Monthly Archives:April 2018

THE WRAP
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What’s on the menu at the Bulldogs? Leg of lamb, shoulder of beef, ear of Slater … Hannibal Lecter can’t stop Europe winning the Ryder Cup … Should Sydney host the AFL grand final and Melbourne the NRL grand final? … Del Piero, Heskey and Ono. Let the A-League games begin … Stewards don’t give Nikolic a holiday, he gets long service.

FALLING OVER THEMSELVES

Six times and you’re out of here. Flopping – falling to the floor to get a foul called against your opponent for contact – is to basketball what diving is to football, and the powers that be feel there is no place in the game for it. So this season the NBA will get tough – kind of. Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5000 for a second offence, $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for the fifth. Finally, for six or more, they can be suspended. But, just hours after the league announced the new penalties, the Players Association was up in arms and threatening legal action. Association executive director Billy Hunter said: ”We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport.” He has a point, especially when the average salary of an NBA player is a bit over $5 million.

FEARLESS PREDICTION

It’s still a few weeks before the AFL draw is released but surely the romantics at AFL headquarters have the round 23 game for the GWS Giants pencilled in. That match will be the 678th and final for Kevin Sheedy as a senior coach. Just 44 of those games have been with GWS, the other 634 were during his 26 years at Essendon. The best round 23 game would be Essendon versus the Giants, in Sydney.

NAME GAMES

When it comes to college football players, there is naturally a lot of them and quite often some have some very unusual names. What do some parents think when naming their children? It doesn’t take long when Google is your friend to find dozens of intriguing names of college players over the years. Here’s just a few: Jiggy Smaha, De’Cody Fagg, Major Ogilvie, Sonny Sixkiller, Mister Simpson – yes he can be referred to as Mr Mister Simpson – Craphonso Thorpe, I-Perfection Harris – his full name was Immaculate Perfection Harris but he shortened it – and Lucious Pusey.

WHAT A SUCKER

Those Americans will try anything when it comes to supporting their team, so much so they enlisted Hannibal Lecter at the Ryder Cup. England’s Justin Rose revealed in The Sun after Europe’s win that: ”The worst incident with the crowd was when someone was really trying to put me off. He was very close to me and he was doing a Hannibal Lecter – that sucking of the lips he did in the film – while I was over a bunker shot. Those are the things you hear out there and you have to deal with it. I backed off the bunker shot and said, ‘Are we good? Are we OK here?’ My singles opponent, Phil Mickelson, told the guy to back off and asked the security people to do something about him.”

IF YOU’RE NOT WATCHING SPORT YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO …

One Night Stand! Live At The Harlem Square Club. Sam Cooke. Smooth as a Roger Federer backhand, a Ray Allen three-point swish, a Mark Waugh cover drive, a Drew Brees rainbow, Ernie Els’ swing, Kelly Slater easing in to a barrel at Pipeline.

@EarsMcEvoy

BOOKIES’ BEST

”I expect the Taipans (NBL), Fire (WNBL) and Mariners (A-League) to start their respective 2012-13 season campaigns in winning fashion. For those looking for some action at the track – Randwick not Mount Panorama – I will also be having a small wager on Rangirangdoo to run a place in the Epsom at $2.90 on Saturday.”

sportsbet南京夜网.au’s Ben Hawes

USELESS TRIVIA

The Sydney Swans won their fifth VFL/AFL premiership last Saturday, and remarkably – well, kind of – all five of the Swans’ grand final wins have been won on different dates – and not just the years. Their first came in 1909 on October 2, the next in 1918 on September 7, then in 1933, on September 30. Seventy-two years passed before they won the premiership again, on September 24, then last Saturday they did it again, on September 29. Good news for the Swans is that next year the grand final is likely to be played on September 28.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

DAWN is breaking on a beautiful day in Sydney and Gai Waterhouse is in her element. Randwick racecourse is her office and two days before the biggest Sydney meeting of the spring she is leading her staff in putting a big team of horses through their paces.
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”Go on James, jump on, have you got one to gallop?” the sport’s most identifiable personality calls to one of her track riders. ”Yes or no? Have you got one to gallop? (No). All right, jump on one and you can have a canter. See what you think. Pick and choose. You’ve got the favourite for the Spring Champion Stakes or one of the favourites for the Epsom.”

Waterhouse constantly issues directions as horses are paraded in front of her before and after their trackwork gallops.

”Get going, get going, give them a canter on the sand. Thanks Steve.”

”Has Fat Al been worked? (Yes). OK, send him in. He’s full of himself, that big boy, isn’t he? They should have gelded him.”

The last comment isn’t directed at Fat Al, her best chance in the Epsom Handicap. He’s already been through that procedure.

And so it goes on.

The queen of the sport of kings is right on her game. She is supremely confident in her methods, and why wouldn’t she be? The master trainer has the most exciting horse in the country, Pierro, and one of the best-loved, More Joyous, and even without either of them running today she still has a stack of chances in the feature events.

