Various sports captured my attention over the weekend and narrowing it down to just a few to discuss was quite the task. Lets start with tennis, for no other reason other than it won’t take long. The season ending championships concluded in London without a ball being hit in the final. The tournament finally came to life in the semi-finals with both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic being pushed to three sets and, at times, both looked like they might be on the end of a surprise defeat. But the dream final never eventuated, with Roger Federer appearing on court before the final to personally announce that he would be unable to take to the court due to a back injury. While the crowd got to see an exhibition match between Andy Murray and Djokovic (which Djokovic won 8-5) they were left bitterly disappointed. Though it was nice to see the crowd cheer rather than boo as would no doubt have happened at many other arena’s around the world.

Whilst I can hardly comment on the extent of Federer’s injury it is hard not to believe that the up-coming Davis Cup final would have been on his mind. It is one of the few major honours left for him to win in his glittering career, and with Stanislas Wawrinka in great form he surely feels this is an ideal opportunity to get his hands on a trophy he craves. All tennis fans will no doubt be hoping Federer can overcome his injury to take to the court.

The 2016 European football Championships are only in their infancy but already a number of the established elite are in trouble. The Netherlands secured a much needed win with a 6-0 thumping of Latvia while there were also wins for England and Spain. But it was the minnows of European football who have lit up qualifying over the last few days. Firstly, it was the Faroe Islands who won only their fourth competitive match in 24 years, beating the 2004 European Champions, Greece, in their own backyard. It was no surprise the Greek manager was relieved of his duties the following day. Perhaps inspired by the achievements of their fellow underdogs next up it was Lichtenstein’s turn to defie the odds with a 1-0 win over Moldova. While San Marino couldn’t match the exploits of the Faroe Islands and Lichtenstein they did manage to hold Estonia to a draw, which for a team that is ranked equal 208th (that’s equal last) on the FIFA rankings, would have felt like a win.

Considering that the Faroe Islands, Lichtenstein and San Marino have a total population of less than 120,000 these results are quite unbelievable. But they are why we watch sport, and football in particular. The beauty of such a low scoring game is that any team can win and never has that been more apparent. That three such results all occurred on the same weekend is nothing short of a miracle.

The Australian and South African cricket teams will board flights from Perth to Canberra today having split the first two one-day matches in their five-match series. While both matches ended up being close the reality was that neither ever really were. South Africa’s chase of 300 on Friday night was doomed as soon as they lost both openers cheaply. While they recovered and at one stage in the chase may have even been favourites, two wickets to Nathan Coulter-Nile in one over effectively ended the match as a contest. On Sunday it was the South African bowlers who returned with a vengeance. Again they dominated the top order, but on this occasion there was no middle order fight-back from the Aussies. Morne Morkel was the star, capturing five for 21. And while young Josh Hazelwood picked up five of his own, South Africa were never seriously in trouble in their chase. Australia posted only 155 on Sunday and they have never successfully defended a total this low in a one-day international.

The third match of the series takes place in Canberra at Manuka Oval on Wednesday. Both sides have their worries ahead of the contest, with neither batting line up having performed at the level expected. AB de Villiers has looked the most in control batsmen across both matches, as would be expected from the reigning ICC one-day player of the year. He will be hoping that Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock find some runs at the top of the order to give him a better platform from which to attack the Australian bowlers. The Australians will be hoping that Aaron Finch and David Warner can get going. Both are explosive and the relatively small Manuka Oval will hold no fears for them. If it is a decent batting wicket, as it usually is in Canberra, the crowd can expect plenty of runs (and possibly catches). The news that Mitchell Johnson has been rested for the remainder of the series will only further whet the appetite of the South African favourites, and makes them favourites to win the series.

And finally, while it didn’t take place on the weekend, I couldn’t let Rohit Sharma’s run scoring from the end of last week go unmentioned. He became the first man to score two one-day international double hundreds as he scored the highest one-day score ever in reaching 264 off 173 deliveries. What made the innings even more remarkable is that he started quite sedately, with his first 50 coming off 72 balls. Off his next 101 he smashed 214. His innings included 33 fours and 9 sixes, with his final score more than the entire Sri Lankan side could muster in response.

  1. wowallthenamesaretaken says:

    Looking forward to on-the-ground Sportussion coverage of the cricket on Wednesday!


  2. sportussion says:

    It’s looking like a great day for cricket. The Canberran’s will turn out in force and, even though its a Wednesday, there should be a bigger crowd than in Perth!

    Liked by 1 person

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