Friday Frills - Bowlin' Batesey

Oh how the shootout has popped its ugly head again for the Black Sticks. This time, after largely dominating Korea in their World Hockey League Semi Finals with more possession and circle penetrations, the kiwis couldn't quite get the better of a rigid Korean defence and the game finished up 1-1. Gemma Flynn got the goal for the Black Sticks after Korea had scored from the penalty spot earlier in the game.

Then came the shootout and then game the shootout loss, which in a sport like hockey has greater ramifications than just winning and losing a game. All sorts of funding and in turn a livelihood is on the line with these shootouts, as we saw with the men in Argentina a few weeks ago and while the ladies made it to the semi's, thus coming close to sealing an Olympic spot, it makes everything a bit tricky.

I won't get into my strong dislike for the reliance on funding from those who make the decisions, but it does grind gears when a team or sport is looked down upon because they didn't win a tournament or do well. Hockey like a bunch of other sports is more worldwide than some of Aotearoa's most popular sports and you could argue that losses to Korea and Canada weren't because either Black Sticks team sucked, but because the rest of the world is pretty good/getting better.

But somehow we've gotta start winning these shootout, I think my car's got a clutch in it.

You might have missed it amongst the Super Rugby final hooplah, but the White Ferns have made a nice comeback against India in their ODI cricket series in India. After loosing the first ODI, the Ferns put in a much better effort with the bat after bowling India out for 163.

Suzie Bates, the opening bat was the pick of the bowlers and was the seventh bowling option used by skipper ... well she was the skipper so she must have thought screw all of you, it's my turn. Bates bowled six overs and took 3/21 while the other wickets were shared around with Lea Tahuhu picked up 2/29 off nine while Leigh Kasperek's offies gave her 2/22 off 10 overs.

Most of the Ferns' chipped in with the bat with a bunch of 20's and 30's getting the job done. Sophie Devine top scored in the middle order with 33 to go with her wicket with the ball. The win pushes the Ferns off the bottom of the Women's Championship ladder as they move to 6 points with India and Sri Lanka below them on 5 points. This makes the third ODI a key one for the Ferns as they could go level with Pakistan in fourth on 8 points. 

The third ODI is tonight, so if you're wrapped up at home with nothing to do on a Friday night, watch some ladies cricket will ya?

Anyone else really excited about the Netball World Cup? Ah yeah ... so, let's get excited! Here's the squad and there's a few new faces which is always a great sign and besides not knowing anything about the players, it seems to be a pretty good idea to shake the apple cart up a bit and get a few newbies in there. If anything, the recent struggles of the Silver Ferns appeared to be because of comfort, a few players looked a bit comfortable in their black singlet but no longer. 

Consider this the beginning of our Netball World Cup coverage, which is going to be a learning process as we get acquainted with our squad and the other squads from around the netballin' world. 

See ya later Nathan Burns, it's been a pleasure. Now the Wellington Phoenix need to suss a goal-scorer, or promote a youngster.

How about the FIFA Women's World Cup? We've been following it since day one and besides all the funky little bits of skill we've seen in Vine form, this World Cup has also produced drama a plenty ... as well as far too many Americans loving 'soccer'.

Hands up if you're sick of Americans, specifically Americans who get on the soccer bandwagon...

Yeah me too. But the Americans, oops sorry the USWNT, are now in the final so we're going to have to put up with it a little bit more. They defeated Germany 2-0 and dominated much of the match but they did have a bit of luck got their way when Germany missed a penalty and then the Americans got a penalty for running into a defender.

You've probably seen how Japan defeated England, if not...

Ouchies, the old injury time own goal aye? That would definitely rip your nightie, but it continues Japan's sneaky path to the final as the holders of the World Cup belt, and I think it's all time that we turn Japanese to get in behind them so that America don't win. So turn Japanese today, before the final this weekend.

Hey what do ya know? Marijuana helps players deal with concussion!? It makes sense and this is a great read from Mike Freeman as he takes you inside the NFL and how widespread the use of marijuana is in the league. 

It is illegal, but as you find out if actually read that thing instead of being a judgemental dummy, the NFL aren't exactly policing the issue like the New Zealand police force. It not only raises the question about the illegality of marijuana, which is being proven to be all good time and time again, but it also shows that there could be hope for rugby or rugby league players who are having to deal with ongoing concussions. 

All White Chris Wood will join Leeds United on a 4-year deal which should see him get plenty of game time upfront and hopefully continue to score goals like this...

Here's the man himself, pity about the English accent...

There's the Super Rugby final and the All Blacks against Samoa, but besides the good vibes of taking some rugby to Samoa, meh. We have seen that Australia have named their squad for the Rugby Championship and on paper it looks pretty damn good and includes Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell who have snuck in with the ARU's timely change to their selection policy.

Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Quade Cooper (Reds), Dave Dennis (Waratahs), James Hanson (Reds/Rebels), Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Tetera Faulkner (Force), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Will Genia (Reds), Matt Giteau (Toulon), Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), Greg Holmes (Reds), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Rob Horne (Waratahs), James Horwill (Reds), Samu Kerevi (Reds), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Drew Mitchell (Toulon), Wyclif Palu (Waratahs), Ben McCalman (Force), Sean McMahon (Rebels), Dean Mumm (Waratahs), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs), David Pocock (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Reds), Will Skelton (Waratahs), James Slipper (Reds), Toby Smith (Rebels), Henry Speight (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Brumbies), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Nic White (Brumbies).

For what it's worth, here's South Africa's squad...

Schalk Brits (Saracens), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Stormers), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Franco Mostert (Lions), Willem Alberts (Sharks), Schalk Burger (Stormers), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje (Cheetahs), Warren Whiteley (Lions), Faf de Klerk (Lions), Rudy Paige (Bulls), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Handré Pollard (Bulls), Morné Steyn (Stade Francais), Damian de Allende (Stormers), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Bryan Habana (Toulon), Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Zane Kirchner (Leinster), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Willie le Roux (Cheetahs).

See ya later Rafa, but who the fuck is Dustin Brown!?