OzBoxing

Malcheks Youngpups Claim Ashes Glory

image

Malcheks Youngpups were forced to battle the elements, some sore heads and the history chasing A Fish Called Wanda to claim victory at the annual Charters Towers Goldfield Ashes.

With the emotions of the defeat from last years final, at the hands of A Fish Called Wanda still etched in their minds, Malcheks were eager to hit the pitch in this years tournament to erase the pain from last year.

Lead by new skipper Darren Walker, Malcheks were matched with the defending champions in the opening round. In a hard fought battle, the Youngpups were once again handed defeat, unable to chase The Fishs run total.

This defeat left them sitting in last place at the beginning of Sunday morning.

The Malcheks were able to score three comprehensive victories in their remaining games to finish 2nd after the completion of the round games and set up a rematch in the A1 final with newly found rivals A Fish Called Wanda, who were chasing a 4th consecutive title.

Bowling first, Malcheks started well with Mitch Rawlins and Daniel Gartrell snaring early wickets to put The Fish on the back foot.

The Fish dug in with Tony Hampson and Andrew Boyle stabilising the middle overs with a handy partnership.

That was until leg spinner Reece Danaher came into attack and got rid of the dangerous Hampson to shift momentum back towards The Pups.

A late flurry of strong hitting from The Fish’s tail end set the Malcheks a total chase of 90.

Confident with being able to chase the total, the Danaher brothers (Reece and Sean) opened the batting, scoring some quick runs until a sharp run out dismissed Sean.

This fired up The Fish, but some strong batting by The Malcheks youngest member Tommy Venitis kept them a float during a dangerous period.

Beginning to fall behind the required run rate and looking for quick runs with the weather setting in, the Youngpups started to lose wickets.

With 18 balls remaining and 22 runs required, the Malcheks skipper Darren Walker and Justin Rawlins fought hard to set up a grandstand finish.

With heavy rain now falling, Justin Rawlins was run out, leaving a victory in tail ender Matt Twomey’s hands.

Scoring 7 off his first 2 balls faced, Twomey gained confidence. This was until captain Walker was run out pushing hard for a second in the final over.

This left Twomey with 2 runs needed off the final ball.  Desperate to prevent the winning runs, Fish bowler Kyle Dearness overstepped the mark for a no ball and Twomey pushed a single into cover to seal the game for the Malcheks.

This triggered mayhem as the Youngpups stormed the field in jubilation to celebrate the victory.

This is the first time in Malcheks 37 year history they’ve claimed victory in the A1 final.

Footballers Turned Boxers…

The news that Blake Ferguson will make his professional boxing debut next week has prompted me to discuss this growing trend of footballers making their way into the boxing ring. Firstly let’s look at some that have played top grade football and also had professional boxing matches. The major one is obviously Anthony Mundine, and then there is Garth Wood, Sonny Bill Williams, John Hopoate, Soloman Houmono, Lance Thompson, Joe Willams, Sam Rapira and Quade Cooper.

All these converts except for Mundine, Wood and Joe Williams, are Crusierweight (80kg-90kg) or Heavyweight (90kg+). They are big, fit, strong, elite level athletes.  My biggest problem is the opponents selected for these athletes. Most seem to be overweight and unfit. I understand that these guys are novice boxers with limited to no boxing background and should therefore fight other novices. This only makes sense. But with these guys developed strength and fitness levels, they could at least fight a semi fit opponent. Boxing is a serious sport and people can get severely injured. In the best interest of competitors, families and viewers, putting people in who are obviously not fit to be in a boxing ring should not be allowed. Another thing is it makes the sport of boxing look bad. In the state boxing is currently in, it does not need these types of incidents to tarnish it’s imagine.

My second problem is how much exposure and publicity these footballers get for their boxing matches. Mundine v Mosley is one of the biggest boxing events this country has ever seen and Blake Ferguson gets a spot on the undercard. This is a guy who was sacked from the NRL, is battling a court case following a charge of indecent assault and has never had a fight. I guarantee there are a number of established fighters that would love the opportunity to showcase their skills on such an event. Some boxers go entire careers without getting the chance to fight on TV, yet this guy gets to debut on an event that will be broadcast worldwide. It also annoys me when people talk about boxing and mention names like Cooper and Williams but would have no idea who Bika, Tomlinson, Dib, Fletcher or Capparello are. This shows these footballers get too much publicity and our real fighters don’t get enough, which to me personally is a major issue.

