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Kallis, Smith scored

The visitors South Africans have dominated the day three game in Dunedin against the host New Zealand. The safari’s elite batsmen Jacques Kallis and Captain Graeme Smith had scored centuries and kept their team in a strong position to win the game against the black caps. By the time the bails off from the wickets tourist are 233-run lead at stumps, with seven remaining to bat and Jacques Kallis at the crease on 107.
Kallis scored his 42nd Test hundred and turn as a second most prolific century-maker of all time surpassing former Australian test captain of Ricky Ponting’s
41- test centuries. Kallis joined his skipper in the morning after the early fall of two wickets.  Both the high prolific batsmen broke every game plan of the host, dominated the pacers and fairly answered the spinners.
Kallis took the advantage of the slow pitch and improved the run rate which was lesser that two in the early hours of the game. Smith played some brilliant leg side shots but was forced to be more reticent than usual because of high fielding attack in the slips. Both Men were successful in building a great partnership and steadily moved the score board which is going to be a great threat to the New Zealanders.
In the Morning New Zealand young pacer Doug Bracewell threatened the South Africans innings by taking all top three in the batting order. But due to lack of support from the fellow pacers the black caps were unable to break smith – Kallis partnership.

Liverpool’s Carling Cup final victory is crucial for their confidence and Champions League ambitions


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As Arsenal discovered when they lost to Birmingham City in last year’s final, the difference between winning and losing at Wembley, at this stage of the season, can be monumental.

This time last year, Arsenal were chasing four trophies and ended up with nothing after losing to Birmingham. The malaise has extended into this season, with Arsène Wenger’s team now battling just to qualify for the Champions League.

In contrast, Liverpool’s penalty shoot-out victory against Cardiff will have given Kenny Dalglish’s team an incredible injection of confidence, belief and crucial momentum at what is approaching crunch time in the season.

For a club of Liverpool’s stature, the priority this season has to be qualification for the Champions League and I believe they simply had to win at Wembley to sustain that ambition.

If things had gone the other way and Cardiff had emerged with the trophy, who knows how Liverpool would have reacted? But what happened to Arsenal last year only proves the damaging effects of failure on the big stage.

By winning, however, Liverpool now have the opportunity to go from strength to strength and capitalise on the cathartic effect of ending the club’s six-year wait for a trophy.

Six years without a trophy is a barren run for Liverpool, there can be no escaping that reality. When Steven Gerrard lifted the FA Cup in 2006, neither he nor the club’s supporters could have imagined they would have to wait so long to enjoy success again.

Just over 12 months ago, when Roy Hodgson was struggling to turn things around at Liverpool, there was a real sense of doom and gloom about the place, with people beginning to worry that the club might never make it back.

But while winning the Carling Cup is a fantastic moment for Liverpool, nobody at Anfield will be truly content until the club is back in the Champions League and that is what the remainder of this season is all about.

From my point of view, I would take fourth place ahead of the Carling Cup and FA Cup every time, but Liverpool now have to be greedy and aim to win both cups and ensure they return to Europe’s elite. Success in the Carling Cup can be the first step towards Champions League qualification and the uplifting effect that it would have on Liverpool, however.

The club’s American owners are pragmatic people and they are not going to pump money into the team unless they believe there will be some return in terms of success and silverware.

When you get a trophy on the board, however, everybody at the club acquires the taste for more, from the owners, through to the players and on to the supporters.

But for Liverpool to really make strides towards competing for the Champions League and Premier League titles once again, they have to finish in the top four this season.

Only when that happens will the club be in a position to attract the very best players by offering them the platform on which they all want to perform. Liverpool has great history and tradition, but when you are trying to sign top players, what they all want is Champions League football.

If clubs can offer that and be willing to pay big wages, then teams that benefit from the history and tradition that the likes of Liverpool possess, are suddenly able to attract the top talent.

That is why Liverpool have to get themselves back into the Champions League. If they want to win the Premier League, they must first qualify for the Champions League in order to make Anfield an attractive destination once again for the best players in the world.

Winning the Carling Cup can be the first step in the road to achieving those aims, however, because the momentum it will provide can be a big, big thing.

Success generates success. It lifts you onwards and upwards and, straight away, will give Liverpool a real boost as they prepare to face Arsenal at Anfield in a crucial game for both clubs’ Champions League aspirations on Saturday.

Kenny Dalglish, while delighted to win a trophy in his first full season back at the club, knows that Liverpool remain a work in progress.

