Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 25: Rugby, Football, Speedway and Hockey

This edition Mark, Scuttsy and Peter discuss Rugby Union in Aviva premiership and Autumn internationals. 

Football, Ice Hockey with Joe loving speaking of Swindon`s win over Manchester ( Chuffing Booo!!) 

Speedway update and PREDICTIONS.. With Joe leading the way so far as Peter hopes to avoid the Wildcats jersey..


(INTRO music from )

Listen Here for the ShowLISTEN HERE


Prediction Table.. so far

1, Scuttsy   - 5

2. Mark       - 3


3. Peter      - 1   

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 24: Rugger, Footy, Hockey & Predictions

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 24:

Welcome to the new episode where we or should that be 'ME' looks back at the start of the new European Rugby Cup, as we review the opening 2 rounds from all 5 pools.

There is Football news looking at the Premier League and Macc Town.

Hockey also gets an airing with English Premier League and National Hockey League getting the podcast treatment.

As well as that, we have the return of the Predictions league. as we guess aimlessly at Rugby, football, tennis, F1 and NFL


Contact the Show:

TWITTER : @BASportCast 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Below Average SportBLOG #6 - The Un-American American Sport Report

Since the podcast is a predominantly English sporting podcast lets mix it up and see how things are going in the sporting world across the pond, three of the major leagues are up and running at the moment, Baseball is currently coming to its conclusion with the World Series, the NFL is half way into the regular season and the front runners for the Super Bowl in February are coming to the fore, the NHL has started with some interesting teams leading the way in both conferences while the NBA is waiting in the wings starting tonight.

Major League Baseball

A season that started all the way back in April is coming to its thrilling conclusion as the San Francisco Giants take on the unfancied Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series, after 6 gruelling months, 162 regular season games it has come down to just 7 games to decide who is the league champions. Kansas City came through the American League claiming a wildcard spot to qualify for the playoffs after finishing just behind division rivals Detroit Tigers while the Giants were in a similar situation in the National League qualifying for a wildcard behind the much fancied Los Angeles Dodgers. The Royals reached the World Series first beating the Oakland Athletics in the one game Wild Card round a game they came back from 5-0 down to win 9-8 in extra innings thanks to a walk off (Game Winning hit) single from catcher Salvador Perez. After just squeaking through the wild card they went to LA to take on the Los Angeles Angels who were the preseason favourites to win the entire playoffs, in the end the Royals swept them 3-0 winning the third and final game in Kansas City 8-3 to keep their postseason alive. The sweeps kept coming for the Royals after they beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 in the American League Championship Series winning both games 3 and 4 2-1 in low scoring defensive battles to send them to their first World Series since 1985. Meanwhile in the National League the San Francisco Giants went through an eerily similar process, in the Wild Card round the Giants went into Pittsburgh and destroyed the Pirates winning 8-0 thanks to a grand slam by Brandon Crawford and a shut out by pitcher Madison Bumgarner. In the next round they faced off against the much fancied Washington Nationals and won the series 3-1, the highlight of the series being an 18 inning, 6 hour marathon in game two that the Giants won 2-1. As the National League Championship Series rolled round and with the Giants rolling they went through the St Louis Cardinals winning 4-1 with victory coming in the best possible fashion as Travis Ishikawa blasted a three run home run in the last inning to send the Giants to the World Series.

Game 1 of the World Series kicked off in Kansas's Kaufmann Stadium and the Giants turned up to put an end to the Royals 8 win streak in the playoffs after winning 7-1 primarily thanks to three runs in the first inning for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner had another fantastic pitching display before giving up his first run in the playoffs to a Salvador Perez home run after keeping a shut out going for 32 innings. In Game 2 the Royals came back the next night with a 7-2 victory thanks to a big 6th inning which saw them score 5 runs to level the series before heading off to San Francisco. Game 3 and the series was flipped on its head as the Royals took the series lead following a 3-2 victory, the Royals tried and tested formula of good pitching and fantastic defence that saw them into the postseason handed them a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 saw the Giants fight back this time winning 11-4 thanks to some big hitting from Pablo Sandoval to kickstart the Giants defence. This passed Sunday Game 5 saw Madison Bumgarner pitch the first complete game shutout in the World Series for 11 years as the Giants beat the Royals to take a 3-2 series lead back to Kansas City for Game 6 where the destination of the title could be decided tonight if the Royals win tonight the series will go the distance with Game 7 being this Wednesday night.

National Football League

8 weeks into the NFL season and if you believe Sky Sports or anyone in America the Denver Broncos have already won the Super Bowl thanks to their 6-1 start to the season, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning broke yet another record this time for most touchdowns in NFL history beating the previous best by Brett Favre with his 509th career touchdown pass against the San Francisco 49ers. Elsewhere in the AFC the New England patriots have bounced back from a poor game against the Kansas City Chiefs to win 4 straight games to sit atop the East division, the North division is the closest with all 4 teams separated by just one win with the Cincinnati Bengals currently leading. In the South the future London franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars are holding up the rest of the division with a 1-7 record but are not the worst team in football this year as that honour belongs to the Oakland Raiders who are yet to win a game and do not look like breaking that duck any time soon. In the NFC the surprise of the season has been that last season's champions the Seattle Seahawks appear to be struggling with a 4-3 record in the West behind surprise division leaders the Arizona Cardinals, in yet more surprises the hotly tipped New Orleans Saints have been poor but to be fair so has the rest of the South division with no one having a winning record. The Eastern division is being led by "America's Team" the Dallas Cowboys thanks to some record breaking running from DeMarco Murray but the Philadelphia Eagles are hot on their heels, the North is quickly becoming a two horse race between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers with the teams still to play each other in a potentially division deciding game in the last week of the regular season.

