Australia will have to overcome the loss of two of their players to serious injury if they are to win the third Test against India which gets underway in Ranchi today.
Eyebrows were raised when Marcus Stoinis was called up as a possible replacement for Mitchell Marsh who requires a full shoulder reconstruction and has returned home. Pat Cummins also received a call up when Mitchell Starc suffered stress fractures in his ankle and was forced to head home.
The contentious spot at number six for the Aussies is no clearer with many tipping Glenn Maxwell to get his chance in this Test. At this stage, it remains a lottery.
Former Indian great M.S. Dhoni has reportedly been advising on the preparation of the Ranchi wicket which looks like nothing any Aussie batsman will have ever come across before. Interesting to see who handles the conditions best and who wins the sledging and psychlogical wars in round three. It will certainly make for another interesting Test.
Meanwhile at the Gabba, Adele may have said “Hello” to fans but curators are hoping to say goodbye to AFL for several weeks as they try to revive the damaged Gabba wicket which is on life support.
With the Poms and an Ashes series heading our way next summer it is apparently going to take all Kevin Mitchell Jnr’s guile to breathe life back into the pitch. Perhaps, he can call on M.S. Dhoni for help if he runs into trouble. (Not)
NRL ANYONE’S GUESS
Round two of the NRL has left many tipsters in tatters and several NRL clubs shattered after a brutal and bruising round. We saw more upsets, comebacks, form turn arounds and season ending injuries to many key players. It’s going to be a tough year.
After two rounds the Titans are on the mat floored by injuries. After all the drama the Hayne plane is out of service grounded for several weeks after an ankle injury just minutes into the game against the Knights. He joins many of his team mates in a busy casualty room as coach Neil Henry scrambles to find replacement players for his beleaguered club.
In FNQ, the Cowboys are coming to terms with losing Matt Scott for the season adding to their woes the Jason Taumalolo copped a harsh two-week suspension. Winterstein has a broken arm and Coote has also been sidelined.
The injury list continues for all clubs. On the upside this week, fans will be treated to the much-anticipated return of Billy Slater when the Broncos take on the Storm at AAMI park.
Brisbane and the Cowboys turned on another jaw-dropping exhibition last week with another JT miracle sealing a win for the Cowboys. The game again raising questions about the draw vs golden point. It does seem unfair that after such a quality game only one side gets points after scores were locked up at full time. And so the debate continues.
The Sharks bounced back and showed they have plenty of bite to offer this season. Better performances from the Eels, Bulldogs and Bunnies sunk many tipsters. The Raiders, Tigers and Manly and Warriors were the disappointments in round two, while all of Newcastle celebrated their first win in 19 games.
It doesn’t get any easier this weekend. Expect another block buster to get Round three underway on Thursday night. The Broncos will be seeking to avenge their golden point loss while the Storm are chasing win number three.
SLIPPER HEADLINE ACT
On Saturday, all eyes turn to Rosehill for the running of the 2017 Golden Slipper, and mighty mare Winx is set to take on Chautauqua in the George Ryder Stakes as the Sydney autumn racing carnival kicks up another notch.
Heavy rain in Sydney through the week however may throw all plans and betting into confusion.
As we put the finishing touches on this week’s Spin, the final field and barrier draw for the Slipper has been announced and despite the anticipated track conditions Queensland galloper Houtzen remains an easing favourite ahead of She Will Reign.
Apprentice Reagan Bayliss will be hoping things run in three when he jumps aboard 50/1 shot Madeenaty in the slipper. The Victorian apprentice won his first black type race last Saturday when he guided Redkirk Warrior to victory in the Newmarket at Flemington and then back up by winning the Adelaide Cup on Monday as he celebrated his 20th birthday.
It is hard to go past the favourites, but there is a big chance weather conditions between now and starting time will play a big part. My top four are Houtzen Catchy Frolic and throw in Madeenaty for fun. In the George Ryder just sit back and watch another champion of the turf, Winx in action.
