Monday, April 30, 2007

ello ello What ave we ere??

Police appeal on rugby 'assault' Police are investigating an alleged assault on a rugby player during a match in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The Llantwit Major player suffered serious eye injuries in the game, which took place on the evening of Wednesday, 18 April.

He was taken to the Royal Glamorgan hospital in Talbot Green and is still receiving treatment.
South Wales Police want to hear from spectators at the match against Alltwen RFC, from the Swansea Valley.

Supporters and any other witnesses to the alleged incident are being urged to come forward.
Any witnesses can contact DC Steve Morgan at Llantwit Major CID on (01656) 655 555 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Story from BBC NEWS: 2007/04/30 12:30:24 GMT© BBC MMVII

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Face of Resignation

Says it all for Chelsea..........

Darryl does it for Swans

Carlisle 1-2 Swansea

Darryl Duffy kept Swansea City in League One play-off contention with an injury-time winner at Carlisle.

Duffy bundled the ball in after an Izzy Iriekpen shot was saved, but the home side were screaming for handball.

Lee Trundle gave the visitors a perfect start when he fired into the roof of the net after just 42 seconds.

Johann Smith equalised on 49 minutes with a header after hesitancy in the Swansea defence, but Duffy's fifth goal in four games gave the Swans victory.
There were ugly scenes at the end of the game as Carlisle fans invaded the pitch, and Swansea striker Trundle needed a police escort to make his way to the changing rooms.
The victory keeps Swansea outside the top of six on goal difference after Oldham secured a 2-1 win at Brighton.
Carlisle: Westwood, Raven, Livesey, Murphy, Aranalde, Gall (Holmes 90), Lumsdon, Thirlwell, Jeff Smith, Garner (Hawley 66), Johann Smith. Subs Not Used: Howarth, Joyce, Gray.
Booked: Raven, Aranalde.
Goals: Johann Smith 49.
Swansea: Gueret, Austin (Williams 71), Iriekpen, Lawrence, Tate (Amankwaah 56), Robinson (Abbott 86), O'Leary, Craney, Britton, Trundle, Darryl Duffy. Subs Not Used: Oakes, Monk.
Booked: O'Leary, Britton, Robinson.
Goals: Trundle 1, Darryl Duffy 90.
Att: 10,578
Ref: P Joslin (Nottinghamshire).

Story from BBC SPORT: 2007/04/28 16:00:15 GMT© BBC MMVII

I think the Swans can do it!!!!

Martinez worry for player safety

Swansea City boss Roberto Martinez has admitted he was worried for the safety of his players after a pitch invasion following Saturday's victory.

Carlisle supporters invaded the pitch following their side's 2-1 defeat to Swansea at Brunton Park.
And at one point in threatened to turn nasty with Swans striker Lee Trundle needing a police escort off the pitch.
"I was worried for the safety of my players. It was such a late goal and emotions were high," said Martinez.
The way we bounced back was a credit to the players Swans boss Roberto Martinez
"Lee, Kristian O'Leary and Izzy Iriekpen got caught up in it and they needed protection and the security did a fantastic job.
"It is hard for the FA but it is an important issue and one they need to look at. Maybe they need more security before the final whistle because the health and safety of the players is very important."
The Swans' play-off push continues after Darryl Duffy's late goal secured all three points for Martinez's side.
They are currently in seventh place on goal difference, and will secure a play-off place if they win and sixth placed Oldham slip-up on Saturday.
Martinez was delighted with the way his side played against Carlisle and the character they showed in scoring their late goal to secure all three points.
He said: "I wouldn't say we left it late, we performed from the first minute and I thought we should have had a bigger advantage at half-time.
"But we didn't and the character and the way we bounced back was a credit to the players.
"Both sides knew that they had to win and that made for a fantastic game it was really stretched and was box to box throughout.
"Carlisle came out second half and threw everything at as but the way we played made everyone very proud."
Goal-hero Duffy was delighted to score the winner, his fifth in four games.
He said: "The last minute is always a fantastic time to score and it made it even sweeter to get three points. They complained about hand-ball but it came off my chest.

"Both sides wanted to win the game and both teams had to go for broke and it was great to get maximum points."

Story from BBC SPORT: 2007/04/29 12:29:17 GMT© BBC MMVII

Glad I wasn't there

World Cup leaves sour taste

Jonathan Agnew - BBC cricket correspondent
29 Apr 07, 08:06 AM

It was a deeply frustrating World Cup - the third in a row that has spectacularly failed to live up to its billing - and one that will be remembered more for events off the field than glorious deeds on it.

The mysterious death of Bob Woolmer some time during the night after Pakistan’s shock defeat to Ireland, devastated the tournament. Even now it still seems incredulous that such a universally liked and respected man might have been murdered because of his involvement with cricket.

We still don’t know the outcome of the police inquiry in Jamaica, which completely overshadowed the World Cup – but early in the piece we were treated to two firsts: Herschelle Gibbs hitting six sixes off the unfortunate Daan van Bunge in St Kitts and the wild-haired Lasith Malinga almost routing South Africa with the first instance of four wickets in four balls in international cricket.

