From the sporting archives:
We were in Vejer de la Frontera, a wee village in south west Spain when New Zealand was playing England in the final of the Cricket World Cup last year.
It was early evening there and we were listening to the commentary on my farmer’s phone as we went for our pre-prandial walk.
When we got to the main plaza I heard some English accents from four people sitting outside one of the bars. I asked them if they were following the cricket, they said they’d tried but couldn’t get any commentary from England.
I said we could get it from New Zealand, they asked us to join them and we sat there in Spain, about as far away as we could be from Radio Sport and listening as if we were at home.
We might be able to listen to overseas international matches in future but it’s unlikely anyone will be able to listen to home internationals and domestic games now NZME hasn’t been able to come to an agreement with New Zealand Cricket for the broadcast rights.
New Zealand Media and Entertainment’s Radio Sport has today announced it has chosen not to renew the rights to broadcast live commentary of New Zealand Cricket’s domestic season (domestic and international matches played in New Zealand) next summer.
Radio Sport will continue to keep Kiwi cricket fans in the know across next summer with match updates, robust opinion, in-depth analysis and plenty of talkback.
NZME’s Head of Talk Jason Winstanley said, “Radio Sport has enjoyed being the ‘Home of Cricket’ for over 20 years and we treasure our connection with New Zealand cricket fans. We have been in discussions with New Zealand Cricket for some time but haven’t been able to reach agreement on the rights. Our cricket coverage has run at a loss – something we’ve previously been prepared to wear, but we’re now taking the opportunity to rethink our offering in this space. . .
This is a business decision from both NZME and NZ Cricket and one the latter might come to regret because there is no obvious successor to NZME.
It’s business, but there will be a lot of fans who think this decision is hardly cricket.
The All Blacks played their best in the quarter finals.
England played best in the semis.
But, since the All Blacks beat the Sprinboks, England beat beat the All Blacks and the Sprinboks beat England, are we all equal at the top?
It wasn’t so much the loss, as the way the All Blacks lost that made last night’s Rugby World Cup semi-final such a disappointment.
Last week the team was on fire against Ireland, last night they looked like they’d lost their spark.
My heart has been backing Wales to win this evening but I’d rather face them than South Africa in the Plate match for third so might have to go with my head.
In other news North Otago won the Meads Cup, and this afternoon the Silver Ferns will be doing their best to beat the Diamonds in the deciding match for the Constellation Cup.
On this month’s Farmers Voice Wiggy head’s up to Taumarunui to catch up with 6-time underarm wood chopping world champ Jack Jordan, and has a chat about his passion for farming, rugby and woodchopping.
Craig Wiggins talks to Rowland Smith about his 12-month highlights. Title holder of Golden Shears, NZ Shears, 8 hour record and becoming a master shearer.
Jordan Watson has expanded his repertoire from How to Dad to how to play rugby:
All Black, captain, selector, coach, farmer, community stalwart and good man, Sir Brian Lochore has died.
Lochore, All Black #637, represented New Zealand in the black jersey on 68 occasions, including 25 Tests. He was the All Blacks Captain in 1966 and went on to lead the team in 18 Tests.
In 1985-87 Lochore become the All Blacks coach, with his crowning achievement winning the 1987 inaugural Rugby World Cup.
He was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport and the community and also inducted to the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1999. On Waitangi Day in 2007, he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Sir Brian passed away surrounded by family.
“It is with great sadness and grief that we announce that Sir Brian succumbed to his battle with cancer, earlier today. We have lost a genuine legend of our country, an unwavering figure on the field, and a highly respected figure off it. His family has lost a devoted husband, father and grandfather and for many of us, a great friend.
“It is not over-stating the facts to say that Sir Brian Lochore, was the saviour of New Zealand rugby on several occasions and many of us have lost a great mate. Our hearts go out to Pam and their children.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s with great sadness that we have heard that one of New Zealand’s tallest kauri has fallen.
“Sir Brian Lochore is one of of the most respected men in New Zealand, not only in rugby but all facets of New Zealand life, as well as being hugely respected and held in high regard around the world. . .
Lochore’s standing in the community, not only in rugby but also in farming, saw him involved in many committees while he also served a term as chairman of the national sports funding organisation, the Hillary Commission and his contribution to New Zealand across all fields was acknowledged in 1999 when he was knighted and he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand in 2007. His contribution to New Zealand Rugby was acknowledged when he received the Steinlager Salver for distinguished service in 2003, an award repeated on the international stage when he received the International Rugby Board’s (World Rugby) Vernon Pugh Award for distinguished services in 2006.
