Tag Archives: manoeuvre

Australian Open 2013: Jamie Baker loses to Lukas Rosol in first round

Baker's Aussie dream is over after Brit falls to Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror Rosol

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

07:45 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 15 January 2013

Jamie Baker was left to rue some missed opportunities as he fell in the first round of the Australian Open to the man who famously knocked Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon last year.

Playing on a far outside court in the enormous shadow of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the 26-year-old Scot led in both the first and second sets before he became overpowered by the athletic figure of Czech Lukas Rosol 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a shade over two hours.

Having typically battled hard to make it through the qualifying event it was a disappointing outcome for the British No 2 but winning those three preliminary matches still makes it a decent start to the season for the world No 246.

Over and out: Jamie Baker lost at the first hurdle to Lukas Rosol at the Australian Open

Over and out: Jamie Baker lost at the first hurdle to Lukas Rosol at the Australian Open

Against 75th ranked Rosol, who played like Godzilla back in June to beat the stricken Nadal in five sets, he had to rely on his counterpunching skills from the back of the court but they served him well early on as his opponent started to get frustrated.

Baker broke for 6-5 in the opener when he played a clever chip-and-charge manoeuvre that brought an error from Rosol. Trying to serve it out, however, he allowed three break points against him and on the last one hit a forehand into the net.

The Briton, an off season training partner of Andy Murray in Miami, was always behind in the tiebreaker as Rosol threw caution to the wind and hit out to take it 7-5, having built up a 6-3 lead.

Cruise control: Rosol knocked Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon and was in no mood to be shocked himself

Cruise control: Rosol knocked Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon and was in no mood to be shocked himself

The second set was also a story of Baker not being able to capitalise on his lead as he went ahead 4-1 and 5-3 and again was unable to close it out. Rosol reeled off four games and Baker’s fighting spirit was sapped, with daylight between them in the third.

Consolation for the Scot is the 18,000 first-round loser’s money and a boost from his wins last week.

Having fought more than his fair share of injuries he is at least heading in the right direction.

Sebastian Vettel set to retain title after FIA clear Red Bull driver of "illegal" overtake

Vettel set to retain world title as FIA say Red Bull star has 'no case' to answer over 'illegal' overtake

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UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 29 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel looks set to retain his world title after the sport's governing body cleared the Red Bull star of any wrong-doing.

Vettel's third consecutive championship was in doubt over an alleged illegal manoeuvre by the German in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

Scroll down to watch the video

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Footage on YouTube appeared to show Vettel overtaking Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flag conditions.

Overtaking
is outlawed under such conditions and a 20-second penalty could have been
handed out retrospectively, which would demote Vettel to eighth place
and see Ferrari's Fernando Alonso crowned world champion by a point.

But the FIA told Autosport that Vettel's move was legitimate and he had 'no case' to answer.

Yellow peril: Vettel's pass on Vergne has been brought into question

Yellow peril: Vettel's pass on Vergne has been brought into question

Alonso is said to be pushing Ferrari for an appeal. They have until Friday to do so.

Ferrari confirmed on Twitter that they requested 'clarification' from the FIA on Vettel's overtake.

Vettel finished sixth in the race
while Alonso came home in second meaning he was
beaten to the drivers' title by just three points by his Red Bull rival.

If Ferrari choose to lodge an appeal
with the sport’s world governing body (they have until Friday to do so)
Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said: 'We're looking at the video. We have until tomorrow to file an appeal.'

Speaking to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, race director Charlie Whiting dampened the likelihood of an appeal.

Hesaid: 'If the lights are not installed at a flag post the driver responds to the first signal that is shown.

'In Vettel's case, between the last yellow light and the green light there was a green flag being waved.

'The distance is 350 metres here. Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right.'

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Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.

Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber however, believes Vettel should escape punishment.

'I think it’s unlikely (an appeal
will succeed),' Webber said. 'I think the race is won. It’s all over. I
think everything should be all right.'

Sebastian Vettel could lose title

Vettel could be stripped of title as Ferrari consider appeal over alleged illegal move

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UPDATED:

22:58 GMT, 28 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel's world title could be in serious jeopardy after it emerged Ferrari are considering lodging an appeal with the FIA over an illegal overtaking manoeuvre by the Red Bull driver during Sunday's chaotic season ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Footage circulating on YouTube appears to show triple drivers' champion Vettel overtaking Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flag conditions in the early laps of the rain affected race at Interlagos.

Scroll down to watch the video

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Overtaking is outlawed under such a
caution by race stewards and usually results in the guilty party being
handed a drive-through penalty during the race. However, in cases where
the infringement is not spotted prior to the chequered flag, the
customary punishment is 20 second penalty handed out retrospectively.

