Monday, January 25, 2010

OAMPS $100K Half Court King, Could It Be You?


While working at the NBL Head Office I'm given the chance to write articles for them, one of them being the new competition the NBL and OAMPS are running. I hope you enjoy it and maybe even get down to one of the games to be in the chance.

One of the NBL’s official sponsors, OAMPS Insurance Brokers, is giving a lucky fan a chance to shoot their way to $100000. Over the coming 4 weeks beginning in Perth on the 16th January a fan will be picked out of the crowd to shoot for a minute. From the seven contestants, one lucky person will get the chance to shoot for $100000. The half court shot will take place during the first or third quarter break of Game 1 of the NBL Grand Final Series.

The fan that is picked from the stand at each of the games will be allowed one minute to shoot a maximum of ten shots from outside the key. Anything inside the three point line will be considered two points while outside the three point line will be worth three. The fan that accumulates the most points during the one minute will be awarded the chance to shoot from half court. If there is a tie the winner will be drawn from a hat. The winner will receive flights for themselves plus a guest and accommodation for one night all paid for by OAMPS.

OAMPS was unveiled this year as a new long term major sponsor of the National Basketball League. OAMPS started their association with the NBL a number of years ago with a club sponsorship of the Melbourne Tigers; the company had been so pleased with the arrangement that it made sense to expand to a league-wide partnership.OAMPS Insurance Brokers is a Wesfarmers Company with 850 employees in 28 offices around Australia serving over 120,000 clients. They have operations in the UK and a sister company, Crombie Lockwood, in New Zealand. OAMPS have given someone a wonderful opportunity to win a large sum of money with just one shot of a basketball. This is an opportunity for OAMPS to show their strong commitment to the NBL and their fans. It has been a long time coming for a sponsor to give away a large sum of money to fan at an NBL game. If this one is successful and builds up enough hype around the country then it would be great if the OAMPS half court shootout becomes an annual occurrence.

If you are 13 years or older make sure you get yourself down to one of these games to be in the chance:
o 16 Jan – Perth
o 23 Jan – Gold Coast
o 27 Jan – Melbourne
o 3 Feb – Cairns
o 10 Feb – Townsville
o 12 Feb – Wollongong
o 13 Feb – Adelaide

James Uulin from Perth has recorded 7 points in his quest to be the OAMPS $100000 Half Court King, can you better that? Make sure you catch all the action on Fox Sports.

Lleyton Hewitt V Roger Federer


Here we go again! What's it going to be Hewitt? Another annihilation from the Fed-Ex or is it going to be different this time?

I have one wish, HAVE A FRICKEN GO OUT THERE! Every time Hewitt plays Federer he is the biggest cat. He doesn't play with any aggression at all, and when he shows glimpses of it he looks great. I have a feeling this could be a totally different result then all the other Federer smashings he gives Hewitt. I really think he will have a go tonight. Bright lights, blue court, monster crowd and green and gold everywhere he looks is what is in front of Hewitt tonight at Rod Laver Arena. A chance to meet the winner of Fernando Verdasco/Nikolay Davydenko in the Quarter Finals of the Australian Open is what lies ahead for both players. This year could be it as the Fed hasn't come out in the papers and said that Hewitt is always a fierce competitor, what a load of shit that is! He has a 16-7 record against him, can't be that tough Roger. Federer has not lost to Hewitt since 2004 and has only conceded five sets to the Aussie. I'm still struggling to work out when it has been tough, I think he just likes to give false hope to Hewitt, makes Hewey feel good about himself and then just smashes him.

Will this be Hewitt's last chance to have a crack this deep into the open? I'm thinking along these lines. His days are numbered, and every time he draws Federer he may aswell pack his bags. Tonight is his chance to redeem himself from all the bad games he has ever played against the Fed and what better way to do it then in front of your home crowd. Federer isn't playing his best tennis so coming out strong like Andreev did in the first round could be something Hewitt may choose to do.If I was his coach I'd be telling him to do so, it's the only chance you have against him.If you sit and wait for him to make the errors you are asking for a god damn beating. 

Don't go down wondering tonight Hewitt, play hard and do it for yourself and your country.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Australian Open Begins Tomorrow Morning


The best players in the world have landed on our home soil as they get ready for the first grand slam of the year, The Australian Open. What better way to open the tennis season. Lets hope the Melbourne weather can hold up and produce days where the sun is shining and the fans are able to sit in the stands without sweltering in the heat. It's not just the fans that have to put up with the heat, it's the poor players that have to battle it out in over 40 degree heat. I attended last years tournament and the weather averaged out at 43 degrees with the highest being 45/46 degrees. Who wants to go to the tennis in that heat let a lone play in it. 

