Jezza’s Sports Report
Well, to use a well-known Footie cliché from 1966, and Kenneth Wolstenholme’s immortal line “they thought it was all over, but it is now!” as the Premier League season came to an end, in what was, in my view, one of the best since it’s inception, with initially four, then three, then two clubs involved. As expected, Manchester City, needing a point, won their final match 2-0 at the Etihad over nothing-to-go-for West Ham, to clinch their second title in years years. T’wasn’t easy though for the first 39 minutes until the first goal went in but after that the Hammers looked as if they couldn’t wait to go off on their hols and basically laid down and waited for the inevitable! So hats off to Senor Pellegrini and his light Blues boys thoroughly deserved over the 38 games but one has to ask the question can they retain it next year? Liverpool, needing to win to have any chance of the title, did just that, beating Newcastle 2-1 at Anfield, altho’ there were a few hearts in mouths as the Magpies had taken a first half lead. However, class always tells in the end and two second half goals sealed the win and the Pool’s best finish in the League for many a year. Chelsea, already guaranteed third spot, also went a goal down, to relegated Cardiff in the Principality, but came back to win 2-1, with Torres scoring the winner, possibly his final goal for the Blues, as methinks he will leave for Atlético Madrid, possibly as a makeweight in a potential transfer of striker Diego Costa, altho’ I understand from various sources today that Chelsea have already made an offer of c. £32 million. Meanwhile Arsenal cemented their fourth place and that all-important CL place, after a 2-0 win at already relegated Norwich (I can hear the whoops of delight coming from Our Ed’s office!). As for the Gunners they’re now looking forward to next week’s FA Cup Final at Wembley against Hull City, to possibly win their first trophy for ages, although I’m sure ex-OT legend Steve Bruce and his Tigers will have something to say about that! Both Everton and Tottenham needed a win to ensure their qualification for the Europa League next season and both duly obliged, the Toffees 2-0 at Hull and the Cockerells 3-0 at the Lane against Aston Villa. These results meant that poor ole Manchester Utd, who drew 1-1 at Southampton, didn’t even qualify for a European place, the first time for yonks as far as I can recall, and not a great incentive for any would be A1 signings in the summer for manager-elect van Gaal. Stoke and Swansea sealed their mid-table places, the former with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich, who, by the way, parted company yesterday with manager Pepe Mel after only five months in charge, and the latter with a 3-1 away win at great escape artists Sunderland. However, having survived the drop, I now hear on the grapevine, that Gus Poyet, the Black Cats manager, is being courted by West Ham, as a potential successor to Big Sam. Just can’t see why he would want to swap the delights of the North East with the lights of London! Finally, Crystal Palace (with Tony Pulis a candidate for Manager of the Year after his amazing efforts this season, together with Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers) completed their remarkable season with a 2-2 draw at relegated Fulham.
As for who joins Leicester and Burnley in the elite next season, in the Championship play offs for that final promotion spot, both semi-final legs were completed with Derby thumping Brighton 6-2 on aggregate and Our ‘Arry’s QPR with an agg. Score of 2-1 over Wigan, both went through to next weeks Final at Wembley, although it was a near thing at Loftus Road in the latter as only a brace from Charlie Austin secured it for the London club. Unfortunately we, as Ibiza Cricket, were in Magaluf, Mallorca, participating as holders in this years Balearic Cup, and staying in this wonderful resort (which actually makes Playa den Bossa look classy!) we had the misfortune to be in the same hotel as a load of Wigan FC supporters and I can tell you, watching a barrel of 18 stone lard trying to do the rumba is not a joy to behold!
Things have really reached fever pitch now in Spain’s La Liga as after Real Madrid’s capitulation the whole season is going to come down to this Saturday’s match between Barça and Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou, as basically, whoever wins this match will win the title. However, a draw could be complicated as with both teams on the same points, in Spain unlike England, it’s not about goal diff but it goes on head to head and as Barça drew in Madrid earlier in the season, another draw would need the computer! Difficult situation really for Simeone’s CL Finalists as does he hold back some of his players for that Final or does he go hell for leather and try and complete the first leg of what would be a fabulous Double. We shall see!