This passed Sunday saw the second of the London games this year as the Detroit Lions just edged out the Atlanta Falcons in dramatic fashion. The Falcons started the game in the best possible way as they drived 80 yards down the field for the touchdown as Matt Ryan hit Devonta Freeman for the 7 yard touchdown pass, Atlanta then doubled their lead when Matt Ryan found tight end Bear Pascoe in the back of the end zone to give them a 14-0 lead, as the Lions carried on having a bad start the Falcons kept scoring as Steven Jackson pounded the ball in for yet another touchdown and the Falcons a 21-0 lead at half time. Then the Lions finally got their act together as an early field goal from Matt Prater started the fight back, following a Falcons punt the Lions continued their march and saw the play of the day as quarterback Matt Stafford dropped a 59 yard bomb into receiver Golden Tate's hands. The wheels really fell off the Falcons wagon when a Matt Ryan interception was capitalised on by the Lions for another field goal to cut the lead to just 8 points, while the Falcons offense continued to stall the Lions kept going and with a 7 minute 13 play drive marched the ball down the field yet again and Matt Stafford hit Theo Riddick for another touchdown and breaking the Detroit passing record for most touchdowns by a Lions quarterback but a failed two point conversion by the Lions made the score 21-19 to the Falcons. Atlanta tried and failed to run the clock down and gave the ball back to the Lions which lead to a controversial finish, starting at their own 7 yard line the Lions moved their way into the Atlanta half and left themselves with 4 seconds to kick the winning field goal Matt Prater stepped up but as the play clock expired the whistles went just as he kicked it for him to shank it wide right and give the Falcons the win.... or so they thought, the referees met and as the whistles had gone before the ball was kicked a redo was ordered from 5 yards further out, so Prater readjusted himself went again and struck the retry straight down the middle to give the Lions the 22-21 victory to the dismay of the Falcons and a lot of the NFL pundits.

National Hockey League

The NHL season is just getting into its stride and the surprise package in the Eastern conference has to be the New York Islanders and their top goal scorer Brock Nelson which has jumped them to top spot in the Metropolitan division ahead of yet another surprise team in the New Jersey Devils. In the Atlantic division the Montreal Canadiens have jumped out to an early lead thanks to the fantastic goaltending of Carey Price and their typical brand of hard defence. The Western conference has its own surprise package in the Calgary Flames as Jonas Hiller appears to have settled right in and made the Flames a contender in the stacked Pacific division. The reigning champion Los Angeles Kings bounced back from an opening night defeat to the San Jose Sharks and have racked up 6 straight wins to lie second in the division. Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars currently leads the league in points just two seasons after he was let go by the Boston Bruins for not scoring enough points, while the league lead for goals is currently shared between Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and the often heavily criticised on the show Rick Nash of the New York Rangers.

National Basketball Association

The new NBA season kicks off tonight when reigning champion San Antonio Spurs face off against the Dallas Mavericks in the battle of Texas, all eyes will however will be on Cleveland on Thursday night as they kick their season off against the New York Knicks with their heavily stacked roster and the return of the king as Lebron James returns home to win an NBA title for his home town Cavaliers. Much was made in the off season when James decided to leave the Miami Heat and the Cavaliers have rewarded him by giving him the best possible starting 5 to play with, even better than the one he left the Cavaliers for in Miami some 5 years ago, Kyrie Irving is a future hall of fame point guard and with Kevin Love they also have the best rebounding power forward in the league. Although in theory this season could quite possibly turn out to be similar to Lebron's first in Miami where the side qualified for the playoffs but didn't progress any further even though the Eastern conference is rather weak. Meanwhile in the West it is a three horse race between the perennial under achievers in the Los Angeles Clippers, the seemingly always the bridesmaid Oklahoma City Thunder and the ageing San Antonio Spurs with names like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics look set to miss out on the playoffs for a second straight season.

So there ends another batch of waffle hopefully you will hear another show soon before another whip round  by the three of us on the interwebs

Joe Scutts
Southern Correspondant

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Below Average SPORTBLOG #5 - Silkmen and Coyotes

The good thing with writing a column for Peter's B.A.S.C ( Below Average Sport Cast) is it allows me to concentrate on something other than the Manchester Phoenix. I do love the Phoenix, hell...I’ve been a season ticket holder throughout the Phoenix existence! The BASC allows me to indulge a little in my other two sports teams, Macclesfield Town in the amazingly named, Vanorama Conference and my beloved Arizona Coyotes. 

This column is written about a month after my first attempt so we are well into the Conference season and the NHL has finally swung into action. 

The Silkmen March on! 

So a month down the line and the Silkmen have continued their good start to the conference season, since my last posting, as they have played another 8 games and still only recorded 3 losses. That is quite an incredible bit of form for Macc, given the fans (and my own) pre-season predictions of a year of struggle. The Silkmen have registered 28pts from their 17 games so far and currently sit in 7th place just below Bristol Rovers, amazingly just 2 pts outside of a playoff place, which is currently held by Forest Green Rovers and I really don't think you would have found any Macc Town fan that would have predicted that at the start of the season. A huge part of the season so far for the Silkmen, has been their form at the Moss Rose and currently they are yet to lose a home game and remain one of three teams yet to lose on home turf. Stand-out players so far have been Luke Waterfall who is on loan from Scunthorpe United in defence, and who has been rock solid at the back playing all but one game so far. Wade Fairhurst is the other player catching the eye so far, as since returning to the Silkmen he has scored four goals so far. 

With Phoenix being my first love, I do not have much spare sporting ££'s free, so I pick and choose my Macc Town games and last Saturday was the first Silkmen game of the season that I managed to get to. In truth, it was quite a spur of the moment thing, but I went to the Moss Rose, to take in Macclesfield Town v Dover from the Brewtique stand (editorial note: Fancy name). The two clubs had only played each other about a month ago, before the usual return fixture where your games versus one opponent are done and dusted, but it rare to face opposition home and way, so early in the season. That game down by the White Cliffs finished 1-0 to the Silkmen, thanks to a 77th minute goal from Chris Holroyd.
So going into the game the Silkmen were fancied for the win and would want to keep their fine home form going. Macc managed to control most of the game, creating quite a few near chances but not too many guilt edged chances. Rhys Taylor did not have a huge amount to do in the half really. Into the second half where Macc would attack their own fans in the Brewtique stand and had them up their game in search of a goal.  That goal then came, after some great play to release Holroyd down the right flank, as speeded towards the box before he put in a great cross which evaded most players on both sides, but Paul Lewis was in space on the six yard line and calmly slotted the ball into the near corner. As Dover searched for an equaliser in the game, it became quite open but the Silkmen held on for another 1-0 victory and their second against Dover this season and saw Macc continuing their unbeaten run at the Moss Rose. 

