In a way, I feel sorry for Andrew Hore.
Tim Southee. Photo from Reuters.
No, no, bear with me.
There is no question the All Black hooker deserved a
good-sized ban for his act of foul play in the test against
Wales. No question.
Frustration is never an excuse for whacking a fellow rugby
player in the head. What is?
BUT - again, bear with me - it is impossible not to watch
footage of the incident without coming to the conclusion Hore
was also extremely unlucky.
Swinging arms are, regrettably, quite common in rugby. You
see them often, at all levels. Just this year, Ben Tameifuna
and Quade Cooper each received minor bans (one week) for
swinging arms during the Super 15.
The problem with Hore's swinging arm is that it was
It was at precisely the right height, and delivered with
impeccable timing. It clobbered Bradley Davies in the sweet
spot, and down the big man went.
If Hore had swung a fraction higher, or lower, or slower, the
blow may have glanced off Davies' shoulder, or merely stung
him in the neck. The Welsh lock would have brushed it off and
kept on playing.
All hypothetical, I guess. It was a textbook swinging arm,
and Hore will pay the price.
The Last Word can only echo the thoughts of Notes From Slip
(yesterday's ODT) regarding the inconsistent use of the
Umpire Decision Review System in cricket.
It's embarrassing that a major governing body has not taken
control of the very pressing issue of the use of technology.
It defies belief that some cricket tests - the pinnacle of
the sport, remember - operate with UDRS in play, and others
do not. And it's insane that fans are unsure, series to
series, which countries allow it.
Applying different rules around the world is skewing rankings
and averages. It simply shouldn't be happening.
The International Cricket Council needs to stop obsessing
about finding windows for Mickey Mouse twenty/20 tournaments
and end this technological stand-off.
An observant colleague points out Tim Southee achieved
something quite special in the second test against Sri Lanka
Southee smashed a six off the final ball of the Black Caps'
second innings, declared closed by captain Ross Taylor.
He then took a wicket off the first ball in Sri Lanka's
A six, followed by a wicket.
Has that been achieved before in test cricket?
Open and shut
Another low-key New Zealand Open has been staged at
pretty/boring Clearwater and the usual fluffy noises are
being made about its success.
My opinion hasn't changed. It was a terrible shame the Open
left The Hills, and as long as the tournament persists with a
dull course and a mediocre field, it is embracing its
I haven't seen a mention of the crowds at Clearwater anywhere
but they were clearly miles below what the Open got at The
Hills. And the standard of golf?
That spoke for itself.
A Sobbo story
Ouch. Rough week for Howard Dobson, or, as he has been
imaginatively tagged all these years, Dobbo.
The chirpy television sports broadcaster broke down in tears
in a radio interview after boxer Shane Cameron's loss to
Danny Green. Might have got a little bit close to the
Days later, TV3 announced it was canning Dobbo's late-night
Purely a coincidence?
I can't throw too many stones.
I wept like a baby when North Otago got beaten by South
Canterbury in the 2001 NPC final.
ODT reader David Moir was interested to see our story a
couple of weeks back on Canterbury batsman Will Williams, a
victim of the rare handled-ball dismissal.
Adrian Seconi's story mentioned South African batsman Russell
Endean, the first international player to be dismissed in
such a fashion.
Moir points out Endean was also an international hockey
player, at a time when the curved-stick types were allowed to
stop the ball dead with their hands.
Presumably, Endean's hockey brain told his cricket gloves to
swat the ball away from the stumps.
Further research reveals Endean was also involved in an even
rarer incident. He was the wicketkeeper blocked by Len Hutton
when the English great was given out for obstructing the
The future of Otago sport is in good hands if you consider
our secondary schools roll of honour (Wednesday's ODT) any
sort of barometer.
What a remarkable range of champions, high achievers and
representatives in all those different sports.
Our apologies to the good folks of the Maniototo, whose Area
School pupils were accidentally omitted.
Congratulations to New Zealand schools curlers Holly Thompson
and Josh Whyte, the two school curling teams that finished in
the top three in the country, and lugers Elle Steele and
Name of the week
A Tasmanian cricketer named Ben Dunk has made a promising
start to the season.
Weird he didn't choose basketball, right?
Got to be one of the great sporting names out there. As good
as golfer Stewart Cink, though not quite as good as
footballer Peter Crouch, all 2.85m of him.
Who said rugby wasn't a global game?
The International Rugby Board has welcomed the United Arab
Emirates Rugby Federation as a full member union.
The UAE has been fast-tracked to full membership following
"significant advances". Hmmm.
Apparently it has 1300 adult players and 4600 under-age
players, and runs a seven-team domestic competition.
There are now exactly 100 full members of the IRB, plus 18
Birthday of the week
Arjuna Ranatunga is 49 today.
The former Sri Lankan cricketer, now a politician, was an
influential batsman and captain in his country's formative
Famous for being quite generously proportioned, he is also
the answer to a great quiz question: Name the bowler who
dismissed Martin Crowe for 299 at the Basin Reserve.