Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Warne set for six of the best

By Robert Fenton

Can England gain some respectability by winning the third Test starting in Perth tomorrow? The simple answer has to be no in view of the disquiet that seems to be enveloping the players and the unhappiness of Andrew Flintoff at Michael Vaughan hovering in the background.

Team spirit is not all that it should be and the odds of 8-15 on the Aussies is a solid call with a saver on the draw at 2-1. England are out with the washing at 7-1.

There are some interesting bets surrounding Shane Warne (pictured) who needs only six wickets to reach his 700th Test victim.

He is 8-11 to reach that landmark in Perth and evens to do so later in the series.

There is some doubt about the fitness of Warne due to an elbow injury but he is expected to be in the side.

On the assumption that the wizard of Oz does line-up, Steve Harmison is 10-1 favourite to be his 700th victim.

But better to focus higher up the order second time around and that makes middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen who has a habit of falling into the Warne trap, a decent 16-1 chance for a bit of fun along.

Also it is 7-2 for his victim to be bowled while it is odds-on that his 700th wicket will come via a catch.

Third Test: 8-15 Australia; 2-1 draw; 7-1 England.

Shane Warne to reach 700 wickets in third test: 8-11 Yes; Evens no.

Shane Warne's 700th victim - prices for third test only: 10-1 Harmison, 12 Jones, Hoggard, 14 Anderson, Collingwood, Mahmood, Panesar, 16 Flintoff, Pietersen, 20 Bell, 25 Cook, Strauss.

Method: 4-7 caught, 7-2 bowled, 7-2 LBW, 20-1 stumping, 100-1 any other. Run out doesn't count, bets void if 700th wicket doesn't happen in third Test.

Don't turn your noses up at Zara

Where are all those people coming from who were shocked at Zara Phillips winning the BBC'S Sports Personality of the Year?

We even have those who say she didn't deserve it as she required the horse to play its part.

In that case, runner-up Darren Clarke and Jenson Button should never have been in the frame as they too were not on their own.

Any detraction from Zara is simply inverted snobbery. She was a worthy winner as a double World and European eventing champion, making her the top horse woman bar none.

That's no mean feat as both titles have only been held by an eventer on two other occasions in equestrian history.

Unbelievably, she was 400-1 at one time on Betfair but was trumpeted here from September at 5-2. Hope you all got on.

As for Darren, William Hill still believe that the likeable Dungannon man will win the RTE award this Saturday and make him 4-11 favourite.

That's much too short and Ireland's top golfer this year and European Order of Merit winner Padraig Harrington is the value bet at 5-1. Each-way, can't lose.

Candystripes a sweet choice

Derry City have been installed as favourites to win the new Eircom League of Ireland Premier Division which has been established by the FAI for next season.

The league is made up of 12 teams with Shamrock Rovers and Galway United getting places based on the results of an Independent Assessment Group who took their decision after examining recent results and off-the-field criteria of 21 clubs, taking into account infra-structure, governance, strategic planning, finance, youth development and marketing.

It meant the play-off won by Dundalk against Waterford was meaningless while the latter were relegated to the First Division.

William Hill make Derry 15-8 favourites to be the 2007 champions

The firm bet: Premier Division: 15-8 Derry City; 2-1 Shelbourne; 6-1 Drogheda United; 4-1 Cork City; 16-1 Bohemians; 16-1 Shamrock Rovers; 25-1 St. Patricks Athletic; Longford Town; 33-1 Sligo Rovers; 40-1 UCD; 50-1 Galway United, 66-1 Bray Wanderers; E/W 1/5 1-2-3

First Division: 15-8 Dundalk; 5-1 Waterford United; 11-2 Finn Harps; 7-1 Athlone Town; 15-2 Limerick City; 10-1 Cobh Ramblers; 16-1 bar.

Belfast Telegraph


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