Ball Games

Thursday, July 14, 2005 | 4:17 pm

It's all bloody sport today, and antipodean sports at that. My apologies to the dis-inclined, with some notes for the interested Americans!

In relation to last week's post, the NSW Blues won the third and deciding game of the Rugby League(1) State of Origin. Amazingly, the game was psychologically decided in the first 5 minutes. Queensland came out of the gate like rampaging bulls, and for nearly 30 tackles (imagine 30 downs within 10 yards of the end-zone), NSW repelled absolutely every thing they attempted, and then broke away to score first. The mental defeat was solidified at that moment, and while Qld heads drooped, NSW seemed strengthened by their successful defense, and by halftime had leapt out to an unchaseable lead. How closely fought are these competitions? After 25 years, the head-to-head now favours NSW with 37 wins to 36.

Australia came back to win the 3-match one-day cricket series against the old foe, England. This is not the important part though, as it was kind of a nothing series. The important part is that the Aussies (pronounced "Ozzies"!) had some important players find some key form against an English side that is showing much more resilience and bite than they have for a decade. Just in time for the upcoming 5-test(2) Ashes Series. This looks like it's gonna be a competitive series.
Tuesday night I managed to score perhaps the best goal of my soccer 'career'. High pass to me standing about 22 yards out, almost centre. Took the ball on my chest, and as it came down, hit it right-footed before it touched the ground. Felt great, and it was like slow-mo as I stood, transfixed, watching it sail high, bend in an exaggerated arc, and curl into the top right corner. I should have probably tendered my retirement from the game right then.

(1) Rugby League (as opposed to Rugby Union, the game played in many US colleges) is rugby with "downs" (called tackles). Your team has 6 tackles (downs) to score (paradoxically called "a try"), after which the ball is turned over to your opponents. Unlike American Football, passes must go backwards (laterals), and kicking and multiple-passes are larger features of the tactical game during open play. Also, there are no time-outs between plays, and no offensive or defensive teams. The speed of play is determined by how quickly the offensive team can "play the ball", with the defensive side required to back off by 10-yards or risk a penalty.

(2) A Test Match is the traditional form of cricket. The version where one match can take 5 days. And can still end in a draw. And yes, that does happen quite a bit.


At 14/7/05 5:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onyer...Dizzy, at last finding some form with the ball and Gillie with the bat!!! most enjoyable even if I am completely sleep deprived and totally non-functioning. How am I going to cope with the Ashes series eh???
AA'S Mum x x x

At 14/7/05 10:02 pm, Blogger Aussie-Askew said...

Yep, My mum is a die-hard cricket fanatic. We blame my father. (and we are working on my wife... and making great progress).

P.S. "Onyer" = "good on you"; "Dizzy" = Fast bowler Jason "Dizzie" Gillespie.

At 15/7/05 9:01 pm, Anonymous Trundling Grunt said...

I hope the Ashes turns out to be a good series as previous outings have been disappointing. That, and I hope England wins.


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