On The Case... a look back at the sporting weekend with Jeremy Casey

The standard of refereeing at Cobblers matches this season has been pretty terrible on the whole, and there was another example of it at the weekend.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 12:21 pm
Referee Tony Harrington

Now, before we start, I am not blaming referee Tony Harrington for the Cobblers' woeful performance in the 1-0 defeat.

It is certainly not his fault that the Town players struggled to pass the ball to each other at any point, or pass the ball at all, nor that they were outplayed by a Leyton Orient team that hadn't won a match for six weeks.

But I think it it is down to him that Town were playing against 11 men for 90 minutes, instead of 10, and possibly even fewer than that.

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And those decisions definitely had an effect on the game.

I am still struggling to understand why Dale Gorman wasn't sent off after just 24 minutes for his over-the-top out of control foul on Nicky Adams. He somehow escaped with a yellow.

I have seen many players red-carded over the past couple of seasons for a lot less. It looked a clear sending off.

Then, in the second half, former Cobbler Joe Widdowson, who had been booked a few minutes earlier, got away with a blatant 'professional foul' to halt a Cobblers counter-attack down the right.

Argentina's Tomas Lavanini was sent off for a high tackle on Owen Farrell in the first half of his country's World Cup clash with England

It happened right in front of the assistant referee, but Harrington didn't even have a word with the left-back.

It should have been a second yellow, and dismissal.

Finally, with time running out, Conor Wilkinson was booked for an out-of-control lunge on Scott Wharton. On another day, with another referee, he would have been sent off as well.

I know we don't want robot referees, and there is always room for judgement calls and common sense, but we do want consistency - and for players to be sent off when they deserve it.

Dina Asher-Smith won a gold and two silver medals at the World Athletics Championships

There was a fitting tribute to former Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh ahead of Saturday's clash with Leyton Orient, the club the 49-year-old was manager of when he tragically passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest in June.

Things didn't go to plan for Edinburgh during his time at the PTS Academy Stadium back in 2017 and he was sacked after just eight months in charge, but there was no doubting how popular around the club the former Tottenham Hotpsur defender was as a person.

And that is far more important than anything else.

The Cobblers did an excellent job paying tribute to Edinburgh, with the production of a special programme as well as collections to back the Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation.

The Hundred was officially launched last week

And then there was an emotional period of applause before kick-off, and the warmth of that applause from the supporters of both the Cobblers and Leyton Orient was very clear.

The Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation is in the process of being set up by Justin's son Charlie, wife Kerri and daughter Cydnie, with the aim of raising funds for charitites related to heart or brain health, and also to change the law to ensure all health and fitness clubs across the UK are equipped with defibrillators.

The foundation's Just Giving page is at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justinedinburgh3

Now we all love the song the The Fields Of Green.

It's a staple of a Saturday afternoon at the PTS and from the terraces when the Cobblers are on the road, and it's also great the Northants cricket team have their own version which they sing after every victory.

But is there any chance somebody can sort out a new recorded version?

Frankly, the one played before kick-off is more likely to send you to sleep than get anybody's juices flowing.

Surely there must be somebody out there with the talent and recording nous to spice it up a bit!

Some sports need homegrown star performers to stay in the spotlight and maintain interest, and it looks as thought British athletics is going to get a much-needed shot in the arm thanks to golden girls Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

The pair claimed gold at the World Championships in Doha, and will now be among the favourites to claim Olympic gold in Tokyo next summer.

You only have to look at tennis and how it has fell out of the headlines in Britiain since Andy Murray has been forced to drop out of the top echelons of the sport due to injury.

Well, it's been pretty slim pickings on the international track and field stage for Brits in recent years, and the emergence of Asher-Smith and Johnson-Thomson is a much needed boost for the sport in this country.

So it looks like there is going to be a genuine title race in Scotland for the first time in years.

Rangers went top of the Scottish Premiership on merit on Sunday, hammering Hamilton 5-0 to take full advantage of Celtic's surprise 2-0 defeat at Livingston.

It will be interesting now to see how Steven Gerrard's team will react to being the frontrunners.

Rangers have spent so long chasing since their much-publicised financial meltdown back in 2012, it may be a shock to their system to be the top dogs again.

They are now the hunted rather than the hunters, and Celtic won't stop snapping at their heels.

Celtic for their part have had it too easy, for too long, which hasn't done them any favours when it comes to trying to compete in Europe.

So whoever goes on to claim the glory this season, it can only be good for Scottish football that there is a proper title race once more.

It may only be a two-horse race, but that is still better than a one-horse race!

You have to admire and back the fact that Rugby Union is trying to make the sport safer by clamping down on high and dangerous tackles with the offence being penalised with a sending off.

But having watched a few games over the past few weeks, there seems to be a lack of consistency about what is worthy of a a red card and what isn't.

There have been instances where what look like pretty unavoidable collisions due to the speed of play, differential in player size or players ducking into challenges, have ended in dismissals, and others that haven't.

It really is a tough call for the referees to make, and perhaps there has to be a rethink over the immediate punishment, taking intent or lack of it into account.

Because rugby is one of those sports where losing a player makes such a huge difference to the outcome, and if a player is dismissed early - as happened in England's pool game with Argentina - then the game is virtually done and dusted.

It invariably ruins the spectacle completely, and that is not good for the sport.

Liverpool have gone eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds have made a perfect start to the campaign and have a 100 per cent record, while injury-hit rivals Manchester City have stuttered, suffering two defeats already.

There will be plenty of Liverpool fans thinking this is their year, that the Premier League trophy is heading to Anfield for the first time, but if I was them I wouldn't be counting any chickens.

Jurgen Klopp certainly isn't getting carried away as the quarter point of the season has yet to be reached, and he knows Pep Guardiola's team are more than capable of closing that gap - just as they did last season, in half the time.

So, yes, Liverpool are favourites, but don't start planning that open top bus parade just yet. There's every chance it will end up going down to the wire again.

The ECB launched The Hundred to much fanfare last week - well on Sky Sports at least.

It was confirmed that Northants will be affiliated with London Spirit who are based at Lord's. They are 'our' team.

I certainly can't wait to travel 60 miles to watch the Spirit take on Northern Superchargers... said no Northants cricket fan, ever...

I'll stick to watching my cricket at the County Ground, thanks!