Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Below Average SportsBlog #7

Well May has come and gone near enough gone and I've not been updating my blogs of late too which is my fault for a few reasons. Podcasting and a trip to Chicago are the main reasons.

We will look back at the last few months of sporting action and we’ll turn to football first and since the last blog I posted back in January it has saw the domestic side of things come to a conclusion. In the Premier League it saw Chelsea completing a double in Jose Mourinho's second season back in charge at Stamford Bridge as first off he won the League Cup beating Tottenham back in February and then won back the Premier League title for the first time in Six years. The Blues were very much deserving of the league title this season as the table doesn't lie and saw Chelsea notch up more points and stayed unbeaten against their title rivals in City,United and Arsenal.

Manchester had for the last few seasons dominated the title scene in English football with both City and United lifting the league crown and forced the other sides into playing catch up. Both had up and down seasons since the turn of the year with United at point getting some form back towards the back end of the season and saw them looking like  their old selves as the made a late charge for the title something that they were famous for during their dominant seasons.

City carried on their inconsistent form in which the only thing that was consistent about them in the season. City threw away so many 2-0 leads at an alarming rate over the year that it was the worse lead in football for the Blues as games against the likes of Sunderland, Aston Villa and Swansea saw go from 2 up to 2 all as they proceeded to hit the self destruction button and let their opponents back in the games. However the blues were normally able to find a vital late goal in these tight games to see them just get out of jail on more than one occasion..

A lot of questions will be asked in the off season about the goings on in the background with the Etihad Stadium club. After the ongoing saga over Yaya Toure and the way the whole drama was played out between player & agent which saw the ridiculous incident of ‘Cake-gate’. The phrase 'defense wins titles' so looking at the table you can see that wasn't the case for the Citizens, with them conceding more goals than any of their title rivals.

City's Central Midfield was ropey and lacking in any drive going forward or direction as Toure who had been a lynchpin in the title winning season for the blues saw Manuel Pellegrini using him as a defensive midfielder and it hurt the side in my view.
Player of the year for me seemed cleared cut for me but when Toure was named as the shock winner it had me thinking how on earth James Milner didn't win was a mystery!

Milner who has been a complete model professional about the whole uncertainty of the Yorkshireman's future at the club had Pellegrini in some quarters of media not giving Milner the credit he has deserved, as he had for a majority of the season the standout performer in the team and always gave 100% to the cause.

Chelsea led the league from start to finish almost and although they aren't the most attractive team to watch, they do get the job done and that facts don't lie, in which the outcome was a league championship.


Turning to Cricket and it has seen signs of improvement within the England side ahead of the Ashes with Australia this upcoming summer. As the last couple of months has seen the ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board) suffering some turmoil, what with the sacking of Peter Moores as England coach (again!) and then saw the quick appointment of Andrew Strauss being given the top job in the English Cricket. Following the appointment there was then a Public outcry over Strauss's decision NOT to welcome back Kevin Pietersen to the England fold after there was alleged promises from within the senior members of the ECB big wigs to bringing him back in the squad.

On the field and England faced New Zealand in a two-match series at Lords and Headingley. England started the series off in the worst possible way as on day one they found themselves in deep deep trouble at 43-4 after losing Debutant Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, captain Alistair Cook and Ian Bell all fairly cheaply.
However a rescue effort by Joe Root 'YORKSHIREMAN' saw him scoring 98 and a good knock by Ben Stokes of 92, saw them both helping England recover along with Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali providing back up down the order.

New Zealand in reply to England's 389 scored a massive 523 with Kane Williamson scoring a masterful 132 to help the Black Caps bypass the hosts and try to exert pressure of their own. Martin Guptil and Tom Latham gave the tourists a brilliant start to the innings, as the opening pair put on a 148 run stand for the opening wicket before two quick wickets with Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali dismissed them both.
Ross Taylor and Brendan McCullum kept the runs coming for New Zealand which gave them a first innings lead of 134.

England in 2nd Innings scored 478 with the return to form of captain Alastair Cook and saw him top score with 162 with Joe Root giving him support with 84. Ben Stokes came to the crease and scored the fastest hundred at Lords in test match history making 101 from 92 balls to see England's innings roll on and giving them hope of getting a result.
New Zealand found the run chase difficult after England set them the target of 345 for victory. Instead it saw their hopes of chasing it down vanish very quickly with the loss of three wickets, with both openers going without scoring and then when Taylor, Williamson and McCullum all departed too it really made for a tall order for the Black Caps to get back into the game at 61-4.

BJ Watling and Corey Anderson then kept out the English bowlers to see New Zealand survive till mid afternoon, but eventually England broke up the partnership and saw them go through the rest of the tail to win by 124 runs in the 1st Test.


The series then headed up North to Yorkshire and to Headingley in Leeds in particular, where England were hoping to seal their first series win since last summer against India. The hosts got the perfect start getting Tom Guptil and Kane Williamson out early and had the Black Caps scorecard reading 2-2. Tim Latham remained at the crease and had Ross Taylor to help him as their mini partnership got NZ moving long again and rebuilt. Brendan McCullum then scored a quick fire 41 to see the tourists onto 123-4 and England's attack was bowling very well on the Leeds pitch.

