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match coming when goalkeeper Craig Gordon was North Queensland 0-2 Brisbane Roar forced to pull off a wonderful save to deny Zat Knight Gold Coast United 0-0 Central Coast on the stroke of half time.

Cricket The victory saw Sunderlqand climb above the visitors into sixth place on the table as they gave a joyful crowd of 35,101 something to cheer about and go home happy on what was a bitterly cold afternoon. The rounds only other fixture saw manager less Blackburn held 1-1 by bottom club West Ham at Ewood Park.

Sheffield Shield South Australia v Victoria South Australia 168 and 218 Victoria 306 and 81/2 Victoria won by 8 wickets Tasmania v Western Australia Western Australia 108 and 255 Tasmania 258 and 106/0 Tasmania won by 10 wickets

Substitute Junior Stanislas earned West Ham a priceless point with a 78th-minute strike which was nothing short of a deserved equaliser for the Weekly International Results struggling Hammers. West Ham was the more creative side, and they got their reward when Stanislas Basketball – NBA fired an unstoppable shot into the far corner. Dec 18 Philadelphia 97-89 Orlando Earlier in the match Rovers captain Ryan Nelson put Miami 95-94 Washington the home side in front with a scrappy goal just after New York Knicks 102-109 Cleveland half time. LA Clippers 100-99 Chicago Utah 95-86 Milwaukee Both sides had chances to win it as both pushed for a late winner in what was an entertaining affair. Morten Memphis 106-112 San Antonio Minneapolis 113-115 Denver Gamst Pedersen was the most likely to find the breakthrough as he almost caught out West Ham goal Golden State 95-96 Portland Dec 19 keeper Ruud Boffin with an audacious 40-yard freeIndianapolis 88-99 Boston kick. The Norwegian also had the final chance at the Atlanta 82-89 New Jersey Nets end with another set-piece from the edge of the area. LA Lakers 120-110 Toronto This time he sent his shot marginally the wrong side New Orleans 108-111 Detroit of the far left post. Houston 102-93 Sacramento Phoenix 113-110 Oklahoma City The point was not enough to lift West Ham off the bottom of the table but they did close the gap to within two points of 19th placed Wolverhampton.

Football

NFL Kansas City 27-13 St Louis Buffalo 17-14 Miami Cleveland 17-19 Cincinnati Jacksonville 24-34 Indianapolis Houston 17-31 Tennessee Washington 30-33 Dallas Philadelphia 38-31 New York Giants Arizona 12-19 Carolina Detroit 23-20 Tampa Bay New Orleans 24-30 Baltimore Atlanta 34-18 Seattle New York Jets 22-17 Pittsburg Denver 23-39 Oakland Green Bay 27-31 New England

A League, Week 19 Adelaide United 1-2 Melbourne Heart Wellington 4-0 Newcastle Melbourne Victory 2-0 Perth Glory

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Results Basketball NBL Round 9 Gold Coast 93-81 Townsville Adelaide 36ers 81-77 Sydney Kings Wollongong 85-89 New Zealand Cairns Taipans 56-51 Townsville Melbourne Tigers 80-90 New Zealand Perth Wildcats 87-84 Sydney Kings

The Weekly Sports Wrap By Troy Tobin

20/12/10

What sports do you want covered? Everything from local to international have your say. Please write in: weeklysportswrap@hotmail.com

National

Ashes Watch What a difference a day can make! On the first day of the Third Test the Ashes seemed to be well and truly all over! England had it in the bag! Well that’s what most people thought, even the most one eyed Australian supporter wouldn’t have believed that Australia would have got themselves out of the dangerous position that they were in at lunch on the first day. How did it all turn around? Well let’s have a look at what transpired in an action packed, three and a bit days of test match cricket. The Australian selectors decided to take a huge gamble just before the start of the Test Match when they chose to leave out Western Australian spinner Michael Beer as they opted to go for a four man pace attack. Many commentators and analysts were left scratching their heads as to why a front line spinner wasn’t selected, however the tactic proved to be a master stroke as the four quicks did the job, destroying the English side for a combined total of 310 runs in two innings. England won the toss on the first day and decided to bowl on what was a bowler friendly, grassy pitch. Andrew Strauss’s decision to send the out of form Australian batsmen in, proved to be the correct one as Australia’s faltering top order once again failed to deliver the goods.

