THE BELOW AVERAGE PODCAST!!

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THIS EPISODE includes: 
My good mate from the fantastic “Official Manchester Phoenix Podcast” Mark Woodcock aka the angry budgie
*  2013 THE ASHES Series review of First & Second test match between England v Australia.
*  British & Irish Lions successful tour of Australian as we look back at the 3rd and deciding test in Sydney.
*  Football news – as we briefly touch upon the Pre-season matches involving Manchester United & City
*  Wimbledon review on Andy Murray beating Novak Djokovic and snapping a 77 year wait for a British male winner.
*  Manchester Phoenix news with Signing news
*  NHL news along with Phoenix Coyotes sale with Mark telling us his take along with latest news.

*  Hockey news and links
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Murray ends 77 years wait for a British Mens winner




PIC: BBC SPORTS
British Number One Andy Murray etched his name into Wimbledon final folklore and British Sporting History too, as the Scottish ace ended an unwanted record in British tennis, as he become Wimbledon Champion defeating the World Number 1 Serbian star Novak Djokovic in Straight sets.
Murray avenged his loss from last year`s Wimbledon Final heartbreak  as he was edged out by Roger Federer last time out on Centre Court.



Both players had come through tough semi finals matches prior to this final, with Murray being took to 4 sets by Polish player Jerzy Janowicz in his semi final. Murray had started off poorly and dropped his first set of the whole tournament going down 7-6 in a tiebreaker, before a second set saw Murray 2-4 down and launch a comeback and he never looked back after he took the next 2 sets.
That then led Janowicz to complain about it being too dark to see and led the tournament officials to pander to his demands and so we had a lengthy delay while the roof was being closed much to Murray`s anger. 
After they came back from the break, Murray stormed to victory to book his place in his second consecutive Wimbledon final.



For Novak Djokovic, he was taken all the way by Argentina`s Juan Del Potro in a 5 Set Thriller, as they played out a Classic semi final meeting.
PIC: bbcsports

The match swung back and forth so much in the 4 hours and 43 minute of the contest, that it was shame someone had to miss out, as this match was worthy of a final. But it was “the Joker” that proved to have too much quality for Del Potro and he won the deciding set to see him through to another Final.

For the final it`s self , both men played there part in an enthralling encounter. As it took Andy Murray 4 Championship points to finally clinch his second Grand Slam title in a year, to go along with the US Open title he won last September, and coincidently had beaten Djokovic in the final to win the title too. 
Murray was 3-0 up in the first set after just 20 minutes of play. The World number 3 had the upper hand in the contest early on as Djokovic looked very shaky and was struggling to deal with Murray who was really taking it to Novak early on.



pic: bbcsports

Murray took the Opening set 6-4 and had the Momentum massively in his favour,  In the second set Djokovic started to come into the contest, as a couple of spectacular rallies that included a 30 and 28 strokes, went in favor to the Serbian. The Second set looked to be over, as Djokovic opened up a 4-1 lead in the second set, as he was coming forward to the net and stopping Murray, with the Scottish player failing to contain his rivals play.

Murray then shown his mental toughness as he battled back from 4 games to 1 down to 4-3 down. Murray had broke Novak`s serve and now had the opportunity to even the games up in the second set.



Murray then held his serve as he drew level at 4-4 to gain some momentum and looked like he could go on to take the set now with the boost of coming back from 3 games down.
In the 9th game Novak restored his lead to go 5-4 in front,but back came Murray as he responded in the next game to level it at 5-5.
Djokovic was seemingly doubting himself as he started to try and take the sting out of the game, as he adopted a slower tempo to his game in the 11th game.
Despite having two break points in the game, Djokovic hit a overhead shot to make it 30-40, But he couldn`t stop Murray breaking his serve and so Murray went ahead 6-5 in the set.
In the 12th game Murray went 30-0 before, Murray finished him off with an Ace taking the set 7-5 set and go 2-0 sets up.



In the third set, Murray had broken Novak early on and had him all over the place, as he had made 31 unforced errors in the match at that this point in time.
Murray took the 2nd game as well and was now 4 games away from the title, however Djokovic had other ideas, as the Serbian came back equalling it up at 2 games a piece.
Djokovic then returned the favor on Murray this time round, as now he came back to brake his opponent and go 4-2 up in the set.
Murray in retaliation broke Novak`s serve and held his serve to make it 4-4 and this was nicely poised now, with both players trying to out do the other and get any type of advantage they could.


Murray was up for it more so now, as he got a type of second wind and during an epic rally, Djovokic thought he had out thought Murray with a couple of good placed shots, only for Murray to mount a couple of out of this world winners as he smashed them past the World Number 1 for a 5-4 lead.
Andy Murray now was serving for the match and stood on the brink of history as he was close to winning the championship. Murray took a 40-0 lead and had Three MATCH POINTS. 
Novak Djokovic had battled back as he got it to deuce and the Expectant crowd chewed their nails as Djokovic had 3 Break points during the whole 10th game to deny Murray the victory the whole crowd and Nation wanted.



pic:yahoosport

Murray played a few fantastic shots to get it back to Championship point, this time Djokovic smashed the ball into the net and Centre Court erupted with noise and even those on “HENMAN HILL” too. As Andy Murray had ended the wait of a British MALE champion for the first time in 77 years, since Fred Perry won it last in 1936.



pic: thetelegraph
Murrray climbed to the box to hug and celebrate with his girlfriend and his whole team, and just as he went to head back to court. His team told him he missed out one person in the celebrations & was the most important influence in his career..HIS MUM!
So Murray headed back and grew a bigger cheer when he embraced his mother in the coached box as Murray celebrated winning in straight sets taking the Wimbledon title 6-4 7-5 6-4.

England Demolish Australia to go 2-0 up

INVESTEC ASHES SERIES 2013:  2ND TEST  (LORDS):   ENGLAND WON BY 347  RUNS




England took a giant step to retaining the ASHES Urn as they thrashed a poor Australian side by 347 runs at the home of Cricket , Lords.
Just like in the First Test at Trent Bridge, England Captain Alistair Cook won the toss and chose to bat again, and England hoped to make sure they put up a better fist of things in their First Innings than compared to the opening Innings in the 1st test.
Once again the England top ordered stuttered their way forwads , as Alistair Cook made just (12) till he was LBW off Shane Watson. Joe Root went the same way shortly after, with Ryan Harris trapping him LBW for (6) as Harris who came into the side for Mitchell Starc and the fast bowler shown what he could do.
Kevin Pietersen came in and went in two balls as he scored a measly (2) before edging to Haddin behind as Pietersen made yet another poor performance with the bat.
Ian Bell continued where he left off in Nottingham, as he played a great innings along with Jonathon Trott, who isn`t always the flashiest player in the England side, but he can grind a score out and that`s what he did as he posted (58), before Khawaja caught him out off the bowling of Harris and saw England 127 for 4.
Ian Bell & Johnny Bairstow put on a good partnership, which saw Bell once again reach triple digits as he reached his hundred, before falling to Steve Smith with Clarke taking the catch and went off to a standing ovation as he notched up (109) with 16 Four`s to his name, and moments later Bairstow followed him back to the pavilion as he hit a shot right back at Smith, who did well to hold on as he departed for (67) and England were 274-6.
Matt Prior failed once again with the bat as he scored a poor (6) runs,  on the opening ball of Day 2, Tim Bresnan edged behind off Harris bowling for (7) as it gave Australia the perfect start to the day.
Stuart Broad and James Anderson managed to stick around for a bit as both of them frustrated the Australian bowlers, as they scored a fair few runs for England. That was till Anderson was caught by Haddin off the bowling of Harris, as Harris picked up a 5 wicket haul in the process as he got the Lancashire pace man out for (12).
pic: yahoo sports

Graeme Swann then came into bat and played quickly knock as he smashed a couple of fours away to get England into a very healthy position.

