One Win, Two Draws and Ferrari Win At Monza!

Let’s start with Formula 1; Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso wins as McLaren’s Jenson Button gambled on high downforce/f-duct set-up at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Button got the jump on pole sitter Alonso off the line into the first corner and led the Spaniard until the first and only round of pit stops. The McLaren driver was the first to blink coming in two laps before Alonso, once Jenson with his higher downforce set-up pitted that allowed Alonso to get the hammer down to create a large enough gap to be able to pit and get out ahead of the Briton. After Alonso leapfrogged Button, the Briton didn’t have enough speed to take the position back being as much as 9km/h slower than the Ferrari. McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton made an impetuous rookie mistake trying to get alongside the Ferrari’s in Variante della Rogia breaking his steering arm which pitched him off the track at first Lesmo corner. Felipe Massa kept out of trouble to come home in a solid third behind Button while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel came home in fourth place after pitting for tyres on the penultimate lap effectively leapfrogging three cars. Fellow German Nico Rosberg, who has impressed me this season drove a brilliant race; out-driving his car to come home in fifth place followed by the second Red Bull of Mark Webber who could have finished in fourth if it wasn’t for seventh place man Nico Hulkenberg jumping the chicane three times without punishment to stay ahead of Webber, delaying the Red Bull driver massively! Robert Kubica had a solid race but didn’t have the pace to repeat his podium finish at Spa taking the chequered flag in eighth at Monza. Mercedes’ Micheal Schumacher and Williams’ Rubens Barrichello rounded out the points scorers in ninth and tenth respectively. With Hamilton’s costly collision with Massa, Webber takes the championship lead by five points while Alonso and Button closed to 16 & 17 points respectively. Now if Button wasn’t taken out of the Belgian GP two weeks ago by Vettel; Jenson would be ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers championship right now! It just shows how tight things are with the new points system, one DNF can make all the difference in the world with five drivers potentially one race win away from topping the drivers table!

The English cricket team are on course to take their third series win over Pakistan this summer in the one day international series. The Englishmen claimed the second ODI to take a 2 – 0 lead in the five match series. It was a close fought game with Pakistan winning the toss and electing to bat first. The tourists scored 294 in their 50 overs with Kamran Akmaltop top scoring adding 74 runs before being caught LBW by Collingwood. Stuart Broad was the pick of the England bowlers claiming four wickets for 81 runs! Under fire Andrew Strauss proved his credentials once again with a superb 126 from 131 balls being backed up by Jonathan Trott who hit 53 before being run out. The home side claimed victory by four wickets with just three balls remaining, so a good game of cricket all round, England just need to win one of the remaining three games to claim the ODI series after already claiming the test series and Twenty20 series, apart from the blip in the third test it’s been a good summer for the Englishmen even if certain batsmen have been misfiring!

Both Liverpool and Plymouth Argyle drew their games at the weekend which neither team needed as both teams have had a faltering start to the season. Starting with Argyle; the Pilgrims were away at Colchester United and walked away with a point which is better than nothing but Plymouth desperately need a three point haul to build on. Plymouth were poor in the first half allowing the home team too much space which ended in Andy Bond getting between the defenders to head Colchester into the lead. Reda Johnson equalised for Plymouth capitalising after the Colchester defence failed to clear Kari Arnason’s corner kick! Plymouth had Lee Molyneux sent off in the closing moments for a second bookable offence. The Pilgrims climb up two places to 18th with five points, which is still some way off the 12 points that leaders Peterborough currently have. Liverpool were really poor away at Birmingham being held to a scoreless draw; the home team were much better than their more illustrious visitors. Hodgson can say he sees positives as much as he wants but three points is what is required from a fixture like this; Liverpool are supposed to be a BIG FOUR team, that doesn’t seem to be the case the past couple of seasons. Liverpool have Pepe Reina to thank for walking away with a point from St Andrews, the Spaniard making several acrobatic saves to deny the home team! Liverpool also sit on five points which leaves them languishing in 13th place in the league, seven points off Chelsea who have a “perfect” 12 points from their opening four fixtures. Liverpool’s local rivals Everton did them somewhat of a favour holding Manchester United to a 3 – 3 draw meaning Liverpool are only three points off United and 3rd spot; Hodgson’s XI need to up their game significantly next game!

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