On to the World Cup now and with England’s first group game against Italy only a month away, manager Roy Hodgson registered his initial 23 man squad, and obviously feels that youth will win over experience as he has selected only 5 players who have experienced the WC before and only 11 from the last Euros in 2012. Major surprise and arguably a big mistake, was his selection of Luke Shaw (first season in the Premier, 45 minutes worth of international experience and won nowt) over Ashley Cole (107 Caps, 3 World Cups, 3 Euro Cups, countless CL matches including a Winners medal, regular Premier League winner, perennial FA Cup winner etc. etc.) and I just hope that this decision doesn’t come back and bite him in the bum! Having said that I can see why Our Woy has gone for youth as, unlike previous years, we, as the public, are not expecting much from our national team this time, so let’s blood ’em now and give them the experience.
Finally, in Footie, as in previous years, I hope to publish my actual and tongue-in-cheek list of Premier League Awards for this season in next week’s edition.
Moving on to Tennis and Andy Murray lost in the third round of the ATP Madrid Open, on his least favourite surface being red clay while, predictably, World No.1 Rafa Nadal beat surprise finalist, Japanese Nishikori, who unfortunately was forced to retire injured in the third set, having won the first 6-2.
Cricket and England played their first limited overs match since the debacle of their T20 World Cup travails during the winter and took on Scotland in Aberdeen over the weekend in their first competitive match of the season. Originally billed as a 50 Over ODI, as expected rain stepped in, but fortunately stopped for long enough to allow a T20 to take place and fortunately England avoided any embarrassment ( a la Holland in the World T20) as they won by 39 runs (D/L method) led by Ian Bell’s 50 and Captain Cook’s 44.
Rugby Union and in The English Premiership a nail biting end to the season for both supporters of Bath and Harlequins as they played each other for a place in the end of season playoffs, being the top four in the league, with the latter coming through 19-16, resulting in them now facing League winners Saracens in the semis, even though they lost their final League match. In the other semi, second placed Northampton, with a thumping 74-19 home win over Wasps, take on perennial winners Leicester, who beat Sarries 31-27 at Franklin Gardens. It was adios to Worcester as they were already relegated, but at least they left the league as winners, overcoming Gloucester 28-27 in a typical local derby, and in the other matches, London Irish beat Sale 22-20 at home and Newcastle lost to Exeter 23-13.
That’s it for this week, Sports fans, have a good one, and until next week.
Sa Penya de Santa Eularia 2 – Sant Rafael 1
Formentera 2 – Poblense 1
The penultimate games were played on Sunday and important games they were too.
Sant Rafael needed a result against Sa Penya to ease their relegation problems and of course, Sa Penya need the points.
To keep Formentera out of second spot, Montuiri currently in 18th place and in the bottom three, had an away game with league leaders Mallorca B and managed a 0-0 draw which put them on 35 points, 2 points behind Sant Rafael with one game to go and both clubs at home for the last game!!
Formentera and Sa Penya now share 77 points with both clubs away for their last games. I think that Formentera have the harder task at Alcudia who have lost just three games so far this season and Collerense, Sa Penya’s opponents have lost seven games, both Ibiza clubs are in the play-offs for the second division but it is a bit of pride to finish second.
Sant Rafael 5 – UD Rotlet Molinar 2
Alcudia 0 – Formentera 1
Collerense 1 – Sa Penya de Santa Eularia 2
The last games of the season were played on the 11th of May, with the final positions and play-off places decided. Sant Rafael survived the relegation battle with a home win finishing five places from the bottom with the bottom three going down. So they will be looking forward to another season in third division.
Sa Penya’s win over Collerense sees them finish in second place sharing the same points as Formentera but above them on goal difference.
Majorca B is third division champion with just three points separating the top three teams.
We are now looking forward to the play-offs with the opponents to be selected within the next week. We will of course keep you informed as to the fixtures and dates.
Balearic Cricket Cup 9th-11th May 2014 , Mallorca.