GOLDEN SLIPPER FINAL FIELD
1. PARIAH B Shinn (4)
2. VERANILLO B Abdulla/W Buick (11)
3. TRAPEZE ARTIST T Clark (5)
4. SINGLE BULLET T Angland (3)
5. DIAMOND TATHAGATA G Schofield (7)
6. TREKKING B Abdulla/W Buick (18)
7. INVADER H Bowman (15)
8. MENARI C Brown (1)
9. CATCHY C Williams (8)
10. FORMALITY R Moore (2)
11. TULIP K McEvoy (10)
12. SHE WILL REIGN B Melham (13)
13. FROLIC T Berry (17)
14. TEASPOON Z Purton (14)
15. HOUTZEN J Lloyd (16)
16. MADEENATY R Bayliss (9)
17E. CHAUFFEUR J Parr (19)
18E. SHOWTIME (6)
19E. THE MISSION (12)
BRINGING HOME THE BACON
While dedicated punters will be hunting for the winner of the Slipper on Saturday one of the Southern Downs most unique racing events will take place at the Sandy Creek Hotel.
The popular watering hole will host the seventh Sandy Creek Pig Races, and is expected to draw a record crowd. The event has proved a lucrative fund-raiser for RACQ Lifeflight and the Wheatvale School to bring home plenty of bacon for both organisations.
A seven-event race card has been programmed with the porkers all coming from Noah’s Thoroughbred Racing Pig stable. The starters are well conditioned having recently run in Canberra and Toowoomba. Owner Kevin Kiley said his charges like nothing more than racing in front of a big boisterous crowd. In fact without the crowd support, they are inclined to just amble up the track.
Races kick off at 2pm at the popular establishment of mine host and event organiser Gary Little. Gates open at the Sandy Creek Pub / Course at 1.30pm. As well as the races, there will be plenty of entertainment during the afternoon. Admission is $15 adults, $10 for pre-paid tickets and children $5.
WATTS A WINNER
Sporters stalwart Bob Watts bobbed up for a good win in last Sunday’s event, and in doing so relegated another Sporters regular Jim Mitchell to the runner-up spot. Wattsy also picked up the pro pin to round out a good day. Figuring in the run-downs were another couple of Sporters regulars Angelo Maugeri and Ray Thorn. Paul Byrnes had the best gross and also went home with a meat tray. Dick Hilton held the pin shot, but no meat tray for him. Max Jones was the lucky recipient of the remaining tray. A reminder to all golfers to start making plans for the Maureen Bates Memorial Golf Day (April 9) – Have you planned your team yet?
In the meantime, tee off this week is as normal – between 7.30 and 8.30am
COLTS DO IT AGAIN
Warwick Hotel Colts have forced Minor Premiers Maryvale Condamine into the sudden death Preliminary final this Saturday to decide the make-up of the 2017 Warwick Cricket Grand final.
For the second successive week, Colts downed Maryvale in a nail-biter. On a good wicket, Colts did not get off to a great start, losing cheap early wickets. Lachlan Gross has been a model of consistency throughout the season but Maryvale were celebrating when he was dismissed for only two.
Colts regrouped after the loss of their early wickets. Cam Petersen, Kev Poole and Nick Inmon all batted well with Petersen (44) top-scoring. Colts were dismissed in the 49th over, setting Maryvale a run chase of 199 with most at the ground setting the par score at 200/210.
Maryvale bowler Dave Walker led the way with the ball taking four wickets. There has been little between these two sides in recent games, and on Sunday with a spot in the grand final up for grabs there was plenty of intensity as Maryvale chased the required runs.
Pat Bourke (60) top-scored for Maryvale before he was dismissed when Jacob Gross snatched an outstanding catch. Jason Steketee and Michael Bourke both contributed valuable runs.
Midway through the game, the 199 looked very gettable with the run rate just four an over.
A good spell of bowling from Ben Gross tied up the Maryvale batsmen as they struggled to get him away. In a six-over spell, Gross bowled four successive maidens. He finished with game changing figures of 0/3 from six overs.
In a tense finish, Maryvale needed eight runs off the last over. Dave Walker found himself short of his ground when Kev Poole threw down the stumps to give Colts their passport to the grand final.
Maryvale will be looking to turn their form around when they play Redbacks in the Preliminary final on Sunday.
After several busy weeks, the greens and fairways in Wallangarra were much quieter last weekend. The course is looking as good as it ever has been, but were tough and hitting the greens proved problematic for players. It was no big surprise then that all of the pin shots went begging at the end of the single stroke round.