But he will also be thinking that, if the team can qualify for the Champions League and then attract two or three top quality players to Anfield, they will have a chance next season. That’s why the Carling Cup could be so important.

Sporting backheel sinks City in Lisbon

Manchester City have work to do in their Europa League last-16 second leg after falling to a narrow 1-0 first leg defeat at Sporting Libson’s Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Brazilian defender Xandao condemned a below-par City to defeat from a match in which neither side exerted themselves with any great authority in the first half.
Xandao beat Joe Hart with a clever close-range backheel after 51 minutes as the Portuguese side controlled most of the encounter without ever enjoying a sustained period of pressure.
Hart also made two good saves, but City did have chances with Gareth Barry and Aleksandar Kolarov going close and Sergio Aguero almost breaking through late on as his shot was hacked off the line by the goalscorer.
There were appeals for a penalty, but replays showed it had struck Xandao’s thigh.
Hart had to repel Joao Pereira’s powerful drive on 11 minutes before goalkeeper Rui Patricio did likewise at the other end to keep out Kolo Toure’s header from close range.
Barry then saw a shot swerve narrowly wide on 23 minutes with Patricio beaten.
Hart was at fault for the goal when it came as he spilled a dipping free-kick from Matias Fernandez to enable Xandao to pounce. It was his first goal for the Portuguese side.
Hart was quick to redeem himself just after the hour-mark as he spread himself to save from Ricky van Wolfswinkel after some lovely play by Emiliano Insua.
The arrival of Mario Balotelli for the disappointing Edin Dzeko midway through the second period seemed to perk up City. David Silva prodded an effort wide from Balotelli’s cross on 73 minutes while the former Inter striker hit the bar with a header late on, but it was not to be for the visitors who had dumped Sporting’s domestic rivals Porto in the last 32.
Yet Sporting’s wastefulness, particularly early on, will give the Premier League leaders hope they can still turn the tie around at the Etihad Stadium next Thursday.

Martin triple strike puts NZ on top

Medium fast bowler Chris Martin grabbed three wickets in four balls after tea to seize the momentum for New Zealand as they reduced South Africa to 191 for seven at the close of the first day of the first Test at University Oval in Dunedin.
Jacques Rudolph was 46 not out while Vernon Philander was on four at the close of the rain-effected day as New Zealand managed to wrest back the advantage after South Africa had returned from the tea break on a comfortable 86 for one.
Martin, however, produced an inspired spell of bowling that began when Graeme Smith chased a wide delivery and was caught for 53 in the first over after tea, before Jacques Kallis was snared by Ross Taylor at first slip for a two-ball duck in his next over.
He then trapped AB de Villiers lbw off the next ball, though South Africa’s limited overs captain reviewed the decision, which was upheld to leave the visitors struggling at 90 for four.
“It took me a while to get going but there was a bit more intensity in the wicket, we got a little bit of nibble, got the ball to swing a little and put it in good areas,” Martin said.
Rudolph survived the hat-trick delivery then combined with Hashim Amla in rebuilding the innings with a 66-run partnership before Amla (62) was caught by Taylor after the ball deflected off Kruger van Wyk’s gloves from the bowling of Daniel Vettori.
Mark Boucher was then run out for four after some smart work from Doug Bracewell at backward point before Dale Steyn was caught by Taylor after Martin Guptill had parried a simple catch to his captain, who bobbled the ball before grabbing it on the third attempt.
Alviro Petersen (11) was the only wicket to fall in the first session after rain delayed the start of play for nearly four hours, when he was trapped in front by left-arm seamer Trent Boult.
Petersen had initially been given not out by umpire Aleem Dar but Taylor used the decision review system to have it overturned.
“It was a good start but we need to get the wickets early tomorrow for it to show the good work we showed today,” Taylor said. “But we’re in a good position and so (I’m) semi-happy.
“We’ve got a big day tomorrow and hopefully we can make some early inroads and then make a good start with the bat.”
Should South Africa sweep the three-match series 3-0, they will take over the world number one Test ranking from England.