The player have been keeping in condition over the last week or two over various tournaments around Australia. The Medibank International which is held in Homebush, Sydney is becoming one of the most popular tournaments in the lead up to the slam. This year players such as Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva, Marcos Baghdatis and Lleyton Hewitt graced Sydney with their presence. I attended the Mardy Fish vs Peter Luczak on the Thursday evening. The weather was great and the match was fantastic both players hitting the ball with so much force and the serving from Fish was outstanding. The problem I find with the Medibank is that they play the marquee matches during the day so that Channel 7 can air it live. The night session costs a fair share of money and you would think that most of the good matches will be played at night or atleast divided up between the day and night. Fair call, right? Oh well it wasn't to be, but all in all a great night. Congratulations must go to Dementieva from Russia who took care of Serena Williams in straight sets and Marcos Baghdatis for beating Richard Gasquet of France in straight sets. 

The next two weeks should be brilliant, I'm very curious as to how our Australians are going to perform this year. Lleyton looks in career best shape but just can't seem to keep the ticks in the win column. He has a favourable draw but will meet Baghdatis in the 3rd round if he gets that far. Marcos beat Hewitt in Sydney, so I'm sure he will want to take some revenge for beating him in his home country. The crowd will be an absolute cracker for that match if it is to take place, I would love to be there! Samantha Stosur has been struggling to say the least to begin the year, lets hope she can get her game back during the opening rounds of the tournament. Jelena Dokic and Casey Dellacqua are crowd favourites and may need that extra help during the week to get them over the line, they've done it before so it wouldn't be new to them if they progress deep in the tourney. Bernard Tomic is another Aussie to keep an eye on, young kid who on his day could cause an upset. 

Personally I don't think the Aussies will do to well but I hope I'm wrong. These are the I think you have to watch for in the Men's draw:
  • Obviously Roger Federer has to be a strong candidate to take out the Aussie Open. He will be around late in the second week and don't be surprised if he is lifting the trophy at the end of the tournament.
  • Andy Murray is definitely a chance this year. He has a favourable draw and will possibly meet Rafa in the quarters in which I consider him a strong chance and then may meet Roddick or Del Potro(if he isn't injured). I think he can go past either of them on his day. Some people may disagree because of his poor grand slam form but I think it could be Murray's year. 
  • My dark horse is Nikolay Davydenko, his form over the last three months has been sensational. A quarter final showdown with Roger Federer could be the match of the tournament come the second week. I am not a fan of Davydenko due to to his match fixing allegations which I do believe are true. Maybe have a little cash on him for the value he is giving.  
On the women's side of the draw there are only a certain few whom I think can take this years title out, they are:
  • Elena Dementieva, he time is now! She has been playing so well over the last year or two and it's time that she won a grand slam. I feel her smashing victory over Serena Williams in Sydney two days ago may give her that much needed boost to get over the line. Her only problem is getting past her second round opponent Justin Henin. A prolific champion during he era, Henin has made a comeback after seeing how well Kim Clijsters went in the US Open. Has there ever been a bigger second round match up? I can't recall off the top of my head but I'd be surprised. 
  • Serena Williams doesn't look to healthy to me and I think we may see an early exit due to injury. It will be a shame as she is a crowd favourite. Let's hope Stosur sticks around long enough to erase those horrible memories of a few years back when she choked in Sydney against Williams.
  • Kim Clijsters is in the hardest quarter of the draw. Dementieva, Henin and Kuznetsova are all high calibre opponents which could knock her off on their given day. Kim is going to have to be on her toes but I'm sure the Aussie crowd will help her along the way. They love Kim down in Melbourne.
I hope everyone enjoys the tennis, have fun if you're going to the Open. Last year I had an absolute blast and I recommend it to anyone that is wanting to go. If you're having a punt on the tennis good luck and I may post a tip or two during the next week or so. 

Tip: Mardy Fish against Andrey Golubev. Back Fish 3-0 at $2.75 or Fish 3-1 at $3.75. Making money either way. Good luck and bet responsibly ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Records Are Tarnished By The Use Of Drugs


Mark McGwire has admitted today that he used steroids during the 1998 season when he smashed the Home Run record. It was a year where three players were on track to break Roger Maris' single season home run record. McGwire, Sosa and Griffey were all batting very well that year and it was an incredible chase, I remember watching when Mark broke the record as I was a big fan, WAS is the keyword here. I can not follow or admire anyone that was/is under the influence of drugs to help them make their game better. It's just not right, and this comes at a horrible time for the MLB who are still reeling over A-rod's and Bonds drug case. I just don't understand why he didn't come out at the time when there was the steriod scandal in the late 90's. Why now?

After accepting the a coaching role at the Cardinals as the hitting coach, Mark admitted to using steriods. "I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era." It's so disappointing and now makes you wonder how many records that have been broken are for real or drug induced? It's a pity that these records will have an asterisk next to it. Sports stars get paid too much money, stop being greedy and start acting as role models for your fans.