The standout player for me and someone who rightly got the MOM was Adriano Moke, a tricky little winger with great speed and good ball control. Moke was the source of much creativity and attacking for Macc Town and is a player who could be key for the Silkmen this season if he is able to stay fit.
Next up for the Silkmen, is a home FA Cup tie at the Moss Rose against Wrexham. This should be a good `un, as the FA Cup has been kind to the Silkmen in recent years. Great cup runs have helped fill the Moss Rose and injected much needed ££'s into club coffers too. I'll be there this Friday (24th Oct) in the Brewtique stand. It'll be a tough game and a game that could threaten the home record, as both clubs know how important cup runs are at this level, so fingers crossed it will be a Good Friday night under the lights at the Moss! 

Mixed fortunes for the Coyotes 

The NHL season is off and running, with fans across the UK getting used to late nights once more in order to catch their teams in action. As of writing this, the Coyotes have opened the season with a 4 game home stand at the Gila Arena, against the Jets/Kings/Oilers and Blues. It`s been a frustratingly inconsistent start for the Coyotes, made all the more frustrating by being in the Pacific division which is a super competitive division in the Western Conference. I said on the last B.A.S.C podcast that, although a season is not made or broken in October, a poor start can leave you behind the 8-ball for most of the season and on reflection, a 2 and 2 start when you face both the current Stanley Cup champions and the St Louis Blues, could be considered an OK start. Though i`d have wanted to make more of the home stand though and get a few good wins under the belt to start with. 

The season got underway against the Winnipeg Jets and after a summer of build up to opening night, it was quite the let down. Poor team D (seems a regular thing for my teams who play on ice!) and poor goaltending, led the Jet's hammering the Coyotes 6-2. When your goalie admits to being 'not comfortable' on the ice, you know your team is struggling. Opening night was a downer too, with the following Saturday night facing the Stanley Cup winners the LA King's and would have to be better. With Dubnyk starting in goal for the first time, the Coyotes got up for the visit of the Kings and secured a 3-2 OT win over the Champions. It was a great win against an excellent team and one who could retain the cup this year. Midweek the Oilers rolled into Glendale, still searching for their first win and after Saturday`s win against the Kings, the Coyotes mostly clicked against Edmonton and got a big 7-4 victory on a night, where the offence clicked and the defence was there or thereabouts! So, off the back of two wins, the Coyotes faced the Blues last weekend and........were hammered 6-1. Smith struggled all night, but the loss can't be hung totally on him as according to Dave Tippett (Coyotes Coach) too many players were below their best and If that happens in the NHL, let alone the western conference, you will lose 99 games in 100 playing like that!  So a 50% win rate off the opening home stand and a case of should have been better, but could have been much worse. The Coyotes now head off on the road to face Nashville and Minnesota, before returning home to take on the struggling Florida Panthers. 

So that's it for now, we will speak again in a month and where hopefully the Silkmen will have started another FA Cup run and the Coyotes will be putting together a good run of form. Fingers crossed!


Below Average SportBLOG #4 - SHARKS, Bloods and Hockey

Well been nearly two months since my last column, so i suppose i should give an update on my sporting views and what has happened since my last blog entry. 
As some of you know I've really been losing my passion for football over the last 5 years or so and this season has basically made go 'meh' to the season so far as I've really not been interested much in it, barring non-league football. However though, the only side in football that i have been following more is my local side in Droylsden football club who have slipped down to the 7th league in the footballing pyramid now, after a record breaking season last term, but not in a good sense.  Droylsden now play out of the Evo Stick Division 1 league, where they hope to bounce back to the premier division, 'The Bloods' have a 50% record in the league this season, as they have an identical record at home as they do away from home too, with 4 wins and 2 losses in their opening 12 games to their season.

Looking at the International side of things and the European championship qualifiers have been and gone, which saw England remain unbeaten in their group after a comfortable 5-0 win over San Marino at Wembley, in front of a bored looking crowd and then saw England as entertaining as thrush and then struggled to a 1-0 victory in Estonia a few days later.  
North of the border, and the Scots are going about their business well after their unlucky loss to Germany in their opener with the world champions, they picked up a 1-0 win over a difficult Georgian team at Ibrox and followed it up with a 2-2 draw against Poland in the Polish capital, with Shaun Maloney and Steve Naismith netting for Scotland in the match. In the same group, Germany shown some cracks as they lost 2-0 in Poland and then saw them drop two points in Gelsenkirchen three days later, as the Germans had led thanks to a Toni Kroos goal and then in the 94th minute of the match, John O'Shea on his 100th appearance for the Republic of Ireland, saw him equalise with a rare strike to cap off a good night for the Irishman.

In Northern Ireland, the men from Windsor Park have become the unlikely side to top the group with an unbeaten record so far with two more wins to boot, as they beat the minnows of the group in the Faroe Islands 2-0 before then continuing their good record with a another 2-0 victory, this time in Greece as they beat the 2004 European champions with goals from Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward helping the Irishmen to three points.To be honest the International side of things have been much better than that of domestic side for my liking, though i don`t include England in that bracket, as i have a dislike for the English football side for many reasons.

I`m turning into a Rugger Bugger!

Over the past few months I've really developed a huge interest in Rugby Union and has overtook football in enjoyment me, as I`ve really gone off football and don`t enjoy it half as much as i did.  I`ve really gotten into the Union game and have been following the adventures of the AJ Bell Stadium based Sale Sharks. A few weeks ago I made my second trip to Eccles to watch the Sharks, as they battled the crisis club London Wasps where news had come out in recent weeks that the club is moving 100 miles North to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, and will see the Wasps move into their new surrounding, come December time.