Tom Guptil and Luke Ronchi helped New Zealand move from 144-5 to 264 for 6, as Guptil's innings came to a close at 84 and without him the tourists really would have been in danger. Ronchi departed on 88 and with the tail wagging it had Matt Henry and Trent Boult both playing cameo innings as they finished on 350 all out.
England in reply saw their new opening partnership blossoming well, with Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth on his home ground putting on 177 for the first wicket stand, after Cook was out LBW to Craig for 75. Lyth was next to follow after he was run out for 107 and got a standing ovation by the Headingley crowd as he headed back to pavilion.

Gary Ballance another Yorkshire player in the England side, saw him score his best score since the West Indies series a couple months back as he made 29,while the third member of the White Rose nation saw Joe Root out for 1.
England collapsed from 238-3 to 267-8 with only Stuart Broad fighting back after he scored a quick 46 from 39 balls,before he was bowled out and saw England finish level with New Zealand scoring 350 themselves.

Second innings saw Tom Guptil making 70 runs with Ross Taylor adding 48 and then Captain Brendan McCullum scoring 55 as NZ by built a lead of up to 262. BJ Watling then put the Black Caps in complete control of the match with a well played 120, when Joe Root took the catch off James Anderson's bowling to dismiss him.
Once again failure to get the tail out saw vital runs come and had the three tailenders score a combined total of 110 to see them finish on 454-8 declared.

England needed to bat out two days and with the rain helping their cause out on day 4, it saw Cook and Lyth at the crease come day 5. Sadly though as England tend to do historically at Headingley, saw the hosts collapse and handed victory to NZ with only 6 players making double figure scores with Lancashire's Jos Buttler top scoring with 73 and ended in New Zealand levelling the series at 1-1 ahead of the one day internations. 

New show will be back soon! 


Monday, 2 March 2015

The BELOW AVERAGE SPORTCAST# 26'. Another Wildcat joins the fold

The Below Average Sports Cast #26 - Another Cat Joins the Fold

This episode Joe 'Scuttsy' Scutts, Mark 'The Angry Budgie' Woodcock and I are joined by special guest Ben Callaghan another Wildcats fan ( taking over the show now!!)  We divulge sporting topics like:

The Six Nations Rugby Union, Football chat, Cricket World Cup round up and we marvel at how Fantastic England have played.NOT!!  Besides that there is the Macclesfield Town update from Mark and look back at the EPL Ice Hockey and some rumors.

Predictions are back and where i hope to claw points back and avoid wearing a Swindon jersey at Playoffs. And the show is done ALL IN THE BEST POSSSSSSIBLE TASTE!

INTRO music from )


Friday, 2 January 2015


Well firstly, i will apologise for not doing a couple of blogs over the last 2 months and i will try to keep up to date with these entries from now on. With the last blog entry coming back at the end of October time, we`ll try to make up for lost time and cast our minds back to when Christmas wasn`t in the fore front of people`s minds at that period and we look back to the early stages of November.

 Over the last two months in Rugby Union we`ve saw the European Champions Cup reaching its conclusion to the group stages and saw some interesting couple of rounds in the tournament too.  On the International side of things, we saw the traditional Autumn Internationals taking place, where the Northern hemisphere sides face the best of the Southern hemisphere and where there was a few eyebrows raised from those games.
Changing from the Oval ball to the Round ball variety and on that front the Champions League threw up a couple of entertaining game towards the end and in the Barclays Premiership the League is starting to take some shape now as we embark on a New Year. 

Cricket wise saw a sombre month for all concerned in November time and also saw England travelling out to Sri Lanka for a Seven ODI`s as both side warmed up for the Cricket World Cup upcoming next year in 2015.
Ice Hockey has seen it  become virtually a foregone conclusion to the English Premier League championship (EPL), but we`ll look back it and see how the league has gone.

Hmm Scrummy..

The European Champions Cup continues on and has seen its fair share of good games in the competition this term. Round 3 saw the English Aviva Premiership sides all come out on top against foreign opposition, with Bath and Wasps winning in France beating Montpellier and Castres with both hitting the thirty points barrier in their respective matches.
The two stand out results in the round came in the shape of Harlequins and Leicester Tigers, as ‘Quins’ defeated the Pro 12 League champions in Leinster Rugby 24-19 at the Twickenham Stoop, while up in the East Midlands Leicester welcomed the powerhouse of French Rugby and the current European holders in Toulon to Welford Road.

Owen Williams roared in the match up and in turn earned his stripes for the Tigers, with him kicking Six Successful penalties and kept their hopes of qualification ongoing as they came out 25-21 victors. Ulster kept their slim hopes alive of going through too, with a 24-9 win at Kingspan Stadium over the Scarlets as they ran in 4 tries with Darren Cave, Ruan Pienaar and Irish Internationals Tommy Bowe and Rory Best going over as well.

