Author Archives: naearmbands

About naearmbands

A sports loving Journalism student in the early days of my career. I have always been a keen sports fan and I'am particularly passionate about my local team Killie. Used to swim a bit...

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.

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.

Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg

I am not a huge fan of the sport…however, Boxing, is the focus of my blog this week as Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg took to the ring in an eagerly anticipated fight.

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If looks could kill…(Credit- http://www.boxingnewsonline.net)

The long awaited fight somewhat disappointed me.

Despite not knowing an awful lot about boxing…apart from, they’re in a ring…and, they hit each other brutally, I knew that I wasn’t being entertained. In fact, what was built up to be “One of the best bouts in British boxing history” according to fight promoter Eddie Herne, turned out to be a big let down for boxing fans in general.

Frampton, 29, from Belfast in the end beat Scott Quigg via a split decision to win the WBA super-bantamweight title, in addition to the IBF title he already owned.

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Frampton overwhelmed with joy (Credit- http://www.skysports.com)

The Northern Irishman completely dominated the first half of the fight as he handed his opponent from Bury his first defeat in a whopping 35 fights- a record stretching back to 2007.

27-year-old Quigg appeared to be having trouble finding his range and therefore struggled to gain any rhythm which ultimately lost him the fight.

Frampton asserted his dominant start by managing to break Quigg’s jaw in only the fourth round. This did seem to hold Quigg back from committing himself to the fight in the rounds to follow. However, he did bravely continue and did start to land a good few punches to the head of Frampton.

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Ouch- remind me not to take up boxing

After Frampton claimed the first six rounds, Quigg managed to stage a small comeback by winning the last five. He finally started to take a few noticeable risks in the seventh and eighth rounds by displaying a couple of big right hands and powerful uppercut.

The highlights of the spectacle really came in the tenth round though as both men opened each other up properly for the first time with blows to the head and body.

However, in the end, Frampton was awarded a split decision victory as two judges scored it 115-113 for Quigg, while two others scored it 116-112 in Frampton’s favour.

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Contrast of emotions (Credit- http://www.sportinglife.com)

Frampton took the chance at the end of the fight to thank his support from the crowd in Manchester. He also added: “I knew it was going to be a boring fight- I had to sell it for TV.”

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

Click the link for the highlights:

http://www.skysports.com/boxing/news/12183/10185348/watch-carl-frampton-vs-scott-quigg-highlights#ooid=I4azBmMTE66briQ6-72o5wUGM1RfTD3u

 

Super Sunday

This week I struggled to decide upon my highlight of the week. However, after some consideration time, I chose the Super Sunday in the Premier League as my highlight of the week.

It’s not every week on a Sunday that you get to enjoy three top quality games on the tele, but Sunday just past there was one of those rare occasions.

The title race is beginning to really heat up now, as all top four teams battled it out to try and give themselves an advantage in the tightest race in years.

Also playing were two teams struggling for different reasons. Bottom of the league, and now destined for the Championship, Aston Villa, were thrashed for six by an out of form Liverpool side at Villa park. Six different scorers including long-term absentee, Daniel Sturridge, hit the back of the net to give the Merseyside club their biggest win of the season.

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Sturridge celebrates his goal (Credit- http://www.mirror.co.uk)

Although, the main attraction to this week’s highlight was the top four teams going head to head. Arsenal v Leicester, and Man City against Tottenham.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described his team’s 2-1 victory over Leicester as ‘a pivotal moment’ in the title race as the North London club chase the surprise league leaders. Jamie Vardy continued his remarkable story by giving The Foxes the lead from the penalty spot just before half time.

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Glancing header from Welbeck (Credit- http://www.bbc.co.uk)

Danny Simpson was sent off not long after the break for a second yellow, making Leicester’s task even harder. Sadly (I say that because I want Leicester to do the unthinkable and win the league) the resistance was broken down. Theo Walcott finished off a good move after a terrific knock down from Olivier Giroud to equalise. Then, in the very last minute of play, Danny Welbeck marked his comeback from injury with a glancing header from a superb ball from the magical feet of Mesut Ozil, to send the Arsenal fans wild.

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Gary Lineker’s describes his emotional rollercoaster ride on twitter

To round off the day, Spurs arguably provided the shock of the day as they defeated Man City 2-1.

