The Below Average Sports cast 19:

Episode 19:

With Mark away the show This week features Joe Scutts and i talking Cricket and have me losing my composure as Lancashire get trampled into the ground during the recording..
Speedway news mainly Swindon Robins news though, as well as that we have NHL Stanley Cup round up and preview a bit the Western/Eastern Conference Finals. Round up of other sports too and not so much chaos this week ..

Any feedback or anything tweet to @BASportCast, @Scuttsy1, @peterbrads


The Below Average Sportcast episode 18: warning contains some Colourful language

The new 3 man presenter show. featuring Mark Woodcock of  The Angry Budgie blog and fellow member of the Official Manchester Phoenix podcast fame, as well as Swindon Wildcats/Swindon Robins and Southampton aficionado in Joe Scutts.

This week we look back at the Stanley Cup currently ongoing, as well as the Final Weekend of the Premier League season.
There is also some Speedway look back and Cricket review.
Plus talk on team names and it getting out of hand in the end..

Follow us on  @BASportCast, @Scuttsy1, @theangrybudgie @peterbrads



Monday night saw the Belle Vue Aces maintain their 100% home record with a 51-39 win over the lowly Birmingham Brummies this past week with Scott Nicholls scoring 13+1 and helping the Aces onto victory as the 7 times British Champion played a key role in the win dropping only one point to a visiting rider all night.
However the meeting itself was closely contested for the first half of the meeting, with the visitors from Birmingham holding the Aces level up until heat 8 when Scott Nicholls and Richie Worrall scored a match changing maximum and it was from that point on that they never looked back from.
Belle Vue welcomed back Matej Zagar from his first ever Speedway Grand Prix victory this past Saturday, with the Slovenian rider taking the inaugural Grand Prix in Tampere, Finland.
  The opening heat though saw the Slovenian squeezed out by Daniel Nermark to the fence in the first run and was brought back for an unsatisfactory start, the re-run saw the Slovenian miss out again as Nick Morris off the massively favoured gate 4, saw the guest rider for the Birmingham Brummies fly out of the traps and take the opening race with the home pairing securing the minor places for a shared heat.
Stefan Nielsen in the reserves race made an equally fast start from gate 4 and saw the Aces rider fly away into the night with the Birmingham pair unable to catch the youngster and saw him secure the race win.
  The meeting itself was a fairly frustrating one for the riders and fans as gate 4 proved to be a completely unfair advantage for whom ever was starting off it and it has become a common occurrence this year due to stock cars events that are held at the stadium and it tends to make the gates uneven and give gate 4 a huge boost.
Ben Barker won yet again from the outside gate, but he had to fend off the advances of former Coventry team mate Scott Nicholls as the Belle Vue man chased him down for the whole four laps. But the former GB international was just unable to get by the Birmingham rider and saw a third consecutive shared heat.
  Heat 4 saw Daniel Nermark get out and keep Richie Worrall at bay and also saw the first heat advantage of the night going the way of the Brummies, with Simon Lambert making the most of Stefan Nielsen mistake on the first bend to see a 4-2 to the away side and give them a 13-11 lead.
The hosts responded with two straight 4-2`s of their own when Craig Cook took the race win in heat 5 and saw Zagar struggling in the meeting so far, but he managed to keep third spot and level the match at 15-15.
  Heat 6 saw Scott Nicholls make the start and this time, showing Ben Barker the quickest way round the ‘Kirky lane’ circuit with Worrall doing well to hold off the quick Nick Morris for third position.
 Birmingham levelled it back up though in the next race, with Nico Covatti looking comfortable out in front and with Michael Palm Toft unable to get close to the Italian rider it saw a 3-3 shared heat and all square at 21-21.
Belle Vue then scored a 5-1 after the first run saw Scott Nicholls charge up the inside of Nermark and then Richie Worrall went round the outside of him, before Danny King then fell off nearly taking Nicholls off and instead clipped his team mate for a re-run. The re-run itself saw Nermark lead the race till both Aces passed him with ease and flown away to a 5-1 maximum and saw the home side kicked on from that point onwards.
   Stefan Nielsen took the second reserves race of the night and his team mate guesting from the Leicester Lions in former Belle Vue mascot Max Clegg, saw Clegg hold off Lambert to help the home side extend their lead to six points in the match.
Matej Zagar then found his gating boots finally and took the race win in Heta 10 with ease, as Danny King and Barker couldn`t get near to the Slovenian rider at all and saw Zagar looking like a proper number one rider flying round the track.
  Heat 11 saw Covatti and Nicholls both get out at the start and had Nicholls come up the inside of the Italian and force him out wide,  giving captain Craig Cook the chance to come up the inside as well and see the Belle Vue pair on a 5-1 and from then on it was good team riding by the British duo as they made it 38-28.
Heat 12 saw Stefan Nielsen make a nice move on Daniel Nermark with both Aces passing the Swedish rider, but then saw Nermark take Nielsen wide and put him into the fence which saw the move seeing him kicked out of the race. Nielsen was down for a bit as his left arm dangled a bit from the nasty looking crash he had, but he dusted himself down and took his place in the re-run and saw Paul Starke for the Brummies typically take the win the race win after the home side had been on a 5-1 in the original race.
   Nick Morris got the jump on the Belle Vue pairing in Heat 13 which saw another 3-3 and with Heat 14 seeing the Brummies take a 4-2 heat win, it made the score going into the final race of the match 46-38 with the home side needing just a race win to collect all 3 points.

