Tag Archives: inroads

Steven Finn takes six wickets but hails Matt Prior"s contribution

Prior's flying high: Finn takes six wickets but hails the contribution of England's renaissance man

By
Peter Hayter

PUBLISHED:

18:48 GMT, 23 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:50 GMT, 23 March 2013

Steven Finn celebrated his second six-wicket haul for England by thanking the man who pulled one of them out of the clear blue Auckland sky.

Finn bowled his side back into contention on day two of the third and deciding Test against New Zealand with 6-125 as England responded to conceding 250-1 on the first day after inviting the hosts to bat by bowling them out for 443.

Struggling in the first two Tests to groove a new action necessitated by his habit of kicking the stumps in delivery, Finn produced his fourth five-for in Test cricket and the first since he recorded exactly the same figures against Australia in the opening Test of the 2010-11 Ashes series in Brisbane.

But a measure of the contribution to his success of Matt Prior was that Finn nominated his catch to dismiss Peter Fulton as the highlight of his day, a superb effort down the legside that underlined the England wicketkeeper’s status as the best gloveman in world cricket.

In full flight: Peter Fulton flicks Steven Finn's delivery down the legside, Matt Prior takes off and holds a remarkable catch

In full flight: Peter Fulton flicks Steven Finn's delivery down the legside, Matt Prior takes off and holds a remarkable catch

Finn had called for England to have a crazy hour in the field after their failure to make inroads on day one. But all they got at first was Fulton grinding on where he left off the previous evening, blocking the living daylights out of it from his overnight 124 with 12 runs in 69 balls spanning a seemingly endless hour and three-quarters.

Yet ‘Two-metre Peter’ probably thought he had collected four more when he glanced an innocuous legside delivery from Finn towards the fine leg boundary, only for its passage to the rope to be breathtakingly interrupted.

Diving full length to his left, Prior threw out a glove and caught the ball one-handed after it had already passed him, then twisted in mid-air to ensure he avoided spilling the ball when he landed.

Even Fulton seemed suitably impressed, pausing momentarily to admire a catch which, for sheer impact, was on a par with Andrew Strauss’s effort to dismiss Adam Gilchrist in the Trent Bridge Test of the 2005 Ashes and Paul Collingwood’s amazing take at slip to get rid of Ricky Ponting on England’s last trip Down Under.

Prior went on to complete his own ‘five-for’ in the innings, three off Finn, one of the two wickets James Anderson took to draw level with Derek Underwood on 297 Test dismissals and a second outstanding catch, standing up to the stumps, to snaffle a thin outside edge to do for the dangerous Brendon McCullum off Jonathan Trott, an example of Alastair Cook’s inspired captaincy or a fluke, depending on your preference.

All smiles: Steven Finn celebrates with teammates Stuart Broad, Jonathan Trott and Prior after dismissing Trent Boult

All smiles: Steven Finn celebrates with teammates Stuart Broad, Jonathan Trott and Prior after dismissing Trent Boult

As Finn said: ‘It’s nice to know he can leap like a salmon down the legside and catch a couple of those. To have him behind the stumps is fantastic.’

It is all a far cry from where Prior found himself the last time England toured here dropped after a controversial start to his Test career in 2007 as the successor to Geraint Jones.

Despite becoming the first England keeper to score a century on Test debut, against West Indies at Lord’s, the Sussex man won more critics than admirers for clumsy glovework and a perception grew he put his mouth where his mitts should be too often. It was no surprise when he lost his place to Tim Ambrose after a terrible tour to Sri Lanka, in which at times he looked no better than a part-timer behind the stumps.

Anderson is no doubt, however, of how good the keeper who reinvented himself has become.

‘The legside take off Finny was one of the best wicketkeeping catches you will see,’ he said. ‘It had been a long couple of days and the legs start to get tired, so to see someone do that gives everyone a rush.

‘Matt is the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world. I can’t honestly think of anyone who comes close but the fact is he wasn’t in the side when we were here last and that made him change his whole approach to the job.

Prize wicket: Prior holds on to dismiss Brendon McCullum

Prize wicket: Prior holds on to dismiss Brendon McCullum

‘At first he thought of himself as a batsman who could get by with the gloves on athleticism and eye, but he realised there was more to it. He worked tirelessly with Bruce French [the former England keeper and now their wicketkeeping coach] and is reaping the rewards.

‘He is the first out on the field doing his drills every day, will practise taking all sorts of catches one-handed, like this one he took, for hours and hours, and the way he manages to maintain his concentration hour after hour when one slip can make all the difference is impressive.

‘And he fulfils all the criteria for a genuine all-rounder because, not only is he clearly worth his place as a keeper, he could easily bat at No 6 on merit as well.’

The best wicketkeepers, they say, are the ones whose work you hardly notice. In Auckland Prior disproved the rule.

Roberto Martinez promises Sir Alex Ferguson that Angelo Henriquez will return to Manchester United in form

I'll be Cleverley with Henriquez! Martinez vows to improve United's loan ranger just like he did with Tom

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UPDATED:

06:56 GMT, 21 December 2012

Roberto Martinez has promised Sir Alex Ferguson he will send Angelo Henriquez back to Manchester United ready to challenge for a regular starting spot.