You can’t miss Waterhouse at the races. Impeccably dressed, vivacious, moving quickly, taking charge of the post-race interview after training another winner. But this is the part of her job you don’t see, unless you want to get out of bed at 2.30am like she does and watch her in person. It’s a lesson in co-ordination.

All of the other trainers stationed in and around the circular, tower-like structure that is the hub at trackwork are male, but while Waterhouse has been lauded for achieving enormous success in what is regarded as a man’s world, she doesn’t view training horses as a battle of the sexes.

”I am a woman, and a wife and a mother, but I don’t see myself as a woman when I go on the training track,” she says. ”I just go in to bat. I like working with men and I enjoy the camaraderie. I enjoy the repartee you have and the non-bitchiness. I enjoy the atmosphere of racing.”

A lot of that atmosphere of racing, Waterhouse creates naturally. She has a big personality. Seemingly effortlessly, she promotes the sport, but all the while working her backside off. ”I love the horses,” she says. ”I wouldn’t get up at 2.30 in the morning if I didn’t. I love it. I love being around them, I love boxing them and I love working them. I love the stimulation of getting the team to come together, I love to get the horse that has the shabby coat and turn it into a lovely, gleaming, silk-like coat, what I call a pig’s ear into a silk purse. I love to turn the horse everyone says is no good into a really good horse.

”I love to find a horse like Pierro that comes into your life, and More Joyous. I love that sort of horse. I love the horse that wins the piddly little maiden, too. I get a real kick out of that because that can take as much time and effort – sometimes more time and effort – than the other horse. They haven’t got as much ability, so you’ve got to work harder on them.”

In the movie Secretariat, about the Triple Crown-winning American horse of the 1970s, the character of Secretariat’s owner, Penny Tweedy, looks deep into the horse’s eyes as she whispers to him, and somehow gleans from that whether he is ready to race at his best.

Asked if she fancies herself as being so perceptive, Waterhouse comes back: ”I look into [husband] Robbie’s eyes.”

Then, she adds: ”I’m very much watching the horse all the time, the difference is they tell me by the way they move. I listen to what the jockeys say, I watch what I see on the track, and I try to keep getting their muscle tone there. It’s all about muscling them up and trying to get them to be fit.”

Back at her stables after trackwork, Waterhouse has the horses trotted by her and her senior staff one by one, to check for any problems that wouldn’t have been obvious until the animals had cooled down. The stable staff are on their toes. She’s regarded as a good boss, but definitely the boss.

”Very hard, but very fair,” is how Waterhouse’s stable jockey, Nash Rawiller, describes her. ”We’ve got a good relationship. I know what she expects of me, and as long as you’re getting the job done and turning up on time, she’s pretty good. She’s quick to let you know when you’re slipping back a peg, though.”

It’s 9am now. Waterhouse has been up for 6½ hours and is about to head back to her northside home for a break before resuming stable-related duties in the afternoon. Training horses is a tough job and she has been doing it for a long time.

Recently, Waterhouse was photographed for the front page of BRW magazine and the close-up picture that was used revealed every line on her face. The less poised would have dodged that shot, but there she was, staring straight back at the camera.

”I’m very comfortable in my own skin,” Waterhouse says. ”And I think it’s a great shame, all the facial work they get done in Australia and America. I think they turn themselves into grotesque beasts. I think nothing’s more lovely than being yourself, and, you know, of course we’re all going to get older and we’re all going to get wrinkles. Why have a face that’s out the back of your head?”

No one, including the woman herself, seems to know where Waterhouse gets her incredible energy from, although her daughter, Kate, says her mother does have one trick up her sleeve.

”She goes to bed at 9.30 every night and she’s up at 2.30, but she’s the master of the power nap,” Kate says. ”She’s always working, but if she ever gets a moment she can fall asleep, and five minutes to her is another person’s hour.”

The Gai Waterhouse the public sees, always on the go, is no different to the one in private, according to her daughter.

”She’s always doing a million things,” Kate says.

”She’ll be doing an interview while she’s got the Spray n’ Wipe out, wiping down tables and tidying the offices. She’s a multi-tasker and she’s very particular. Everything’s perfectly neat. She’s a Virgo, so she’s quite fastidious.

”But she can have a laugh and a joke about herself. She’s a got a really good sense of humour. She’s always been busy, but she has always found time for [brother] Tom and I. She’s an amazing mum, very loving. She’s an amazing person, really. I’m so proud of her.”

It would be a shock if Waterhouse didn’t win a big race today. These are traditionally the days when she excels. One thing that won’t be lacking, when she sends the horses out to run, is optimism.

”It would be lovely to trifecta the Epsom, quinella the Metropolitan, quinella the Gimcrack, quinella the Breeders Plate and win the Spring Champion Stakes,” she says.