Oh that England could have produced anything remotely as entertaining or productive. They were insipid and uninspired, and their campaign was poorly planned. A miserable winter ended with the resignation of the coach, Duncan Fletcher.

Although their win over West Indies was one of the highlights of the World Cup, the quality of English cricket – and particularly its attitude towards one-day cricket finds itself under review - just 18 months after the triumph of winning the Ashes.

And that’s not all that’s under review. The format of the tournament, and the petty rules that stifled the natural enthusiasm of Caribbean cricket lovers, need to be urgently addressed.
Forty-nine days is far too long - there was no momentum for the players or the supporters - and after weeks of empty stands because of overpricing, the ridiculous rules that even included the need for conch shells to be registered before being blown were revoked.

You won’t find Ireland or Bangladesh complaining about any aspect of the tournament but it is clearly a dreadful error to devise a World Cup that can allow the remotest possibility of India and Pakistan being knocked out before it really gets going.

But the so-called minnows took their chance with Bangladesh beating India and South Africa, while Ireland then comfortably won the showdown between the two. That win - and the earlier one against Pakistan - should do wonders for cricket on the Emerald Isle.

The bottom line is, however, that there was not nearly enough exciting cricket played and the whole thing took far too long. Worse still the farcical final, which could have been played over two days, remember, was an embarrassment to anyone associated with cricket.

What an appalling advert for the game it was - and those responsible must never be allowed to administer a cricket tournament again.

Totally agree......................

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Obituary from the Telegraph ~ Alan Ball

Alan Ball
Last Updated: 11:21am BST 25/04/2007
World Cup winner Ball dies aged 61

Alan Ball, who died last night aged 61, was the youngest member of the England team which won the World Cup in 1966.

Like the majority of the midfield and forward players in the side, Ball came relatively late into Alf Ramsey’s thinking, winning his first cap little more than a year before the tournament (and three days shy of his 20th birthday).

He would prove, however, to be the epitome of the type of player Ramsey favoured, one who fashioned victory more through hard work and resilience of spirit than by languid acts of brilliance.

Yet it was not until half way through the competition that Ball came into his own, when Ramsey finally yielded to his head rather than to his heart, and decided to dispense with wingers in favour of a more tightly organised, essentially defensive unit.

Ball, who had been replaced after England’s opening game against Uruguay by a succession of ineffectual wide players, was thus recalled for the quarter-final against Argentina and instructed to work the full length of the left flank.

It was now that Ball’s formidable stamina became one of the side’s great assets, most notably in the Final itself against West Germany, in which he gave perhaps the best performance of any player.
Matched against the experienced but ponderous Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Ball first exhausted his opponent as an attacking threat by pulling him all over the pitch and then, as the second half wore on, increasingly started to beat him for pace down the line.

With the score level at 2-2 after 90 minutes, extra time was needed.

One consequence was that Ball’s father, watching in the stands, could wait no longer and had to leave Wembley to catch a flight, so missing his son’s finest moment in the match.
With 10 more minutes played, Nobby Stiles hit a long pass for Ball to chase along the wing. Ball’s first reaction was that he lacked the energy to gather it, but seeing Schnellinger running after it revivified his competitive edge.

He reached the ball first, and sent over a cross which Geoff Hurst, on the turn, hammered against the underside of the bar. It bounced down on the line, but was given as a goal, and England were ahead.

Little more than 15 minutes later they had won the World Cup 4-2. Ball was prominent in the joyous celebrations although, as he wistfully recalled in later years, he wished he had savoured them more as, at 21, he assumed that England won the World Cup every time it was held.
Alan James Ball was born at Farnworth, near Bolton, Lancashire, on May 12 1945, and educated at the town’s grammar school.

His father, who worked as a joiner and publican, had been a professional footballer and later managed Preston North End. It was he who guided his son’s early career and who persuaded Blackpool (then a First Division side) to sign him after he had been rejected by Wolves and Bolton as being, at 5ft 6ins, too short to be a footballer.

He made his debut for the Seasiders at 17, and quickly demonstrated his qualities as a player, notably remarkable fitness, aggression and, above all, a desire to win.
This last attribute, combined with a shortness of temper, often led him, when frustrated, into quarrels with teammates and referees alike, and in 1973 he became only the second England player to be sent off after he berated an official in a match against Poland.
He won his first international cap against Yugoslavia in 1965.
Following his success in the World Cup, Ball was transferred from Blackpool to Everton for £110,000, then a record between English clubs.

His arrival galvanised Harry Catterick’s already promising young side. Running tirelessly from midfield, Ball was the team’s top scorer in his first two seasons at Goodison, and netted nearly 60 goals in his first three years there.

In 1968 the team lost the FA Cup Final to West Bromwich Albion, but two years later they claimed the League Championship.

