Rob Houwing

Stick to cricket, Mr Vaughan?

2012-04-13 09:49
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
So what’s next? Kobus Wiese anchors Super Diski coverage of a Chiefs-Pirates derby? Robin Jackman does the after-match interviews at a Bulls game at Loftus?

Unlikely, you would think.

And maybe even more so now, after an uproar in England over Ashes 2005-winning captain Michael Vaughan’s slightly unexpected and eventful stint at keynote golf event the Masters for the BBC.

I must admit I am reasonably partial to “Vaughany” myself after he gave me a decent, one-on-one magazine interview in Durban at the height of his career and more recently agreed readily in the Newlands press box to be a guest tipster for Sport24’s weekly Premiership soccer forecast (though he’s a no-longer-mighty Sheffield Wednesday man, for his troubles).

But it seems the Beeb tried to box just a bit too clever by engaging Vaughan, one of those many cricketers partial to a round or two of golf, in the hurly-burly of the Masters last weekend.

We didn’t get the BBC commentary feed in South Africa while so engrossed in Louis Oosthuizen’s brave Green Jacket challenge, of course, but Vaughan was apparently the BBC’s designated interviewer of the golfers as they came off the course during the four days.

And he put his foot in it during a chat with Tiger Woods, saying that the American had only won three Masters titles.
“Four, actually,” Woods rather quickly corrected.

At least Vaughan had the humility to confess on Twitter afterwards (I follow him; he’s prolific!): “Poor day at the office #hadastinker.”

He would also have endeared himself to many South Africans when he said of runner-up Oosthuizen: “Louis plays golf with the mentality all sportspeople should have ... he gives the impression he’s enjoying every minute.”

Amid the inevitable flak he took after the booboo from golf fans querying the cricketer’s deployment to Augusta, I quite liked this quick-witted tweet: “Don’t worry Michael Vaughan ... Tiger is probably unsure of how many Test hundreds you scored.”

Rob’s Awesome Foursome

1. Crusaders v Stormers, Super Rugby
Christchurch, Saturday 09:35, M-Net, SS1, SHD


Am I about to make the same mistake twice? It’s a tribute to the Stormers’ resilience and game-winning intelligence this season that there’s every chance. But they have to slip up some time: I suggested it would be after the long trip to play the Highlanders, and was proved well wrong. Now I’m going to venture that the banana peel will come instead against the Crusaders, rather more “desperate” to win before the Christchurch faithful considering their mid-table status. That said, the Stormers will really be starting to look like an unconquerable machine if they break their bogey in this particular city, won’t they? And I’ll pretty happily be proved a chump. Again.

2. Everton v Liverpool, FA Cup semi-final soccer
London, Saturday 13:30, SS3, SH2


A good Saturday lunchtime passion-stirrer, this! The Merseyside derby goes to Wembley as the Toffees and Reds fight it out for the right to a place in the FA Cup final against one of Spurs or Chelsea (playing at the same venue on Sunday evening). There is little to choose between the two arch-rivals, with Everton currently one point clear, in seventh on the Premiership table, of ‘Pool in eighth. They also come off a rousing 4-0 thumping of Sunderland, whilst Liverpool earned a jittery, unconvincing 3-2 midweek win from a rather bizarre tussle at Blackburn. Colleague and long-time Toffees enthusiast Garrin Lambley cagily backs Everton to win -- though after either extra time or a penalty shoot-out.

.3 Cheetahs v Chiefs, Super Rugby
Bloemfontein, Saturday 17:05, M-Net, SS1, SHD


By suggesting that this attractive fixture between in-form teams could be one of those 40-35 sort of Super Rugby games, I have probably put a curse on it for what, instead, will be a grim 12-12 draw! But I’ll stick to my guns, anticipating end-to-end action in anticipated ideal conditions for a high-tempo spectacle. It really could go either way, though I just fancy that if the Cheetahs’ pack shows the necessary home-town urgency and bone-clattering commitment (come in, Coenie!) they will set a tidy enough platform to bank another victory and continue their climb up the overall and conference tables.

4. F1 Chinese Grand Prix motorsport
Shanghai, Sunday 09:00, SS2, SH2 & Maximo


This is not everybody’s favourite GP of the year, considering that the Chinese have not warmed in any great numbers yet to F1, making for a slightly muted atmosphere at the ex-marshland Shanghai International Circuit. But staunch devotees of this sport really won’t care too much, especially as the 2012 season has intriguingly started with no single driver yet stamping his authority in a major way. (And Sebastian Vettel is already 17 points off the pace in sixth!) Throw in the fact that only the 2011 winner here, Lewis Hamilton, has ever prevailed at the venue twice, and you have the makings of a good, tension-filled TV spectacle, at the very least ...

Read more on:    rob houwing  |  michael vaughan
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