He was also a trustee of the New Zealand Rural Games Trust which I chaired for a couple of years.
Working with him was a pleasure and a privilege.
His death leaves a big hole, not least among his family and friends to whom I offer sincere sympathy.
The Silver Ferns have won the Netball World Cup, beating the Australian Diamonds 52 – 51.
It’s New Zealand’s first World Cup title in 16 years and fifth overall; the last time they tasted glory was in Jamaica in 2003. . .
Rugby Australia has issued a breach notice to Israel Folau:
Folau sparked outrage after posting to his Instagram account last Wednesday night that “hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” — adding they should “repent”. . .
What he said is not just a tenet of fundamental Christianity, Muslim and Jewish religions would also regard these as sins.
“At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values,” Rugby Australia said in a statement.
Freedom of expression, outside work, obviously isn’t one of those values.
“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations. It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action. . .
This is an employment issue. Folau had been warned and ignored the warning. But was what was required of him fair?
In doing ignoring the warning, he’s chosen to put his faith before football:
Israel Folau is sticking to his guns no matter what it costs the embattled Wallabies superstar.
And he is continuing to place his faith in his religion, despite the storm airing his beliefs on social media has caused within both the Australian rugby and society in general. . .
It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”
Folau said he would not mind one bit if his rugby career was done as long as he got to do The Lord’s work.
“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.
“In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.” . .
It’s not that long ago that not doing anything against which Folau is warning, would have been a code of conduct that was generally accepted as the right one and the condemnation of people who didn’t follow it would not have been remarkable.
Even now, while some have used social media to confess to being guilty on several of these counts, how can speaking out against any of them that hurt others be wrong?
But of course it’s not Folau’s condemnation of drunkenness, adultery, lying or thieving that’s caused the furor, it’s the inclusion of homosexuality.
Bob Jones points out:
First, these remarks are totally consistent with the Bible (and the Koran) so why the uproar?
Second, why did the critics, including the Prime Minister, solely complain about the reference to homosexuals? What about us drunks and fornicators? Doesn’t she care about our pain? We know the answer to that, namely unlike fairydom we’re not fashionable at the moment.
I can understand journalists concentration on homosexuals as few are whereas make no mistake, the vast majority I’ve known are drunks, adulterers, liars and fornicators to various degrees, so too heaps of MP’s. A double-standard here methinks.
My contact with journalists and MPs hasn’t involved drunkenness, lying and fornicating but I don’t move in Sir Bob’s circles.
This whole episode is a classic pack-hunting media contrivance. I have difficulty believing a single drunk, fornicator, homosexual, adulterer or liar reading Israel’s remarks gave a damn. He’s entitled to express his religious beliefs as much as I for example am, to continue pursuing my life-long mockery of religion. . .
An employment breach is between Rugby Australia and Folau but how many would have known about it if the media hadn’t picked up the post?
Only those who follow his account, at least some of whom no doubt agree with him, and others would be following him because of his footy fame and not be troubled by his faith.
But the mainstream media, as happens too often, picked up the post and broadcast it to the world. They then reported the outrage they’d stirred up and also the concern about people who might be upset by it who probably would have been oblivious had the media not generated the publicity.
The offenderati reacted predictably by condemning him and wanting to silence him.
Why when, as Michael Redell points out, few share his beliefs?:
. . . If – as most New Zealanders and a large proportion of Australians now claim to – you don’t believe in the existence of God, let alone of eternal separation from God or Hell, it is hard to know why what Folau is saying should bother you. You surely believe he is simply deluded and wrong, as he will discover (or rather not) when he dies.
If you don’t believe what he says why not ignore it, or counter it with rational argument?
That probably is the view of a fair number of people in New Zealand and Australia today. But it isn’t the view of those holding the commanding heights – MPs, leader writers, columnists, business leaders and so on – who have demanded that it be stopped. They simply cannot abide the thought that someone of any prominence should openly affirm that sin is sin, and that homosexual acts are among the things labelled as sin.
Here I’m not mainly interested in the Australian Rugby Union. I have a modicum of sympathy for their position, even if (as I noted in an earlier post elsewhere on these issues) the problem was partly one of their own making. Rugby could just be rugby, but that’s not enough for today bosses.
