Tag Archives: arrears

Barnsley 1 Blackburn 3 – match report: Keith Hill sacked

Barnsley 1 Blackburn 3: Hill sacked as Tykes slip to foot of the table

PUBLISHED:

18:01 GMT, 29 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:06 GMT, 29 December 2012

Managerless Blackburn put two days of off-field turmoil behind them to record a first win in seven matches against npower Championship strugglers Barnsley – whose manager Keith Hill was sacked after the game.

Henning Berg was dismissed as Rovers manager on Thursday following one win in 10 games at the helm.

Rovers' senior coaching staff were also shown the door and, under the caretaker control of reserve-team boss Gary Bowyer, it was the only signing of Berg's 57-day reign that opened the scoring at Oakwell.

Three and easy: Rovers recorded their first win in seven games

Three and easy: Rovers recorded their first win in seven games

Match facts

Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman (Stones 46), Foster, McNulty, Golbourne, O'Brien, Dawson, Perkins, Done (Noble-Lazarus 46), Tudgay, Davies (Sinclair 70).

Subs Not Used: Lidakevicius, Hassell, Harewood, Greening.

Booked: McNulty.

Goals: Dawson 76.

Blackburn: Kean, Henley, Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson, Rochina (Markus Olsson 67), Murphy, Lowe, Vukcevic (Kazim-Richards 46), Rhodes, King (Nuno Gomes 90).

Subs Not Used: Usai, Henrique, Morris, Rosado.

Booked: King, Vukcevic.

Goals: King 29, Rochina 44, Rhodes 90.

Attendance: 9,153

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).

Click here for the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

On-loan Manchester United forward
Josh King's bundled home before the half hour and a sublime individual
effort on the stroke of half-time from Ruben Rochina gave Blackburn
breathing space.

Stephen Dawson reduced the arrears
during a lacklustre second half, the closing stages of which were marred
by the sight of Barnsley forward Marcus Tudgay receiving lengthy
treatment following a collision with Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean and
leaving the field on a stretcher.

That reduced Hill's side to 10
men having used all their substitutions and, in the eighth of nine
additional minutes, Jordan Rhodes muscled his way on to Jason Lowe's
long ball to seal Blackburn's triumph and send Barnsley to the foot of
the table.

Stephen Foster returned to the heart
of the Barnsley defence after suspension ruled him out of the Boxing Day
defeat to Birmingham, while Scott Wiseman, Matty Done and Craig Davies
were restored to Hill's starting line-up.

Bowyer tweaked Blackburn's attack by selecting Rochina and Simon Vukcevic in support of top scorer Jordan Rhodes.

Colin Kazim-Richards and Diogo Rosado
dropped to the bench while David Dunn, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Gael
Givet and Dickson Etuhu were among a host of senior players absent from
the squad.

Barnsley almost took the lead in the
ninth minute when Scott Dann's botched clearance presented Davies with
an opportunity but Rovers managed to scramble clear.

More slack defending, this time a
poor backpass from Martin Olsson, presented Dawson with a shooting
opportunity but Grant Hanley was in place to head clear.

Hotshot: Jordan Rhodes settled the game in the dying embers

Hotshot: Jordan Rhodes settled the game in the dying embers

Davies had the ball in the net with
17 minutes played but the whistle had gone for a foul on Adam Henley and
Blackburn then began to make most of the running.

Rhodes uncharacteristically skied
over after Rochina released Henley in the 23rd minute and Barnsley could
not claim the opening goal was not on the cards when it arrived.

Straight from a Kean clearance, King
raced clear of the Tykes backline and, although Luke Steele save his
initial effort, the rebound struck him and bobbled into the net.

Rovers remained on the front foot and were rewarded in style by Rochina.
Wiseman backed off the advancing former Barcelona B playmaker, who
stormed into the penalty area and lashed past Steele at his near post.

Kean saved well from Tudgay on the
stroke of half-time but that did not persuade Hill against making a
double substitution at the break as Reuben Noble-Lazarus and John Stones
replaced Done and Wiseman.

Kazim-Richards was also on at the
interval for the injured Vukcevic and almost extended Blackburn's lead
in the 54th minute, seeing a shot deflected behind.

