There is “after the Lord Mayor’s show” and then there is “before the Ashes”, and I doubt there was much more than a coach driver holding up a scribbled sign to greet the New Zealand squad on their arrival at Heathrow. But it’s time to get interested…
When England popped down under earlier this year they were lucky to escape with a draw in the Test series. Despite key absentees in the Kiwis’ touring party, these two “curtain-raiser” Tests could prove unnerving. A reason to keep a close eye on an England team that may just have problems keeping their own eyes on the ball, given the trickier deliveries that lie ahead.
Cricket: England v New Zealand, First Test, from Lord’s on Thu at 10am and Fri at 10.30am on Sky Sports 1, from 10.45am on Radio 4 LW/5 Live Sports Extra
Big night in Glasgow
I’m really pleased that there’s boxing at the Emirates Arena, as the people of Glasgow rarely see any scrapping on a Saturday night. This “Fighting Pride of Scotland” event sees WBO lightweight world champion Ricky Burns fight José “Chelo” Gonzalez. The Puerto Rican challenger’s record of 22 wins in 22 is not a fair reflection of his ability, and he goes in with a simple puncher’s chance.
There are closer, more exciting encounters on the undercard, however, so if you’re tuning in, do so in time for John Simpson against Choi Tseveenpurev. Should be a belter.
Boxing: Ricky Burns v José Gonzalez, WBO lightweight world title bout begins on Saturday at 8pm on Sky Sports 1
Seven’s a magic number
No matter how many rugby players you throw on a field, more often than not New Zealand are superior. The Sevens series ends its global tour at Twickenham, with fancy footwork on the pitch and fancy dress in the crowd. If you have £25 and a bananaman costume, this is for you.
Rugby union: IRB Rugby Sevens on Sat at 10.30am, 5.30pm on Sky Sports 1/Sunday at 8.30am, 3.30pm on Sky Sports 4
Changing my tune
Having presented the Europa League on TV for years, I love its high profile this season, albeit due to the end of British interest in the Champions League. But the new version of the terrace taunt “Thursday night, Channel 5” — “Thursday night, ITV” — sadly doesn’t have the same ring.
Europa League final – Wed at 7.15pm (k/o 7.45pm) on ITV (or 7.30pm ITV4 — see listings)
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