The final race of the night saw both home riders in Scott Nicholls and Craig Cook breeze by Ben Barker down the back straight to which the Aces picked up a 5-1, seeing them take all points on offer and see off the challenge of the Brummies in the match to keep up their 100% record at Kirkmanshulme Lane this season.

Belle Vue = 51 

1. Matej Zagar 1′, 1, 3, 1′ = 6+2
2. Michael Palm Toft 2, 2, 0, 1′ = 5+1
3. Scott Nicholls 2, 3, 3, 3, 2′ = 13+1
4. Richie Worrall 2, 1, 2′, 2 = 7+1
5. Craig Cook 1′, 3, 2′, 2, 3 = 11+2
6. Stefan Nielsen 3, 0, 3, 2, Fx = 8
7. Max Clegg (G) 0, F, 1 = 1

Birmingham = 39 

1. Nick Morris (G) 3, 0, 1, 3, 0 = 7
2. Daniel Nermark 0, 3, 1, X = 4
3. Danny King 0, 2, Fx, 2 = 4
4. Nico Covatti 0, 3, 0, 3 = 6
5. Ben Barker 3, 2, 1′, 0, 1 = 7+1
6. Paul Starke 2, 1, 2, 3, 1 = 9
7. Simon Lambert 1′, 1, 0 = 2+1

City do the Double


                              Manchester CITY  20  WEST HAM UNITED 

Nasri 28, Kompany 48

Vincent Kompany lifts the title for City to see them crowned Champions: PIC:
Manchester City was crowned ‘Kings of England’ as they secured their second Premier League title in three seasons on the final day of the 2013-14 premier league season, as they beat West Ham United 2-0 to finish two points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table and made sure that this time it wouldn`t be a last gasp thing like that famous day back in 2012 with two late goals.

City found themselves in an almost identical position to the one they were in two years ago when they were challenging for the title with their neighbour`s from over the City. That day saw the Blues needing to win to lift the title for the first ever premier league title, it needed that day a heart-stopping goal in the 93rd minute by Sergio Aguero to steal the title for the Blues, but this time round the success for the home side was a much more relaxed and professional job to regain the title.

The home side knew that barring a loss and Liverpool beating Newcastle, the title would stay in Manchester and see City crowned as champions yet again.
  From the first whistle it was fairly clear that Man City was the only side capable of winning this game with West Ham players all but on the beach already, as they didn`t have much to play for, but they did try to make a game of it as they had set out to come and park the infamous bus.
  The opening chance of the game fell to David Silva as City was made to work for their chances and so when Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta passed between themselves on the edge of the area, it saw Nasri play a little ball behind the defence for Zabaleta to run on to and his cross towards the back post was volleyed over by Silva and saw City sending early warnings to West Ham that they were in for a long game.