That opportunity was inventively
set-up by Rochina and Blackburn let the initiative slip after he limped
off midway through the half.

Barnsley sensed the opportunity and, with 14 minutes to go, Dawson lashed home emphatically from 20 yards.

The host's charge for an equaliser
was concluded without Tudgay – leading to the huge allocation of injury
time that Rhodes crowned with his 12 Blackburn goal in 21 starts.

Australia 18 New Zealand 18: Epic stalemate sees Wallabies end Kiwis winning streak

Australia 18 New Zealand 18: Epic stalemate sees Wallabies end Kiwis winning streak

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UPDATED:

14:38 GMT, 20 October 2012

New Zealand's 16-match winning streak was brought to an end with a nail-biting 18-18 draw against a brave and undermanned Wallabies outfit in the third Bledisloe Cup Test at Suncorp Stadium.

While there were no tries, neither side left anything in the tank in a physically and emotionally draining match in front of a bumper crowd of 51,888.

Play continued for several minutes after the final siren and New Zealand's Dan Carter had the opportunity to win the game and stretch his team's streak to a record 17 games.

But his dropped goal attempt was wide of the mark, meaning an 80-minute penalty-fest between the two trans-Tasman nations would end in stalemate.

Hard-fought: Israel Dagg is tackled by Nick Phipps

Hard-fought: Israel Dagg is tackled by Nick Phipps

Rank outsiders before the match, Australia started with intent and felt the benefit of the boot of Mike Harris (five from five for the match) to claim a richly-deserved 12-6 lead at the interval.

Taking advantage of some uncharacteristic All Blacks mistakes – including a yellow card to Tony Woodcock on the half-time whistle – the home nation barely put a foot wrong in the first 40 minutes.

But turnovers began to creep back into their game after the break as a frustrated New Zealand moved to whittle away their advantage.

At 15-9 up after Kurtley Beale's long-range penalty for the Wallabies, Michael Hooper earned himself a 10-minute spell in the bin following a late challenge on Aaron Smith – and New Zealand duly capitalised.

Turning up the heat on Australia, Carter (six from eight) reduced the arrears with the ensuing penalty – and then added another three points to tie things up on 67 minutes.

Under the cosh: Dan Carter came in for close attention

Under the cosh: Dan Carter came in for close attention

Four minutes later, the All Blacks took the lead for the first time when Adam Ashley-Cooper spilled a high ball, allowing Carter to kick his sixth penalty from right in front.

But the Wallabies levelled again with Harris' fifth penalty as they pushed to send retiring skipper Nathan Sharpe out on a winning note. But that result wasn't to be.

The Kiwis were incensed that Hosea Gear's 23rd-minute effort was chalked off after a superb counter down the left flank.

Harris and Gear were charging towards the ball and the former saved the day with a tap-down – although replays suggested he may not have got a finger on it at all.

Any suggestions this was going to be treated like a dead rubber were extinguished inside the opening minute.

Going to ground: Pat McCabe is tackled by Richie McCaw

Going to ground: Pat McCabe is tackled by Richie McCaw

In an indication of the intensity the game would be played at, an onrushing Ashley-Cooper charged down the second kick of the game – and his pressure would have paid off had the ball sat in play.

It threatened to boil over at times in the first period, with Scott Higginbotham likely to face sanction for what appeared to be a headbutt on New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw.

Australia dominated possession at stages of the first half and went closest to a try in a long, searching but ultimately fruitless 19th-minute foray.

They were not helped by the inevitable addition of one more to the long list of wounded Wallabies – Sitaleki Timani trudged off in the 21st minute, replaced by Kane Douglas.

Castres 21 Northampton 16: Saints leave it late and slip to defeat

Castres 21 Northampton 16: Saints leave it late and slip to defeat

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UPDATED:

23:05 GMT, 19 October 2012

English visitors to this part of France had to contend with gale-force head-winds on Friday and that was the case for Northampton on the field, but having been battered for so long, they very nearly found a way through the storm.

Five days earlier, the Saints had managed to over-turn a 15-0 deficit to beat Glasgow at home in their Heineken Cup, Pool Four opener.

On Friday at Stade Ernest Wallon, home of Toulouse, they again gifted opponents a double-figure lead, but this time they couldn’t quite turn the tables.

