Allan Borders 1989 Ashes tour was my first major assignment as a journalist. On the first day of the fifth Test at Trent Bridge, as Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh were batting out the whole day on the way to an opening stand of 329, a colleague and I, with our deadlines passed, decided to have a well-earned pint. As we chatted in the Members pavilion, I looked up at the row of old bats screwed onto the panelling above the bar. There, in the centre, was a dark brown one with a metal plaque under it which said it was Victor Trumpers bat from his legendary 1902 tour to England.On that tour Trumper made 11 first-class centuries, one of them in a session in the Old Trafford Test. Admittedly the rest were made against the counties but, as ever with Trumper, it was the style of those innings that became part of the legend. Trumper entertained the English crowds and, as he always did, he won their hearts. He scored quickly and with great flair, prompting Wisden Cricketers Almanack to describe him as the best batsman in the world.Id always been intrigued by the legend of the tall, dashing batsman who played with carefree grace. In the history books I read as a boy that he was described as Australias greatest batsman before Don Bradman. But it was legend of the man himself that made him special. Bradmans legend was based on unbelievably phenomenal statistics. He was the run machine par excellence. Trumper was the artist, the genius who cared more for his team-mates and his fans than for his place in the record books. Trumpers status could easily be missed by a look through the statistics, but to read a biography was, and still is, to be entranced by a man as charming off the field as he was on it.Trumper was generous to a fault, casual in his dress, kind to children, and greatly loved by opponents and team-mates. Truly, a romantic figure. Trumper ran a sports store in Sydney but was no great success as a businessman. He was not hard enough, giving free equipment or discounts to people short of funds. During his career, there was a stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground called the Penny Stand - because it cost a penny to get in. Legend has it that Trumper would always arrive early enough, and with pockets full of enough loose change, to walk over to the side of the ground opposite the dressing rooms to hand out pennies to poor boys hoping to get in. They came to expect Vic to give them a day at the famous ground to see their heroes in action.Steve Waughs love of his battered old baggy green cap was inspired by Trumpers attitude to his Australian skull cap. He cherished it and never wanted a new one. To him, the first was so precious that a replacement would not do. He was also celebrated for his casual approach to his playing clothes. Not for him the adage that if you cant be a cricketer you should at least look like one. After a days play Trumper would roll up his cream trousers and drop them in his kitbag. The next morning he would simply unfurl them, put them on and head out for the days play. He was obviously interested in substance rather than appearance, and I loved him for it. One of the reasons Trumpers Test average ended below 40 was that he never sought easy runs. If the weather was fine and the pitch flat he usually threw his wicket away to give his team-mates a chance to make runs. But when the pitch was wet and treacherous, Trumper, as the senior batsman, would take full responsibility. This was not merely a whim. It is said that at New South Wales practice sessions he would slip the groundsman a shilling or two to prepare one wet wicket at the far end of the table. After a net on a good pitch, he would go up to the end and practise on a sticky. I remember going to the same nets for a state squad practice session and looking up to the far end and wondering if that was the strip the great Trumper used for his wet-weather practice.Years earlier I was a teenager playing lower grades in Sydney club cricket. One day we played at Redfern Oval, a summer dustbowl of a ground ravaged by a winter of rugby league. Before play, as we inspected the unwelcoming pitch, a team-mate pointed out to me a window on the second storey of a building across the road, behind the sightscreen. He said it was the window Trumper broke with a straight drive about 60 years before. It was a big, big hit. The window had been left broken for years, in tribute to the great batsman. It had been repaired by the time I saw it. I think the building is sill there but the state government has major plans to develop the area and who knows what fate awaits it.I once saw some action footage of Trumper batting. Hes wearing a large white hat, looks tall and elegant - more the shape of Rahul Dravid than Sachin Tendulkar. Hes facing a fast bowler and late-cuts him with aplomb, a classy, clever shot and exactly what youd expect from a batsman said to have had three shots for every ball. The only other footage Ive seen of Trumper is that of his funeral at Waverley cemetery in the eastern suburb of Sydney in 1915. Like so many romantic heroes, Trumper died young, at 37, after a few years of sad, public decline. It was a heros funeral, the horse-drawn hearse followed by dignitaries and the parade watched by thousands of the fans who loved their Vic more than any other player.If the mature Bradman stands for the ruthless pursuit of success that typifies modern Australian cricket, Trumper stands for the spirit of an earlier age, for a more carefree approach that put style and entertainment above results.And yes, my colleague and I had a ritual pint under that bat every afternoon of that Test back in 1989. Tom Glavine Jersey Large . Each of Houstons starters scored in double figures as the Rockets improved to 2-0 against the Spurs this season, with both victories coming on the road. They also moved within 3 1/2 games of San Antonio (22-7) for the lead the Southwest Division. 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At Test match level you can talk about all sorts of game plans but it comes down to 15 players having the right attitude to go out to implement what they have trained all their lives to do. And that was missing in Chicago for the All Blacks.Going into their review about what went wrong, I think those inside the All Blacks environment will put their hands up and admit that, two years ago, going to Chicago and having such a great time in the party atmosphere before taking on the United States and thrashing them, probably had some psychological connection with their performance this time around in the Windy City.Ireland had so much to play for in front of a lot of Irish immigrants who live in Chicago - it was actually like a home away from home for them. For the fans who came out, it was a huge, huge occasion. I even went out and purchased some Guinness to share in the event.Hats off to Ireland. Well done, they were clearly the better team on the day. They deserved that win and to get the monkey off their back of never having beaten the All Blacks is such a good thing, now they can go into a game without that doubt.We need rugby to be on a level playing field where any team can lose and any team can win, and it just gets rid of that invincibility tag where Ireland have always looked at the All Blacks as being invincible. Now there are players who have beaten the All Blacks and they know they can beat them, and the confidence of knowing that is a really good thing.Its cant be just Australia and South Africa, and occasionally England every 10 years, who can beat the All Blacks. We want everyone to be close enough so that every now and then there is a close battle. What Ireland has achieved is a good thing for world rugby.I have to say I watched the haka and cringed. Someone didnt do their homework in the All Blacks camp.dddddddddddd Knowing a little bit about the Irish mentality and having had a 64-Test cap veteran and ex-Munster coach Anthony Foley die recently, with all the players wearing black armbands and having a moments silence for him before the game, and knowing what that meant to the Irish team and the public, I thought pulling out the Kapa?O Pango haka was disrespectful.Ive been to funerals and you do the Ka Mate haka to honour a warrior and it is different to doing the battle cry, or war cry, of Kapa O Pango which is a more aggressive challenge.I thought, you guys havent done your research here, you havent actually thought through the process. Its not a case of not backing themselves, they are the All Blacks and they should back themselves. But it is being respectful and I thought the haka choice was disrespectful.From that moment after the haka, the Irish normally spill over the top, the adrenaline gets to them and they do something stupid. Its almost like they had a composure about them this time and normally you just dont see that in an Irish team. As a result, I wonder if part of their strategy was to slow the game down.It was a case of the All Blacks are fitter than us, there were injuries all the time. Every opportunity they had the game stopped and things were slowed down and they went at their pace. And they dictated that and took away that whole fitness element around the All Blacks.Im not saying this was cheating. It was a good, really well thought out tactic and the Irish went out and took it to the All Blacks. They were more physical than we were, they starved us of the ball and they punished us for not starting two decent lineout locks -- it was their day. ' ' '