Catterick put a putative value on Ball of £1 million, but in 1971 Everton agreed to sell him to the Double winners, Arsenal, for £220,000, another transfer record. He had played 249 matches for the club and scored 78 goals.

He was, however, beginning to wane as an attacking force, and in his five years at Highbury he largely failed to recapture the goal-scoring touch he had had on Merseyside.
Nonetheless, he remained a dynamic tackler and a volubly inspirational presence in the dressing room (he was the young Liam Brady’s principal mentor), although he lost the only final that he contested with Arsenal, against Leeds in the FA Cup in 1972.

It was also while at Arsenal that his international career came to an end. He had played in all four of England’s matches in the 1970 World Cup and had been one of the side’s few successes in the tournament.

Characteristically, following their defeat by West Germany in the quarter-final, Ball hurled his tournament medal from his hotel window in disappointment.
He was subsequently appointed captain of the side by Ramsey’s successor Don Revie, but after falling out with the manager over discipline he was dropped from the team in 1975, having won 72 caps and scored eight goals.

In 1976, after 177 games and 45 goals for Arsenal, he moved to Southampton, then in the Second Division.

As captain, he pushed them to promotion in 1978, and a year later took them to a League Cup final against Nottingham Forest, although he again finished on the losing side.
Ball then embarked on a somewhat peripatetic progress between clubs that signalled his playing days were drawing to a close.
He spent part of 1978 in America as player-manager of Philadelphia Fury; then, in 1980, took on the same role with Vancouver Whitecaps.
From there he returned to Blackpool as player-coach, only for the side to be relegated, the first of all too many such failures for him as a manager.
He then had another season as a player with Southampton before, after a spell in Hong Kong, he finally retired in 1984 when on the books of Bristol Rovers.
He had made 745 league appearances in total, scoring 168 goals. Ball was the last of the World Cup-winning side to hang up his boots, and, with Jack Charlton, the only one to have had a lengthy career as a manager.
That he was able to work as a coach for some 15 years was, however, something of a mystery since, almost without exception, every club of which he took charge was subsequently relegated.
Following his first taste of this at Blackpool, his next appointment, at Portsmouth in 1984, started well enough.
After twice narrowly missing promotion to the First Division, the club did go up in 1987, only to come straight back down the next year.
Having parted company with Pompey, Ball moved to Colchester, who were promptly relegated, as were his next team, Stoke City, although only after he had been there for two years.
Understandably disillusioned by this run of fortune, Ball renounced management in 1991 and opened a pub at Maidenhead.
Six months later he was tempted back into the game by Exeter, but after three unsuccessful years there they too were relegated, to Division Three.
Ball’s reward was to be asked by Graham Taylor to help him coach England. In fairness to Ball, many of the teams of which he had been in charge were already struggling when he arrived, and in 1994 he made a decent fist of managing a big club when appointed, with Lawrie McMenemy, joint coach of Southampton.
The side finished 10th in the Premiership, and Ball agreed a three-year contract.
Two months later he jumped ship to Manchester City, who were relegated on goal difference on the last day of the next season.

Having been sacked by them, he made another poor go of the job at Portsmouth before retiring from management in 1999. He subsequently became a popular after-dinner speaker.
Ball’s unsuccessful managerial career meant that, from his forties onwards, he tended to be characterised simply as a ginger-haired, squeaky-voiced, somewhat embattled figure of fun.
Certainly he seemed not to know when he was beaten, and perhaps mentioned too readily his triumphs of 1966.

Yet that victory had been born of his hatred of defeat, and the story of English football since might have been rather different if subsequent generations of internationals had been blessed with the spirit expressed in his customary autograph: “Alan J Ball — WIN”.

Alan Ball was appointed MBE in 2000. His wife Lesley died three years ago. They had a son and two daughters.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Running ~ How to get started

5K/10K Training

5k Training Schedule 10k Training Schedule

Don't wait to take walk breaks. By alternating walking and running from the beginning, you speed recovery without losing any of the endurance effect of the long one. Start with jogging one to two minutes and walking two to three minutes.

As your training level increases you can adjust your run/walk ratio to running 5 minutes/walking one minute on your long runs.

Be sure to do the running portion slow enough at the beginning of every run (especially the long run) so that you'll feel tired but strong at the end. The conservatism will allow you to recover faster.

Every other day you can cross-train instead of walking. Cross country ski machines, water running, cycling, and any other other mode which you find fun and interesting (but non-pounding) will improve overall fitness.

Stay conversational on all of your exercise sessions. This means that you should be exerting yourself at a low enough level that you could talk. It's okay to take deep breaths between sentences, but you don't want to "huff and puff" between every word.

As the runs get longer, be sure to keep your blood sugar boosted by eating an energy bar (or equivalent) about an hour before exercise. Drink water continuously before and during exercise and with all food.

Jeff Galloway

Lel wins......................