Stuart Broad was the last man to go in the innings, as he was given out for an edge behind, to which Broad much to the Aussies dismay asked for the decision to be reviewed. Hot Spot shown a faint mark on the bat and so the decision stood, meaing Broad was out for (33), with his Nottinghamshire team-mate Swann Not Out on 28.  England posted 361 in their first Innings and that looked to be a decent score.
Ryan Harris showed his gratitude to the trust shown to him by the Australian Selectors for picking him, as Harris took 5 for 72 with Spinner Steve Smith grabbing 3 for 18 in 6 Overs.
Australia now hoped that their batters could perform and quell the England bowling attack that they suffered from in Nottingham previously.
The opening Australian pair of Watson & Rogers got the Tourists off to a steady opening as they looked to be getting off to a good start, that was till Tim Bresnan came into the attack and he shown his own thanks towards the England management, as he removed Opener Shane Watson LBW for (30) as he was out plumb.
Watson didn`t agree with decision and chose to waste a review on it and unsurprisingly it was upheld, so he went back to the locker room and in the process costing his side a review.
Chris Rogers then went for (15) to a bizarre dismissal from Graeme Swann. Swann it seemed tried to perform a full toss that went wrong and slipped out of his hand, resulting in hitting Rogers who had lost sight of it in flight, hit him between hip & knee.
Erasmus who was the man of controversy in the 1st Test with his decisions, made another decision as he gave Rogers out, which had both bowler and batsman shaking their heads in a “What happened ” moment.
Replays shown the ball was missing by a bit too and so Australia lost another batsman and missed the best chance to use a review for a real error.
Phil Hughes came and went as he scored (1) after Bresnan delivery was caught by Prior behind and after Hughes used up his sides Final Review up and Australia found themselves 53-3.
Usman Khawaja was next to go, as Swann was starting to  Spinning his magic on the Aussies. Khawaja tried to smash him down the pitch but managed to just loft it high up in the sun and Pietersen watched intently coming down and he took the catch to send him packing on (14).
Steve Smith also fell to Swann for (2) as Bell took a magnificent sharp reaction catch to get rid of him, after Bell had to move one way and then shifted his body quickly backwards to take the catch.
Michael Clarke`s resistance was broken at the hands of Stuart Broad, as the Pace man got the Captain out for (28) with a LBW decision and the Aussies were in free fall now as they found themselves 91 for 6.
Ashton Agar came in for the Tourists, And they hoped he could replicate his innings from the First Test as they needed someone to rescue their faltering Innings. However it didn`t happen as Agar and Haddin got in a muddle with Prior running for the loose ball and launching it to the non strikers end where Anderson was waiting and he whipped the bails off to run out Agar for (2) and left them in deep deep trouble at 96-7.
Siddle then became number 8 out, as a disguised Anderson delivery had him stumped (pardon the pun) as Siddle hit it right at Swann for (2), and the next over saw Swan grab his 4th wicket of the innings as he got the last major danger out in the shape of Brad Haddin, as Haddin nicked it to Prior behind and he went for (7) and Australia were in tatters and disarray.
James Pattinson and Ryan Harris made a stand as they put on a further 24 runs to the total, as Swann ultimately had the last word on the Tourists innings, with Harris trying to take him on but looped it high up and Pietersen was on hand once again to take the catch and England had skittled the Australians out for 128, with Harris and Pattinson both ending up on (10).
Swann torn the Australian line up apart as he became the first England spin bowler to take 5 wickets at Lords since Hedley Verity in 1934. Swann ended up with 5 for 44 along with Tim Bresnan grabbing 2 for 28 and the two Usual suspects in Broad & Anderson having quiet stats of 1 for 25 and Anderson getting 1 for 26.
England had a lead of 233 still from their 1st innings score and despite bowling out the opposition for 128, England decided not to enforce the follow-on and so tried to set a massive total for the Australians to try and chase down ..or survive at the very least.
England were looking at a getting a lead of around the area of 450, England weren`t that bothered if they lost a couple of wickets as long as they could post a good 2ndInnings knock, and hit at least 400+ overall combined.
Alistair Cook & Joe Root came to the crease to build on the lead they currently held already and it took the 10th over for a wicket to fall, as Cook played the ball onto his stumps, off a Peter Siddle delivery as the England Captain made a score of (8).
Trott fared no better, the Warwickshire man went for a duck too as he played on his wickets as well off Siddle.
England needed to get back on track quickly and unfortunately Pietersen thrown away his wicket early, as the Australians played to his ego and his ego got the best of him as he played at a ball swinging away from him and he hit it right to hands of Chris Rogers and so he went for (5).
Tim Bresnan then came in as Night watchman, much like he had the previous evening as he and Joe Root both kept the Aussie bowlers at bay as they played out the remaining overs till close.
On Day 3 Bresnan avoided a repeat first ball of the morning dismissal, as he and Root moved England on from 31 for 3 onto 129 for 4, with Tim Bresnan going after he struck it towards Chris Rogers at Square and caught him out. Bresnan played a good innings as the Yorkshire man went for a spirited knock of (38).
Joe Root kick started a slow innings by England as Bresnan and him had blocked and played cautiously.
Root now used the dismissal of his County Colleague as a springboard, as his innings unravelled into a mixture of different shots, as he reached his maiden hundred in the process.
His partner at the other end was Ian Bell who knew the big 100 feeling, as he scored a couple of big centuries already. Bell was  playing a good knock too and was lucky to have stayed out on the field too, as a “catch” by Steve Smith was referred to by the video ref as it was unsure if he got his fingers under the ball before hitting the ground. Replays shown he seemed to have caught him, butthe umpire watching the footage gave NOT OUT. Thats decision didn`t sit well with Australia and Smith was shaking his head for a long period of time after too.
Bell fell late on, after he picked out Chris Rogers off the bowling of Steve Smith for (74).
Johnny Bairstow joined his Yorkshire team-mate at the crease as Root moved past 150 and closed on Day 3 with 178 with some amazing shots as he struck 18 Fours, 2 Sixes in his batting display as he helped England get a lead of 550 as Day 3 ended.
pic: CRICINFO
Day 4 saw Johnny Bairstow depart for (20) and Root added a couple more runs to his overnight total before he played a shot too many , as the Youngster tried to play a scoop shot and saw his effort go down to third man and taken.
Root was out for 180 and got a standing ovation from the crowd in Lords, Prior was left unbeaten on (1) as England declared on 349.The scenario was now, Australia needed 583 to win the game and draw the series, but that was impossible to get for them, as they had lacked the concentration ability to apply themselves to the task.
Australia came out hoping to bat out the day at the very least, that looked along way off, after Shane Watson once again was LBWed by a lovely delivery by Anderson for (20). Rogers followed very quickly after, as he was bowled by Swann comically as Rogers just left the ball expecting it to do nothing and it straightened and hit the stumps, leaving Rogers looking foolish as Australia were now 32-2 and that dismissal summed up Australia in that series.
Hughes was next to go as Swann got him LBW, Umpire Dharmasena gave him out, but Hughes wanted it reviewed and the replay shown it was hitting leg stump so Australia lost one review and it was now 36-3.
PIC: Cricinfo

Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja steadied the rocky Australian ship,  as they both found a bit of form with the bat as both men passed their half centuries. 