In the return games from Round 4, it saw Bath once again triumph over Montpellier with England international Matt Banahan scoring a Hat Trick of tries to see his side to a 32-12 win.
Glasgow failed to capitalise on Toulouse conceding a fair few penalties in their reverse fixture, as Finn Russell missed a trio of kicks while his opposite number Sebastian Bezy, he made Four kicks to see the French side steal victory 12-9 in Glasgow. English champions the Northampton Saints welcomed Italians Treviso to Franklins Gardens and saw them absolutely destroyed by the Saints, with the home side romping to an 11 Try victory in which Ken Pisi and Samu Manoa both picked up Hat Tricks in the demolition of the Italian team, as the hosts shut out Treviso 67-0.

Leinster got revenge back in Dublin on Harlequins, as they won 14-13 as a penalty by Ian Madigan proved crucial in the final ten minute to see the Irish side claim victory. Toulon returned the favour to Leicester as they beat the Tigers 23-8, with Leigh Halfpenny slotting over three penalties, along with his side scoring two tries in the win.  Sale Sharks was unable to keep it closer in their return game with Saracens, with the home side prevailing 28-15 after penalty trouble was their downfall in the meeting at Allianz Park.


November also saw the traditional Autumn International series taking place over the month, in which it pits the European Nations against the force of the Southern hemisphere sides and as i mentioned saw some eyebrow raising games.
England faced without doubt their toughest task of all the games in the month with the daunting visit of the World Champions in the All Blacks to Twickenham. However it started well for the home team, with Johnny May scoring an early try. Dan Cruden replied back for New Zealand and had Owen Farrell kicking a couple of penalties to make sure England just stayed in front of their foes at the break going in 14-11. New Zealand dominated the second half of proceedings, with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw on his 100th appearance for his side and saw him leading from the front, as he crashed over for a try in the opening minute and also saw Charlie Faumuina go over to see the visitors lead 24-14. England got a Penalty try and conversion, but it was too late for a comeback and lost their opening game of the autumn 24-21.

Wales and Australia played out a thriller at the Millennium Stadium with the lead swapping four times in the game, as neither side gave an inch to one another ahead of their World Cup meeting this upcoming year in Cardiff.  Rhys Webb put the Welsh in front early on, that was before two tries by Christian Folau put the Aussies in front at 14-7. Alex Cuthbert then went over and with Halfpenny adding the extras for the home side, it was all square again.  Kuridrani then scored for the Wallabies to move back out to 7 point lead, but back came Wales and Alun Wynn-Jones who gave the Aussies back line in the British Lions series of 2013 a tough time, and was doing so again as he went over to see the sides level at 21 a piece at the break. Folau then kicked over two penalties and a deciding Drop Goal Seven minutes from time, which just gave the Australians just enough of a lead to take victory 30-28.

Scotland and Argentina played out a 41-31 score line, in which saw the Scots victors after tries by Richie and Jonny Gray, Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour helped the hosts hold out to a win. Despite a valiant fightback by the Pumas, it wasn`t enough to deny the home side after Argentina battled back from 31-10, to get it down to a Ten point loss. Tries by Javier Desio Ortega, Tomas Cubelli and a Penalty try saw Argentina making it a game of it in the end and earned them a lot of plaudits.

The Six Nations champions in Ireland pulled off a great win at the Aviva Stadium, as they defeated South Africa 29-15 after tries by Tommy Bowe and Rhys Ruddock gave the Irish the lead. The Springboks replied through Marcell Coetzee and JP Pietersen at the end of the game, However the difference was the kicking in the match with Ireland`s Jonny Sexton slotting over 13 points with the boot and a saw a sole Ian Madigan kick proving the vital aspect in the game.

The Following week saw Wales labour to victory over Fiji with a 17-13 win, as George North and Alex Cuthbert scored tries for the Welsh along with a Penalty try for the hosts, while Nemani Nadolo scored a try for the tourists and kicked two penalties in the loss.

Scotland loss to New Zealand up at Murrayfield, as a heartbreaking late try by Jeremy Thrush overcame a battling Scottish side. Victor Vito gave the All Blacks the lead in the contest, till Tommy Seymour responded for the Scots. It became a kicking duel between Greig Laidlaw of Scotland and Dan Carter for the All Black, in which saw them match each other kick for kick, till the late try by Thrush to nick the win.

France scored a big win over Australia at the Stade de France, where as they defeated the Wallabies 29-26 with Camille Lopez being ‘Les Bleus’ hero with Four successful penalties from the boot, while Christian Folau struck four penalties and two conversions for the Aussies. Quade Cooper and Australian Captain Adam Ashley-Cooper went over  for the Gold shirts, but Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Teddy Thomas scored for the hosts in the thriller and edged the out of form Australians to victory.

England`s autumn of discontent continued on, as the visit of South Africa to Twickenham saw the Springboks exposing frailties in the hosts line up and that was shown clearly, when a poor pass by Danny Care was intercepted by Jan Serfontein and he ran it back the full length for a try.  Cobus Reinach then scored another for South Africa and put the hosts in deep trouble.  Victor Matfield then committed a blatant foul during a maul in which saw his actions earn him a yellow card and saw David Wilson and Ben Morgan score tries to see England close the gap with the man extra, but the two tries papered over the cracks in truth. Schalk Burger scored a third try for the Springboks and England had the last word with Brad Barritt going over a minute from time to see the hosts lose two successive games in a row on home soil in a 31-28 loss.

