Union Jack’s Sporting Roundup December 2011
A Nose Thwarts Ed Dunlop Of Historic Win
THE MELBOURNE Cup is the biggest horse race in Australia, and the nation grinds to a halt as the one-mile-seven-furlong course at Fremington, becomes a national focus. November 1, saw the race run for the 151st time with a record of only four foreign horses ever winning here. A British trained horse has never won this antipodean classic, but Ed Dunlop came pretty close this time, when his 50-1 shot Red Cadeaux, finishing a nose behind the winner, the 7-1 French horse Dunaden, 23 ran. Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop commented, “We don’t like to be second, but I’ve come all the way down here for the first time so you have to be delighted. If he’s okay, we’ll be back next year.”
It was the closest finish in living memory.
Golf: Donald, McIlroy & Catriona Matthews
Luke Donald’s world number one ranking has received some criticism because his points total are for high finishes in tournaments and not the result of a bunch of victories. The Englishman showed his mettle late October however, where a string of six birdies witnessed a eight under 64, during the final round of the Disney Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, that earned him his second PGA title of the year. Donald finished with a 17 under 271, two strokes ahead of the field plus a check for $846,000. Early November, the Donald’s celebrate an new addition to the family with the birth of a daughter.
Rory McIIroy captured a $2m purse at the Shanghai Masters, after winning a play-off against Anthony Kim. It’s the fourth pro-win for the US Open champion.
Both men finished on an 18 under 270. The first play-off hole saw Kim miss a three foot putt, while the Irishman holed a two footer for victory.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthews notched up her fourth LPGA victory at Guadalajara, Mexico, November 13, in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and picked up a check for $200,000. Three rounds in the sixties, she finished with a 12 under 276, four strokes ahead of the field. Same weekend, seeking his first victory in two years, Tiger Woods put on a better performance at the Australian Open in Sydney. He led the field in the second round, but finished two off the lead behind winner Greg Chalmers, who carded a 13 under 275.
Cricket Fraudsters Sentenced, Aussies Laid Low At Capetown
Two of the Pakistan cricketers charged with a spot-fixing scam during last year’s England-Pakistan series were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.
Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt, was jailed for 30 months for bowling deliberate no-balls in a betting scam. Bowler, Mohammed Asif, 28, was sentenced to a year behind bars, while 19-year-old Mohammed Amir, who admitted the offence received a six month sentence. They are all expected to appeal. The three of them were given lifetime bans from the sport of cricket. Mazhar Majeed was reputed to have paid Asif £65,000, Butt £10,000 and Amir £2,500. He was given two years and eight months jail time, plus 16 months for conspiracy. The Pakistan Cricket Board called it a “bad day for Pakistan cricket,” but strongly defended the credibility of Pakistani cricket saying such corruption was not rampant amongst its players and officials. The Judge, Justice Cooke, remarked that cricket matches would be tainted by the scandal for years to come.
On the international cricket scene, New Zealand beat Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in a one-off Test match by 34 runs. New Zealand 426 (Martin Guptill 109) and 252-8 dec. Zimbabwe 313 and 331 (Brendan Taylor 117). The West Indies won their two match Test series in Bangladesh, after drawing the first game at Chittagong, and winning the second at Mirpur by 229 runs. West Indies 355 (Kirk Edwards 121) and 383 (Darren Bravo 195)-5 dec. Bangladesh 231 and 278. Pakistan and Sri Lanka drew their first encounter in a three match Test series in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan won the second Test by nine wickets. Sri Lanka 239 and 257. Pakistan 403 (Azhar Ali 100) and 94-1 at close. The third Test was drawn at Sharajah, thus giving Pakistan the series 1-0. South Africa bowled the Aussies out for 47 in the second innings (the lowest innings total for an Aussie side in 109 years) of their first Test encounter at Capetown, which saw them win by eight wickets in just three days of play. Australia 284 (Michael Clarke 151) and 47. South Africa 96 and 236 (Graeme Smith 101, Jacques Kallis 116)-2 at close.