”I’ve got the runners, we’ve got the quality. I don’t know if they’ll do it, but we’ll certainly try.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Fifty years on, the legend continues

April 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

Historic fightback … Larry Perkins, right, with Russell Ingall celebrate their come-from-behind win at Bathurst in 1995.IN close to half a century of touring car endurance races at Mount Panorama, Larry Perkins, Russell Ingall, Steven Richards and Mark Winterbottom have figured among the hundreds of memorable moments that have made the Bathurst 1000 a celebrated Australian sporting event.
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They represent three generations of drivers who have contributed to the legend of The Great Race at The Mountain, as the event and the swooping hillside circuit have become known, since the annual 1000 km endurance classic etched itself into the national psyche in the mid-to-late 1970s.

Peter Brock and Allan Moffat, Brock and Dick Johnson and latterly living Bathurst legends Greg Murphy, Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes are the heroes who have starred in the many and varied dramas, tragedies and triumphs that have made the 1000 such compelling viewing every year.

Less famous to the huge once-a-year audience that embraces Bathurst are daring drivers such as Perkins, Ingall, Richards and Winterbottom, whose racing fame has been forged – or in Winterbottom’s case, is still being formed – on the 6.2 km ribbon of road that winds treacherously up, over and down Mount Panorama.

Perkins, 62, is a V8 Supercars legend and, from 1977 until his retirement from race driving in 2003, a perennial podium placegetter whose consistency was capped by six Bathurst 1000 victories – three with Brock and three in cars entered by his own V8 team.

Ingall, 48, shared two of Perkins’s self-made wins in the mid-1990s and even though the most venerable veteran among the full-time V8 drivers, his determination to reconquer The Mountain remains undimmed.

Richards, 40, won back-to-back Bathurst 1000s within a few years of his debut, but now in his second season of retirement from regular V8 competition and, as a twice-a-year endure co-driver, he is banking on his experience to end 13 years without another win.

He is sharing one of the front-running Ford Performance Racing Falcons with ”Frosty” Winterbottom, one of the most promising current-generation V8 racers and a favourite for tomorrow’s 161-lap marathon.

Having your name on the towering trophy – named in honour of the late Peter Brock, nine times winner and King Of The Mountain – at least once is the difference between Australian touring car racing immortality and mere fame among racing aficionados.

Perkins, Ingall, Richards and Winterbottom were brought together in the lead-up to the 50th year Bathurst 1000 celebrations by oil company Castrol, whose backing of their cars is a common thread of their cross-generational careers.

Castrol, also marking its involvement since the first Bathurst 500 in 1963, facilitated a Mountain masterclass for ”Frosty”, who listened in awe and with envy as the others related their Bathurst winners’ anecdotes to a rapt audience of corporate guests.

Perkins, whose pioneering role in V8 Supercars is about to end with the sale of his pair of racing franchises, was particularly popular, recounting his most famous win with Ingall in 1995.

They recovered from a puncture going into the first corner of the opening lap, charging through the field and on to victory after the greatest fightback in Bathurst 1000 history.

“When you have the luxury of being able to pick one out of six, that in itself is not too bad, I’ll tell you,” Perkins said. “But coming back from last place, that has just got to be hard to beat.”

Ingall, who in recent races has become a top-five performer for the first time in years in his Walkinshaw Racing Holden Commodore, has fond memories of his two Bathurst titles with former boss Perkins, but he doesn’t discount being a contender for a third win.

“It was always the game plan to have a good stab at Bathurst,” he said. “We’ve worked on the car purely aiming towards this race. So I honestly believe that if we play it smart … we’re in with a good shot.”

It is not lost on Ingall, who is winless since his V8 championship-winning season in ’05, that he has lately upstaged his stablemate Holden Racing Team, the once all-conquering factory-backed squad pinning their hopes on defending Bathurst champions Garth Tander/Nick Percat performing another Mountain miracle.

“I don’t think that was planned,” he laughed. “HRT is a great team, make no mistake. It’s just that for various reasons, they’ve lost their way a bit, but behind the scenes they are very strong. I think they’ll be back on top; unfortunately, that’s not going to be for this year. But I think they’ll bounce again.”

Richards, who was on course for his third Bathurst crown in ’07 until Winterbottom threw away a dominant lead when he speared off the shower-slicked track late in the race, believes FPR is ready to get the Mount Panorama monkey of its back.

Hopes and dreams will be made and dashed at Mount Panorama tomorrow. Contenders and pretenders alike will be mindful that the Magic Mountain of the few is the Heartbreak Hill of the many.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

IT’S been a bad week for rugby league’s rituals, with and without clothing.
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It started with the Bulldogs and continued across the other side of the planet, when former Manly and Newcastle prop Josh Perry took off his He-Man suit and ran down a busy St Helens street naked, as part of the traditional punishment for players who fail to score a try during a season.

The only problem was a policeman was driving past, and handed him a penalty notice and fine for, and this is according to the official police statement, behaviour ”causing alarm or distress”.

It came during the side’s Mad Monday celebrations, that strange ritual whose origins are as sketchy as the memories after them.

