well to total 71 runs off their allotted twenty overs, which the Eagles complemented with five wickets, in what was a masterclass of Under 11 fielding. That they also did this by pushing themselves to this excellence, and not by being hounded by their coach, was the most satisfying part of the whole exercise. They were quite terrific. The backing up was good, and the keepers Josh and Kane both did a great job.

Kane Rex bowled two terrific overs today, straight and making the batsmen play every ball. It was a shame it was his week to keep and he couldn’t bowl any more overs than he did. He finished with 0/6. Blake Ison’s first two overs were superb again today, but he got a bit tired and down leg side in his final two overs. Perhaps the coach is over bowling him. He finished with 0/17. Charlotte Rodda mixed some good deliveries with some average deliveries, and for the first time in weeks failed to take a wicket. You can’t take them all the time. She took 0/14 from her three overs. Bohdie Rodda though was fabulous, with only five no balls today in his two overs. He can be rightly proud of his effort, and figures of 0/9. That practice is paying off. Max too only got two overs today, which was an oversight by his coach. His first over was a beauty, and his second not bad either. He finished with 1/6 from those overs, and will certainly get more bowling next week. Josh Peters had the opposing team singing his praises, and though it will be a biased comment again, his first over today was the over of the season. He bowled three overs and finished with 0/6. He is bowling in the wrong age group. The star again though was Lucas Brown, whose four sensational overs produced figures of 2/8, with another caught and bowled and a bowled with a double bouncer, his worst ball of the day. He keeps coming back at the batsmen even when he bowls a bad ball and never hangs his head. Great stuff Lucas.

For the first time since the very start of the season, the Eagles kids faced a bowling attack that was simply too good for them. When you have four or five kids with the ability to bowl the ball full and straight and move it in the air, it is a massive test for your batting skills, especially your defensive unit. I’m not sure they were so good that they didn’t bowl a wide no ball for the entire innings, but it was another level of bowling from what Albion Park Gold has faced in some time. The slow outfield also stopped any chance for the boundary hitters to get into gear, and as a result it was a tough time with the bat.

Despite this, no one dropped their head, and they all adapted well by the end of their innings. Charlotte and Max opened and faced the best of the bowlers, and although they were both bowled twice by almost unplayable deliveries, they stuck to their task and never gave in. Max especially played some lovely straight shots once he realised that this was where the bowling was aimed, and his three runs was worth much more on any other ground and on any other day. Well done Max, that was a tough innings and very well played. Charlotte also looked to play more shots this week and was also frustrated by the outfield. She still showed a lot of positive signs. Blake played an excellent innings today, and his score of 2 does not reflect that at all. He often had to adjust his stroke late to cover the delivery that he faced and he did this terrifically. He also wore a couple on his thigh and a full toss to his ribs, so he fought hard under adversity. Sometimes the number of runs you score does not show just how good an innings you have played. This was Blake today.
Bohdie tried hard under the conditions but jut couldn’t get the ball through the outfield, despite some nice strokes to mid-wicket. Kane came out positively and looked to dominate when the opportunity arose, which was good to see. He played forward much better today and as a result he looked much more comfortable at the crease. He made 3 good runs. Lucas and Josh put together a good partnership at the close, punching for singles and looking to be positive while keeping out the good deliveries, of which there were a few. Lucas especially took on the best of the Gerringong bowlers in the final over, getting forward and hitting every delivery in the middle of the bat, diffusing him perfectly, while also calling for two good singles. 4 not out today was worth a lot more than that. Well done Lucas. Josh still is hitting the ball a bit too aerial for his coach’s liking, but he also remained not out on 10.

After wicket penalties were added, Gerringong Green had run out victors by 99 to 51, and though they did win comfortably, the margin does not prove to be a fair reflection on how tough the game was fought by the Eagles kids. As I said, their fielding effort today was the best of the season, and after initial adjusting in the batting each of the kids handled themselves well against a very good attack. I was very proud of the way they handled themselves today.

Next Saturday the Golds will play the Greens in the Under 11 local derby at the home of junior cricket Con O’Keefe Oval. I hope we will see a big turnout of parents and relatives to see two very good teams play each other. No matter what the result, I feel sure you will see just how good the future looks for Albion Park cricket by the skills and ability of these 12-14 young kids coming through from their Under 11 competition.