Saturday 20 January 2018

From the Stands: Wisden stumped by brave Irish stand

WISDEN is the famous annual that comes out every April heralding the new cricket season. This season sees its 150th edition, with plenty of fanfare and celebrations. The book is fabled for its attention to detail and packs acres of statistics into the fine print of its 1,586 pages.

But one eagled-eyed Irish reader was horrified to spot an error after barely 30 seconds browsing the almanack. Ireland's cricketers have very few world records but the best ninth-wicket partnership in Twenty-20 internationals is one of them. It was recorded by Gary Wilson and Max Sorensen in Belfast last summer against Bangladesh.

The mistake was spotted by our cricket correspondent Ger Siggins and he was quick to point out the mistake to Wisden on Twitter.

Their horrified reply was soon followed by acknowledgement of the error and they apologised to the players and Cricket Ireland.

Siggins, whose Wisden collection is ten short of a full set, still entertains hopes of making the annual in a playing capacity.

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IT would be easy to dismiss Premier League Darts as a made-for-TV cross between a fancy dress party, a betting bonanza, a major drinking session and a sing-song.

But the 10,000 devotees who packed out Dublin's O2 on Thursday night to delight in the skills of Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen among others would doubtless consider themselves sports fans. And why not? Is darts any less a sport than snooker, for example, or synchronised swimming or any of the dance-inspired gymnastics events for which the International Olympic Committee award gold, silver and bronze medals every four years?

Maybe it's just a form of snobbery which keeps darts from dining at sport's top table. But one thing is for sure, if an event like this can convince 10,000 souls to desert their couches on a windy Thursday night in April, the major sporting organisations in this country are missing out on a market that could yield a lot of revenue.

Bums on seats, or even standing in the aisles dancing and singing, is, after all, the name of the game.

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Stirling Moss caused controversy last week when he claimed that women lacked the mental aptitude to win Formula One races. However, if he intended to put women off the sport, he has in fact done the opposite.

His comments have made young Irish motorsport star Nicole Coffey even more determined to compete in Formula One. In fact, she is already well established in the sport. Last year she was selected by by Motorsport Ireland to take part in the CIK/ FIA Karting Academy Trophy, which is the World Championship for 13- to 15-year-olds, in Bahrain. She was one of only two girls competing in a field of 60 and she secured sixth place overall.

"I love motorsport and want to drive in F1 for Red Bull or Ferrari and to be the first girl to win in Formula 1," said Coffey. "I am well used to competing in a male-dominated sport and was the only girl racing in the cadets when I started."

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When Hull City played Wolves last week, eight Irish footballers graced the pitch. Playing for Wolves were Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt, Matt Doherty, Stephen Ward and Kevin Foley, while David Meyler, Robbie Brady and Stephen Quinn all lined out for Hull.

Having a large number of Irish representatives on the pitch in English football competitions at the same time isn't unusual but eight is well above the norm and it gave rise to much debate on what is the record number. And while no definite answer was determined, many questions arose surrounding the debate such as whether North and South is accepted as both being Irish.

For example, Arsenal in the late 1970s had Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, David O'Leary, Pat Jennings, John Devine, Pat Rice and Sammy Nelson. In that case, if they met another club with even two or three Irish players it would have been possible to have eight Irish on the pitch.

Also, there is the question of native Irish or Anglo Irish, are both counted. This would affect Liverpool with Mark Lawrenson and Michael Robinson as well as Ronnie Whelan and Jim Beglin. As it stands, the jury is still out.

Fergus McDonnell and Marie Crowe

Irish Independent

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