Sri Lanka win World Twenty20

By Daniel Laming posted 6th April 2014 7:02PM in Cricket, Sports

Sri Lanka earned a well deserved six wicket win over the favourites India to claim the World  Twenty20 title in Mirpur. The win marked the end of dreadful run of four defeats for Sri Lanka in global finals (World Cup Finals of 2007 and 2011, World T20 Finals of 2009 and 2012) and made sure that India did not manage to become the first team to capture all three limited over titles.

India with a near perfect performance all the way to the finals were expected to win finals. However, on the day, their batting performance was disappointing to say the least. Rohit Sharma drove to extra cover and ended the second wicket partnership. Yuvraj Singh was another one of India’s top batsmen that lost their way on the day. One must admit the entire Indian team under performed, but one must also give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews and Gangana Herath all got a wicket each. The Sri Lankan bowling stats show the true discipline of their five bowlers, as not one of them gave away more than 29 runs from four overs. At the end of the innings, India’s batsmen were contained and only managed 130-4, and that was even with Kohli’s 77 runs.

Sri Lanka came into to bat and had to hod their nerve, as India took wickets throughout the innings to keep their hopes alive. At one point, Sri Lanka were struggling on 78-4, but Perera took on the Indian bowlers and subdued them with two sixes in consecutive overs. Sangakkara also finished off strongly and made a half century as a fitting score to retire from International Twenty20 cricket.

This finals was truly spectacular, with two teams showing what Twenty20 is all about. It was indeed a fitting end to a very exciting tournament, with both players and spectators alike enjoying every bit of the cricket.

 

Read more...

Liverpool at the top of the EPL Table

By Daniel Laming posted 30th March 2014 6:29PM in Football, Sports

Liverpool made a bold statement of intent for the English Premier League title as they annihilated Tottenham Hotspurs 4-0 at Anfield. A Spurs own goal in the 2nd minute of play by Younes Kaboul put off the visitors from the start, and Luis Suarez then made it 2-0 in the 25th minute as a result of a defensive blunder by Michael Dawson. Goals by Coutinho and Henderson in these second half completed the despair for Spurs and Tim Sherwood.

The win places Liverpool at the top of English Premier League, two points in front of Chelsea and four ahead of Manchester City, although one would have to note that City has two games in hand.  However, Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerard will know the title is a very real possibility. If Liverpool win their last six games, it will guarantee the Premier League trophy goes back to Anfield. Liverpool fans will be hoping for their team to remain focused to bring back the league title for the first time since 1990.

Tim Sherwood will be disappointed with his team, but has already admitted that they have ‘a problem against the top four’. The manager’s attitude is to face up to the fact that his team must improve against the best of the Premier League in order to compete for the Premier League. However, Sherwood does face problems with regards to his position and long term role at the club, so only time will tell whether he will be the man to lift the North London club.

It is a completely different outlook for Brendan Rodgers who looks set to remain at Liverpool after his, some would say, surprising success, at Anfield. He will be hoping that history can repeat itself, as 50 years ago, on the 30th March 1964, Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-1 at Anfield to go top of the league and The Reds went on to win the league.

 

Read more...

3 Matches – 2 Clean Sheets and 20 Goals!

By Daniel Laming posted 23rd March 2014 5:31PM in Football

On what marks a historic weekend in the history of the Premier League, we were lucky enough to see three of the most volatile and high-scoring matches including a 9-goal thriller and a 6-0 demolition of one of the Premier League’s top ranking teams.

So where to start Sports fans!? Well let’s kick off with Manchester City thumping 5 past Fulham albeit with them having to fight with just 10-men for the second half of the game, courtesy of Amorebieta who felled David Silva and had no choice but to accept his marching orders. Yaya Toure bagged a hatrick with two penalties and a 25-yard strike, and City propped this up with 2 more goals thanks to Fernandinho and Dimichelis. This leaves them in 3rd place behind Chelsea and Liverpool.

Perhaps our 2nd favourite match of the day was Liverpool pushing past Cardiff 6-3 in a 9-goal thriller than entertained from the start. Another hatrick, this time from bad-boy Luis Suarez and a brace from Skrtel were enough to knock Cardiff off balance, despite a brace from Mutch and the 2-1 deficit they found themselves in after the 25th minute. This moves Liverpool into 2nd place but they are two games ahead of City who are only 2-points adrift thanks to their easy victory.

The real story however, comes from the match at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea demolished Arsenal 6-0 in what can only be called a rout. In fact, with a little bit more precision, it could easily have ended up in double figures, and perhaps for Wenger, he must be glad that it didn’t! It took just 5 minutes for Eto’o to open the scoring and by 17 minutes, the Gunners found themselves 3-0 down. It seemed to be the worst of circumstances for a team that have been struggling to retain their lead in the League for some time and another 3 goals only served to compound their misery. While Chelsea move to the top of the table, Arsenal find themselves in 4th and in danger of making the Champions League yet again!

Read more...