The match Itself saw a very entertaining game, that sadly saw a low turnout with the AJ Bell Stadium just under half full, whether it was due to the fact the game was being screened on BT SPORTS or just because fans aren't coming to games as they only want to see a side that is successful and the Sharks haven't had a successful season since the 05/06 season when they became the Aviva Premiership League champions, no one truly know.
However, the Sharks have made a trend this year to their games, in which they have started quickly out of the blocks and this game was to be no different at all, with top Try scorer in the league, in Left-Winger Tom Arscott picking up an early try that gave the hosts an early lead. Nathan Hughes then went over from close range to see the Wasps move two points ahead, with Andy Goode converting on the extra points for a 7-5 score to the opposition. Right before half time, a charged down kick by Sale saw the ball bounce into the in goal area and saw Christian Wade unable to deal with it, and Scottish Scrum-Half Chris Cusiter grounded the ball for a Try and saw the Sharks bite back. Danny Cipriani in the second half then kicked over a drop goal and penalty, which saw the Fly-half get over after a nightmare first half with the boot, where he successfully kicked only one out of four and saw him needing new kicking boots in the second half. Cipriani then managed to find his range again and confidence boosted, as he converted a penalty and conversion, after Tom Brady went over for a try that gave the Sharks a cushion to win 25-14. Sale then got annihilated by the current champions in Northampton Saints on their travels, getting thrashed 43-10 with their worst performance of the season.

This past weekend I spent watching the new European Champions Cup competition, which is the Champions league of Rugby Union in a sense and the opening match saw Gloucester thrash a poor Brive side 55-0 at Kingsholm, against a side that lacked anything in attack and their defense was equal to a chocolate fireguard. Charlie Sharples will never have an easier game to score tries in again, with the Winger picking up a hat trick and becoming the first player to do in the tournament on opening night. 
Harlequins beat a stubborn Castres side 25-9, with Danny Care scoring the only try for 'Quins', while Nick Evans kicked 20 points with 6 penalties and a conversion from the boot.
Finalists in the old format last year in the form of Saracens saw them face the team they massacred in the Semi finals of the old Heineken cup, in Clermont-Auvergne. Sarries had Chris Ashton and David Strettle both going over twice, as the runners-up held out over the French club 30-23, with Zak Guildford scoring a pair of tries himself for the visitors.

Leicester Tigers put their poor league form to one side, as they beat tough opposition in Ulster  as they won 25-18 at Welford Road, with Owen Williams, Graham Kitchener and Freddie Burns all going over the Ulsterman's try line in the first half with the Belfast outfit struggling to get going. In the second half, Irish international Tommy Bowe tried to kick start an Ulster comeback, before Burns added a penalty to the Tigers score and then Franco van der Merwe replied for Ulster, but it was all too late to get back in the match.
The other two big clubs in Ireland saw them both go behind in their respective games and both take incredible victories in the process.
For Leinster the three winners of the old format, saw Wasps welcomed to Dublin and saw Alapati Leiua and Christian Wade both scoring tries as the Aviva Premiership side as they led 20-8.That then saw Ian Madigan kick a penalty on the stroke of half time, to see them trail by 9 at the break. Second half saw 'the Boys in Blue' mount their own comeback with Darragh Fanning scoring a try and then Madigan kicking the points on the board, while Dominic Ryan scored the winning try with 20 minutes of play left to win 25-20.

I started with Sale and will finish with them too as the Sharks opened their 'Group of Death', with a meeting against one of the famous Irish rugby sides in Munster and saw the AJ Bell Stadium mostly full, with a near 10,000 crowd to watch the game. It saw the encounter play up to the phrase 'Game of two halves', with the Sharks completely bossing their rivals, despite Munster taking the lead on 5 minutes. The home side went into the break 23-7 up, with the best team performance I've witnessed this season involving the Sharks. As tries for Sale by Magnus Lund and Johnny Leota for the hosts, added by Danny Cipriani kicking with a 100 percentage success rate in the game, with the English star converting five from five. In the second half it was all Munster, as they hardly let Sale move into their 22 metre area at all, with the 'Red Army' grabbing a lifeline with Andrew Conway and then when Conor Murray went over it was game on. The game reached was reaching it`s climax and it saw with time up 26-24 in favour of the home side, before Ian Keatley kicked over a drop goal to condemn the Sharks to defeat and give the Travelling Irish fans a win to get their group off and running, with a 26-27 win in a enthralling game of rugby and heartbreak for Sale.

Hockey time

Hockey wise has seen the Manchester Phoenix face two sides from lower league in the hockey pyramid, with playing the Billingham Stars and then the Blackburn Hawks. All three games saw the Phoenix coming out comfortable winners in the end with a 6-2 victory at home with a brace for Adam Walker and Shaun Thompson in the game and they then followed it up the next night, travelling up north and winning 6-1 at the Billingham forum, where Michal Psurny scored twice in the game and take a 4 point weekend from it.
Blackburn Hawks came into Altrincham where they revitalised some old memories for many supporters, with the old clashes between the Trafford Metros and the Hawks in the old barn, where there was saw some of the most exciting games seen in the old Oakfield Road rink. The derby atmosphere was there for all to hear and saw the Hawks take an unlikely and shocking lead after 10 seconds in, before the sides traded goals with each other in a crazy first half of the period. Czech forward Frankie Bakrlik netted a hat trick in the opening period, before youngster Jared Dickinson scored his own hat trick for the Phoenix in the second period, where they won 11-5 in yet another comprehensive win over their local rivals.


Ending this blog, I’ll mention the great news for the Belle Vue Aces speedway side, as work has FINALLY begun on their new stadium which is called the National Speedway Stadium and where work is set to be completed hopefully in time for the 2016 season, where the stadium is adjacent to the stadium they are in now.