Ibiza C.C. vs Menorca C.C. 9th May, 40 overs per side.
Menorca Skipper Simon Cotton won the toss and decided to bat first. Openers Andy Tysoe (35) and Adam Cockroft (19) began a promising partnership of 36 runs when the latter was lbw and the run rate slowed. In fact Menorca lost regular wickets just when looking to open up, and were 83/3 after 20 overs, at the halfway stage, with Ibiza restricting the run flow through sound fielding and accurate bowling. Menorca batsmen Geoff Barker (46), Dan Osterbury (23) and Simon Cotton (16) continued to score at just under 5 runs per over, but were never allowed to break away by the alert Ibiza fielders, and Menorca finished on 177/9 off 40 overs.
This unusual Ibiza enthusiasm was especially reflected by a stunning reflex catch by Kiwi Jolyon Swinburne, as well as an acclaimed admission by the same fielder that he had taken a catch in the deep but stepped on the boundary line, thus turning an apparent wicket into 6 runs. A sporting gesture that typified the spirit of this game and one that has not always been the norm in certain Balearic cup matches. Ibiza bowlers Paul Cruttwell (4/21), Johnno Gordon (2/14) and skipper Graeme Cooper (2/46) were the most successful, while all bowlers and fielders are to be commended for their performance in restricting Menorca to an under par score on the difficult Mallorca pitch.
It was then Ibiza’s turn to bat and openers Johnno Gordon (39) with Jolyon Swinburne batted steadily to put on 73 for the first wicket, maintaining the required run rate. When the former was out, the evergreen Bob the Vicar (45 not out) joined Jolyon (82) in a 101 run stand that was only broken by the latter trying to hit the winning boundary and getting caught. It was left to Bob to hit the winning runs and allow Ibiza to win by 8 wickets in the 37th over in an absorbing innings in which the Menorca fielders and bowlers maintained the pressure until the end, but were not able to get enough early wickets to get the Ibiza batsmen to take risks. This was once again an enjoyable sporting contest between two well matched sides who ensure that these games are always played in a competitive, but sporting spirit. The Man of the match has to be Jolyon Swinburne for his all round contribution and sporting attitude.
On 10th May, Ibiza had a rest day (to visit the joys of Magaluf!) while Mallorca played against Menorca. Scores were as follows: Menorca 222 all out, Mallorca 223/2, Mallorca winning by 8 wickets. This set up the deciding match as a final between Ibiza and Mallorca.
Mallorca C.C. vs Ibiza C.C. 11th May, 40 overs per side.
Mallorca skipper Gareth Davies won the toss and also chose to bat first. Opening batsmen Paul Muckleberg (44) and Jazz Yasim (30) set up an aggressive stand of 74 runs for the first wicket, but once they were out, the runs slowed and Mallorca were only on 108/3 after 20 overs, Ibiza bowlers and fielders restricting them to under 6 runs per over. In fact, Mallorca had accumulated 160/ 5 after 30 overs, so Ibiza felt that they could maintain the pressure and keep the opposition to around 220 in total, having dismissed big hitter Ben Vickers for 18. But then Mallorca newcomer Khalid Mohammed showed his batting skills and opened up in the last 10 overs, increasing the scoring rate to over 10 per over, and scoring a wonderful century (109), before finally getting well caught in the deep, with the score on 256/6. Ibiza had something to cheer about, however, when Khalid’s wicket was followed by 2 more in consecutive balls and skipper Graeme Cooper celebrated his first hatrick! Mallorca finished their innings on an above par score of 267/9, while Ibiza bowlers Graeme Cooper (4/54), Johnno Gordon (2/50), and Jolyon Swinburne (2/25) were the most successful.
