Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Best Bet Summer Special' - The Ashes 2009 with Betfair

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of my guest betting blog. In the second part of my 'summer special' I am switching my attention from rugby union to cricket, and focusing on the current Ashes series between England and Australia.

The Aussies, are of course holders of the famous urn, after their 5-0 whitewash down under in 2006/07. Not that you would think that if you have been following the media circus surrounding this iconic 'cricketing battle.'
The British media seemed to have conveniently forgotten about 'that' series and before a ball had been bowled in anger this series, every broadcast and journalistic column inch had instead been devoted to that famous summer of 2005, when England regained the Ashes for the fist time since 1989.

To the current series:
The opening test in Cardiff re-created some of the spirit of 2005, especially on the last day as Monty Panesar and James Anderson clung on to secure an unlikely draw for England.
It got even better at Lord’s as England buried a 75 year hoodoo to go 1-0 up in the second test of this five match series.

England’s hero on that dramatic final day at the home of cricket, Andrew Flintoff, has announced his retirement from test cricket after this series. Will he go out on a high? Can we grasp the Ashes back from the clutches of the Aussies?

Here are the latest Ashes odds:

Who will win the Ashes?

Australia 11/4 England 5/4

Series score:

England to win:

4-0 54/1 3-0 16/1 3-1 19/1 2-0 8/1 2-1 9/2 1-0 12/1

Australia to win:

3-1 14-1 2-1 9/2

Drawn series:

1-1 4/1 2-2 6/5

Top series run-scorer:

Andrew Strauss 3/1 Ricky Ponting 7/2 Michael Clarke 5/1 Simon Katich 9/1 Paul Collingwood 11/1 Alastair Cook 14/ Brad Haddin 14/1 Michael Hussey 22/1 Philip Hughes 49/1

Top series wicket taker:

Mitchell Johnson 5/6 James Anderson 5/1 Ben Hilfenhaus 4/1 Andrew Flintoff 7/1 Nathan Hauritz 9/1 Peter Siddle 10/1 Graeme Swann 12/1 Stuart Broad 27/1 Graham Onions 41/1 Brett Lee 69/1

Series Specials:

Will there be a hatrick in the series? Yes 15/2 No 1/18

Will there be a double century? Yes 5/2 No 1/3

Will someone get ten wickets in the match? Yes 6/1 No 1/14

My 'best bet' prediction’ for Ashes betting:

I have to admit at the outset I thought the Aussies would come out on top. Though Ricky Ponting’s men are not as formidable as they once were, due in part to the retirement of cricketing legends such as Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Langer and Gilchrist, the Aussie's should not be underestimated.
But with the advantage now lying with England I did wonder whether I should change my mind. However without the likes of Simon Jones and a firing Steve Harmison I just don't think we have enough in our bowling attack to consistently take 20 wickets a test, especially with the continuous doubts surrounding the extent of Freddie Flintoff's knee problems.
On that basis I am going to be very unpatriotic and predict a 2-1 Australia series win at 9/2.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Feilpe Massa

It goes without saying that all fans of Formula One motor racing, myself included, along with everyone directly involved within the sport itself, in whatever capacity, wish Felipe Massa a full and speedy recovery following his accident at the weekend.

In the second round of qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix the Brazilian was struck on the helmet at high-speed by a suspension spring that had fallen from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn.
He subsequently crashed head on into a tyre wall.
After about five minutes Felipe was removed from his wrecked car, taken by ambulance to a waiting medical helicopter, and flown to hospital.

Massa's father, mother and pregnant wife have flown in to Hungary from Brazil to be at his bedside.

His condition at present has been described as 'severe but not critical' after surgery on his fractured skull in Hungary.

At this time all our thoughts are with him and his family.

Get well soon Felipe!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today's Latest Transfer Gossip

With the 2009/10 football season almost upon us, transfer speculation as you would expect is rife up and down the country, and also abroad as Clubs swoop for those last minute additions to their squads that could make the difference between a successful campaign and a poor one.

Real Madrid, Tottenham, Arsenal, Fiorentina, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Hull, Fulham, Napoli, AC Milan, Espanyol, Aston Villa, Bolton, Everton, Ipswich, Doncaster, Swansea, Newcastle, Sunderland, Marseille, Bristol City, Manchester City, Sheffield United and FC Dallas are all caught up in transfer gossip today.

Is your Club involved?