Michael Clarke took a blow as a delivery off Stuart Broad, hit the Australian Captain right in the middle of head and flush on the badge on the helmet. 






That was as good as it got for Clarke, as Joe Root was having a blinder of a game as he removed the Aussie Captain for (51) with Cook taking the catch and removing his opposite number.
Khawaja then became Root`s next victim as he edged to Anderson at slips for (54), Steve Smith left soon after with Prior taking the catch, but Smith immediately reviewed straight away as he didn`t believe he hit it. Hot Spot shown a faint mark on the bat and so the decision stood and he went for (1).
                                                                             
Agar played a small cameo of (16) before he controversial given out too, as England asked for the review as England made a huge appeal which was turned down by Marius Erasmus from South Africa.
pic: Yahoo sports
 The replay shown no actual evidence of a wicket or any type of marking on bat on hot spot, as it looked like he hit the ground as the ball went by for the sound. 
Everyone expected the decision to stand and was shocked when Tony Hill from New Zealand as 3rdUmpire gave the decision to give Agar out, as he said it was based on the noise he heard for the dismissal.
Australia was 154-7 and when Haddin head a brain lapse when he stuck a pad out block it, he did so in line with the wickets and was given out straight away by the umpire, leaving the Tourists floundering at 162 for 8 with 421 left to get.
Siddle once again showed he could bat a bit, as he made a respectable (18) before James Anderson bowled him and left one remaining wicket to get for Victory. 
pic: theguardian
James Pattinson and Ryan Harris put on another 10th wicket stand as they tried to delay the inevitable, however Swan who took the final wicket, as the ball spun back to hit Pattinson on the pads in line with the stumps.
Pattinson was furious at first, as he thought the dismissal was for a catch when it was actually an LBW, as he was for gone for (35) and Harris was left not out on (16). England wrapped up the match and took a 2-0 series lead with 3 tests left to play now.
pic: ECB.com

Graeme Swann was the pick of the bowlers again, with the Spinner getting 4 for 78. James Anderson got 2 for 55 with Tim Bresnan grabbing a brace of wickets, along with the unlikeliest name of Joe Root on the wicket column, as he finished off a Man of the man performance with career best stats of 2 wickets for 9 runs in just 7 overs.

Joe Root was rightly awarded the Man of the Match award, as his batting display of 180 and his bowling ability, shown it made it a no-brainer to give him the gong.

England edge past Australia in Controversial Test




 


INVESTEC ASHES SERIES 2013:  1ST TEST : ENGLAND WON BY 14 RUNS


The opening Test Match of the 2013 ASHES series certainly proved to be a very eventful one, As Nottingham`s Trent Bridge Stadium was the ground to open up the First Test.