England`s next game saw them face Samoa and it was seen as gimme by some but it was far from that. The sporting media was saying nothing less than hitting the 50 points barrier would be good, England though never remotely looked close to getting that at all.  Johnny May scored a brace with his first coming midway through the first and in then grabbed his second sandwiched in between a Mike Brown effort. Stuart Lancaster gave a start to Bath`s George Ford, after Owen Farrell was moved elsewhere in the line up to accommodate Ford. Ford in the rain did himself no disgrace at all, with three kicks and two conversions in the 28-9 win.  After the game England and Samoa players came together to unite in the middle of the pitch with the Samoans, as the Samoans have had a lot of serious problems from within their own Rugby federation over a number of disputes still ongoing now.

Wales faced the All Blacks and saw them torn apart by the World Champions in the final ten minutes of the game, to lose 16-34 as the New Zealand side ran in three late tries with Beauden Barritt scoring twice and Kieran Read as well in what was disappointing ending to the game for the Welsh, as they looked on course to overcome their hoodoo of the Championship sides.

Ireland rounded off their year with another massive scalp of Australia as they edged it 26-23 at the Aviva Stadium. It started off fantastic for the Irish in the opening quarter of the game, with tries for Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo seeing them lead 17-0 and that was when the Aussies came back with a vengeance. It saw Three straight tries for the Aussies, with Nick Phipps going over the white wash twice and a Bernard Foley effort to saw the Wallabies level at 17 all.  Foley then gave the Aussies a 20-17 lead with a penalty he converted on, but three penalties by Jonny Sexton in the second half, saw Ireland overcome their opponents and defend their lead for a major boost ahead of next year`s World Cup.

Scotland defeated Tonga 37-12 with the Scots grabbing five tries in the victory, as efforts by Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Geoff Cross and Blair Cowan saw them all going over the white wash, while Greig Laidlaw kicked 12 points in the win.

The final Internationals of 2014 saw Wales FINALLY defeat a serious Southern Hemisphere side after 22 previous unsuccessful efforts and also 15 years since their last win over the Springboks, to win 12-6 in a tough contest that came down to a kicking duel between Pat Lambie and Leigh Halfpenny. It saw the Welshman come out on top with four kicks to three over his opposite number in the gritty Eighty-minutes of the contest.

England had one last chance to pick up a confidence boosting victory heading into an important 2015 for the side. England faced their old enemy in Australia and saw Bernard Foley kick the Aussies in front, till two penalties by George Ford put the hosts in front and had Ben Morgan grab a try for England to see them lead at the break. Foley then scored for the Australians before Morgan claimed his second try of the game, till Will Skelton replied three minutes later to see the home side lead lead cut to 20-17. Ford then kicked over a penalty to move 23-17 ahead and saw Brad Barritt go for repairs as his White shirt was stained with claret as he gave Blood, sweat and tears of joy for his team in the game.  The last word came to the hosts, as with Australia pushing for last gasp win score they instead conceded a penalty and Ford drilled it over for a 26-17 win and maybe a psychological boost ahead of the sides meeting later in the year in the Group phrase of the World Cup in 2015.


At the time of typing this, Chelsea lead the way in the Premiership after 19 games gone in the  league as the West London side have kind of gone about their business quietly, but Jose Mourinho has always been on hand to remind people that Chelsea are still about. The Blues have dealt rather easily with their games this year though, despite a couple of slip ups along the way that has kept the league mildly interesting, a 2-1 loss to Newcastle up on Tyneside and a goalless draw in Sunderland saw them not enjoying their travels up the North East much this year. But with a trio of 2-0 wins, that run was halted the other day by Southampton as the Saints held them a 1-1 draw at St. Mary`s with Southampton playing out the end of the match with just 10 men.

For Manchester City, it`s been a weird season for them as they have relied on certain players and they have then gone to pick up injures soon after. Vincent Kompany and David Silva have had lay-offs this season with Ankle and Leg injuries, they have also had Sergio Aguero being their saviour so far as he has scored a majority of the goals for the Champions.  Fellow strikers Edin Dzeko and Stefan Jovetic have struggled to find the back of the net all season so far and keeping fit too, so with City trying to keep pace with Chelsea, it saw a disastrous incident in their match against Everton in the which the early embers of the game saw Aguero injured his ligaments stretching for a ball and has been sidelined ever since.
This has seen City playing James Milner in a ‘False 9’ position and been asked to go up front for the Blues as they have played with no recognised striker in their line up due to injuries to them all. City though have come together and battled through it all like champions and with wins at Leicester and West Brom. They recorded home victories against Everton and Crystal Palace, before their last game against Burnley saw them a great chance to cut the gap to one point. City being City then managed to implode after going 2-0 up and came mighty close to losing the game altogether, as Burnley took a point in 2-2 draw and were unlucky not to take all 3 as well.