Over the line: Paul Bonnefond scores a try for Castres

Over the line: Paul Bonnefond scores a try for Castres

For so long, it had appeared a foregone conclusion. The visitors were 18-6 down just before the hour mark and showing no signs of revival, after prop Brian Mujati was sin-binned for pulling down a maul to leave Jim Mallinder’s team in arrears in terms of points and man-power.

However, a try from nothing by George Pisi opened the door ajar and Northampton threatened to burst through it in the closing stages as they finally gained the upper hand up front and achieved some elusive fluency.

Yet, as had been the case all night, referee Alain Rolland’s whistle continued to signal the downfall of English ambition and fittingly it was the Irish official’s marginal forward-pass call in favour of Castres which eventually snuffed out the prospect of a late twist in the tale.

The Aviva Premiership leaders were forced to settle for a losing bonus point, which means they go into December’s back-to-back clashes with Ulster – who won in Glasgow on Friday – realistically chasing successive victories to maintain their challenge for a quarter-final place.

‘Those games against Ulster are massive for us now,’ said Mallinder, the Saints’ director of rugby. ‘They’ve got an away win in Glasgow but we have six points from our two games and that is normally a decent position to be in at this stage. We showed a lot of character here to come back and get a point, but we know we have to play a lot better against Ulster.

‘We will look back at the opportunities we had here and how we played, and think that this was three points lost. We weren’t lacking in intensity, but we were just short of accuracy. Our set piece didn’t function – we got penalised at the scrum and that put us under pressure.’

Getting his kicks: Lee Dickson in action for Northampton on Friday night

Getting his kicks: Lee Dickson in action for Northampton on Friday night

Asked about Rolland’s officiating, Mallinder thought carefully before saying: ‘The referee was refereeing in a different way from what we are used to in the Premiership.’

Dylan Hartley, the Northampton captain, didn’t say a word on the matter, but the raised eyebrows said it all.

The England hooker was pleased with his side’s fightback, adding: ‘It was important for us to climb back up and take something from this game. If we had had an extra 10 minutes, I think we could have won it. We spoke about the fact that if we want to be strong contenders, we had to win here.’

Northampton didn’t manage that, but they did turn the tables from what had seemed a bleak position.

They were behind from the eighth minute, when Castres scored their first try. A series of drives on the left created a strong platform and captain Iosefa Tekori kept the move alive with some deft juggling. From a ruck, Remi Tales’ cross-kick was well claimed by wing Romain Martial and he sent Paul Bonnefond scampering through to score a try which Romain Teulet converted.

On the run: Christophe Samson breaks away from Northampton's players

On the run: Christophe Samson breaks away from Northampton's players

The rest of the first half, scarred by Rolland’s heavy-handedness, brought two penalties for each side – Teulet and Rory Kockott for Castres, Stephen Myler for the Saints, who seldom appeared likely to make a try-scoring breakthrough.

After the break, the hosts regained the initiative and in the 45th minute Northampton lost Mujati to a yellow card. While he was in the bin, from a scrum in front of the visitors’ line which appeared to wheel around almost 180 degrees, Castres No 8 Antonie Claassen picked up and drove over the line, and Rolland awarded the try.

It appeared that the game was up yet, out of the blue, Mallinder’s team clawed their way back into contention on the hour. From a poached lineout on the left, the ball was shipped in-field, Ryan Lamb chipped through and when Castres failed to gather, Pisi kicked ahead, picked up and scored under the posts.

Myler converted and after Tales added a drop goal for Castres, the Saints’ unfamiliar No 15 knocked over the late penalty, which secured the bonus point. Try as they might, Northampton couldn’t come away with any more.

Sale 8 Leicester 20: Ben Youngs back with a bang to down sorry Sharks

Sale 8 Leicester 20: Youngs back with a bang to down sorry Sharks

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 5 October 2012

Scrum-half Ben Youngs scored the
decisive try on his return from injury as Leicester came from behind to
condemn Sale to their sixth consecutive defeat with a 20-8 triumph.

It was Sale who dominated the first
half despite holding just an 8-6 lead through Rob Miller's unconverted
try and a Nick Macleod penalty.

