Category Archives: Sport

Review Battle of the Sexes by Jonathan Evans


(4 / 5)


The big moments in history are made when someone decides to fight for what they whole heartily believe in despite what years of thinking beforehand and society is structured against them. Battle of the Sexes tells the story of one of these fights, about women tennis players that are professionals yet get one eighth of the pay the men get. So our main character, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) makes a stand. However there is a man named Bobby Briggs (Steve Carell) that is out to poke fun at her cause because it means it will lead to fun and profit.

Billie Jean King is a simple and reasonable person that understands that her situation is wrong and is willing to fight for equality. Few female actors are as likable as Emma Stone and she brings all her charm and focus to this role. On the opposite is Bobby Riggs, who calls himself “Male Chauvinist Pig” and spouts all kinds of inappropriate and offensive dialog towards the opposite sex. What makes this characterization more interesting than if they portrayed this mindset as genuine is that it is clearly a show. Briggs is clearly putting on an act for the cameras to stir press and make a few bucks, he is a gambling addict and needs to feel the spark of life, as well as that he is obviously a very good tennis player.

Accompanying the two stars are also some very well cast and performed supporting roles. There is Sarah Silverman Gladys Heldman, their chain-smoking, sharp-tongued manager. Andrea Riseborough as Marilyn Barnett, Billie’s hairdresser and lover. Bill Pullman is Jack Kramer, head of the tennis association that doesn’t believe the women players attract a big enough crowd so doesn’t pay them as much. Alan Cummings, whose always entertaining plays Ted Tinling, the tailor of the women’s uniform and clearly gay. All these actors (as well as others) perform their roles well and have a solid moment

To compliment the time its set the movie takes on a retro look. There are bright, vivid colors placed among a few pastels that really make them pop. That, as well as the grainy film look gives the movie a unique visual texture.

I knew this was based on a real story but I didn’t not know the outcome of the real match that it was building up to. When the match started and one scored and then another did I was genuinely invested. The outcome probably won’t surprise you but during the playing you have come to know the characters and understand why each of them is playing this game and whats at stake.

For a sports movie it really takes it’s time in letting the plot unfold and has no need to play at a fast passe. It is well constructed, acted and reminds us not to take where we are now for granted. There are still things to correct in terms of acceptance of people of different sexes and sexuality but we have come a long way since the events of the movie. Time to keep moving forward.

Jonathan Evans

Young sports writers kick-off their careers

YoungCritics Sports Workshop

 A group of fledgling sports journalists have kicked off their career by attending the international football friendly between Wales and Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium to write match reports.

Organised by Bridgend County Borough Council’s Arts and Community Development team in partnership with the FAW, the budding writers probed Football Correspondent for Media Wales, Chris Watham for some tricks of the trade in a Q&A session, before making notes for their reports during the clash between the Celtic counterparts.

Chris Watham, said: “It was great to have the chance to speak to budding journalists who showed a real enthusiasm for the industry and sports reporting in particular. In any profession, gaining the experience of an insight into how things work behind the scenes can be vital and hopefully help them make the next step. It was fantastic to have so many questions come my way which shows there were definitely some reporters of the future there!”

The workshop formed a new part of the wider Young Critics scheme, which offers expert guidance to young people to explore the role of the arts critic and discover new ways of expressing their views on arts performances in South Wales.

Councillor Lyn Morgan, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “I think that combining our popular Young Critics scheme with sport is a perfect match. Football is often described as the beautiful game and I’m sure the budding writers will identify the many similarities between sport and the arts.

“It’s great that, through forming strong relationships with organisations such as the FAW, our Arts and Community Development team continues to uncover new opportunities to provide a wide range of high quality experiences for the county borough’s young arts enthusiasts.”

If you’re interested in getting into writing about sport or the arts and want to find out more about the Young Critics scheme, contact Guy O’Donnell, Young Critics/Get the Chance coordinator


Wales V Republic of Ireland “No luck for the Irish as Long misfires either side of the break” YC Luke Fox


Wales 0 – 0 Ireland

International friendly

14 August 2013

A sparse crowd gathered at the Cardiff City Stadium as Wales played out a stalemate with their Celtic counterparts.

The home side’s blushes were spared as Shane Long wasted clear cut chances in both halves, during a match where Wales’ dragons lacked fire in their bellies.

It’s easy to say that the reds missed the injured Gareth Bale, but with a performance lacking real impetus, did Coleman get it wrong, were Y Dreigiau using the friendly to ease themselves into the new season, or are the country’s hopes hinged on the inspiration of the £100m man?

Struggling to keep the ball for large spells of the tie, Wales’ main moments of joy came on the counter attack. While a trademark moment of Bale brilliance could have provided the difference on another night, Coleman’s system saw Jack Collison and Hal Robson-Kanu struggling to make an impact on the flanks.