Tennis, Boxing, Formula One & Rugby League
Andy Murray saw his unbeaten string of 17 wins, three tournament victories in September, come to an end last month. The Scot withdrew from the Swiss Indoors because of injury, but at the Paris Masters, he was ousted in the quarter-finals by Tomas Berdych 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) 6-7. Previously he took out Jeremy Chardy (Fr) and Andy Roddick … Unbeaten British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, pushed his record to 17-0 at Event City, Trafford Park in Manchester, November 12, after stopping Neven Pajkic in the third to retain his Commonwealth crown.
The Canadian had Fury on his back in the second, but the Briton roared back in the next round and Pajkic was given a standing count. The ref stopped it some time later much to the disgust of Pajkic (16-1) who complained he could have gone on … Sebastian Vettel had already secured the 2011 Formula One Championship, but added his 11th victory of the year after winning the Indian Grand Prix at Noida, October 30. Lewis Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, November 13, Alonso was second and Jensen Button third … Last month’s four nations rugby league tournament held in England showed an amazing difference in the quality of play between the southern and northern nations. England started off with a 42-4 victory over Wales, while Australia beat the New Zealanders 26-12. Later, New Zealand would swamp Wales 36-0 and Australia beat England 36-20. At the KC Stadium, England would beat the reigning world champions New Zealand 28-6, and Australia would finish with a 56-14 win over Wales.
The world’s oceans are awash with three major competitions.
The Clipper 11-12 round the world yacht race is on its fourth leg and scheduled to reach New Zealand late November. The brain child of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the race has ten, 68 foot racing yachts of identical build and financing crewed by some 450 non-professional sailing personal looking for adventure. Devon’s Robert Dean is the pro-skipper of “Welcome to Yorkshire,” and Gordon Reid from the Isle of Wight is in charge at “Edinburgh’s Inspiring Capital.”
The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race, started last month with six fully sponsored boats, though bad weather in the Bay of Biscay had two of them scurrying for port, looking for repairs, after just 24 hours. The two handed Transat Jacques Vabre yacht race from Le Havre to Costa Rica, saw six Brits, including Mike Golding and Dee Caffari aboard a 14 boat fleet that left the French coast mid-November.
A plethora of friendly internationals and a long list of World Cup 2014 qualifiers took place last month, November 12 and15. Fabio Capello missed his son’s wedding to witness England take the field against World and European Champions Spain at Wembley, where an 80,000 plus crowd saw Capello hand the captaincy to Frank Lampard. Spain controlled the ball for long periods, but England persisted and four minutes after the break, Lampard found the net for the only goal of the game. Several days later, England beat Sweden at Wembley, for a first victory over the Scandanavians since 1968. A Gareth Barry header, was deflected in to the Swedish goal by Daniel Majstorovic in the 27th minute for the only goal of the game. Scotland traveled to Cyprus and came away with a 2-1 victory. Kenny Miller (23rd) and James Mackie (56th) provided the netting, with the host getting one back in the 59th minute. Wales turned it on at Cardiff with a confident 4-1 win over Norway. Gareth Bale (11th) Craig Bellamy (16th) and two by Sam Vokes made coach Gary Speed, a very happy man.
Jurgen Klinsmann drew over 70,000 fans at St Denis, Paris, for the visit of his US team, who were without Landon Donovan. France were held at bay for 72 minutes, before the shot shy US squad paid the price for its poor vision up front when Remy beat Tim Howard in the 72nd minute, giving France a 1-0 win. Klinsmann found his feet against Slovenia a few days later, where the USA carved out a 3-2 away win. Edson Buddle put them on the way, followed by a Clint Dempsey netting and Jozy Altidore put a penalty away.
The play-off for the final four places in the European 2012 Championships concluded November 11 and 15. The Republic of Ireland cemented a place in the final after a 4-0 win at Estonia, where the hosts had two men sent off. Galaxy’s Robbie Keane got a brace. A 1-1 draw in Dublin put the Irish through. Croatia stunned Turkey with a 3-0 victory in Istanbul, and though the 0-0 home tie proved a disappointment it was enough. The Czech Republic beat Montenegro 2-0 in the home leg, and won the away leg 1-0. Bosnia-Hercegovina and Portugal produced a goalless draw in the first leg, But in Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo hit a brace as the Portugese triumphed 6-2.