Power of run

TEENAGER Luke Chaffer was the toast of Kingscliff last night after winning the under-14 board race for host club Cudgen Headland at the NSW State Age Surf Life Saving Championships.
With the championships moved two kilometres north of the clubhouse, due to beach erosion, the home beach advantage was almost non existent for Chaffer but a couple of training sessions on the break where he was victorious was enough to see off the opposition.
Chaffer ensured he was in the box seat with a powerful start that had him ahead of North Cronulla’s Lochie Davis.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Chaffer told The Northern Star.
“He pulled onto the same wave as me but I knew I had a better line to the finish.
“I was pretty confident and just went for it.”
Later this week the open championships will be staged on the same stretch of beach with Chaffer to step up to the under-15s arena where he’ll have a crack at the surf race, board and ironman events.
“I’d like to make it to a final but that is a bit of a push going up against the bigger boys,” Chaffer said.
The Cudgen Headland club had an excellent carnival finishing 20th overall with Manly taking out their third consecutive pointscore.
Jacinta Greenup won the under-14 girls’ board riding event, the club’s team of Tahlia Jones, Nina Jackson and Page Armstrong were second in the under-13 girls’ board relay while Tamsin Bell collected a bronze medal in the under-9 girls’ board.
Byron Bay collected medals in the under-13 boys’ board riding with Thomas Rowley placing third while India Hembrow, Healey Smith and Freya Peacock picked up silver in the under-10 girls’ board relay.
Lennox Head’s Bradley Hunt was victorious in the under-11 boys’ beach sprint and Jack Alder wore a silver medal home after finishing second in the under-12 boys’ board.
Brunswick’s Beau Carter won the under-9 boys’ beach sprint and Seth Carter was second in the under-8 wade.
Liam Foster from the Yamba club was third in the under-12 boys’ beach sprint.

Hot-hitting Canes

The University of Miami baseball team used a combination of dominating pitching performances, timely hitting and poor fielding from the University at Albany Great Danes to outscore its opponent from upstate New York 38-10 in a three game sweep at Alex Rodriguez Park.

Wins Slam Dunk Contest

Evans endeared himself to the fans with a mix of props and creativity, and they voted him the winner of one of the marquee events of the NBA’s All-Star Saturday festivities.
Evans, who got into the competition as a replacement for injured New York guard Iman Shumpert, earned 29 percent of the 3 million votes cast by fans. He beat out Houston’s Chase Budinger, Indiana’s Paul George and Minnesota’s Derrick Williams for the Jazz’s first-ever trophy in the contest.
In a departure from past dunk competitions, fans were given complete voting power and cast their ballots by text message after each of the four participants competed in three one-dunk rounds.
Evans dunked with a camera on his head, slammed two basketballs while jumping over a seated assistant and donned a Karl Malone jersey while dunking over mailman-dressed comedian Kevin Hart.
Budinger got just as many cheers from the Amway Center fans as Evans, and some in the celebrity-filled crowd sighed when the winner was announced.
Budinger got his loudest cheer when he donned a Cedric Ceballos jersey and imitated his 1992 blindfolded dunk, completing it with a reverse slam.
Kevin Love knows something about dunking. He does most of his dirty work inside for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he got to show off his outside touch on Saturday night.
Love beat out Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant to win the 3-Point Shootout.
The former UCLA star was consistent throughout, but had to survive a tiebreaker in the first round and sweat out the last few shots from Durant to pull out the 17-14 victory in the final.
Love is in the middle for a breakout year for Minnesota, averaging 25 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. But he also has connected on 49 of 141 3-point attempts for the Timberwolves.
Celebrities lined the court for the appetizer before Sunday’s NBA All-Star game, and the first event saw the continuation of the good vibes that New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has brought to the Big Apple recently
With Knicks super fan Spike Lee looking on, Team New York had the touch from the outside and won the Shooting Stars event. Former Knicks star Allan Houston nailed his third attempt at a half-court shot to give his team consisting of current Knicks guard Landry Fields and Cappie Pondexter of the WNBA’s New York Liberty the victory.
San Antonio point guard Tony Parker then won the Skills Competition. Parker was the only one of six participants to break 30 seconds in the first round (29.2) and this time of 32.8 in the final run on the obstacle course was better than Boston’s Rajon Rondo (34.6) and New Jersey’s Deron Williams (41.4).
Love was tied for third after the opening round of the Shootout and beat Miami’s Mario Chalmers 5-4 in a tiebreaker. Defending champion James Jones led all shooters in the opening round with 22 and Durant was next with 20.
Orlando’s Ryan Anderson just missed eliminating both Love and Chalmers, totaling 17 after missing his final 2-point money ball.
Love and Durant both had 16 in Round 2 to advance to the finals, with Jones posting 12.
Houston, Fields and Pondexter completed the shooting course in 37.3 seconds in the final round. It was better than the 47.6 posted by the Team Texas trio of former Houston Rockets star and TNT analyst Kenny Smith, current Rocket Chandler Parsons and Sophia Young of the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Team Orlando and Atlanta posted the slowest times of Round 1 and were eliminated.
The speedy Parker put together an impressive display on the skills obstacle course, which involves participants moving through a dribbling circuit, successfully throwing chest passes through a hanging tire and driving for a layup.