The hero for the Blues two years ago in Sergio Aguero, saw the Argentine take a shot from outside the area, but saw the small striker slip after shooting and so his shot was dealt easily by Adnan in the Hammers goal.
Samir Nasri gives Cit y lead  PIC:
  Yaya Toure then had an effort curl away from goal as City was shooting from range once again and had West Ham a bit worried as they struggled to close them down. Aleksander Kolarov then demonstrated his powerful left foot with a rocket that was tipped over by the keeper to see it go out for a corner kick and City felt it was only a matter of time before they scored.

News was filtering through that Liverpool was losing at home to Newcastle and lifted the stadium even more so and seen the home side get a kind of second wind to their play as they played with a burst of energy from it all.
  Edin Dzeko put one high and wide off target as he snatched at his shot after brilliant play by Aguero saw the striker keep the ball in play.
  Kevin Nolan was then given a yellow card for a high foot on Joe Hart as the Hammers midfielder was a bit frustrated by the way the game was going for him and his side.

After all the play and chances the home side was making, finally the deadlock was broken as saw a Samir Nasri 20 yard drive getting the better of Adnan in the West Ham goals, as the keeper got a little hand on it and couldn`t stop it from going in the far corner to give the champions-elect a 1-0 lead after thirty eight minutes of play.

  Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta nearly made it two on the stroke of half time, when his little flick at the near post from counter attack saw his shot blocked for a corner and had the visitors in trouble. The resulting corner kick saw Nasri take a short corner to Yaya Toure and his pass to David Silva saw the Spaniard deflected shot strike the crossbar on the eve of the half time whistle.
Kompany celebrates: PIC:

Second Half started fantastically for the home side, when in the forty-eight minute, a Samir Nasri corner was brought down by Edin Dzeko and Vincent Kompany was first to it and saw the Belgian Captain smash home the second goal of the game and all but seal the title for the Citizens.

   City had a few close chances with Aguero and Silva, but the Hammers defence was doing their best to avoid another drubbing by the Manchester side after losing 4-0 the league and 6-0 in the League Cup semi finals to the Blues this season.

The Home side was controlling play with so much ease that they never allowed the away side to get into the match at any point throughout and saw the Blues never really needing to find second gear either in the game. 

  City played out the rest of the second half with no trouble and the party was started to get into full swing and so when the final whistle came, they had completed a double winning season to see Manuel Pellegrini claim the League championship and when you put together the League cup success back in February when they beat Sunderland at Wembley 3-1. It saw the Chilean enjoy a successful first season at the club.
  Vincent Kompany then was handed the title to lift once more for the Blues and seen City regain the Premier league trophy they lost to their neighbours United last season.
   Pellegrini was given the ‘bumps’ but a few of the major players at the clubs and has shown a dramatic change from 12 months ago, when City lost to Wigan in the FA Cup final and looked to have lost faith in the manager then Roberto Mancini and so roll on a season later and it saw the players have far more respect and be ina happier surrounding with the Chilean in charge.

Game Highlights:

1 (1) Manchester City 38 27 5 6 102 37 65 86
2 (2) Liverpool 38 26 6 6 101 50 51 84
3 (3) Chelsea 38 25 7 6 71 27 44 82
4 (4) Arsenal 38 24 7 7 68 41 27 79
5 (5) Everton 38 21 9 8 61 39 22 72
6 (6) Tottenham Hotspur 38 21 6 11 55 51 4 69
7 (7) Manchester United 38 19 7 12 64 43 21 64
8 (8) Southampton 38 15 11 12 54 46 8 56
9 (10) Stoke City 38 13 11 14 45 52 -7 50
10 (9) Newcastle United 38 15 4 19 43 59 -16 49
11 (11) Crystal Palace 38 13 6 19 33 48 -15 45
12 (13) Swansea City 38 11 9 18 54 54 0 42
13 (12) West Ham United 38 11 7 20 40 51 -11 40
14 (14) Sunderland 38 10 8 20 41 60 -19 38
15 (15) Aston Villa 38 10 8 20 39 61 -22 38
16 (16) Hull City 38 10 7 21 38 53 -15 37
17 (17) West Bromwich Albion 38 7 15 16 43 59 -16 36
18 (18) Norwich City 38 8 9 21 28 62 -34 33
19 (19) Fulham 38 9 5 24 40 85 -45 32
20 (20) Cardiff City 38 7 9 22 32 74 -42 30

Dzeko brace helps City toward Title push

pic: Football-please:

Manchester City moved within one point of reclaiming the Premier League trophy last night as the Bosnian Striker Edin Dzeko, scored his second double in as many days to help Man City along the title trail. Manuel Pellgrini`s men beat a stubborn Aston Villa side 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium to see the Blues knowing they need to avoid defeat on Sunday to become Champions of England for the 2nd time in three years.



On a wet and miserable Wednesday evening in Manchester, it saw City having the opportunity to go top of the table with a victory over the Birmingham club and Paul Lambert`s Villa side did well for the opening 45 minutes of play as they frustrated the home side in attack and made the night nervy for the City faithful.

The first chance for the home side saw Yaya Toure slide a quick through ball for Edin Dzeko to latch onto and the forward beat the offside trap to hold up the ball, before putting in Aleksander Kolarov who had darted in down the left wing. 

  It saw the Serbian defender then shoot straight at Brad Guzan in the Aston Villa goals and with the ball not being cleared properly, it saw Samir Nasri have attempt under pressure and saw his shot sail over the bar.




City had another chance minutes later from a Samir Nasri corner, when Vincent Kompany out jumped Guzan in the air, but saw his header go wide of the target and let their opponents off once more. 

   City continued to try and find a way through the staunch Villa defence, but with them packing it with five across the back line it was always going to be extremely difficult to make many clear chances.

After Eleven minutes in the game City carved their first decent chance out of the game when James Milner tricked the Villa left back and with that, he then played a nice little ball to Pablo Zabaleta and saw the right back put a ball across the area to which Toure did well to get, as the ball was behind him. 

  Toure though managed to have a shot that was save well by Guzan, with the keeper using his feet to avoid the home side breaking the deadlock.



David Silva was then unable to get any connection on a fizzing ball whipped in by Kolarov down the left wing,  as the city man couldn`t make contact on it and so when Guzan didn`t have the ball fully in his grasp, Silva was unable to get the ball.

   Villa after weathering the early Manchester City storm, then saw them create a couple of good chances themselves. Villa then had a lovely move, which saw Weimann cross towards the back post and Jordan Bowery scuffed his shot wide and let the home side know they weren`t just going to roll over for them.

City then nearly got caught out when the home side had pushed to far high up the pitch and saw Weimann run from his own half to just outside the City penalty area, before seeing his shot go wide of the target and saw the referee wrongfully give a corner kick.



City then had another chance and yet again it fell to David Silva, who isn`t the best at shooting in the City ranks and after Zabaleta was played in brilliantly once more by Toure, he pulled it back to Silva and the Spanish midfielder saw his effort blocked and cleared away. 

  The home side had one last attack in the half after some patient build up play involving Edin Dzeko and Javi Garcia, seen James Milner take a pass and his low cross was just diverted wide at the near post by Samir Nasri as the Blues were getting closer and closer.



Pellegrini`s man could have been accused of playing a slower tempo style of game, which in all suited their opponents better than the home side as they could reorganise their defence, while City was thinking how to break them down.

   City Captain Vincent Kompany went closer with an overhead kick that was easily dealt with by Brad Guzan and saw Villa looking like they may be harder to break down than a lot of people thought.