Thanks for reading my waffle and until next time Bye for now!


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Below Average Sport Cast Epi 23: Band is Back Together

EPISODE 23 – The Band is Back Together
This edition sees Mark Woodcock make his long awaited return to the show,  as the Budgie man joins Scuttsy and i in our take on Sporting events of late.
This episode we touch on the Aviva Premiership rugby season, Euro 2016 Qualifiers, Speedway and Hockey!

(NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED during the making of the show too)

Twitter: @BASportCast

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Below Average SportBLOG #3 - Mark HOWLS his sporting views!

Following on from Joe's column on this very blog, I thought and with some encouragement from helmsman Peter, I would contribute my own ramblings. This will be different to my own blog's musings, but will try to encompass a wider look at sports other than hockey......wait there are sports other than HOCKEY......I hear you cry! There are, as it turns out! The Angry Budgie will continue to cover the Manchester Phoenix in depth, while this page offers the chance to freestyle a little! 

Phoenix Thoughts....... 

'But first let me take a....'oh wait wrong thing, let`s kick off this new wide ranging sporting view with a look at the Phoenix! I know, I know, but you have to kick off with something you know well! At the time of writing we have had the first weekend of regular season hockey in the EPL and the early EPL table does not mean a great deal with only two games in the books. So, I wanted to talk a little about the Phoenix so far, including the War of the Roses series against the Steeldogs too. 

If you visit the Phoenix forums you will have seen a certain amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the series loss to the Steeldogs. Some fans seeing the Phoenix lack of desire/effort and the club treating the weekend as a pre-season warm up, as an affront to them spending money to watch the games. I fully support a fans right to an opinion and the right to voice it, you pay your money after all. All I would question, is that those fans expectations going into the series. These were two games, yes against a rival, which were PRE-SEASON!!! The fans should know, the way the Phoenix structure their season, is to have the team come together the week before and so the War of the Roses games are their first time together and have only had some players arrive in the country a few days before. 

This is in stark contrast to Sheffield who, by the time the puck dropped in Sheffield Friday night, had already played 4 games! My fellow fans need to realise that and unless the Phoenix change their budgets or Pre-season plans, we will always come into the WOTR undercooked when compared to Sheffield. The weekend for me, has always been about enjoying hockey again after a long summer and Yes, of course I'd rather we won the bowl but, it's not the end of the world. It's nice seeing Sheffield celebrate something! ;) In the end though, the fans always have a choice, you are not forced to fork out your hard earned money to attend, if they don't like how the Phoenix approach the weekend? Don't attend! It really is as simple as that! 

The defence of the EPL title began with a trip to the Bracknell Bees and the visit of the Swindon Wildcats. The away trip to Bracknell was a good one for the Phoenix, as they came back up North with a win. The home game versus Swindon was very entertaining it has to be said. The performance was hugely improved to that against Sheffield and it certainly showed what a difference a good week of training can do! Phoenix dominated the 1st and 2nd periods,while Swindon controlled the third and OT.  I do hate losing on penalty shots, but Swindon were just better! They worked Fone well in the shootout and deservedly won the extra point! My take away`s from the game were, that the Phoenix looked good and will improve more too, with their fitness improving and will be able to take the game for the full 60 mins. Swindon will, again, have to rely on their 1st line and Stevie Lyle in goal this season. As with that combination, it will give them a chance, but should a team shutdown their top line, then they will struggle! 

Are you Local? 

I live in Cheshire.....for some people that means i`m nailed on as a United or City supporter! For me, while I have red leanings for the UK's industrial birthplace teams, the team I really care about is the one where I live. Macclesfield Town or `The Silkmen`. They are long time members of League 2 and I moved to Macc while the club enjoyed their last full season in the football league. Now members of the Vanoraman Conference (catchy) the Silkmen have found their level, Much like the Phoenix, they exist at a level that is appropriate for their level of support. 

Last season the club struggled at times, both on and off the pitch. The riches of the premier league being a world away from local clubs in the lower divisions. There was a few points where the club came close to extinction, but all those behind the scenes, deserve a lot of credit for keeping the club going. 

This year, with a much smaller budget, many a Macc fan was predicting relegation. But the club and players are proving many people wrong so far, as with 9 games gone into the season, it sees Macc Town, having only lost one game so far and that was away to Chester,but remain unbeaten against teams in the top half of the table. It has been a fantastic start for Macc, who has seen many of the players this season having stood up and been counted. Luke Waterfall on loan from Scunthrope, has been a rock at the back, while regulars like Chris Holroyd and Waide Fairhurst, have scored crucial goals when needed for the Silkmen and with Manager John Askey installing a good team ethic into the side, it has made Macclesfield a better team all round! 

So plenty of reasons to be cheerful at the Moss Rose so far! 

Phoenix? No not that Phoenix! 

I`m betting 99% of people reading this blog and listening to the podcast, are Hockey fans. 99% of those 99%, will have an NHL team in addition to their hockey team in the UK. I am not different and what may make me different is, i`m a fan of a less 'trendy' team. Definitely when compared to my BASC (Below Average Sport Cast) fellows in the Rangers, who Peter and Joe support ! I am a Coyotes fan, latterly of the Phoenix variety, now of the Arizona variety! 

The 2013/14 season was, in the end, a bit of a disappointment on the Ice for the Coyotes. After having won their conference a few seasons ago and then not qualifying for the post season playoff, it was a big let down. Even allowing for the super competitive division, in which the Yotes find themselves, they still had a roster capable of extending their campaign into June, But it wasn't to be. Pleasingly though, the Coyotes enjoyed a great year off the Ice,with attendances going up, sponsorship moving up and the club enjoyed numerous sold out nights including selling out in the premium boxes etc...which led to a few record revenue games for the Yotes. The new ownership group saw them reaping the rewards of their hard work, after years of rudderless NHL ownership, the Coyotes now finally have a focus and direction on which to move ahead from. Off ice is improving too, with fans enjoying the new ownership and the on ice product will come of leaps and bounds, it will be also new kind of start too in the 2014/15 season, with the name change of the Arizona Coyotes being used from now and leads to exciting times for the men from the desert. 

