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The Sunday Stroll: 20 March, 2011

March 20, 2011

Greetings folks. It’s an all-too-brief Sunday Stroll this week, but we hope you enjoy it nonetheless…

Champions League football continued this week, with Chelsea and Manchester United joining Spurs in the last eight after their midweek victories. In the draw, Chelsea and United were put together, guaranteeing at least one English club a place in the semis (against either Inter or Shalke), whilst Spurs have the admittedly glamourous but ultimately unenviable task of putting out Real Madrid and then Barcelona (or Shakhtar Donetsk) to reach the final in London. For Spurs fans, the draw couldn’t have been much better, avoiding (until the final, should they progress obviously) the two English clubs (who they get to place twice a season anyway), Inter (who they have already encountered) and Shalke (perhaps the least glamourous of all the last eight sides). Best news of the lot, Madrid might well be Ronaldo-less for the quarter-final…

Over in Italy, there have been some bizarre goings-on in Milan [you’ll probably have to watch this one on YouTube but it is well worth it]…

And from Milan to Cesena, and a fine miss (well, two actually) from Cesena’s Emanuele Giaccherini in their 2-2 draw at home to Juventus last weekend…

Not quite as much of a shocker as this Ronnie Rosenthal classic though…

And here’s a rather shameful attempt to get an opponent sent off…

From football to rugby, and Ireland spanked England in the final round of Six Nations yesterday, preventing the English from claiming a Grand Slam for the first time since 2003. Thanks to France defeating Wales, England still ran out Championship winners, but not in the manner they would have liked. England were average, the Irish were immense, and the rest as they say is history. Next up, the World Cup in New Zealand… we can’t wait, although the northern hemisphere sides are going to have to raise their game and their consistency considerably should they hope to challenge the All Blacks on home territory. Meanwhile, here’s a sneaky preview just to get the emotions going…

Cricket World Cup action now, and after England somehow progressed (courtesy of another fraught victory, this time over the West Indies, and Bangladesh’s subsequent loss to South Africa), attention has briefly turned to the other teams in the tournament. Canada’s young opening batsman Hiral Patel set the pulses racing with a sparkling half-century against Australia, including this memorable back-foot cover-driven six! The video title says it all – a breathtakingly audacious shot…

Meanwhile, Patel’s teammate, Balaji Rao, shows just how to take a jammy catch. Top tekkers, sir…

Conquerors of England, Ireland took on Netherlands in their final match of the tournament and bowed out with an impressive victory over their Dutch opponents (highlights below). Ryan ten Doeschate’s run-a-ball 106 had helped the Netherlands to an imposing total of 306, but the Irish were to calmly pass the target with fourteen balls to spare. Openers Will Porterfield (68) and Paul Stirling (101) put on 177 for the opening wicket, although it was Stirling’s 70-ball century that really caught the eye. Niall O’Brien added a half century of his own, before his brother Kevin O’Brien and Gary Wilson shared four sixes as Ireland completed the third highest run chase in World Cup history. Nice going…

Elsewhere, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase was run this week. The winning horse, Long Run, was the ‘youngest horse for 48 years to win steeplechasing’s blue riband event,’ impressively seeing off the threat from household names such as Denman and Kauto Star. This horse has a bright future…

And we leave you with a belter from Barcelona’s Dani Alves. Take a bow, son…

As ever, thanks for reading folks. All the best, SB

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