Impressive: Leicester's Ben Youngs

Impressive: Leicester's Ben Youngs

Leicester's George Ford, deputising for Toby Flood, responded with two three-pointers in what was initially a disappointing team display.

But they were revitalised in the second period and scored 14 unanswered points through the boot of Ford and a try from Youngs.

Sale's mercurial fly-half Danny Cipriani had to pull out from the substitutes' bench late on due to flu but the player who has been preferred to him in recent weeks, Macleod, started the match impressively by controlling proceedings and allowing the hosts to get on top early in the encounter.

They deservedly went ahead through a well-worked try. Number eight Andy Powell had already threatened before Will Addison took advantage of disorganisation in the visitors' defensive line with a quick throw-in.

It was collected by Mark Cueto who took the ball into contact before it was shipped out to Miller, who scampered over in the corner.

On the charge: Graham Kitchener breaks through the defence

On the charge: Graham Kitchener breaks through the defence

Despite being dominated for the opening 10 minutes, the Tigers eventually ground their way into the match and Ford rewarded their brief period of possession with a penalty.

However, Macleod responded for the Manchester outfit with a three-pointer of his own four minutes later to give them an 8-3 lead.

Early penalties: George Ford of Leicester

Early penalties: George Ford of Leicester

Ford once again reduced the arrears to two points but it was an impressive first half from Bryan Redpath's much-maligned charges.

The pressure certainly got to Leicester's Vereniki Goneva, who deliberately knocked on Cillian Willis' attempted pass to Addison and was subsequently sin-binned.

But the hosts have struggled to take the chances that have presented themselves throughout this season, as well as showing an inability to control the forward battle for long enough periods.

That issue once again came back to haunt the Sharks when Addison was unable to touch down after they were camped on the Tigers' line.

Although the visitors produced the odd burst through the ever-dangerous centre duo of Anthony Allen and Manu Tuilagi, it was Sale who deservedly had the advantage at the break.

However, the midlands outfit came out with far more intent in the second period and went ahead through the fly-half's third from the tee.

Leicester then stretched their lead when Youngs went over and Ford kicked his fourth penalty.

It was perhaps harsh on the hosts, but it was typically clinical by last year's beaten finalists.

The Sharks continued to battle away, though, and threatened through breaks from Miller and substitute half-back Nathan Fowles.

But it was not to be as Ford sealed the victory with a three-pointer after Joe Ward had been yellow-carded for Sale.

Camelot fails to win St Leger and Triple Crown

Camelot denied historic Triple Crown as 25/1 outsider Encke wins St Leger

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UPDATED:

14:59 GMT, 15 September 2012

Camelot failed in his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970 as Encke claimed the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

Camelot, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by Joseph O'Brien, raced towards the rear through the early stages but made smooth progress at the half-mile pole.

All seemed to be going well as he was eased out to make his challenge two furlongs from home but Mickael Barzalona appeared to steal a slight march on Mahmood Al Zarooni's 25-1 chance Encke, who went clear.

Denied: Camelot, ridden by Joseph O'Brien, failed to win the St Leger

Denied: Camelot, ridden by Joseph O'Brien, failed to win the St Leger

Camelot (2-5 favourite) gave chase but never looked like he would quite get there, finishing three-quarters of a length in arrears.

Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome falls back as Joaquin Rodriguez keeps lead

Froome falls back as Rodriguez fends off Contador to keep Vuelta lead

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UPDATED:

18:32 GMT, 2 September 2012


Leaders: Spanish cyclists Joaquin Rodriguez (right) of Katusha and Alberto Contador (left) of tSaxo Bank-Tinkoff

Leaders: Spanish cyclists Joaquin Rodriguez (right) of Katusha and Alberto Contador (left) of tSaxo Bank-Tinkoff

Joaquin Rodriguez withstood the attacks of fellow Spaniard Alberto Contador to defend his overall lead on the 15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana on a day which saw Chris Froome lose further ground on the leaders.

The stage was won by Caja Rural's Antonio Piedra who escaped a small breakaway group with 10 kilometres to go on the 186.5km stage into Lagos de Covadonga in the Picos de Europa mountains to win in a time of five hours, one minute and 23 seconds.

Ruben Perez of Euskadi-Euskaltel, Lloyd
Mondory of Ag2r La Mondiale and Piedra's team-mate David de la Fuente
were next, just over two minutes in arrears.

