By Karen Cummings 11 Dec, 2017

After losing to the United States in World Rugby Sevens Series action in Cape Town, South Africa, the Kiwis beat Argentina 38 – 14 to win the second leg of the series. Now, that is a resurgence.

They must have donned their Superman capes, because in their first game of the just concluded second leg, they lost to the U.S. 22 – 0. The Yanks must have been wearing capes made out of Kiwi kryptonite.

The New Zealand sevens edged by England 17 – 12 and then beat the host South Africans 19 – 12.

Australia did what it had to do, winning three consecutive in order to finish ninth. 

New Zealand now holds a narrow 41 – 39 lead over South Africa. 

“I am so proud of the way the boys fought back after losing to the Americans in our opening match,” New Zealand skipper Scott Curry told reporters. “Today was a fresh start for us in Cape Town and we helped each other throughout the matches. Our team spirit made a huge difference. We are now looking forward to the third leg in Sydney during January followed by the fourth in our home town of Hamilton, where the tickets have already been sold out.”

Where was famous sevens country Fiji while all this was going on?

They were being beaten by South Africa 31 – 26 in the quarterfinals. 

South Africa was a good host. The final in Cape Town Stadium attracted 50,000 spectators.

The three wins by Australia left them in the sixth spot overall after two rounds. 

“I was happy with our improved performance,” Australia coach Andy Friend said. 

Rugby sevens can be hard to tip. The U.S. beat New Zealand, convincingly, to say the least, but then staged a rather meek performance in losing 28 – 12 to Argentina. 

The top five in the points standings following the second round are New Zealand (41), South Africa (39), Fiji (28), England (27) and Argentina (24).

By Karen Cummings 06 Dec, 2017

Daniel Ricciardo is booked with Team Red Bull through the 2018 Formula 1 season, but his future is up in the air amid reports that Red Bull is focusing on a youth movement named Max Verstappen, along with the fact that, unlike is some motorsport racing codes where Red Bull is the cock of the walk, the cars they field in F1 are, at best, third in terms of everything. Until Red Bull can put cars on the track that can compete with the top Mercedes and Ferrari machines, who does the driving matters not. 

Red Bull has locked Verstappen in with a three-year deal and claims they want to do something for Ricciardo.

Yet, Ricciardo has proven to those in the know on the circuit that he can steer, shift, and put his foot on the accelerator, so no one would be surprised if Mercedes or Ferrari makes a run at him. 

Red Bull managed only three victories in 2017 and if Ricciardo and Verstappen are the hotshot car hoops everyone believes them to be, that only leaves underperforming cars to explain the team’s poor outcomes. As best we know, Red Bull’s pit crews are equal to those of the other teams. 

Once again, Red Bull is talking about making improvements in the off-season, with the obvious move being to jettison the puny French motors they have dropped into their cars. 

Ricciardo is hungry for wins, points and championships. The money is nice, but everyone who has ever competed at anything knows that winning is the main thing. 

“Having the chance to be able to fight for something really meaningful - races, championships - that’s the absolute priority. It’s not even close,” said Ricciardo. 

Ricciardo is inspired by the route followed by Lewis Hamilton, who at the end of 2012 left the prestigious but declining McLaren for Mercedes, which at the time, was an unknown entity. 

By Melbourne IT SEO 04 Dec, 2017

The Ground

Home ground advantage is a factor when it comes to the England versus Australia Ashes Test Series. Australia is more likely to defeat England here and vice versa. Despite this, not all matches that are played in this year’s test will definitely give Australia an advantage. However, at the Gabba in Queensland, Australia has won its last 28 matches. If you’re better on a win here for England you will most likely find yourself disappointed. The same goes for the WACA ground in Western Australia, as the Australian team have a solid history here too, especially against England. When placing your bets, keep these grounds in minds.

Weather Conditions

The weather can have a major impact on the outcome of each test match. The Ashes test is played over 5 days and if there is persistent rain that halts play there is less of an opportunity for both sides to make runs. This is the most common time for a draw to occur. Overhead weather condition can also affect the play as it can create an advantage or disadvantage to certain bowlers. You should always check the weather forecast for each match when considering what market odds you’ll bet on.

