Good Week/Bad Week
Irish eyes are smiling, but will Somerset ever taste success again?
Last Updated: September 19, 2011 2:38pm
From shock wins to landslide victories, from near misses to unbelievable misses, the last seven days has seen plenty of sporting drama.
Here, skysports.com takes a look back at those prospered, as well as those who faltered, in the latest edition of our Good Week/Bad Week feature. As ever, have your say by filling in the feedback form at the bottom of the page...
Even the most optimistic Irish rugby fan (and there are plenty) would have had trouble making a case for their country to beat Australia in Auckland on Saturday - Ireland went into the game off the back of a dismal performance against the USA in their opening Pool C fixture having already been less-then-impressive in their warm-up fixtures ahead of the World Cup.
The Wallabies, on the other hand, were seen as one of the nations capable of stopping New Zealand winning the tournament, particularly after they'd pipped the All Blacks to be crowned Tri-Nations champions this year.
However, the form book was thrown out the window at a wet Eden Park as three penalties from Jonathan Sexton and two more from his replacement at fly-half, Ronan O'Gara, gave the Irish a 15-6 win that means there has been a sizeable change to the landscape of the knockout stages.
Australia, who were not helped by the loss of flanker David Pocock on the morning of the game, will now have to do it the hard way if they are to lift the trophy. And as for those Irish fans, they are probably still celebrating...
To say it had been a long time coming was an understatement, but after a 77-year wait Lancashire finally got their hands on the county title again thanks to a thrilling victory over Somerset.
Going into the final round of fixtures in the domestic season it was Warwickshire who appeared favourites to lift the trophy, particularly as they faced an away trip to relegation-threatened Hampshire.
The hosts, however, refused to be beaten at the Rose Bowl, centuries from Neil McKenzie and Michael Carberry helping them bat out the final day and seal a draw, though the result still meant they were resigned to the drop.
It also allowed Lancashire to pinch the race at the post, the Red Rose county chasing down 211 on the final afternoon at Taunton to record their 11th victory of the campaign. Their success was built on homegrown talent (Lancashire lads Steven Croft and Karl Brown took them over the line against Somerset) under the leadership of former England coach Peter Moores.
Heading to the BMW Championship at Cog Hill for the third of the four PGA Tour play-off events, Justin Rose was simply trying to bank enough FedEx Cup points to secure his place in next week's finale at East Lake.
But not only did he manage to become one of the elite 30 who get to contest the Tour Championship, Rose's two-shot win means he's jumped from 34th to 3rd place in the standings. That position is key as if any of the top five win the Tour Championship they will be guaranteed the incredible $10m bonus on offer for the FedEx Cup winner.
Short game guru Roe has been working with Rose since April and those improved skills around the green helped Justin chip in for birdie on the 17th hole at Cog Hill - a shot that all but sealed victory and set him up for a crack at that massive payday.
While some Blackburn fans opted to protest against their current boss outside the ground, the rest chose to head inside Ewood Park and watch on as their team triumphed 4-3 against Arsenal (aided by a couple of gifts from a Gunners defence that looks like it couldn't stop a bus right now).
For Steve Kean the result, particularly in a game shown live on Sky Sports, was much-needed following a difficult start to the new Premier League campaign.
His players certainly showed their support for the Glaswegian, battling back after falling behind twice in a see-saw match that was played out in typical north-west weather - heavy, heavy rain.
Kean, who took over last season after the departure of Sam Allardyce, keeping Rovers up on the final day of the season, was rightly proud of his players, though he insisted that even a home defeat would not have seen him axed by the club's owners, Venky's.
A fifth consecutive loss in a final means Somerset are now firmly stuck with the tag as county cricket's perennial bridesmaids.
Their latest near miss came at Lord's on Saturday, as Surrey saw off the Cidermen by five wickets in a rain-hit Clydesdale Bank 40 final that rounded out the domestic cricket season.
Marcus Trescothick's side had already been beaten by Leicestershire in the battle to be crowned this year's Friends Life t20 champions earlier in the summer, meaning their star-studded squad once again finishes another campaign without a trophy.
There is also little time for Somerset's squad to lick their wounds - they flew out to India on Sunday evening for this year's Champions League, an event which pits the 13 best T20 domestic teams from around the world against each other.
Some feel it is the injuries taking their toll, others wonder if tampering with his hair too often has caused a Samson-esque loss of his powers. Whatever the reason, Fernando Torres just doesn't look like the Fernando Torres of old.
True, there were glimpses at Old Trafford of the striker that had initially taken the Premier League by storm in his early years with Liverpool.
The Chelsea striker's finish over David De Gea was top class to make it 3-1, but he then somehow missed an open goal that could have cut the deficit in half and set up a frantic finale to the game against Manchester United.
At least a second goal in blue offers hope for the future, though his current employers may well be asking themselves if £50 million was a little too much to pay for a man who can't find an open net from eight yards. Yes, yes, it was on his weaker left foot, but unless his boots are shaped like Toblerone, there was no excuse.
Super League play-offs
After a long, hard regular season, the opening round of the Engage Super League play-offs produced three lop-sided scorelines that must raise some concerns over a lack of depth in the competition.
The play-offs began on Friday night with the minor premiers Warrington running riot against the fourth-placed Giants from Huddersfield, with the visitors not even managing to put a point on the scoreboard at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Saturday's offering was no less of a contest, Hull KR's efforts just to make it into the top eight seeming to leave them with little left in the tank to take on a Catalan Dragons side that ran hot on home soil in Perpignan.
Rovers' city rivals Hull FC fared little better on Sunday evening, their season - as well as Richard Agar's tenure in charge - coming to a rather disappointing end with a 42-10 defeat to Leeds (it was the 11th straight time they had lost to the Rhinos, who now face Huddersfield next).
At least Wigan and St Helens did provide rugby league fans with a contest at the DW Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with Saints moving to within 80 minutes of a sixth successive Grand Final appearance thanks to a 26-18 triumph. We can only hope the rest of the play-off ties provide similar drama...
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs look extremely unlikely to defend their AFC West title after suffering another crushing defeat in week two of the NFL season.
Seven days after opening their season with a 41-7 drubbing against the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City suffered an even bigger pummelling when they lost 48-3 to the Detroit Lions.
To add to their woe, star running back Jamaal Charles is likely to miss the rest of the season after reportedly tearing knee ligaments in the first quarter of the game at Ford Field.
And with Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki already on the injured reserve list, things threaten to get even worse in the coming weeks.