My gripe from the last couple of years about scrums not being fed straight is at last being addressed a little bit by World Rugby. Feeds were a lot straighter in this tournament than they have been over the past many years, and a few of the most blatant skew-whiff feeds were penalised. The recent rule changes about setting up the scrum appear to have addressed the problem of scrum collapses at least a bit, but more work is still needed.
I have a new gripe though - I think that referees are playing Advantage for too long. They are currently playing it after an infringement until a team gets a significant advantage. It should be scaled back. In rugby league, advantage doesn't last anything like as long, and the game is better for it.
I propose that penalty advantage should finish when the team with advantage has carried the ball forward past the point at which the penalty would be awarded, even if only momentarily, or has kicked the ball forward no matter what the result of the kick. Knock-on advantage should end when the second player has possession or the ball is kicked. I realise that this makes advantage worth a lot less. As a result teams might be tempted to just stop playing so that there is no advantage. Therefore I also propose that not trying to take advantage should itself attract a penalty. It also makes penalties worth less, as you are less likely to get "two bites at the cherry". I'm fine with that. And it makes the punishment for technical infringements less onerous, which I'm also OK withI prefer a game with lots of running, driving mauls and so on leading to tries, as opposed to a series of penalty goals arising from pedantic nit-picking. Again, rugby league gets this right.
I also have a minor gripe about the amount of time taken up by kickers doing ridiculous dances. They have a minute to take the kick, and the few stupid dances that I timed averaged just over 40 seconds. I propose cutting the allowed time from when the ball is placed on the kicking tee to when boot strikes ball to 15 seconds.
It is, of course, still not Real Cricket, but I've enjoyed this world cup so far. And I'm even enjoying it after England were knocked out and proved that ICC stands for Inter-Colonial Cup. I have a couple of awards to give out.
Best facial hair
Virat Kohli of India
Worst facial hair
Moeen Ali, for the sin of having a full beard but no moustache
I would have given Best Facial Hair to John Mooney of Ireland, but while he has more than Kohli, it's scruffy and looks like he just couldn't be arsed to shave. Kohli's may be a micro-beard, but it is at least deliberate. If Mooney wishes to be considered for this prestigious award in future he needs to man up and look like a tramp for a few weeks until his beard matures into a prodigious hedge, instead of just looking like a scruffy student.
Not a bad tournament this year, the stand-out game being the low-scoring match between Scotland and Ireland, and my man of the tournament was Ireland's Paddy Jackson.
As usual I'll bitch about scrums. Not a single scrum was fed straight, and despite the recent rule changes there were too many resets and infringements leading to free kicks and penalties. The IRB must instruct referees to apply the damned laws: to punish crooked feeds at the scrum. And if they can't come up with a formulation of the laws that will permit putting pressure on before the ball is fed without the possibility of moving the scrum, then they need to change the laws so that when the scrum is set it is without pressure. I'd hate to see scrummaging disappear from the game, as it has in the League game, but I fear for it if the IRB and referees don't get a grip.
Finally, a worrying development is players arguing with officials and trying to tell them what to do. This is supposed to be a gentleman's game, not Association football, and that behaviour Will Not Do. I'd like such dissent to result in a free kick or a penalty (as the laws already provide for), but realise that there are often players from both sides arguing. So I propose five minutes in the sin bin.
It is, of course, not Real Cricket, but the World Cup has been good fun. I've been particularly impressed by some of the very athletic fielding, by just about all the teams apart from England.
Even though there's one more game left to play, I already know who my players of the tournament are: Virender Sehwag of India and Shahid Afridi, Pakistani captain. And my team of the tournament is Sri Lanka.
There are three men who might change my opinions, if they perform brilliantly in the final: Sachin Tendulkar, Lasith Malinga, and Muttiah Muralitharan, althoughthe last of those is injured and I don't expect him to do much.
As for the next World Cup, it's a great pity that there will be no "associate" nations. Sure, they're mostly whipping boys who can't achieve much, but the best of the non-Test-playing nations deserve to play against the best teams in the world. Without doing so, they won't improve even further - the likes of Ireland can't improve by playing Canada, Kenya, Netherlands, and Afghanistan. Sure, they'll still be in the T20 world cup, but that's even further removed from Real Cricket (even if it is jolly good fun, and I'm looking forward to the IPL 2011). Shame on the ICC!