What is certain is that every year, someone, somewhere, wearing anything from a Smurfs outfit to the latest range of lingerie, causes a stir. Which leads to that other time-honoured tradition: the calls for the ritual to be banned.

This is not another one of those calls. Yet. Mad Mondays still have their place, for now. Preferably away from Belmore Sports Ground, and definitely away from open windows.

If the players want some light-hearted fun after a long season, they should be able to have it. But if the players do not want unwanted attention, whether it be from a television camera or a patrol car, it is generally considered wise not to attract it.

Dressing up, or in Perry’s case down, for the tradition is of course meant to be light-hearted fun. And it can be. While Mad Monday is an Australian sporting tradition, donning fancy dress is not. In US sports, professional teams tend not to mix dress-up rituals with drink. And lives are saved as a result.

Well, potentially.

In 2004, rookie Cleveland Indians pitcher Kyle Denney was dressed as a cheerleader as part of a hazing ritual when a bullet was fired at the team bus in Kansas City, striking him in the calf. The knee-high white leather boots were thought to have protected him from more serious damage.

Rookies are the regular targets of hazing in US sports. In 2009, San Diego Chargers linebacker Larry English had to foot the bill for a meal out with teammates, as was tradition. The bill came to $US14,508.67. Many rookies are forced to carry the pads of veterans, while Houston Texans rookie Trindon Holliday was given a pink tricycle to work out with.

The great San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana had his own traditional form of torture – while the rookies practised, he lifted their bikes into nearby trees, leaving the players to get them down themselves after an exhausting session. Baseball rookies have dressed in get-ups from Borat mankinis to prison jumpsuits.

While there have been calls there for the traditional hazing of rookies to be banned, in most the vast majority of cases, the harmless fun is exactly that – harmless.

As it is here, until, as we saw last Monday, it was the Bulldogs’ turn to act up when dressed up. At a ”private function” for the players, a female reporter was verbally abused.

The Bulldogs did not invite the cameras. But if the players were so violently against the media intruding on Mad Monday, there was an easy solution to at least dilute the interest – don’t get dressed up. That tradition, while of course the subject of good banter between teammates, is also surely designed to be attention-grabbing as well. And don’t tweet images of your get-ups to all your followers on social media, as at least one Bulldogs player did.

The contrast between the Sydney Swans, who wore similar outfits but vastly differing attitudes (admittedly coming after a vastly differing result over the week) and the Bulldogs was significant. A few grabs for the cameras and they were left alone.

Whoever uttered the offending comments at Belmore didn’t just let their hair down, they let their team and their club down, as well as footballers elsewhere who prefer their private functions don’t become public scandals. The Mad Monday tradition, like rookie hazing elsewhere, isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

But by now, surely our football stars know that, if they are not careful on the day they decide to dress up as villains, they run the risk of simply being able to put their footy gear back on to look the part.

Twitter- @Glenn–Jackson

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

IS TWENTY20 on the slide worldwide? Has it got too big for its boots? No one in Australia is really worried about who wins the World Twenty20 tomorrow. The footy and Bathurst have easily won that battle. My family and friends are still talking about the close finish of the Ryder Cup and yet not a word about Australia’s performance in Sri Lanka.
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It made me think: Has the Twenty20 revolution burst its bubble? Watching the World Twenty20 I noticed the stands were empty in Sri Lanka at first, but they seemed to grow as we got deeper into the tournament.

The interest wasn’t there in the Sri Lankan Premier League a month before and it seems to have carried on into this World Cup.

So why is this World Cup not getting the public attention it deserves? Was it the constant rain? The ridiculous scheduling of poor matches? Or was it the rubbish Duckworth-Lewis system ruining the games? Is there just too much Twenty20 played?

Who knows? But one thing is certain: Twenty20 is on the slide.

Since the first Indian Premier League, every country has been trying to organise its own domestic Twenty20 tournament. Now we have 15 such tournaments played throughout the world each year.

Throw in the other formats of 50-over one-dayers and Tests, and the marketplace – or the fans, as I call them – are confused and getting very choosy about what they want to watch, and follow.

The initial interest from the fans for the Sri Lankan and Bangladesh leagues was poor and worsened as their tournaments progressed. And this response has put the brakes on for the upcoming Pakistan Premier League, Arabian Cricket League and a proposed USA T20 League – which were scheduled for the next seven months.

Television companies and other media outlets are very careful where they spend their money. They are only on the lookout for tournaments that have sustainable growth and impact – for their viewers, readers and advertisers. The same applies to companies who want to buy major naming rights.

The biggest juggernaut of all Twenty20 competitions is the Indian Premier League. The IPL started with a bang, but now we are noticing change within the fans. They are not watching or caring about the IPL.

From my point of view, this year’s IPL was the best yet, but the average television viewer ratings for the first 16 games was down 9 per cent from the same point last season.

Television ratings for the IPL have continued to fall in comparison to 2011, but media outlets are saying the IPL is still a ”very successful media property”.

