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The End of Summer Summary

The End of Summer Summary

Harry Fell – Sports Editor

Forever Summer is now officially over after the last Sunshine filled efforts that this past week. Surrey are County Champions. Andy Murray is still Injured and Henners is in the lead of our in-house Fantasy Football League; just. Aside from that, it’s been a mixed start to the season for our local Sports Teams. Below is a quick round up from most of the goings on.

FOOTBALL

Chelsea are still unbeaten under Maurizio Sarri, it seems, that they’ve got their mojo back and even Ross Barkley has scored so he must be doing something right. The players look like they’re loving life now and without Champions League football to contend with they seem fresher than their counterparts at the top of the table. Despite playing great football and battling really hard, Fulham have only picked up the one victory from their first 8 games which to me means that they’e more than likely to be in the relegation battle at the end of the season, they play Cardiff away next, a win in the Welsh capital would lift The Cottagers spirits and could well be the result they need to kickstart their season. Brentford’s bright start to the Championship this time out has slowed down somewhat with

Raheem Sterling ended his goal drought in spectalur style against Spain last Monday.

just the one win in their last 6 league games. QPR’s recent run has seen them turn their fortunes around somewhat and allows Steve McClaren at least another month or two in charge, the Jury is still well and truly out on whether anything good will come from his tenure though. AFC Wimbledon are sitting just above the relegation zone in League One and look destined to be fighting for survival come May. The loss of Lyle Taylor has been massive for The Dons however Joe Pigott looks to be trying to fill the void and with 6 goals so far this season, he’s not doing a bad job at all. Oh and on the International scene, it’s definitely worth noting that with England beating Spain in Seville on Monday Night that the UEFA Nations League is the greatest tournament to have ever been created…

NON LEAGUE FOOTBALL

It’s very tight already at the top of the National League, just 6 points separate Sutton Utd in 9th place and Salford City who are the league leaders. It’s a similar story in the National League South, Hampton and Richmond are just 5 points off 1st placed Billericay. Dulwich Hamlet have started pretty well too considering they’re one of the league’s new boys and are still ground sharing with Tooting and Mitcham, they sit in 16th, already 8 points clear of the relegation places. In the Bostik League Premier Division, Corinthian Casuals are really struggling to adjust following promotion and are second from bottom with just the one win so far this season, they have games in hand though and will look to make those matches count when they come round. Following relegation, Tooting and Mitcham have also found it difficult in a new division. They’ve only won two of their first seven games in the Bostik South Central Division and with 3 away days up next, they’ll have to really work hard to add to their points tally before November. In the Combined Counties Premier League, Sutton Common Rovers(3rd), Balham FC(4th) and Colliers Wood FC(9th) are just two points away from each other but have work to do to catch table toppers Chertsey who have only dropped 2 points from 9 games so far. And finally in Division One of the Combined Counties League, Tooting Bec are sitting in mid table with an excellent home record of 3 wins in 4 games but will need to improve upon their away form if they are to make a promotion push this year.

RUGBY

The autumn internationals are just around the corner and Eddie Jones has yet again left out Danny Cipriani, despite being named premiership player of the month. England play the big 3 southern hemisphere sides and will hoping for a clean sweep if they want to carry any momentum at all into the World Cup next year. New Zealand look vulnerable and aren’t great on their travels, it would be huge if Eddie Jones’s lads could pull something out of the bag. I’d want Danny Cipriani in the side purely to provide that extra class going forward which helped England end their losing streak in South Africa in the Summer. However, the Gloucester Fly Half doesn’t help himself with his off field antics, after getting out of exile he seems to have put himself back in there after being involved in a nightclub brawl in pre season. In the English Premiership, Saracens and Exeter lead the pack with a ten point lead already and the rest all look like much of a muchness to be honest. Harlequins seem to be relying solely on the boot of 19 year old starlet Marcus Smith and their ability to pick up bonus points, although that being said, they were unfortunate to lose to the reigning Champions, Saracens, in the final moments of the game with a try from Big Billy Vunipola. In the Championship, Ealing and London Irish are well amongst the leading pack in 1st and 2nd place respectively however Richmond (8th) and London Scottish(9th) aren’t faring quite so well but it’s early days. In the National League One, Rosslyn Park have maintained a consistently inconsistent start with 3 wins and 3 losses from their first 7 games but again, there’s a long way to go yet this season.