  Kolarov then saw his long range free kick pushed away by the Villa goalkeeper, with the home team sensing they were getting closer to opening the scoring as they were knocking on Villa`s door more and more now.

  Manuel Pellegrini then injected some pace upfront, as he brought off James Milner for Stefan Jovetic and the move worked as the home side was looking more lively and energised in the game now.



Minutes later an energised City came back at Villa and after David Silva played a lovely through ball through towards Zabaleta, the Argentine raced onto the ball and played it across the five yard area, where upon Edin Dzeko got in front of his man at the near post to divert it through the legs of Guzan for a 1-0 lead.

   Dzeko then added his second of the game to see the home fans breathe a huge sigh of relief, with the move coming from Silva and Zabaleta once more as Zabaleta pass back across the penalty box was side footed by Nasri, which then saw Guzan save the first shot but couldn`t do anything about Dzeko rebound as he tapped it home from close range to send the City fans into delight and the atmosphere was deafening.



Villa nearly made it 2-1 five minutes from time, when a harmless looking free kick looked to be drifting out of play before a header at the back post, saw Joe Hart ball watching and Weimann header at the front of the goal bounced off the bar down on the line and saw Kompany clear the danger.

   In the 88th minute, City scored their third goal of the game with Yaya Toure dragging five Villa players towards him and then seen him roll a pass out towards the d of the penalty box, where Jovetic curled his effort passed Guzan for 3-0 and City were now certain to be top of the table by the end of the night.

  However there was still time for one more moment of brilliance by the Ivorian midfielder, as he powered from his own half at the Aston Villa defence and seen him beat five players, before then striking the ball home for a stunning solo goal to see the Blues 4-0 up and on course to take the title.




Leicester Lions gained revenge in a well deserved victory for the East Midlands side as they beat a in-form Belle Vue Aces side 50-43 at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium, with Australian and Lions number one Jason Doyle scoring 13 points as he led his side to victory and was one that Belle Vue will be quick to forget.

Prior to the meeting the Aces were looking like heavy favourites to win this match due to the absence of a few key riders in the Leicester side, as Simon Stead, Peter Ljung were riding elsewhere and also had the former Aces man Patrick Hougaard out injured. Team manager of the Lions Ollie Allen brought in a few guests in the form of Sam Masters from Kings Lynn, Lasse Bjerre from Ipswich and Ben Barker from Birmingham to help them out for this contest.

For the Aces they were at full strength and hoped to take advantage of the missing riders on the opposition, sadly though that never happened and they were behind the 9-ball after the opening two races of the meeting as Leicester took charge from the off.

Jason Doyle shown Grand Prix rider Matej Zagar the way round the large Leicester circuit as the Aussie duo of Doyle and Masters pulled away from the visiting pair to record a 5-1 in the opening race and then saw the reserves for Leicester in Tom Perry and Max Clegg, bang in another 5-1 for the home side with no Belle Vue riders able to get to grips with the track and seen the home side get off to a flyer.

Heat 3 saw the away side respond through Craig Cook, as the Aces man who had previously broke the track record three times in one appearance on this track saw him race to victory with team mate Scott Nicholls finishing behind him in second place for a maximum heat win for the away side, to put them back in the contest.

Leicester then scored a couple of successive 4-2`s to see the Lions roaring back in the meeting to see the home side lead 19-11 after 5 races gone.

Captain Cook once more came to the Aces rescue, after he beat off a tough challenge from Mads Korneliussen in heat 6, while Matej Zagar had to settle for third place in the race with the GP rider looking anything but one in this meeting, as it was a second heat advantage to the Aces in the meeting.



Richie Worrall then fended off Sam Masters in heat 7, to finally see another visiting rider pick up a race win other than that of Craig Cook. Heat 8 and Mads Korneliussen beat Scott Nicholls to see the Lions pulling away again in the meeting as the score moved onto 28-20 in favour of the home team.

