The Ashes: Memo to Australian Selectors (and Fans) … keep calm and don’t do anything stupid!

Australia’s touring XI at Hove had a very good day overnight scoring 5/354 off 92 overs. All of the batsmen were in the runs save for the man many thought most likely, though not including me, to be an inclusion for the next test, Matthew Wade, who scored an 8 ball duck.

At the top of the order, stand in captain Ed Cowan scored 66 and current number four in the test line up Phil Hughes scored 84. Steve Smith is presently not out on 98.

Of course, Phil Hughes’ innings coupled with the form of David Warner on his sojourn in Africa, has led for some to renew their vehement call for Shane Watson or Chris Rogers (or both) to be dropped in favour of a return by Warner or a move to the top of the order for Hughes.

I sincerely hope that the Australian selectors take a moment and think before doing anything so stupid! And here is why:

* I concede that Phil Hughes was the form opener in the Sheffield Shield competition last season, along with Chris Rogers, averaging over 50 runs per innings in the games he played. Are people forgetting that he is coming into the third test off the back of a performance that saw him reap 2 runs (in total) as well as wrongly use 2 reviews?

* Any runs against Sussex by the Australians need to be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to the form implications that may flow from them. Monty Panesar aside, the bowling attack of Jordan, Hatchett and Liddle is hardly a bowling line up that is likely to send shock waves through any first class cricket line up let alone a Australian touring XI. Jimmy Anderson these blokes are not.

* I have written about my thoughts on a return to the fold for David Warner on this blog and remain vehement in my view that he needs to undertake an apprenticeship in first class cricket and to wait his turn on form. One innings does not make a summer and, frankly, given the score that the South African’s have put up overnight it looks like the pitch that has been trotted out in Pretoria is an absolute road. Warner needs to stay in Africa.

Frankly: the main thing cricket in Australia and the cricketers that represent this country need right now is stability. Toying with the batting order and bringing back a player who presents as a toxic influence at worst or who remains out of form at best would be the antithesis of such stability and just a stupid decision!

I love that people are passionate about cricket and are desperate for Australia to succeed but I think we all need to take a deep breath. The Australian team for the 3rd test is probably already set, particularly so given Wade’s duck at Hove, and those who have been rested from this game will be there. That means those advocating the removal of Watson or Rogers (or both) are likely to be sorely disappointed come 1 August!

Golf Course Review: St Lucia Golf Links

Once again I found myself at this gem of a golf course some 3 kms from the CBD this morning for close to my 30th round of golf there. If you are in Brisbane and, particularly, around the western suburbs and are keen for a round of golf on a public course then St Lucia is the place for you.

Every golf course has its strengths and weaknesses so here are some thoughts on the course if you are weighing up a hit there.

Strengths:

1. The course is in excellent shape and is well looked after. I have read many reviews that bag it on occasion for having the greens cored but when the greens have been maintained which is most of the year they are very true and easy to read.

2. The course does not require you to hit a 270 metre drive off every par 4 hole to be in play. Indeed golfers who hit their 3 wood anything over 190 metres will not need to put the driver in the bag here.

3. It is a forgiving layout and if you are tight with your golf balls you have very limited opportunities to lose them at this place.

Weaknesses:

1. It is a public course and that has with it a lowering of standards when it comes to course etiquette. If that is likely to irritate you do not play there. It is as simple as that.

2. There is a course marshal on weekends but he never seems to find his way past the 10th hole. Many an occasion groups I have been with have been held up on the 14th through 17th holes by slow play.

3. Only one par 5: big hitters will not like the course all that much because it only has one par 5 in the layout and it is reachable in two if you get your drive in play.

4. The Hundred Acre Bar which is the only place to get a feed is more interested in catering to non golfers and lycra wearers than those on the course. See my review here: https://shumpty77.com/2013/07/27/shumpty-eats-hundred-acre-bar/

Signature hole:

The par 4 14th is the signature hole on the course. At 371 metres it is a the longest part 4 on the course and with a creek running through it at 228 metres that is 241 metres to carry. 13 years ago I hit one over the creek but a bigger fence and the trees having grown makes that prospect next to impossible. A hybrid off the tee and then again for the second shot make this a difficult proposition.

