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

The Cobblers were denied a third straight win in Sky Bet League Two by a cruel and late, late own goal equaliser at the weekend, but there was still plenty to be positive about heading away from the PTS Academy Stadium in the late summer sunshine.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 3:23 pm
A delighted Shaun McWilliams celebates scoring his first goal for the Cobblers

Yes, Crawley may have fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 thanks to the unfortunate ricochet off Joe Martin in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but there was plenty to like about the Cobblers' performance.

It wasn't perfect, obviously, but Town again created plenty of chances, they again played some exciting and attacking football, and again plenty of their players produced excellent performances - with the best of the lot being Shaun McWilliams.

The 21-year-old academy product was again outstanding as the attacking central midfielder, and he was rewarded for his performance with his first goal for his home town club, a sweet left footed strike that fairly flew into the net.

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Essex Eagles celebrate their Vitality T20 Blast victory

You could tell by McWilliams' reaction what that goal meant, and hopefully it will be the first of many for him in the claret and white.

As a Northampton lad myself (very old lad, admittedly), I can only imagine how great it must feel like just to play for the Cobblers, never mind rattle in a goal, and it was a fantastic moment for the player who 'is one of our own'.

Here's to many more from McWilliams, and also the other young home grown talents coming through the ranks, as he is certainly a player they can all look up to, and aspire to be.

Saturday saw another packed house at Edgbaston for a brilliant day of cricket in the Vitality T20 Blast Finals Day, with Essex Eagles emerging as the champions.

Adam Rossington has guided Northants to the brink of promotion

A thrilling final saw the Chelmsford-based side beat Worcestershire Rapids off the final ball, with the New Road side having earlier pipped Notts Outlaws by one run in another down-to-the-wire thriller, former Steelbacks man Ben Duckett just failing to get his team over the line in that one.

This is a competition that is in the rudest of health, with supporters of the 18 first-class countries up and down the country having enjoyed a brilliant summer of exciting cricket on their doorstep.

Finals Day was further proof that T20 is a brilliant and exciting format, and that the Vitality Blast is a competition that is continuing to grow in popularity.

That outlines how mystifying it is the stubborn ECB are continuing to press on regardless with their plans for The Hundred competition, which is due to start next summer.

Scrum time in the Ireland versus Scotland match in the Rugby World Cup

As far as I am aware, The Hundred is unwanted by the vast majority of cricket fans across the UK, who are quite happy to follow 'their' team as they always have done, in the T20.

They aren't interested in a made up city franchise playing miles away from their home, or a 100-ball competition, as the 120-ball one they currently watch is hitting the nail on the head, thanks very much.

The old saying is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', and the Vitality Blast T20 is very definitely in seriously good working order.

The powers-that-be will never admit it, but The Hundred is not needed and is not wanted, so why bother?

Manchester United struggled in their 2-0 defeat at West Ham United on Sunday

Sticking with cricket, can I just say good luck to Northants as they try to seal their promotion to the Specsavers County Championship Division One this week.

The County need just four points from their final match of the season against Gloucestershire at Bristol, and if they were to go up it would be a remarkable achievement for Adam Rossington's men.

Skipper Rossington certainly deserves huge credit for his part in turning things around following Alex Wakely's decision to step down as captain in mid-summer.

The County were rock-bottom of the division two table in June, and didn't manage their first win until they trounced Sussex by 393 runs in the first week of July.

Since then though, they simply haven't looked back winning four and drawing one of their next five matches to leave them on the brink of promotion to the top flight of English cricket for the first time since 2014.

Head coach David Ripley has done a fantastic job at the County Ground over the years, on limited resources, and promotion would be yet another big feather in his cap.

Fingers crossed they can do it.

The Rugby World Cup is up and running, with the opening weekend serving up some entertaining matches and some exciting rugby.

I am the first to admit I am no rugby expert, and that many of the sport's finer points and intricacies are beyond my comprehension, but I do enjoy watching it at the highest level.

This tournament, with every game being shown on ITV is a great opportunity for the sport to attract new fans, with the very best the game has to offer (and Scotland) being beamed into the nation's front rooms.

So can I ask the governing body one thing? Can you please sort the scrums out?

The amount of time that is wasted, with the clock live and counting down, setting up and then resetting scrum after scrum is so frustrating, and a bit of insult to those who have paid good money to go and watch.

Just get on with it!! Cheers.

Another weekend, another abject away defeat for Manchester United.

It just beggars belief that such a huge club, with such massive resources, has to field such an average team. How has that been allowed to happen?

I am not a United fan, but if I was I would be wondering what on earth is going on at Old Trafford?

Yes, they have a handful of injuries to contend with, but this is Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world with money and resources to burn.

They have got 100s of youngsters in their academy system at any one time, and have had for many years, and they have the money to buy whoever they wish.

Yet they have a ponderous team playing stodgy, unimaginative football, that is danger of finishing outside of the top six in the Premier League, never mind the top four.

All the talk in the summer was of rebuilding and giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the time to turn things round, and that would probably be the sensible thing to do, but will it happen? I doubt it.

The powers-that-be, and chief executive Ed Woodward in particular, were the men who gave Solskjaer the job in the first place and who ultimately are responsible for the mess the club finds itself in.

But if the team continues to struggle as it has done, then I fear it will be the Norwegian who carries the can.