Athletics (RRW): Lel Gets Second London Title In Thrilling Sprint Finish
From David Monti

© 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
LONDON (22-Apr) --

In a finish reminiscent of the 2003 Flora London Marathon, Kenyan Martin Lel won a four-man sprint on the Mall to take his second title here in 2:07:41. He also won here in 2005.
Making the final righthand bend before the finish line, Lel surged away from defending champion and compatriot, Felix Limo, world champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, and another Moroccan, Abderrahim Goumri. Goumri was the next best sprinter, finishing second in 2:07:44 in his debut at the distance. Limo finished third in 2:07:47 and Gharib, who did most of the pushing in the final kilometers, was fourth in 2:07:54.

"I corrected the mistake I made last year," Lel told the BBC, referring to how he lost last year's race in a two-man sprint against Limo.

Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie dropped out just past the 30-K mark. "I cannot move," Gebrselassie told the BBC shortly after leaving the course. "I don't know what's going on."

American Ryan Hall made an excellent debut, smashing the USA debut record of 2:09:41 held jointly by Alberto Salazar and Alan Culpepper. Hall finished seventh in 2:08:24, running at the front of the race until falling back in the final kilometers.

Conditions were warm. The temperature at the finish was 21C (70F) with 38% humidity under sunny skies.

Subscribe to the Runner's Web Weekly Digest

London Marathon today.......

  • Record numbers of runner
  • Record temperatures of over 23 degrees
  • Record crowds

AND not surprisingly no record times....................but millions raised for charity by the great GB public.

Well done Everyone!

England did what????????????????


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

C'mon ye Greens!

Thank you for the memories Ireland

Paresh Soni
18 Apr 07, 05:37 PM

Grenada - This was not the way it was supposed to end.

My two happiest memories of this tournament were the unforgettable days on which Ireland and their incredible supporters introduced themselves to a curious Jamaican public and the cricketing world with an astonishing tie against Zimbabwe and an even more remarkable win over Pakistan.
So to arrive at the National Stadium for their World Cup farewell against Sri Lanka and not see a line-up of leprechauns in the Party Stand was just not right.
In fact, try as I did, it was hard to find many folk from the Emerald Isle. When I spoke to those wearing Ireland replica shirts, the replies came in thick South African, Australian or Surrey accents. There appeared to be more Irishmen out on the field than in the stands.
This was no surprise because their incredible journey has been a costly one and ended for most in Guyana or Barbados. I counted on one hand the number of Irish media representatives here for the final hurrah.
Sympathy was plentiful in supply. Even maverick DJ Negus refrained from asking his usual question: “Who is going to win this one?”
While Farveez Maharoof and Muttiah Muralitharan were running through Ireland I came across Leo Garbutt, whose family hail from the west of Ireland.
He has been the owner of a hotel here for 20 years, an establishment which is home to a Gary Rhodes restaurant.
Leo told me ICC president Percy Sonn and chief executive Malcolm Speed were staying with him, while the Sri Lankan team celebrated Muralitharan’s 35th birthday there last night. He is hosting a party for the Ireland team and backroom staff on Thursday evening and I will be going along too to thank them.
Coach Adrian Birrell will be bidding adieu to his charges and has handwritten letters to each of them, which prompted a tear or two.
Plenty more will be shed in the hours leading up to their departure on Sunday, but most of them should be of joy.
For while they lost heavily in their final game, Birrell and his men have been among the biggest winners in this competition.

Jonathan Agnew's views on England

England in need of change

Jonathan Agnew - BBC cricket correspondent
17 Apr 07, 08:44 PM

Barbados - England did not deserve a place in the semi-finals - the only reason they were in with a sniff at all was because South Africa arrogantly underestimated Bangladesh - and Graeme Smith's team mercilessly drove that point home.
Every weakness in England's game was ruthlessly exposed and they were shown to be wholly inadequate to challenge the leading international teams.
The manner in which Ian Bell, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss calmly and routinely defended the new ball at the start of England's innings verged on the comical. This is not a new approach, but the one we are repeatedly told is the way that best suits England’s players. What a joke!

All that happened was Shaun Pollock and Charl Langeveldt were never pressurised, and were able time and again to pitch the ball up and swing it away from off stump. Not once was there an attempt to hit them off line or length. It became rather funny, in a sad sort of a way.
Of course, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers then showed England how you do bat at the start of a one-day innings. You don’t have to slog, but you have to play your strokes, not merely to score runs, but to snatch the initiative - something that is anathema to England. How they made James Anderson and the worryingly fragile Sajid Mahmood suffer.

Vaughan is a shrewd tactician and a good leader. He is also a fine Test batsman. However, his record as a one-day cricketer speaks for itself, and he should not be chosen again. You simply can’t carry people these days, captain or not, and he should be replaced by Paul Collingwood.
I believe that relationship will work not only because they are friends, but Collingwood has no realistic hope of leading the Test team, and therefore he should not tread on Vaughan’s toes.