Administration IBA sports gala concludes

Annual sports gala of Punjab University Institute of Business Administration concluded in a colourful certificate distribution ceremony which was presided over by Director Sports Prof Dr Mansoor Sarwar.
IBA Director Prof Dr Ehsan Malik, Additional Director Sports Attia Mumtaz, Director Human Resource CCL Pharmaceutical Dr Abdul Sallam Babar, faculty members, employees and students participated on the occasion. Addressing the ceremony, Dr Sarwar said that healthy body was a must for healthy mind. He said that a great benefit of gaming was that it created sportsmanship and tolerance in the life.
He lauded Prof Dr Ehsan Malik for successfully organizing sports gala and said as he was himself a sportsman, he took care of sports activities in the institute. Prof Dr Ehsan Malik in his welcome address said that our body had a right on us and even a healthy body was needed to perform religious obligations. Earlier, cash prizes of Rs one hundred and fifteen thousand, trophies, certificates and shields were distributed among candidates and teams who showed outstanding performance in the annual sports gala.

Pakistan after serving sentence in UK

LAHORE: Convicted fast bowler Mohammad Amir has returned home after serving a three-month term at the young offenders institute in Weymouth on spotfixing charges, Geo News reported.
After his arrival at the airport, he refused to talk to media and sped towards his home.
His British lawyer has also accompanied him to Pakistan.
Sources say she was here to appeal against a 5-year ban slapped on the teen cricket star by the ICC.
Amir was released from the jail at the start of this month and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) handed over his passport to his solicitor three days ago.
The 19-year-old Amir was found guilty in a scandal that rocked the cricket world in 2010. Amir, and fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif along with captain Salman Butt took bribes from bookie Mazhar Majeed to bowl no-balls in a Test match against England at Lord’s.

Sports ministry approves foreign training

NEW DELHI:The Steering Committee on Athletics for Olympics, 2012 constituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Sports) has approved the foreign training of following 9 Athletes along with their coaches under National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) Scheme. These Athletes have either qualified for Olympics 2012 or are likely to qualify. (more…)

Arsenal’s star player Robin van Persie

Arsenal’s star player Robin van Persie is ready to start talks about staying with the club
Arsenal are hopeful of finally opening contract talks with Robin van Persie and his representatives over the next month.

The club captain and talisman is out of contract next year and has so far refused to publicly discuss his long-term future, but the indications are that he is now prepared to hold provisional talks with the Arsenal hierarchy.

It remains unlikely that any deal will be finalised before the end of the season — and there is clarity over Arsenal’s Champions League status — but Van Persie’s willingness to listen would still be an extremely positive step forward for the club.

It is understood that Arsenal are considering an offer whereby Van Persie would be paid a substantial ‘renewal’ fee in addition to significantly improved terms on a salary that is currently around £80,000 a week.

Van Persie will be aware that other players of comparable world-class quality are on around double that wage, with Arsenal considering a rise that would take him beyond £100,000 a week.

Arsenal have around £55 million available to invest in the squad and must balance the desire to renew Van Persie’s contract with having funds to spend this summer on new players.

Wenger’s budget includes player wages, creating a quandary over how much money is directed towards the renewal of contracts.

Even if Van Persie does not accept the likely offer from Arsenal of a four-year contract, his departure this summer is not a foregone conclusion.

Arsenal seriously considered holding Samir Nasri to his contract last summer and, if the same scenario arises with Van Persie, there will be a strong argument to keep him for another season even if he could then leave for nothing in the summer of 2013.

Van Persie is the Premier League leading goalscorer and, at such a pivotal moment in Arsenal’s history, is clearly of greater short-term importance than Nasri.

With Van Persie turning 29 in August, there is also no guarantee that leading European clubs will be prepared to pay a transfer fee in excess of £20  million.

A significant squad overhaul is under consideration this summer, however, with Andrei Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott all in the final 18 months of their contracts.

The expectation is that talks will also be held with representatives of both Walcott and Rosicky over the next month, with Dick Law, the club’s lead negotiator, now focusing on existing player contracts following the closure of the January transfer window.