Brett Thompson played to the conditions better than the rest of the field and returned a winning score for the round. Peter Butler did the best of the rest to claim the runner-up spot and the Captains Stakes went the way of Dennis McMeniman.
ONE STEP AWAY
Redbacks have had a great opening season in the Warwick Cricket competition, and are just one step away from a grand final appearance after defeating Wheatvale last Sunday at Mayhew Oval.
Wheatvale batted first and were immediately on the back foot. A sharp piece of fielding saw Brendan Malone run out off the first ball of the game. Despite another great innings from Paul Cantwell (73) one of their leading batsman, Wheatvale were never allowed to get comfortable against the attack and a steady fall of wickets saw the defending premiers dismissed for 137. Jamie Saunders bowled well, taking three wickets and was well supported by Sam Waetford and Tyhe Clarkson.
Redbacks opening batsman Coen Slatter set the platform for the win scoring 70. With the score past a 100 and plenty of wickets in the shed, the result looked inevitable before Wheatvale hit back with three quick wickets. Chris Cantwell bowled well, taking four wickets in the game. Redbacks however cleaned up the remaining runs to win with five wickets in hand and book themselves a spot in the preliminary final. Standing between them and a berth in the 2017 is Maryvale Condamine. Redbacks will go into this weekend’s game with the confidence that they defeated the Minor Premiers just a few weeks ago.
It will be a big weekend for several of the Redbacks players who, in addition to playing for a spot in the cricket grand final, will feature in the Redbacks AFL team playing in the Cardinal Cup.
NO FAVOURITE FOR PIKE CUP
Golfers in Stanthorpe teed off for round two of the three rounds of the club’s Pike Trophy. The best two of three rounds will ultimately determine the winner of the trophy for 2017. No clear favourite has emerged after the two rounds in either men’s or ladies and ensure the final round will be keenly contested.
Last weekend visiting API golfers joined the local in a single stroke event sponsored by three of the ladies – Kay Webb, Linda Kelly and Margie Locke.
Winner of the men’s section Graham Tonkin had a lengthy wait before he could claim a win in the event. Tonkin played a solid round early in the day and shot a nett 68 score. As the big field returned to the club house, his score was not beaten. Junior golfer Billy Webb and Rob Reeves got closest with a nett 69. It was Webb’s score that held up in the countback for second place. Reeves did pick up the pin shot at three, the pro-pin at 5/14 and a ball in the run down.
API player Neil Plumb held the pin at 12 and John Spiller had the best tee shot at 17. Luke Reardon took the pro pin at 1/10 and a share of the Birdies nest with the winner Graham Tonkin and Les Ison.
Darryl Boekholt claimed the remaining pro-pin at 9/18.
The ladies stroke event was won by Jennifer Sparkes with nett 64. Unfortunately, Jennifer who is not a local only gets to play in limited club events and was thrilled with the win and with her handicap reduction. The Ladies Pin Shots were won by two of the day’s sponsors Linda Kelly held three and Kay Webb 17.
In an unpredictable finish, the result of this week’s single stroke event looks likely to determine the winner of the Pike Trophy in both the Men’s and Ladies Section.
Mark McCosker is the sponsor, and the event will also be for the Nuffield Cup. Tee off is from 11.30am, and there is a time sheet on the board at the club house. By putting your name on the board early, you will be helping those arranging the catering.
CLOSE SCORES IN TANNY TWO
Another entertaining evening on Friday night at Tannymorel Bowls Club as round two of the second Tanny classic was decided.
There was another good roll up, a nice mix of regular bowlers and non bowlers who are fast becoming converts. The weather was excellent and the greens and playing really well and the scores could not have been closer. Friday night’s winners were Fritzy, Venus and TB – but not before a countback ruled out the unlucky team of Wayne Petersen, Neil Rickard and Mick O’Leary.
At the end of the round. TB leads the way with 10 points. Venus and Fritzy are closing on eight points followed by the chasers, Grumpy Mick O’Leary and Wayne Petersen.
It was an evening of mixed scores; Jim Lamb, Myrtle and Grumpy defeated Bretto Grayson Vic Nelson and Dave Butz 15-10.
