01 December 2009

2009 ABN-AMRO Hockey Champions Trophy - Men - Melbourne Match 4 - Germany v Korea

Firstly congratulations to Mattias Witthaus. This game marks his 300th game for Germany.

Germany struggle in the beginning. Their regular midfielder Ben Wess is unavailable due to disciplinary action from the European Championships and they appear to be missing him.
Korea's first goal comes from a defensive error in the circle. Hyo Sik You attacked along the baseline from the right and attempts to pass it to Soo Kyuk Yang who is waiting in front of the goal but before it reaches him it deflects off a German stick and into the goal. 1 - nil Korea.
Consecutive penalty corners fail to add to the score for Korea however it does seem to add some spark to the German side and moments later they earn a penalty corner of their own. Only three outstanding saves during the corner by Myung Ho Lee, the Korean keeper maintains the scoreline. First he stops a drag flick with his glove on his right, on the ground he manages to pivot to make a second save on the left the stretches out to deflect the third over the back line with his stick.
It finally (twenty five minutes later) takes a piece of absolute brilliance from Mattias Witthaus to beat the Korean keeper who collects a pass on the back line on the left, draws the keeper out and he flicks it into the top of the goal. 1 All.
Korea get off to a bad start in the second half. Three minutes in Seung Il Lee deliberately uses the back of his stick in the 25 because of this he is shown a yellow card and sent off for five minutes, Germany are then awarded a penalty corner. The corner sees Montag flick it to the top right of the net which is impossible to stop. 2 - 1 Germany.
The next 13 minutes are all Germany. Korea's offense and defense are under constant pressure as the Germans look for a turnover but as the clock ticks over into the 52nd minute Korea suddenly step it up a gear and find themselves in the German circle and after some scrambling play Jong Ho Seo slams into the backboard. 2 - All
This basically signaled the opening of the floodgates. The German's just couldn't match the speed of the Korean attack.
In the 57th minute a penalty corner is awarded after Montag bumps Nam Lee off the ball in his own circle. A German player breaks before the push out is taken and under the experimental rules he has to retreat to the halfway line, leaving the Germans with only four defenders. Play resumes and Hyun Nam cracks in the conversion. 3 - 2 Korea
In the last five minutes the German keeper Jessalut illegally brings down Korean striker Young Jin Kim in the circle and after reviewing the video a penalty stroke was awarded. Nam Lee slots past the keeper low and to the left. 4 - 2 Korea
Then to rub salt into the wound one minute later Korea bring the ball in from a long corner. It is run along the base line and a shot is offered. Jessalut clears the ball out into the middle of the field but straight to a blue shirt. The ball is fired back into the circle where a deflection sees it into the goal. 5 - 2 Korea.

I said in a previous post that Korea always manage an upset each tournament and here it is again. Their speed and fitness is what helped them overcome the solid German defense at the end. The how can you not mention Myung Ho Lee the Korean Keeper. The sequence of 3 consecutive saves on one penalty corner was outstanding and for that I am giving him my man of the match.

2009 ABN-AMRO Hockey Champions Trophy - Men - Melbourne Match 3 - Netherland v Spain

This is world ranked teams 3 (The Netherlands) versus 4 (Spain). In this match Dutch legend Taeke Taekema  has the opportunity to become the Champions Trophy highest ever goal scorer. He currently shares this with Sohail Abbas from Pakistan on 40. It is important to note that all of these goals for both players come from penalty corners or penalty strokes.