Australia found themselves to be at one stage 5-69 and in all sorts of trouble as a loss in this match would have meant England retained the Ashes. It was only for the brilliance of local hero Mike Hussey and in form wicket keeper Brad Haddin, who both dug deep in fighting knocks. The two managed to steer the ship and make Australia’s first inning total a respectable one as the two both hit stylish half centuries in a counter attack that was much needed for the Australians. Australia eventually staggered to a first innings score of 268 which was very reminiscent to their first innings display in Adelaide when they were once again bowled out on the first day with a below par total. The Australian’s needed something special from their bowlers to get back into the contest and didn’t that happen! England looked quite comfortable in the start of their first innings, they looked like they were going to bat themselves into a winning position as Strauss and Cook put on 78 for the first wicket. Australia needed something special and up stepped the much maligned Mitchell Johnson. The selectors took the gamble on the out of form quick after dropping him from the Adelaide Test and then deciding to not play him in Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield match during the week. Instead they opted to work with him in the nets to try to re discover his form. Whatever the coaching staff did in the nets worked a treat, as the left arm quick was back to his devastating best. In a venomous spell that had aggression and pace Johnson had the ball on a string, ripping through the English top order. Johnson ended up with figures of 638 and Australia dismissed the old enemy for just 187. It was refreshing to see it wasn’t just the bowling that had improved, it was much more noticeable that the Australians had the old aggression and swagger which was once a characteristic that separated them from the opposition. They were much more up for a contest as


they were very vocal and in the English batsmen’s faces. Many Australian’s are saying that December 17 was the day that the Ashes finally got under way. After having a surprising 81 run lead in their first innings Australia clawed their way to a second innings total of 309. In what was once again a concern, Australia’s top order once again failed as they had to rely on the ever reliable Mike Hussey to resurrect the innings. Hussey played an immaculate and almost flawless innings of 116 which saw the Western Australian merciless on anything that was bowled short to him, dispatching the ball to all sections of the WACA with text book pull and cut strokes. In five innings this series, Hussey has amassed a staggering 517 runs at a sensational average of more than 103. And to think that many cricket pundits were calling for Hussey's head, claiming the 35-year-old was almost finished at the start of the series. Imagine if Hussey wasn’t selected for the First Test! The Ashes would more than likely be all but over. The tourist required a mammoth total of 391 for victory in their second innings to retain the Ashes. Their chase got off to the worst possible start as they found themselves in all sorts of trouble at 5-81 at stumps on day 3. It was an inevitable Australian victory as the crowd only got to witness 50 minutes of action on day four as Ryan Harris, the chief destroyer claimed 4 out of the 5 final wickets, picking up a bag of 6 and running through the English batsmen in their bleak total of 126. There is no doubt that there was a massive improvement in Australia’s bowling department and the selectors decision of choosing four pace bowlers was the right decision. The pitch did help and contribute to Australia’s bowling demolition as the WACA pitch was back to its old bouncy best. The Australian bowler’s particularly Harris and Johnson utilised the conditions to perfection as they bowled much more full and straight then their opposition. There are many questions to how England could have shown such a remarkable drop in form. Was it due to Stuart Broad's absence through injury? Could it have

been over confidence? Or did the arrival of the wags disrupt the concentration of the side?

