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