The Last Word: Skilled skulduggery

Tim Southee. Photo from Reuters.
Tim Southee. Photo from Reuters.
In a way, I feel sorry for Andrew Hore.

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 ABSOLUTELY perfect.

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.

Cricket craziness

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.

Ultimate all-rounder

An observant colleague points out Tim Southee achieved something quite special in the second test against Sri Lanka this week.

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 second innings.

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 also-ran status.

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 subject, maybe.

Days later, TV3 announced it was canning Dobbo's late-night sports show.

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.

Hand ball

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 field.

Maniototo kids

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 Cheyan Gibbons-Vowles.

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.

Rugby expands

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 associate members.

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 cricket years.

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.

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