Roster wise, there has been some turnover, with Popular Czech player Radim Vrbata heading towards 'The Great White North' as he joins the Vancouver Canucks and Mike Ribero, who never really clicked for the Coyotes, he has gone to the Predators in Nashville. Coming the opposite way is goaltender Devan Dubnyk ,as he`ll act as back up to Mike Smith. Joe Vitale joins from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sam Gagner arrives after a deal was struck with the Tampa Bay Lightning and also saw a move for BJ Crombeen heading to the desert too. Max Domi son of former NHL star Tie, should see him stake a claim for a full roster spot on the team, in addition to a first round pick in British born Left Winger Brendan Perlini. Overall the Coyotes roster is looking good and is led of course, by the evergreen Shane Doan, who will icing in his 18th NHL season of his career.

Mark Woodcock is the founder of the Angry budgie Blog:

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Below Average SportBLOG #2 -Peter Returns..kind of!

Greetings and Hello there and welcome to a new feature that we're going to coincide with the Podcast. Both me and Scuttsy will be doing columns to improve things (or at least try too), these will be just breakaway things and hopefully you'll enjoy reading our columns and our own unique takes on sporting events in the upcoming months.

Well my first column is coming from the beautiful country of Cyprus as I'm currently on a  family holiday enjoying the sights, food and ....oh yeah weather here too!
Prior to heading off on my holi-bobs I took in a couple of sporting events, the first of which was taking an interesting trip over the Pennines to the darkside for a Lancashire lad like me to Sheffield, YORKSHIRE! I went over to watch two matches in one place, as I went initially to go early to do some work for the Official Manchester Phoenix Podcast as the Sledge hockey team I've been covering over the summer played against the newly formed Sheffield Steelkings sledge side.

The Steelkings are as I said are a newly formed side that has had a friend of mine called Kim McGreal who has helped get the side off the ground along with others to see their plans become reality. Kim and I first met through the recent Sledge Hockey season,  where she was made the communications/Social Media manager for the British Sledge Hockey league.
To start with I was just kind of thrown in at the deep end without having much knowledge at all on the sport, apart from watching a bit of it on tv when the Socchi winter games were on back in February in the paralympics. I was asked late on by Ben Knight who hosts the Phoenix podcast, if I was able to travel down to Altrincham to do a podcast on the game. I was given some help around the sport by Graham Wilson who plays on the Phoenix sledge side and begged me to do it and help out at short notice.

So me being someone who is a good friend and mate ( or gullible! ) I agreed to do it and was told i would get help off two people in the know helping me out on the show. This of course never happened and I had to make it up on the fly with one of the people who was due to help me being drafted late on to go in goals for the visitors due to players unavailble for the game.
The game however saw me make a couple of new friends through the Podcast with me meeting Kim who was organising things out and doing tweets for the game as well.  After the game I interviewed Karl Nicholson from the Phoenix and Matthew Coleman from the Peterborough Phantoms side and became friends with them, both Karl and Kim have become my go to guys on things sledge hockey.

Well before I waffled on,  I mentioned I saw the Sledge hockey match at Ice Sheffield which took place prior to the traditional War of the Roses clash between the Manchester Phoenix and the Sheffield Steeldogs, but more on that later. The opening game of the night saw a good run out for both sides to which was a exhibition game and also saw the first ever game for the Steelkings, but Manchester used their experience to see them come out on top as worthy 3-0 winners with Steve Bradley netting his first goals for Phoenix and Karl Nicholson scoring the opener in the contest. To be fair to Sheffield, they had a bit of help with two players guesting from the Kingston Kestrels to boost the numbers and help them with confidence starting out. I wish Kim and the Steelkings luck for the future and progress well.

Moving to the main event of the evening, we saw the roses battle on ice between the white rose of Yorkshire against the Red rose of Lancashire as the Sheffield Steelpups... I MEAN Steeldogs took on the EPL Champions from last year the Manchester Phoenix, in the first leg of the War of the Roses cup.  Considering Sheffield had played about 6 games more than Manchester with friendlies in France and two against the mega rich Telford Tigers, who  you'd never have know who had the more games under their belt as both sides were equal and saw the Phoenix looking the better side in periods.
The first leg ended 3-3 with the visitors leading through a James Archer strike and then two quick goals in the third saw Steeldogs lead 2-1 as Lubomir Korhon and Jeff Legue netted in the space of 50 seconds in the opening minute, before Archer levelled at 2-2 and saw Phoenix retake the lead for 3-2. Phoenix looked like they would take a one goal lead back home, but an unfortunate error by Declan Ryan late the game saw the dogs tie it up thanks to Steve Duncombe and so sees the second leg all to play for in Altrincham with Manchester looking favourites you'd have to say.

Journeys there and back from Sheffield was eventful,  with the drive home with Ben Knight and Alex very interesting indeed, as all exits for leaving Yorkshire were closed off and so when we had to drive back through Huddersfield to take the longer route, we ask the i-pod for anything interesting about Huddersfield and the response from the phone was a crushing blow to the town's tourism as it replied "I don't have the capabilites to perform such a task!" in the word of Ben.. 'BOOM'.

The following day saw me and two friends travel to Eccles to watch the opening game of the new Aviva Premiership Rugby Union season,  where the hometown Sale Sharks took on big spending Bath Rugby club and saw me lose my rugby union virginity,  as I finally saw my first game ever live in person.

I really enjoyed the whole matchday experience as the friends that came had been to a game previously, but that was a Six Nations games between Scotland and Ireland up at Murrayfield. One of my friends Rachel is a huge Ulster fan and despite her being to more games than me,  it was me explaining the incidents to her and what was being called. The match it's self seemed to me and a two neutrals, that Sale got the very rough end of the stick in decisions by the match official, as I made a comment that he had driven up with Bath on the journey.