And what about Duncan Fletcher?
This is a more complicated issue than merely replacing a captain, but it does seem now that a fresh face is needed. Fletcher has done a great deal for English cricket since taking over from David Lloyd, but new ideas and a more aggressive and positive approach has to be instilled.
Time is an issue, because the right man has to be chosen, but I don’t see any problem in Fletcher announcing now that he will stand down at the end of the summer, giving the England and Wales Cricket Board plenty of time to select his successor.

This defeat, and particularly the manner of it, was chastening, devastating, and embarrassing. Perhaps just as well that it was, because unlike the temporary distraction the CB Trophy created in the wake of the Ashes debacle, English cricket was laid absolutely bare at the Kensington Oval.

Change is necessary and unavoidable.


Irish Cricket.....wonderful performance...any of you eligible to play for England. All of you?????


You should be ashamed ~ All you England players taking good money for messing up. What a dreadful performance.

Fletcher ~ Thanks for what you've done and goodbye..........

Vaughan ~ Thanks for what you've done............isn't it time to consider your position? You're a bleeding handicap from the batting perspective.................goodbye

Rest of the team ~ Do you have any pride?...It could be goodbye unless you buck up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

England v South Africa

How England are still in this competition I'll never know. After a poor start, several stuttering performances, the failure of much of the batting and individual indescretions one wonders!!

But they are still here and a positive win today could put them into the semis. Seen it all before with the England soccer team.

But how will they fare against SA?

The South Africans have their problems and have not lived up to expectations, so I'm going to chance my arm and go with the following:

*An England win
*Vaughan to score more than 39 runs
*Freddie to perform with bat & ball


Monday, April 16, 2007

It's that man again ~ Hamilton

Hamilton confirms class in drive to history
By David Tremayne in Bahrain

Published: 16 April 2007

He said before the race that he hoped the result would create "a different championship" for him. Well, Felipe Massa certainly got that after a splendid third grand prix triumph for Ferrari. But the presence of Lewis Hamilton in a challenging second place, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and, more crucially, well ahead of his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso, has turned the series on its head.
The rookie sensation not only established a new mark by scoring three successive podium finishes in his first three races, but now shares the points lead with Alonso and Raikkonen, the men who were supposed to be the stars.
Yet again, it was a superb race. It began with Massa on pole position, desperate to redeem himself after his gaffe last week in Malaysia, Hamilton was alongside him on the front row for the first time in his Formula One career, and Raikkonen and Alonso were apparently discarded on row two.
As in Sepang, the start would be crucial. On the cleaner side of the grid Massa got away well. Hamilton, on the dirtier side, did a decent job and protected himself. Alonso failed to beat Raikkonen to the turn, but went around him as the Finn momentarily faltered midway through, while Nick Heidfeld signalled immediately that he would be a threat for BMW-Sauber.
The first stint went Massa's way, but Hamilton pushed him hard and was only a second adrift when the first pit stops began as he stopped on lap 19. Massa came in a lap later, followed on ensuing laps by Alonso and then Raikkonen. The Spaniard's late stop at least explained why he trailed Hamilton in qualifying, but this day he would have no answer to him.
Massa resumed the lead, and opened it to more than 10 seconds as Hamilton and Alonso struggled in the middle stint. The champion had already lost a place courtesy of Raikkonen's later pit call, and on the 32nd lap lost another when the underrated Heidfeld pulled off a wonderful passing move round the outside.
Hamilton was thus indisputably McLaren's prime hope, and girded with the harder compound Bridgestone tyres for the final stint, on lap 44, he changed status from the hunted in Sepang to the hunter in Sakhir. Massa's advantage shrank dramatically, from 7.6sec to 2.3sec by the flag. Raikkonen, by contrast, fell back while Alonso never made a move stick on Heidfeld.
Massa, eyes shining, savoured the success and sheepishly dedicated it to his girlfriend Rafaela, "because she had such a tough time last week". He added: "We put everything together and, hopefully, now we are back to fight. The championship is very, very close. The second stint was crucial, and in the third I had a few tenths' margin if I needed them, but that was not necessary."
Hamilton's performance once again was the highlight of the race, particularly as it left Alonso in the desert dust, and his new benchmark prompted a single-word response: "Sweet!"
It was another bitterly disappointing day for his countrymen - Jenson Button was taken out on the opening lap; David Coulthard's Red Bull failed him with a broken driveshaft after he had demonstrated that he has not forgotten how to overtake, and Anthony Davidson drove splendidly in the thick of some fantastic midfield fights only to suffer a cruel Honda engine failure near the end.
Hamilton's only real fright came as Davidson's Super Aguri spat a cloud of oil in his face. "It didn't cause me any trouble," he said. "I don't think I made any mistakes that cost me much. I struggled a bit on used tyres, locked up the brakes a couple of times, but otherwise it was pretty smooth. The car was good today so I had a base from which to put pressure on Felipe. We had great pace in the first stint and I could keep up with him. If I'd been able to get in front, I would have pulled away, I'm sure."
The first win thus remains to be secured, but it will come and it will come this year. Of that there is no doubt. And, as Hamilton demonstrated so clearly yesterday, he will have as much chance to fight for the world championship as the man who won it for the last two years.
"I don't see why not," Hamilton said matter-of-factly, the very calmness with which he accepted the idea a clear indication of what is really going on behind those warm brown eyes, "as long as I can keep up this consistency. For the remaining races I'm going to feel a lot more comfortable and try not to make any mistakes, and at McLaren we will all be trying to take advantage of the four-week break to the next race".
It is nine weeks since he was home and in that time his life and career have changed for ever. He reflected on that with the same mental precision he brings to his on-track performances. "It's been a fantastic achievement, and I am extremely proud. We have worked extremely hard to get where we are today, me and my family, and also the team, and I am looking forward to going home. The support is growing but I have not experienced it yet. It's all still new to me, so I hope I'm still able to walk on the streets."
If not, perhaps on water?
Great drivers trail in boy wonder's wake
Lewis Hamilton made history yesterday with a third podium finish on the trot.
Mario Andretti, Carlos Reutemann and Jacques Villeneuve all put their cars on pole position for their first race; Giancarlo Baghetti even won his. In 1970, Swiss racer Gianclaudio Regazzoni finished fourth for Ferrari in the Netherlands, fourth in Britain but retired in Germany.
That same season, Brazil's Emerson Fittipaldi was eighth on his debut for Lotus in the British GP and fourth at Hockenheim but retired in Austria. Michael Schumacher burnt his clutch out at the start of the 1991 Belgian GP, then finished fifth and sixth in Italy and Portugal.
Nobody, not even the greats, has achieved three podium finishes - third, second, second - in their first three grands prix. Get used to the Hamilton trivia; there will be more.
1 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 1hr 33min 27.515sec
2 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:33:29.515
3 K Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:33:37.523
4 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW-Sauber 1:33:41.315
5 F Alonso (Sp) McLaren 1:33:41.519
6 R Kubica (Pol) BMW-Sauber 1:34:12.520
7 J Trulli (It) Toyota 1:34:48.518
8 G Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:34:49.215
9 H Kovalainen (Fin) Renault 1:34:56.915
10 N Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:34:56.524
11 A Wurz (Aut) Williams at 1 Lap
12 R Schumacher (Ger) Toyota at 1 Lap
13 R Barrichello (Br) Honda at 1 Lap
14 C Albers (Neth) Spyker at 2 Laps
15 A Sutil (Ger) Spyker at 4 Laps
Retired: A Davidson (GB) Super Aguri on Lap 51; M Webber (Aus) Red Bull on Lap 41; D Coulthard (GB) Red Bull on Lap 36; T Sato (Japan) Super Aguri on Lap 34; V Liuzzi (It) Scuderia Toro Rosso on Lap 36 ; J Button (GB) Honda on Lap 1; S Speed (US) Scuderia Toro Rosso on Lap 1
Drivers' standings
1= Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen 22pts; 4 Massa 17; 5 Heidfeld 15; 6 Fisichella 8; 7 Trulli 4; 8 Kubica 3; 9 Rosberg 2; 10 Schumacher 1; 11 Kovalainen 1.
1 McLaren 44pts; 2 Ferrari 39; 3 BMW-Sauber 18; 4 Renault 9; 5 Toyota 5; 6 Williams 2.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fish outa wata

