Archive | November, 2010

Today: Wales v New Zealand

28 Nov
The All Blacks perform Ka Mate before a match ...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend was the last of the Autumn internationals.

I was lucky enough to buy tickets for the Wales v New Zealand slaughter (match).

My Mum and I were supposed to go to the Fiji match, but why go see a third rate team lose against Fiji when i can see them fight to the death against arguably the best team in the world?

Granted NZ lost their number 1 spot when they lost in a rare defeat to South Africa, however they re the number 1 team. The slickness way they play the game can easily be described as beautiful. It’s almost flawless. Perfect. So quick you wonder if their opposition saw them coming.

They are the greatest team to watch. You love to watch them lose – you read right. LOSE. Yes you want to see them play the best they have ever played, but we all want the underdog to win. It’s that type of love-hate relationship which makes New Zealand a constant sell-out at any ground.

The match was as predicted, a slaughter, Wales tried (and were even helped by Dan Carter‘s poor form), but ultimately couldn’t string enough passes together to make it look like secondary school touch rugby. Which is a shame, as only 2 years ago they seemed to dominate everybody. What has happened?

They have young and up and coming stars in the form of George North, Dan Lydiate, and Leigh Halfpenny. They were missing key move maker Shane Williams, but they were so disjointed it was like they forgot to look before passing. These newbies will soon settle, but not soon enough to save the reputation it seems.

The next time Wales will play will be in the 6 nations, will they improve? Who knows, all i know is that I cannot wait!

Ps: Congratulations To Dan Carter who has stolen the highest scorer title from my beloved Jonny Wilkinson. Toby Flood will have you in a few years……

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Today: The Flower of Scotland

20 Nov

This years Autumn internationals were bringing to the Northern Hemisphere the top 3 teams in the world. New Zealand, S. Africa and Australia.

Today, Scotland faced the challenge of the world number 1 – South Africa. After a crushing and embarrassing defeat (the ref finished the match 3 mins early) against New Zealand the week before, you would forgive Scotland for not only being bitter, bitterly dissapointed and soul destroyed, but also not up for playing a team which was supposedly better than New Zealand.

Although there was scandal withing the South Africa camp, and a string of injuries, they went into the match as favourites.

The rain seemed to loom over Murray field as an omen for certain doom – no doubt that whatever level the Scots were praying at, they must have had a heart sinking feeling.

However, after an intense 80 mins, the Scots prevailed, the flower is blooming and the springboks are limping home. Like Prince Edwards Army in the last verse of “O Flower of Scotland”:

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward’s army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

And S. Africa will have to think again before they try a grandslam against the Northern Hemisphere.

Today: The Reality

16 Nov

Sunday saw the final race of the F1 season, and before i go into a brushed over analysis of what i thought about the race, firstly I would like to say a big congratulations to Sebastian Vettel. Who, against the odds, against the bookies, (and mainly against Fernando Alonso and the oddly on-pace McLarens) defeated all the rivals to end up on top. 4 points is apparently the defining difference that makes this years WDC, and he got it!

Yes as a Mark Webber fan i was bitter, i was heart broken – much less than i am sure the man himself was – but i just sat in silence, knowing that the team i have become rather attached too has just been made a double world Champion for the 2010 season.

Knowing alot of Vettel fans, i was delighted to see my twitter feed rammed pack full of delighted (and one instance @tommyb89, drunken) messages of joy. It was nice to see that they didn’t even expect it either! And thankfully, I have come around to being happy for them, which if you’re a highly competetive person, is a very hard thing to do!

The race itself saw the championship contenders in a bit of a mix. The McLarens who have been distinctly off-pace the last few races seemed to glide over the lightly dusted surface, and almost rain on Vettel’s parade. Mark Webber was limping behind in an almost heartbreaking 5th and then Alonso was there somewhere too…..

There are a few key things to note from the race, 1- Liuzzi is probably the most UNLUCKIEST driver of this season, with the incident with Schumacher, thankfully both survived unscathed!

The resulting safety car saw numerous people pit…. then after….. O MW…. o FA….. strategy gone wrong? response gone wrong? hindsight is one of those things i don’t particuarly want to think about now. Fact is, they got held up behind Algesuari, (ish), then Petrov, in one of his drives of the season, didn’t put a foot wrong for almost 3/4 of that race. Decimating any title hope that Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber had.

Kubica also succeded in annoying another championship contender – Lewis Hamilton. For a LONG time. and it was only when he pitted that Hamilton managed the jump.

The race in itself was dull, the fact that the title was being decided there made it ever more frustrating. Not an amazing race to end the 2010 seaon on. But definately a good result. Who honestly saw that one coming ehy?

The 2011 season starts in around 110 days and with that it seems a lot of new drivers are coming in. Hulkenberg has lost his race seat for next year, HRT has lost the deal with toyota, Di Grassi has lost his seat….. questions are still being raised over the fate of young Petrov and Mr Liuzzi, and then we’ll also be losing Nick Heidfeld.