Meanwhile across the City, United have seen them gain some form of late, as they have remained unbeaten since losing the derby to City back in November. Despite a dull 0-0 draw with Tottenham on the road last game, Injuries have hampered their season too, with Falcao not playing much with a troublesome knee problem. Robin Van Persie hasn`t really played anything like he has done over the past few seasons and has seen Wayne Rooney seemingly dragging his team mates through the bumpy parts of the season.
They`ve took some points off their rivals this season too, with wins over Southampton and Arsenal and also took a late draw against Chelsea in the middle of October. There biggest highlight has been the thrashing of long-time bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford, in a 3-0 win that will have delighted their fans for sure.

Liverpool have had a torrid season so far and looked a big shadow of their former selves, as the loss of Luis Suarez has been a hole not filled at all. Liverpool brought in some good players to try and make up for the loss, but no one has fired at all for the club all season and that includes Steve Gerrard too.

Looking towards the bottom end of the table and in some ways is far more interesting than the summit normally, it`s a case of 12th place to 20th being separated by just a meagre 8 points. Leicester City occupy bottom of the table currently and haven`t won a game since beating Man Utd 5-3 a few months back, Burnley are gaining some form of late and sees them level on 16 points with Crystal Palace and Hull City.  West Brom and QPR are always going to be hovering above the trap door, Sunderland are 7 points from the relegation places and you can bet they`ll be doing their damndest to try and chase down their local rivals in Newcastle who sit in 10th spot just 6 points from them. It`s fair to say also that the league will become a more exciting one, once we hit March Madness time and when the business end then arrives and sees sides scraping for their Premier league survival.


Tragedy and England ODI woes 

The back end of the 2014 was not a happy one for all concerned in the Cricketing family, as Australian test batsman Philip Hughes tragically died at the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) when playing for South Australia, when the Test batsman took a blow to the back of the neck when trying to avoid a bouncer from Sean Abbott of New South Wales. The blow caused him to collapse at the crease and had all players rushing to get treatment quickly and saw that particular game abandoned due to the incident.

 The Bad news broke 2 days later, that Hughes had lost his life just three days before he was due to celebrate his 26th Birthday and saw Australia as a country grieve over the shocking news and the hardest person to deal with the shock death, was not that in his family, but that of Abbott.  The fast bowler will have the unfortunate claim, that it was his delivery that killed a friend and is one bowling claim that no one should have against them.

 Hughes`s family told the media down under, that no blame should be attached to him at all over the incident and that it was fluke incident that took place. At the funeral it`s self,  Abbott was given a warm hug by the family of Hughes as it was a distressing time for both him and the Hughes family over the event.

Australia retired the number 64 in memory of Hughes and also adjusted his final innings to read ‘Not Out’ instead of ‘Retired Hurt’. It saw Australia put their 1st Test versus India back a bit and so when they played the opening Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, he was listed as 13th Man in the squad as special reminder and also had players on both sets of teams wearing P.H on black armbands and his Test number of 408 being painted on the field too.

Back onto the on field action, and England was hammered unsurprisingly when they travelled out to Sri Lanka to face them in a 7 game series and saw the Sri Lankan`s take the series 5 games to 2.  Prior to the series taking part, questions were asked about Alastair Cook and his captaincy in the One Day format as if his poor performances back home in the summer against India wasn`t enough to say he was the wrong man to lead England to the World Cup, then this proved without a shadow of a doubt he was clearly not up to the job of doing it, with him lacking any ideas or field placing It didn`t help matter either when the Captain was unable to field and contribute to the Batting, after the series Cook was sacked by the ECB and replaced with Eoin Morgan as Captain.


The English Premier League title seems pretty much done and dusted for this season now, as the Big spending Telford Tigers are sweeping all before them and i won`t get in business of how they have gone about their business this season, as that would go one for a long time.  Telford currently leads the league by 13 points ahead of nearest ‘challenger’ the Peterborough Phantoms in second spot and have won 22 out of 27 games, with 3 losses in regulation and 2 in overtime or a shootout.

If you take the Tigers out of the running, then the rest of the league is pretty darn exciting to watch. As from 2nd place to 8th it is all separated by just 9 points in the table and can see Milton Keynes Lightning in the final playoff spot easily go on a winning streak and could soon find themselves into second place, that is how tight the league is this year, with the exception of Telford.

Swindon Wildcats and Peterborough have been the shocks of the EPL this year, with them finally breaking the top normal 4 sides and giving everyone a run for their money too.  The Wildcats are currently on a 9 game winning streak and have surprised all in the league and have even blanked the Tigers twice this season, once on the road and once at home and if you can do it twice, it isn`t a fluke and that is a mark of a good side. Joe I’m sure will wax lyrical about his ‘Cats’ when he posts his new blog entry, but for me Swindon have gone the right way about things, without really needing to throw money and pay over the odds for players on big wages.

Manchester have been a big disappointment for me this season, as being a Phoenix fan myself the team have frustrated and flattered to deceived at time. They have took ages to gel or even get some cohesion within the side going. Imports Michal Psurny, Frankie Bakrlik and Robin Kovar have shown flashes of their form last year, but have all been pretty average so far.  New Import signing Johan Burlin has been the most disappointing Import in the league by far, as his positioning has been awful and gets caught out far too easily and would be interesting to see his +/- on the season, as i feel it will be deep in the minus part.

Thank you reading this far down and hope to make it not so long Next time!!


Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 25: Rugby, Football, Speedway and Hockey

This edition Mark, Scuttsy and Peter discuss Rugby Union in Aviva premiership and Autumn internationals. 

Football, Ice Hockey with Joe loving speaking of Swindon`s win over Manchester ( Chuffing Booo!!) 

Speedway update and PREDICTIONS.. With Joe leading the way so far as Peter hopes to avoid the Wildcats jersey..


(INTRO music from )

Listen Here for the ShowLISTEN HERE


Prediction Table.. so far

1, Scuttsy   - 5

2. Mark       - 3


3. Peter      - 1   

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 24: Rugger, Footy, Hockey & Predictions

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 24:

Welcome to the new episode where we or should that be 'ME' looks back at the start of the new European Rugby Cup, as we review the opening 2 rounds from all 5 pools.

There is Football news looking at the Premier League and Macc Town.

Hockey also gets an airing with English Premier League and National Hockey League getting the podcast treatment.

As well as that, we have the return of the Predictions league. as we guess aimlessly at Rugby, football, tennis, F1 and NFL


Contact the Show:

TWITTER : @BASportCast 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Below Average SportBLOG #6 - The Un-American American Sport Report

Since the podcast is a predominantly English sporting podcast lets mix it up and see how things are going in the sporting world across the pond, three of the major leagues are up and running at the moment, Baseball is currently coming to its conclusion with the World Series, the NFL is half way into the regular season and the front runners for the Super Bowl in February are coming to the fore, the NHL has started with some interesting teams leading the way in both conferences while the NBA is waiting in the wings starting tonight.

Major League Baseball

A season that started all the way back in April is coming to its thrilling conclusion as the San Francisco Giants take on the unfancied Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series, after 6 gruelling months, 162 regular season games it has come down to just 7 games to decide who is the league champions. Kansas City came through the American League claiming a wildcard spot to qualify for the playoffs after finishing just behind division rivals Detroit Tigers while the Giants were in a similar situation in the National League qualifying for a wildcard behind the much fancied Los Angeles Dodgers. The Royals reached the World Series first beating the Oakland Athletics in the one game Wild Card round a game they came back from 5-0 down to win 9-8 in extra innings thanks to a walk off (Game Winning hit) single from catcher Salvador Perez. After just squeaking through the wild card they went to LA to take on the Los Angeles Angels who were the preseason favourites to win the entire playoffs, in the end the Royals swept them 3-0 winning the third and final game in Kansas City 8-3 to keep their postseason alive. The sweeps kept coming for the Royals after they beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 in the American League Championship Series winning both games 3 and 4 2-1 in low scoring defensive battles to send them to their first World Series since 1985. Meanwhile in the National League the San Francisco Giants went through an eerily similar process, in the Wild Card round the Giants went into Pittsburgh and destroyed the Pirates winning 8-0 thanks to a grand slam by Brandon Crawford and a shut out by pitcher Madison Bumgarner. In the next round they faced off against the much fancied Washington Nationals and won the series 3-1, the highlight of the series being an 18 inning, 6 hour marathon in game two that the Giants won 2-1. As the National League Championship Series rolled round and with the Giants rolling they went through the St Louis Cardinals winning 4-1 with victory coming in the best possible fashion as Travis Ishikawa blasted a three run home run in the last inning to send the Giants to the World Series.

Game 1 of the World Series kicked off in Kansas's Kaufmann Stadium and the Giants turned up to put an end to the Royals 8 win streak in the playoffs after winning 7-1 primarily thanks to three runs in the first inning for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner had another fantastic pitching display before giving up his first run in the playoffs to a Salvador Perez home run after keeping a shut out going for 32 innings. In Game 2 the Royals came back the next night with a 7-2 victory thanks to a big 6th inning which saw them score 5 runs to level the series before heading off to San Francisco. Game 3 and the series was flipped on its head as the Royals took the series lead following a 3-2 victory, the Royals tried and tested formula of good pitching and fantastic defence that saw them into the postseason handed them a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 saw the Giants fight back this time winning 11-4 thanks to some big hitting from Pablo Sandoval to kickstart the Giants defence. This passed Sunday Game 5 saw Madison Bumgarner pitch the first complete game shutout in the World Series for 11 years as the Giants beat the Royals to take a 3-2 series lead back to Kansas City for Game 6 where the destination of the title could be decided tonight if the Royals win tonight the series will go the distance with Game 7 being this Wednesday night.

National Football League

8 weeks into the NFL season and if you believe Sky Sports or anyone in America the Denver Broncos have already won the Super Bowl thanks to their 6-1 start to the season, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning broke yet another record this time for most touchdowns in NFL history beating the previous best by Brett Favre with his 509th career touchdown pass against the San Francisco 49ers. Elsewhere in the AFC the New England patriots have bounced back from a poor game against the Kansas City Chiefs to win 4 straight games to sit atop the East division, the North division is the closest with all 4 teams separated by just one win with the Cincinnati Bengals currently leading. In the South the future London franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars are holding up the rest of the division with a 1-7 record but are not the worst team in football this year as that honour belongs to the Oakland Raiders who are yet to win a game and do not look like breaking that duck any time soon. In the NFC the surprise of the season has been that last season's champions the Seattle Seahawks appear to be struggling with a 4-3 record in the West behind surprise division leaders the Arizona Cardinals, in yet more surprises the hotly tipped New Orleans Saints have been poor but to be fair so has the rest of the South division with no one having a winning record. The Eastern division is being led by "America's Team" the Dallas Cowboys thanks to some record breaking running from DeMarco Murray but the Philadelphia Eagles are hot on their heels, the North is quickly becoming a two horse race between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers with the teams still to play each other in a potentially division deciding game in the last week of the regular season.