Other stuff:

Par: 69
Distance: 5405 metres
Cost: Reasonable given its closeness to the city
Pro Shop: is part of the Golf World chain and is one of the nest stocked in the city.

Final Word:

A round at St Lucia is a must for any golfer in Brisbane in my opinion. It is cheap enough and close to town to be easy to get on. The course is forgiving for the genuine 27 handicapper but challenging enough for someone in single figures to enjoy.

Shumpty Eats: Hundred Acre Bar

I played golf this morning at St Lucia Golf Course finishing up at about 10:45am. Having been on the course at 7am I was gasping for something to eat and thought, for the first time in the near to 30 rounds of golf I have played at St Lucia, of getting something to eat at the Hundred Acre Bar which over looks the 13th and 18th greens.

Having viewed the menu and chosen my meal, noting that the breakfast menu ended at 11am, I went to order only to be told that the kitchen was closed and, according the waiter who served me, “if I send back another order the chef will kill me”.

So 15 minutes before the advertised time I was unable to order off the breakfast menu. To say I was not amused would be an understatement. Nonetheless I was still in need of something whilst I waited for the rest of the golf social group I play with to finish. A skinny flat white was ordered and some 20 minutes later was duly delivered. It was lukewarm at best and three swallows later I had abandoned any thought of hanging around the venue and headed home.

I am sad to say I will never recommend anyone to this establishment again. This is bearing in mind that generally, in the past, if anyone had asked me for a breakfast recommendation on that side of the city I would have always suggested the Hundred Acre Bar first. Certainly if you are golfer expecting a feed after your round you will be left sorely disappointed. Maybe if I had been wearing the lycra that the cyclists who frequent the establishment, I might have had a better chance but I will never know!

Final word: didn’t get to try the food but the coffee was ordinary at best and service staff couldn’t really give a toss. Give it a wide berth!

Hundred Acre Bar on Urbanspoon

Shumpty’s Punt: weekend multi and racing

Another weekend and another massive amount of sport to enjoy. Here are this weeks tips:

Horse Racing:

Doomben Race 1: Number 2 Bribie (win) ($3.80)

Doomben Race 6: Number 3 Clangor (each way) ($8.00/$2.90)

Randwick Race 3: Number 4 Prettyfamous (win) ($4.00)

Caulfield Race 3: Number 11 Text’n Hurley (win) ($4.00)

Sport’s Multi:

Leg 1: Washington Nationals to cover the line against the New York Yankees (-1.5 runs) in the MLB. ($2.08)

Leg 2: Crusaders to cover the line against the Chiefs (-3.5 points) in Super Rugby. ($1.92)

Leg 3: Canberra Raiders to cover the line against the St George Dragons (-1.5 points) in the NRL. ($1.92)

Leg 4: Fremantle Dockers to defeat the Adelaide Crows by 1-39 points in the AFL. ($1.95)

Leg 5: Brumbies to cover the line against the Bulls (+8.5 points) in Super Rugby. ($1.92)

This multi will pay $28.70 for ever dollar invested and I have invested $25.

As always: please gamble responsibly and only bet what you can afford to lose.

Wallabies Squad Named for the Rugby Championship

Ewen McKenzie has named his 40 man squad for the Rugby Championship this morning. The squad is:

Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Betham, Quade Cooper, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Scott Fardy, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Mike Harris, Michael Hooper, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Peter Kimlin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Jesse Mogg, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, Tatafu Polota Nau, Hugh Pyle, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jake Schatz, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White.

This squad will be parred back to a 30 man squad in advance of the first test on 17 August.

Don’t Quit by an Unknown Author

Another Friday looms large and at the end of another busy week, it is always important to remember that no matter how hard things get one must not quit. This poem from an unknown author sums it up brilliantly:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

If you are thinking of giving up or are struggling to push you way through to the end of the week, I hope this poem inspires you to keep going and not quit!

Happy Friday!