Vettel finished sixth in the race while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso came home in second meaning he was beaten to the drivers' title by just three points by his Red Bull rival.

However, should Ferrari choose to lodge an appeal against the result with motorsport's world governing body, they have until Friday to do so, then Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.

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Such a dramatic outcome would see
Alonso crowned champion for a third time by a solitary point. Vettel
staged a remarkable recovery to take the crown in the spectacular season
finale after a first lap collision with Bruno Senna left him dead last.

Suspicions of illegality in passing moves on an HRT backmarker and Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber proved unfounded but it is the footage of Vettel's move on Vergne, who drives for Red Bull's sister team, which is being forensically examined by Ferrari's top brass who spent Wednesday afternoon lock in talks at their Maranello headquarters.

A Ferrari spokesman would only confirm that: 'Anything that threatens the credibility of the championship has to be examined.'

Speaking
after clinching the drivers' championship for third time in successive
years, Vettel spoke out about the 'dirty tricks' Red Bull's competitors
had used to derail his title charge.

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

The remark was taken by most observers to be in reference to Ferrari's decision to sabotage Felipe Massa's gearbox at the penultimate race in Austin in order to boost teammate Alonso's grid position.

In addition, Red Bull have had to alter their car on numerous occasions this season after complaints by rival teams regarding the legality of their 2012 challenger's design.

Meanwhile, Alonso tweeted after the race seemingly questioning the manner of Vettel's comeback in Brazil, posting: 'I have no miracles, I make the correct laws my miracles.'

Shanaze Reade finishes sixth in BMX final – London 2012 Olympics

They didn't Reade the script…. Woe for BMX pair after falling short on medals

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UPDATED:

15:53 GMT, 10 August 2012

Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the Olympic BMX final at London 2012 as Colombia's Mariana Pajon triumphed.

With Prime Minister David Cameron, his wife Samantha, Chancellor George Osborne and David Beckham all among the 6,000 crowd at the Velopark, Reade started poorly and could not recover as Pajon won, with Sarah Walker of New Zealand second and Laura Smulders of Holland third.

No joy in sixth: Reade will be disappointed after missing out on a medal

No joy in sixth: Reade (second from left) will be disappointed after missing out on a medal

Reade crashed out of the 2008 Olympic
final in attempting a gold-medal-or-bust manoeuvre and was among the
favourites in London.

There was one run in the final and Reade was never in contention for the top place on the podium.

There was more disappointment for Team GB when Liam Phillips crashed during his final.

More to follow…

German Grand Prix 2012: Lewis Hamilton has no regrets for overtaking Sebastian Vettel

Second chance: Boost for Button as Vettel is penalised for ovetaking manoeuvre

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UPDATED:

00:36 GMT, 23 July 2012

If Lewis Hamilton had his way he would have already been halfway back to his Monaco pad by the time Ferrari's Fernando Alonso had clinched victory in the German Grand Prix.

Forced to limp into the pits after an early puncture, Hamilton was urging his team to call it a day as early as the fourth lap having dropped to 22nd in the order.

Bullish: Lewis Hamilton believes he was well within his rights to overtake Sebastian Vettel to unlap himself

Bullish: Lewis Hamilton believes he was well within his rights to overtake Sebastian Vettel to unlap himself

It fell flat: Hamilton's car sustained a puncture, taking him out of contention in the race

It fell flat: Hamilton's car sustained a puncture, taking him out of contention in the race

Sebastian Vettel would certainly have liked McLaren to have heeded the call after Hamilton passed the Red Bull driver to unlap himself on lap 35.

Vettel, trying to close in on Alonso in the lead while holding off Jenson Button in third, showed his displeasure by gesticulating three times in Hamilton's direction from the cockpit of his car.

Vettel's anger had not abated by the post-race press conference as he branded Hamilton 'a bit stupid' for dicing with the leaders despite being so far down the field.

Hamilton responded to the jibe by sarcastically declaring: 'It shows his maturity. I didn't want to get in the way of Jenson.

'That was the reason (I overtook him).'

With the spat developing, the stewards ensured Vettel's mood took a turn for the worse and Button's for the better.

Judging that the tussle with Hamilton had slowed him up, Vettel then found himself dropping to third behind Button thanks to a 2.4 second stop by McLaren which beat the previous record they set in Valencia.

The real winner: Fernando Alonso (centre) was in fine form at the German Grand Prix

The real winner: Fernando Alonso (centre) was in fine form at the German Grand Prix

The knock-on effect was that Vettel needed to pass Button on the penultimate lap to regain second place.