Here is a round up:

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp still wants to sign Real Madrid striker Klass-Jan Huntler, however, the Dutchman will have to drop his £90K a week pay demands - Daily Mail

Tottenham have made a £6m bid for Newcastle's French defender Sebastien Bassong - Daily Express

Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue, is a £9m target for Fiorentina and several Spanish clubs - Daily Express

Liverpool's Spanish defender Alvaro Arbeloa is expected to join Real Madrid next week in a £4.5m move - The Sun

Meanwhile Liverpool are in talks with Napoli to offload Italian defender Andrea Dossen - Daily Mirror

Portsmouth will replace Peter Crouch with Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic, if the former leaves Fratton Park - Daily Star

Pompey are also on the verge of of completing the signing of former Liverpool defender Steve Finnan from Espanyol - The Sun

Bolton have completed the signings of Aston Villa defender Zat Knight and Hull full-back Sam Ricketts on three-year deals for a total believed to be in the region of £6m -, ESPN Soccernet, EatSleepSport

Hull are interested in signing Sol Campbell from Portsmouth, but Pompey have slapped a £2m price tag on the 34 year old defender - The Sun

It seems nothing is straightforward at the KC stadium, with Hull City target Bobby Zamora now stalling over putting pen to paper on his proposed transfer from Fulham, for a fee believed to be in the region of £5m -

Fulham have joined Everton in the race to sign £3m rated Sweden international midfielder Rasmus Elm, 21 - Daily Mirror

Everton boss David Moyes is considering a move for Hull defender Michael Turner - Daily Mail

Manchester City striker Ched Evans has moved to Sheffield United for £3m. The 20 year-old Wales international has signed a three year deal for the Blades - Daily Star

Doncaster Rovers have offered a trial to former Manchester Utd midfielder Quinton Fortune - Daily Star

Bristol City want to sign USA striker Kenny Cooper from FC Dallas for £2m - The Sun

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Classic Sporting Moment - Rugby Union

With the footy season still a few weeks away from being in full swing, and following the tremendously exciting three match test series between South Africa and The British and Irish Lions recently, I thought I would take a little time out to reflect on one of the many fantastic moments the game of rugby union has seen over the years.

There are and have been as you would expect many exciting and dramatic occassions over the years: England's World Cup Final victory in 2003, care of Johnny Wilkinson's infamous drop goal in the dying seconds of extra-time, or Johah Lomu's single handed destruction of England in the 1995 World Cup quarter-final or perhaps Jerry Guscott's last minute drop goal to win the previous Lions series in South Africa back in name but a few.

The list is mouth-watering and literally endless!

However I am going to go back 36 years to the 27th January 1973 to be exact, and the venue The Arms Park, Cardiff. I feel this piece of rugby nostalgia is right up there not just as a great moment in rugby history, but as an 'all-time classic sporting moment' in its own right, made as famous it has to be said by the commentary of the great Cliff Morgan, as much as for the skill and teamwork applied to produce an end result of epic proportions - that took just 23 seconds to complete from start to finish.

This is Cliff Morgan's commentary word for word, followed by the link to the moment itself:

"Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff! Phil Bennett covering. Chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant, oh that's brilliant! John Williams, Bryan Williams. Pullin. John Dawes, great dummy. To David, Tom David, the half-way line! Brilliant by Quinnell! This is Gareth Edwards, a dramaric start, what a score!"

Now watch Gareth Edward's try for The Barbarians against The All Blacks in 1973.

If you were lucky enough to have been at The Arms Park that day, or even to witness it on television it has almost become a Neil Armstong, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon type moment.........everybody knows where they were when they heard the news or watched the event!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

After-Dinner Sports Tales - Chris Coleman

This month is my third installment of humorous after-dinner sporting tales, as told by current or ex-professional sportsman.
In May I wrote about an after-dinner tale as told by ex-footballer Rodney Marsh, last month was the turn of the former England rugby international and British Lion Wade Dooley.

Today I am returning to football and a man who is currently plying his trade as a manager, following a successful stint as a player.
Welsh international footballer Chris Coleman was born in Swansea, started his playing career at Manchester City as a trainee before moving back to his hometown club in South Wales, where he went on to made 160 appearances. He left Swansea for Crystal Palace in 1991, where he spent 4 years with the South Londoner's, and during that time won the first of his 32 caps for Wales. He left Palace for Blackburn in 1995, before joining Fulham two years later.

However, Coleman's playing career was prematurely ended after he broke his leg in three places following a horrific car crash in Surrey in January 2001.
Following managerial stints at Fulham and Real Sociedad, Coleman has been charge of Championship side Coventry City since February 2008.

Here are two amusing excerpts from a speech made by Chris at a sporting dinner.

"While I was playing for Crystal Palace, we were 3-0 down at half-time and the manager Alan Smith flew into a rage during our team talk. Sitting next to me was my team-mate Richard Shaw, and next to him a table with tea and sandwiches on it.

During his moment of anger Alan Smith threw a cup of tea at the wall and up-turned the tray of sandwiches, one of which landed on Richard's head. He was so afraid, he sat there for ten minutes with the sandwich still on the top of his head until Alan Smith left the room!"


"During the same team-talk our goalkeeper Woody (Andrew Woodman) was coming in for a bit of stick from Alan, who unstrapped his gold Rolex watch from his wrist and dangled it in front of Woody, saying, 'You'll never own one of these son, because after a performance like that, you'll never go any further in the game.'

With that he lobbed the watch at Woody to catch, who nervously dropped it on the floor!"

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

C.P.F.C Pre-Season 2009 - Fixtures, Results and Scorers.