Rodriguez, of Katusha, had beaten Contador to the 14th stage win and spent today making sure his rival could not get away in the battle for the leader's red jersey, particularly on the final special category climb at the end of the stage at the summit in Lagos de Covadonga.

In the overall standings Rodriguez remains 22 seconds ahead of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank's Contador, with Movistar's Alejandro Valverde one minute 41 off the lead and Team Sky's Froome now 2:16 in arrears of Rodriguez.

France 3 Iceland 2: Les Bleus win from 2-0 down

France 3 Iceland 2: Les Bleus come from behind to secure shock win

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UPDATED:

04:58 GMT, 28 May 2012

A goal three minutes from time by Adil Rami saw France come from 2-0 down to claim a late victory over Iceland in Valenciennes.

Iceland, ranked 115 places behind their hosts at 131, shocked Les Bleus by taking a two-goal lead through Birkir Bjarnason and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.

However, Laurent Blanc's side reduced the arrears through Mathieu Debuchy seven minutes after the break but they had to wait until the 85th minute to equalise through Franck Ribery before Rami's late strike won it.

Comeback kings: French defender Adil Rami is congratuled by teammates after scoring

Comeback kings: French defender Adil Rami is congratuled by teammates after scoring

France had the first shot on goal, Yohan Cabaye's curling attempt from the left blocked by midfielder Kari Arnason and from the resulting corner the Newcastle midfielder drilled the ball wide.

Sigthorsson's attempt from the right was blocked by Philippe Mexes while Aron Gunnarsson repelled Karim Benzema's effort for France with neither side creating clear-cut chances.

However, it was Iceland who took a surprise lead in the 27th minute when Bjarnason volleyed home a right-footed shot into the left-hand corner of the goal from Sigthorsson's header.

In it goes: Adil Rami scores his goal

In it goes: Adil Rami scores his goal

Samir Nasri shot wide soon after from distance as France looked to respond.
Following another attack moments later, Nasri sent in an inswinging corner which found Yoann Gourcuff but his left-footed shot from the centre of the area was blocked by Arnason.

Rami then drilled in a 35-yard shot from the left which was parried by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson.

France were shocked further by Iceland who got a second goal in the 34th minute when Sigthorsson converted Rurik Gislason's wicked cross from the right.

Heads up: Arnason Kari jumps for head the ball with France's defender Philippe Mexes

Heads up: Arnason Kari jumps for head the ball with France's defender Philippe Mexes

Benzema volleyed over the bar and then shortly before the break was thwarted by Halldorsson, the keeper blocking the Real Madrid forward's drilled shot from the right of the area.

France attacked from the off at the start of the second half with Benzema's shot deflecting off a defender but Gourcuff just failed to capitalise.

The hosts were rewarded for their persistence when Benzema's shot was deflected into the path of Debuchy and the defender slotted past the keeper.

Ready for the tournament: Laurent Blanc saw his side come from behind

Ready for the tournament: Laurent Blanc saw his side come from behind

Iceland almost restored their two-goal lead with a flowing move which ended with a stretching Bjarnason hitting the ball straight at keeper Steve Mandanda after he lost his marker.

At the other, Gourcuff curled in a free-kick from the left which almost went over the keeper but he managed to keep hold of the ball at full stretch.

Mathieu Valbuena, Rami and Mexes all had efforts as France pressed and their persistence was rewarded five minutes from time when substitute Ribery played a slick one-two in the box with Olivier Giroud before lobbing the keeper.

Just two minutes later and France scored what proved to be the winner, Rami volleying home from Giroud's knockdown.

Premier League darts: Raymond van Barneveld hopes to make play-offs

Barney has Wade in his sights as he aims for Premier League play-off place

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 4 May 2012

Raymond van Barneveld is looking forward to beating James Wade next week to prove his critics wrong and qualify for the Premier League play-offs.

Barney drew with Gary Anderson in Birmingham on Thursday and must now beat The Machine in Newcastle if he is to move into the top four and ensure his place at finals night.

He said: 'I don’t know if a draw helps me but I’m still in the competition and I will give my very best next week.