Using his DRS overtaking aid, Vettel went around the outside of Button at the hairpin and in doing so he was forced to put all four wheels beyond the kerb and off the track.

The stewards refused to accept Vettel's explanation – that he was trying to avoid a collision and there was less grip on the painted run-of area – and hit him with a 20-second penalty which demoted him to fifth and promoted Button to second.

'I drove into the pits and they were just putting on the replay,' said Button who had already complained about the move over his radio.

'You could see that he overtook me off the circuit.

'He thought it was working out for him at the time but obviously the stewards didn't think it was correct.

Controversy: Vettel incurred a penalty when he left the track to overtake McLaren's Jenson Button

Controversy: Vettel incurred a penalty when he left the track to overtake McLaren's Jenson Button

Controversy: Vettel incurred a penalty when he left the track to overtake McLaren's Jenson Button

'We know what the limits of the track are and we have got to make sure we don't push our luck.'

Button dismissed the idea that Hamilton taking on Vettel was a Chris Froome to Bradley Wiggins style example of teamwork.

'I don't think Lewis was helping me out,' Button said. 'I don't think Sebastian lost anything, he will obviously say he did.

'He (Hamilton) is allowed to do that.'

All good knockabout stuff and, having survived a pre-race steward's inquiry into their engine mapping system and the suspected aerodynamic advantage it produces, Red Bull's luck with the authorities was always likely to run out.

Button, of course, was delighted with the extra points after collecting just seven in the previous six races not to mention his first podium since the Chinese Grand Prix in April.

Class act: Alonso took the spoils in Hockenheim over Vettel

Class act: Alonso took the spoils in Hockenheim over Vettel

Indeed, the signs are good for both McLaren drivers that their updated car is now able to give Red Bull and Ferrari a run for their money.

'It's nice to be back on the podium,' said Button.

'In the last couple of races, I've been very happy with the car but the results haven't been there because the pace hasn't been there.

'This race gives me a lot of confidence.'

Even so, the only real winner at Hockenheim yesterday was Alonso.

His progress to the chequered flag, and a 34 point advantage over nearest challenger, Red Bull's Mark Webber, was about as serene as it can get behind the wheel of a Formula One car.

All a far cry from Ferrari's disastrous pre-season testing and early campaign form.

Enlarge

How they fared in Hockenheim

How they fared in Hockenheim

'We made a very good recovery when you think of where we started in the Jerez test where we were maybe two seconds off the pace,' Alonso said.

'We are very happy with the points we have achieved but it means nothing, there are still another ten races. We need to be consistent.'

If Alonso does that he will take some stopping. Hamilton rates the Spaniard as his most dangerous rival and, aware early on he would not be fighting with him at the front, perhaps it was understandable that he wanted to knock it on the head.

Hamilton stuck to his guns after the race about the wisdom of ploughing on given all was lost.

'I was a lap down and my car was damaged,' insisted Hamilton despite being able to set a fastest lap and having the pace to overtake Vettel.

'I don't understand any point in driving around in a broken car. My differential was badly damaged, so was my rear floor, so I was just driving for the sake of driving.'

With next weekend's race in Hungary the last before the summer break and what promise to be some interesting contract negotiations with McLaren, Hamilton will be hopeful of a more meaningful driving experience.

German Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso wins

Alonso extends F1 championship lead in Germany as puncture deflates Hamilton's hopes

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UPDATED:

14:35 GMT, 22 July 2012

Fernando Alonso stretched his championship advantage to 34 points after claiming his third Formula One victory of the season in the German Grand Prix.

A campaign that started with a record seven different winners in the first seven races has now seen Ferrari star Alonso take a stranglehold by winning two of the last three.

Behind the 30-year-old reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, on home soil at Hockenheim, finished second for Red Bull ahead of Jenson Button in his McLaren.

Drink it up! Alonso is soaked by Vettel and Button after his victory in Hockenheim

Drink it up! Alonso is soaked by Vettel and Button after his victory in Hockenheim

Formula One

Click here for the latest standings

Vettel, however, is under
investigation for a penultimate-lap move on Button as he ran off the
circuit to complete the manoeuvre. If Vettel is found guilty it will be
likely the positions are reversed.

Explaining his actions, Vettel said:
'I wasn't sure he was still on the side or not, I can't see from the
inside of the car, so I tried to give him enough room and went wide.'

At least Button can gain some
satisfaction from an improved car in which he had taken just seven
points in six races prior to today.

As for team-mate Lewis Hamilton, on
the occasion of his 100th grands prix, it was one to forget for the
27-year-old, who has now collected a meagre four points from the last
three races after retiring 10 laps from home.