Rosicky is expected to agree a one-year contract but, as with Van Persie, the situation with Walcott is unlikely to be resolved until Arsenal’s season has ended.

Preliminary talks have been held between Arsenal and Walcott but no formal offer has been made.

Arshavin appears unlikely to be offered a new contract and, although Anzhi Makhachkala are expected to launch a fresh bid ahead of the closure of the Russian transfer window on Friday, he is likely to stay at Arsenal until at least the end of the season.

Others who could depart on loan before the end of the season include Lukas Fabianski and Ju Young Park.

Arsenal’s strategy in relation to player contracts is likely to be addressed at a board meeting this Thursday that will be attended by Wenger and the club’s majority owner Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal do still have the fourth highest wage bill in the Premier League but there is an argument there should be a larger gap between their stars, such as Van Persie, and more average squad players.

The short-term focus, though, is Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham and staying ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle in the battle to finish fourth.

Arsenal have been boosted by the news that Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs should return in defence.

There is also the hope that Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby will still play a part in the run-in to the season.

England win toss and bat against Pakistan

ABU DHABI: England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and chose to bat in the first day-night international against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi Stadium here on Monday.Routed 3-0 in the preceding Tests by Pakistan, England brought in new faces in Steven Finn, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara for the four-match one-day series.

Pakistan kept the same combination which beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the only one-day played in Sharjah on Friday, resisting the temptation to play left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman.TeamsPakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik.

England: Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.Umpires: Simon Taufel (AUS) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)TV umpire: Kumara Dharmasena (SRI)Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)(AFP)

Khan v Peterson rematch set

LONDON: Amir Khan will fight Lamont Peterson on May 19 in Las Vegas after the Briton was granted his wish for a rematch after his controversial loss to the American last December, his promoter said on Thursday.Khan lost his WBA super-lightweight and IBF light-welterweight belts in Lamont s home city of Washington in December on a split decision having been docked two points by the referee for pushing.His camp criticised the referee s actions and were shocked by television replays showing a mystery man in a hat talking with a judge ringside, prompting the WBA to order a rematch.

The mystery man was identified as Mustafa Ameen, who is an IBF volunteer helping cash-strapped boxers. He denied interfering with the judges scorecards. (Reuters)

England lost to Pakistan due to taking too long a winter break

Graeme Swann rubbishes Andy Flower’s claim England lost to Pakistan due to taking too long a winter break
Graeme Swann refuses to accept England coach Andy Flower’s claim that the whitewash defeat to Pakistan was in large part due to the fact the side arrived in the UAE underprepared after taking an extended two month winter break.

After the No 1 Test side in the world were humbled by an impressive Pakistan over the three match series, Flower suggested that giving his players two months off from the game ultimately left them under cooked.

“I don’t think our commitment and our hunger to win has been down,” Flower said immediately after the end of the third Test.

“But [we spent a] couple of months out of the game and not doing a lot while Pakistan were beating Sri Lanka and working hard to beat Bangladesh and that hardened them up for this contest.

“Looking back now I don’t think we were ready. I shoulder that side of the blame because it was my decision to give them that time off. We won’t let that happen again.”

However, Swann, writing in a national newspaper column, insists that the rest was well earned and England’s failure was simply a result of failing to deal with playing spin in Asia.

“I believe we have the right personnel, it is just a matter of confidence,” Swann wrote.

“I don’t accept that spending some rare time at home in November and December contributed to our loss here.

“It was the first time in 20 years that England players have been at home for the two months leading up to Christmas. If players are to retain the energy levels and passion needed to play for England, selective breaks are crucial.”

Swann believes accusations of complacency after scaling the summit of the Test rankings are also unfounded.

“To me, they are just excuses,” wrote Swann. “We lost because we did not bat well enough against Pakistan’s spin bowlers.

“Our stated ambition is to be acknowledged as one of the best teams ever — alongside the Windies of the 1980s and the Aussies of the 1990s and 2000s. We want to leave a legacy of excellence.

“But that isn’t going to happen unless we learn to cope better with the complexities of batting against men such as Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.

“And learn fast, too, because we have a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka next month and four Tests in India later this year.

“Some people have also suggested we accepted too many plaudits and backslaps after reaching No 1 and took our feet off the pedal. Again that is very easy to say. This is a very committed bunch, complacency is a no-go area.

“If we’d chased 145 in the Second Test and built a decent first-innings total in the Third Test, many of these questions would not be asked.