The Wigan boss has pulled off quite the coup in agreeing in principle a loan deal for the Chilean striker, who joined Manchester United last summer Unversidad de Chile

Henriquez, a full international despite being just 19 years old, has struggled to make any inroads on Ferguson's first-team, and has even missed out on opportunities with the reserves.

Helping hand: Roberto Martinez has promised to develop Angelo Henriquez

Helping hand: Roberto Martinez has promised to develop Angelo Henriquez

Helping hand: Roberto Martinez has promised to develop Angelo Henriquez

Martinez has previous when it comes to shaping the career of young United players, namely Tom Cleverly who enjoyed a stint at the DW Stadium in 2010 and is now a regular in the England side.

The Latics' boss said: 'Angelo is as good a goalscorer as you will find. He scored goals at Universidad de Chile and he is going to score goals here.

'I am sure he will be an important player for United. We are glad we can work with him and he can use Wigan as Tom Cleverley did and adapt to what is needed in this league.'

Nottm Forest v Cardiff – match report: Andy Reid Daniel Ayala Billy Sharp Heider Helguson score

Nottm Forest 3 Cardiff 1: Bluebirds knocked off their perch by Reid, Ayala and Sharp

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 20 October 2012

Cardiff lost top spot in the npower Championship with defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Forest had ended a five-game winless league run with victory over Peterborough prior to the international break.

Andy Reid scored the only goal of the game at London Road and it was the Irishman who opened the scoring here.

On-loan defender Daniel Ayala quickly added a second goal to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead.

Double or nothing: Daniel Ayala made it 2-0 with this header

Double or nothing: Daniel Ayala made it 2-0 with this header

MATCH FACTS

Nottm Forest: Camp, Halford, Ayala, Collins, Harding, Cohen, Gillett, Guedioura, Reid (Moussi 74), Cox (Majewski 46), Sharp, Majewski (Moloney 88). Subs not used: Evtimov, McGugan, Tudgay, Coppinger.

Sent Off: Guedioura (84).

Booked: Cox, Guedioura.

Goals: Reid 25, Ayala 27, Sharp 47.

Cardiff: Marshall,McNaughton (Mason 81), Hudson, Connolly, Taylor, Conway (Noone 62), Whittingham, Cowie, Gunnarsson (Gestede 65), Smith, Helguson. Subs not used: Lewis, Turner, Kim, Ralls.

Booked: Connolly, Hudson.

Goals: Helguson 74.

Att: 21,491.

Click here for the latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Forest made sure of all three points
shortly after the restart when Billy Sharp scored his first goal for the
club since arriving at the City Ground on loan from Southampton seven
weeks ago.

Heidar Helguson pulled a goal back
for Cardiff midway through the second half, but despite Forest finishing
the game with 10 men following Adlene Guedioura's red card for two
bookable offences, they were unable to make any more inroads.

It meant back-to-back league victories for Forest for the first time this season, halting Cardiff's three-match winning run.

And the Welsh side also lost leadership of the table after Leicester came from behind to draw at midlands rivals Birmingham.

An uneventful game came to life after 25 minutes when Reid was fouled by Kevin McNaughton on the edge of the Cardiff box.

The Dubliner, who scored with a
terrific curling effort at Peterborough a fortnight ago, repeated the
feat with the resulting free-kick, bending a left-foot shot into the top
corner and giving goalkeeper David Marshall no chance.

Two minutes later and it was 2-0 to Forest.

Ayala remained up in attack following
a long throw from Greg Halford, and when Reid returned the ball into
the box, the Norwich centre-half powered a header past Marshall from 10
yards out.

Gutted: Toomy Smith reflects on a missed opportunity

Gutted: Toomy Smith reflects on a missed opportunity

Helguson curled an effort over the crossbar as Cardiff sought an immediate response.

A nice move by Cardiff just before
half-time then ended with the recalled Craig Conway falling over his own
feet and Forest midfielder Chris Cohen clearing the danger.

Forest went further ahead two minutes into the second half.

Sharp held up the ball, spun his
marker and ran at the Cardiff defence. He played a one-two with
substitute Radoslaw Majewski, on at the break in place of Simon Cox,
before shooting beneath Marshall for his first goal for the club.

Don Cowie saw a shot go narrowly wide as the visitors tried to respond.
Mark Hudson and Helguson missed chances to reduce Cardiff's arrears before the latter did so after 74 minutes.

Strength in reserve: Jermaine Jenas and Henri Lansbury were in the stands

Strength in reserve: Jermaine Jenas and Henri Lansbury were in the stands

Helguson controlled a high ball into the box, held off his marker and fired his shot beyond home keeper Lee Camp from 12 yards.

Cardiff were almost right back in it
soon afterwards when the fit-again Tommy Smith struck a post with an
effort from inside the area.

Had that gone in, it would have set up a frantic finale, particularly given Guedioura's red card in the 84th minute.

But Cardiff, despite some late pressure, were unable to make the game any closer and Forest claimed an impressive win.

Lance Armstrong cheating means Britain"s cycling boom feels rotten – Martin Samuel

Armstrong's cheating means great British cycling boom feels rotten

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 14 October 2012

The Gordian knot was the hardest to untie, according to legend. Alexander the Great sliced through it with his sword. There is no such easy solution for cycling and Lance Armstrong.

