Posts Tagged ‘wales’
No pleasure should be derived from the news that Wales have slithered below the Faroe Islands in the latest FIFA rankings. Absolutely no gratification whatsoever should be gained from the fact that a nation boasting a PFA Player of the Year and its own Premier League club has dropped precipitously below a team representing a volcanic crag in the North Arctic populated exclusively by fisherfolk and guillemots. None.
What is quite amusing however is that this Welsh ignominy was apparently sealed by a punctilious Faroese student (it’s him and the fishermen and the guillemots) called Jakup who spotted an erroneous calculation in the original Fifa listings which had Wales above his motherland.
His sums were corroborated by a Romanian computer programmer. Edgar is his name. Edgar has his own website which works out FIFA rankings and UEFA co-efficients and all sorts of fun stuff. So you don’t have to.
I commend you to pay it a visit. It’s a sexy mathematical cocktail of bewildering statistical permutations and potential seeding information and, and, sprinkled with pithy quotes from the Bible.
You can e-mail Edgar in case you think your FIFA ranking is wrong. I might contact him. Just to say that I like printing boring stuff on the internet too.
Stewart Cink: Wantonly destroyed the greatest story in sport by selfishly pinching the Claret Jug from Old Tom Watson last year. He then compounded this sickening crime by filling the venerable trophy with barbeque sauce. Which apart from anything else would have probably made his sauce taste funny, a bit like old spoons do.
Rickie Fowler: Owner of probably the most lustrous topcoat in golf. Could be mistaken for a Skittle-splashed Afghan hound. His wardrobe is so deranged he’ll be the only player on the American team looking more conservative than he usually does.
Jim Furyk: Won the Fed Ex Cup on Sunday using a putter bought for $39. My calculator informs me that Furyk could now buy 25,641 more putters with his winnings from the tournament. Which would be a bit excessive.
Dustin Johnson: Carving out a niche as a lovable loser, like a southern-fried Henman. Deserves kudos for inadvertently re-merchandising the window of a souvenir shop by the 18th at St.Andrews with an errant tee shot. Flak helmets are being issued at the entrance gates to Celtic Manor.
Zach Johnson: Have you ever been hustled on the golf course by a arthritic old duffer who bores you into submission by half-bunting the ball down the middle of the fairway and holing a surprising amount of putts? Extrapolate that forward to the Ryder Cup, and you’ve got Zach Johnson.
Matt Kuchar: Swings the club with the hunched grace of a sciatic penguin. Apple-cheeked smiler that is possibly underestimated because he seems so nice – like a balder Luke Donald.
Hunter Mahan: Once compared the Ryder Cup to slavery. We shouldn’t judge. Perhaps he heard the Tiger Woods had packed his pink fluffy manacles and got confused.
Phil Mickelson: Should be a behemoth of the Ryder Cup, but isn’t. That could be because the event is always held in the autumn by which time Big Phil has eaten enough Cheetos to lose his early season buffness and probably his edge. If you think I’m joking, then I’ll chuck this stat at you: 80% of all Mickelson’s career victories have come in the first half of the year.
Jeff Overton: What can you say about Jeff Overton that hasn’t been said already? Pretty much anything actually. There’s almost always one anonymous American competing, a player that is almost instantly forgotten after the event. Like Brett Wetterich. Or Wayne Levi. Or Jim Gallagher Jr. Okay, so I remember. But I’m wierd.
Steve Stricker: Once fired his wife as his caddy before the divorce lawyers were rung for. The same thing happened with my mum and dad. Except she was just doing a bit of filing at his office, which isn’t really the same thing.
Bubba Watson: Like Dustin Johnson, but less creative in how he loses major championships. Being edged out by a cold-blooded German in a play-off isn’t nearly as entertaining as mistaking a bunker for some builder’s rubble.
Tiger Woods: Has already represented his country in a team event in Wales, that being the 1995 Walker Cup at Royal Porthcawl. Which he lost. Tiger was still a teenager at time, probably forced to satisfy his dark carnal urges with a trip to see Sexy Barbara in Swansea. As an aside, I once saw ex-England cricket captain Tony Lewis naked in the clubhouse at Porthcawl. True story.