Like Button of late, from winning in
Canada and leading the way, Hamilton's championship challenge has
rapidly gone off the rails to drop to 62 points behind Alonso.

On this occasion a slow start off the line was a pre-cursor to his downfall as Hamilton lost two places going into turn one.

You beauty! The pit crew celebrate with Alonso as the Spaniard takes the chequered flag

You beauty! The pit crew celebrate with Alonso as the Spaniard takes the chequered flag

You beauty! The pit crew celebrate with Alonso as the Spaniard takes the chequered flag

But it was what occurred behind him
that ultimately proved his undoing as Felipe Massa ran into the back of
Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus, dislodging the front wing of the Ferrari.

That sent shards of carbon fibre on
to the track, yet there was no safety car, so when Hamilton made his way
through the first corner at the start of lap two he collected a
puncture.

It resulted in a long, slow run to
the pits for a change of tyres, and although Hamilton felt he would have
to retire then, his team said otherwise, dropping back to 22nd.

Hamilton, though, would later have a
significant say as in making his second stop after 33 laps – the halfway
point – Hamilton was lapped by leading duo Alonso and Vettel.

It resulted in a radio message from McLaren telling Hamilton not to hold up Button three seconds behind him.

It was a message Hamilton did not
need to heed because on fresh rubber, and although effectively a
backmarker, given the speed of his McLaren he was able to attack first
Vettel and then harry Alonso.

Second best: Vettel congratulated Alonso before showering two of the grid girls

Second best: Vettel congratulated Alonso before showering two of the grid girls

Second best: Vettel congratulated Alonso before showering two of the grid girls

When Hamilton made his move on Vettel
into the hairpin at the end of the DRS zone to un-lap himself, the
German made his unhappiness felt by waving his hand at the Briton.

That allowed Hamilton to then loom
large in the wing mirrors of Alonso, making enough of a nuisance of
himself that McLaren were able to pit Button after 40 laps.

Unsurprisingly Ferrari and Red Bull
reacted by bringing in Alonso and Vettel a lap later, however, Button
did enough on one lap to pick off the latter to move up to second.

Vettel did attempt an immediate pass
into the hairpin using DRS, but Button defended brilliantly, albeit
picking up a flat-spot on the front-right tyre.

It was a case of then playing a
waiting game for Button because, despite closing to within a second of
Alonso, he was unable to make any move on the Spaniard.

Instead, Alonso pulled away from
Button over the closing laps, who in turn fell back into the clutches of
Vettel, who was able to make his move on lap 66 to finish runner-up.

Winging it: Massa lost his front wing which looked to have caused Hamilton's puncture

Winging it: Massa lost his front wing which looked to have caused Hamilton's puncture

Winging it: Massa lost his front wing which looked to have caused Hamilton's puncture

Behind the leading trio Raikkonen was
fourth, followed by the Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez,
with Michael Schumacher seventh in his Mercedes.

Mark Webber could only finish where
he started in his Red Bull – eighth – to fall to 34 points behind
Alonso, with Vettel a further two points behind.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg completed the top 10, the latter from 22nd on the
grid, with Paul di Resta just outside the points in 11th in his Force
India.

After savouring the champagne, and
being interviewed by triple world champion Niki Lauda on the podium,
Alonso said: 'It was tough, not an easy race.

'Maybe we were not the quickest, but
we were quite competitive, enough to maintain the lead, with some good
strategy from the team.

All smiles: The grid girls welcome the drivers onto the track

All smiles: The grid girls welcome the drivers onto the track

All smiles: The grid girls welcome the drivers onto the track

'After the second stop, when I was
coming under pressure, the car was good enough under traction and in top
speed to control the race.'

Vettel, however, was fuming with Hamilton for when he unlapped himself as he said: 'I didn't see the point of that.

'It was a bit stupid to disturb the
leaders. If he wanted to go fast he should have dropped back, found a
gap and go fast then. Overall, I'm not entirely happy.'

Referring to Vettel's under-investigation overtaking move, Button said: “There's nothing to say. The TV camera says it all.

'I'd rather talk about the race. It
was a fun race, I really enjoyed racing out there. It was nice to be
back on the podium and to get some good points.

'This race gives me a lot of confidence. We're there or thereabouts at the front, but still a little to go to the front.'

