The Wildcard’s Sporting Wishlist for 2015

 Blackcaps.co.nz

Blackcaps.co.nz

No silly resolutions for me, no sir. Just a compendium of odd wishes and hopes for the coming year, all out of my control. I don’t expect too many of these darts to hit the bull, let alone any 180s but that’s not gonna stop me from dreaming.

  • Five more test wins from the Blackcaps. Never before have we won five in a calendar year… until 2014. And the way this team is going, I don’t see why we can’t win five more. I’ve never had more confidence in an NZ middle order than I do in Williamson/Taylor/McCullum, and the bowling stable is deep and well-stocked. The only hurdle I see is the lessened schedule of test matches due to the World Cup preparation… which brings up another wish.
  • Supreme World Cricket Glory! Ok, actually winning the ICC World Cup might be a stretch but I have a feeling the semi-finals are a more than realistic goal. And the Blackcaps as underdogs in a World Cup Semi-Final? I like those odds.
  • It’s a year for World Cups is 2015, and the All Blacks will be targeting nothing less than Mr Webb-Ellis himself in England. I mean, who can touch us? South Africa and that’s it. Every other team is at our mercy. 2011 exorcised some long-haunting demons but, come on, we still gotta win one on foreign soil. Shag Hansen’s lot will be deserved favourites and wouldn’t it be a great way to send off the likes of Richie, Dan, Conrad and company, for whom this’ll be their last Cup?
  • And there’s also the not-so-small matter of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup being held on our fine shores in May-June. The very best footballers in the world ager 20 and under, those guys will already have professional contracts, they’ll already be set for stardom. And they’ll be in New Zealand! That’s incredible. The last tournament saw players such as Paul Pogba, Ross Barkley, Harry Kane, DeAndre Yedlin, Kurt Zouma and Yaya Sanogo (along with Bill Tuiloma, Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd). Imagine being able to tell people that you once saw the likes of them playing in your own home town. I just wanna see packed crowds, good football and enthusiastic coverage.
  • Keeping with football, it’s too much to ask for a Manchester United title (though the FA Cup ’d be nice…), so a Champions League spot will do nicely. Thanks, Louis.
  • I also want more Mario Balotelli, more Jose Mourinho, more Louis Van Gaal, more Wayne Rooney and more Arsene Wenger in my life. Yeah, more Arsene. Also more Ross Barkley, Christian Eriksen, Victor Wanyama, James Wilson and Winston Reid. Love those guys.
  • I wanna see Hull City avoid relegation for some reason, I wanna see Everton right the ship and West Ham keep it up (as long as Alex Song and Winston Reid are available). I wanna see goals by Englishmen. I’d like less of justified John Terry though (and more of the stuttering, slipping fool of the 2008 UCL final shoot out), and fewer Manchester City grind-out wins.
  • On the other hand, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m looking forward to savouring the last few months of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the Premier League.
  • And I wanna see Tommy Smith’s Ipswich Town promoted. Plus Chris Wood transferred to a Premier League team (can’t see Leicester surviving at all).
  • Ooh, and Champions League! Don’t really care for Chelsea winning it but I’d be happy to see them in the semis. Maybe Atletico, they seem like a good underdog to back. Especially after last season’s heartbreak.
  • At some point this year the NRL is gonna start up again, and I’d like the Dragons make the playoffs. Nothing more, I’m not completely irrational. Just the playoffs will do. In the interest of vindication in a slightly unfair media landscape, I’d also like to see a deep, deep run by the Warriors. Give the faithful something to shout about and make a few NZ sports reporters choke on their All Blacks flavoured lattes (if that flavour exists, then Hamish McKay drinks it).
  • Post-season success for the NZ Breakers and Wellington Phoenix. No limits and no pressure. The BreakNix are poised…
  • Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao. Eh, maybe not. A few more Floyd wins would be nice to see. Sooner than we expect he’ll retire and we’ll all miss his clinical, technically supreme yet completely one-sided victories that we used to complain about.
  • Joseph Parker fights in America. Or in Europe. Gets on some undercards, fights some top fighters. Basically anything to signify that he’s a serious threat to the current heavyweight stasis. As far away as he can get from the DUCO
  • A playoff victory for the Dallas Cowboys. This one’s already in the bag so its house money from here on. Is a win in Green Bay too much to ask? (Ed: Yes, it is.)
  • An onside kick in the Superbowl. Always fun. Also a Superbowl that includes one or more of Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Don’t care if they win, just wanna see a big name in there.
  • Plus no more high profile players ruined by horrible off-field scandals. That goes for all sports.
  • The Western Conference playoffs in the NBA. Who even cares what happens when the quality is gonna be that high?
  • Slight alteration to that last one: I care. Because if it ain’t too much to ask, a Dallas Mavericks run would go down nicely in the Wildcard residence. Otherwise it’ll be another offseason spent extensively watching the DVD of the 2011 Finals.
  • Also Steven Adams continuing to do cool things for a competitive team.
  • His sister may as well keep up the good work too, now I think of it. There aren’t too many more dominant athletes on the planet, you know.
  • Hopefully, with this being one of those empty Olympics-/Commonwealth Games-less years, I’ll manage to catch some of those athletics meets on the telly at some strange hour of some unexpected day. Always enjoy that stuff.
  • Wouldn’t mind England winning the Ashes either, the Aussies are getting cocky again. I blame the new blood in the commentary box.
  • This is an especially sentimental one: a final, glorious grand slam title for the immaculate Roger Federer. One more, please, just one more is all I ask!