CRICKET

So the story of the Summer is that Surrey won their first County Championship Division One title since 2002, Henry will bring you more on that in his detailed article further down but credit must go to Alex Stewart’s boys for almost going the entire season unbeaten, an incredible feat. England finished their summer extremely well by defeating the ICC Number 1 Test side, India, in a series that swung both ways a number of times throughout but in my opinion, England were deserved winners and hopefully the confidence gained from defeating Kohli’s boys can help them pick up some wins on the road which they’ve found oh so illusive under Root’s leadership. It’s worth noting that the ‘Man of the Series’ was none of than Surrey’s own Sam Curran, the 20 year old played tenaciously and was the difference maker between the two sides, without him, I genuinely think England would have lost and it’s worth remembering that when he was left out of the side, England lost their only test of the series. MVP. England have started the ODI series in Sri Lanka strongly, however they won’t be thanking the fixture organisers as the rain has led to one wash out already and 2 heavily rain affected games with every game so far seeming a struggle to get going.

Olympian Joe Joyce was born and raised in Putney

OTHER SPORTS

The NFL International Series continues. The Seahawks destroyed the Oakland Raiders at Wembley last week and this week, the Titans are playing the Chargers with the Los Angeles outfit, being the ‘home side’, in decent form, it’ll take a lot for Tennessee to get the victory. In Hockey, Surbiton’s Ladies Team are top of the table after 4 games however they don’t have a 100% record as they drew away to East Grinstead a couple of weekends ago. Surbiton’s Mens team have the exact same record but unfortunately there 2 dropped points means that they sit in 3rd place as the two teams above them are 4 wins in 4 games. Unfortunately former Premier Division Champions, Wimbledon, are bottom of the table having lost all 3 of their matches this season, but there is a long way to go yet and seeing as they’ve already played the top 3 they’ll expect to start reversing their fortunes next time out at home to Sevenoaks who are second from bottom. In Boxing, it’s looking very likely that local favourite Joe Joyce could be on the undercard of Tyson Fury’s WBC World Title bout with Deontay Wilder against former contender Gerald Washington after the Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion KO’d Iago Kiladze in his US debut last month. Oh and Anthony Joshua is still The Man.

Now onto the good stuff from the chaps!

Elijah Allotey – Football Reporter

More to Come from Fulham

by Elijah Allotey

When the transfer window closed on August 9th many would have not bated an eye lid to see Fulham making movements in the window. What shocked everyone that after the deadline had passed Fulham announced five players on the deadline day which took their spend for the summer to over £100 million.

Fulham are now the first promoted team to spend over £100 million.

These players add to an already interesting mix at Fulham. Wether this is money well spent only time will tell. Fulham’s opening results read as follows one win, two draws and five losses.

Mitrovic had a good start to the season and will be looking to continue adding to his tally after netting for Serbia in the international break

This isn’t the worse of starts they sit in 17th place however I do believe there is more to come from this Fulham side. For all the signings they’ve made the most important one for me is Mitrovic he is the key if he can get them between 10-15 goals this season I do believe they will stay up.

He already has 5 goals from the first eight games of the season which is a fantastic start but it then beckons the questions as to why Newcastle would sell him on. When he first went to Fulham last season on loan he had 12 goals in 20 matches, he is a goal scorer but it seems as though Rafa is not his biggest fan and if Rafa isn’t a fan he has to go.

Although I’ve focused on Mitrovic Fulham have an array of talent in Seri, vietto, Tom Cairney, Mawson, coupled with the experience of Schürrle and the up and coming Ryan Sessegnon this season will prove to be an exciting one for the cottagers.

We are in store for more!