The England batsmen have performed splendidly throughout the series and they will hope that Perth was only a small blip. The England side doesn’t look Many may also believe that England shied away from as solid as it was over the first two matches and the verbal and physical aggression that the Australians Andrew Strauss said immediately after the Perth match that there is a big chance that there will be finally showed. changes in the lineup for Melbourne. All could be a possibility and it could very well be a combination of all these things. I for one believe that the main reason they were thrashed so comprehensively was due to the Australians utlising the conditions better than England as well as being prepared to be patient and stick to their plans. You couldn’t have asked for a better scenario with the series all squared after three matches. With so much to play for there will be a massive buzz in Melbourne leading up to Test. What an amazing atmosphere there will be on Boxing Day at the MCG as we go into the Fourth Test with the Ashes once again well and truly alive. Prediction for Melbourne: It has been one of those series where predicting what will happen next is very tricky. Cricket like many sports is a game about momentum. Now the Australians have rediscovered their confidence they can smell blood and will have their tails up in Melbourne. The conditions will be a lot different to Perth as we should see a more batsman friendly flat wicket which will see a lot of runs scored. There has however been talk that there will be a tinge of green on the pitch which would once again suit the quick bowlers and eliminate Graeme Swan’s effectiveness. Even if this is so, it should still be a very good batting wicket as Melbourne traditionally sees high scores. If Johnson can continue with the form that he found in Perth then he will prove to yet again be a handful in any conditions. The selectors have kept the same squad as Perth and now the question will be whether or not they will decide to yet again go for the four pace bowlers and leave out the spinner? The top order is still a concern for me as Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke have yet to leave a mark on the series, perhaps the MCG may be the stage for one of them to kick start their campaigns and show the world their brilliant best.

Paul Collingwood’s form will be seen as a bit of a worry. Ian bell may be promoted to number 5 with Collingwood dropping back to number 6. Or perhaps Irish born Eoin Morgan may be giving a rare opportunity on the biggest stage. Chris Tremlett was the most impressive of the English bowlers in Perth and his spot looks assured, as does spearhead James Anderson’s. Steve Finn's spot in the side may however come under review as he has been the most expensive England bowler despite having taken the most wickets so far. Anything can happen in Melbourne as things can change quickly as we have all seen. I haven’t been very successful in my predictions thus far and yet again without confidence I’m going to predict a draw for Melbourne, leaving it up to the last Test in Sydney to decide which side will claim the famous urn.

Former Australian World No.4 Jelana Dokic has missed out on qualifying for the Australian Open In an upset loss Dokic lost the final of the Australian Open Wildcard Tournament to Victorian Olivia Rogowska 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Dokic missed out on the opportunity of being part of the tournament that she two years ago made a stunning run through to the Open quarter-finals. However despite not taking her chance, Dokic’s dreams of being part of The Grand slam are not completely over. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley strongly hinted that she may still receive a wildcard entry when the tournament gets underway. Four discretionary wildcards will be handed out with Dokic and former number 8 seed Alicia Molik being two of the four likely choices.

International Premier League Wrap

Nerves may play a big role in this match as many players on both teams would have never experienced an atmosphere like Boxing Day, playing in front of 100 thousand people in the coliseum that is the MCG. Remember Australia can’t afford to lose or the Ashes will be gone. It may be the side who remains the most calm that is successful in Melbourne as yet again we should see another enthralling battle as these two rivals lock horns in cricket’s most famous spectacle, the Boxing Day Test. Likely Teams: Australia Hughes, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Hilfenhaus England Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pieterson, Collingwood, Bell, Prior, Swann, Anderson, Tremlett, Finn

Due to heavy snow and freezing temperatures almost the entire fixture list for the rounds Premier League matches have been called off. Under-soil heating at the Premier League grounds means that all of the top flight pitches were playable, but concerns about the safety of supporters have generally been to blame for the cancellations. The pick of the action this week would have been the heavyweight showdown between Chelsea and Manchester United. However football fans will now have to wait another time before witnessing this mouth watering fixture. In the only two games that took place, Sunderland’s impressive season continued as they moved up to sixth place. A first half Danny Welbeck header clinched a 1-0 win over Bolton at the Stadium of Light. It was a comfortable victory for the deserved Black Cats with their only real worrying moment in the


The Weekly Sports Wrap Edition 6