Monthly Archives: March 2016

162nd Boat Race

My eighth highlight of the week comes from an unexpected event, as I focus on the infamous annual rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge which took place on Sunday.

For a sport which is incredibly gruelling and is most certainly one of the most psychically demanding in the world, rowing is not too popular to watch. To be truthful, apart from the odd time during the London 2012 Olympics, I’ve never really paid much attention to it myself and my knowledge of the sport is minimal.

But the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge is a historic event which has taken place every year since 1854. It is covered every year by the BBC for the British public to tune in, whilst around 250,000 people watch the race from the river banks every year.

On to the race itself now.

In the men’s, Cambridge claimed their first win in four years against Oxford in the 162nd edition of the race.

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Cambridge are victorious… (Credit- http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Cambridge took full advantage of the early lead they gained to change their fortunes in the race, and their height and weight advantage among the rowers. The winners were coached by 2000 Olympic Gold medallist Steve Trapmore.

The Cambridge President Henry Hoffstot said: “A lot of hard work goes into this- we wanted it more”. He later added that from running through the course the previous day the team knew that the conditions would be testing.

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Nice Wellies boys (Credit- http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Earlier in the day Oxford won the Women’s Boat Race for the fourth year running, however there was some drama which overshadowed the victory…

Towards the very end of the race the Cambridge boat began to sink… quite rapidly at that.

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Abandon ship! (Credit- http://www.independent.co.uk

They were ordered by the race organisers- as they waved the red- flag to either stop or make their way to the very edge of the banks to finish the race- and admirably they did. Although the boat was fully submerged, thankfully no harm was done to the rowers.

As Shug in Still Game once said: “The water can be a cruel mistress” …

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“Mistreat her and she will envelope you…like an envelope” 

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

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Scottish League Cup Final

My highlight of the week this week focuses on football as the Scottish League Cup final was contested on Sunday by Ross County and Hibernian at Hampden.

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Hibernian v Ross County (Credit- http://www.spfl.co.uk)

As the sun shone brightly over the national stadium, two teams having excellent seasons took to the pitch to see who would lift the first silverware of the season.

Over 30,000 Hibs supporters made the journey through from the capital for the big game as they came in hope of being able to over-turn premiership opposition for the fourth time in the competition.

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Hibees out in force

As much as I wasn’t really bothered who won, I definitely favoured the highland side, Ross County, due to their team containing ex Killie players such as the Aussie, Jackson Irvine and goal scoring hero Michael Gardyne.

And they didn’t disappoint.

The first half was mainly Hibs’ to enjoy, having control of the ball for long periods and creating one or two good chances to score.

However, the team from Leith failed to make these opportunities count as the tricky winger, Gardyne, was played through to score.

He was slotted through by fellow Killie reject Jacko Irvine, to be one on one with Hibs keeper Mark Oxley, but Bartley’s attempted tackle only moved the ball away from Oxley, leaving Gardyne with the easy task of tapping home into the empty net.

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Killie rejects, Irvine, far left, and Gardyne, inside right, celebrate (Credit- http://www.footballepl.com)

Internet sensation Gordon Sawers described Gardyne, or as he referred to him, ‘wee Midge’ as “the best two footed player in the SPL apart from Niall McGinn”.

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The big man

Although, despite this setback, Liam Fontaine gave Hibs the equaliser right on half time.

The goal came from a corner as Fontaine fired the ball into the left hand side of the County net.

The goal was perfect timing for the Hibees as it seemed to deflate to County players as they exited the field for the interval.

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Liam Henderson attacks the County goal (Credit- http://www.scotzine.com)

However, a couple of changes in personnel for the highlanders seemed to boost them in the second half.

Brian Graham entered the fray for Liam Boyce. His height helped County as his presence up top was certainly proving difficult to handle. He thought he’d scored the winner as well but was adjudged to have fouled Oxley in the process- a harsh decision in my opinion.

Then, in a dramatic end to the match, Alex Schalk leapt onto Fontaine’s mistake to win Ross County’s first ever major trophy and make the score 2-1.

Hibernian v Ross County - Scottish League Cup Final - Hampden Park

Alex Schalk is the hero (Credit- Jeff Holmes/PA Wire)

Gardyne swung a cross into the box in which the centre half miskicked, leading straight into the path of the Dutchman to rifle the ball into the net and make himself a club legend.

There were unbelievable scenes in the County section of the stadium at the end as the 7,000 supporters went wild at the full time whistle as the celebrated what must be the best day in the club’s history.

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Scottish League Cup winners 2016… (Credit- http://www.scotzine.com)

Match highlights. 

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

Davis Cup

My sixth blog post and highlight of the week focusses on tennis as Britain started the defence of their Davis Cup title in Birmingham at the weekend.

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Team GB win the cup (Credit- http://www.itftennis.com)

The Brits managed to fend off any early round nerves by defeating Japan 3-1 in the best-of-five tie very much thanks to the inspired form of a fatigued Andy Murray.

The world number two won three matches in three days in his first event back following the birth of his daughter Sophia.

His final victory against Kei Nishikori cemented Britain’s place in the quarter-finals of the competition away to Serbia, and ensured that Britain would keep their place in the elite World Group in 2017.

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Nishikori ran Murray all the way (Credit- http://www.channelnewasia.com)

The tired Scot prevailed victorious, winning 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 4-6 6-3 in a mammoth match which lasted four hours and 54 minutes.

The match appeared to sap any energy Murray had left in him from the testing weekend, and no wonder.

He raced into an early lead by taking the first two sets fairly comfortably despite Nishikori showing flashes of his admiral backhand.

Although he was done, the world number six only grew in confidence and in the end in my opinion, performed magnificently. His backhand winners were paying off and he certainly settled down his service game as the match progressed.

Murray’s usual displays of frustration were clear to see as the match was taken to a fifth and final set as he smacked his racket off the ground.

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Murray’s anger was obvious (Credit- http://www.bbc.co.uk)

A break at the beginning of the final set didn’t help his anger at all however Britain’s national treasure once again excelled in a high pressure situation. He turned the set around and broke Nishikori back to propel himself into a 4-2 lead and subsequently go onto serve the match and seal the first round win.

Captain Leon Smith said: “I am lost for words at this stage; he is a man of steel, isn’t he?”.

This statement would be hard to argue against after he comfortably won his singles match on Friday and then helped his brother Jamie seal victory in the doubles on Saturday also.

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Murray bros celebrate the win (Credit- http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

The match against Nishikori also saw Murray extended his win streak of singles matches in the competition to 14, an impressive run to say the least.

The Scot said in the post match interview that he might make it back to the house for bath time, adding jokingly that he meant his baby daughter and not his wife Kim… whatever you say Andy.

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.