The second biggest Twenty20 tournament is the Champions League, which starts next week in South Africa. Domestic teams from around the world, who have qualified through their own domestic competitions, play off for a first prize of $US2.5 million.

Australian, Indian and South African cricket boards own the rights to the Champions League. ESPN Star Sports paid $US900 million for the global broadcasting rights for CLT20 for 10 years – in comparison to Sony Entertainment Television’s purchase of the IPL rights for $US1.1 billion.

Rumours are spreading fast that ESPN wants out of the CLT20 contract. Major sponsors are leaving the IPL and CLT20, and cricket authorities are very concerned.

My sources tell me CLT20 will only work if it is played in India and not South Africa. Everyone now is expecting empty seats in South Africa, and the reason for this is simple: there is just too much cricket being played.

With all the Test and one-day internationals alongside the plethora of Twenty20 tournaments, the fans are voting with their feet and ultimately with their money. Simply, cricket needs Twenty20, but it needs to find the right balance.

I was coaching some kids recently and I asked this question: Which would you prefer to play in, one Test match; five ODIs; or 10 Twenty20 matches for your country?

They all said they would prefer to play Test cricket. Maybe the kids have seen through the skin of this Twenty20 phenomenon. Or maybe the kids just want to play some quality cricket. There is hope.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Legends give help in war-torn areas

April 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

SRI Lankan flags streamed from the back of motorbikes as they sped along the Galle Road in the middle of the night. Fireworks popped over Premadasa Stadium. Sri Lanka, just three years removed from a long and brutal civil war, had beaten Pakistan to make the final of the World Twenty20, and the host nation was on the verge of its first triumph at a major event since its World Cup win in 1996.
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In Colombo, there are few visible reminders of a conflict that was confined largely to guerilla warfare in the north. The Central Bank, site of the 1996 bombing by Tamil separatists, is permanently barricaded but the nearby Dutch Hospital building, damaged in that blast, has been converted to a smart shopping and eating courtyard, where a restaurant owned by Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara serves pepper crabs the size of footballs. Most afternoons, families fly kites, hundreds of them, on the Galle Face Green until the sky turns a vivid pink and the sun sinks into the Indian Ocean.

Even as the World Twenty20 enters its festive final phase, a massive effort is under way against a much less idyllic backdrop to rebuild the war-ravaged north, and cricketers such as Jayawardene and Sangakkara, along with friend and former teammate Muthiah Muralidaran, are at the heart of it.

Weeks before the world’s cricketing elite descended on Sri Lanka, the Foundation of Goodness charity founded by Muralidaran’s former manager Kushil Gunasekere staged a cricket tournament in the northern districts of Mullaitivu, Mankulam, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Jaffna.

With International Cricket Council support and the manpower of the Sri Lankan army, they converted neglected school grounds and gathering places for cattle into cricket venues for the Murali Cup.

”First, we had to find shoes, because they didn’t have proper shoes, proper gear,” said Muralidaran, the only Tamil in the Sri Lankan team during his remarkable career. He is on a mission to find cricketers in these isolated, devastated areas and help them make it all the way to the Sri Lankan team.

”From the last 30 years they can’t play cricket because the war was being fought, but the roads are coming and slowly, slowly, the reconstruction is happening. To have the facilities that Colombo has, it will be another five to 10 years, once there are adequate schools starting and life is going on … we need help from other countries.”

The military recently announced the last of the refugee camps housing 300,000 displaced people had been closed, but most resettled families still live in desperate poverty.

Sangakkara, one of the world’s finest batsmen, broached Sri Lanka’s past in last year’s memorable MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord’s, and recalled how his Sinhalese father had sheltered Tamils in their home during ”the terrible race riots of 1983 and a bloody communist insurgency among the youth [that] was to darken my memories of my childhood and the lives of all Sri Lankans”.

The debonair batsman also said he and his Sri Lankan teammates felt a responsibility to help with the reconciliation and recovery effort in the post-war years, and since then he has fronted a campaign to provide up to 5000 children in remote parts of the north with bicycles to get to school.

Muralidaran, a globetrotting Twenty20 cricketer who will represent Melbourne Renegades in Australia’s Big Bash League this summer, also spends his retirement raising funds from private donors all over the world for a sports complex for people displaced by the war in Mankulam, 300 kilometres north of Colombo. In the Murali Cup, a team from Jaffna was pipped in the final by a schoolboys’ side from Colombo. ”Cricket is the main sport in Sri Lanka, everybody loves, and we want to play all over the country,” he said.

Sri Lanka scraped into tomorrow’s final, in which the home team will play the winner of last night’s semi-final between Australia and the West Indies, largely because of an inventive 42 from 36 balls from captain Jayawardene, and despite a shambolic performance from spearhead Lasith Malinga. Jayawardene said afterwards he was ”blessed” to have led his country into four ICC finals across the two short formats, even though he is yet to win one.