The Toss

The initial toss can have a large impact on the outcome of a match. If a side is ready to bat and the conditions are right and they win the toss, this can cause a momentum that’s hard to catch up on. Similarly, if a team loses the toss they can be forced to bat with poor conditions that don’t support the team’s skills. It’s always recommended that any match based bets are placed after the coin toss has taken place.

The Pitch

Certain pitches will suit different kinds of bowlers and so it’s important for you to get an understanding of this and to take this into account when placing your bets. Pitch conditions can change across all five test matches or they could be all the same. This will give and advantage and a disadvantage to different bowlers across the test.
By Melbourne IT SEO 04 Dec, 2017

The Ashes is here for 2017/2018 and the fierce rivalry between the Australian and England cricket teams begins. If you’re a punter looking to place a bet on this year’s Ashes there’s plenty of different odds that you can back. Most bookmakers will have the following Ashes Odds on offer for you.

Match Result Odds

As with most sporting events, the overall match results are one of the most popular odds to bet on and the Ashes series is no different. You can bet on a win, lose or draw for each of the Test matches which is played across the Australian capital cities for this year’s Ashes series.

Series Result Odds

By the same token as the match result bets, you can also bet on the overall series results and who takes home the Ashes. These bets should be placed pre-series. Further to this, there’s more money to be had by betting on the exact score margins, so if you went for Australia 3-2 then you’d be looking at a higher win fall to just betting on Australia to take home the Ashes.

Top Team Batsman Odds

This is a popular option with punters as it requires a little more analysis than just the match results. Here the odds are on which batsman per team makes the most runs. You also need to take into account the fact that the Ashes is a Test series and there’s no limited overs. Test conditions can really change the outcome here, so take that into account.

Top Series Batsman Odds

This takes the top batsman market to another level, as here the odds are on how the batsman performs across the entire Ashes series. As you can place your bets on the batsman you feel will make the most runs across the entire series, it can often be easier than predicting for a particular match.

Top Team Wicket Taker Odds

This is similar to the above except that in this market we’re looking at the bowlers who take the most wickets for each team. Again you want to look at the conditions for this one as different fields will suit different bowlers and some styles of bowling will be required in a particular innings.

Top Series Wicket Taker Odds

Once again were now looking at the odds on how many wickets will be taken by bowlers but this time it’s across the entire series. For this you still need to look at the state of the pitches and conditions but there is, however, further factors to consider. These include the fitness level of the bowler and if they’ll play throughout all five matches. Look at past injuries too and the likelihood of further issues there.

Man of the Match Odds

Man of the Match is an award given to the player who makes the biggest impact and influence to the overall entire Ashes series. The recipient is often the top scoring batsman or bowler so you are better to look here when thinking about having a punt. All leading bookmakers will allow you to place this popular bet.

Ashes in Play Total Runs Over Under

Another big market to bet on, in particular for the Ashes series, is the over/under runs line bet. This begins at the start of an innings and changes depending on the outcome of the innings such as runs scored or wickets taken.

Ashes in Play Total Wickets

This is another popular market for punters to bet on for the Ashes series. Here you’re looking at the over/under wicket line after a certain number of overs has passed.

Now you have an understanding of what markets there are for this year’s Ashes Series, contact a bookmaker to get the odds.
By Melbourne IT SEO 04 Dec, 2017

The Ashes began in 1882 with a single match, rather than a Test, between the English and Australian cricket teams. Australia defeated England and it was from there that the term ‘Ashes’ was born. It originated from an English newspaper article written like an obituary likening England’s defeat to a death.

The Ashes Urn stands at just 11cm tall but has immense sentimental value for its size. It’s believed to contain the ashes of a burnt bail and the urn has become the symbol of the Ashes Series.

Over the years, what we’ve seen in the victorious Ashes celebrations today is a replica of the original urn. Since the 1998-1999 series the Ashes Test trophy is now an urn-shaped Waterford Crystal trophy. The original Ashes trophy is securely kept in the Lord’s Museum.

After their initial defeat, England were ready to return for a victory and it was from here that the sharp rivalry between the England and Australian cricket teams developed. It was a rivalry that would last over a century and still reins strong to this very day.

England returned to defeat the Australian cricket team in the summer of 1882/1883 in which they played three Test matches and England won 2-1. The Ashes urn was initially presented to the victorious English team as a tongue in cheek gesture. However, despite this the tradition of the urn became something of pride and victory. The English captain, Bligh, viewed the urn as a personal gift and it remained on his personal mantel piece until he passed away in 1927.