Lee Allen – Chief Football Correspondent

Time for a quota to secure England’s footballing future

by Lee Allen

Gareth Southgate’s team’s charge to the World Cup semi-finals this summer was glorious andenjoyable, but if we don’t safeguard playing time for English players in the Premier League, the national team has no hope of building upon on this special experience.

The arrival of the new Premier League season does not only feel abrupt after the long, hot summer of sport, but it is also startling crash back to earth for the prospects of our national football team. Already this season, we have seen Aguero amaze, Mane mesmerize and Hazard harangue, but we have also seen precious few minutes for some important English players.

Marcus Rashford has barely got a look-in at United despite performing very well for England in the last international break against Spain, young City prodigy Phil Foden has looked on from the bench most games while Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus Cheek has rarely even made it that far. There have been bright sparks in the form of regular starts for young Liverpool defenders Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander Arnold and James Maddison at Leicester City, but these examples should be the norm rather than exceptions.

The consequence has been frustration for England coach Southgate and an admission from the waistcoat-wearing pin-up that he may have to consider picking players currently in the Championship if the situation continues is a damning indictment of the pickle we are in.

A requirement for Premier League clubs to start five players who are eligible to play for the England national team would go some way to widen his pool of footballers plying their trade at the top of our beautiful game.

Another rule change which would be implied with this shake-up would be that the definition of a ‘home grown’ player should move from a footballer than has completed a certain number of years in England at a young age, to a player who is eligible to play for the Three Lions should they wish. This definition has long been recognized in Germany, where the system of breeding young domestic talents is lightyears ahead of ours. It would also mean the silliness of Spanish legend Cesc Fabregas counting towards current Premier League homegrown quotas would come to a welcome end.

Ruben Loftus Cheek has struggled for game time this season at Chelsea and subsequently lost his place in the England Squad for the latest set of fixtures of the Nations League

The main objection to such a dramatic rule change has traditionally been that it would detract from the glamour of the multi-national flavour of our top league. Rubbish, I say. Liverpool are a club that can happily field five English starters in their current form (Alexander Arnold, Gomez, Milner, Henderson, Sturridge), and still have plenty of exciting foreign talent such as Salah and Mane at their disposal. Manchester United, Tottenham, and Manchester City are also in a position where they would be able to adopt such a rule, and the likes of Burnley, Bournemouth, Everton and Southampton do so already on a regular basis.

One of the clubs that would have the most work to do in this regard is Chelsea. And is is about time, too, that some changes are made there. The South London club have one of the best academies in the whole world but manage to somehow avoid – year after year – to give any meaningful minutes to any graduates from it (Denmark’s Christensen from last year being a notable exception). The plight of Loftus Cheek – often a starter for England but unable to get in Chelsea’s matchday squad – is particularly alarming.

A quota system, requiring the Blues to start at least five English players each Premier League game should give the club’s youth system some meaning beyond supplying squad players to Dutch feeder club Vitesse.

It’s time to make a rule change that will improve our national prospects and give purpose to academies. It’s time to let clubs give more minutes to domestic youngsters, not through soft power or persuasion as Southgate has until now been forced to do. But through a radical rule change.

Henry Thomas-Aldridge – Deputy Editor

Surrey’s Remarkable Season Sets Future Precedent

By Henry Thomas-Aldridge

Surrey’s victory in this season’s County Championship has seen a machine-like team cut its way through oppositions all over the country. This was Surrey’s first County Championship win since 2002 but this side will not let the Championship go missing for that long again any time soon. This is a team for the future, not just for Surrey, but for England.

Call ups to the Test squad for the Curran brothers, Ollie Pope, Rory Burns, Mark Stoneman and Ben Foakes in the last year or so demonstrate Surrey are beginning to take over. This has been aided by performances from veterans Morne Morkel and Rikki Clarke, providing valuable experience and composure in pressure situations. Morkel is fourth on the wicket-takers list this season however he has played in far fewer matches than the rest of the top 10 and has an unbelievable average of just 13.57. The Rey believed they were well on their way to winning the Championship in the pivotal match when they defeated Lancashire by just 6 runs, Morkel playing a huge part with a 5 wicket-haul in the final innings.