Kayakers have been enjoying themselves by going down the 300 foot spillway at a dam in Wales. Did they hurt anyone? No. Did they damage anything? No. Is it likely that they would have hurt anyone other than themselves? No. Was it likely that they would damage anything other than their own stuff? Again, no.
So why the fuck is the dam's operator so pissed off about it? They seem to be saying that the kayakers put other people at risk, but no they didn't. They very responsibly went down individually, so they wouldn't crash into each other, and if they had a tumble half way down, all that would happen is that their bloody and mangled corpse would have got spat out into the pool at the bottom, where it could be easily retrieved by their mates - and without even contaminating the water supply with the merest hint of a smidgen of kayaker-blood.
In a free society, people should not be prevented from or punished for doing stupid dangerous things to themselves. Welsh Water need to stop being such fusspots. I'm a bit pissed off with the BBC too, for their uncritical coverage of Welsh Water's hissy-fit.
Posted at 22:25
by David Cantrell keywords: bbc | sport
I'm very pleased to see this story about Moslem women learning martial arts. It's something I've been advocating for a longtime (in the second piece, search for 'defence', it's about half way down the page. My comments are in green).
The cynic in me wonders how many times this story will pop up again in various guises, seeded in the media by the police and government to further their agenda of ever more surveillance and interference in peoples' private lives BECAUSE OF THE CHIIIILDREN, all the while carefully not mentioning that most kiddy-fiddlers are either family members or very close family friends.
They've already managed to terrify people enough that you can't even take a cricket umpiring course without that surveillance and interference, even if all you want to do is make better decisions while umpiring for your pub team. Because obviously, someone umpiring a cricket match out in the open on a village green is so much more of a threat to a child than its own parents are in the privacy of their isolated farm.
As far as I can tell, this policy means that the umpire must be responsible for interrupting play every so often to remind all the parents watching the match to slather sun screen on their brats. At least, that's the only "child protection" angle that I can come up with.
This ever-increasing surveillance and interference is going to have dire effects on civil society. Many ordinary, decent people are offended by the notion that they should submit to pointless checks on whether they're a kiddy-fiddler (and really, if the CRB knows I'm a kiddy-fiddler why the hell aren't I in jail where I can't umpire a cricket match anyway?) and so won't submit to them. So expect far less childrens' sports. And it doesn't just fuck sports up either. All kinds of volunteers have to undergo these checks now. I believe that my father has to because he delivers library books to housebound old people. Never mind that he's been married for thirty plus years and is in his sixties. Never mind that he's been doing his library round for years and volunteering to drive a bus for the oldsters for years either, all without even the slightest hint of a complaint. None of that matters. And he told me that if he was required to submit to CRB vetting, he would very seriously consider not continuing, so bang go vital services for old people as well.
After the minor disaster of a couple of weeks ago, Dad and I went to Arundel to watch Sussex play Essex. And lo, there was no rain! And while there was a some cloud, it was mostly just bright sunshine, so there was a cricket match to watch.
Essex batted first and set a target of 257. They didn't look anything special while doing it, so we all thought that it would be pretty easy. Sussex are the current champions, after all. But no. It was looking like a horrible embarrassment at 34 for 7 after some vicious Essex fast bowling, but the Sussex tail end did well, scoring another 90 runs for the last three wickets.
But the end result was still something the team should be ashamed of.
It was dad's birthday last week, so on Monday I took him to see Sussex play Ireland at Hove in the ECB Trophy. Predictably, being a bank holiday, it rained all bloody day so there was no play. Thankfully, we can use the tickets in two weeks time to see Sussex against Essex at Arundel in the same competition. Unfortunately this means that I can't go Ða Engliscan Gesiðas's Old English learning day which is at the same time. Bah.
It's a shame we couldn't see Ireland play. They did very well indeed in the recent World Cup, and it would have, I am sure, been an entertaining game.