There are a number of different odds you can place bets on throughout the Ashes Series. These include Man of the Match, Top Wicket Taker and Series Top Batsman. Check out the bookmakers odds for the 2017/2019 Ashes Test.

By Karen Cummings 04 Dec, 2017

There seems to be a consensus that Tiger Woods is back after it was his back that almost derailed his career with plenty of time left on the clock.

He seems to have modified his explosive swing to some degree, but he is still putting his drives out there a long way.

Woods shot a final round 68 in the Hero World Challenge and seemed to show no concern in approach to swinging the clubs from driver through wedge. For the most part, his work with the flat stick looked like it did when he was in his prime and winning everything in sight. 

He had an eagle and six birdies in his final round on the par-72 Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, so if he had not made some bogies, he could have carded at 65 and it would still not have sufficed to catch winner Rickie Fowler, who closed with a course-record 61, ensuring that he will soon be raking in some side cash with more Farmers Insurance commercials. 

Woods finished tied for ninth with Matt Kuchar and seeing as the Hero World Challenge is a limited field event of 18 players, it might be premature to say Woods is back where he was before personal and health issues led to a spectacular flameout that saw him drop from number one all the way down to 1200th. 

His finish in the Hero World Challenge moves him up to 668th. 

Watch out Dustin Johnson. Watch our Jordan Spieth. Watch out Justin Thomas. Watch out, the lot of you. 

If the prognosis of Woods himself, some of his playing peers and some of the experts can be trusted, a Tiger Woods looking to make up lost ground is far more dangerous than a wounded tiger of the animal kingdom. 

The next few weeks will supply further clarity and if Woods can stay on the prowl until The Masters in April, the golf hierarchy is due for a changing back to the old guard.  

By Karen Cummings 29 Nov, 2017

New Zealand top breeder Cambridge Stud has been sold by owner Sir Patrick Hogan.

Hogan sold the operation to Kiwi businessman Brendan Lindsay and his wife Jo Lindsay after running the famous breeding ground for more than 40 years. The couple calls Auckland home. They can make the drive south in about two hours, so it is a decidedly convenient purchase. 

Hogan told the New Zealand Herald, "It is no secret that there has been huge international interest in Cambridge Stud for some time now.”

Apparently not huge enough to sell it to an international, such as Goldolphin, however, and the announcement that the stud will remain under local supervision might be cheery news in the land of stayers supreme.

"Many different parties have made approaches to us, however Justine (Lady Hogan) and I were determined to wait for both the right time and the right people - that was non-negotiable for us. That right time has now come and the right people have arrived. A new chapter begins for Cambridge Stud and is one that we firmly believe was worth waiting for."

The Lindsays will take the reins (sorry) in April of 2018 and had this to say in a statement, "No matter where you travel in the world, the Cambridge Stud name is synonymous not only with New Zealand but with unequalled Group I excellence.”

Cambridge Stud has contributed eight Melbourne Cup winners, four Cox Plates, three Caulfield Cups and a Golden Slipper Stakes winner. 

Hogan started the breeding business 41 years ago with Sir Tristram as their founding stallion. That stallion was foaled in Ireland in 1971 with some strong U.S. connections, including the immortal Man O’ War that won 20 of his 21 starts and was named the number one Blood-Horse of the Century. 

Sir Tristram was one of those stallions who cared little for racing, winning only twice in 19 attempts, but he was Australia’s leading sire six times and sired 45 Group 1 winners and 140 Stakes winners.

By Karen Cummings 23 Nov, 2017

During one historical era, perhaps in more than one place, there was an unwritten, but well-known custom, which was called Pay-for-Play.

It referred to the policy of radio stations to expect tribute from record producers and artists in order to have songs played on the radio. If those songs received extensive airplay, they sold more records. If, on the other hand, radio stations did not receive their bribes in the proper quantity or quality, they would shelve a record, meaning that it would soon be relegated to the dustbin. 

Now that radio is almost obsolete as a source of influence with regard to record popularity, Pay-for-Play has evolved into a new form, almost the opposite from the radio station form, where top athletes extract tribute from event organisers in order to show up to compete. The two main sports where this takes place are golf and tennis. 