Mercedes Rosberg wins Australian GP

By Daniel Laming posted 16th March 2014 2:44PM in Sports

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Australian Grand Prix in impressive fashion. The opening race of the season saw the introduction of the new turbo hybrid engines and lots of incidents which resulted in eight cars not finishing the race. Lewis Hamilton started the race in pole position, but experienced with one of his cylinders, which resulted him dropping down to fourth place by the first corner. Lewis was then down to fifth place by the start of the second lap, and eventually retired on lap three. Another high profile casualty was World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who also had engines problems with his Red Bull car and pulled out of the race in the fourth lap.

Vettel’s Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo finished the race in second place, but was then disqualified due to a fuel-flow infringement. This meant that McLaren Dane Kevin Magnussen was promoted to second place, as his team mate Jenson Button came third and Fernando Alonso finishing in fourth place for the Ferrari team.

Rosberg had a relatively easy race, especially with Lewis Hamilton not there to challenge for the lead. Mercedes look the team to beat this season, and the fear for many teams, including Red Bull, is that Mercedes have the potential to improve the car even more.

The race was filled with incidents as even after hitting the wall on the exit of Turn Ten and breaking his wheel, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas still finished a respectable 5th place at the end of the race.

F1 supporters would have been keen to see how all the teams are coping with the new engines, and there is no doubt that Mercedes are the ones to beat this year. Lewis Hamilton will be disappointed with his car, but he will no doubt be looking to win the Malaysian GP and start competing for his Drivers World Championship title in earnest.

 

Read more...

England take the Triple Crown

By Daniel Laming posted 9th March 2014 5:14PM in Rugby, Sports

England have won the Triple Crown with a 29-18 victory over Wales. It was a strong performance from the England team with tries from Danny Care and Luther Burrell, together with a perfect kicking game from Owen Farrell totalling 19 points. The winning margin could have been even bigger, but they lacked a bit of concentration which allowed Halfpenny to keep Wales within fighting distance. Wales did try their best to make it difficult for England, but that mainly came via their wingers Alex Cuthbert and George North.

In fact Welsh supporters would have been hoping for more from their team, as very early on the game was awarded a penalty from the first scrum in the second minute of the game. However, Wales could not take advantage of their early opportunity. They were to rue that missed chance, as two minutes later England had their first try of the game courtesy Clare. From then on England pushed on with Farrell’s kicking which covered up mistakes that let Wales stay in the game.

Anyways, the win means that England stay on course for the RBS 6 Nations title. Currently England lie in second place with a points difference of 32, a full 49 less than Ireland, which means they would need a miracle  and a massive score in Rome on Saturday. However, it is still way better than France and even if Les Bleus  are victorious in Paris, England and Lancaster will be on top of the world – assuming they can beat Italy.

 

Read more...

City take the Capital One Cup

By Daniel Laming posted 2nd March 2014 9:50PM in Football, Sports

Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-1 to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley, and in so doing gave Manuel Pellegrini his first taste of success as a City manager. The win will mean he can now turn his attention to  the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup. Manchester City have now won the League Cup a total of three times, and this latest trophy should be a strong indication of more to come.

Gus Poyet’s Sunderland started off brightly, full of hope and confidence. The manger would know it would have been a hard battle, with the odds stacked against them, but would have been playing to win and not just to contain Pellegrini’s attacking force. Sunderland were rewarded with a goal in the 10th minute of the game, and this but all but sent their supporters into a manic frenzy, with a sea of red and white being see in the arena. Poyet’s men could have scored more goals with Borini proving to be a handful for the City defence.

But all credit to Manchester City, Pellegrini rallied his troops during the half time break, and it only took them about 10 minutes after the start of the second half to equalise.  Yaya Toure thumped one from 25 yards out, quickly followed by Samir Nasri’s strike which more or less spelt the end for The Black Cats. The third goal came as time went by and Sunderland went looking for the equaliser. Yet, Toure charged forward to set up Navas for him to score and make sure of the trophy for Manchester club.

Poyet will be disappointed as he, like Sunderland fans, would have believed they would have been able to pull off the near impossible. One thing was for certain, they made themselves and their fans proud with the way their positive play and ‘never say die’ attitude. It was absolute joy to witness, and hopefully there will lots more like this to come!

 

Read more...

Russia ends the Winter Olympics on a high

By Daniel Laming posted 23rd February 2014 11:02PM in Sports

A breath taking ceremony marked the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics, with the host nation Russia taking the most medals. The awesome show was seen by a 40,000 strong audience, in addition to millions worldwide via the television networks. The closing ceremony celebrated all aspects of Russia, making references to the nation’s art, culture and heritage. Everyone was treated to floating houses and shapes based on Marc Chagall art, then Rachmaninoff’s ‘Piano Concert No 2′ was perfectly perfectly performed by the famous pianist Denis Matsuev, and this was followed by the most talented ballet dancers giving us one of the best renditions of a variety of popular and classic work.

The next part of the ceremony was all about literature, which focused on a wide range of leading authors from the likes of Pushkin and Dostoyevky to the dissident author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. All these geniuses made up a huge library, a fitting tribute to them and the ceremony.  The final part was all about looking forward to the next Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in South Korea. In this part, the world witnessed Sochi Anatoliy Pakhomov handing the Olympic flag to Pyeongchang Mayor Lee Sok-ra, which confirms to all the world that South Korea will the next honoured nation to do it all over again in 2018.