It only 13 minutes before Taeke claimed the record. Weusthof fed  the ball in the circle amongst 3 Spanish defenders. He successfully played the ball into the feet of a defender and was awarded the penalty corner. Taeke slings the ball low and to the left of the keeper and despite getting a touch on it the ball cracks into the backboard. 1 - Nil The Netherlands.
Then came the most surprising thing I have ever seen from all the times I have watched the Dutch play. They scored a field goal. Taeke from his own 25 runs the ball forward and then slams to his far left to the circle where he finds Hofman waiting. Hofman runs the ball straight, crosses the ball with the reverse of his stick across the face of the goal to his captain de Nooijer who is waiting completely unmarked and the ball is deflected into the goal. 2 - Nil The Netherlands
The game reverts to the back and forth that marked the first part of the game and it takes Spain until the last five minutes of the half to really look dangerous with captain Pol Amat and striker Ramon Alegre unlucky to score.
Over the first twenty five minutes of the next half Spain and The Netherlands trade penalty corners. On the fourth (Netherland's second), awarded from a Spanish raised ball, Taeke flicks the ball past the left glove of the keeper into the back of the net. 3 - Nil The Netherlands.
With eleven minutes to go Pol Amat scores what could possibly be goal of the tournament. Tabau restarts from a penalty at halfway. After a short run he passes it through to Fabregas on the left hand side of the circle and he heads toward the baseline. A quick flick of the ball back to the top of the circle where Amat is waiting, he charges straight still on the left hand side of the goal. As he running out of room he reverse sticks the ball over the head of the keeper and under cross bar. It was quite stunning to watch. 3 - 1 The Netherlands.
One minute later Spain have worked the ball up the right of the field where they earn a free hit outside the circle. David Alegre quickly plays the ball and forces Dutch defender Jolie to play ball without having withdrawn 5 yards and a penalty corner is awarded. For the goal the Spaniards use their second battery option and Xavier Ribas drag flicks the ball just inside the right post. 3 - 1 The Netherlands.
Sadly that was all she wrote for Spain. Netherlands stepped up their defense and almost scored again through de Nooijer.

In terms of games so far this was the least exciting to watch. Both teams played the usual European style with long passes and a lot of passing around the back (which isn't a bad thing really). There were moments of brilliance but not enough to really make it an exciting match.
I'm making an early call of Australia and England or Germany in the final with the Kookaburras to take the title.

2009 ABN-AMRO Hockey Champions Trophy - Men - Melbourne Match 2 - Australia v Korea

Still day one. I hope to completely catch up today.

Coming into this match Australia (Ranked #2) are the defending champions after defeating Spain 4 - 1 in The Netherlands last year and were looking to make their intentions clear to the rest of the competitors. Korea (Ranked #5) have been the team to be careful of in any tournament, they always manage an upset win to keep things interesting. Both teams have a number of new faces for the Champions Trophy and it was set to be interesting match.

The first 17 minutes saw both teams testing each other out with a number of missed opportunities. For Australia Glenn Turner, Grant Schubert and Desi Abbott, who looks like he has dropped about 15 kilos since the last time I saw him were looking really dangerous. For Korea Lee Seung Il and Yoon were the most impressive.
In the 18th minute the Kookaburras move the ball from their 16 after up the right hand side of the field with some quick straight passing through Knowles, then Ockenden to Dwyer who runs the ball to the corner. Dwyer half heartedly passes the ball back to the edge of the circle to Ockenden, Dwyer gets the ball back at the base line five yards from the goal. He then gets an amazing touch from under the Korean defender and slips it to Abbott who's first shot is into the pads of the keeper but it falls back to Abbott and he calmly puts it over the keeper into the net.
The chance is a Dwyer classic from the right hand side baseline. He has a cracking reverse stick shot which the Korean keeper somehow reads and gloves it back to the turf in front of Dwyer which he then fires across the face of the goal and Schubert cannot get a touch and it sails to the other side of the field.
Soon after this in the 18th minute in Orchard and Abbott combine to force a penalty in their attacking right corner. Orchard takes the self pass option and two passes later Abbott has the ball on the baseline, he crosses the ball to the seven and Hammond slaps it into the backboard.
The rest of the half sees Korea stepping it up but The Kookaburra's defense is up to the task with new comers  Matt Swann and Graeme Begbie leading the way.
In the second half Korea came out strong and in the 37th minute they find their striker Kim at the top of the circle who has a strong reverse stick shot and it took an amazing save by Bazeley to keep it out. In the return play Australia move up the right, drop it back past half way and Livermore puts it straight to Dwyer on the 25. Dwyer 1-2 passes it with Abbott on the base line and Dwyer fires it through traffic into the right post.
There was a lot of back and forth for twenty minutes until the next highlight. Ockenden takes the ball from a Korean attacker then runs the ball from 25 to 25 and slaps the ball to Turner who is outside the circle in the left hand corner and he forces Australia's first penalty corner. Australia use the second battery with a a powerful flick from Butterini and the diving to the right glove save from the Korean keeper Lee is pure instinct.
From the resulting long corner Australia transfer the ball back and around and attack from the opposite corner. Kavanagh cross the ball to Eddie Ockenden puts the ball away to wrap it up for the Australian's.