Alistair Cook won the Toss and chose to bat, as it was Sunshine baked Wednesday morning as the pitch was quoted as a “Batters paradise” with the hot weather and rock hard pitch.
England went this opening test match with youngster Joe Root at number 2 in the batting order as he had impressed in previous matches, however an Ashes Series is a completely different kettle of fish when it comes to test match cricket.
As the batsmen came out to “Jerusalem” being played, we were ready for the Ashes Series to begin.
England`s Opening pair of Alistair Cook & Joe Root got England off to a steady start as they put on 27 runs, before the England Captain Cook was dismissed for (13) off the bowling of James Pattinson, with Brad Haddin taking the catch behind.  Jonathon Trott then came to the crease and the Warwickshire batsman played his usual slowly approach to his innings.
Yorkshireman Joe Root was playing a good knock till he was bowled by Australian fast man Peter Siddle for (30). Kevin Pietersen then came to the wicket ,as England welcomed back the big hitting South African born batsman to the Test line up , as he had been out of the side due to lay off with a leg injury.
Pietersen didn`t hang around long as he was out for (14), as he pushed it to slip in the direction of Australia Captain Michael Clarke and the Aussies rejoiced in getting the “Danger man” out.
Trott was next out as he was bowled by Siddle for (48), as England was 124 for 4 and Australia was enjoying themselves as they were restricting their hosts and looked good.
Fellow Warwickshire team mate Ian Bell failed to make big score when both he and Johnny Bairstow put on the biggest partnership in the innings of 54 runs between them both. Ian Bell (25) and Matt Prior(1) went in quick succession off the bowling of Siddle and England found themselves 180-6, as the score was looking pretty poor indeed by the hosts.
Johnny Bairstow and Stuart Broad put on 33 runs as they move the score onto 213, Pattinson then got Broad out for (24) caught and bowled and then Mitchell Starc clean bowled Bairstow for a (37). Steven Finn came and went albeit after he tried to review his dismissal, the decision stood and Starc was on a Hat Trick.
Starc bowled a poor Hat Trick ball and wasted a glorious chance to try and grab an rare Ashes Hat Trick. Graeme Swann and James Anderson lasted 25 balls between them as Swann went for (1)from James Pattinson delivery which was caught by Phil Hughes and Australia looked to be in full control as England posted a paltry 215 in just 59 Overs.
Peter Siddle was the star man in the bowling department as he took 5 for 50, along with James Pattinson supporting as he took 3 for 69 and Mitchell Starc 2 for 54.
England would need to rely on their bowlers as they have done in recent matches to get them out of the hole they were in.
England started well as Steven Finn got Shane Watson out for (13) with Joe Root holding on and then next ball got Ed Cowan out for a duck with Swann taking the catch and the Aussies were 19-2.
Jimmy Anderson then got in on the action, as he removed the Australian Captain Michael Clarke for a duck too and England were finding their rhythm in the bowling department.
Chris Rogers and Steve Smith put up some resistance for the Tourists as they put together a partnership of 31, before Rogers was LBWed by Lancashire pace man James Anderson. Rogers asked for a review on his dismissal, but was unsuccessful and so he went for (16).
Steve Smith then departed soon after as he edged behind to Prior off Anderson going for (53), Brad Haddin was then Bowled for (1) by the hometown County hero Swann on his home ground.
Anderson then had a Hat Trick chance himself as he disposed of Siddle for (1) and Mitchell Starc for a duck, as the Aussies found themselves 114 for 8, and things got worse for them, when Pattinson went for (2) and used up the second review for Australia as England had the Tourists on the rack as they were 117 for 9.
Anderson celebrates wicket : PIC FROM cricinfo
Things should have been wrapped up quickly, But England hadn`t counted on the fact for a plucky Australian Teenager in the form of 19yo Spinner Ashton Agar.
Agar was a late inclusion to the side and he certainly made a name for himself with the bat at least and one England wouldn`t forget very soon.
Agar was playing shots that top order batsmen would be proud off and he was very fortunate as well, as early on in his innings he looked to be out of his crease when Prior whipped off his bails for a stumping.
The Third Umpire thought differently, as he gave Agar a massive slice of luck as replays seemed to show he hadn`t made it back over the line , but Marais Erasmus from South Africa gave Agar NOT OUT much to the surprise of everyone, His decision making would make this test match become a very controversial match indeed.
Agar went on to score (98) on his Test debut, as in his 101 balls he faced he scored 12 Fours and 2 Sixes.
His partner down the other end in Phil Hughes wasn`t doing badly either, as he scored a unbeaten (81) after Agar sublime innings came to an unlucky end, as he tried to slog a shot for his hundred but Swann was there to deny the youngster his maiden Hundred as he took the catch and the Australian balcony and his family sat in the stands, were left deflated for Agar as they put their collective heads in their hands as he missed out on reaching the big 100. 
Australia reply to England was 280, and the partnership between Ashton Agar & Phil Hughes was not only the Highest 10th wicket partnership in Australian history, but the Highest ever in Test cricket , as England continued to have a flaw in finishing off the innings as they have made a habit of it for years.
England’s Bowlers once again came to the batsmen rescue, as James Anderson was the pick of the bowler with 5 for 85 along with Steven Finn & Graeme Swann taking 2 wickets each.
England Second Innings got to a stuttering start as the Hosts lost 2 early wickets, when Joe Root edged behind to Haddin off the bowling of Starc for (5), and then the next delivery the Australians appealed for LBW on Jonathon Trott. Aleem Dar gave Not Out originally and after a bit of team meeting Clarke wanted it reviewed by the third umpire.
Replays originally shown that the ball looked to have hit Trott in front of the stumps and so the decision was overturned, as there was nothing on Hotspot to suggest he hit it.
Trott was unhappy as he was walked back for a duck and now Starc was on his second Hat Trick in the game.
News coming in hours later from the ICC, was that England weren`t happy as Hot spot failed to show Trott getting a little edge on it, but Hotspot wasn`t working properly so it never came up on the replay. Though slowed down reply`s show he did get a bit of bat on it.
Kevin Pietersen survived the Hat Trick ball from Starc, This led to him and Cook moving England along to safe waters, as they put on 110 between them.
Pietersen was then bowled by Pattinson for (64) and Cook followed a few Overs later as the England Captain was out for (50), England were 131 for 4, or effectively 66 for 4 now. 
Ian Bell then decided to put on a batting clinic and show how to bat sensibly and play yourself into an innings, Bell in the process led the England charge along with Bairstow.
Johnny Bairstow tried to grind out a score in the second innings as he fell eventually to Agar for (15) with Haddin taking the catch after 62 balls faced.
Matt Prior looked to try and get some runs and confidence in hist batting, but a mistimed shot went to Ed Cowan and the Aussie fielder took the catch as he departed for (31).
Bell scoring on his way to 109 pic from theguardian
Stuart Broad entered the fray and the Nottinghamshire fast bowler came in and played some beautiful strokes as he and Bell started to take the game away from the Australians and move England into a commanding lead. Ian Bell reached his hundred as he placed a ball into gap and he ran the single to get to the milestone. 
Controversy once again arose, as this time a delivery by Ashton Agar was massively edged to Michael Clarke in the slips and Aleem Dar gave Not Out, in one of the most awful decisions he has made as an umpire.
It wasn`t as if it was a little deft nick, it was a massive edge off the bat, Which led the Aussies to curse using up their 2 reviews earlier in the England innings, as they couldn`t use a review now as they lost both review, If it had been reviewed Broad was a “goner” as it would have been overturned without fail.
AUSSIES dumbfounded by Broad decision     pic from eurosport.com
Aussies remonstrated with umpires over the missed called and Stuart Broad just stood his ground and refused to walk , which caused massive discussions around cricketing circles over the next day or so and led to the Moral stand point coming up. 
People will say, it`s been long overdue as the Australians have made a history of not walking when they were out for decades, so Broad was giving them a taste of their own medicine. Broad went for (65) as he edged Pattinson delivery to Haddin and this time he walked off.
Bell then perished as he went for (109) as a feather like edge off his bat was collected by Haddin and the score was 371 for 8 and with the final 2 remaining wickets falling for 4 runs, with Graeme Swann going for (9) off the bowling of Siddle and then James Anderson following for a duck.
Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle were Australia`s best bowlers as they shared 3 wickets between while Ashton Agar and James Pattinson took 2 wickets a piece.
PIC from: theguardian: 
That meant in the scheme of things, England had set the Australians the target of 311 for victory. The Run chase for the Tourists got off to a great start as Shane Watson and Chris Rogers put on a partnership of 84 for the opening wicket, till Watson was given out for LBW, but Watson went for the review and replays shown it was clipping leg stump and so gave England a started as they meant to go on, As a not so happy Watson went for (46).
With Tea approaching Cook turned to Joe Root for an over or two of spin to rest his bowlers and see out the remaining couple of Overs, however not even he, could have foreseen that Root would take a vital wicket in the game. As the Yorkshire man removed Cowan from the crease with the last ball before Tea, with a ball that spun a bit and was edged to Trott , which saw Root picked up his first Test wicket as Cowan went for (14).  
Australia headed to the pavilion going 111 for 2 and needed to forget about the last ball and concentrate on standing firm and stick to the task at hand.
After Tea, England looked rejuvenated as Rogers was first to leave when Anderson bowled a great delivery and Bell took a sharp catch to send him back for (52), Aussie Captain Michael Clarke put on a partnership of 37 with Steve Smith, before Clarke was out (23) after Prior claimed a catch off Broad, Clarke called for a review of the decision & Hot spot shown the smallest of marks on the bat and that was enough to uphold the decision on the field, as Clarke left and Australia was 161 for 4.
Swann got in on the act then, as he trapped Smith plum LBW for (17) and his next ball got Phil Hughes LBW too, Hughes asked for a review but Hawkeye suggested it was hitting and so the Aussies were 164-6 and 147 away from victory with four wickets remaining.
Brad Haddin and Ashton Agar tried to bat Australia out of trouble as a good partnership from the two, saw the score move from 164-6 to 207-6.
Then came the big wicket, with Anderson making Agar play at a ball that he pushed to slips and Alistair Cook was alert to take the catch and remove the plucky Youngster for (14) and avoided a repeat innings from the first.
Starc didn`t last long either as he too edged to Cook in slips for (1) and England were closing in on victory now.
Peter Siddle tried to hang around a bit as he made (11) and this time the England Captain made up for a dropped catch in the previous over, But Cook held on brilliantly to removed Siddle and now they needed 1 wicket for victory, while Australia needed an improbable 80 runs with their remaining batsmen.
Australia didn`t lie down and put up a bit of fight , Brad Haddin  & James Pattinson put on a partnership to annoy and irritate England side, as they struggled to find this elusive wicket to clinch victory. This match was looking parallel to Edgbaston in the 2005 Series in every way as, England was in control needing the one wicket and struggling to get it. 
Then Steven Finn played the role of Simon Jones as the ball fell towards and just like in `05 Finn dived forwards to take the catch and spilled it out much like Jones had done too.