Surrey are County Championship Winners for the first time since 2002

Ryan Patel, one of the youngsters in the squad, provided one of the stand-out moments, claiming 6 wickets for just 4 runs in a wicked spell of bowling against Somerset, this years’ runners-up. Amar Virdi completes the quartet of Sam Curran, Ollie Pope and Ryan Patel, who all came through the same age group of the Surrey ranks together. They even took a picture together 5 years ago and recreated it in their first game together for the senior side. Virdi has successfully taken over the reins of primary spinner from former captain Gareth Batty and at only 20 years of age, is setting his sights on the England Test squad in the future.

Ben Foakes, one of the first Surrey players in the current squad to be called up to the Test squad has been ever reliable behind the stumps and continues to be one of the best wicketkeeper batsmen in the World. It’s just a shame he has to compete with Johnny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, players who will go down as legends in all formats.

Despite the whole squad all earning the right to be mentioned, (I can’t mention every player in the squad, everyone has been immense), captain Rory Burns deserves the largest portion of the plaudits. Burns has been consistent at the top of the order for the past 5 years and has hit 1,000 Championship runs for the fifth consecutive year. He has constantly pushed for a Test call up and has only now, eventually, been included in the Test squad for the away series in Sri Lanka. Well deserved. It is down to Burns that in many of this seasons games, Surrey have won by an innings. He has scored 4 hundreds and achieved 7 half-centuries with a high score of 193 and an average of 69.42. His consistency has been needed at the top of the order for England and is quite frankly bizarre that he is the last of the names mentioned at the start of the piece to be called up to the Test squad.

This season has seen the start of an era from the Surrey side and one of the biggest achievements is that so many of the squad have come through their own academy system. Surrey will not have to wait another 16 years for a title, they must surely be favourites to win again next year. The only thing that can hinder their progress depends on how many of the squad will be called up to future Test squads but one thing is for certain, Surrey have produced plenty of young stars that will be winning, either for England or for Surrey, for many years to come.

Andrew Murray – Assistant Sports Editor – Miser.

Boring Boring Everything

By Andrew Murray

Can we talk about how boring football has become?

Seriously, tell me something remotely interesting that has happened in the Premier League this season. I’ll wait.

Liverpool look quite good, Cardiff look quite bad, everyone else looks about as good as we expected them to be. I can’t think of any real upsets so far. Watford were good-ish and now they’re less good. Burnley were doing rubbish and Bournemouth were doing great, but then the former trounced the latter to redress that mediocre balance again. There’s been no managerial casualties, or even mention of any. The ‘favourite’ to lose his job is Neil Warnock at 5/1, which is hardly what you’d call odds-on.

Milner has been better than ever for Liverpool this season. Despite being ridiculed for being boring on Twitter.

I can’t really pin-point any summer signing – bank-breaking or budget-buy – that has set the Premier League alight yet. You know who everyone is talking about so far? James bloody Milner! A man so boring that there’s a parody twitter account celebrating his boringness that has over 600,000 followers. He is the perfect poster child for the season so far.

Maybe it’s all just one big comedown from the summer where Football Came Home (I don’t care what you say, it did come home. It came home the moment we beat Colombia on penalties and I did an actual cry. Everything that happened after that was an end-credits montage sequence as far as I’m concerned).

Maybe it’s because I’ve just come back from Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle United. That fixture, at that ‘stadium’, in the drizzle set to a backdrop of grey, watching Andros Townsend and Mo Diame kick each other for 90 minutes (it felt longer) is about as far from the footballing summer we’ve just had that I can imagine.

Maybe I’m just miserable. But seriously, where is this season’s surprise package, this season’s collapse, this season’s spectacular early failure? It can’t all just be Liverpool being good… can it?

Anyway I’ll be at the bar, scowling at my phone. Give me a shout if anything interesting happens.

October 20th, 2018

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