The fourth round series of group games in the Champions League, November 2-3, saw British clubs come away undefeated. An early goal by Antonio Valencia put Manchester United ahead at Old Trafford, while Wayne Rooney found the net three minutes from time to give the Reds a 2-0 win over Romania’s Otelul Galati. Yaya Toure put Manchester City 1-0 up at Villarreal on the half hour, followed by a Ballotelli penalty on on the break. Toure hit another one in the 71st minute, giving City a well-earned 3-0 win. Ramires put Chelsea in the driving seat in Belgium against Genk, but the hosts hit an equalizer in the 61st minute. David Luiz missed a penalty for Chelsea that could have made the difference. The scoreline stayed 1-1. At the Emirates, Arsenal fought a tough encounter with Marseilles, in a match that concluded in a goalless game.
The continuing Group games in the Europa League, November 3, saw only Spurs falter. Stoke’s Dean Whitehead (51st) and Peter Crouch (64th) had the measure of Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel, and though Maccabi nailed an injury time goal the Potters came away with a 2-1 win. Anthony Stokes grabbed a brace and Gary Hooper made it three, as Celtic beat Rennes 3-1 at Parkhead. Fulham produced the goods at the Cottage, two by Andy Johnson, and singles by Damien Duff and Steve Sidwell for a 4-1 win over Wisla Krachow of Poland. Birmingham City were two down at half-time at St Andrews, against Club Brugges, but a Jean Beausejour netting in the 55th minute followed by a successful penalty by Marlon King, gave the Blues a 2-2 tie with the Belgians. An undistinguished display by Tottenham at Rubin Kazan, saw the Russians take the honours with the only goal of the game in the 55th minute.
The first round of the FA Cup, November 11-12-13, which mixes non-leaguers with first and second division clubs did not provide many surprise results. Luton Town suffering their first year in the Conference League hit an 80th minute winner at Kenilworth Road, to beat Division Two’s Northampton Town by the only goal of the game, and Conference side Fleetwood Town won 2-0 at home against Wycombe Wanderers. A few balls hit the net at AFC Totton of the Southern Premier Division, where Bradford PA were dispatched 8-1, and MK Dons smashed Nantwich 6-0. Division two’s Swindon, playing at home, eliminated Division One’s high fliers Huddersfield Town 4-1. Eight non-league sides went through to the second round scheduled December 3-4, while another bunch are involved in replays.
Financial problems at Hearts, saw the players receive their wages late last month, after the club admitted its priority was to pay a large income tax bill first.
Owner, Vladimir Romanov, says he is looking to sell the club and is open to offers. Dunfermline closed its North Stand, saying it will save the club £20,000 a year. Rangers’ court case with the Internal Revenue Services has been deferred to January. The sum of £49m under discussion has been circulated in the press, where the case will decide the future of the club. On the field, Rangers held a 10 point lead, mid-November over Celtic in the SPL. Interesting game at Kilmarnock, where visitor’s Inverness CT won 6-3.
The third round of the Scottish Cup, November 12, saw few surprises but plenty of goals. Airdrie Utd beat Gala Fairydean 11-0 at home, and Morton chalked a 5-1 home win over Deveronvale. Livingston visited Irvine Meadow and conquered 6-0. Junior side Auchlineck Talbot, face an away tie against Hearts in the fourth round, while the other junior side left in the competition, Culter, drew 1-1 at home with Partick Thistle and go to a replay.
Tiger Woods and his late, estranged caddy, Steve Williams, shook hands rather tensely during the foursomes of the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia, November 16-20. Williams’ new boss Adam Scott, and partner KJ Choi, beat Woods and Steve Stricker seven and six. Some satisfaction for Woods in the fourballs however, where he and partner Dustin Johnson beat Scott and Choi three and two. The USA went on to win their sixth President’s Cup 19-15.