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Water Sports

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Dave ~ sporty

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Round & Round ~ very fit goldfish

Myspace Layouts
Myspace Layouts

Cycling news

Hammond takes second in Belgium

Hammond held the lead late on before being pippped by Burghardt
Britain's Roger Hammond finished in second place in the Gent-Wevelgem one-day classic in Belgium.
Hammond held off Oscar Freire to finish two seconds behind T-Mobile team-mate Marcus Burghardt of Germany in four hours 53 minutes and six seconds.

The trio had been part of a five-man breakaway group and managed to avoid the danger of the treacherous cobbles which took their toll on the peloton.

Several riders finished with injuries after falling on a downhill section.

"Before the final kilometre Roger took the lead and that allowed me to attack from behind," said Burghardt.

"In any case, with Freire in our group we didn't have any choice but to try and attack."


1. Markus Burghardt (Germany/T-Mobile) 4 hours 53 min 4 secs
2. Roger Hammond (Britain/T-Mobile) +2 secs
3. Oscar Freire (Spain/Rabobank) +4
4. Francisco Ventoso (Spain/Saunier Duval) same time
5. Christophe Mengin (France/Francaise des Jeux) same time
6. Robbie McEwen (Australia/Predictor-Lotto) +14 secs
7. Max van Heeswijk (Netherlands/Rabobank) same time
8. Baden Cooke (Australia/ same time
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain/Caisse d'Epargne) same time
10. Alexandre Usov (Belarus/AG2R)