A win would doubtless be an uplifting and unifying moment for Sri Lanka but, whatever happens, Muralidaran said the people struggling to rebuild their lives in the neglected north must not be forgotten. ”World Twenty20 will come and go,” he said, ”but people’s life has to go on.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

ALL THE leading contenders made it into this afternoon’s top 10 shoot-out to decide the first five rows of the starting grid for the Bathurst 1000, but no one is ready – or willing – to claim favouritism just yet.
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With the weather for the race-off for pole position uncertain, the pacesetters in qualifying yesterday, led by reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup, appeared more concerned about the prospect of changing track conditions today than which combinations were looking like the ones to beat in tomorrow’s race.

After the 40-minute all-in qualifying session, which froze all positions on the 29-car starting grid from 11 back, the media conference equivalent of chirping crickets was the initial response to a query about whether any clear favourites had emerged after two days of track time.

None of the top three fastest pairings volunteered an opinion, looking at each other to see who would lead off.

Finally, third-quickest qualifier Mark Winterbottom broke the silence with a tongue-in-cheek endorsement of his title arch-rival Whincup.

”He’d be sure to win it, Jamie,” he grinned, getting a laugh from the audience and participants alike.

Following a further pregnant pause, Whincup reluctantly offered a serious, if politically correct, answer that avoided ranking himself as a favourite.

”Oh, I’ll go,” he said. ”I think you just have to go on the past results and, at the end of the day, Lowndesy and Luff have been very, very strong and, as I’ve said during the week, Garth Tander’s won two of [the past] three, so those guys still have to be the favourites in my eyes.”

His polite picks went with the pre-race consensus that recent Sandown 500 winners Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff are the ones to beat at Bathurst in their Triple Eight Commodore, closely followed on form by Whincup and Paul Dumbrell in the sister car.

Nominating Tander and his co-driver Nick Percat, who won last year by the narrowest margin from Lowndes and now retired V8 legend Mark Skaife, was actually a little brave, given the struggles of the Holden Racing Team this season and the fact that Tander had to recover from a panel-bending early crash to scramble into eighth spot for the shoot-out.

The warm weather and celebrations to mark the 50th year of touring car endurance races at the Mount Panorama circuit overlooking Bathurst drew an unusually large Friday crowd, which watched most of the usual suspects battle to the final minutes to secure places in the top 10.

The top-five qualifiers – Whincup, Holden outsider Fabian Coulthard, Winterbottom and his Ford teammate Will Davison, and Lowndes – set lap times covered by the razor-thin margin of just 25 hundredths of a second.

Lap times were the slowest so far because of the hot weather, with the track temperature reaching 40 degrees, making the surface more slippery than during practice on Thursday.

Coulthard, whose biggest previous moment at Mount Panorama was when he barrel-rolled his Commodore at more than 270km/h on the opening lap in 2010, raised eyebrows by snatching second spot, surprising everyone except himself with his front-running pace in his Brad Jones Racing Holden.

”On past performance, BJR’s been pretty good here,” the cool New Zealander said.

”Their cars have generally been very good, so I came here with an expectation. My expectation is to be running inside the top 10.

”If we can get closer than that, look, I’ll take a win. I’m pretty happy.”

Light showers are forecast in the lead-up to the top-10 shoot-out late this afternoon, raising the possibility of slippery and changing track conditions during the one-lap-at-a-time contest used to decide pole position and the order of the next nine spots on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

QUALIFYING

1. Jamie Whincup (Holden) 2:07.7145

2. Fabian Coulthard (Holden) 2:07.7931

3. Mark Winterbottom (Ford) 2:07.9231

4. Will Davison (Ford) 2:07.9296

5. Craig Lowndes (Holden) 2:07.9663

6. Shane Van Gisbergen (Ford) 2:08.0799

7. Tim Slade (Ford) 2:08.0912

8. Garth Tander (Holden) 2:08.1045

9. Steve Owen (Holden) 2:08.1386

10. David Reynolds (Ford) 2:08.2312

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

DAWN is breaking on a beautiful day in Sydney, and Gai Waterhouse is in her element. Randwick racecourse is her office, and two days before the biggest Sydney meeting of the spring she is leading her staff in putting a big team of horses through their paces.
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”Go on James, jump on, have you got one to gallop?” the sport’s most identifiable personality calls to one of her track riders. ”Yes or no? Have you got one to gallop? [No]. All right, jump on one and you can have a canter. See what you think. Pick and choose. You’ve got the favourite for the Spring Champion Stakes or one of the favourites for the Epsom.”

Waterhouse constantly issues directions as horses are paraded in front of her before and after their trackwork gallops.

”Get going, get going, give them a canter on the sand. Thanks Steve.

”Has Fat Al been worked? [Yes]. OK, send him in.

”He’s full of himself, that big boy, isn’t he. They should have gelded him.”

The last comment isn’t directed at Fat Al, her best chance in the Epsom Handicap. He’s already been through that procedure.

And so it goes on.

The queen of the sport of kings is right on her game. She is supremely confident in her methods, and why wouldn’t she be? The master trainer has both the most exciting horse in the country, Pierro, and one of the best-loved, More Joyous, and even without either of them running today, she still has a stack of chances in the feature events.

