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Charles Happell

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Australia falls for the John Daly freakshow one more time

November 17, 2008

The news that the Australian Masters has signed American John Daly as one its ‘drawcards’ for the 2008 tournament beginning at Huntingdale GC in 10 days’ time shows just how far the Australian golf scene has sunk. For Daly, now ranked 774 in the world, has not been hired for his talent. He’s been hired […]

Things really are crook when Poms say: bring on the Ashes

November 13, 2008 1 Comment

I know we keep banging on about the cricket, but these are troubled times we find ourselves in. Things are so bad that the English are now lining up to sink the boots in to Ricky Ponting’s wounded warriors. Like hyenas circling a lame lion, the Poms are now coming over all brave and stout-hearted.  The Guardian’s cricket […]

Australian cricket faces its most telling period since 1985

November 11, 2008

Whereas a Test series starting against New Zealand in Brisbane – in November – would normally attract only marginally more interest than that accorded last night’s harness meeting at Globe Derby, the upcoming matches against the Kiwis will take on a special significance in light of what has transpired in India over the past month or two. Having had a bust-up […]

The Gambhir charade shows why cricket needs a crisis summit

November 6, 2008 2 Comments

In a few hours from now, we’ll know if Gautam Gambhir’s name appears on the Indian team sheet for the Fourth Test, starting today in Nagpur, in defiance of a one-match ban handed down by the International Cricket Council this week. If the Indian opener, with the backing of the Board of Control for Cricket in […]

How I was tipped the 45/1 Melbourne Cup winner – and ignored it

November 4, 2008

Was that a tear in the eye of the Old Grey Fox after masterminding his 12th Melbourne Cup win? Looking closely behind those sunglasses, there were the unmistakable signs of welling emotion – quivering lip and tears being brushed away – and why wouldn’t there be? It’s not every day an 80-year-old trains the winner of Australia’s greatest race. […]

Cricket, Stanford-style, going to hell in a handbasket

October 31, 2008

Forgive (again) the dewy-eyed sentimentalism, but the cast-iron proof that all is not well with cricket comes tomorrow when England plays the ”Stanford Superstars” in a winner-takes-all Twenty20 match in Antigua worth $1m to each player on the winning side. The match, sanctioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board, is backed by the Texas billionaire, Sir Allen Stanford. You […]

Too nice by half – the real reason Australia is losing

October 28, 2008 7 Comments

Can someone tell me what’s going on here? Matthew Hayden praising the one-time ‘obnoxious little weed’ Harbhajan Singh, the Australian cricketers engaging in some kind of love-in with the Indians and, in the first International Rules match in Perth on Saturday, the Australian players helping the Irish players up off the ground and giving them a friendly pat on the […]

Rugby League World Cup? More like the Pesapallo Playoffs

October 27, 2008

Australia’s thrashing of New Zealand in its Rugby League World Cup opener last night has laid bare the absurdly one-sided nature of the competition. Supposedly a universal celebration of the working-class game, the World Cup in fact has only highlighted so far the paucity of league talent around the globe. The fact that New Zealand, the tournament second-favourite, […]

Whipping up a storm: should jockeys use the persuader or not?

October 24, 2008

The down-at-heel trainer, ever-hopeful owner and hard-core punter would need no convincing: if a jockey’s flourish of the whip is going to get their horse over the line in a close one then, by all means Mr Pint-sized Pilot, go ahead and start flailing away. If using the shillalegh means the difference between a prizemoney collect and an empty […]

India learns to win the Australian way – sledging and all

October 22, 2008 2 Comments

Given that Australia produced the template for success in modern cricket: make a power of runs, take a poultice of wickets and sledge the bejesus out of your opponents for five days, the Boys in Baggy Green cannot feel too aggrieved that those very same methods have brought them undone in this latest Test. In beating […]