This passed Sunday saw the second of the London games this year as the Detroit Lions just edged out the Atlanta Falcons in dramatic fashion. The Falcons started the game in the best possible way as they drived 80 yards down the field for the touchdown as Matt Ryan hit Devonta Freeman for the 7 yard touchdown pass, Atlanta then doubled their lead when Matt Ryan found tight end Bear Pascoe in the back of the end zone to give them a 14-0 lead, as the Lions carried on having a bad start the Falcons kept scoring as Steven Jackson pounded the ball in for yet another touchdown and the Falcons a 21-0 lead at half time. Then the Lions finally got their act together as an early field goal from Matt Prater started the fight back, following a Falcons punt the Lions continued their march and saw the play of the day as quarterback Matt Stafford dropped a 59 yard bomb into receiver Golden Tate's hands. The wheels really fell off the Falcons wagon when a Matt Ryan interception was capitalised on by the Lions for another field goal to cut the lead to just 8 points, while the Falcons offense continued to stall the Lions kept going and with a 7 minute 13 play drive marched the ball down the field yet again and Matt Stafford hit Theo Riddick for another touchdown and breaking the Detroit passing record for most touchdowns by a Lions quarterback but a failed two point conversion by the Lions made the score 21-19 to the Falcons. Atlanta tried and failed to run the clock down and gave the ball back to the Lions which lead to a controversial finish, starting at their own 7 yard line the Lions moved their way into the Atlanta half and left themselves with 4 seconds to kick the winning field goal Matt Prater stepped up but as the play clock expired the whistles went just as he kicked it for him to shank it wide right and give the Falcons the win.... or so they thought, the referees met and as the whistles had gone before the ball was kicked a redo was ordered from 5 yards further out, so Prater readjusted himself went again and struck the retry straight down the middle to give the Lions the 22-21 victory to the dismay of the Falcons and a lot of the NFL pundits.

National Hockey League

The NHL season is just getting into its stride and the surprise package in the Eastern conference has to be the New York Islanders and their top goal scorer Brock Nelson which has jumped them to top spot in the Metropolitan division ahead of yet another surprise team in the New Jersey Devils. In the Atlantic division the Montreal Canadiens have jumped out to an early lead thanks to the fantastic goaltending of Carey Price and their typical brand of hard defence. The Western conference has its own surprise package in the Calgary Flames as Jonas Hiller appears to have settled right in and made the Flames a contender in the stacked Pacific division. The reigning champion Los Angeles Kings bounced back from an opening night defeat to the San Jose Sharks and have racked up 6 straight wins to lie second in the division. Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars currently leads the league in points just two seasons after he was let go by the Boston Bruins for not scoring enough points, while the league lead for goals is currently shared between Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and the often heavily criticised on the show Rick Nash of the New York Rangers.

National Basketball Association

The new NBA season kicks off tonight when reigning champion San Antonio Spurs face off against the Dallas Mavericks in the battle of Texas, all eyes will however will be on Cleveland on Thursday night as they kick their season off against the New York Knicks with their heavily stacked roster and the return of the king as Lebron James returns home to win an NBA title for his home town Cavaliers. Much was made in the off season when James decided to leave the Miami Heat and the Cavaliers have rewarded him by giving him the best possible starting 5 to play with, even better than the one he left the Cavaliers for in Miami some 5 years ago, Kyrie Irving is a future hall of fame point guard and with Kevin Love they also have the best rebounding power forward in the league. Although in theory this season could quite possibly turn out to be similar to Lebron's first in Miami where the side qualified for the playoffs but didn't progress any further even though the Eastern conference is rather weak. Meanwhile in the West it is a three horse race between the perennial under achievers in the Los Angeles Clippers, the seemingly always the bridesmaid Oklahoma City Thunder and the ageing San Antonio Spurs with names like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics look set to miss out on the playoffs for a second straight season.

So there ends another batch of waffle hopefully you will hear another show soon before another whip round  by the three of us on the interwebs

Joe Scutts
Southern Correspondant

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Below Average SPORTBLOG #5 - Silkmen and Coyotes

The good thing with writing a column for Peter's B.A.S.C ( Below Average Sport Cast) is it allows me to concentrate on something other than the Manchester Phoenix. I do love the Phoenix, hell...I’ve been a season ticket holder throughout the Phoenix existence! The BASC allows me to indulge a little in my other two sports teams, Macclesfield Town in the amazingly named, Vanorama Conference and my beloved Arizona Coyotes. 

This column is written about a month after my first attempt so we are well into the Conference season and the NHL has finally swung into action. 

The Silkmen March on! 