One has to admit the ceremony was one of the most memorable, and made even more so, when the fifth Olympic ring failed to roll out. The organisers handled it all in good humour and laughed it off, as the dancers dealt with the error as if it was of the routine. The fifth ring did finally open and it was then greeted with hearty applause and cheers.

Team GB did manage to win four medals, with gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold leading her team carrying the flag for her country.

 

 

 

Read more...

FA Cup Fallouts as Arsenal get Revenge and City break the Blues

By Daniel Laming posted 16th February 2014 3:43PM in Football

In a weekend that seemed to be more ‘Clash of the Titans’ than the FA Cup ‘norm’ – four big teams were pitted against each other including a ‘grudge match’ between two teams that racked up 6-goals last weekend – that was of course Arsenal vs Liverpool.

The first match on the cards was Manchester City vs Chelsea yesterday and it took 2 goals from Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri to put City through as the song ‘Blue Moon’ echoed round the Etihad stadium. Whilst Pellegrini still keeps his 4-title race alive, Mourinho looks to be further let down as his return to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea looks to be going down a very different path to his last attempt.

The second and perhaps highly-anticipated fixture of the weekend was Arsenal vs Liverpool. Having suffered a humiliating defeat to Liverpool just last week as the Gunners were subjected to a 5-1 rout, it was more nail-biting worries as Gerrard converted his penalty in the 59th minute but thankfully for Arsenal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski were on form and had already bagged 2 goals earlier in the game and they managed to hold on to this lead to see Liverpool knocked out the cup and their forfeit from the top position the previous week a little less humbling.

Whilst this result goes little way to defending how Arsenal performed last week, it will certainly leave Wenger smiling and the team getting a bit of a morale boost. But can they go on to regain their top spot in the Premier League? We look forward to watching them in action next week.

Read more...

Liverpool thrash Arsenal and Sochi gets underway

By Daniel Laming posted 9th February 2014 4:37PM in Football, Uncategorized

In a week that marked the start of the Winter Olympics – it was the Liverpool/Arsenal derby that stole the headlines today.

It took a brace by Martin Skrtel and Raheem Sterling to compound Arsenal to a defeat that would see them drop from the top spot into 2nd place. Daniel Sturridge added more misery with his goal and a consolation Arteta penalty did little to hide the fact that Arsenal were on the verge of an even bigger defeat.

The danger came when Arsenal found themselves 1-0 down in the first minute and 4-0 down by the 20th minute after Skrtel achieved his brace in just 10minutes. With the stats hiding the sheer disaster that Arsenal were facing, they were lucky not to concede a few more before half-time when Sturridge missed a rather easy finish and then Suarez was just a little too slow to reach a low cross that could have easily added 2 more to the tally. Perhaps the greatest salvation for Arsenal was Suarez hitting the angle moments later in what would surely have gone down as one of his greatest goals and Kolo missing the rebound.

The defeat leaves Wenger in a predicament as his team fights to claw back first place and not fall into their usual habit of dropping off in the latter end of a season.

Also this week, we had the start of the Winter Olympics, and with Putin lambasting public displays of homosexuality, it took little time to confuse us with the opening ceremony on Friday. Not only did we see Snowflakes and busty men chopping down trees make an appearance (like a cross between Swan Lake and the Village People), but Thomas Bach spoke openly to all who attended talking about how the games should not divide people but rather unite them – a clear message if there was one to Putin and his anti LGBT regime. We look forward to watching the games as they go on and watching Putin quietly sulk in the corner.

Read more...

Superbowl in Seattle – Seahawks claim first victory

By Daniel Laming posted 2nd February 2014 9:21AM in Uncategorized

For a team that has twice set the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd at both 136.6dBs and 137.6dBs, been the only American Football team to appear in both the AFC and NFC Championship games and sit as the only NFL team in the Pacific Northwest – it was only fitting that the Seattle Seahawks crushed the Broncos 43-8 to bring home their first Super Bowl title in what was a tremendous Super Bowl XLVIII.

From the 12 second mark the Seahawks were in the lead and it never really looked like they were going to have to fight for the win. The Broncos seemed slow and sloppy in most of their plays and it actually took until the final play of the 3rd quarter for the Denver Broncos to even get their name on the score sheet against the 12s and having not won a Super Bowl since their back to back seasons in 1997 and 1998, it looks like they will have to just keep on waiting till next year! Perhaps a year when they won’t be struggling from so many injuries or where they have to court controversy mid-season with one of their linebackers (cough Von Miller cough) getting a six-game suspension for drug violations.

Paul Allen, owner of the Seahawks and co-founder of Microsoft, was notably thrilled with the result tonight – his 4th attempt at winning this trophy. Having failed with the Seahawks in 2006 in Super Bowl XL and having led the Portland Trail Blazers to the final in both 1990 and 1992, this was his first taste of success and he seemed pretty content with it.

Whilst we have another year to wait for Super Bowl XLIX, we look forwards to the start of the next season in March and to seeing whether the Seahawks can retain their championship against a formidable set of opponents.

Read more...