British Cycling Provides A Road Map For Success

23 Days in July is already the title of a book. That book recalls the story of Lance Armstrong’s record breaking 6th Tour de France victory. However following Bradley Wiggins’ first victory in the world’s most famous bike race it … Continue reading

Underdogs Getting their Day

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Saturday 24th September will be remembered by every motorsport fan for the night when the sports most respected and likeable character finally won his second world title. Greg Hancock was not a favourite for the title at the beginning of the season but the oldest rider in the field came through to lift the title 14 years after his last victory.
Hancock’s victory also marks a big milestone for the small Speedway nation of the USA.
Similarly all cycling fans will remember Sunday 25th September as the day the Great Britain road racing team got their day in the sun. Marc Cavendish’s victory whilst not a complete surprise given his reputation in the sprint was still not a fancied rider for the title as Team Great Britain had only 8 riders. Due to the UCI’s qualification system the top nations of France, Germany, Spain and Italy had 9 making it harder for the British boys to control the race for the manx missle.
In our own sport too the weekend did give the less fancied or tipped teams their limelight. In the EIHL the Fife Flyers picked up their first ever point with a road shootout loss to Hull Stringrays.
Meanwhile the first weekend of the EPL season through up some perhaps unlikely results. The Telford Tigers beating preseason favourites Guildford and Bracknell Bees beating Slough Jets.
Many excuses, reasons and theories can be given as to why these have occured. For example where Guildford a bit rusty in their first league game, had Hull had a bad game, and Bracknell were facing a Slough team that had come of a poor preseason.
Whether these results are just underdogs having their day or whether it is a sign of things to come will not be clear yet. But it is hard not to enjoy an upset as long as it isn’t against your team that is.

The Business End Starts Here

Last weekend may have been all about the big boys but this weekend’s games were all about the EPL. With the top two going head to head. Guildford and Manchester played a home and home series with the victory either taking a giant step towards the league title or staying firmly in the hunt. Both games were tight affairs. Saturdays effort went to overtime with Guildford taking the extra point for a 2 -1 victory. Whilst Sunday’s return game in Manchester also went down to the wire with the Flames hanging on for a 5 -4 victory in the Altrincham Ice Dome.

This is all means that Manchester’s lead at the top of the EPL is slashed from 5 points to 2 with plenty more hockey to be played. It is however looking like a 2 horse race down the stretch as Basingstoke lost both of their games this weekend to lose more ground on the front two. With 2 wins over Manchester it looks like Guildford have gained the momentum but it is far from over. After all Guildford wont do a Cardiff and win all their games. Will they?

But this is the business end of the season and amongst the teams stretching out in front of the league, teams dropping away and the stragglers being distanced the league too is doing business and no other league is quite like the NHL in doing business. After announcing that there will be an NHL Premier Europe to start the 2011/12 season the rumours are pointing to two cities. Stockholm and London although neither have been confirmed by the NHL. The game in Stockholm appears to be on the 7th October facing off at 8pm Local time. Other rumours are abound in the NHL as with everywhere else at the moment as clubs look to make their last deals ahead of the trade deadlines.

One team desperate to make changes will be the Edinburgh Capitals. They made the trip to the Sheffield Arena on Saturday only to be on the end of 18 – 1 defeat. As mentioned in my last blog the situation with import players in Edinburgh has been shocking and this result is yet more proof that something has to be done. Edinburgh more than likely would have lost the game with a full squad but it would have been an entertaining and enjoyable affair for the fans. The league and the game should be disgraced at letting this situation get to a point where a team is having to such a disadvantage. I only hope this serves as the catalyst for change. And whilst this the business end of the season the powers that be should take note and make sure this one piece of business that gets taken care of.

Now whilst this is not hockey related but one sport has been getting its business done. The UCI (union cycliste internationale) has now banned the use of radios. An ancient debate in the sport. But whilst trolling through Twitter I noticed a few riders discussing the matter and was impressed by their desire to be heard and the intelligence of their proposals, Robbie McEwan and Matt Rogers in particular.

Links

http://blog.sheffieldsteelers.co.uk/2011/01/15/one-way-traffic/

http://guildfordflames.com/flames_back_in_it_with_5_4_win

http://www.cbsport.org/icehockey/guildford-flames-2-phoenix-1-overtime/

http://www.smgworldwide.com/html/eventdetails.asp?eventID=733&sportID=9