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‘There’s no way Mark Ella deserved it’: Legend’s classy reaction to becoming new symbol of Wallabies vs. England rivalry



Modest as ever, and funny too, Wallabies legend Mark Ella made it clear the honour of being named on the new Ella-Mobbs Cup to be contested by Australia and England is a symbolic one, rather than a true measure of his playing career.

Ella, of course, starred during a different time, playing just 25 Tests between 1980 and 1984, and becoming the first Indigenous captain of an Australian sporting team during 10 of those.

The unions of Australia and England recently decided to ditch the Cook Cup, which has been the trophy for 25 years and was named for British explorer Captain James Cook.

The decision to honour Ella, and a former England player Edgar Mobbs, who was killed in the first World War, has predictably angered some – talkback radio hosts whipping up indignation at the thought that Capt. Cook was being “cancelled”.

Others admitted they felt old name problematic, due to the impacts British arrival had on Indigenous Australians.

Ella, though, was neutral.

“I understand the connotations and it certainly didn’t upset me,” he said Friday, standing in the middle of Coogee Oval with a Wallabies scarf draped around his neck and rugby ball nearby.

“To be fair, it’s been around a long time, I think 25 years. I think it’s time to recognise the rivalry between the RFU and Rugby Australia and what it means and having two former players as part of the new Ella-Mobbs Cup.

“This is the way it should be. It means a lot to me and my family, obviously I’ve got a very good looking twin brother and a younger brother. We played a lot of our rugby here and it meant a lot to us. I’m honoured that the Cup is in my name, our name.”

Mark Ella poses during a media opportunity for the launch of the Ella-Mobbs Cup at Coogee Oval on June 24, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

He said when first approached by Rugby Australia, he “didn’t really give an opinion.

“I’d been out of rugby for a long time. I was aware of the Cook Cup; it has been a little while and it took me a bit of persuasion from Rugby Australia to get me introduced. As much as rugby was very much a part of my life as you get older you move on and it’s great to be back within the circle of rugby.

“I retired early and a lot of people thought that was premature. I’ve always wanted to do other things. The 10 years I played rugby it was everything, but once I moved on I moved on.”

Asked if this was a reward for his career or a mark of the game’s continued embrace of indigenous culture, Ella said: “I think it has to be both. There’s no way I could say that Mark Ella deserved it. I’m representing the Indigenous population.

“We’ve had many Indigenous players over the years with the latest obviously being Kurtley Beale. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved within rugby and there’s many more to come.”

He said he thought Rugby Australia was doing their best in promoting Indigenous culture, despite wider issues in the game.

“Like other sports, it’s not easy. But as long as they don’t give up hope and (stop) believe that there is talent there and there are opportunities that that they’ll keep on trying,” Ella said.

“It’s getting better. Bigger and better. I listened to the last couple of Tests and we’ve been acknowledged and that’s a big step from Rugby Australia and I hope it continues,” Ella said, referring to the Indigenous jerseys the Wallabies sometimes play in and the welcome to country speeches before Tests.

As for emerging talent: “It’s not easy, you’ve got to invest in the next generation. There are a number of Indigenous players at private schools. We just need to believe that it can be done and keep on trying.”

Ella will be on hand to see the trophy unveiled in Perth next weekend, and it features some artwork by his niece, tied to theme of his old nickname, “mullet”.

“Now that might sound funny to many people, but my dad was a net fisherman and we caught mullet right throughout our summers and my brothers Glen and Gary again played a big role in that,” Ella said.

“When you come from a family of 12 you don’t really have a lot to argue when food is put in front of you, so we had mullet, baked mullet, skin mullet, mullet soup, anyway you could eat mullet was the way it was. Even to this day there are only two people who call me “mullet” and that’s David Campese because he’s a … nice person and Wally Lewis.”

Ella is looking forward to a catch up with England coach Eddie Jones in Perth.

“We’ve known each other since we were three years old. We did kindergarten, primary school and high school (together). I know my twin brother Glen and Eddie are thick as thieves. We’ll have a few laughs and giggles when I do catch him,” he said.

“[Jones] always had a sharp tongue and he didn’t hesitate in telling the referee or his opposition what he thought of him and we used to have a lot of fun having pot shots at each other. I better not say too much, he might get the shits with me.”

Ella played just three times against England, and one of those was for the Australian Schoolboys at Twickenham.