So a month down the line and the Silkmen have continued their good start to the conference season, since my last posting, as they have played another 8 games and still only recorded 3 losses. That is quite an incredible bit of form for Macc, given the fans (and my own) pre-season predictions of a year of struggle. The Silkmen have registered 28pts from their 17 games so far and currently sit in 7th place just below Bristol Rovers, amazingly just 2 pts outside of a playoff place, which is currently held by Forest Green Rovers and I really don't think you would have found any Macc Town fan that would have predicted that at the start of the season. A huge part of the season so far for the Silkmen, has been their form at the Moss Rose and currently they are yet to lose a home game and remain one of three teams yet to lose on home turf. Stand-out players so far have been Luke Waterfall who is on loan from Scunthorpe United in defence, and who has been rock solid at the back playing all but one game so far. Wade Fairhurst is the other player catching the eye so far, as since returning to the Silkmen he has scored four goals so far. 

With Phoenix being my first love, I do not have much spare sporting ££'s free, so I pick and choose my Macc Town games and last Saturday was the first Silkmen game of the season that I managed to get to. In truth, it was quite a spur of the moment thing, but I went to the Moss Rose, to take in Macclesfield Town v Dover from the Brewtique stand (editorial note: Fancy name). The two clubs had only played each other about a month ago, before the usual return fixture where your games versus one opponent are done and dusted, but it rare to face opposition home and way, so early in the season. That game down by the White Cliffs finished 1-0 to the Silkmen, thanks to a 77th minute goal from Chris Holroyd.
So going into the game the Silkmen were fancied for the win and would want to keep their fine home form going. Macc managed to control most of the game, creating quite a few near chances but not too many guilt edged chances. Rhys Taylor did not have a huge amount to do in the half really. Into the second half where Macc would attack their own fans in the Brewtique stand and had them up their game in search of a goal.  That goal then came, after some great play to release Holroyd down the right flank, as speeded towards the box before he put in a great cross which evaded most players on both sides, but Paul Lewis was in space on the six yard line and calmly slotted the ball into the near corner. As Dover searched for an equaliser in the game, it became quite open but the Silkmen held on for another 1-0 victory and their second against Dover this season and saw Macc continuing their unbeaten run at the Moss Rose. 

The standout player for me and someone who rightly got the MOM was Adriano Moke, a tricky little winger with great speed and good ball control. Moke was the source of much creativity and attacking for Macc Town and is a player who could be key for the Silkmen this season if he is able to stay fit.
Next up for the Silkmen, is a home FA Cup tie at the Moss Rose against Wrexham. This should be a good `un, as the FA Cup has been kind to the Silkmen in recent years. Great cup runs have helped fill the Moss Rose and injected much needed ££'s into club coffers too. I'll be there this Friday (24th Oct) in the Brewtique stand. It'll be a tough game and a game that could threaten the home record, as both clubs know how important cup runs are at this level, so fingers crossed it will be a Good Friday night under the lights at the Moss! 

Mixed fortunes for the Coyotes 

The NHL season is off and running, with fans across the UK getting used to late nights once more in order to catch their teams in action. As of writing this, the Coyotes have opened the season with a 4 game home stand at the Gila Arena, against the Jets/Kings/Oilers and Blues. It`s been a frustratingly inconsistent start for the Coyotes, made all the more frustrating by being in the Pacific division which is a super competitive division in the Western Conference. I said on the last B.A.S.C podcast that, although a season is not made or broken in October, a poor start can leave you behind the 8-ball for most of the season and on reflection, a 2 and 2 start when you face both the current Stanley Cup champions and the St Louis Blues, could be considered an OK start. Though i`d have wanted to make more of the home stand though and get a few good wins under the belt to start with. 

The season got underway against the Winnipeg Jets and after a summer of build up to opening night, it was quite the let down. Poor team D (seems a regular thing for my teams who play on ice!) and poor goaltending, led the Jet's hammering the Coyotes 6-2. When your goalie admits to being 'not comfortable' on the ice, you know your team is struggling. Opening night was a downer too, with the following Saturday night facing the Stanley Cup winners the LA King's and would have to be better. With Dubnyk starting in goal for the first time, the Coyotes got up for the visit of the Kings and secured a 3-2 OT win over the Champions. It was a great win against an excellent team and one who could retain the cup this year. Midweek the Oilers rolled into Glendale, still searching for their first win and after Saturday`s win against the Kings, the Coyotes mostly clicked against Edmonton and got a big 7-4 victory on a night, where the offence clicked and the defence was there or thereabouts! So, off the back of two wins, the Coyotes faced the Blues last weekend and........were hammered 6-1. Smith struggled all night, but the loss can't be hung totally on him as according to Dave Tippett (Coyotes Coach) too many players were below their best and If that happens in the NHL, let alone the western conference, you will lose 99 games in 100 playing like that!  So a 50% win rate off the opening home stand and a case of should have been better, but could have been much worse. The Coyotes now head off on the road to face Nashville and Minnesota, before returning home to take on the struggling Florida Panthers. 

So that's it for now, we will speak again in a month and where hopefully the Silkmen will have started another FA Cup run and the Coyotes will be putting together a good run of form. Fingers crossed!