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Month: March 2007 Page 3 of 4

Latest from the West Indies

Herschelle Gibbs

In typical fashion, England underwhelmed in their first game of the tournament losing to a solid New Zealand performance. A major hiccough during their innings in which England lost 4 wickets for 5 runs left the Kiwis with an mediocre target of 210 to reach. Despite the new ball putting New Zealand in a precarious position on 19 for 3, an excellent partnership by Scott Styris and Jacob Oram saw them through to what was ultimately a tidy victory. The result puts New Zealand in a strong position to progress through the group, and leaves England needing results against both Canada and Kenya in their last two games.

In the second Group A game, the Netherlands were soundly crushed by a mighty South African performance, epitomised by Herschelle Gibbs’ record setting six 6s in an over, a feat never before achieved in international cricket. Despite rain forcing the match to be reduced to 40 overs apiece, South Africa posted an impressive 353 for 3, including the fastest half century, on top of Gibbs’ unique achievement. South Africa have to face Scotland before their big game in Group A against Australia, though by then both teams may have already qualified.

And in the second game from Group D, Ireland managed to ease past Zimbabwe, leaving them in a stronger position to take on group favourites Pakistan tomorrow, who will be looking for a victory following their first defeat at the hands of hosts, the West Indies.

The Global Warming Debate Heats Up

Global warming has become something of a fashion. To gainsay it is a political cyanide pill akin to older variants of the likes of ‘abolitionism’ or ‘free trade’. The climate is changing, and it’s all our fault. One need only look at the success of a film like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to see how this basic principle has become an accepted fact. Recent films like The Day After Tomorrow illustrate how mainstream such ideas are. It’s a big issue, it’s an important issue, and it’s politically and financially loaded. Which is why it is all the more important it isn’t swallowed wholesale. A recent Channel 4 production hoped to show just how deceptive the issue can be.

globalwarming_1.jpgUnfortunately, it is very easy in this ‘information age’ for facts to become distorted and blown out of proportion, particularly by the mainstream media. On a daily basis, news programmes bring us the latest breakthroughs from the cutting edge of science. In Britain this is concomitant with a constant tugging on our heart strings to force the NHS to accept the latest miracle cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s or any other myriad diseases. Of course, the problem is that breakthroughs at the cutting edge of science have a tendency to go wrong, the results of surveys tend to be disproved by later surveys, and false conclusions tentatively fed to the public with phrases like ‘scientists believe’ and ‘recent surveys have shown’ in fact get swallowed as gospel fact.

Just a late addition to the recent list of book-related websites, for those who enjoy audiobooks the LibriVox website offers readings of books in the public domain, read by volunteers. A few problems with the online catalog system when I checked it meant that it was difficult to simply browse for titles, but there appears to be plenty of variety in what’s available, and probably most of what’s available on Project Gutenberg will end up there.

Cricket World Cup 2007 Gets Underway

Glenn McGrath

The World Cup is truly underway now in the West Indies, with the hosts hopefully recovered from their opening win against Pakistan. Yesterday the defending champions Australia took on minnows Scotland in a one-sided game which showed a return to form for Ricky Ponting’s side, whilst later the 2003 semi-finalists Kenya took on Canada.

The Scots played admirably against their determined opponents, although a few fielding errors cost them the initiative in the opening stages, and they were unable to do anything against Australia’s last gasp efforts in the dying overs to bring their tally to 334 for 6. Australia then proceeded to show how it’s done, punishing a jittery Scotland in the early stages of their innings, Glenn McGrath showing why he’s the best in the business at World Cup level, taking 3 for 14. The Scots can certainly feel proud about their performance, and Majid Haq looks to be a promising all-rounder for the side, despite his unnecessary run out in the early stages.

Whether Australia are back to form after their recent spate of losses is hard to tell, and it won’t be until they play South Africa on the 24th of March that we’ll see them really tested. Kenya put in a solid performance to push past Canada by 7 wickets, with several overs spare after Canada set the modest target of 199. One wonders whether the West Indies should feel too confident having only set a target of 241 in their opener against Pakistan.

France Flooded, Ireland Crowned, Italy Arrive, Wales Go Back to School

Wales v Italy

Another busy weekend for the Rugby Six Nations which saw Ireland win the Triple Crown for the third time in four years after beating Scotland 19-18 in a stiffly fought match which left Ireland’s points scorer Ronan O’Gara breathless. Some tremendous tackles from the likes of Sean Lamont prevented the scoreline really opening up, and a few flare ups on the pitch illustrated the tension between the teams. A flat Irish performance kept their championship hopes alive, whilst Scotland’s comeback after such a downheartening result against Italy a fortnight ago illustrates the importance of Chris Paterson to the side (statistically the best kicker in the world at the moment).

Later in the day, Italy pulled out a well deserved 23 – 20 victory over Wales to beat their previous record in the Six Nations championship. With ten seconds left on the clock, Wales forewent a penalty to tie the game in order to push for a win by kicking to touch. Perhaps time they included some rudimentary arithmetic with the training. Disappointing for the Wales team, but an important step forward for Italy in the Six Nations championship.

And in a strange game a Twickenham, the championship was really carved open as England edged out a lacklustre France with a nervous start to a game plagued with basic errors from both sides. The result leaves France in top spot on points difference, but denies them a Grand Slam victory, and opens the championship up to four potential victors—France, Ireland, England or Italy, the first three in charge of their own championship hopes. All will be decided on St. Patrick’s Day—perhaps it will finally be Ireland’s year!

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