My interest is more in what it says about our society – New Zealand and, it appears, Australia – that no prominent person is free to express centuries-old Christian belief (views backed, rightly or wrongly, by the law of the land until only a few decades ago) when it trespasses on the taboos and sacred cows (“homosexuality good”) of today’s “liberal” elite. And if no prominent person can – and it is interesting to note that not a single church leader has been willing to stand up openly for Folau, and the Scriptures – how will those less prominent be positioned. Folau may lose a multi-million dollar contract, but he’ll already have earned much more than many ordinary working people make in their life. But what of the ordinary employee of a bank or of one of those right-on government agencies. It might not even be a personal social media account, or a speaking engagement at the local church. It might be nothing more than a reluctance to participate in celebrations of what (in their belief, in the tradition of thousands of years) sinful acts. The issue here isn’t someone proselytising across the counter of the bank, any more than Folau’s “offence” involved activity in the middle of a game, but a totalitarian disregard for any view – no matter of how longstanding – that doesn’t fall into line with today’s orthodoxy.
This is what concerns me too.
I don’t share Folau’s fundamental version of faith.
I find a lot of the Bible contradictory and when I do I choose the option that shows love and grace – turn the other cheek rather than an eye for an eye, for example.
But Folau’s are honestly held beliefs. They don’t impact on his playing ability, he wasn’t preaching during a game, why shouldn’t he be allowed to express them?
And there’s also the niggling thought that some religions are more equal than others and if his was another faith rather than Christian, he would he have been given a little more leniency.
Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup :
Marmelo was second.
And A Prince of Arran was third.
It’s just as well I didn’t put any money not his morning’s picks.
It’s Melbourne Cup day.
My picks, based on total ignorance of form are:
1: (because I know the owners):
2: (because the jockey is in blue):
3: (because the jockey is in Otago colours – blue and yellow).
The field and form are here
What a very generous donation:
Secretive American-born billionaire Ken Dart plans to donate the popular and sprawling Wairoa Gorge Bike Park, near Nelson, to the Crown.
It will be managed by the Department of Conservation, with public access run through the Nelson Mountain Bike Club (NMTBC).
He has also sold South Canterbury’s 4046-hectare Lilydale Station, which includes the land used by Fox Peak Ski Field, to local conservationists.
The 860-hectare Wairoa Gorge will be donated to the Crown by the end of the year, to be managed as a conservation reserve. Dart bought the land in 2010 through his company RHL Holdings and had more than 70km of mountainbike trails built through the mixed native beech and plantation pine forest. . .
Would this have happened had the land been owned by a local?
I suspect not but sadly this won’t be enough to change the minds of xenophobes who are opposed to any and all foreign investment.
There was a time when the Ranfurly Shield stayed stubbornly with one team.
Auckland had held it for ages when they challenged North Otago and for a few glorious minutes the score line was North Otago 5 – Auckland – 0.
The former scored no more points and Auckland added 359 by the time the final whistle blew.
Then Canterbury won the shield and staved off multiple challenges.
But in recent years challengers have managed to win and the shield has had several different homes.
Today, for the second time in recent years, it has come back to Otago.
Last time the team held it for little more than a week.
This time it will stay on the right side of the Waitaki River for at least the summer, and fingers crossed, maybe a bit longer.
However, long it’s in the hands of the blue and gold team, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
Tonight I’m grateful to be on the winning side.
All Blacks’ fans will be paying a high price for World Cup tickets.
Ticket prices for the All Blacks’ pool matches range between $536 for category A down to $134 for category D for the pool opener against South Africa, as well as the matches against Namibia and Italy. The contest against the repechage winner is slightly discounted at between $402 and $93.
Category A tickets comprise the bulk of the main stands running pitchside, while category D is essentially immediately behind the in-goal area.
The quarterfinals are priced the same as the All Blacks’ pool match against South Africa at between $536 and $134, while the semifinals will require you to fork out $938 for a category A tickets and the final $1340. . .
That final price tag is still less than we were quoted for tickets to the All Blacks vs Pumas in Argentina last year.
The first quote came back at several thousands dollars including accommodation in a five-star hotel.
We didn’t need five-star accommodation. The next price for a more modest hotel was still eye-watering.
I suggested another hotel where someone in our group already had a booking so we knew the price. When we subtracted the hotel from the quote that came back we would still have been paying around $1500 for a ticket to the game.
I gave up on trying to get tickets from New Zealand and asked an Argentinean friend to try for us.
She got us good seats for less than $300 – around five times less than the lowest price we were offered through All Black tours in New Zealand.
So who gets the difference between what the tickets cost and what fans are charged after costs and a reasonable profit are taken off?