Fingernails were being bit as the runs needed was coming down and down and got to 20.
Australia were looking likelier to win as Anderson had bowled himself out it looked like as he bowled 13 straight overs, and with Finn bowling two expensive overs, England looked like they had lost the belief to win now and were nervous, while Australia had grabbed all the momentum now.
Then with 14 runs left to get, Anderson bowled to Haddin and Prior appealed as he caught the ball behind, England made a half hearted appeal.
Cook decided to ask for the Video umpire to review decision, the Replays showed a little edge on the bat and a noise on the mic, which made the man at the heart of all the Controversy Erasmus, giving Haddin out for (71) and England the win,  as the decision was over turned and England celebrated like crazy as they Went 1-0 up in the 5 match series, taking this “EVENTFUL” and exciting First Test. If this is what the rest of the series is like then we will all be spoilt.
James Anderson took the plaudits as he took 5 for 73, while Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann took 2 wickets each and Joe Root taking one wicket, but a very important one.
Pic from EUROSPORT.COM ENGLAND CELEBRATE VICTORY 

Lions MAUL Aussies to make History



 









British & Irish Lions  41 – 16 Australia 

After 16 years of Pain and hurt for the British & Irish Lions fans and players who have played since their last series victory back in 1997, After tours of promising starts, to only lose out in the end.
Saturday saw History made as not only did the Lions beat the Australians, but they destroyed them in their own back yard as the Rampant Lions mauled Australia 41-16 in the series decider at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Australia had bolstered their side with the inclusion of Returnee George Smith to the Wallabies side after a 4 year absence from International Rugby and 2 years from Rugby, as he only returned to action in February and was seen as huge risk chosen by Australian Head Coach Robbie Deans.
For the Lions, Warren Gatland decided to take a massive risk himself as he dropped a major bombshell during midweek , when he announced that Ireland and Lions legend Brian O` Driscoll was dropped from the squad completely. That decision caused uproar from the media and Lions fans alike, as they wanted to see their hero win a Lions Series for the first time ever. He was prepared to risk the wrath of the fans from the home nations countries with his decision.

PIC via: thescotsman
Jamie Roberts and Alex Corbisiero was brought back into the starting 15, as they recovered from hamstring injuries sustained in the 1st test match two weeks before, as they replaced Marko Vunipola and the Injured Lions captain Sam Warburton.  Alun Wyn Jones was chosen as the man to captain the Lions as he led them out for the Third test on the ANZ Stadium pitch.



So as Johnny Sexton kicked off the Final test and series decider, the Lions couldn`t have got off to the better start possible, when Will Genia normally so reliable with his catching ability knocked on after 3 seconds of the game gone.
So the Lions had great field positioning as they put into the scrum and from the resulting scrum the Australians were standing up in the scrum and Northern Hemisphere Referee Romain Poite from France awarded a free kick to the Lions, which was took quickly by Mike Philips and as he combined with Tommy Bowe down the blind-side, Bowe was brought down on the 5m line by the Wallabies defense and play was nearing the line and the captain Alun Wyn Jones went agonisingly close to the line but was held up inches from the line.




In the next phase of play it brought the Lions a try which saw Alex Corbisiero going over from close range to give the Lions a 5-0 lead and with Leigh Halfpenny scoring the conversion for a 7-0.
Australia came straight back with an attack of their own as they gained towards the try line and the move finished up with George Smith ,who was involved in a horrible clash of heads with Richard Hibbert. As they came together which saw Hibbert take the brunt of the smash, but come off better than Smith and who seemed to be groggy.





The Lions scrum was mauling the Australian pack as they dominated the Wallabies and was running them ragged.
PIC via: themail.com
Things got even better for the Touring side as the Aussies gave away a penalty on the half way line for not releasing and gave Halfpenny a chance to exorcise his missed kick last week.
Halfpenny made no mistake this week as he put the Lions 10-0 up and at the restart saw the Aussies given a penalty due to the Lions obstructing the Aussie players and one that James Horwill the Wallabies captain chosen to kick at goal eventually after turning down 4 previous chances to kick at goal.



Kurtley Beale kicked over to put some points on the scoreboard for the Aussies, as he made it 10-3.
The Lions won yet another penalty at the scrum as the Australian were dealing so badly with the Lions pack and once again Halfpenny kicked over for a 13-3 lead. Minutes later saw them get another penalty as the Wallabies pack were caught standing up in the scrum and Poite awarded the Lions another penalty and warned the Wallabies Captain Horwill “any more repeats and it`s a yellow card for whoever”.




Leigh Halfpenny kicked the penalty and made it 16-3 after fifth teen minutes of play as the men in Red were dominating the Green & Gold`s and Australia looked powerless and stuck for answers in what to do.
Then in the 24th minute Ben Alexander was shown the yellow card for collapsing in the scrum and gave Halfpenny another penalty and he extended the score as it became 19-3 then.
Johnny Sexton then made a great play as a long kick up field by O Connor, was picked up by the Irish player while his foot was on the dead ball line and picked it up while it rolled meaning play came back all the way back into the Wallabies half.




It was the Lions enjoying a long spell of possession in the Wallabies 22m zone where they went through 20 plus phases of play, before Sexton went for the drop goal and saw his attempt just go wide of the uprights.
Australia were desperate to find any kind of spark within their side to get them going as a Jesse Mogg made a break away from the Lions and was ankle tapped by Geoff Parling to stop the run.
With the last run of play before half time , Australia scored a Try through James O`Connor as he battled past the Lions defense to score for the Wallabies and with Lealiifano kicking the extras he made it 19-10 with them slowly gaining ground on the Britain & Irish  Lions.


Second half saw the Aussies come out strong and win a penalty as the Lions were penalized for not rolling away at the breakdown, which gave Lealiifano the chance to kick the Australians closer to the Lions score as they made it 13-19.
Momentum seemed to switch towards the home side now, as the Aussies started to get the rub of the green in the game now, as a mark called by Johnny Sexton missed by the touch judge which gave them advantage at the 5m line.


Australia won a penalty as the Lions were adjudged to have come in at the side of the maul and gave Lealiifano a chance to kick over for a 16-19 score line.
Then the Lions got back to basics as they won a penalty from the scrum and Halfpenny kicked it to make it a 6 point lead now.
Then came a huge moment in the game, as a good passing move by the Lions went towards the left flank and then Jonathon Davies and Leigh Halfpenny combined to set up Johnny Sexton, who couldn`t contain his emotion as he went over the line jubilant and put the ball down for a try for 30-16 score line after Halfpenny kicked the 2 extra points over.



PIC via: bbc 
Australia put the tourists in trouble as a Mogg kick found touch by the 5 metre line deep in Lions half and despite possession for the Wallabies, the try gave the Lions belief and seemed to take the wind out of their sails. Australia pushed hard for the try line though they just couldn`t find a breakthrough.
Then the back breaker for the Australians came as Leigh Halfpenny broke through the Wallabies defense and pulled the full back out of position before feeding George North and he grabbed a try for the Lions to make it 34-16, Halfpenny unfortunately couldn`t kick the conversion over.





PIC via: bbcsport
The Lions then completed the thrashing when from their poorest set piece on this tour the Line-out, they managed to get it to work as they worked the rolling maul from it and after Murray fed Jamie Roberts, the Welshman dashed through the hapless Australian defense, scoring a try that broke the 16 year hoodoo and wrote this 2013 side into Lions folklore as they celebrated the try.
Lions players on the bench and management team hugged and congratulated each other during the final stages and as the whistle blew History was made and the Lions won the series 2-1 and the fans and players alike celebrated victory, tears of joy were shed by Roberts and FINALLY O`Driscoll could have Lions series winner added on his C.V and this now shows the Lions are back and back with a vengeance.

