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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sport Sunday

Aussie Football Training Days

In Australia, the first big weekend of the new Football season is going off in grand style.  The season started with the inaugural match on Thursday night, but Saturday was the big day, and action continues today. The opening round of the AFL season was eventful to say the least, and fans were enthused, despite being upset that the AFL official website could not handle the traffic and crashed, also in grand style.  After an hour of the start of the games, the website was back up and running, but live scoring updates were anything but...  Nonetheless, Saturday's games could not have been better for a return of the action.  Melbourne pulled off their first win against St Kilda in over 10 years, Port Adelaide shocked the Swans at the Sydney Cricket Grounds, Essendon came back after their saga of controversy and Brisbane narrowly fended-off a fighting Suns pack in a final second thriller.  Remaining for hungry AFL fans are Sunday's three matches. 

In the United States, in NCAA Basketball Action, yesterday and today see the selection of the Final Four candidates, to be contested next weekend.  The Zags won convincingly over Xavier yesterday, meaning Gonzaga will continue their recent tradition of final four appearances.  Oregon put an end to Kansas' hopes yesterday as well, and advance to the finals.  Today UNC and Kentucky meet as well as Florida and South Carolina, to determine the other two teams in the Final Four.

India measured up well in day one of their fourth test in Australia's Tour of India.  In day two action, they are currently trailing...  In other International Cricket action, the South Africa tour of New Zealand continues with their 3rd Test at Hamilton.  The 3rd test started yesterday and continues until March 29th.  Bangladesh continues their tour of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh winning their 1st ODI yesterday at Dambulla, by 90 runs.  Today, in the Pakistan tour of West Indies, these national teams meet in their  1st T20I contest at Bridgetown. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Toweling off

Dave Williams
Leo Stronda
Javier Cabrera
Jerdani Kraja
Raciel Castro
Tyrone Nell
Lukas Eibeler
Marco Valdes
towel slid down 
dropping on the 
pool deck floor 
back muscles 
rippling as water 

Timor Steffens III

India and Australia in mortal combat: Saturday Sport (also FIFA, NCAA)

International:  Soccer (Football) League play is suspended this weekend in almost all countries.  This allows soccer stars, no matter their team or where they play, to return home to play for their national teams. 
This weekend will see the early selection rounds for countries to be chosen to play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be contested next (2018) June and July in Russia.  So, no Arsenal or Paris Saint-Germain, no Bayern or Roma or Real Madrid this weekend.  As for prospects on national team play this weekend:  wave your own flag, too early for this blog to speculate.  

In the USA:  Elite Eight action begins today in the NCAA Basketball playoffs.  This collegiate tournament has brought plenty of action and excitement, whether you prefer to call it the big dance or March madness...  Kansas, Oregon, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky have this Elite Eight sounding like a Miss America pageant, but Catholic schools Xavier and Gonzaga have held out too, and will play each other today for a spot in the Final Four.  Last night, in the final game leading to the Elite Eight, Wisconsin tied Florida with two seconds to go, to send the game into overtime.  No spoiler alerts here, you will have to watch the game you recorded or check the net for your results.   

In India:  If ever there was a year to follow Cricket, this might be IT. This year, Australia's tour of India has not been a ho hum affair, and all is on the line for the start of today's Fourth Test, India v Australia, in a stadium in the remote mountaintop locale of  Dharamsala.  A few weeks ago India's players probably expected the fourth Test to be a festive occasion in a picturesque locale, completing a marathon home international season with the completion of a comfortable series win over Australia.  But ...  Instead Dharamsala plays host to a match that will be anything but valedictory.
Australia has fought India all the way through the series, having started with a stunning upset in Pune, and now find themselves needing only a draw to go home with the trophy. India, by contrast, have had to dig particularly deep to avoid defeat, first getting decidedly scrappy in Bengaluru, and then fighting hard, getting injured, doing all they could to escape with a draw in the third test in Ranchi...  Virat Kohli, India's spectacular team Captain, has been injured and his season has tragically ended....  In a series that has hit plenty of heights, the mountaintop locale of Dharamsala seems as fitting a place as any for the fate of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to be decided.
Australia beating India IN India?  Can it happen, what was that they said, thrice in fifty years?  We shall see, all Australia needs this week is a draw and it will have done so.