He cannot simply be excised from the record books, without leaving page after page empty having taken a raft of contemporaries with him. Last week, Christian Prudhomme, head of ASO, the Tour de France organiser, proposed rewriting history to have no winner of the race from 1999 to 2005. Why not just erase Armstrong and promote the next best, some say. Impossible.

If Armstrong goes, all cheats must follow, and for the Tour to remove every name associated with doping would make it seem ridiculous and damage its credibility for ever.

Built on a lie: Lance Armstrong has tainted his whole sport with his use of performance enhancing drugs

Built on a lie: Lance Armstrong has tainted his whole sport with his use of performance enhancing drugs

For British cycling, the timing of this crisis could not be worse. At the very time when the sport is at last making its great leap forward, 1,000 pages of the most damning criticism land on the doorstep.

A lot of rival sports have dreamed of such progression. Cricket has been vulnerable as the primary summer sport for some time. Parts of the island do not play it, participation is time consuming and costly, land is at a premium.

Football has the winter tied up, we know that. England were rugby union world champions in 2003, but nobody seriously believed inroads could be made on football’s territory.

With cricket, it is different. England rose to be the No 1 Test team in the world but it had little impact on the grass roots. Cricket is dying in state schools, the county game is dwindling in significance. Football has been steadily encroaching on the summer, too.

Then came Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France and Great Britain’s magnificent performance in the Velodrome at a home Olympics. Suddenly, we were a nation of cyclists. Every kid has a bike and road to ride it on, and in Wiggins the sport has a bona fide, David Beckham-style hero.

He has the talent, he has the look. He
captures young imaginations. Look around, there are more cyclists on the
road than ever before. Not just commuters in cities, either. There are
races, there are clubs, there are grown men pedalling while wearing
Team Sky kit, as they might the shirt of Manchester United.

A lot of history: (left-right, top to bottom) Armstrong celebrates after winning the Tour de France in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999

A lot of history: (left-right, top to bottom) Armstrong celebrates after winning the Tour de France in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999

And now this. Page after page of cheats, cheats, cheats. No wonder Wiggins is furious that his first task as cycling’s unofficial ambassador in Britain is to try to convince the parents of the next generation that his sport will not turn their children into EPO-fuelled monsters.

Trying to unpick Armstrong and his era from cycling is akin to unknotting that tangled ball of old computer leads, mobile-phone chargers and television cables that lurks in a dark corner of a kitchen drawer, except one hundred times worse.

For instance, reassessing two of Armstrong’s victories, 2000 and 2002, and removing every rider who has been caught doping or been significantly implicated in a scandal — one must remember here that many known cheats have not failed a test, including Armstrong — would mean promoting two 10th-placed athletes to first: Daniele Nardello in 2000 and Carlos Sastre in 2002.

The clean winners of the Tour de France in the Armstrong years would be: Abraham Olano (1999, sixth), Nardello (2000, 10th), Andrei Kivilev (2001, fourth), Sastre (2002, 10th), Haimar Zubeldia (2003, fifth), Sastre (2004, eighth) and Cadel Evans (2005, seventh). Throughout those years only two untainted athletes made the top five.

It cuts deeper. L’Alpe d’Huez is arguably the most famous mountain climb in the Tour de France. It is an average 7.9 per cent gradient with 21 hairpin bends. In 1986, the great French rider Bernard Hinault — ‘as long as I breathe, I attack’ — rode the ascent in 48 minutes. His now stands as the 36th fastest time. The record is held by the late Marco Pantani from 1997: it is 10 minutes and 25 seconds faster.

Yellow jersey: Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France this summer

Golden boy: Bradley Wiggins has inspired a generation of British cyclists with his double success in the Tour de France and the London Olympic Games

Golden boy: Wiggins celebrates winning the men's individual time trial at the London Olympic Games

Sometimes, the numbers simply do not add up. There was huge controversy over Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen at the London Olympics, and many thought it unfair that she was immediately suspected, without evidence.

Yet it wasn’t just laymen or journalists questioning Ye. Respected coaches, looking at the figures in detail, were first to raise the alarm.

So, analysing Pantani, even allowing for improvements in equipment and training techniques, to take 10 minutes off a 48-minute event is close to impossible. Some of L’Alpe d’Huez’s fastest times have been set as part of a time trial, when the athlete hasn’t already cycled 100 miles to get there. To shave three minutes off Hinault in those circumstances might be explicable. But 10 No way. And cycling, in the years cited by Prudhomme, is full of these freaks’ roll calls.

More from Martin Samuel…

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Martin Samuel: Listen, Balotelli, you are not worth the trouble any more
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You don't need a top hat to be a posh boy, Ed
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03/10/12

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

To erase Armstrong, the sport would as good as erase itself for a decade or more. The year before Armstrong’s 1999 win, the top 10 in the Tour included three riders who tested positive (including the first and second finishers) and another imprisoned for violating anti-doping laws. Of the six remaining, two more have been implicated in scandals. The two successive winners after Armstrong’s last victory in 2005, Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador, were subsequently disqualified.

The problem for cycling in Britain is that its status as a profile sport first began to take shape through Armstrong. From there, home-grown heroes such as Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton took cycling to a place in public life that previous generations could never have imagined.