You can’t miss Waterhouse at the races. Impeccably dressed, vivacious, moving quickly, taking charge of the post-race interview after training another winner. But this is the part of her job you don’t see, unless you want to get out of bed at 2.30am like she does and watch her in person. It’s a lesson in co-ordination.

All of the other trainers stationed in and around the circular, tower-like structure that is the hub at trackwork are male.

But while Waterhouse has been lauded for achieving enormous success in what is regarded as a man’s world, she doesn’t view training horses as a battle of the sexes.

”I am a woman, and a wife and a mother, but I don’t see myself as a woman when I go on the training track,” she says. ”I just go in to bat. I like working with men, and I enjoy the camaraderie. I enjoy the repartee you have, and the non-bitchiness. I enjoy the atmosphere of racing.”

A lot of that atmosphere, Waterhouse creates naturally. She has a big personality. Seemingly effortlessly, she promotes the sport, but all while working her backside off.

”I love the horses,” she says. ”I wouldn’t get up at 2.30 in the morning if I didn’t. I love it. I love being around them, I love boxing them and I love working them. I love the stimulation of getting the team to come together, I love to get the horse that has the shabby coat and turn it into a lovely, gleaming, silk-like coat, what I call a pig’s ear into a silk purse. I love to turn the horse everyone says is no good into a really good horse.

”I love to find a horse like Pierro that comes into your life, and More Joyous. I love that sort of horse.

”I love the horse that wins the piddly little maiden, too. I get a real kick out of that because that can take as much time and effort – sometimes more time and effort – than the other horse. They haven’t got as much ability, so you’ve got to work harder on them.”

In the movie Secretariat, about the Triple Crown-winning American horse of the 1970s, the character of Secretariat’s owner, Penny Tweedy, looks deep into the horse’s eyes as she whispers to him, and somehow gleans from that whether he is ready to race at his best.

Asked if she fancies herself as being so perceptive, Waterhouse comes back: ”I look into [husband] Robbie’s eyes.”

Then, she adds: ”I’m very much watching the horse all the time, the difference is they tell me by the way they move. I listen to what the jockeys say … and I try to keep getting their muscle tone there. It’s all about muscling them up and trying to get them to be fit.”

Back at her stables after trackwork, Waterhouse has the horses trotted by her and her senior staff one by one, to check for any problems that wouldn’t have been obvious until the animals had cooled down. The stable staff are on their toes. She’s regarded as a good boss, but definitely the boss.

”Very hard, but very fair,” is how Waterhouse’s stable jockey, Nash Rawiller, describes her. ”We’ve got a good relationship. I know what she expects of me, and as long as you’re getting the job done and turning up on time, she’s pretty good. She’s quick to let you know when you’re slipping back a peg, though.”

It’s 9am now. Waterhouse has already been up for 6½ hours, and is about to head back to her northside home for a break before resuming stable-related duties in the afternoon.

Training horses is a tough job, and she has been doing it for a long time.

Recently, Waterhouse was photographed for the front page of BRW magazine, and the close-up picture that was used revealed every line on her face. The less poised would have dodged that shot, but there she was, staring straight back at the camera.

”I’m very comfortable in my own skin,” Waterhouse says. ”And I think it’s a great shame, all the facial work they get done in Australia and America. I think they turn themselves into grotesque beasts. I think nothing’s more lovely than being yourself, and, you know, of course we’re all going to get older and we’re all going to get wrinkles. Why have a face that’s out the back of your head?”

No one, including the woman herself, seems to know where she gets her incredible energy from, although her daughter, Kate, says her mother does have one trick up her sleeve.

”She goes to bed at 9.30 every night and she’s up at 2.30, but she’s the master of the power nap,” Kate says. ”She’s always working, but if she ever gets a moment she can fall asleep, and five minutes to her is another person’s hour.”

The Waterhouse the public sees, always on the go, is no different to the one in private, according to her daughter.

”She’s always doing a million things,” Kate says. ”She’ll be doing an interview while she’s got the Spray ‘n’ Wipe out, wiping down tables and tidying the offices. She’s a multi-tasker, and she’s very particular. Everything’s perfectly neat. She’s a Virgo, so she’s quite fastidious.

”But she can have a laugh and a joke about herself. She’s got a really good sense of humour.

”She’s always been busy, but she has always found time for [brother] Tom and I. She’s an amazing mum, very loving. She’s an amazing person, really. I’m so proud of her.”

It would be a shock if Waterhouse didn’t win a big race today. These are traditionally the days when she excels.

One thing that won’t be lacking, when she sends the horses out to run, is optimism.

”It would be lovely to trifecta the Epsom, quinella the Metropolitan, quinella the Gimcrack, quinella the Breeders Plate and win the Spring Champion Stakes,” she says.