“There was the London fog and you could barely see the sideline and I must admit I got the ball for the very first time and I kicked the living daylights out of it and my brothers said, ‘what are you doing? You never do that?’

“I said, ‘well, I’ve always wanted to kick the ball out of sight and I’ve just done it today.’ Other than that, I played England at Twickenham a long time ago and in 1984. Playing at Twickenham was one of the highlights of my career.”

And with that, Ella took a long look at Coogee Oval, the place he once glided over as if on a magic carpet.

“It’d feel better if I could get that football and I could see if I could still kick a field goal. No, no, I’d pull a hammy,” he laughed.

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Astros throw combined no-hitter in win over Yankees



The Houston Astros threw a combined no-hitter as they defeated the New York Yankees 3-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Starter Cristian Javier lasted seven innings with Hector Neris pitching in relief for the eighth inning and Ryan Pressly closed it out at Yankees Stadium.

Javier threw a career-high 13 strikeouts. He issued a walk in the first inning to Josh Donaldson, who also reached base on an error in the seventh when third baseman Alex Bregman threw past first following a grounder.

The Astros (45-26) and Yankees (52-20) close out their four-game series on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the third no-hitter of the season already. Five New York Mets pitchers combined against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 29 and Reid Detmers of the Los Angeles Angels accomplished the feat solo against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 10.

Houston’s previous no-hitter was by Justin Verlander on Sept. 1, 2019, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

— With files from The Associated Press.

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TNPL 2022 Most Runs and Most Wickets standings: Laxmesha Suryaprakash and Sanjay Yadav reclaim the top spots – Updated after Match 4



The Indian Cement Company Ground in Tirunelveli hosted the fourth match of the Tamil Nadu Premier League 2022 between Salem Spartans and Nellai Royal Kings on Saturday (June 25).

After being asked to bat first, the Salem Spartans batters never got going as they only managed to score 149 in their 20 overs, losing seven wickets. Daryl Ferrario top-scored with 60* and was well-supported by R Kavin, who scored 48. The Royal Kings’ bowlers bowled brilliantly, with Athisayaraj Davidson and NS Harish finishing with two wickets each.

The batters then stepped up and backed up their bowlers as they contributed and helped them chase down the total. A fantastic cameo from G Ajitesh (48* off 25 balls) helped the side get across the line with 14 balls to spare to win the game by five wickets. G Kishoor finished with two wickets but his side failed to defend the total.

TNPL 2022 most runs list

Kaushik Gandhi in action (Image Courtesy: Times of India)
Kaushik Gandhi in action (Image Courtesy: Times of India)

Laxmesha Suryaprakash of Nellai Royal Kings scored 62 in their first game and continued his rich form with the bat by scoring 35 against the Salem Spartans. He is currently leading the run-scorers list with 97 runs.

Uthirasamy Sasidev follows Suryaprakash in the list with 73 runs in two games. The right-handed batter represents Chepauk Super Gillies and has looked good in both outings so far. Chepauk Super Gillies skipper Kaushik Gandhi and S Harish Kumar are in the third and fourth positions as both have scored 65 runs so far.

TNPL 2022 most wickets list

Sanjay Yadav in action (Image Courtesy: myKhel)
Sanjay Yadav in action (Image Courtesy: myKhel)

Sanjay Yadav of Nellai Royal Kings leads the most wickets column with three scalps to his name in two games. He has bowled brilliantly for the Nellai Royal Kings and averages 17 with the ball. Yadav also bowls economical spells and is certainly a player to look out for in the competition.

The Chepauk Super Gillies have lost both games but R Alexander has been impressive for them. He went wicketless in the first game but stepped up on Saturday as he picked up three wickets, conceding only 20 runs in his four overs. He sits in the second position on the most wickets list.

Kiran Akash, NS Harish, and V Athisayaraj Davidson have each picked up three wickets and are behind R Alexander in the list. They will all look to keep performing in a similar fashion in the upcoming games.

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Blue Jays recall catcher Zack Collins, active vs. Brewers on Saturday



Toronto Blue Jays’ Zack Collins, centre, celebrates with George Springer, left, after they and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) scored on Collins’ three-run home run against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Houston. Toronto Blue Jays’ Zack Collins, center, celebrates with George Springer, left, after they and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) scored on Collins’ three-run home run against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning of a baseball game. (David J. Phillip/AP)

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