Wallabies edge The Lions in another thriller!















 Second Test:
AUSTRALIA  16 – 15 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
(SERIES LEVEL 1-1)






It was like a mirror image of the First Test as a missed Penalty kick saw the team lose out twice in two games as this time the team to face the heartbreak of a missed kick came from the British &Irish Lions kicker Leigh Halfpenny, as the last kick of the game saw the Wallabies even up the series, as the Hosts beat the Lions 16-15 at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne to set up a decider in Sydney next weekend.

The Lions were missing England prop Alex Corbisiero with a hamstring injury he picked up and along himself on the injury side was Ireland`s Paul O Connell who fractured his arm in the First Test also in Brisbane last weekend.
So in came Marko Vunipola for Corbisiero and Geoff Parling coming in to replace Paul O Connell, as they looked to win the Second test in Melbourne and win the series for the Tourists ,for the first time since 1989 when they last won 2-1 in Australia.
Australia were glad to have Captain James Horwill available for selection , after the Lock was cleared by an Independent board for a “Stamp”, but the decision was later scrapped as the IRB (International Rugby Board) wanted to review the incident themselves as they felt there may have been more to it then seemed.
So Horwill played with a cloud over him as the incident was still in the news up to kick off time among the rugby media.
The teams took to the field as the British & Irish Lions were led out by Captain Sam Warburton as he carried the traditional Stuffed Lion onto the pitch and dropped it on the pitch as the roar from the red shirts in the crowd which was estimated to be 25,000-30,000 of them greeted the Tourists on, in front of a crowd of 53,000 at the Etihad Stadium.
Twelve years ago, the Lions had lost at the same venue back in 2001 going down 35-14 to the Wallabies, as the home side have a record of winning 10 out of 12 Test Matches at this ground.
It was Kurtley Beale who kicked us off as he hoped to shake off the memories of last weekend, as it was his missed kick in the last seconds that saw his Australian side edged out by the Lions 23-21 in Brisbane.

So what would be in store for us in this Second Test Match, It was the Lions that came out firing as they put the heavy hitting on the home side early on, as the Tourists were really up for this Second Test match as they had they went in search for a series victory.

The Lions won an early penalty as Warburton won a penalty at the breakdown for the Lions,which gave Leigh Halfpenny the chance to give the Tourists into an early lead from just inside the Wallabies half. Halfpenny penalty unluckily saw his kick struck the bar and bounced the wrong side which denied them an early lead.
In the opening 9 minutes , the Lions had dominated play and the Wallabies were struggling to get to grips with their Opponents.  It was mainly rolling mauls that had the home team in trouble as the Lions ploughed up field and moved up towards the Australian line and had the Aussies forced to conceded another penalty, as this time Halfpenny successfully converted the kick to make it 3-0 to the Lions.
That kick seemed to wake up the Wallabies as they came into the game a bit more now and even more so in the scrimmaging department.
The Lions were conceding penalties or namely Mako Vunipola was, as the Loose head Prop wasn`t binding correctly and so was putting his side under pressure as he gave away penalty after penalty in the scrums.
Eventually the constant sight of the Scrums going down from involving Vunipola struggling to deal with his opposite number, meant that the South African official gave Australia a penalty and let Christian Leali’ifano draw level, as this was his full debut after he lasted just 45 seconds in his original debut in the First Test.

Leali’ifano kicked over to make the score 3-3 after 16 minutes of play and made it a level game now, as Australia were certainly the aggressors in this game now as the Lions had lacked the threat they posed in the opening quarter of the game.

Fans of the Lion’s fans tried their best to get their side going again as they blasted out renditions of “Bread of Heaven” & “Swing low sweet chariots” as the Lions were under the cosh for a while.
Australia were dominating play from now as they had the Lions in trouble and after we witnessed scrum upon scrum collapsing with the two packs,
Referee Joubert then awarded the Wallabies yet another penalty and Leali`ifano stepped up to kick the Penalty over for the first lead in the match as he made it 6-3 for the Green & Gold`s.
From the restart Australia went straight on the attack , as they built up a good passing move from deep in their own half. Will Genia then punted down field deep inside the Lions 22m to which was run back in a good move by Johnny Sexton, the returning Tommy Bowe and Tom Youngs, but the move came to an end when Vunipola who wasn’t covering himself in glory in the game up to this point, knocked on and so a scrum took place.
The following scrum saw Vunipola redeem himself , as he won the Lions back a penalty and Leigh Halfpenny kicked over for the score to make it 6-6 after 26 minutes.
Some more good play in the scrum saw the Lions awarded another penalty and Halfpenny made no mistake,  as he kicked over for the Lions to go ahead once again in the tense contest.
Australia was given a penalty almost immediately after ,when the Lions strayed offside from a ruck after the home side had won the line out. After the advantage came to nothing for the Wallabies, play was brought back to where the penalty was given and Joubert gave the home side a penalty, to which Christian Leali`ifano then kept his 100% record up as he kicked over to make it 9-9.
After sides traded high kicks between each other, it was the Lions that had their best attack for some time, when the Aussie backline was being tested as the play was switched to the other side of the field where a Wallabies player tried to pinch the ball from the ruck and in doing so was penalized, which gave the Lions a penalty in the last minute of the first half.
Halfpenny kicked the penalty over just outside the Australian 22m line to give the lead beat to the Lions as they led at the break 12-9.
Lions scrummaging in this test match was far below how they played in the opening test, as they weren`t winning the battles in the pack as the Australians as they had the week before and the home were playing fantastic as a unit in the scrum.
The game was a scrappy one with both sides wanting to try and control the game in there favour, yet it was littered with knock-on`s and nerves getting to the players on both sets of teams.
The Lions were dealt a blow when Prop Adam Jones was forced off with an injury and was replaced with Dan Cole, Jones was one of the best performers on the pitch for the tourists and it seemed to hurt the Lions in the forward line. 
We then had the incredible sight of George North running forward and Israel Folau trying to tackle him, but instead was fireman`s carried on North`s shoulders as the Welshman shown his brute strength as he held off along with two more Aussie players, before dumping Folau on his backside and also ended up hurting himself too as he seemed to land on top of his head. 
A scrum was given to the Lions and on this occasion the Lions roared back in the pack, as they ploughed the Australians backwards and dismantled them the scrum, only for Joubert to award the Lions a penalty and allowed Halfpenny to step up and kick over for a 15-9 lead.

Australia was now doing what they dreaded, they were chasing the game now and were looking a tad frustrated too. Things for the Lions weren`t getting better on the injury front either, as two of the star players were down hurt with Johnny Sexton  and a few yards away Captain Sam Warburton was down, and it didn`t look good. Warburton was helped off the pitch by the medical staff as he had pulled his Hamstring and it meant for all the defending the Lions were doing , the tiredness and injury list was piling up more so now, as With Jones and Warburton down the Lions were getting a reversal of fortunes from their hosts of last week.

