Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Miracle needed for the layers

By Robert Fenton

The layers are looking to England to get them out of a potential financial liability hole after the slaughter at The Gabba-toir.

The Aussies are 1-0 in the five-match series and those that took the odds for a 5-0 or 4-0 outcome in the series, will be purring with contentment.

But let's not forget Australia won the first Test by a similar margin at Lord's in 2005 and ended up losing 2-1.

However, Down Under is a different kettle of fish and once the Baggy Greens get their head in front at home, they do not let up.

Also, the pitches are such that they are of little value to medium-pace bowlers and that in the main, is what England have.

The exception is Steve Harmison (pictured) but he has lost it in terms of technique and he is 20-1 (Boylesport) to deliver another wide with his first ball at Adelaide wich in the cirumstances, is definitely worth taking.

Alternatively, Bet365 have a number of Harmison specials such as 66-1 to land a hat-trick or 4-6 to get a wicket before bowling a wide.

The 11-10 to chuck one off-line before taking a wicket, is a cracking bet. He is also 7-2 to be dropped for Adelaide.

The craziest thing of all, was the sight of Harmison using the opening Test match for much-needed practice.

England not only went into the first match undercooked but red raw in terms of preparation.

Turning matters around is a big, ask and Hill's offer 80-1 about them emerging with the same result as the last time.

Andrew Flintoff's boys are 7-1 to retain the Ashes and 12s to win the series.

As for the Second Test starting at midnight tomorrow, Australia can be taken at 2-5 with Blue Square.

When in Rome. . .

Ireland's star continues in rugby's ascendancy and they are now as short as 5-4 with Skybet for the Six Nations title - something they have never won since Italy joined the big five in 2000.

Ireland were available at 15-8 a week ago and 13-8 can still be obtained in places.

With England very much in a transitional phase and France struggling to beat Argentina, there is every cause for Irish fans to be dreaming of drowning the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day in Rome when Ireland face Italy in their last match.

The Grand Slam has not been won by the Irish since 1948 but there's every chance of that bridge being crossed this season.

As for the World Cup, Boylesports are being generous in offering 4-1 without the All Blacks.

France the hosts, are 6-4 and Australia 7-2 in that particular market.

Ireland are in a tough group with France and Argentina but if coming tops in that, will avoid New Zealand until the final.

On the England front, Andy Robinson is out and Martin Johnston, the Grand Slam and World Cup winning captain is the 2-1 market leader to succeed Robinson but that is not such a good bet.

Look to Rob Andrew, formerly coach at Newcastle and already in situ as a director of elite rugby at Twickenham. Odds of 5-1 make strong appeal.

Wright move

Chelsea's Shaun Wright Phillips is up for sale - no surprise there as he has been unable to command a first-team place.

And Andriy Shevchenko could be following him out the Stamford Bridge door.

Totesport are betting on how much the SWP transfer fee will be and in turn, how much Chelsea will lose on a player they paid £21million for.

The favourite fee is between £6 and £11.9million which is short at 1-3.

Between £12 and £15.9million is 2-1 while it is 100-1 that Chelsea recoup all of the £21m they paid to Manchester City.

But there is little prospect of Chelsea breaking even on the deal.

West Ham are reported to have offered £10m and with Chelsea likely to hold out for ohave indicated that they are willing to spend £10million but there is every possibility that Chelsea will hold out for slightly more.

How much will Shaun Wright Phillips leave Chelsea for?

Totesport: 0-£5.9m 20-1; £6-£11.9m 1-3; £12-£15.9m 2-1; £16-£20.9m 25-1; £21m or more 100-1

Bets void if transfer fee involves player-swap deal or if the fee is undisclosed. It must of course, also take place in the January transfer window.

Belfast Telegraph


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