Despite the Sharks losing 29-20 at home at the AJ BELL STADIUM, the overall day was one of excitement and interest, as I'll certainly have to go back and watch another match there too.  Star man for me was the Bath fly-half and kicker George Ford in particular as kicked 7 out of 7, which was very impressive indeed.  I'll be honest to and say I'm not the most clued- up on union as I should be as I'm a casual fan, though I love the Internationals matches and Lions tours.

Last weekend also saw International football take over and the opening qualifers for Euro 2016, to which will take place in France in two years time. The games saw a mixture of results for our home nations sides, as England beat Switzerland 2-0 in Basel and the match was viewed as the toughest game in the entire group prior to kick off. Northern Ireland picked up an extremely rare away victory away, when they beat Bulgaria 2-1 to record their first away victory in four years for the men from Windsor Park. South of the border and the Republic of Ireland came from behind to beat a stubborn Georgia outfit 2-1 with Wales copying their style, as two goals from Gareth Bale, which included a stunning free kick to claim victory saw them overcome Andorra 2-1 themselves.

Scotland had the daunting task of facing the World champions of Germany in Dortmund on Sunday evening and saw the Scots take it to the Germans, falling agonisingly short of a famous draw with them, losing 2-1 with Thomas Müller scoring a brace in the game to claim victory. In a shock story Cyprus won 2-1 in Bosnia to see the Cypriots leading the group Wales are in, yet hardly anything has been mentioned or celebrated over here in Cyprus on tv or media.

There was some equally more shocking news coming out of England, as yes.. The English cricket side FINALLY beat India in a limited overs match by three runs, thanks mainly to Eoin Morgan and when I heard that news I nearly collapsed from shock!

That is your lot for my first blogging column, hopefully you enjoyed both our attempts and will encourage you to give us some feedback as we'd really appreciate it! Also I've got some new ideas in the pipeline for the Below average sportcast,  so stay tuned

Resident Failed Comedian

Twitter :

Friday, 12 September 2014

Below Average SportsBLOG #1 and a half - While The Peter's Away

So with Peter away for 3 weeks he's let me write a podcast instead of recording this week, I'll try and keep it to the usual fashion as the show but this time I have creative control much to Peter's regret.

Now if all has gone to plan Peter's half of this should have gone up before this and all will be in order, if not then your going to know the end of something before the start but anyway I digress. Peter can count himself lucky he went on holiday as he missed the shock of the weekend as the Sheffield Steeldogs won the second leg of the War Of The Roses in Altrincham 6-1 on Sunday night, the tone was set in the first period as 2 goals from Jeff Legue and one from Lubomir Korhon gave the white rose side a lead they never surrendered. The Phoenix got a quick goal in the second period from the ever reliable Michal Psurny but the Sheffield added to their lead before the periods end from Korhon again and Craig Elliott to effectively send the Rose Bowl back to Sheffield for the third straight year with a period to play. Korhon completed his hat trick in the third period to wrap the game up and see the Steeldogs going back through the mountains the happier of the sides.

In other EPL challenge matches, Basingstoke and Guildford split their home and home series with the away side winning both times. On the Saturday night Guildford won in Basingstoke 3-2 on the back of 2 goals from new signing Owen Fussey and one from Tom Duggan, the Bison's goals came from Joe Rand and the evergreen Nicky Chinn. Bison returned the favour the following night 6-2 at the Spectrum on the back of a 5 point night from defenceman Kurt Reynolds. The Bracknell Bees swept the Swindon Wildcats in their series winning 3-2 both times, on Saturday at the Link Centre Ryan Watt came back to haunt his old side with 2 goals, Tom Annetts had an impressive evening stopping 44 of 46 shots faced. On the Sunday at the John Nike Complex the Bees struck again this time with goals from Matt Towalski, Scott Spearing and Pavel Strycek giving the Berkshire side the win in what was a more even game. Peterborough Phantoms lifted the Ashes again as they beat Milton Keynes Lightning over two legs both held at Peterborough ice rink, on Saturday night the Phantoms cruised to a 5-2 win on the back of a brace from Luke Ferrara and some solid net minding from Latvian import Janis Auzins.The next night the Phantoms won again this time in a closer affair 3-1, the nail being put in the coffin thanks to a empty net goal in the final minute.

Now the bit I wanted to talk about and its one I will probably carry on till the end, its the 6 things we learnt this week in the NFL, this time after its first week

 - Repeating a Super Bowl victory is difficult and hasn't been done in years, the Seahawks have a real chance of doing that this year with the return of Percy Harvin at Wide Receiver the Seahawks are more than just a run the ball team and with their star studded defence including the Legion Of Boom the Seahawks look set for a deep playoff run.

 - The Dallas Cowboys quarterback was lucky to still have a job at the end of last season and will be even luckier after his first week performance, he threw 3 interceptions in the first half which led to 21 San Francisco points in their 28-17 defeat to the Niners.

 - Apart from how terrible the Cowboys played the other teams in the division didn't fair much better. The Washington professional football team lost to a bad Houston team 17-6, the Philadelphia Eagles scraped a win in the end over the terrible Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Giants looked horrendous in a heavy defeat to the Detroit Lions. The sad fact is the winner of the NFC East could in fact have a losing record come the end of December.

 - If you haven't seen this yet I implore you to watch it, as Pittsburgh Steelers kick returner Antonio Brown tried to hurdle Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning but only ended up kicking him in the head in what is probably already the best play of the season.

 - Sometimes the schedule isn't nice first week and teams struggle, don't draw too much into this after one week, New England, Green Bay, Chicago, San Diego, Indianapolis and New Orleans are all at the bottom at the time of writing they will however not be there come the end of the season if anything 4 of them are likely to be division winners and all 6 are serious contenders to reach the playoffs.

 - NFL players don't have a great reputation at the best of times but this was not helped by Ray Rice knocking his then fiancée now wife unconscious in a lift in Atlantic City back in February, this is something that was dealt with badly with Rice originally only being suspended for 2 weeks but now with the actual video being released as been suspended indefinitely and released by the Baltimore Ravens. Rice will more than likely never play football again and will soon fade into insignificance.