Thurs 9th July: Boreham Wood 0-4 Palace, Meadow Park.
Palace goalscorers: Maric (Trialist), Ertl, Djilali, Thomas.

Monday, 13 July: Crystal Palace XI 5-2 Crystal Palace FC USA, Regency Furniture Stadium, Waldorf, Maryland, USA.
Palace goalscorers: Lee, Flores 2 (both o.g's), Sears, N'Diaye.

Thurs 16th July: Harrisburg City Islanders 1-3 Crystal Palace XI, Lancaster's Clipper Magazine Stadium, Pennsylvania, USA.
Palace goalscorers: Sears, Ambrose, Danns. Watch the goals here.

Tue 21st July: Brentford 2-2 Palace, Griffin Park.Palace goalscorers: Ambrose, J. Fonte.

Fri 24th July: Bristol Rovers 0-3 Palace, The Memorial Ground.
Palace goalscorers: Sears, Danns (pen), N'Diaye.

Sat 25th July: Sutton Utd 0-2 Palace XI, Borough Sports Ground.
Palace goalscorers: Wright, Pinney.

Tue 28th July: Palace 0-1 Norwich City, Selhurst Park.

Wed 29th July: East Grinstead Town FC 0-6 Palace XI, East Court, East Grinstead.
Palace goalscorers: Pinney, Scannell, N'Diaye, Cadogan (2), Thomas.

Thur 30th July: Bromley 0-1 Palace, Hayes Lane.
Palace goalscorer: N'Diaye.

Sun 2nd August: Palace 0-1 Gillingham, Selhurst Park.

Friday, July 03, 2009

‘Best Bet Summer Special’ - English & Irish Lions Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello and welcome to my second 'Best Bet Summer Special' focusing on the British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa.

I hoped I would be writing this with the series still in the balance ahead of the third and final test this weekend.

However after the Lions' painful (in more ways than one) defeat last Saturday, culminating in the loss of the series to the hosts, Ian McGeechan's men will be desperate to wrestle back some pride and go out on a high following the controversy and heartbreak of the opening two tests.

Here is a quick review of the first two matches:

First Test: Durban, 20th June

South Africa (19) 26
Tries: Smit, Brussow Cons: Pienaar 2 Pens: Pienaar 3, Steyn
Lions (7) 21
Tries: Croft 2, Phillips Cons: Jones 3

A sluggish start from the Lions in Durban allowed Springbok John Smit to go over for an early score to help South Africa build a commanding 19-7 lead at half time. Shortly after the break the Boks' further extended their lead to 26-7.
However the Lions fought back when Tom Croft went over for a second time with twelve minutes remaining, before a late Mike Phillips try set up a tight and tense finish.
But in the end the Lions had simply left themselves too much to do, and the Springboks held on for a narrow victory.

Second Test: Pretoria, 27th June

South Africa (8) 28
Tries: Pietersen, Habana, Fourie Con: M Steyn 2 Pens: F Steyn, M Steyn 2
Lions (16) 25
Tries Kearney Con: S Jones Pens: S Jones 5 Drop-goal: S Jones

Heartbreaking, agonizing, brutal, ferocious, merciless - any or all of those words could describe the manner of the Lions' defeat in the second test. They led until the 74th minute before a contentious Jaque Fourie try was duly converted, nudging the hosts in front. Stephen Jones' well-taken penalty levelled the scores with only three minutes remaining, but Morne Styen's thumping 53 metre penalty with the last kick of the game sealed the win and the series for the Springboks.

There was plenty of fall-out from the defeat, with Schalk Burger (yellow carded in the first-minute of the match for eye-gouging) and subsequently cited, found guilty and banned for eight-weeks as television footage showed Burger's fingers 'making contact with the face in the eye area' of Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald.
Bakkies Botha will also miss the last Test after being banned for two weeks for dangerous charging. Botha was suspended for a challenge on Adam Jones which left the British and Irish Lions prop with a dislocated shoulder and his tour over.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was widely condemned for initially defending Burger's actions before, somewhat unsurprisingly, changing his mind.

Third (and Final Test): Johannesburg, 4th July

Betfair has a variety of rugby bets on offer for the game on Saturday. Here are a few to get you started:

Match odds:

South Africa 1/3 Lions 4/1 Draw 39/1

First scoring play:

South Africa Try 9/2 South Africa penalty 7/4
Lions try 7/1 Lions penalty 85/40 Drop goal (either team) 10/1

Winning margin:

South Africa under 12 points 15/8 South Africa over 12 points 11/8
Lions Under 12 points 5/1 Lions over 12 points 11/1
The Draw 39/1

Race to ten points:

South Africa 1/20 England 5/4 Neither team 19/1

My 'best bet' prediction:

It has been a long and gruelling tour for the Lions and I have a feeling they will be determined to take something tangible from the experience.
I predict a narrow win under 12 points for the Lions at rugby odds of 5/1.
This would mean my earlier prediction for a 2-1 series win to South Africa at odds of 5/2 would also bear fruit.