So, with the condemnation of Armstrong, it is the very foundation of the British cycling boom that appears to be rotten. Unlike the French or Belgians, we have no prior history or culture to cling to, no glorious golden era free of EPO and clandestine blood transfusions.

Instead of promoting a sport full of fresh air and fitness, Wiggins and his colleagues are now on the defensive. It is hardly a surprise that he has been known to snap at questions about doping. It is the last topic that should be regularly tossed at him as a clean rider, the last conversation his sport needs to be having right now; yet if cycling is to fulfil its potential it must first find a way of removing its links to Armstrong on page after page.

It will take a lot more than Tipp-Ex, or a visit to the printers.

Lord help us – just go away

Clearly, former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman, who left his job in embarrassing circumstances involving a female friend and a pack of wild accusations he could not substantiate, now thinks sufficient time has passed for him to re-enter the public arena.

He has been pontificating on John Terry’s punishment, saying little that has not been said, offering nothing in the way of insight or enlightenment. Never just go away, do they

Lecturing: Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis

Lecturing: Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis

Gazidis lecturing on high-earners… that’s rich

Garry Cook, the former chief executive of Manchester City, was at the Leaders in Football conference last week, so too Ivan Gazidis of Arsenal.
Would they be able to justify their 2million salaries for running football clubs, it was asked Cook more than Gazidis, one thinks. He put in place a regime that won the title, albeit after he departed.

All Gazidis has achieved is the continuation of limited success under Arsene Wenger.

Even Arsenal’s pre-tax profit of 36.6m in 2011-12 is largely due to the sale of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Cook helped build an elite club and company almost from scratch — City did not even have a Human Resources department when he arrived — while Gazidis exists on Wenger’s coat-tails yet lectures football on the evils of high-earning.

‘There are issues in terms of how our fans are able to feel connected with those players earning enormous amounts of money,’ Gazidis opined.
He even kept a straight face while he said it, apparently. Now that was an achievement.

What legacy

So it was all a waste of time. There will be no attempt to supply a Great Britain football team to future Olympic events, according to the FA, and British Handball are not backing their men’s team at the European Championship. Team GB handball players will pay for their own flights for a qualifier against Greece.

Ultimately, elements of Team GB became little more than a publicity stunt and ego trip for the British Olympic Association.

If an Under 21 football team from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland had qualified for a future Olympic tournament, it could still have competed under the Great Britan umbrella, but all the governing body was interested in was the 2012 show.

As for handball, while funding is bound so closely to elite performance, novices in a sport played in other countries at a serious level for almost a century were never going to stand a chance.

Britain simply took up a place that should have been left to more deserving qualifiers, because as hosts, Britain could. There is no legacy, and little interest in creating one; it was just another box that had to be ticked.

Spain's dominance proves a TV turn-off

UEFA’s belief that the 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign will be one huge televised cash cow appears to have taken another hit with the news that no Iberian TV station would buy the rights for Spain’s World Cup qualifier in Belarus at the weekend.

Is anyone watching anymore Spain celebrate yet another win in Belarus

Is anyone watching anymore Spain celebrate yet another win in Belarus

Sportfive, the German rights holder, wanted 1.3million to see the world champions but the major networks in Spain have been hit hard by recession. Even the radio stations baulked and broadcast from hotel bedrooms in Minsk instead, watching the action on television.

This is the first time since 1983 that the national team has not been shown live in Spain, but all that superiority is getting boring and fans will not pay to watch a game in which the result is so easily predicted. Spain beat Belarus 4-0.

This situation will only worsen with almost half the entrants for Euro 2016 progressing to the finals. When even the best team in the world cannot generate interest, there truly is a problem.

Time's up, Audley

Audley Harrison lasted just 82 seconds against David Price on Saturday. His career as a professional heavyweight fighter, such as it ever really existed, is over.

Before the fight the consistently disappointing and deluded Harrison said he was in the Last Chance Saloon.

Sadly, time was called on him in that particular establishment long ago. Harrison then adjourned to the Last Chance Restaurant, the Last Chance Nightclub, the Last Chance Chill-Out Room, the Last Chance Breakfast Bar and Grill and the Last Chance All You Can Eat Mongolian Buffet before ending up at the Last Chance Set Dinner For One, three courses, 12.99 with a complimentary glass of wine.

He’s had enough last chances. Now he’s had his chips. It’s time to go home.

Down and out: David Price KO's Audley Harrison in Liverpool on Saturday

Down and out: David Price KO's Audley Harrison in Liverpool on Saturday

Ajax happy to clean out football fans, too

Further to last week’s note about the exorbitant cost of watching Barcelona play Real Madrid, it has now been revealed that tickets for Manchester City fans at their next Champions League match with Ajax in Amsterdam will be 65. That is 3 more than the cost of the cheapest seat for Arsenal’s game with Chelsea recently, which caused such fuss.

Nobody is saying Premier League football is cheap; more that the game in many European countries is run no more benevolently than here.

Adds up

Wonga’s controversial sponsorship of Newcastle could not happen in France or Germany. Not because financial institutions are not allowed involvement, but because there is no such thing as a legal 4,212 per cent interest rate. The ceiling in France is 21.64 per cent, and in Germany 16.4 per cent.

That is how a nation regulates its financial services industry: not by appealing to Mike Ashley’s better nature.