Aiming for the play-offs: Raymond van Barneveld drew with Gary Anderson

Aiming for the play-offs: Raymond van Barneveld drew with Gary Anderson

WEEK 13 RESULTS

Whitlock 4-8 Hamilton
Anderson 7-7 Van Barneveld
Painter 8-3 Lewis
Wade 1-8 Taylor

'People thought at the beginning of the Premier League that I was finished but I’ve proved them wrong.'

The Dutchman won the opening leg against the throw thanks to a 138 checkout. The Scot responded by winning the next three legs before Barney levelled the scores at 3-3 at the break.

And the match continued to ebb and flow as Van Barneveld opened up a 5-3 lead, hitting a 170 checkout in leg eight, before Anderson won the next three.

The final three legs all went with throw and, in the end, both men were forced to settle for a point.

Barney’s opponent next week, Wade, was thrashed 8-1 by Phil Taylor.
The Machine was never at the races and the 15-time world champion cruised to another win in the competition.

The current world champion, Adrian Lewis, will also need a result in week 14 to guarantee qualification after his 8-3 loss to Kevin Painter.

The Artist hit two ton-plus finishes as he raced 3-0 ahead of Lewis. But Jackpot held his throw the next two legs to reduce his arrears at the break to 4-2.

But Painter picked up from where he left off and sealed an 8-3 win thanks to a dominant performance.

Elsewhere, Andy Hamilton kept his playoff chances alive with an 8-4 win over Simon Whitlock in the first match of the evening.

Both men struggled in the first half of the match as the opening six legs were all won against the throw. Whitlock’s woe continued after the interval, though, as he failed to check out on 48, which would have put him 4-3 ahead.

But Hamilton capitalised and won the next four legs to open up a 7-3 lead. And, despite the Aussie pulling a leg back, The Hammer sealed victory with double top in the 12th leg.

As the players prepare for the final week of the league phase, all eight know they are still in with a chance of winning the title with only Taylor being assured of his play-off place.

Mark Selby reaches BGC Masters semi-finals

Selby hangs tough to repel Lee and reach semi-finals of BGC Masters

World number one Mark Selby held off a determined fightback from Stephen Lee to reach the quarter-finals of the BGC Masters.

It seemed as though 28-year-old
Selby would cruise past his fellow Englishman in his opener at Alexandra
Palace when he led 5-1, in the best-of-11-frames contest.

But the Leicester man was reined in by Trowbridge potter Lee who came back to 5-4.

No place to hide: Selby hit back to reach the last four

No place to hide: Selby hit back to reach the last four

It was there that the 37-year-old's revival stalled, as a break of 71 secured victory for Selby.

As a two-time former champion of the Masters, which moved from his longstanding Wembley home this year, Selby is among the favourites this week.

He beat Lee in the first of his Wembley finals, four years ago, and today made breaks of 66, 57, 110 and 72 in establishing his four-frame lead, and then led 57-0 in the next to bring what looked sure to be a quickfire victory into sight.

Tough to swallow: Stephen Lee gave the world No 1 all he could handle

Tough to swallow: Stephen Lee gave the world No 1 all he could handle

Lee had looked to be finished but grasped his chance to come back to the table when Selby missed an awkward red.

In went a superb break of 78 from Lee, followed by 94 in the next frame to cut his arrears to 5-3.

Selby had another clear chance to put the finishing touches in the next frame but a foul on the brown gave Lee more hope, and he tucked away the colours required to make the gap just one.

Lee had an early opening in the 10th frame but squandered it as he missed the black.

If Selby was feeling the tension it hardly showed in his cueing once he knocked in a long red, sparking a break of 71 which was enough, finally, to end Lee's challenge.

Andrew Strauss helps England to win over ICC XI in UAE

England keep their heads to complete unconvincing three-wicket win against ICC XI

England kept their cool to complete an awkward run chase and prevail by three wickets against an ICC Combined XI in the first warm-up match of their tour of the United Arab Emirates.

Andrew Strauss' men got a little more than they bargained for, after the captain opened up the contest by declaring almost 100 runs in arrears.

But the skipper himself made good on his intent with a fluent 78 at the top of the order as England made a fine start to their pursuit of 261 to win in a minimum 69 overs after the Combined XI had declared on 164 for nine.