Jonathan Williams showed touches of promise in the number 10 role, but often found himself too deep to link with Craig Bellamy, who was repeatedly isolated with his back to goal as lone striker.

The dragons came into the match in decent form having won two of their last three outings including a memorable victory over Scotland in March, but Ireland had strong form of their own, and were unbeaten in six prior to a friendly defeat to Spain in June.

With the greens just two places above them in the FIFA World Rankings, the bout posed an opportunity for Wales to test themselves against a team of similar quality, but Ashley Williams and his countrymen looked second best.

In a match where quality in the final third was often left wanting, Giovanni Trapattoni’s men in green started brightest, and began to turn their long spells of possession into the first flurry of chances.

Following a Glenn Whelan shot dragged wide to the left of goal from the edge of the area, Robbie Brady followed up some nice interplay with a blazed effort over the bar.

The best chance of the half came soon after, as West Brom front man, Shane Long fluffed a 12-yard sitter over Boaz Myhill’s bar on 25 minutes.

With half time approaching Ireland went close again, as Wes Hoolahan’s curled effort from the left hand side saw Myhill scrambling to his left as the ball teased its way around the post.

Wales saved their only real effort of the half for the stroke of half time. Bellamy linked up neatly with Jonathan Williams before forcing a corner, before the 34 year-old Cardiff City striker’s quick cross low into the area was met by an onrushing Ben Davies who was unlucky to blast wide from 10 yards out.

 HT 0-0

The influential Brady was replaced by Wigan Athletic’s new wide man James McClean at half time, as both teams came out for the second half lined up in the same 4231 formations.

The first chance of the half fell to Craig Bellamy, whose 54th minute 30-yard free kick was kept out of the top corner by Keiren Westwood.

Soon after, Shane long was unlucky not to find the back of the net with an improvised header from a corner which had shades of Chicharito against Stoke City.

The hour mark saw both managers begin to ring the changes, as Vokes and King replaced Bellamy and Ledley, while Whelan and O’Shea made way for Green and O’Dea. Paddy Madden made his international bow soon after, replacing Hoolahan.

The best chance of the game fell to Shane long on 70 minutes. The Irishman burst through the Wales backline but couldn’t slot the solid Myhill, who pushed the tame effort to his right.

With the remainder of the game broken up by further replacements, including the long awaited return for Swansea City left back Neil Taylor following a broken ankle in September, the match stumbled to fulltime with both teams sharing the spoils.

 FT 0-0

Man of the match: Boaz Myhill

Wales will be looking to improve going into the next round of World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia in September, with vital rankings to play ahead of the qualifying draw for Euro 2016.

Regardless of where he is playing his club football by then, Welsh football fans will be keeping their fingers crossed for Bale to return for his country this autumn.

Wales V Republic of Ireland Match Report ” a goalless draw in a friendly clash which failed to match the spirit of Cardiff City” YC Joe Cook


Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. August 14th, 2013. KO:  7:45 PM BST

Referee: P. Kralovec (Cze)

Attendance: 20,000

By Joe Cook

Wales and Republic of Ireland played out a goalless draw in a friendly clash, which failed to match the spirit of Cardiff.

West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long had Ireland’s best chances, but Wales couldn’t find a rhythm to counter. The Welsh outfit evidently missing the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in midfield.

Chances were hard to come by, creating a below par encounter between these local rivals. The fans sang to lift their teams throughout the night, however a low-key event did little to build the expectation and whet the appetite for the coming football season.

Ireland controlled most of the possession across the course of the game, but failed to find the quality in the final third to trouble Boaz Myhill in the Wales goal. Both defenses have remained untroubled for most of the evening.

Wales and Ireland buoyed by their recent improved exploits in the World Cup 2014 Qualifiers, couldn’t find the breakthrough, leading too much of the Cardiff crowd foreseeing a goalless affair.

Even Wales’s old guard and local Cardiff player Craig Bellamy couldn’t force a winner, with a strong performance down the left flank. Premier League substitutes in the form of Conner Sammon for Ireland and Neil Taylor for Wales couldn’t provide their respective teams with any goal threat.

Ireland almost snatched a late winner with 10 minutes remaining when Madden’s effort saved by Myhill with the ball falling to Mclean on the rebound, but man-of-the-match Welsh skipper Ashley Williams blocked. On the other hand, Wales’s resolute defence recorded their first clean sheet in 12 games.