Wasps 10 Worcester 6: Simon McIntyre scores only try

Wasps 10 Worcester 6: Woeful hosts hold on but Hill apologises for shocking match

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UPDATED:

18:20 GMT, 7 October 2012

Worcester head coach Richard Hill said sorry for a ‘shocker’ of a game that saw Wasps stagger to their third win of the season thanks to Simon McIntyre’s first-half try and a tremendous stint of late defending.

Hill said: ‘I apologise for inflicting that on you. That was a shocker. Neither team played particularly well and we were marginally worse.’

Worcester, who cut Wasps’ 10-0 half-time lead through a penalty and drop goal from Andy Goode, engineered a chance to win in the final five minutes but Goode’s cross kick bounced out of the reach of wing Jon Clarke.

Flying start: McIntyre crosses for Wasps

Flying start: McIntyre crosses for Wasps

Flying start: McIntyre crosses for Wasps

Wasps then stopped two attacking
line-outs through some stern defence and good tackling, culminating in
man of the match Joe Launchbury forcing substitute flanker Ben Cowan to
knock on.

Launchbury, a member of the England Saxons squad, is tipped to be a full international.

The 21-year-old started this match at
blindside flanker but Dai Young, Wasps’ director of rugby, predicted
his best position will be at lock.

‘People talk about him as a star of
the future, but he’s already here. England see his long-term future as a
second row, but with his mobility and skills he can play in both
positions.’

Young also criticised his team’s performance. ‘I don’t think we would have beaten many teams. We know we have to be better.’

High hopes: Marco Wentzel rises to take gather lineout ball

High hopes: Marco Wentzel rises to take gather lineout ball

Wasps started strongly with a try
after only three minutes. Billy Vunipola and Joe Launchbury made big
inroads into the Worcester defence and good ball retention saw prop
Simon McIntyre drive over for the try which Stephen Jones converted.

Worcester then had their first
opportunity for points but Andy Goode failed to take it as his 35-metre
penalty attempt rebounded back off a post.

Back
came Wasps to put the visitors' defence under sustained pressure in
their own 22 and when the Warriors were offside, Jones made no mistake
with an angled penalty to give his side a 10-point advantage.

After that bright opening, the second quarter of the game was a huge disappointment as both sides made frequent unforced errors which prevented any real flow to the game. There were frequent turnovers as the score deservedly remained at 10-0 to the home side at the interval.

Too Goode: Former England international Andy Goode (right)

Too Goode: Former England international Andy Goode (right)

Early in the second half, a handling
error by Andrea Masi allowed Worcester a position in the Wasps' half and
when the hosts were penalised, a Goode penalty gave Warriors their
first points.

Almost
immediately Jones was presented with a chance to nullify that score but
his 45-metre penalty attempt sailed narrowly wide.

With half an hour remaining, Goode reduced the arrears to only four when he fired over a splendid drop-goal from close on 50 metres.

Stung by the two penalties, Wasps resumed their earlier dominance with Launchbury and McIntyre again to the fore with their driving runs. They should have gone further ahead when a clever chip ahead from Simpson should have resulted in a try for Christian Wade but the wing knocked on with the line at his mercy.

Hands off: Joe Launchbury evades a tackle

Hands off: Joe Launchbury evades a tackle

Jones missed another angled penalty
for the Wasps, allowing the Warriors the possibility of an unlikely win.
Inventive play by Paul Hodgson and David Lemi put the visitors into the
Wasps' 22 but Aleki Lutui knocked on and the home side were able to
relieve the pressure.

With three minutes to go, Simpson made the best break of the game, with a sniping run from a ruck on halfway but the supporting Chris Bell was hauled down narrowly short.

This allowed Warriors one final chance but Jon Clarke failed to collect a Goode cross-kick for the winning try before the Wasps withstood four minutes of huge pressure to hang on for a nail-biting win.

Warwickshire win County Championship

Just champion! Warwickshire claim first County Championship crown since 2004

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 6 September 2012

The Bears eased to victory by an innings and 202 runs to finish top of the table for the first time since 2004.

Having bowled out Division One's bottom club for just 60 on the opening day, Warwickshire declared at 471 for eight before Worcestershire reached stumps on Wednesday night on 100 for two in their second innings.

The demolition job continued on
Thursday with Warwickshire claiming the eight wickets required to wrap
up the one-sided win shortly after lunch.

Job done: Warwickshire beat rivals Worcestershire to claim the LV County Championship crown

Job done: Warwickshire beat rivals Worcestershire to claim the LV County Championship crown

Only Moeen Ali's unbeaten 72 provided
any resistance to Warwickshire's march towards the title, but when he
ran out of partners his spirited defence was brought to an end.

Chris Wright finished as the pick of
the Warwickshire attack in the second innings, finishing with figures of
four for 65, including all three wickets after lunch.

Warwickshire's nearest challengers Sussex endured a difficult morning at the crease as they lost six wickets before lunch against Somerset at Hove.

Got him: Chris Wright was one to help tidy up the tail for the Bears

Got him: Chris Wright was one to help tidy up the tail for the Bears

Resuming on 186 for two, Sussex lost
centurion Chris Nash (126) with their score on 230, before losing five
more wickets for the addition of just 40 runs to reach the interval on
270 for eight.