British & Irish Lions fans were looking at the clock wanting it to quickly tick over ,while the Wallabies felt time was ticking away too fast.
Australia gained yards and was in terrific position to score as they were right near the line and the Lions needed to hold on and keep them out. Sadly, they couldn`t hold out as play was switched after a slow build up and the home side quickly put a move together , which saw Adam Ashley-Cooper rush over the line for a try and break  Lions hearts late in the game , as they took the lead 16-15 with a Leali`ifano kick too converted.
The Lions had a chance with two minutes to go as the Lions kicked for touch from a penalty and knew if they could win their own line out then the Visitors would be in with a great chance to go for a drop goal. However the line out was lost and the Wallabies cleared away from their half.
As the hooter sounded the Lions had the ball deep in their half and needed to keep play alive to have a chance, as it turned out they won a penalty and was played quickly. The Lions dashed up field where they gained another and put them just inside their own half as the Lions had one more chance and gave Leigh Halfpenny the task to kick the penalty which was the most pressurized kick in this series.
As if he succeeded the Lions would be victorious and if he missed it would set up a decider in Sydney next weekend.
Halfpenny took his time and tried to compose himself, the Welshman then struck the ball and just like Beale last weekend the ball missed the posts and was picked up behind the posts by the Wallabies and kicked out of play to give the home side victory and set up a Winner takes all clash next weekend.
Halfpenny looked dejected and was comforted by his team mates as a complete reversal of last weekend match in injuries and last minute drama occured.

This means we go into next weekend all level at 1-1 with the Lions hoping to make history and win a series since 1997, But may well look back and think they may have blown it.

Blackhawks down the Bruins to become STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS  WIN SERIES  4 – 2 BOSTON BRUINS 


pic from: zimbo

2013 was the years of the Hawks, Blackhawks that is! As Chicago won their 2nd Stanley Cup championship in 4 years as they beat a gritty & physical Boston Bruins side,  in 6 games to hold aloft Sir Stanley`s Cup once again since 2010.
The Blackhawks defeated the Bruins on foreign ice much like in 2010 when they beat Philadelphia Flyers on the road in 6 games just like they did this season . Chicago produced a comeback equal to what Boston produced to beat Toronto in the First Round at TD Gardens, as the Hawks looked down and out and destined to go back to Chicago for the Winner takes all game seven.
That was till the Hawks pulled Corey Crawford for the extra skater and Bryan Bickell equalized for the away side with 1:16 left in the 3rd Period to tie the game up, now we looked like heading to overtime but, there was still a twist in the game left.
17 seconds later they scored again to complete a crazy turnaround in the game and saw Chicago take a 3-2 lead and it was a lead they would hold onto and win the series 4-2 in Boston.
It was really “Crazy” series from Game 1 in Chicago to Game 6 in Boston, Here is a look back at this incredible series.
This 2013 STANLEY CUP FINAL series got off to an exciting start, as fans and pundits in Hockey were hoping the clash between recent Stanley Cup champions would be an absolute cracker and it didn`t disappoint either.
Game 1 started off at the United Center in Chicago, where the Western Conference champions the Chicago Blackhawks played hosts to the Eastern Conference champions the Boston Bruins in a barn burner of a game.
It was the Bruins that came out the most attacking of the two sides as they outshot the home side 11-8 in the opening period. Corey Crawford between the pipes for the Blackhawks had to be alert in goal, as he flashed the glove at Brad Marchand`s effort as he robbed the Boston forward of a goal.
The B`s took the lead though at 13:11 in the first period thanks to Milan Lucic, as thanks to David Krejic who played a huge part on the goal, as the Czech Republic native chased a loose puck behind the Hawks net and took a hard from Niklas Hjalmarsson against the boards, but still managed to make a play directing it to Nathan Horton whose center pass found an unmarked Lucic and he fired past Crawford to make it 1-0.
Boston continued their play into the 2nd period as they took a two goal advantage via a Milan Lucic Slapshot ,that beat Crawford high over the shoulder for a 2-0 lead and Boston silenced the Chicago crowd with that second goal as the Bruins were in charge.
Chicago responded at 3:08 into the period as they cut the lead in half, when Brandon Saad wristed one past Tuuka Rask in the Bruins net for a 2-1 score line. This then started a end to end game as the Blackhawks took over , on the shots on goal, with 16 attempts to 6 on their opponents.
The third period was the same , with the home side out shooting their visitors but it was the away side that stretched their lead again.
As Boston scored a power play goal when Patrice Bergeron one timed it off a pass by Seguin and his effort dinged off the metal to make it a 3-1 game at 46:09.
Chicago once again responded shortly after the Bruins goal, as David Bolland stopped the puck going up ice and waited for Shaw to get onside. He then played it to Shaw who passed cross ice for Bolland who one timed it past Rask ,as the Finn was pulled out of position on the play at 48:00.
The Blackhawks tied the game up, when Michael Frolik and good board play by Marcus Kruger passed to the blue line for Johnny Oduya, whose blast deflected in off Andrew Ference and deceived Rask making it 3-3 to tie the game up.
So we went to Overtime yet again and Crawford made a double save in the overtime period, as first off he stopped Shawn Thornton and then spread in front of the goals to block it, before Bolland cleared near the line to stop the Bruins from winning the game.
He was called upon once again as Boston came into the Blackhawks zone on a 2 on 1 before, Peverley found space and tried to fire it in only to be denied by Crawford.
pic from: baltimore press
In the Second period of Overtime, the Bruins cut through mid ice with a straight through pass that saw Seguin connected on it and as he skated on goal his effort couldn`t find a way past Crawford.
Boston thought they`d won it with 9.2 to go in the period, when a Zdeno Chara blast from the blue line struck the foot of the post and went across the crease away from any Bruins players.
So we then entered a Third Overtime period in this opening game of the series, Boston was coming closer and closer and got even nearer this time around too.
As Taylor Seguin was found by David Krejic and when Seguin fed Daugavins who was free at the side of the net, the Bruins players got in that much of a tangle that he tried to back hand his effort but didn`t have a lot of purchase on it.
Then with 12:08 gone in period 3 of Overtime we got a winner finally , as Andrew Shaw scored thanks to a couple of deflections, Firstly a Martin Rozsival shot from the blue line was deflected off Bolland stick and Shaw got a second deflection to divert the puck home and make it a real “MADHOUSE on Madison” as they took it 4-3 in Triple Overtime to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 series lead. Shots on goal for the game were an incredible 63-54 in favour of Chicago.