This won't blow over quickly and I'm sure will tarnish the MLB season this year. This is a shame but something must be done about drug use in the sport, there are too many cases and noone is getting caught.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Miracle At The SCG


After Ricky Ponting sent his troops into bat and only registered a measley 127 runs things didn't look so great for the Aussies. Pakistans eyes lit up and felt this could be a huge chance to beat the Aussies on their home turf, and so they should have. Any team that dismisses their opponent for 127 runs in the first innings should go on and win. Pakistan held their own with the bat and headed into the second innings with a 206 run lead. It was looking as though Pakistan should go on and win the match and the punters jumped on board, piling large amounts of cash on the Pakkis. Shane Watson aka Bruce Willis (star of the 90's) went about his way smashing 11 fours and 3 sixes on his way to 97 runs before being dismissed. I'm sure you're taught in cricket to get your hand out of the way when moving away from the ball. Australia's hopes to keep the dream alive were slowly dwindling away until 'Mr Cricket' Mike Hussey stepped up to the crease. He was splendid to watch as he kept Australia from being humiliated on their home soil. Hussey's 134 runs and his partnership with Peter Siddle(38 runs) was what gave the Aussies a chance and the Pakkis something to think about.

175 run lead was all that Pakistan needed to chase down. Not much pressure if you ask me considering that they had 2 days to get it. A steady partnership early gave the bookies every reason to give odds of $1.10. Punters however started to get on the Aussie value, prices of $7 and $5 were being thrown about. Once a couple of wickets started to fall the Pakkis looked as if they were crumbling by the second. However 49 runs from Umar Akmal gave them a big shot at still taking down the Aussies. Nathan Hauritz had other ideas and took 5 late wickets cleaning up the tail. The way the wickets fell were quite amazing. The caught and bowled by Hauritz was unbelievable. Mohammed Yousuf absolutely cracked it off the middle of the bat at Nathan who absorbed the hit and took a remarkable catch. Some splendid catches in the field saw the tail drop like flies and gave Australia one of the most remarkable comebacks in test cricket history. I don't think many people would argue with me either?

A couple of questions to come out of the Test match were:
  1. Did Mike Hussey's test century save him from being dropped from the test side?
  2. Is it time for Marcus North to be replaced?
  3. Does anyone believe Pakistan may have been throwing the match in regards to how they set the field against Hussey and Siddle? I mean who has eight men on the ropes against the tail!
  4. How much longer does Ricky Ponting have as the Australian captain? Who will he be replaced by?
Feel free to have your say! I hope you all enjoyed the Test, I wonder how long it will be before Pakistan can come back from this disaster.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Absolutely Loving The KFC Big Bash


Domestic Cricket in Australia has witnessed a cult following in the last week or so. Why one must ask? The KFC Big Bash Twenty 20 competition has brought crowds never before seen at domestic cricket fixtures. It has not dissapointed the large crowds that have flocked through the gates. The Big Bash have allowed teams to lure big name imports such as Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Ross Taylor and DJ Bravo. This is great for Australian Cricket!

Some of the highlights from the first six games are:
  • Chris Gayle's innings in his first appearance for the Retravision Warriors(WA). He was amazing with the bat. He had 40 runs off 16 balls before retiring hurt to what looked like a rib injury. He absolutely smashed everything that came to him, it looked so easy for him. The crowd was so dissapointed when he retired but he came back on when the game was in doubt. Very courageous and showed he was in Australia to win not for a holiday, however he could not help his side to victory.
  • My favourite match of the tournament so far has been the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues vs the Tasmanian Tigers. The opening batsman for both sides were unbelievable. First of all it was David Warner who set the record for the fastest fifty off just 18 balls. Warner finished with 67 off just 24 balls before being run out in a mix up with Phil Hughes. What a bad way to get out when seeing the cricket ball like a beach ball. His innings included 6 fours and 5 incredible sixes. Tasmania could have been facing a 250 run total to chase if Warner had stayed in but the boys in blue managed 195. A great total for a twenty overs innings. The tigers came out firing, Tim Paine had a chance to equal Warners fastest fifty on the same night. His innings was superb apart from the ordinary shot he played to get out. A very entertaining fixture! Hats off must go to young Steve Smith from the Blues who took 4 wickets, he is developing into a great spin bowler now under the watchful eye of The King of Spin Shane Warne.
  • What a thriller the Blues vs Victorian Bushrangers match at the MCG turned out to be. Warner continued his fine form with 40 runs off 20 balls giving the Blues a great start building a healthy 60 run partnership with Phil Jacques whom replaced Phil Hughes who got a late call up to the Aussie Test Team. The Blues gave the Vics a total of 179 to chase down. An opening partnership of 69 by Brad Hodge and Matthew Wade gave the Vics the upper edge early. But with quick wickets taken by the Blues the tide had turned their way. In came David Hussey who smashed 38 runs off 16 balls to put the game in the balance. Victorian import Dwayne Bravo stepped up and led the Vics to an astonishing victory. The crowd of 26000 were certainly treated to something special. There were brilliant catches taken by the Smith boys from the Blues, both of them took remarkable catches on the boundary.
Great tournament so far and I hope it continues to produce exciting cricket. I'm sure they will look to expand the tournament over the coming years as the crowds have been outstanding. Twenty 20 Cricket, will it take over the One Dayers and Test Cricket as the major form of the game.