Alfonso Thomas did the damage for the
home side, claiming five wickets at the cost of just 64 runs this
morning, including those of Nash and Murray Goodwin (77).

Relegation-battling Lancashire
continued to make inroads into Middlesex's lead at Lord's but victory
appears an unlikely prospect for the Red Rose with just five sessions
left in the match.

At lunch the visitors were on 327 for five in reply to Middlesex's 446, with Ashwell Prince removed on 71.

More to follow…

Resistance: Moeen Ali offered some hope for Worcestershire before he was caught by Richard Johnson

Resistance: Moeen Ali offered some hope for Worcestershire before he was caught by Richard Johnson

Jenson Button faces playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton at McLaren

Trailing in the F1 championship, Button now faces being in the shadow of Hamilton at McLaren

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 30 August 2012

McLaren team principal Martin
Whitmarsh is bracing himself for the delicate task of telling Jenson
Button he must play second fiddle to team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Button trails Hamilton by 41 points
in the drivers’ championship and unless he makes significant inroads
into that gap at Spa this weekend and Monza the next then he can expect a
quiet word in his ear from the boss.

Behind you: Lewis Hamilton (left) and Jenson Button

Behind you: Lewis Hamilton (left) and Jenson Button

While Whitmarsh claimed the time for team orders is not upon McLaren just yet, with Button already 88 behind championship leader Fernando Alonso decision time is fast approaching.

‘There may well come a point (where Button would have to support Hamilton), conceded Whitmarsh.

‘We must be measured when we talk to the drivers about when they put their support behind another driver.’

Judging by Button’s bullish mood ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Whitmarsh will have to be at his diplomatic best if he is to persuade the 2009 world champion to put his teammate’s best interests before his own.

Questioned about whether he should already be playing a supporting role, Button replied: ‘You’d say that I’m going to give up on fighting for the Championship just because I’m 40 points behind my team-mate Lewis is 40 points behind Fernando and I still think he thinks he’s got a very good chance of winning this championship, so no, we go racing.

Upbeat: Button and girlfriend Jessica Michibata arrive in the paddock

Upbeat: Button and girlfriend Jessica Michibata arrive in the paddock

‘I’m not here to just race around and
just help my teammate win a championship. I’m going to be fighting all
the way until I either win the championship or it’s not possible.

'The last two races for us were very good. I had a second in Hockenheim and Lewis won last time out in Hungary.

'So we come here positive we can get a really good result, so it (team orders) is definitely not the situation.'

Asked as to whether such a scenario could occur further down the line, Button was equally as dismissive.

'If I was 40 points behind Lewis in the championship and he was leading do you think they (the team) would turn around and say 'you've got to support your team-mate',' added Button.

'It's not a big margin, less than two wins.

'Half the grid is in front of their team-mate, and all of them are not going to turn around and say “yes, I'm going to help my team-mate”.

'Unless the chance has gone of winning the title you are going to fight for it. I'm not here to just race around and just help my team-mate win a championship. None of us are.

Tough decision: McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh

Tough decision: McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh

'We're here to fight and do the best job we can, for ourselves first of all, and then for the team.

'It would be a pretty boring championship if 12 of us were fighting for
a victory and the rest of us were there to help our team-mates.

'It's not the sort of formula we should want, so I'm going to fight all the way until I either win the championship, or it's not possible.'

In fairness to Hamilton, from his perspective, he would not want to win a title knowing Button had given him a helping hand along the way.

'Jenson races for the team and for points for himself as well, he has been getting stronger as the season has wore on, and I expect that to be the case for the rest of the year,' said Hamilton.

'We need him – I need him – to score points as well. We want him to do well. If you look back at past years when drivers let others past to win a championship, that doesn't feel right to me.

'I won't be asking for that.'

Hamilton has dismissed a scenario as simple as Button holding up a rival, should the possibility arise during a race.

'I wouldn't even want that. If I'm not quick enough then I'm not quick enough,' added Hamilton.

'I want to win because I'm quickest, not because I was given points by someone being held up.'

England v South Africa: Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn restrict hosts

South Africa bite back as Morkel and Co restrict England on day two at The Oval

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UPDATED:

21:04 GMT, 20 July 2012

This was more like it, much more like the shootout between the world's best teams that we had been so looking forward to. If the first day of the battle to be ranked No 1 belonged to Alastair Cook and England, then on the second South Africa emphatically stood up to be counted.

The tourists, so disappointing at the start of this first Test when they looked undercooked and almost lethargic, were a totally different proposition on Friday, taking advantage of cloud cover and muggy conditions to strike back aggressively.

Suddenly, from 267 for three, England looked likely to crash to nearer 300 at The Kia Oval rather than the expected 500 as Dale Steyn relocated his mojo to once again, for five overs at least, look like the best bowler in the world.

Four of the best: Morkel was the pick of the South African bowlers - taking key wickets

Four of the best: Morkel was the pick of the South African bowlers – taking key wickets

England v South Africa

Click here full scoreboard

If it were not for a brilliant
counter-attack from Matt Prior, with support from Stuart Broad and
Graeme Swann, England would have squandered the excellence of Cook, who
could add just one to his 114 before being undone by Steyn.