Wales V Republic of Ireland “Myhill to the rescue as Dragons lack firepower” YC Aaron Hill


Amid the excitement of the fast approaching Premier League season, and with the shadow of Gareth Bale’s potential world record transfer looming large, it was an international week in which international football barely got a look in, and this celtic clash did little to grab anyone’s attention, at a sparsely populated Cardiff City Stadium.
The Irish visitors brought a strong squad to the Welsh capital, and Giovanni Trappatoni’s side dominated the early exchanges. Looking more organised and sharper on the ball than their Welsh counterparts, Ireland created chances, and both Shane Long and Jonathan Walters would have been disappointed not to give Ireland the lead.
Wales never looked uncomfortable at the back, but it would certainly have concerned Chris Coleman at how easily the likes of Long and Walters threatened Boaz Myhill’s goal. Myhill proved up to the challenge, marking himself out as a strong contender for man of the match on a night low on individual quality, but the Wales boss will wonder how upcoming opponents such as Goran Pandev and Christian Benteke will fare, if given as much time and space.
In the second half, Long was given another glorious chance to win it, and after scooping his first opportunity high and wide, it took a brilliant save from Myhill to deny him. And were it not for further interventions from Myhill and skipper Ashley Williams, substitutes Paddy Madden and James McClean almost certainly would have given Ireland victory.
 In a game that never quite got going, it would be unfair on Wales to paint a picture purely of doom and gloom. Despite the absence of former captain Aaron Ramsey, Wales had a host of exciting young talent in midfield, with Joe Allen and Jonny Williams showing glimpses of their ability. A raking cross field pass from Allen to the impressive Ben Davies caused havoc in the Ireland area, while ‘Joniesta’ probed tirelessly but couldn’t quite reach the levels that earned him rave reviews in his first two internationals against Scotland and Croatia. However, ahead of a dynamic midfield, Wales lacked urgency and incisiveness. Craig Bellamy laboured for most of his hour on the pitch, albeit in a lone striker role in which he rarely prospers, and his free kick, which drew a straightforward save from Irish keeper Keiren Westwood was both his and Wales’ most notable attacking contribution.
Without Bellamy at his sparkling best and with the much discussed absences of Bale and Ramsey, it was hard to spot a match winner in red. Many will point to the impressively organised Irish squad, with their international experience and know how clear for all to see at times, but Coleman will know that his team need to adapt and learn to win without their stars. One superstar does not equate to a so called ‘golden generation’, and if that tag is not to become a millstone around this team’s neck, then others must learn to take responsibility. One moment of magic would have won it against Ireland, and to compete on the big stage, Wales must learn to stop relying on Bale to pull the rabbit out of the hat.
Aaron Hill

Wales V Republic of Ireland match report “nobody seems to care about their national side” YC Danielle Green


Wales V Republic of Ireland

Arriving at Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday night I was prepared to watch the Wales versus Republic of Ireland. I will hold my hands up and say that I do not know the off side rule or any other rule in detail, so I am no expert when it comes to football.

Leading up to the game there was constant coverage of the Wales team and the game ahead, or should I say Gareth Bale and his is he going is he not saga. Driving down to the stadium was also fine with all the roadsides indicating to the stadium. When I packed in the stadium I was early so I didn’t expect to see that many fans but there were quite a few already there for the game. Outside the players entrance there were groups of children waiting to catch a glimpse of their heroes as they walked off the bus and into the stadium, there were even a few cameramen ready to take the shots.

As kick off approached I took to my seat and was shocked to see the lack of fans both Welsh and Irish that were in the stadium. As a rugby fan who goes to international games it was quite an unfamiliar sight, in rugby the stadiums are usually pack when it comes to a Wales game but this was far from full.

When the players came out of the tunnel it was very clear that the press were only interested in one person, Gareth Bale, who wasn’t even on the bench as he was injured. As the anthems rang out, Ireland first followed by Wales’ that took a while as the speakers blasted out the Irish anthem again, much to the delight of the visiting fans.

It was kick off, but the only sound that was being made came from the small minority of Irish fans who were in the corner of the stadium, it was like that for the majority of the game with very little noise coming from the home side.

The game was only my second ever football match that I had actually been to watch (I prefer watching on the TV at home where the commentators tell me what’s going on and nobody judges my lack of football knowledge). The first game I ever went to see was in December last year Swansea City versus Manchester United, the game where Sir Alex Ferguson said that Robin van Persie could have been killed by Ashley Williams.

That game seems like another world to the one being played by Wales and Ireland, the lack of atmosphere is clearly down to the lack of fans that haven’t bothered to buy tickets to watch. I know it was classed as a ‘friendly’, but if Cardiff City or Swansea City had a friendly match with anyone there would be far more fans watching than this, and the atmosphere would be far greater with banter flying around from all areas.

The game itself wasn’t the most exciting, finally ending with a nil, nil draw with nothing really breath taking happening or any real chance for any of the sides getting a good chance of scoring.

Leaving the game I felt a slight disappointment in not only the game but the atmosphere and the night as a whole. Leaving there was no buzz everyone was acting like it was a loss with glum faces, the truth was nobody had lost so it wasn’t that bad.

It seems so strange that so many fans go to watch the likes of Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County, but yet nobody seems to care about their national side. It’s the opposite in rugby…