How the League Cup has relighted the fire.

Anyone who watches or follows football year in year out would undoubtedly be able to admit that this season especially has been one of the darker seasons we have had. With racism being the main issue in the sport, ironically after a major tournament where the racism that was highly anticipated never really made an appearance. Now following the battle of the Bridge on Sunday the referee’s are now having their integrity questioned on a scale the likes we have never seen.

That was until Tuesday night, namely at the Madejski Stadium where one of the greatest comebacks that I have ever seen took place. Following Manchester United for 17 years or so now I know a thing about comebacks. Before Tuesday the greatest comebacks I had seen were United’s legendary night away to Juventus in the 1999 Champions League Semi Finals where, at 2-0 down United look dead and buried in the tie. But a Roy Keane goal saw a spirited United side go onto win the tie and the competition in a similar comeback style. Then there was the Tottenham 3-5 United match which was literally a match of two halves.

Amazing Action in this weeks League Cup fixtures

However, on Tuesday night at 4-0 down Arsenal were done for me. Didn’t really look like coming back at all, but suddenly Theo Walcott broke and going in 4-1 down you just knew it was going to happen. Everytime Arsenal pulled one back to get closer to extra time it was incredible. What drama to have in a competition that supposedly no one cares about. Then after an amazing extra time to cap off an extraordinary night Arsenal went into the next round.

But not only at Reading were Cup moments being created. Swindon came back from 2-0 down and only a Christian Benteke strike late on denied them an extra 30 minutes against their Premier League opposition Aston Villa. And how about at the DW, where Premier League outfit Wigan couldn’t break down the stubborn Bantem’s defence and lost on penalties to Bradford City.

Wednesday night saw more of the same, a thriller on the telly between Chelsea and United. It was great to see quite a tame match aggression wise after what had happened at the weekend; but for me it was a fantastic match and to think United were one clearance away from going through, but ended up losing in extra time. Swansea going to Anfield and dumping out the holders and their former boss in the process, cranking up the pressure on Brendan Rodgers at the same time. Norwich were 1-0 down to Tottenham after 80 minutes but ended up winning the tie 2-1.

Incredible midweek action that you wouldn’t find in any other country. A great advert for not only football as a whole but for English Football, whose reputation took a beating over recent months. And long may the scintillating football continue.

How about you, what is the greatest comeback you have ever witnessed? Cup or League. Let us know and the best will be published on our new social media outlets. 

RB

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An Insight Into Modern Cricket

Good morning, good afternoon, Bonjour, whatever the timezone – wherever you’re from, welcome to Josh Orwin’s first Cricket blog post.


Some say Cricket, despite mastered in many countries overseas, underlines England’s cultural lifestyle with the sense of elegence and gentlemenship which game is played. Some however, emphasise how Cricket is England’s third choice sport, but merely watch it when nothing else is on. 

Hawkeye is now a vital part of cricket due to technological advances

It is interesting to think that 35 years ago cricket was not only without the technology the game has today, but was also without any forms of safety regulations. In comparison to today where players have the utility of top of the range safety helmets and a variety of pads and bodyguards. Today’s players also have the luxury of in-game technology with hot spot and everyone’s favourite hawk-eye being the forerunners but yet has still maintained its traditional values which has made many think that Cricket is one of the most developed sports in the land.

One thing that does need questioning (albeit for safety reasons) is why, with the smallest drizzle of rain and darkness can make the game unplayable. The game is watched by millions around the world and until this major frustration is halted the more people will be convinced that Cricket just isn’t modern enough.

JO

England’s Autumn Opponents

A lot has been said about this new England squad, many top pundits even describing as this current flock of England talent as the best side since 2003. Understandably the headlines are stolen by news of injuries to England stalwarts Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes, and now a one-match ban for Saracens winger Chris Ashton, we take a look at how England’s four opposition will fare up against the almighty roar at the home of Rugby.

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Fiji – 10th November

With momentum such a key in modern day international rugby, this will be an excellent chance for the QBE internationals kicking off to a victorious start for the English. Or as a nation, is there an expectance to overturn a psychical, passionate Fijian side?