So ends my first attempt at this, I'm sure it will get better in the coming weeks as it gets more and more planned and please if your reading this do listen to the show.... please we could do with the feedback

Joe Scutts
Alleged Swindon Correspondant

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 22: Cricket troubles, PL round up and EPL previews


A QUACKING podcast number 22! With Peter Brads and Scuttsy discussing the state of England getting slaughtered by India, as well as Peter fuming over the Lancs t20 final.

Round up of the opening few weeks of the Premier League Football season, with some Transfer news featured.

Elite League pre-season and EPL season preview with both of us giving our pre season season standings.

Ball Hockey review of the SHEFFIELD CUP featuring the Shaw Millionaires, Could the Millionaires retain their Cup....find out??


p.s  Apologises for the audio during the cricket cutting out now and then.



Scuttsy blog:

Peter Brads Blog:

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Below Average Sport cast Epi 21 : 'Sledging' in more than one sense!

Below Average Sport Cast Epi XXI

This edition: 
Scutty and I discuss England v India, as well as some t20 chat with the grudge match of Lancashire v Hampshire taking place soon.
As well as that, we talk Speedway World cup look back at the the competition, talk Belle Vue ACES and Swindon Robins.
Manchester Phoenix sledge hockey look back with games against Cardiff & Kingston.

Plus a little recruitment for the Shaw Millionaires Ball hockey club at the end too.

Twitter: @BASportCast


Below Average Sport Cast Episode 20: WORLD CUP, ENG/ Lancs cricket, Speedway

Below Average Sport Cast Episode XX

Joe "Scuttsy" Scutts and i discuss the World cup, England cricket and Lancashire and Speedway with some waffle in between.


Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 19: The Band are back together!

Below Average Sport Cast XIX

 A podcast with BITE (Pun intended) this week..Peter, Mark and Joe go through the WORLD CUP so far,

There`s Cricket news ( stand by for 2 men going mad) with some Speedway to throw in.

Also we chat about the STANLEY CUP finals won by LA Kings (CHUFFING Boooo!!)

As well as that there is Rugby news and some sledge hockey as 

well with Interviews from Karl Nicholson & Matthew Coleman from the recent Phoenix v Phantoms game.
Enjoy Y`all
LISTEN HERE Special thanks to Ben from the Official Manchester Phoenix podcast for letting me use the sledge hockey interviews on the show too

Listen Here

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport cast Epi 18: NHL Playoffs, Speedway and Eng Cricket

Below Average Sport Cast XVIII

Me and Scuttsy discuss Cricket ENG v SRI L, NHL STANLEY playoffs so far and Speedway

Twitter: @BASportCast

Listen Here

Below Average Sport Cast episode 17: Stanley cup Playoffs review, Cricket, PL review and Speedway

Below Average Sport Cast Epi XVII

Scuttsy and I discuss the final week of the Premier League season. Cricket news, NHL STANLEY PLAYOFFS, Speedway Discussion, US sports news too. While i lose my temper watching Lancashire on tv while recording!!

Listen hereLISTEN HERE

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 16:

Below Average Sport Cast Episode: XVII

With Guest host 'Scuttsy' Joe Scutts, he joins us as does Mark Woodcock later on in the show as we discuss County Cricket, Football, Start of the NHL STANLEY CUP playoffs.
As well as that there is Speedway news...

with some childishness towards the end.

Listen hereLISTEN HERE

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi15: FOOTBALL SPECIAL & NEW MIC!

Below Average Sport Cast  Epi XV

Football Special with round up of all the game in the past couple of weeks with Better quality sound!

Listen here

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast epi 14: Cricket, hockey footy

Below Average Sport Cast Episode XIV

This edition: Football UK Ice Hockey , SA v AUS / Eng v WI Cricket, DEL ice hockey.

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 13: Football, Hockey overload, Ashes news and Rugby Intnl`s

Below Average Sport Cast episode XIII

Edition: Football Premier & International.  DEL ,NHL UK Ice hockey, Cricket Ashes series and Rugby Autumn internationals

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Episode 12: 6 nations, NFL & FOOTY!

Below Average Sport Cast epi XII

This week: Capital one cup Semi finals, Premier league, FA Cup, EPL hockey and SIX Nations rugby and NFL superbowl!


Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 11:

Below Average Sport Cast: Episode XI

FA Cup Action and Premier League football. Also EPL HOCKEY .. round up 


 Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 10: Xmas footy, NHL WC, UK IH

Below Average Sport Cast: Episode X

Football festive games. NHL Winter Classic, domestic UK hockey

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 9: Footy,cricket, Rugger and Hockey!!

Below Average Sport Cast: Episode IX

Football,rugby, cricket, speedway, Ice Hockey

Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 8:

Below Average Sport Cast Episode VIII:

This edition : Football,rugby,cricket, speedway, Ice Hockey


Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast epi 7: WC qualifers, Hockey and RANT with Speedway!!

Below Average Sport Cast episode VII:

International football - World cup qualifiers, Premier league action, NFL chat, Domestic Ice hockey with EPL starting up, Elite round up and a RANT over the Belle Vue Aces v Poole Pirates debacle on SKY this past Monday night.


Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast epi 6: Lions, Aussies and Coyotes

Below Average Sports Cast episode VI:



Twitter: @BASportCast

Below Average Sport Cast epi 5: Lions, Hawks and Tennis

Below Average Sport Cast Epi 4: Lions talk, Phoenix news and Footy

Below Average Sport Cast Episode IV;

Update on the British and Irish Lions tour of OZ,  Football chat and Manchester Phoenix signing news


Below Average Sport Cast Epi 3: Stop..Budgie time!

Below Average Sport Cast Episode III;

Joined on the show by Mark Woodcock from the THE ANGRY BUDGIE blog, 

Features this episode: Cricket, Football, Boxing, British and Irish Lions Tour of Australia. along with Phoenix signing news

Twitter: @BASportCast