As fast as the past game was this one stepped it up a notch. The new rules really suit the style of play for both teams as they prefer the running the ball with quick passes. For Australia the best thing to take from this was that their young players really stepped up, Swann, Begbie, Abbott, Ockenden and Butterini played fantastic hockey. Korea really put the pressure on and had six shots on goal and it took two fantastic saves from Bazeley to keep them out.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of the tournament.

2009 ABN-AMRO Hockey Champions Trophy - Men - Melbourne Match 1

Well the first two rounds have been played and in my humble opinion the quality of hockey has been incredibly high. 

Round One
England v Germany
What I didn't know leading into this match is that match is a replay of the European Championships and that England defeated Germany 5 - 2. The other interesting fact is that England haven't been in the Champions Trophy since 2001.
The first thing to note is which the speed of the game has changed. The new play on free hit rule has changed things for the better. It was brought in to punish deliberate penalties that slow the play down, which doesn't sit well with the German style of play. The second is that the England team are really benefiting from the investment by their government in preparations for the next Olympics.

The first goal occurred in the 10th minute. Germany had a sideline shot on their right had side roughly at the 25yard line. Wess runs the ball across field and then fires the ball into the top of the circle, Deecke misses the trap but the ball bobbles over the stick of the English defender and it moves two metres left of the goal. Mencke manges a reverse stick shot past the keeper and it hits the far side of the goal. 1-nil to Germany.

In the 12th minute England force a penalty corner by playing the ball onto the foot of a German defender after a beautiful give and go run into the circle by Middleton, Kirkham and Brogdon. On the penalty corner the trapper Wilson, fails to deliver the ball to the shooter Tindall. Wilson holds onto the ball and passes it right to Jackson who reverse sticks it the right post where Tindall deflects it into the goal. 1 - 1.

In the early stages of the second half the Germans request to use the new video review that is being trialled during the tournament. A Penalty Stroke was awarded against the Germans and after the review it was overturned and the video umpire gave the Germans the 16 hit.

The 43rd minute saw Germany's first Penalty Corner conversion. They opted for play number one with a drag flick by Montag into the middle right of the net. 2 - 1 Germany.

In the 61st minute England builds up the play down the left hand side of the field and Jackson runs along the 25 and passes the ball into the circle at the left post to Middleton who's initial shot is stopped by the keeper. The ball rebounds back to Middleton who then flicks the ball back at the goal and the ball hits the body of the German defender Woesch and the Penalty Stroke is awarded and Middleton camly fires it passed the keeper low and to the left. 2 - 2

Over the next three minutes England successfully defend two consecutive penalty corners from the Germans however in the 66th minute a third is awarded to Germany after increasing pressure down the right hand side of the  field. Again they set up for option one however a variation is made. The main striker dummies a flick at the goal and slides the ball right to Maximillian Muller who from point blank range puts the ball over the keeper's shoulder.
The remaining two minutes see England attempt some desperate passing and play but it results in turnovers and Germany runs the clock down.

The game was a great start to the tournament. England played a fast flowing game and Germany played their traditional defensive style and relied on their penalty corners for their goals. England will be the suprise package of this tournament however they now need to beat Spain to stay alive.
Here are the Goals

27 November 2009

Train Stories Part Three

This one happened very recently, two weeks ago actually. 

17th November 2009 some time before 4pm.

