Tag Archives: devil

Steven Finn puts in mature display as nightwatchman

Finn curbs his instincts to deliver one of the great nightwatchman innings in Dunedin

By
Ian Prince

PUBLISHED:

07:01 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:55 GMT, 10 March 2013

As Steven Finn made his way to the University Oval this morning, he discussed the day ahead with a member of England's support staff.

The conversation went something like this: 'How are you feeling'

'Good,' said the fast bowler. 'I know I need to bat a long time but there's this little devil on my shoulder telling me to play some shots.'

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

'Don't listen to it,' came the sensible reply.

Finn did just that, curbing his inner devil to help save this first Test and put New Zealand's bowlers through hell in Dunedin as he produced one of the great nightwatchman innings in the history of English cricket.

Before he took guard on the fourth evening following the dismissal of his captain Alastair Cook, Finn had batted a combined total of 291 minutes across 20 previous Test innings. By the time he was out in the second over after tea today, he had batted for 286.

In one knock he'd managed to cram in almost his entire Test batting career to date.

It was the second longest innings by an England nightwatchman, bettered only by the 306 minutes Jack Russell spent at the crease in a losing cause against the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1990. Russell, who batted at seven and finished his career with two Test centuries, is lucky to be classed as a nightwatchman given his pedigree with the bat.

Finn had little before this match, making his achievement even greater. His score, 56, was his highest in first-class cricket, beating the 32 he made against Essex at Lord's in 2011. His previous Test best was the 20 he managed in the first innings here.

Not since Alex Tudor's 99 against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999 has an England nightwatchman made more.

While much has been made of Finn's express pace – it is thought he could develop into England's first 100mph bowler – it is his presence in the dressing-room which has made a big impression on director of cricket Andy Flower in recent months.

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

At just 23 years of age, he is said by insiders within the camp to be an increasingly influential voice, keen to take on more responsibility.

Given his age, some have tipped him to one day take over the Test captaincy from Cook, five years his senior.

It was that willingness to take on responsibility which came to the fore on day five in Dunedin. When he started his epic knock yesterday, England were 231 for one, still 62 runs behind New Zealand's first innings total.

When he was eventually out early in the evening session today, trapped lbw by spinner Bruce Martin, his side were 93 runs ahead.

He had batted for 33 overs, more than an entire session, and it's fair to say that without Finn's dogged contribution, England would have not saved this match.

Graham Onions, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar have gone down in folklore for their tailend defiance, the former saving two Test matches in South Africa in 2009/10 and the latter pair famously denying the Australians victory in the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff.

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

But Finn showed even more grit, at one point on the final afternoon digging in for 49 balls without scoring. In total he went 72 minutes without a run during a session in which he accumulated just 14.

He may have made Nick Compton look like Chris Gayle but the self-control and discipline he showed in curbing the devil inside his head shows what strong stuff mentally Finn is made of.

After the match, Cook confirmed Finn will now take nightwatchman duties away from the previous incumbent James Anderson permanently.

Following a display like this, it appears a wise choice.

Norwich and Wes Hoolahan at odds over new deal

Sunderland, Villa and Fulham lurk as Norwich fail to impress Hoolahan with new deal

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 1 November 2012

Norwich are in danger of losing midfielder Wes Hoolahan after dragging their heels over a new contract.

The 30-year-old's form earned him a place in the Republic of Ireland squad on Thursday and he is being trailed by Sunderland, Aston Villa, Fulham and leading Championship sides.

Yellow devil: Wes Hoolahan has been Norwich's standout performer this season

Yellow devil: Wes Hoolahan has been Norwich's standout performer this season

Boss Giovanni Trapattoni saw the tricky Hoolahan play a key role in Norwich's home win over Arsenal. His first and last cap came in 2008, while he represented his country nine times at Under 21 level.

The Dubliner has been at Norwich since 2008, helping them climb two divisions in two seasons after joining from Blackpool.

Jump jockeys face Mongol Derby – Captain"s Log

Two jump stars are facing a very different Derby… in Mongolia

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

11:14 GMT, 18 May 2012

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UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 18 May 2012

Ask Donie Fahy and Richie Killoran what they think of the challenge of the Investec Derby, the Epsom mile and a half race which takes just over two and a half minutes to complete, and they are unlikely to be impressed.

That’s because the two jump jockeys are preparing to tackle a Classic of a totally different order.

In August, Fahy and KIlloran will ride in the Mongol Derby, a 1,000 kilometre slog over the harsh, unmapped terrain of the Mongolian Steppe.

The time to complete the race is at least seven days and if you are still going after 12, it is time to pull up.

Big occasion: Epsom is getting ready for the Derby, but two jump jockeys face a very different Classic

Big occasion: Epsom is getting ready for the Derby, but two jump jockeys face a very different Classic

Both jockeys are utilising the break in the jumps season and aiming to raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund from which both have benefited in the past.

Killoran, based with Nicky Henderson in Lambourn, took advice from dare-devil ex-jockey Richard Dunwoody before committing to the event.

Killoran said: 'Richard has done a leg of the race so I gave him a call and said “Do you think I’m crazy.’” He said not but he’s used to these challenges.

'It takes at least seven days and if you haven’t finished in 12 you have to give up. You ride from 7am to 8pm and keep changing horses at the check points stations.

'It is going to be totally different and I’ll be doing lots of running and gym work to make sure I’m fit enough.'