Ibiza then batted and although losing their first wicket early, set about the Mallorca bowling in an entertaining partnership of 111 runs between Johnno Gordon (117) and Brad van Byleveld (16), with the former being given a couple of early lives by Mallorca and going on to score an aggressive century. This show of batting allowed Ibiza to reach the halfway stage on 137/2, above the run rate and with every chance of reaching their target in another 20 overs. However,a sharp catch and stumping by Mallorca turned the game in the hosts’ favour, accounting for the wickets of Jolyon (28) and Sam Gooda (18), just as they were beginning to threaten an important stand. As a result, the run rate climbed and with Ibiza’s main batsmen being out, the task was too great for the remaining Ibiza players, the visitors finally subsiding to 203 all out in the 36th over, Mallorca thus winning by 64 runs and taking the Balearic Cup from the 2013 holders Ibiza. Mallorca bowlers John Barratt (2/57), Sasha Goonasakera (3/13) and Munir Hussein (2/1) were the most successful.
This was an entertaining and fiercely competitive match, with several outstanding moments, a century scored by both sides and a very rare bowling hatrick setting up an exciting finish, especially as the game swung back and forth in favour of both teams, so it was a proper final, finally won by the best team, who were also able to strengthen their line up with a couple of Asian newcomers. The Man of the match here was Khalid Mohammed for his century, as it set up a stiff target for Ibiza to chase, with a special mention for Johnno Gordon for his counterattacking century too.
The dinner organised by Mallorca chairman Frank Leavers and secretary Rob Hughes on the Saturday night was universally appreciated for the food and setting, and not least the unexpected addition of a well known author and cricket fan Jeffrey Archer, who entertained us with his brand of humour based on his own cricketing exploits. Many thanks to them all, without forgetting the scorers and umpires of all three teams, as well as the catering and hospitality provided by the Mallorca clubhouse staff and volunteers.
Finally, it was unusual and refreshing to see several of the Mallorca players mixing with the Ibiza players after the final game, so hopefully this will continue in the future and help to build a lasting camaraderie between all teams, whatever the final result.
Ibiza Motocross Championship – Santa Eulalia
On Sunday there was a real treat for motocross enthusiasts in Santa Eulalia when the Balearic Motocross Championship came to town. In front of the sports centre a piece of wasteland was transformed into a quite impressive mud motocross track with jumps, banked corners and table tops for the event.
The day was well attended by talented riders from all over the Balearics ensuring an exciting display of top level motocross racing. Local riders took top spots in two of the main categories. Local Dani John took first place in MX1 category, ahead of Mallorca’s Joan Sans and Miquel Munar, who occupied second and third place respectively. Ivan Ferrer from Santa Eulalia won MX2 and Jaime Manresa from Mallorca was the winner in MX3.
Alongside the racing was a display of classic motocross bikes from years gone by, mainly manufactured by Montesa or Bultaco. It was great to see and here these classics being taken round the track and used as they were intended for.
Finally, there was also the mini-cross display, consisting of children on little motocross bikes braving the muddy track and the jumps; these are surely the stars of the future so it was encouraging to see so many of them and the commitment they give to their sport.
The European circuit starts with Mercedes blocking out the front row again Hamilton on pole and Rosberg 2nd. Ricciardo started in 3rd but with Vettel 15th after a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change and Bottas in his Williams 4th it looked like the Silver Arrows had it in the bag. And they did.
It was a straightforward race, no real incidents for the stewa rds to investigate and no problems with pit stops. The only issue for all other teams was the pace of Mercedes. The Ferraris finished 6th Alonso & 7th Raikonnen, a staggering 88 seconds behind Lewis.
Vettel made superb progress through the race on a three-stop strategy and crossed the line 4th just behind his teammate Ricciardo in 3rd. Bottas came in 5th and Williams will take those points happily as Massa could not better 13th. McLaren had another bad day in 11 & 12.
So with 2 laps to go it became a Mercedes race to the finish and what a race they gave. Hamilton had some technical issues however managed to hold a steady lead up to the 64 lap – with only 2 remaining Rosberg had managed to reduce the gap to a mere 0.6 seconds and on the better tyres it looked like he would take the chequered flag. After a nail biting few minutes and lapping Raikonnen in 7th, Hamilton crossed the line the victor, once again to the disappointment of Rosberg. Hamilton is now top of the drivers leaderboard but with Monaco up next and only 3 points in it anything could happen.