Tottenham are now just two points off the top of the league after a late goal from Christian Eriksen sealed their first victory since 2010 at the Eithad, as Tottenham’s title challenge seems to grow stronger and stronger every week.

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Eriksen side-foots the winner late in the day (Credit- http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

Harry Kane scored a controversial penalty after Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have handed the ball. However, even as a Man United fan I can admit that it was never a pen.

Man City then upped the ante and piled the pressure on the spurs goal. Yaya Toure came very close as his free kick crashed off the bar. However, city did get their equaliser through youngster Kelechi Iheanacho.

The top four now stands 1. Leicester, 2. Tottenham, 3. Arsenal, 4. Man city…

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

Super Killie Away

Despite the Scotland versus England game in the Six Nations being the main sporting event of the week, for me, Killie travelling to Ibrox to play the Gers also deserves a mention.

Given the recent form of both clubs it was understandable why Rangers were considered the favourites for the clash in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup.

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My view of the afternoons action

As a lifetime supporter of the best team in Ayrshire, I can safely say that this season has been a total shambles, and I was not expecting much from our outing to the Championship club in Govan.

However, around 1500 Killie fans descended upon their famous stadium in the hope that interim manager, Lee McCulloch, could lift the player’s spirits after two horrendous defeats against Dundee United and Hamilton- spelling the end to Gary Locke’s reign as manager.

The opening exchanges were evenly shared with both big Josh Magennis going close with a glancing header and Lee Wallace hitting a shot which was well saved by Killie keeper Jamie MacDonald.

James Tavernier then unleashed a thunderous strike on the edge of the box which crashed off MacDonald’s near post.

Killie did give their vocal support something to get excited about before the half was up though as winger Tope Obadeyi had a long range effort saved. Craig Slater also had a good chance to give Killie the lead just before half time.

It is quite rare for a lower league team to be rated as favourites against a team from the Premiership, but as the game wore on into the second half, it became obvious why this was as Rangers bombarded the Killie defence.

Danny Wilson came closest as he rose the highest for Rangers at a corner kick to head the ball but fortunately for Killie the crossbar prevented the ball going into the net.

With one minute to go Kilmarnock forward Kallum Higginbotham was rightly sent off for a knee high challenge on Tavernier.

However, a couple of minutes later the full time whistle blew to my delight, along with the rest of the Killie fans, as the game finished 0-0.

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Full time (Credit: Kilmarnockfc.co.uk/ Sandy Ferguson)

Lee McCulloch said he was “delighted with the reception” he received from the home fans after spending 8 years at Rangers until the summer.

The replay will take place on February 16th.

Click here for match highlights. 

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

 

Calcutta Cup

This week I have two highlights. At the weekend, the Six Nations started as Scotland and England locked horns in the Calcutta Cup.

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A close up of the famous silverware (Credit- http://www.scotsman.com/ Ian Rutherford)

After a heart-breaking exit from the World Cup last year, Scotland were keen to prove they could continue their fantastic form from the tournament against the auld enemy as a packed Murrayfield belted out the national anthem.

Unfortunately though, the English were victorious.

After a horrendous World Cup campaign on their own soil little over four months ago, England opened up the Eddie Jones era with a narrow 9-15 victory over Scotland.

A category of errors proved to be Scotland’s downfall and as coach Vern Cotter put it, “That game was there to be won and that’s the hard, cold fact”.

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Finn Russell charges at the England defence (Credit- http://www.zimbio.com)

In the first half both teams were pretty even. England scored a try and the subsequent conversion to gain an early lead courtesy of George Kruis and Owen Farrell respectively. Although, the Scots did manage to peg the score back to 7-6 before the halfway mark through the magical kicking ability of captain Greig Laidlaw from two penalties.

In my eyes the strength from the England bench helped them prevail as winners as Scotland failed to take advantage of a few good opportunities.

Jack Nowell sealed the opening round victory for England to make it 12-6 as he scrambled to get the ball over the line after a decent bit of play from Farrell.

Both nations then scored a penalty each. Reliable as always, Farrell and Laidlaw delivered the final points of the game.

Scotland must now wait until next year to regain the Calcutta Cup, having now endured an eight-year absence from lifting the historic trophy.

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.