Some jockeys have got confused when asked to count the laps around Fakenham, but Fahy and Killoran will use GPS to make sure they keep on course and, while raising money for the IJF is the aim, Killoran is typically competitive with his race ambitions.

He added: 'I want to win it, definitely. Donie and I will stay together early in the race but if he falls back, I will have to leave him behind!'

Anyone wishing to sponsor the intrepid pair should go to [email protected]

Jenkins to sing on big day at Epsom

Big day: Katherine Jenkins will sing at the Derby

Big day: Katherine Jenkins will sing at the Derby

Opera singer Katherine Jenkins had to pull up on America’s Dancing With The Stars this week when she suffered a back spasm in the middle of an exacting routine.

But, in this age when many singers lip sync and mime to a pre-recorded track, the Welsh mezzo-soprano will be hoping for no hitches when she performs the national anthem live at the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 2.

A patriotic theme to Epsom day which is the start of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations will be boosted with the track giving out 3,000 union jack flags to wave in celebration.

City owner taking first steps into British racing

Lockinge Stakes day at Newbury on Saturday not only features the comeback on Frankel but a first venture into British race sponsorship for Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The Abu Dhabi sheik, who is backing a lady rider Arab horse race which follows the Lockinge, is the man whose millions have bank rolled Manchester City’s successful assault on the Premier League.

British racing officials will be hoping he displays at least a fraction of that passion for racing.

Memorable images shown off at Coolmore

Images capturing special moments in Turf history are captured on the walls at Ireland’s Coolmore stud.

There is the black and white image, taken in 1949, of the Vincent O’Brien trio of Gold Cup hero Cottage Rake and Champion Hurdler Hatton’s Grace being loaded on to a plane at Shannon airport to become the first racehorses to be transported from Ireland to England for the Cheltenham Festival by air.

My favourite, however, is a more modern moment displaying a sense of humour not always publicly evident in the powerful Coolmore Stud axis of John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

It was back in the 2008 season when their use of pacemakers embroiled the owners and their trainer Aidan O’Brien in accusations of ‘team tactics’.
It is that two-word phrase which sits under a picture of the ‘Coolmore team’ walking the track with jockey Johnny Murtagh and Magnier is understood to have the same picture in his private office.

Interestingly, Qatari Sheik Fahad Al Thani, the new driving force behind Qipco’s sponsorship of the British Championship race series and one of the most important recent entrants to the sport, has his picture sitting prominently in a gallery of influential racing figure’s at the Coolmore Stud administrative block.

Many of the sport’s great and good surround him but there is no place for the Irish giant’s main commercial rival in Europe, ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed.

Royal appointment prevents some road rage

Road rage can lead to some ugly incidents but an embarrassing scene was narrowly avoided by a prominent member of the bookmaking community at York this week.

Blood pressure was bubbling as David Williams, representative of Ladbrokes, found the exit from his hotel blocked by two Range Rovers.

By royal appointment: Prince Andrew presents Operational Service medals to the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment at York

By royal appointment: Prince Andrew presents Operational Service medals to the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment at York

About to launch into a tirade against the selfish approach of Chelsea Tractor drivers, Williams was rapidly halted by an official invitation by a stern figure to approach the vehicle’s owner.

Pointing to the Duke of York, in the city on official duties, The Captain understands staunch royalist Williams politely declined and deferentially tugged his forelock – not an easy task for him!

Carlos Tevez"s excellent record against Chelsea

Returning Tevez is Chelsea's nemesis… do you remember these

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UPDATED:

00:14 GMT, 21 March 2012

It’s been a long time out for Carlos Tevez but there’s probably no team he would rather return against than Chelsea.

The Manchester City striker has an impressive record against the Londoners – six goals in six games against them – so don’t bet against him coming off the bench to inflict more damage on Wednesday.

Sportsmail looks at why Chelsea are sick of the sight of the Argentine…

Danger: Carlos Tevez has an innate ability to score against Chelsea

Danger: Carlos Tevez has an innate ability to score against Chelsea

West Ham United 2006-07

It didn't start so well. Tevez lost twice against Chelsea for the Hammers, playing 90 minutes in a 1-0 away defeat in November 2006 and then 83 minutes in an embarrassing 4-1 home loss in April that season.

However, he did score West Ham’s only goal in that match as Petr Cech fumbled his shot into the net.

Hammer blow: Tevez strikes against Chelsea for West Ham

Hammer blow: Tevez strikes against Chelsea for West Ham

Manchester United 2007-09

Tevez's first goal for United came in September 2007, meeting a Ryan Giggs cross with a diving header to give his side the lead in a 2-0 win over Chelsea.

It was delight again in May at the end of the same season as he stepped up to score the first penalty in the victorious Champions League final shootout in Moscow.

Red devil: He continued his antics for Manchester United

Red devil: He continued his antics for Manchester United

Manchester City 2009-Present

For City, it’s been goals, goals, goals. His 20-yard free-kick proved the winner in a 2-1 home win in December 2009 and he followed it three months later with a double in a 4-2 victory at Stamford Bridge.

But the pick of the bunch was his stunning solo effort in September 2010, when he scored after dribbling from his own half to seal a 1-0 win.

City have won all three games against Chelsea in which Tevez has played.

And again: Pulling on Manchester City's shirt had no effect on his ability to score against Chelsea

And again: Pulling on Manchester City's shirt had no effect on his ability to score against Chelsea