Good Week/Bad Week

We pick out the winners and losers from the last seven days in sport

By Alex Williams.   Last Updated: 25/11/13 4:46pm

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Australia: Have the upper hand in the Ashes after crushing win in first Test

Australia: Have the upper hand in the Ashes after crushing win in first Test

Sky Bet

Another week in the world of sport has given us another group of heroes and villains to analyse.

A packed sporting menu allowed us to enjoy the start of the Ashes, a blockbuster British boxing bout, the return of the Premier League as well as dramatic rugby internationals from both codes.

Here we look back on all the drama and pick out our selection of the best and the worst from the last seven days.

Good week

Australia

The hosts struck a damaging blow in the first Test of the 2013-14 Ashes series, thrashing arch rivals England by 381 runs in an explosive clash at the Gabba.

After suffering their third straight Ashes defeat earlier in the year, a response was expected with the Aussies back on home turf. And it came, in spectacular style.

Previously-maligned seamer Mitchell Johnson was at the forefront of causing an incredible England collapse in the first innings, with the tourists unable to fare much better second time around as they slumped to an embarrassing defeat.

England now have an almighty regrouping job on their hands while even a sledging controversy involving captain Michael Clarke could not divert attention away from Australia's crushing success.

New Zealand

The All Blacks made history at the weekend when they became the first side in the professional era to go through an entire calendar year with a 100 per cent record.

It looked as though they would fall at the final hurdle when they slipped to a 19-0 deficit against Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, with a partisan crowd sensing the equally-momentous achievement of claiming a first win against rugby union's most famous team.

However, the visitors fought back and grabbed a 14th win of 2013 with the last kick of the game as Aaron Cruden converted Ryan Crotty's dramatic try.

Manchester City

City may have registered just one away win in the Premier League so far this season, but at home they have never been in any real danger of failing to pick up the three points.

Their latest performance at the Etihad was arguably their most impressive as Tottenham were brushed aside in brutal fashion, Andre Villas-Boas' side being subjected to a ruthless 6-0 thrashing.

City have scored 13 goals and conceded none in their last two home league games and, if they can sort out their travelling troubles, a second league title in three seasons could be waiting.

Cue Card

Colin Tizzard's charge was the toast of Haydock after taking the honours in a thrilling renewal of the Betfair Chase.

Cue Card took the step up to three miles plus in his stride as he ran a top-class field into the ground to win the Grade 1 race despite having failed on his only other effort at three miles in last season's King George.

Last year's winner Silviniaco Conti looked a big danger three from home, as did Dynaste, but jockey Joe Tizzard had still not asked for everything and after jumping the last Cue Card sprinted clear to win by four and a half lengths.

Bad week

Howard Foster: Stepped in to stop world title fight between Carl Froch and George Groves

Howard Foster

The most highly-anticipated British fight of the year between Carl Froch and George Groves delivered on the hype and then some, but many believed its ending was unsatisfactory.

IBF and WBA super-middleweight champion Froch was a big favourite going into the bout but was shockingly floored with a thunderous right hand from the challenger in the opening round.

Groves went on to dominate the early stages as he backed up Froch with jabs and more straight rights, but the Nottingham fighter somehow started to come forward and eventually forced his way into the fight.

Froch may have been moments away from a heroic, come-from-behind clean knockout win in the ninth round but referee Foster elected to step in a bit prematurely, meaning a boxing classic was brought to an anticlimactic finish.

Lewis Hamilton

A week which began with his comments on team radio being questioned ended with the 2008 world champion falling foul of the stewards.

The Mercedes driver appeared to give conflicting instructions to his race engineer Peter Bonnington at the United States Grand Prix, but a frustrated Hamilton insisted the dialogue was misconstrued.

Any hopes of putting the issue to bed with a strong performance in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix were then scuppered when he was given a drive-through penalty for a collision with Valterri Bottas, denying him the chance to fight for a podium place.

Stuart Manley

A hole-in-one does not normally lead to disappointment, but that was certainly the case for Welshman Manley at the World Cup of Golf in Australia.

The 34-year-old carded an ace at the third hole on Saturday and quickly began eyeing up a new Mercedes Benz, which he thought would be the reward for his feat.

But he was subsequently told that the vehicle was only available for a hole-in-one on Sunday, and to make matters even worse he went on to take 11 (yes, eleven) shots at the next hole to drop out of contention.

England

England were mere seconds away from reaching the Rugby League World Cup final on Saturday when they were denied a shot at the global title in the most agonising of circumstances.

Holding an 18-14 lead and with opponents New Zealand at midfield with the hooter approaching, Steve McNamara's side looked like sure winners.

But the Kiwis improved their field position after a high tackle from George Burgess and Shaun Johnson then danced over the line before converting his own try with time expired.

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