I was just dropped off at St Leonard's train station, bought my ticket and jumped on the next train that said Hornsby. I pulled out The Shadow Rising (Book four of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, pressed play on my iPod and the soothing sounds of Tony, Ed and Richard as they nattered on about some Get This topic. It was after Chatswood that I realised I may have a problem. City Rail sometime during the year opened a new line that connects Chatswood to Epping. The train then heads up the Northern Line to Hornsby but to cut a long story short they train arrived in time.
Now that fascinating paragraph isn't the highlight of the story. It was the guy who stumbled on at Gosford. I was sitting in the last carriage, in the second row from the door. Sitting in the first row on the opposite side were a pair of German girls heading to Byron Bay as a part of the Australian East Coast Tour. In front of me were two Scandinavian girls heading to Brisbane and on the other side of the aisle was two random guys. Anyway the Gosford guy during his travels to Taree consumed two piccolo bottles of wine. He also must of been drinking whilst waiting for the train.
Somewhere between Wingham and Taree Gosford Guy stubles passed my seat, the German girls seats and stops at the doorway, leans up against the wall, faces the girls and slurs "Where are you from?"
"Ahh Germany." the brunette replies.
"That's good" the slurred reply came. What followed was a long pause. He then turns and heads of to the buffet car.
Everyone within earshot of what went laughed and not just a snicker. It was the laugh of a group of people sharing a great joke.
"I think he likes you." said one of the randoms trying to keep the mood going. It was followed by a few more chuckles. Some conversations start up between the different sets of seated passengers and I return to my book.
Two minutes later a female voice came over the intercom "Security to the buffet car please." With renewed laughter we all realised that Gosford Guy was denied service and that he decided to put a bit of a fight. What happened next had a touch of the Keystone Cops about it. The two Transit Officers made they way up the train but soon after Gosford Guy makes his way back to his seat. He managed to avoid them for a couple of minutes before the caught him between carriages.
It was quite anti climactic in the end. We all piled off the train hoping for something dramatic but sadly he walked of without a fuss. I guess it was his station.

26 November 2009

Train Stories Part Two

Technically this didn't happen on a train but it did occur whilst I was waiting for a train so I am including it.

2002 - I had just visited Maitland to attend a police auction. I was looking for and found a cheap mountain bike. I standing on platform one with my newly acquired bike waiting patiently to head back to Newcastle. This older, grey haired balding man shuffled past me. About three steps later he stopped, turned around, pointed to by bike and said "We'll all be riding one of them soon."
"Really?" I stupidly replied.
"Yep. As soon as the Chinese over run the country we will." Here I was thinking it was because of dwindling oil supply or something like that. He also managed to gain my interest with this sentence.
"China?" I gently prodded.
"In 2007 an asteroid will hit California."
"California?" I now really wanted to see how this linked to Australia being invaded by China.
"The asteroid will wipe out America and because of the San Andreas fault line an huge tsunami will head our way. We will have 5 hours to to get to the top of the Great Dividing Range. The wave will hit us then wrap around the mountains the flood the out back." He was on a roll now and wasn't going to be stopped. Now because of all the water the outback will become quite fertile and will help Australia become quite prosperous. the because America no longer exists China will invade and take over Australia."

And there you go that is how we all will be riding push bikes one day.

Train Stories Part One

I have lost count how many times I have traveled the North Coast line on the XPT from North Coast to Sydney. Mostly from Grafton but occasionally from Lismore or Casino. It is absolutely amazing the stories that I have collected over that time.

1990 - I played third trumpet in a stage band. At some point in time we traveled to Sydney to partake in a band camp. We left late at night from Grafton catching the Brisbane to Sydney Express. Four of us did not sleep at all on the way there and game quickly developed. "How long were people taking to go to the bathroom." The stop watch would start as soon as the red occupied light would switch on. Someone had obviously been drinking pretty heavily or he suffered from the worst case of motion sickness. He set the then record at 21 minutes and 15 seconds. You could hear his efforts to bring up the entire contents of his stomach. We couldn't hold out curiosity in check. The guy had plastered every inch of the toilet cubicle with vomit. Dutifully we informed the staff. The poor guy sent to check it out took one step in then one step out and proceeded to wipe his shoe on the mat. The door was locked and a record of 6 hours and 42 minutes was set.

1994 - I attended a Sydney boarding school for years eleven and twelve. On one particular trip home the guy sitting beside me got off at Sawtell. "Yes I have the whole two seats to myself for the trip home" I thought to myself. This lasted one station at Coffs Harbour and short, gaunt, long, black and scruffy haired and bearded man wearing an original Cronulla Sharks jersey and tight black stone wash jeans stood at the entrance to the carriage and called out "Madamoiselle? Excuse me mademoiselle?" to the ticket collector. He was quickly shown to the seat next to me. 
Sometime during the journey he produced a set of rosemary beads and began chanting the Hail Mary.
Hail Mary,

Full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

"OK" I thought. "A religious guy."
Not long after this he slams his palm on to the food tray and the chants. "I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus" pauses for about ten seconds then exclaims I am Jesus.
Now this is where I got a little scared and a little confused. I always thought Jesus was a Jew so why was he saying the Hail Mary?
Thankfully he remain quiet for the rest of the trip to Grafton. When I got up to get off the train I hear him cry "Up the Sharkies!" I turn around to look at the poor souls staying on the train. They each have the same "Don't leave us here" expression.