India clinched their short Test series against the West Indies after winning the second Test at Kolkata by an innings and 15 runs. India (Rahul Dravid 119, VS Laxman 176 not out, Mahendra Dhoni 144)-7 declared. West Indies 153 and 463 (Darren Bravo 136). The Aussies came back to win the second Test at Johannesburg, by two wickets after a tremendous second innings. South Africa 266 and 339 (Hashim Amla 105). Australia 296 and 310-8 at close… Australia won the Four Nations Rugby League Tournament beating England in the final at Elland Road, 30-8.
Champion League Matches November 22-23, saw Benfica hold Manchester United to a 2-2 tie at Old Trafford. A Phil Jones own goal in the ninth minute put the Portuguese ahead, before Berbatov leveled on the half hour. Darren Fletcher found the net in the 59th minute, and minute later Aimar had equalized. Manchester City went down 2-1 in Italy against Napoli. Cavani hit a goal in each half, while Balotelli scored for the Sky Blues. Arsenal secured themselves a place in the knockout round with a 2-1 home win over Borussia Dortmund. Robin van Persie scored one in each half, while an injury time netting put the Germans on the card. Chelsea fell to a last minute winner at Bayer Leverkusen, where the home side won 2-1. Didier Drogba put the blues ahead three minutes after the break, Derdiyok leveled in the 73rd minute, while the late winner decided the game.
A David Beckham header to Robbie Keane, who put the ball through for Landon Donovan to score at Carson, California, saw the LA Galaxy capture the MLS Cup for the third time beating Houston Dynamo 1-0. The third qualifying round of CONCAFAF games for the 2014 World Cup were completed last month.
The USA goes in to the fourth round qualifying group with El Salvador, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, Guatemala and Antigua & Barbuda.
First round replays in the FA Cup, saw Southern Premier League club Stourbridge oust division two’s tailender Plymouth Argyle, 2-0, following a 3-3 tie in Devon.
His strategy was effectively simple, but mostly successful. When Joe Frazier was in the ring, his tactic of continuously moving forward, head down, punching as he went, made him the most feared boxer of his generation.
Three rather brutal bouts with Mohammed Ali, wrote the pair of them in to boxing history, but he was unable to conquer a bout with liver cancer. Joe Frazier was an Olympic gold medallist at Tokyo in 1964, and retired with a pro-record of 32-4-1. Mohammed Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, were amongst other boxing elite that gathered at his funeral. Smokin Joe was 67.
Stand Renamed For Fergie
Manchester United has renamed the north stand at its Old Trafford stadium the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in honor of its manager’s 25 years in charge.
United announced the tribute to its longest serving manager ahead of last month’s Premier League meeting with Sunderland, unveiling a sign moments before Ferguson’s 1,409th game with the northwest England club kicked off.
“I never expected that,” Ferguson said of the gesture. “It was a real surprise. I have to thank Manchester United for doing that.”
Ferguson saw the sign for the first time after walking onto the pitch through a guard of honor formed by the teams of United and Sunderland, which was managed by former United defender Steve Bruce.
A crowd of 75,570 gave Ferguson an ovation and chief executive David Gill announced the north stand was being renamed after him.
United said it will also erect a statue of Ferguson at Old Trafford before the start of next season.
Bears Conquer London With Win Over Bucs
The Chicago Bears didn’t mind making the trek to London to promote American football.
They just hope their solid performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was enough to leave British fans satisfied without an encore.
“We should be one of the teams going over and showing our brand of football internationally,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “You’re never excited about flying for eight hours, but the players handled it well.”
A lot better than the Bucs, anyway.
Matt Forte ran for 145 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears held on to beat the Buccaneers 24-18 on October 23 in the fifth annual NFL regular-season game at Wembley Stadium.
Despite not arriving in London until the Friday, Chicago dominated for three quarters against a Bucs team that spent the whole week in Britain to get acclimatized to the time difference and climate.