  Heat 9 saw a repeat of the reserve race and this was a far more emphatic win than the first meeting of the reserves race, as the difference between the sides bottom pairing stuck out like a sore thumb, with the Aces reserves looking completely inept in the meeting, but the Lions pairing of Perry and Clegg roared (no pun intended this time) round the circuit and saw them show their dominance on home shale.

Nielsen not for the first time in this meeting was unable to finish a race due to his engine going and so saw him gift Reade another point in the reserves races, after the same happened in heat 2. The home side took an unsurprising 5-1 race win and so saw the tactical ride was brought out in the following race.


In heat 10, Craig Cook donned the Black & White helmet cover as he went for double points and the Cumbrian rider collected the 6 points on offer taking the win, while Jason Doyle stopped the Aces taking the possible eight points they could get, with the Aussies star keeping Nicholls behind him for a 7-2 win, as the Aces recouped some points back. 

  In truth they were never in the contest at all, with the reserves being a huge reason factor in the meeting as they were unable to score hardly anything compared the Lions reserves, in which they were outscored in the contest 13-3 and that was the telling reason.

Matej Zagar then finally came to the party late in Heat 11, when the Slovenian rider made the gate and despite being passed by both Leicester riders on the first bend, Zagar cut back and drove up the inside of the surprised home riders and went off to take the race win with the score 38-31.

  Michael Palm Toft did his usual job for the Aces with the Dane picking up points along the way as he rode over his average to try and help the struggling side, which made him consistent for the away side even though he seemed to struggle with the track too, but was prepared to attack the track. However he couldn`t stop Sam Masters taking the race win in heat 12 and so saw a 4-2 win for the Lions.

Heat 13 saw arguably Belle Vue best chance late on of getting a heat advantage, with Cook on fire and Zagar seemingly finally getting his bike going in his previous race, So when the tapes flew up Zagar indeed got out and left the rest dead, including his partner Craig Cook who made a hash of the start and was left trailing at the back. Cook and Ben Barker then traded places a couple of times in the race, before Barker got the better of him and seen a shared heat which gave the Lions victory 45-36 with still two races left to go.

Richie Worrall collected his second race win of the night to help the Aces get a chance of a point from the match, as they got a shock 4-2 heat win and even saw Stefan Nielsen finishing a race, with the Danish rider ahead off Max Clegg who was impressive in the match .Belle Vue now headed into the final race at 47-40 knowing the meeting was gone, but they still had a chance of a bonus point with a 4-2 in Heat 15.


So with the Aces having a disappointing night… Which was a bit of an understatement to say the least, they sent out Craig Cook and Matej Zagar hoping that they could pick up a 4-2 or 5-1 to grab a bonus point.

  So when the tapes flew up Jason Doyle made a massive jump at the start to see him miles ahead of the other riders and was one which should have really been brought back. As during the match, Worrall had made a jump too which was just about noticeable with the human eye and on that occasion the race was brought back.

  This however was far more obvious, yet the referee let it go and the Aces men had no chance of catching Doyle in the form he was in, as he flew round the track to deny the Aces a point and one for which Belle Vue really didn`t deserve anything at all from at all in truth.


  Leicester were by far the better side on the night and Belle Vue you could arguably say were a bit over confident in their manner and was their downfall, for the Lions it was a case of making the starts on the slick track. 

  Belle Vue now face the task of facing the league champions in the Poole Pirates down at Wimborne Road this coming Wednesday and based on this display they may well be looking at a damaged limitation exercise.

Leicester Lions  50:
1.     Jason Doyle                  13
2.     Sam Masters                 7+1
3.     Mads Korneliussen        8
4.     Lasse Bjerre                 6
5.     Ben Barker                   3+2
6.     Tom Perry                    6+2
7.     Max Clegg                    7+1
Belle Vue Aces  43:
1.     Matej Zagar                   9+1
2.     Michael Palm Toft         4
3.     Scott Nicholls                 7+1
4.     Richie Worrall                6
5.     Craig Cook                     14
6.     Stefan Nielsen                1
7.     Ben Reade                      2