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The Sunday Stroll: 10 Oct, 2010

October 10, 2010

Time to walk the dog. What dog? Put down your cappuccino and oh-so-perfectly toasted crumpets and make time for SportingBlogs’s weekly look back at the big – and not so big – moments from the last seven days in the sporting world. Here’s the first installment of The Sunday Stroll

Great news for those from Merseyside with a red-persuasion… some new (good) Yanks to save the club from the current (bad) ones. Hicks and Gillett appear to be on their way out, but not without a fight, ensuring they leave Anfield about as popular as a Hungarian red-sludge salesman. Although, the threat of a nine-point deduction will have the Kop and supposedly-struggling manager Roy Hodgson a fair few sleepless nights in the coming week or so. Something about never raining but pouring, roy?

Over in nearby Manchester, Dutch midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong has seemingly been dealt a somewhat belated punishment for his conduct in the World Cup Final (we all remember that kick, don’t we), being dropped from the Dutch squad supposedly on account of his latest reckless lunge – the one that broke Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg last weekend. The Dutch coach commented, ‘I have a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit‘, suggesting that such a move had been on his mind for a while, possibly since the most vivid exemplification of Holland’s World Cup Final performance. Now, seeing as the Dutch were widely condemned for their physical approach to the game (some prefer the term ‘assault’), and that such tactics were undoubtedly decided by the coach himself, perhaps Bert van Marwijk is in need of a dictionary. Bert, you’ll find ‘hypocrisy’ under H.

Credit and congratulations must go to England bowler Steven Finn, this week named as winner of the ICC’s Emerging Player award. The youngster, who heads Down Under hoping to retain the Ashes this winter, took 32 wickets at an average of 23.21 in the eight Test Matches he played in this summer. Not too shabby. Elsewhere, Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar claimed the ICC’s Player of the Year award, just pipping England spinner Graeme Swann to the gong.

The widely-liked Suzuka circuit hosted an intriguing weekend’s F1 racing with Saturday’s qualifying being washed out by typhoon-esque levels of rain rendering the track more resemblant of a pond. Scout away online for a few video clips of Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen and the Red Bull guys filling time by building boats and floating them down the flooded pit lane. A nice touch. Race day (last night / this morning) saw a dominant Red Bull qualify first and second before leading out a comfortable 1-2 in the race, with Sebastian Vettel topping the podium. Lewis Hamilton’s title challenge floundered (further), losing third gear (on his new gearbox) half-way through the race and dropping back to fifth.

If you get a spare ten folks, peruse this blog from the increasingly-impressive Jake Humphrey at the beeb… all about what goes on behind the scenes of a live F1 broadcast, including all of the talkback and various camera feeds. Most interesting…

Over in the world of two-wheeled racing, Yamaha management gave Valentino Rossi a dressing down for his antics with MotoGP champion-elect team-mate Jorge Lorenzo last weekend. Lorenzo complained that Rossi crossed the line of acceptability when it comes to racing against your team-mate when the two shared a memorable duel late-on at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, his management agreed and duly gave everyone’s favourite Italian (well, almost everyone’s) a right ticking-off. I might be wrong, but their wheel-to-wheel, elbow-clashing antics were the highlight of an otherwise relatively mundane season… here’s hoping the soon-to-depart-to-Ducati Rossi pays little attention and gives it his all in the remaining races.

India’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games, which started with fears of not being ready, unhygenic accomodation, and a collapsing gymnasium roof, sunk further towards problematic disappointment (a polite form of farce) this week with empty stadiums, controversial and belated disqualifications in the women’s 100m sprint and a swimming pool with a purported penchant for turning the swimmers’ stomachs a wee bit wobbly. Room for improvement me thinks…

Fresh from being part of the successful European team at this year’s Ryder Cup, Lee Westwood has been continuing his charge to the #1 spot in the men’s golf rankings at the Dunhill Links Championship, needing a top two finish to knock Tiger Woods of the top spot. Sadly for the Englishman, an apparent recurrence of a calf injury has been hampering his progress this week, dropping to ten shots off the pace at the end of the second day. All credit to Westy though, he carded an impressive 66 yesterday to move back to just five off the lead, tying for fifth place. All the best, Lee.

And finally, amidst all of the glorious scenes of celebration at Celtic Manor last Monday, spare a thought for poor ole Hunter Mahan, the American golfer who lost to Graeme McDowell in the final match handing victory to Europe. The lad was pretty much reduced to tears in the post-tournament press conference – no questioning this lad’s committment to the American cause eh…

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