The eventual winning team of Jason Fritz Venus and TB had a 17-7 win over Geanie Lambert, Sue Butz and Thommo.
In a closer game, there were only two shots between Ant Butz, Tartan and Pete Gynther and opponents Di Walsh Gordie Assay and Geoffro Creighton. Final score 9-7.
The unlucky team of Petersen, Rickard and O’Leary had 17-7 win over Jan Walsham Brian Walsh and Jimbo Rickard not that it did them much good in the points. Venus was once again up to no good giving a lot of cheek, but in between played some great bowls. Vic however did say that he does all the work at home while Venus is at the club practising. If that’s the case, leader TB should be looking over his shoulder this week when round three gets underway on Friday night. A reminder that today Thursday 16/3 is the Tannymorel Monthly Triples. Join in and have some fun.
SEASON OPENER FOR TRL TEAMS
The 2017 TRL competition gets underway this weekend with both the Cowboys and Wattles scoring good wins in their final trial games.
On Saturday night, The Cowboys played their annual pre-season game against Killarney for the Xylon Smith Shield coming away with a 44-4 win. They open their season at Fr Ranger Oval on Sunday afternoon in a replay of the 2016 grand final against Pittsworth.
It will be a good litmus test for the Cowboys who will run out a very different side to the one that went to the grand final last year.
Wattles played Goondiwindi Boars in their final trial game at Platz Oval. The Warriors showed they are going to be a force to be contended with this season scoring a 78-6 win. Wattles were without import Jordan Gale rested to recover from a slight hip injury. It is uncertain if he will step out this weekend in the season opener against Souths which will be played at Wattles home ground on Saturday night.
DOWIE AND RSL DOMINATE
In a dominant performance, RSL defeated Souths on the weekend and are the first side through to the Stanthorpe Cricket grand final. RSL are shaping as warm favourites to take out the 2017 Stanthorpe cricket premiership after their performance.
In the game played on Sheehan Oval, RSL batted first and openers Sam Dowie and Duane Lihou were all class as they smashed the Souths bowlers around the ground. Dowie looked to be in superb touch as he moved passed the century mark. In one over, he took to the bowling of Rosario Ricca smashing four consecutives sixes. Although Dowie (132) was the backbone of the innings, Duane Lihou (37) and Luke Brady(36) also played well as RSL notched up a big total of 260 runs for the loss of only two wickets.
Despite some gutsy batting from Jordan Lanza and Adam Bonner, Souths were dismissed for 108. Duane Lihou backed up a good batting performance taking two wickets.
Souths will now take on Valleys to determine who meets RSL in the Stanthorpe Cricket grandifnal.
In the game on the CF White, Tenterfield easily accounted for Wanderers. Tenterfeild set Wanderers a moderate run chase of 133. Neville Koch (42) was the leading Tenterfield batsman. In reply, there was little resistance from Wanderers batting. Peter Patti (25) top-scored for Wanderers. Sean Merchant was the best of the Tenterfield bowling attack. He finished with four wickets for eight runs. The game marked the end of the 2016/’17 season for both sides.
The Stanthorpe Cricket Association hold their presentation evening this Saturday night at the Stanthorpe RSL.
ALLORA THROUGH TO FINAL IN RESERVE GRADE
The semi-finals of the Warwick Reserve Grade Cricket competition were decided on Saturday.
At Slade, Allora defeated Inglewood in a close game and progress to the grand final. Allora scored 106; Inglewood 102. Good performances from Cooper Tate-Roach (31) and Gav Scheiwe 33 not out helped Allora to their win. Luke Cullen took four wickets and was well supported by Henderson and Bryson who each took two wickets in a tough game.
In the second semi, Allora Rascals set Sovereign a big run chase when they scored 211. Liam Duncan and Joe Morris both posted half centuries. Sovereign were not up to the task and were all out for 68. Good bowling performances from Joe Morris who backed up his 58 with the bat by taking four wickets in a match-winning performance.
Inglewood will play Allora Rascals on Saturday to decide who meets Allora in the grand final.
Australia will have to overcome the loss of two of their players to serious injury if they are to win the third Test against India which gets underway in Ranchi today.