The Fijians have named a squad with 16 un-capped players. Now, this could mean two things. Inexperience will get the better of these players, or in fact the opposite, this team could become a future driving force for Fiji. Key players.  Nikola Matawalu (Glasgow Warriors) Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers) Ravai Fatiaki (Worcester Warriors)

Having won 0 out of the 4 matches so far in their history against England, I expect England to be too much for a very strong Fiji.

Australia – 17th November

The first ‘massive test’ for England is familiar foe Australia who are arguably the weakest team out of the ‘big 3’. In recent years, the home team have beaten Australia in the last 3 attempts which include the 35-18 victory all the way back in 2010.

In a contrast to the Fiji side, Australia have only announced only one uncapped player in Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan, which indicates that Robbie Deans is happy with his squad, and we will see this familiar Australian side in years to come. Despite injuries to Will Genia and Quade Cooper, who miss the tour, Australia welcome back David Pocock in the back row.

However, this side has a great future with stars such as flankers Liam Gill and Michael Hooper, fly half Kurtley Beale and scrum half Nick Phipps. I believe the newly formed England squad to roll over this Australian side, however, enjoy it while it lasts, This Australian team will be back laughing come round to 2015.

South Africa 24th November

Injuries have also plagued the South African side. Prolific try scorer Bryan Habana will miss the tour with a knee injury, hot prospect fly-half Johan Goosen is also out, whilst experienced Springboks Bis

marck du Plessis, Pierre Spies and Frans Steyn will all miss the tour because of injury. This has resulted in a relatively youthful and inexperienced South African squad being selected, and gifts England a sparkling opportunity to go one better than their last match against the Springboks, a 14-14 draw back in June.

However, The Springboks will still ooze skill and power through their squad with Francois Louw having proven himself to be one of the premiere flankers in world rugby, Willem Alberts who had a great series against England in the Summer, and Eben Etzebeth has also broke into the Springboks this year. In terms of England point of view, they should not let themselves get wrapped up into the euphoria of a Ha

bana-less tour, however it should be the opposite as next generation backs are being produced under Meyer. Especially world-beater JP Pieterson who can score from anywhere on the park.

New Zealand – 1st December

World champions, best team in the world, or in fact, ever have been phases being thrown around

to describe this New Zealand side. With the series looking that it will end in blockbuster form with the All Blacks.  Stuart Lancaster will have his work drawn to a conclusion in this monster mash-up.

England should well be aware of the skills that possess within Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, arguably the two out-standing players from the past few years. They will also have to be aware of up and coming players such as winger Julian Savea who has already scored six tries in his five internationals and looks refreshingly set to take the world by storm. I know, another All Black!

All odds are on that New Zealand will look to complete a undefeated tour of Europe and England will have to be aware of this, as they will field their strongest, most ruthless world beating squad.

Final Thought

There is no reason at all, that England cannot win 2 out of the 4. However, they should not look to set themselves on this. I genuinely believe that this England squad can go into the first weekend of December unbeaten and go into that New Zealand clash with their heads held high and give the All Blacks the biggest test they have been given all year.

Prediction: 3 out of 4 wins

Do you agree with the squad’s analysis? Any teams that look as if they will get or be give out a walkover? Comment with your views and the best ones will be publish on our social media sites.

SO

Hello world!

Welcome to On The Ball UK, a brand new sports blog bringing you different takes on the latest news in the Sporting world.

I will take this opportunity to introduce the team:

Ryan Butler (@abaconButtee) – Ryan will be taking care of all things Football and Snooker. As a Trainee Sports Broadcaster his opinions of football come with experience and passion. As a Hampshire fan, Ryan will also be giving his insight on the goings on in the world of Cricket.

Stephen Orwin (@stephenorwinxv) – Stephen is our Rugby man. There isn’t anything going on in the land of the egg shaped ball that this man doesn’t know anything about whether its League or Union. Stephen will also be covering aspects of Tennis throughout the sporting seasons and don’t be surprised to see his two cents in regards to Cricket.

Josh Orwin (@Orwinner) – Josh is our chief Cricket writer. He loves the game and knows a thing or two when it comes to playing and analysing the sport, whether its County or International Cricket he is the man when it comes to the big thing out on the field. Josh will also be chipping in with thoughts and reaction to the goings on in Golf and at points will even have his say on the Football aswell.

Thats the team! Now all we need to say is to look out for regular posts and updates as well as later on in the year refreshing articles on minor sports which we love and follow.

RB