I will however say I don’t regard all these names previously mentioned as the same. The players who have stopped football to pursue a boxing career and treat it seriously I generally have no problem with. It’s the guys that have one off bouts or a fight every couple of years I don’t agree with. It shows they don’t really care about the integrity of the sport and only want to make some money and boost their own profile. You may not like him, but you can’t deny Anthony Mundine’s skill and what he has done in boxing is commendable. Soloman Houmono has gradually progressed and is the current Australian Heavyweight champion. Joe Williams didn’t use his previous NRL status to gain exposure, he will contest for the WBF version of the World title in November. Garth Wood is a hard worker, who has earnt his spot and will get the chance to challenge for the Interim WBA World title in December.

All I really want to see is footballers and management teams to approach and take the sport in a more serious manner. Not only is the safety of their opponents on the line, but the integrity of an entire sport. Also how about less media hype when these guys decide to fight and some more exposure for the number of talented, genuine fighters we have in the country, working hard and getting little recognition outside of the serious boxing circles.

Matt Bowen: NQ Farewell a Champion

Image

The recent news that North Queensland Cowboys star fullback Matt Bowen is set to retire from the clubs playing roster at the end of 2013 has saddened me. On the weekend in what would be his second last regular season game of his career he put in a Man of the Match performance and at just 31 years of age some may wonder why he can’t go around for another season. Constant knee problems which have seen him lose cartilage and require surgery to both knees is a major factor.

Bowen has played 13 seasons with the Cowboys, in that time playing 268 games, which is the clubs record and has earned him one of only four life members spots at the club. During his career he also gained representative honours for Queensland on 10 occasions, played a test for Australia and represented the Indigenous All Stars.

The electric fullback has long time been a crowd favourite and I believe he is the reason many people attend North Queensland home games. The Cowboys could be losing in the most boring match but as soon as the ball is kicked down field and Bowen catches it, the crowd was always sure to ignite. He is so much of a crowd favourite in the North that people have begun a petition to get a Matty Bowen statue outside of the 1300 Smiles Stadium in Townsville, similar to that of the Wally Lewis figure at Lang Park.

A player often referred to as ‘small’, proved this was no handicap regularly making opposition players look foolish with his speed, skill and agility. Not only has Bowen been a great player, the softly spoken Hope Vale product has been a great advocate for the game of Rugby League, great ambassador for North Queensland and role model for Indigenous youth. He has done great things for the club and an offer for him to stay inside the ranks of the North Queensland club working in the community programs has been offered. I would love to see him in this position, he could definitely inspire the upcoming talent across North Queensland.

The weekend coming will see Bowen play for the last time in front of his home crowd when the Cowboys take on the Wests Tigers at 1300 Smiles Stadium. It is still a vital game to win in order for the Cowboys to contest the finals series, but more importantly to send the champion fullback out a winner for the last time in North Queensland. I expect a large crowd to pack the Townsville stadium to witness Bowen’s last match and anticipate an appropriate tribute from the club for their greatest ever player.

Barba A Bronco

Image

The rumours have been lurking around the Rugby League world for months, now it is official. Ben Barba will joining the Brisbane Broncos on a three year deal as of 2014 after being granted a release from the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Barba had two years remaining at the Bulldogs but wished to return home to Queensland due to family welfare. It was reported all three Queensland based teams (Titans, Broncos & Cowboys) were heavily bidding for the talented 24 year old with the Brisbane based team eventually securing the signature. The two years will be transferred with another year being added to his contract.

Is ‘The Pirates’ The Best They Can Do?

Image

20 thousand plus people turned out to NIB Stadium in Perth yesterday to watch the South Sydney Rabbitohs play the New Zealand Warriors. I believe this very vocal and passionate crowd proved that a team based in this part of the country could be successful in an NRL expansion.

A team by the name of the West Coast Pirates have been placing a bid to be the team to enter should an expansion to Western Australia occur. This is hopefully a real chance of getting approved and exciting for the people of Perth who live in a town with not one, but two teams in the AFL.

However, this name ‘The Pirates’, reminds me of a name you’d give to a custom team in the Rugby League Playstation game. Is this really the best they can come up with?

When I think about it though, there’s probably a few team names that sounded strange from the beginning. Maybe I’ll get used to it if it eventuates. In the mean time lets discuss possible better names?