As it was, Cook was the first of
seven England wickets to tumble yesterday while they were adding just
118, 60 of them to Prior who overcame a shaky start to take the attack
to South Africa and lead Andrew Strauss's side to 385.

It looked as if that would still be a
formidable score when Jimmy Anderson, as important to England as Steyn
is to South Africa, found swing from the off to trap Alviro Petersen in
front of his stumps. Yet, with England confident of making further
inroads, one of the many showers that had somehow been bypassing this
famous old ground hit The Oval and sent the players off for almost two
hours.

Early bath: Cook didn't last long after his century heroics on day one

Early bath: Cook didn't last long after his century heroics on day one

Early bath: Cook didn't last long after his century heroics on day one

When they returned the sting, and the
swing, seemed to have been taken out of the England attack. Graeme
Smith, who had endured a frustrating start to his 100th Test, averages
72 in England and again he proved his class as the hosts struggled to
maintain the bowlers' firm grip on the day as South Africa reached the
closed on 86 for one.

Hashim Amla is still there too, after
surviving a sharp chance to Strauss at slip off Ravi Bopara and his
side are now very much back in the opening salvo of this Investec
series. With the sun expected to shine for the rest of the match, they
will now be looking to at least reach first-innings parity with England.
Game very much on.

Earlier Allan Donald, South Africa's
bowling coach, had called for more aggression from his charges and
Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander responded. The tourists are
adamant that Steyn, complete with bandaged ankle and elbow, is fully fit
and, as the world's No 1 bowler came charging in to take the wickets of
Cook and Bopara in seven balls for no runs, it was easy to believe
them.

The 29-year-old, always happier
bowling against right-handers, had tried to replicate Morkel in a
roundthe- wicket attack on Cook on Thursday but he was much more potent
switching to over, swinging the ball late into the left-hander and
inducing an inside edge that clattered into his stumps.

And the rapid departure of Bopara
which followed was a huge personal setback for a batsman seemingly
destined to always be on trial. He came into the side on the back of an
excellent one-day series against Australia with the time having arrived
for him finally to dispel any lingering doubts about his temperament at
the highest level.

On fire: Kallis and Steyn were both in the wickets as the Proteas impressed with the ball on day two

On fire: Kallis and Steyn were both in the wickets as the Proteas impressed with the ball on day two

On fire: Kallis and Steyn were both in the wickets as the Proteas impressed with the ball on day two

Yet still they persist. Bopara
rightly survived a huge shout for lbw before he had scored but, far from
cashing in, his brain seemed scrambled as he pulled halfheartedly at
the very next ball from Steyn, tried to withdraw his bat but succeeded
only in edging through to AB de Villiers.

The pressure will be immense when
Bopara next bats. From total calm England seemed in a state of panic,
best summed up by Prior setting off for an impossible single which would
have led to the running out of Ian Bell had Petersen not rushed his
throw.

England seemed to have weathered the
storm when Steyn was withdrawn but where South Africa have a big
advantage over England is in the shape of Jacques Kallis. Arguably the
greatest all-rounder ever, Kallis showed his immense worth to Smith by
cranking up the pressure with four successive maidens and bowling Bell
with an in-ducker that trimmed the off bail.

England would surely have capitulated
had Jacques Rudolph held on to a low catch at gully offered by Prior on
17, but once Tim Bresnan had dragged on an Imran Tahir long-hop the
wicketkeeper switched from defence to attack.

Gloomy view: A heavy band of rain swept in mid-afternoon to curtail the action

Gloomy view: A heavy band of rain swept in mid-afternoon to curtail the action

Gloomy view: A heavy band of rain swept in mid-afternoon to curtail the action

Runs flowed after lunch as Steyn
disappeared for 29 in just four overs during a second spell in total
contrast to his first, his only encouragement coming when Swann was
struck on the helmet and deflected the ball for four leg-byes.

It needed Morkel to crush the
resistance by dismissing Prior and Anderson to end with four for 72,
Philander being rewarded for some smart bowling with another
bail-trimming dismissal, this time of Broad.

This slow and dry pitch can only
offer more turn as the Test goes on and England will want to make sure
it is the tourists who bat last.

Prior said: 'It's very easy to think
this was South Africa's day, but it was very attritional cricket and
they've only scored at two an over.

'If we can get two or three early
wickets, we'll be back in a strong position – 350 is a par score on that
wicket, so we're still in a very good position and there are some
encouraging signs for Swanny.'

Mixed bag: Anderson took Petersen's wicket early - but captain Smith looked in fine nick

Mixed bag: Anderson took Petersen's wicket early – but captain Smith looked in fine nick

Mixed bag: Anderson took Petersen's wicket early - but captain Smith looked in fine nick

Mixed bag: Anderson took Petersen's wicket early – but captain Smith looked in fine nick

Kallis masterclass

Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase: Sir Thomas Rich"s 5 Dauntsey"s 17

Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase: Sir Thomas Rich's 5 Dauntsey's 17

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UPDATED:

12:10 GMT, 4 April 2012

A brace of first half tries from Toby Small enabled Dauntsey’s School to overcome fellow West Country side Sir Thomas Rich’s School and lift their first U15 Daily Mail RBS Vase.

Sir Thomas Rich’s started brightly and opened the scoring after only four minutes when lock Max Price burrowed over from close range, in the Twickenham sun.