“That’s the infuriating thing — we believe we should have won the series. But that will not blind us to our deficiencies. At other times, we were awful.”

Irish cricketer Kevin O’Brien eager for IPL chance

imageIreland’s Kevin O’Brien will hope for more good news from Bangalore when the Indian Premier League players’ auction takes place in the southern Indian city on Saturday.

It was in Bangalore last year where O’Brien scored the fastest World Cup century of all time during Ireland’s sensational win over England.

O’Brien got to three figures in just 50 balls and finished with 113, including six sixes and 13 fours, in a magnificent display of clean hitting as Ireland won by three wickets with seven balls to spare. (more…)

Wenger eyes Champions League despite Bolton draw

imageArsene Wenger has insisted Arsenal can still finish in the top four of the Premier League and qualify for next season’s Champions League, despite a disappointing goalless draw at Bolton.
But the Gunners boss said every match between now and the end of the season will be like a “cup final” for his side after Wednesday’s setback.

Robin van Persie twice hit the woodwork as Arsenal wasted a host of chances against struggling Bolton, the draw at least ending a run of three consecutive defeats for the Gunners and ensuring Wenger did not lose four straight league games for the first time in his 16 years as the London club’s manager. (more…)

Championship triumph was a great day for generations of Lancashire players, says Jack Simmons

imageFor years, I’ve been telling everybody that I’ll be able to die happy when Lancashire win their first outright Championship since 1934. But I won’t be riding off into the sunset just yet.

All week I’ve been tempted to go down to Taunton to watch but on Thursday morning it looked certain that Warwickshire would win it and, even worse, maybe by a single point. So I decided to stay at home and watch their match against Hampshire on the telly again.

As the day unfolded it became impossible to watch and I had to keep switching over to the golf on the other channel. I’ve no idea who was playing or what tournament it was!

I played in some great Lancashire sides, under captains like Jack Bond and David Hughes. We won eight major one-day trophies in my career.

They were wonderful times. But ask any of the players involved which trophy they really wanted to win and they would all have said the same thing: the County Championship. Bringing it back to Old Trafford was always the dream.

As I was approaching the end of my career, we had younger players such as Mike Atherton, Neil Fairbrother and Warren Hegg and I was desperate to hang on for a while longer because I was convinced we would finally do it. But it never happened for me or for them. Now it has and we can all finally enjoy the moment. (more…)

Police called to Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew press conference

imagePolice were called to Nathan Cleverly’s and Tony Bellew’s press conference in Cardiff on Monday when trouble erupted involving the WBO light-heavyweight champion’s father, Vince Cleverly.

Cleverly Sr, his son’s coach, became involved in a row with a member of Bellew’s entourage while the fighters were taking part in one-on-one interviews. Cleverly Sr believed he was being mocked and had to be restrained. Calm was restored when police arrived and spoke to both parties. (more…)

McLaren’s Jenson Button admits the race for the Formula One Championship is over

imageFor the third successive year Button had to settle for runner-up in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, leaving him trailing winner Sebastian Vettel by 117 points with 150 available.

Button, however, concedes whilst the championship is drawing to a close, it will not stop his competitive instincts kicking in as he will keep on gunning for race wins in the final six events.

Asked if the title had now gone, the McLaren driver replied: “Yeah, there’s no chance. We’ve known that for a little while, but as drivers you want a bit of hope. It won’t change anything though.

“We’re still going to have amazing racing, like it has been in the last few races. Whatever we do, because we are racers, competitive, be it driving in F1, karting or triathlons, you want to win. (more…)

US Open champion Novak Djokokic insists he has much more to prove after victory over Rafael Nadal

imageSo, Novak Djokovic, how is the view from the top of the tennis world? We are here on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, 86 storeys above the yellow cabs honking at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.

It seems a suitably elevated position for the Serb to be drinking in his status as US Open champion, studying an almost limitless horizon on a pristine Manhattan morning. (more…)

Lancashire keep title dream alive after Somerset had threatened to close out game

imageLancashire (247-3) trail Somerset (380) by 133 runs

The contrast between the two Roses counties could not have been more startling on Tuesday. While Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves hit out at his players following relegation, Lancashire produced a fighting team performance to keep alive their title ambitions.

This Lancashire side may lack the star quality of sides of the past but they could still achieve the one accomplishment that was beyond the likes of Wasim Akram, Michael Atherton and Brian Statham by landing the championship. (more…)