25 November 2009

Love Them. Protect Them. Never Inject Them?

The North Coast of NSW is a beautiful place in the world. Beautiful Rivers, serene rain forests and National Parks and generally a great sense of community. However there is one thing I wish we weren't known for. We have the three worst postcodes in terms of immunisation rates in the country[1].
Now I wish I could lay it all at the feet of one particular organisation but sadly I cannot. However what they promote surely cannot be helping. The Australian Vaccination Network with Meryl Dorey as their most public face advocate the use of homeopathic vaccinations or exposing children to the virus so that they build a natural immunity[2]. They do this through selling t-shirts, publishing a magazine entitled "Living Wisdom", hosting seminars and "webinars" and publishing news and opinion pieces that support their agenda and denounce those that don't.
They do all this saying that they are a pro-choice organisation and that they want concerned parents to seek out all the facts before making their decision to vaccinate their child. However when looking through the website, the articles published and the blogs written by Meryl I could not find single piece of information that listed the benefits of vaccination. If they wish to be taken seriously as a pro choice organisation then they need to cover more than just the possible problems with vaccinations.

  1. http://www.nrgpn.org.au/index.php?page=Project_display&item_id=364
  2. http://scepticsbook.com/2009/04/29/anti-vaxers-the-story-so-far/

23 November 2009

An introduction..... of sorts then some talk of an old radio show.

Hi. I'm me. I'm looking for a new form of procrastination. I'm also looking for a new way to develop my writing skills. I am currently training to be a teacher. Primary (elementary for you American types) school to be more precise, hence the need to improve my writing skills.
So here we go....

Today marks the two year anniversary of the final episode of Get This.

Back in 2006 two men got together and created one of the most amazing radio programs Australia had ever listened to since the mid nineties. Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee met during the filming of an Australian film called BoyTown they soon discovered they had a love of all things movies.

Tony is a legend of the comedy scene in Australia and Ed was driving radio station promo vehicles giving away icy cans of Coca-Cola and Mariah Carey CDs. Ed basically lied to Tony about his radio panel operating skills to get the job and it was decided that someone else needed to panel the show. At first they enlisted the help of a guy named The Bear (he in no way resembles one) and later the late and great Richard Marsland and the show was born.

The show titled Get This consisted of Tony and Ed inviting a someone else in and having a chat over the hour. There were sketches, listener call in segments and then interviewing the guest. Some of these guests included Richard E. Grant, Kevin Smith, Weird Al Yankovic, Billy West, Will Arnett, Seth Rogan, Harry Shearer, Bert Newton, Dylan Moran, Ross Noble, Chris Isaak, Lachy Hulme. Ben Folds, The Wiggles and many other local and overseas people with the only condition being that they must be in the studio and live.
Get This grew from one hour to two in 2007 allowing Tony, Ed and Richard to do their own thing in the first hour and interviews in the second and because of this rating soared. They consistently scored in the top three in their time slot.

This inevitably led to their axing. News reports often stated "Get This so popular that Triple M management don't know what to do with them." What was happening was that listeners were tuning in for the show then tuning right back out once it was over. They were moved from the mornings, to lunch time and finally to mid afternoon.

A few weeks after Tony announced the axing on air rallies were held in Sydney and Melbourne and a few other places such as London and Tokyo with the Melbourne rally outside the Triple M studies being the largest. Never before have I seen a radio show's axing inspire people to gather to show management that they made such a terrible decision.

Two years on and people still listen to Get This. Some wonderful person released high quality recordings of every episode (if you ask nicely I might be able to help you out) which helps also social networking has keep the memory alive. If you are a Twitterer search #GetThis you will find people randomly posting quotes from the show.

Get This became more than just a radio show. It became a community. Tony, Ed and Richard made the listener feel a part of the show. It went so far as to Ed organising a lift from the studio to Melbourne airport so he could pick up a friend who was visiting from Canada. I look back at those days fondly running back from class to stream the show I never managed to call in to participate in Talkback Mountain, or send in a picture of myself wearing a cape to celebrate Capril or do a crappy impersonation of Star Trek's The Borg for Borgust but I enjoyed every moment.

Thank you Tony, Ed and Richard for making those two year some of the most amusing.
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