From 133 for one, it gradually became too close for England's comfort as wickets fell in clusters thereafter. But Steve Davies and Stuart Broad ensured all ended well, as the tourists not only got off to a winning start but had to work for their success too.

Top scorer: Andrew Strauss reached 78 off 96 balls with his innings forming the backbone of England's run chase

Top scorer: Andrew Strauss reached 78 off 96 balls with his innings forming the backbone of England's run chase

With Pakistan due to arrive tonight for a three-Test series starting on January 17, and a three-day match still to come for England against a PCB XI at this same GCA ground before then, Strauss' team can claim to be well advanced in their preparation despite the loss of first-choice seamer Tim Bresnan through injury and some other minor niggles.

On a benign pitch which surprisingly
gave up a stream, occasionally a clatter, of wickets but rarely quick
runs, today's target appeared from the outset to represent a useful test
of England's mettle.

Strauss and Alastair Cook took
advantage of the absence of injured strike bowler Hamid Hassan in an
opening stand of 63 in less than 12 overs until the latter was much too
early on a pull in Craig Williams' first over and fell to a fine catch
by Majid Haq.

Swashbuckling: Stuart Broad hit two fours and a six as his 31 aided England's cause

Swashbuckling: Stuart Broad hit two fours and a six as his 31 aided England's cause

Jonathan Trott was in grave danger of
departing caught down the leg-side for the second time in the match,
this time for a duck, until the umpires concluded the edge off Boyd
Rankin had not quite carried.

Strauss dominated the second-wicket
stand, bringing up his 67-ball 50 with his 11th four. But he too was to
pay for an aerial pull, off Haq.

Kevin Pietersen then managed only a
single before falling to a tumbling catch by Rankin at mid-on off his
Irish compatriot George Dockrell, the second wicket in the space of six
balls.

Trott and Ian Bell steadied the chase again either side of tea, but neither could complete the assignment.

Steady: Jonathan Trott

Steady: Ian Bell

Time at the crease: Jonathan Trott (left) and Ian Bell made 35 and 39, respectively

Trott's attempt to dominate Mohammad
Nabi (three for 66) failed when he reined in to defence from up the
wicket and fell to a sharp bat-pad catch at short leg.

Eoin Morgan went cheaply to Rankin, the latest of several in this match to fall to a catch behind down the leg-side.

Then after Bell's bizarre dismissal,
paddle-sweeping Nabi via a deflection into the hands of slip running
round to the leg-side, at 199 for six the outcome was in the balance.

But Broad and Davies, who survived one close call off Nabi with a half-chance to wide mid-off on 20, did not panic.

Broad had a moment of fortune too,
reprieved with 18 still needed by a poor throw and Nabi's failure to
gather when he seemed sure to be run out.

Not out: Kevin Pietersen leads an unsuccessfully LBW appeal for the nuggety Mohammed Shahzad, who would reach 74

Not out: Kevin Pietersen leads an unsuccessfully LBW appeal for the nuggety Mohammed Shahzad, who would reach 74

The seventh-wicket pair were
therefore able to settle the match in a stand of 61 – with almost nine
overs to spare, even though Broad holed out with scores level.

Earlier, Mohammad Shahzad's second 50 of the match had frustrated England this morning.

Broad (three for 22) struck in the
fifth over of the day, to take his match haul to seven wickets, when
Nabi mis-pulled to mid-off.

But Shahzad again looked in control.
He brought up his 76-ball half-century with an edge wide of the slips
for his ninth four, in a James Anderson over which cost 16 runs.

He had been joined by Christi
Viljoen, whose match tally went past 100 following his first-innings 98
before he was run out when he was sent back for a single and unable to
beat a throw from Monty Panesar – on as a substitute fielder for Graeme
Swann.

Lending a hand: Twelfth man Monty Panesar of England celebrates with Steve Davies after running out Christi Viljoen

Lending a hand: Twelfth man Monty Panesar of England celebrates with Steve Davies after running out Christi Viljoen

Shahzad then aimed one big shot too
many at Pietersen's stand-in off-spin, holing out at long-off – and
after Rankin missed a swipe at Steven Finn, Will Porterfield called his
batsmen in.

Swann did not bowl and stayed off the field with tightness in a leg muscle, until coming out to bat with one run required.