GAME 2 saw the players come back to the United Center 2 days after the energy draining Triple overtime game on Wednesday evening.
Chicago buoyed obviously from the victory on home ice saw the home side come out on fire, as the Bruins side looked like a side drained and out of ideas completely in the first period of play.
Patrick Sharp grabbed a deserved lead for the home team as a mad scramble in front of the net with nearly every player around the Bruins net saw  the puck come loose and then Sharp spun round and aimed it on goal as it found a way in for a 1-0 score line.
Boston tied things up in the second period when Chris Kelly scored for the Bruins when Danny Paille skated in on goal and then Kelly popped up and lifted it over Crawford for 1-1 at 34:58, as the Bruins made it more of a contest as they recovered from a poor opening period.
Game two went the same way as game one as we went to Overtime, This time thought it was the Bruins to inflict late pain on their hosts.
At 15:58 in the Overtime period Daniel Paille scored the winning goal as a great pass by Chara found Paille and he rifled it home passed Crawford to make it 2-1 and to draw the series level at 1-1.



pic from: zimbo

















GAME 3 saw the series shift to Boston`s TD Gardens and the Bruins made full use of home advantage, as the B`s took game 3 with a shutout of the Blackhawks on home ice.
 It took the second period for the scoring to start as Paille dispossessed the puck off a Chicago defenseman and scored for a 1-0 lead much to the delight of the Bruins army.
Boston then doubled their lead on the power play, when Chara passed towards Jaromir Jagr and as he passed across ice, he found Patrice Bergeron who was waiting and blasted home from the back post to make it 2-0 and the Bruins were in full control of the game now.
pic from: zimbo
Chicago pulled the goalie in trying to find a goal but instead of a goal, a scuffle broke out between Andrew Shaw and Brad Marchand who rolled around on the ice till the linesman separated them both, as they departed to their respective locker rooms. Time ran out and Boston took a 2-1 lead in this interesting series.









GAME 4 witnessed Chicago get right back in the series as they beat the Boston Bruins 6-5 in a high scoring game in Overtime.
Boston had control of the Blackhawks in the last couple of games, losing in game 2 and out playing their opponents and then in Game 3 they shut them out.
So the Bruins hoped to take a step closer to the Stanley Cup by taking a 3-1 series lead.
pic from: zimbo
They were caught on the break by Chicago, as Saad dispossessed the Bruins by the blue line in their own zone and he then led the attack , as Michael Hanzus joined in  on the attack for an outnumbered play as it was 2-on-3 for the Hawks.
Saad passed to mid ice towards Handzus and he fired past Rask for a 1-0 lead at 6:48 in the period.
The Bruins replied though through Rich Peverley , who capitalised on a Saad mistake as he lost control of the puck and Peverley snapped one past Crawford for a level contest at 14:43.
The Blackhawks then looked to take control as they scored two goals in the space of 2:12 in the second period.
Firstly Jonathon Toews scored with a tip in from Rozisval slap shot coming from the blue line as his redirect effort beat Rask for a 2-1 game.
Then his partner in crime Patrick Kane made it 3-1 as a scrum near the net caused the puck to bounce loose and Bickell moved it in the direction of Kane and the forward back handed the puck to the far side of net past a despairing Tuuka Rask diving trying to stop it.
Milan Lucic pulled a goal back for Boston, as Zdeno Chara passed from the side boards to Lucic in front of the nets and after his first effort was blocked he managed to back handed the rebound for a 3-2 scoreline.
Chicago once again pulled away as Marcus Kruger scored just.. as Bolland and Frolik broke away up ice and when Frolik passed across ice to Kruger, Kruger stick handled past Rask ,but his original effort didn`t reach the line but he still had balance to tuck home from on the line for a 4-2 score before a defenseman could clear.
Patrice Bergeron made it 4-3, as he scored from close range to put home after a Chara blast had been blocked and once the puck came back down on the ice Bergeron then put home team down by a goal at 35:32.
In the third Bergeron again scored to tie things up for a 4-4 game, when Jagr played around the boards and passed to Bergeron who blasted home for a tie game.
Patrick Sharp then made the score 5-4 when passing between Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith near the point, which led to Hossa blasting one goal wards and his shot was deflected into the path of Sharp, who dinked it over Rask for the lead. Johnny Boychuk then made it all square again, as his slap shot flew by Corey Crawford for a 5-5 tie score line and with no more scoring we went to a 3rd game in this series going to overtime.
In the overtime period it was down to Chicago`s designated overtime game winner Brent Seabrook, As Seabrook scored the O.T winner for the Blackhawks and made it 6-5 at 9:51 in the overtime period and made the series level at 2-2 as well.








GAME 5: Saw the Blackhawks rejuvenated after beating the Bruins in Boston 6-5 a couple days before and so came home to their adoring public and tried to put on a show for their fans, as they looked to take a series lead in the Stanley Cup final once again.
Chicago was the dominating side and yet they just couldn`t beat Tuuka Rask .
It felt like he was a one man team from the Hawks side of things, eventually they broke his defences down as Patrick Kane scored following a Oduya shot taking a bounce and falling to the feet of Kane, who then slipped it in at the near post for a 1-0 lead at 17:26 in the first.
Kane struck again for the Blackhawks in the second period as Bickell moved into the Boston zone and played a one two with Toews, before Bickell tried to go near post but was stopped and yet still controlled the puck and played out towards Kane at the front of the net and Kane dispatched it high up in Rask goals for a 2-0 lead.
pic from: yahoo

Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara then cut the lead to one, as a one timer blast beat the Blackhawks netminder all ends up and so it was 2-1 with 16:20 left in the game. Boston tried to get back in but they were being snuffed out by the Blackhawks now, as Chicago were doing to Boston what they had done to them as the home side grew more confident. Boston tried to pull their netminder fpr the extra attacker, but Chicago were in mid attack , so he had to stay on and manage to deny them extending the score as well.

They couldn`t stop the Hawks scoring again, as they scored an Empty net goal thanks to Dave Bolland from the benches as he threw it goal wards and went in for a 3-1 score line ,moving the Blackhawks to within one game away of lifting the Cup again.








GAME 6:  Saw this Crazy historic series end, as David Bolland scored the Cup winning goal that gave Chicago their second Stanley Cup Championship in 4 years. As an incredible turnaround in the last 2 minutes of the game saw the Blackhawks go from down and out to Cup Champions.
It was Boston that got off to the best start, as Chris Kelly scored thanks to quick thinking from Taylor Seguin as he caught the puck in the mid air and quickly dropped and passed across for Kelly to put home and make it 1-0 to the B`s, as they were hoping to take it to a game 7.
The Blackhawks tied it up at 4:24 in the second period when Jonathon Toews poked the puck away from the Bruins faceoff man and Toews himself skated down the wing and then shot five-hole through Rask to make it 1-1 and set up a final period of tension and drama.
The third period was incredible, Milan Lucic thought he`d scored the game winner with 7:49 left in regulation. Crawford tried to play the puck behind his own net but once he lost control of it, David Krejci then took possession of the puck leading to him finding Lucic in front of the net in space and with his second attempt he scored to put the Bruins 2-1 up.
Chicago pulled Crawford for the extra skater with 1:27 left in the game and after some quick passing between Duncan Keith and Jonathon Toews , Toews then fed Bickell at the far post and he stuck it home to tie the game up at 2-2 and it looked like we would head for an incredible 4th game in this series to go to overtime.
But Chicago thought differently and 17 seconds after they scored the tying goal they then got the go ahead goal .
Johnny Oduya then ripped one from the blue line and after Frolik deflected it on goal it came to Dave Bolland who put home the rebound as he lost his stick and glove in the aftermath for a 3-2 lead in the game with 59 seconds remaining.

pic from: zimbo
The Seconds ticked down and after Patrick Kane tried to score an empty net goal the puck was pushed further up ice and gave no chance for the Bruins to make any chance of scoring and so cue the traditional gloves, helmets and sticks flying up in the air as the players celebrated the victory and meant the Chicago Blackhawks became the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions!



pic from: zimbo


PATRICK Kane was awarded the Most Valuable player over the series as he was one main reason the Blackhawks won the cup.