Andy Powell came to the rugger fore as a sort of strawberry-blonde wrecking ball, swinging at the opposition defensive wall and inflicting enough collateral damage for his colleagues to sneak through behind. Much of his fearsome reputation is based on the fact that until recently he looked like the giant murderous one from a gang of bloodthirsty pirates. You know, the one that stands at the back grinning belligerently and picking his teeth with the sharp end of his cutlass.
This season Powell is sporting a Samsonite short-back-and-sides and it appears to have had a deleterious effect on his game after two stolid performances against England and Scotland. It can’t help that he now boasts the neat crop of a bank clerk.
All this tonsorial difficulty should be taken into mitigation as Powell faces court proceedings after his arrest for being caught behind the wheel of a golf buggy just off junction 33 of the M4 at 6 o’clock on Sunday morning. His legal team might also like to highlight to the magistrates that his vehicle of choice is powered by electricity and that his eco-awareness reflects well on his character.
The most robust pillar of any potential defence is that this was a crime of rugger. Powell is a victim of his sport. He’s a ruggerman, this kind of pissed-up japery is what he’s supposed to do. He may the first man in legal history to be acquitted on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to rugger.
Watching Sir Ian Botham kicking disconsolately at the sand at Antigua yesterday, I asked myself two questions. Firstly, where was David Gower to offer his face for Sirian (as he is known to his colleagues) to aim his sand into?
And the second more urgent question was to ponder the ramifications of yesterday’s fiasco for the more general game of beach cricket. I hope that the public perception of the seashore sport has not been irretrievably polluted by the Antigua debacle. Because beach cricket is a fine relative, a mischievous nephew to the more senior grassbound game.
Location is essential. The ideal is a long sweep of compacted sand, pounded flat by tidal might. The south coast of England is punctuated by gorgeous examples. Norfolk can be good. But the ultimate beach cricketing paradise is at Oxwich Bay on the aptly-named Gower Peninsula, South Wales.
My earliest and probably most cherished memory of beach cricket is of the OBCG. My uncle goading my cousin as he ran in to bowl. Shouting the immortal words: “do your worst, you screaming little squithead,” before his son obligingly knocked back his middle stump.
Beach cricket has its own particular set of idiosyncracies liable to befuddle even the most sage of captains. The toss is vital.
The wicket will deterioriate dramatically. The bowlers’ footmarks create not so much rough, more large cavernous craters that even Ashley Giles would extract some turn from. If a heavy roller is not available, then conscript a passing heavy person for the purpose. There are plenty of fatties lolling around on the English coastline who would be glad to assist.
Otherwise, a gentleman’s agreement can be reached before the game to move the wicket along the square at the change of innings to a more pristine version.
It is also essential to demarcate the boundaries before the start of play to prevent the game disintegrating into rancour. Two runs if the ball hits the rocky outcrop at short fine leg for instance. Rocks can also be used a supplementary fielders if numbers are thin. I once witnessed a craggy piece of Cornish granite snaffle one of the finest slip catches I’ve ever seen.
The sea can also be employed as a boundary, although the captains should be mindful of the vagaries of the tide. I suggest purchasing a tide timetable. They are available from most good salty old seadogs. There can be nothing more disheartening for a fielding captain than watching the deep midwicket boundary inexorably approach closer to the wicket so that a nurdle off the hips yields four facile runs.
There is usually a captive audience for beach cricket which is always welcome. Except when the audience is having a picnic at shortish extra cover. And deep fielders should be wary of colliding with small girls building sandcastles. Nothing holds up play like an irate mother and a half-maimed daughter. Canine intervention is also common, although like the rocks, dogs can be recruited as extra fielders. And they’re very agile.
So potential squitheads should not be discouraged by events in Antigua yesterday. Even if Fidel Edwards is unable manage the shifting sands, it doesn’t mean that you can’t.
Gentlemen. To the beach.