Anorak

Anorak | The Grecians Earn

The Grecians Earn

by | 20th, January 2005

‘EXETER City’s interest in this season’s FA Cup may have come to an end last night with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United, but the memories will last a lifetime.

United’s stars earn more than Grecians

Not only will the Conference club be £1m better off for their two ties against the Premiership giants, but the 9,033 supporters who packed St James’s Park can for ever say “I was there”.

The Times puts it nicely: “United’s tie, Exeter’s triumph.”

This is what the FA Cup is all about – something that Rafael Benitez might like to reflect on after he fielded a second-string Liverpool side on Tuesday night.

Indeed, the Times says the biggest compliment Sir Alex Ferguson could pay Exeter was in his team selection with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo notable additions to the starting XI.

It was Ronaldo who opened the scoring for United and Rooney who finished it, but in the intervening 80 minutes it was “a performance of great defiance” from the minnows.

Great defiance is what England’s cricketers are going to have to show in the fifth and final Test against South Africa which starts tomorrow.

The Telegraph reports that the hosts are preparing to gamble all on a series-drawing victory at Centurion by preparing a bowler-friendly wicket and adding an extra bowling option to their side.

The paper says on yesterday’s evidence the pitch could have been flown in from Emerald City.

“It was,” it says, “a sickly, luminous green, the kind of colour municipal hospitals like to paint their walls.”

Even with another day under the Pretoria sun, it is not likely to be a wicket on which England can play for a draw.

England may just be trying to find 11 men who are fit enough to take to the field, but South Africa are looking at their options.

And the paper says we can expect to see Boeta Dippenaar, rather unfairly made the scapegoat for the fourth Test defeat, replaced by all-rounder Andrew Hall.

And Dale Steyn is set to get the chop, with Andre Nel coming in as his replacement – the 18th player South Africa will have used in the five matches (compared with England’s 13).

However, the Indy casts a critical eye over one of those 13 – Geraint Jones.

His poor performance at the Wanderers, it says, nearly cost England the game and it wonders whether his batting ability justifies his inclusion ahead of Chris Read.

It calculates that Jones has cost England 143 runs in his Test career so far – seven catches and one stumping missed – during which time he has scored 524 runs.

“There is no easy answer to this,” it concludes, “but a starting point could be a proper wicketkeeping coach. England have every other conceivable angle covered.”

Well, not quite. Perhaps someone could also teach captain Michael Vaughan to catch…’



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