Although the driver transfers are all part and parcel of the F1 criteria, it is a sad fate to see such young talented individuals leave. However it does seem like people are planning on leaving in 2012. So who knows! maybe we’ll just get an out-flux of golden oldies leaving and no young drivers?

Keep an eye out on the young driver tests this week. Today RBR‘s Daniel Ricciardo (My future favouritest driver) topped the timesheets in the RB6. That’s above di Resta, who has been driving a Force India for half the season’s FP1’s.

Future star right there? DEFO.

I’ll leave you with these images, the first chmpionship that RBR has ever won. The 2010 constructors. And Sebastian Vettel, 2010 WDC.

2010 Constructors with a 1- 2 in Interlagos, Brazil.

The first real shower of a World Champion

Today: Frenzied

14 Nov

Today is the last race of the season.

 

And is you hadn’t have guessed it’s going to be a fight to the finish. Mark Webber starting in 5th with Fernando Alonso stroking his cat in front of him will surely kick up some interesting over-takes (hopefully)

Alonso is using his engine from Monza (as far as i’m aware) so I’m hoping for a minor (major) failure on the straight. or a turn. or on the starting grid.

For all his skill on the race-track it’s a shame that if Alonso wins by less than 7 points, it will be tarnished by the events that happened in Hockenheim. Surely he would have passed Felipe Massa in the coming laps? – Past events.

Lewis Hamilton. Twitter new-boy and it seems he has found the pace this weekend! Granted nobody could remove pole from Sebastian Vettel, but he sure put in the hard work. Only a miracle can allow him the title. But the race win is in his grasp.

Not much needs to be said on the Red Bull Drivers, and if i started having to discuss them i’m sure i could go on for at least a novel. Or a series of them…..

Although the battle at the front is going to be intense, it shouldn’t be forgotton that Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Robert Kubica this weekend. AND didn’t put his car in the wall. which is always a good thing! There is still a battle amongst the mid-field teams for prime positions – battles which could affect the race leaders.

So whilst Martin Brundle goes on about how this is a race for the 4 remaining title challengers, It’s more ofa race for the people behind. Who will not just be fighting for points/a finish, but also for Race seats. – which to be honest, you kind of need to beable to challenge for anything.

Today: Hi, I’m an F1 Fan

7 Nov

So this is my theory of people’s fan’s reactions and stuff…. it’s all meant in good humour so add your own!

“Hi, I’m an F1 fan, I go around in circles, slowly getting quicker till i see black and white and need a stiff drink.”

“Hi, i’m a Mclaren fan, i still have hope!”

“Hi, i’m a Ferrari fan, and Fernando IS faster than you”

“Hi, I’m a Renault fan, and i like yellow”

“Hi, i’m a Williams fan, and we got pole position!”

“Hi, i’m a Force India fan, I like random results that nobody cares about”

“Hi, i’m a Mercedes fan. I lie. I just bum MSC”

“Hi, i’m a Sauber fan, and well… our car is whiter than yours!”

“Hi, i’m a Toro Rosso fan, and Algesuari is bare attractive”

“Hi, i’m a Lotus fan, and Fire is our specialty”

“Hi i’m a Virgin Racing fan, annndddddd i have nothing to add”

“Hi, i’m a Hispania Racing Team fan, and i’m bidding for a 2011 seat”

“Hi. I’m an RBR fan. We just beat you all, with the

fastest car, best drivers and we beat reliability issues.

Just Fernando?nah. We’re faster than you ALL”

Boom Chakka wow wow!

Today: The F1 Wash Cycle

7 Nov

So, we’re coming to the end of the season, the colours have been separeated from the darks, and the whites are first in the wash cycle.

So when it came to saturday, and the white cycle was mid spin, we catch a glimpse of a blue sock. SHOCK. we cannot stop the cycle and open the door, surely the damage is already done?

The blue sock in the white wash? how would the whites feel about that? their cycle being tinged by the sock!

Will the sock run through the rest of the cycle without hindering the whites? Or will the sock run its colour and taint the whites cycle?

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Nico Hulkenberg qualified a surprising pole position, granted in the changeable condtions Interlagos offers, but a fantastic lap, 1.1 seconds ahead of the unmistakenably fast Red Bulls, and trumping Ferrari as well as his Williams Team Mate Reubens Barichello.

Much Like Sebastian Vettel did in his rookie year for Torro Rosso, when he started on Pole Position he held the position to take the victory – again in the wet.

Hulkenberg has a hefty challenge ahead of him, a dry race prediction and the 4 championship contenders breathing down his neck, I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t want to look into his mirrors before the lights drop tomorrow. However he seems to have the dryest set up of all the front runners, hence his jaw dropping achievement in qualifying yesterday.

The race today will throw up some interesting results, if the top 5 manage to survive past the first corner the rest of the race should yield a few surprises.

However much i want Mark Webber to finish up on the top step, and however much I want Red Bull to wrap up the WCC, Wouldn’t it be nice to have a blue sock thrown in the mix?