Dauntsey’s responded strongly and exerted tremendous pressure on the Gloucestershire side’s try line, although they found dismantling a defence that had only conceded three tries in this year’s competition an arduous task.

Cheer: Dauntsey's delight in their victory

Cheer: Dauntsey's delight in their victory

Start: The Vase is the first final of the day

Start: The Vase is the first final of the day

But the miserly Thomas Rich’s defence
eventually cracked on 18 minutes, with impressive open-side flanker
Small evading two tackles to squeeze over for Dauntsey’s and restore
parity.

Small was soon responsible for the Wiltshire outfit seizing the
ascendancy as his powerful, swerving run from 45 metres left four
defenders trailing in his wake as he crossed in the corner.

And Dauntsey’s, containing three sets of twins in their starting
line-up, were in dreamland three minutes into the final play of the half
when imposing skipper and number eight Will Britton barged over for a
try, at full stretch following a number of phases in Thomas Rich’s
territory with Max Romer-Lee slotting an excellent conversion from out
wide.

On the way to victory: Toby Small from Dauntsey's bursts through to score a try

On the way to victory: Toby Small from Dauntsey's bursts through to score a try

Capture: William Rouse from St Thomas Rich's is surrounded by Dauntsey's players

Capture: William Rouse from St Thomas Rich's is surrounded by Dauntsey's players

Remarkably, that kick turned out to be the final score of a tense and
cagey affair, the second half of which saw Tommy enjoy the lion’s share
of possession but fail to make significant inroads into their opponents’
defensive rearguard.

Replacement James Foylan went closest for them during a rare period of
sustained pressure, but a combination of multiple handling errors and
unyielding Dauntsey’s defence, marshalled superbly by their back row of
Britton, Small and Sam New, meant that the trophy’s destiny was never
truly questioned.

Switch: Sam Tomloin throws the ball away from the scrum

Switch: Sam Tomloin throws the ball away from the scrum

London Irish 32 Leicester 41: Toby Flood and Tom Croft strike at the death

London Irish 32 Leicester 41: Flood and Croft strike at the death to steal victory

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 25 March 2012

Leicester moved up to third in the Aviva Premiership by winning a thrilling encounter against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

Irish looked on target to record a famous victory when they led 32-31 with two minutes to go but Toby Flood's penalty and a Tom Croft try from the last movement of the game proved heartbreaking for the hosts.

Flood scored 26 points for Leicester with Tom Homer replying with 24 for Irish.

Touching down: Engl;and flanker Tom Croft scores Leicester's match-winning try

Touching down: Engl;and flanker Tom Croft scores Leicester's match-winning try

Irish had the first opportunity when Leicester were penalised for dragging down a line-out but Homer was narrowly wide with his 50 metre attempt.

However the hosts maintained their bright start and the full-back made no mistake with a 35 metre penalty to give the Irish a fifth minute lead. Irish should have extended that lead when Joe Ansbro broke through the visitors defence but the centre selfishly held on to the ball, instead of passing and the chance was lost.

The hosts continued to dominate and had another good try-scoring chance but this time Steve Shingler kicked when there was a clear overlap and again the opportunity went begging.

No stopping him: England centre Manu Tuilagi runs in a try for Leicester at the Madejski Stadium

No stopping him: England centre Manu Tuilagi runs in a try for Leicester at the Madejski Stadium

Dan Bowden dropped a neat goal to gain some reward for Irish but the home side were made to pay for their carelessness when Leicester scored the first try after 23 minutes. Following a succession of five-metre scrums, Flood dummied over for the try but his easy conversion kick was charged down by the onrushing Darren Allinson.

The Leicester pack had a period of dominance which enabled them to score a second try. Flood and Thomas Waldrom made inroads into the Irish defence and Julian Salvi drove over from close range for the try which Flood converted.

Irish hit back with Homer kicking his second penalty before they took the lead in a topsy-turvy first half.

Flipping brilliant: Tom Homer celebrates after scoring a try for London Irish

Flipping brilliant: Tom Homer celebrates after scoring a try for London Irish

From a line-out 45 metres out, Allinson went straight through the middle to set up a try for the supporting Bryn Evans. Homer converted to give Irish a 16-12 interval advantage.

Flood reduced that lead with a 40-metre penalty early in the second half and when the Irish were a penalised at a scrum, the outside half was again on target with an excellent 50-metre kick.

The lead changed hands once again almost immediately. Jamie Gibson reclaimed the restart for Homer to spot a gap in the Tigers defence to evade Marcos Ayerza and run 25 metres for the try which the full-back converted.

Putting the boot in: Full-back Homer kicks points for London Irish during their defeat

Putting the boot in: Full-back Homer kicks points for London Irish during their defeat

Croft was introduced in time to see Flood kick his third penalty to make it 23-21 to Irish going into the final quarter but Leicester went ahead when Billy Twelvetrees carved a huge hole in the home defence to send Manu Tuilagi in for the try which Flood converted.

The Tigers suffered a blow when Ben Youngs was helped off with a leg injury but they overcame this setback to increase their score with Flood's fourth penalty.

But three superb 50-metre penalty strikes from Homer appeared to have won the day for Irish but Flood's penalty and Tom Croft's last ditch try broke their hearts.