So, when the Brisbane International could not come up with an adequate amount of filthy lucre to lure Novak Djokovic, Djokovic revealed that despite his stated intention in September to emerge from his injury chrysalis and appear in Brisbane in late December, early January, he would instead start his new campaign in Qatar, where the money flows like oil.

The Brisbane International was eager to secure Djokovic. He has not appeared since 2009. Brisbane officials had already turned their trouser pockets inside out to get Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

Djokovic seems to better fancy his chances in Qatar, so he must have been handing Brisbane officials a take-it-or-leave-it demand, knowing that he has won in Qatar two of the last three years.

Djokovic, along with Nadal and Milos Raonic, will scoop up some Pay-for-Play money in an Abu Dhabi exhibition before heading on their separate itineraries. 

The Brisbane International is still working in the attempt to get Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin de Porto.

Brisbane tennis officials fared better with the women’s side of the tournament, persuading 12 of the top-20 women that Brisbane in January was the place where all their wildest dreams would come true.  

By Karen Cummings 21 Nov, 2017

With the Australian Baseball League just underway, expansion talk has taken on a new level of significance.

The idea is for the current six-team league to grow to eight teams next season, with The Courier-Mail reporting that some Major League Baseball clubs were interested in buying into the ABL. There has also been talk of interest emanating from Asia, sooner rather than later.

Baseball Australia was engaged in negotiations with those Asian interests early in 2017, but nothing came of those talks. The concept behind that discussion was for a Korean owned team to be based at Lismore and play its games in Australia for a Korean television audience. 

The news of MLB interest was divulged by Brisbane Bandits CEO Mark Ready. ABL chief executive Cam Vale said, “There is a strong focus on regional Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where we are gaining a lot of interest to include new teams. There has never been an opportunity of this magnitude in Australian sport before, as baseball has the potential to reach millions of consumers across Asia.”

“Overseas MLB teams are looking at the Brisbane franchise. There is some interest in other (ABL) clubs, and we’ll see what happens,’’ Vale said. There could be Taiwanese clubs and Japanese clubs interested, too.”

Vale is of the opinion that expansion is overdue. Cities that seem appropriate for new teams include, along with Lismore, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong.

There are already Asian players in the league. Asia is a major consumer of the sport. The ABL plays at times when there is not much baseball action in the northern hemisphere. 

The Brisbane Bandits have three players from Taiwan and if the reaction to baseball there comes anywhere near the near-hysteria that Jeremy Lin generated when he first made a splash in the NBA, the Taiwan market could be ripe for Australian baseball. 

MLB once held a 50 percent stake in the ABL and still serves as an impromptu site for MLB player development.

By Karen Cummings 15 Nov, 2017

Thoroughbred trainer Tony McEvoy has opted to stay away from the summer carnival in Perth, telling The Advertiser, “I’ve opted against going to Perth.’’

The top trainer from South Australia, based at Flemington, had two horses nominated for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot on December 2. Hey Doc was one and Cool Passion was the other. McEvoy was also contemplating running his import Calderon for the Group 1 Railway Stakes. He also could have entered Big Memory in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic the week following. 

“The flight leaves on Sunday but I’ve decided to give Hey Doc a spell and I’m not sure Big Memory is going well enough to be honest,’’ he said.

Hey Doc was the wire-to-wire winner of the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley in October. McEvoy is going to let Hey Doc lounge around the paddock and munch on some hay until he brings the four-year-old back for the Flemington Autumn Carnival. McEvoy’s tentative plan is to run Hey Doc first-up in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes.

McEvoy also has Royal Symphony to look after. The three-year-old will probably follow a similar program to Hey Doc. Royal Symphony ran fourth in the Cox Plate, despite being crowded by Happy Clapper throughout the race.

Of Royal Symphony, McEvoy said, “He’ll be a on a path similar to Hey Doc last year. He’ll probably run first-up in the Manfred Stakes, into the C S Hayes Stakes and then into the Australian Guineas,’’ he said.

Calderon, the high-priced import, is in the paddock after being gelded. He had a rough outing in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes, running last of 11 and his next outing in the Group 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley convinced McEvoy that drastic action was necessary and it is hard to think of many actions more drastic than that which Calderon underwent. 

McEvoy will have Vinland in Saturday’s Group 2 Sandown Guineas.

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