”I’ve got the runners, we’ve got the quality. I don’t know if they’ll do it, but we’ll certainly try.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Power wins players’ medal

April 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

DESPITE having three premierships to his name, Luke Power doesn’t rate himself the league’s best retiring player this season.
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But yesterday he won the AFL Players Association’s Madden Medal ahead of Geelong’s Matthew Scarlett and David Wojcinski, Melbourne’s Brad Green and Hawthorn’s Chance Bateman and Cameron Bruce.

What made him stand out was a decision he made 12 months ago after he had just announced his retirement from the Brisbane Lions, a club he said he would always love.

A surprise offer of a job as a playing coach for the league’s new kids on the block, Greater Western Sydney, as well as a co-captaincy, was an opportunity too good to pass up.

”At the end of the day my decision to go to GWS was purely and simply the best thing for my family and career going forward. As a result, I got to have a year where I played and coached and learnt a whole different side of the industry and now I have more skills to go out into life out of football. It’s been terrific. I’ve enjoyed everything. I’ve upskilled, I’ve got much more knowledge on the game and what goes into it.

”It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. I don’t necessarily think I’m the best player [retiring this year]. Obviously [the medal] takes into consideration a lot other things and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done a fair bit and have had the resources to do a fair bit over my career.”

Power said he had learnt a lot this year from GWS senior assistant Mark Williams and he praised his replacement Leon Cameron as being perfectly suited to the developing club.

But despite the joy the Giants gave him, he said the Lions would forever hold the special football place in his heart.

Power is on the board of the AFLPA, but dismissed himself from this year’s Madden Medal voting. He also was ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which assists seriously ill children.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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MCC women’s first first XI

April 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

MELBOURNE Cricket Club does not eschew tradition on a whim. That made it increasingly significant that when this week it presented debutant cricket caps in its salubrious Long Room for the first time – usually it is done in dressing rooms – the beneficiaries were a clique who had never been able to represent the MCC: female cricketers.
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Today will, weather permitting, mark the end the oddity of the MCC boasting men’s and women’s teams in niche sports such as lacrosse and croquet, but no women in the sport the club was formed in 1838 to play.

”All along, a number of us have been concerned we didn’t have women’s cricket. We’ve had women’s sport in other sections … it was totally incongruous,” said David Crow, an MCC committee member and chairman of its cricket division.

”It was never a conscious decision not to have it – I’ve got no idea why, it was just overlooked. It took a Cricket Australia strategy cascading down the levels to get the discussion going. As soon as Cricket Australia took it seriously, Cricket Victoria made it clear the expectations it had of cricket clubs … to move towards having women’s teams.”

The MCC’s two female committee members, Jane Nathan and Karen Wood, have strongly supported the introduction of a women’s cricket section, although support has not solely run along gender lines. Crow’s cricket predecessor at MCC, Bob Lloyd, was responsible for formally putting the policy on the agenda, to the point it was approved about 18 months ago. Since then, former Cricket Victoria executive Marcella Torre was charged with creating a two-team section from nothing.

The entrance of the MCC into the Victorian Women’s Cricket Association has not been without some angst, with existing clubs concerned their ranks would be pillaged by the upstart team. But the MCC has seemingly embarked on a youth strategy rather than a cherry-picking one, and will start the season without any VicSpirit squad members.

VWCA president Rachel Derham reckoned the introduction of the MCC into its firsts and seconds competition was a boost for the sport in Victoria.

”The MCC have thought ‘Hang on, there’s a gap here and we need to address it’, and they have … hopefully having a club like the MCC involved will lead to a bit more promotion of women’s cricket,” she said.

With overall participant numbers still an issue for elite women’s cricket, Derham said the introduction of a sixth first-grade club, the first new entrant in a decade, would be ”a great positive for the competition”, not least because it reduced the need for a bye every weekend.

As well as symbolic gestures such as the mid-week launch and cap presentation in the MCG’s Long Room, the MCC is also insisting on practical gestures that reflect its commitment to its newest players. The women will, subject to availability, play home matches at the prestigious Albert Ground. Furthermore, in their final training session they were given parity with the men’s Premier Cricket team – a policy Crow said would continue as part of the committee’s insistence they are ”not to be marginalised”. ”The women had two nets, the men had two nets. That’s very foreign for the men because they normally have the four, so there were guys standing around not doing what they normally do. It’s frustrating for a captain-coach to see men not practising, but Andrew [Kent, Melbourne men’s captain-coach] had to grin and bear that because it was the right thing,” Crow said.

”I was delighted to see that to be honest. It was a fantastic development … I felt it was a wonderful sign that ‘women’s cricket is here’.”

The MCC firsts will start their season – and club stint – against reigning premier Essendon-Maribyrnong Park at Aberfeldie Park. The MCC hierarchy is not expecting instant success – far from it – but insisted its enthusiasm would not wane in the event of adverse results.

”There’s no pressure on winning games this year, the pressure is to continually improve. We could get some pretty bad thrashings this year against some very strong opponents [but] that isn’t the focus. If next time we do better that’s what I want to see,” Crow said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.