England unconvincing even in victory

England fail to convince

Jonathan Agnew - BBC cricket correspondent 11 Apr 07, 09:09 PM
Barbados -

It would be nice to be able to encourage England's long suffering supporters by reporting that their victory over Bangladesh was even remotely convincing.
Unfortunately, it was an unbelievably laboured, tortuous effort in a game which should have ended hours before it did.
Before continuing, I must pay tribute to Bangladesh. To come out fighting so tenaciously with only 143 runs on the board, and to push England so hard was outstanding. They gave an object lesson in creating pressure by tight, intense fielding in support of canny left-arm spin.
England’s jittery performance was best reflected by Michael Vaughan’s innings. It was not easy to tell whether he was attempting to bat himself into form, or whether he is now completely out of touch, but having been dropped by the wicket-keeper on five, he scratched his way to 30 from 59 balls before top edging a slog sweep to short fine leg.
There will be further calls for him to drop down the order for the two crucial matches against South Africa and West Indies that remain. Frankly, he is only still in the one-day team because he is the captain.
When Bangladesh were reduced to 65-6 on what started out as a quick and bouncy track, England should have finished them off. Instead of setting an orthodox attacking field of slips and a gully, we saw a bizarre passage of play in which a packed square off side field was set for the left handed Saqibul Hasan.
Presumably this was another of England’s cunning bowling plans, and it failed spectacularly as Saqibul got himself in, hit a flurry of fours, and established a stand of 47 with Mortaza. England quickly fell flat in the field, and it was only when Monty Panesar was introduced that England got amongst the wickets again.
England are desperately lacking in confidence, and whether or not this is because of Vaughan’s predicament it is difficult to say.
Given a target of 144 to win, a team like Australia would have dealt with it ruthlessly and, crucially, boosted their net run rate at the same time. But England have been convincing only once in this tournament, when Kenya were easily beaten early on. Even Canada and Ireland were not disposed with any great conviction.
England are limping through the World Cup and, on the evidence of what we have seen over the last four weeks, only a brilliant match-winning individual effort will get them past South Africa on Tuesday.

Laura Davies back to her best!

Davies and Ochoa lead in Florida

-6 L Davies, L Ochoa (Mex)
-5 B Lincicome
-4 NR Kim (Kor)
-4 S Turner, MH Kim (Kor)
-3 M Blomqvist (Swe), SR Pak (Kor), N Gulbis, IK Kim (Kor), R Rankin, T Barrett

Laura Davies and Mexican Lorena Ochoa share the lead after the first round of the Ginn Open in Florida after both carded six-under-par rounds of 66.
English veteran Davies, who has not won an LPGA Tour event in nearly six years, struck form with five birdies and an eagle at the long third.

The duo lead American Brittany Lincicome by one shot and are two clear of holder Mi Hyun Kim of South Korea.

World number one Annika Sorenstam withdrew with a back injury.

Davies, 43, has claimed 20 LPGA career wins and needs two more to get into the US Tour's Hall of Fame.

She was buoyed by her opening round and said: "The eagle at the third really got the round going.

"I've been playing very consistently this season and the driver was going well all day, which was the key."

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Ochoa fired eight birdies to sit alongside Davies.

This season she has already won the Safeway International and is on the brink of supplanting Swede Sorenstam as the world's top player.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2007/04/13 06:22:29 GMT


Monday, April 9, 2007

Patrick Kidd on Cricket

Patrick Kidd blogs on the world of Cricket.

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April 09, 2007
For folk's sake

For some reason, whenever I hear a commentator say "Ireland are bringing on the spinners", I expect a quartet of men with penny whistles, fiddles and spoons to come out and start singing Michael Row the Boat Ashore.

And yes, I know The Spinners are from Liverpool, but they clearly have Irish influences in their music. They wouldn't be out of place in one of Dublin's more traditional pubs on a Saturday night.

Ireland's other spinners have done rather well today, too. New Zealand were 109-3 off 22 overs when Kyle McCallan and Andrew White started bowling in tandem. They took four wickets for 80 in 20 overs between them and if it wasn't for some late hitting by the Kiwi tail they'd have been kept to something around 240. I fear that 263 may be too much for Ireland.

Posted by Patrick Kidd on April 09, 2007 at 04:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 08, 2007

Back with a banger

I don't know whether to be glad or frustrated by the news from Taunton today that Marcus Trescothick celebrated his return to action after his winter wobbly by making 256 for Somerset - in a 50-over match.

Trescothick's innings against Devon featured 25 fours and 19 sixes and he faced just 117 balls for his 256. Which is all well and good but when you consider that England's openers in the West Indies have been hopeless, it makes you frustrated that someone hasn't been able to get inside his head and sort out whatever problem he has with touring. Especially as Trescothick has an average of 67 in five one-day internationals in the Caribbean.

I don't want to make light of mental illness, and Trescothick deserves everyone's sympathy and understanding, but at the same time he is one of only 13 players to have an ECB central contract, which carries a significant salary bonus. The ECB doesn't disclose precisely how much, but the contracts come in three bands and we can presume that Trescothick as a senior player would be in the top-earning one. I understand that brings between £350,000 and £400,000. Even if he is reduced to the lowest band for not playing, he will be on something above £200,000.

