The English Premier League relegation race hit fever pitch over the weekend and it was all bad news for those deepest in the mud. Those sides that had started to slip back towards the relegation zone, namely Norwich and Stoke, managed to find the wins that have so far eluded them in the second half of the season. Norwich put the final nail in Reading’s coffin with a 1-0 win while Stoke downed Queens Park Rangers 2-0 on Saturday. If both of these results had gone the other way, cellar-dwellers Reading and QPR would have some hope of staying up while it would have been panic stations for the Canaries and the Potters. West Ham ensured their safety but dealt a horrible blow to Wigan with a 2-0 win in London. Wigan currently fills the final relegation spot and sits three points behind Aston Villa in the battle for safety although Newcastle, Stoke, Sunderland and Norwich will still be looking to secure a few more points in the coming weeks to ease the pressure.
The NBA playoffs are now well underway. The Knicks started nicely with a win over Boston who seem to suit them down to the ground. The big guns will cruise through the first round but I expect things to become increasingly interesting in the weeks to come. The best first round match-up would have to be the Bulls v Nets and the Warriors v Nuggets. I favor the Nets and the Nuggets to keep their incredible seasons going with both leading their respective series 1-0.
The Kiwis could consider themselves hard done by in their 32-12 loss to Australia in Friday night’s rugby league Test match. There were two or three contentious refereeing decisions that cost them dearly. Australia put on some late tries and the final score was in no way reflective of how close the Kiwis came. There has been some criticism of the new video refereeing system which I don’t necessarily agree with. The changes they have made this year, which basically give the benefit of the doubt to the defending team rather than the attacking team, are an improvement, but sometimes the bounce of the ball just doesn’t go your way. Expect the Kiwis to be very competitive in the World Cup at the end of the year.
Good luck and good punting.