Not bad money for missing the two biggest events of the winter: the Ashes and the World Cup. Yes, he has had hernia problems as well and his recovery from surgery, combined with today's innings, may set him up for lots of runs against West Indies and India this summer. But is there any point in picking him - especially giving him a central contract - if he won't tour again next winter?

Posted by Patrick Kidd on April 08, 2007 at 07:54 PM | Permalink

Justin rose to the occasion.

Justin Rose shot a final round of 1-over-par 73 to finish tied for fifth at the Masters.
Justin was probably the hottest golfer on the last day with six birdies, but his score went nowhere because of three double-bogeys and one bogey.

It really was a good week for Rose because he hadn't played on Tour for the last six weeks because of a back injury.
It was a tough week for Europe, because they have gone now 30 majors without a victory. Justin is scheduled to play in next week's Verizon Heritage. Apr. 8 - 8:42 pm et

England are losing everything ....including their way!

From Times Online

April 9, 2007

Between a rock and a hard place

Simon Wilde, Sunday Times Cricket Correspondent, in Antigua

Another day, another loss, another battering for self-esteem. That England lost to Australia in Antigua was no great surprise; that their principal Ashes heroes - Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen - endured more disappointment at the hands of the team they famously conquered two years ago was further evidence that this is a side that has terminally lost its way.

The route to qualification for the World Cup semi-finals has become mathematically remote and realistically irrelevant; unless England can raise their game significantly they have not got a hope of winning their last three Super Eight games, which must happen if they are to have a chance of making the last four.

They have had their moments against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia but have been unable to play consistently even within one game of 100 overs, let alone throughout a tournament comprising 11 matches for those who make the final.

In the big events, such as the Ashes or a World Cup, teams rely on their big players producing big performances. Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden are scoring heavily for Australia. Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan are time and again making their impact felt for Sri Lanka. And yet who is making things happen here for England? Who is giving them a lead?

Related Links
England revive the carnival
Certainly not Vaughan, for all his calm leadership. He cannot buy a run at the moment and even Duncan Fletcher, the England coach and Vaughan's right-hand man, says his captain is putting too much pressure on himself to kick-start the innings with a big score.

Vaughan is nine innings into a major lay-off through injury and has yet to pass fifty; he must be now questioning whether he can still do it at the top level. On the eve of this game, he had spoken to journalists about his determination to carry on playing one-day and Test cricket after the World Cup. Yet without some scores of substance, his place in both arenas may soon be called into serious question.

At the moment, Vaughan's reactions simply don't seem good enough. When he batted, his defensive stroke was undone by Shaun Tait's pace. This was more forgivable than his bad miss in the field when the match was very much in the balance: Ponting pushed a ball from James Anderson to midwicket and charged for a high-risk single; Vaughan had time to gather, take aim and throw with Ponting well short of his ground. Yet he missed.

This was Vaughan's third game against Australia since the 2005 Ashes and he has yet to win one of them or make a score of note. Although England won the one-day tournament in Australia earlier this year, Vaughan missed the majority of matches with hamstring trouble.

Nor has Pietersen tasted victory over Australia since 2005, even though he played against them in five different events - the Champions Trophy, the Ashes, a Twenty20 match, the CB Series and the World Cup.

This was his ninth defeat in nine and although he played with his usual brilliance before tiring towards the end of his innings of 104, he has still not got over some shameless gamesmanship by the Australian camp.

The Australians have deliberately tried to undermine him with crude allegations of selfishness and downright abuse when he came to the wicket on Sunday. He rose above it well until he reached a cherished hundred - and then retaliated by pointing his bat at the Australian dressing-room, as though saying, 'Thanks for making me concentrate.'

As for Flintoff, he is simply mired in a profound loss of confidence in his batting. Flintoff scored 400 runs in the 2005 Ashes series but now has so little faith in his ability that he skipped down the pitch to attempt a forward defensive stroke at Brad Hogg - and failed to make contact. He was stumped by a yard. Where has his boldness, his aggression, gone?

England don't know whether to drop him down the order, or promote him with instructions to hit out. He has actually batted best this winter when he was captain, but that is no longer an option, not just because Vaughan is back, but because Flintoff has been ruled out as Vaughan's stand-in following his indisipline in St Lucia.

England are between a rock and a hard place, and their problems go way beyond this World Cup.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

England.......Hush ~ Here comes Australia

That's right Australia!

If I were in The England team I would be just a little apprehensive given the overall performance in the World cup.

On the other hand they nearly, oh so nearly, pulled off a win against Shi Lanka.

Hope springs eternal.

Come on Freddie!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Uma Thurman ~ That Telephone number!

Now ................................I've got your number.......................................

But you didn't think.......................?

You didn't...........Did you......................?

Happy April Fool's day................Uma.....................

Trundle penalty at Huddersfield

Nice one Trundle.....didn't see a thing!

Her Telephone Number?

I've got your number but you've not got mine............

You didn't think.........

Did you..........that I' didn't.........

Well.....not today anyway................

Happy April 1st!!!!!!!