Hot start: Alonso moved away at the start, but further back there was trouble for Hamilton on lap one

Hot start: Alonso moved away at the start, but further back there was trouble for Hamilton on lap one

Hot start: Alonso moved away at the start, but further back there was trouble for Hamilton on lap one

Lionel Messi"s the modest hero of our truly golden age: Patrick Collins

Messi's the modest hero of our truly golden age

PUBLISHED:

00:05 GMT, 11 March 2012

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UPDATED:

00:05 GMT, 11 March 2012

As the finest golfer of his era and
the founding father of the US Masters, Bobby Jones had seen everything
that his sport had to offer. Then, in 1965, Jack Nicklaus won Augusta’s
green jacket by finishing nine shots ahead of Gary Player and Arnold
Palmer. And Jones was stunned.

‘Mr Player and Mr Palmer played
exceptionally well,’ he said. A pause: ‘But Mr Nicklaus was playing a
game with which I am not familiar.’

The phrase ran through the mind the
other evening, when Lionel Messi was scoring his opening goal in the Nou
Camp. There was an urgent scuffle by the halfway line to defeat Bayer
Leverkusen’s offside trap. There was a cursory prod with the sole of a
boot to secure the ball. There was a bewildering calculation, involving
the pace of the run, the position of the goalkeeper and the angle of the
target.

Masterful: Lionel Messi delicately chips the advancing Bernd Leno to score the first of his five goals against Bayer Leverkusen

Masterful: Lionel Messi delicately chips the advancing Bernd Leno to score the first of his five goals against Bayer Leverkusen

And then, the coup de grace: a lazy
sweep of the left foot, lifting the ball a yard or so above the keeper’s
grasp and conjuring it, first bounce, into the distant corner of the
net. It was the kind of sublime manoeuvre which might have appealed to
an imaginative child, one who did not know that such feats are
practically impossible.

Messi smiled, the faintly flickering
smile of a bewildered man: ‘Did I really do that I suppose I must have
done.’ It was a modest reaction. There was no flamboyant gesture, no
kissing of the badge, none of the tediously choreographed routines
favoured by lesser men, lesser players. Instead, he crossed himself
instinctively, then trotted back for the restart. After which, he scored
four more goals.

And as he went about his devastating
work, that image of the wide-eyed child remained in the mind. For if he
plays into his dotage, Messi will always be the kid playing football in
the street. His mother is calling, his tea is ruined, his homework is
neglected. But on he plays because he is entranced by the game,
beguiled by its challenges, enthralled by its possibilities. We know,
beyond a doubt, that there is nothing in the wide world he would rather
be doing.

Born to play: Messi collects another match ball for his extensive collection

Born to play: Messi collects another match ball for his extensive collection

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His manager knows it, too. Pep
Guardiola rarely substitutes him, rarely neglects to select him, because
he knows how much it means. It isn’t a matter of pride or ego or a
trivial desire to demonstrate that the Nou Camp is his stage. It is the
sheer, uncomplicated joy of performing at a level that nobody before him
has ever managed to attain.

Clearly, there are powerful cases to
be made for gods such as Pele, Maradona and Best. But at a time when
footballers are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before, the game
is dominated by one who stands five-and-a-half feet tall and weighs less
than 10-and-a-half stones. It is Messi’s genius which raises him above
the muscular mob, just as it enables him to disrupt the most
sophisticated containment strategies that coaches and computers can
devise.

It helps, of course, that he is
playing in what is almost certainly the finest club side that the sport
has known. If Barcelona represent the best that football has to offer,
then Messi is the ultimate expression of their philosophy. And all his
achievements have been marked by an air of intelligent modesty, a
genuine reticence, an awareness that the game is there to be enjoyed
rather than exploited. When footballers at large are charged with being
arrogant, vulgar and acquisitive, then Messi must be the first witness
for the defence.

And we should appreciate our sporting fortune. We used to stare back down the decades for our heroes, to the likes of Don Bradman, Mark Spitz, the young Muhammad Ali, Lester Piggott and Vivian Richards. These days, we simply glance over our shoulders to take in Shane Warne, Steve Redgrave and Seve Ballesteros.

Then when we look around us, we see that the single sport of tennis has currently produced three talents in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, each of whom will bear comparison with any of history’s champions. And in our glittering summer of sport, when the world comes clamouring to London, Usain Bolt will assume his place at the peak of Olympus. It is a prospect to savour.

So we live in a golden age, an age in which famous deeds are done. And some of those deeds are being performed by a young man, small in stature and with the shy smile of a gifted child. A man in awe of his own ability, playing a beautiful game. With which we are becoming happily familiar.

Sorry, Glen, but you’ve given the game away

When Luis Suarez, of Liverpool, issued a public apology for failing to shake the hand of Patrice Evra, of Manchester United, a few cynical souls suspected that he didn’t believe a word of it. Those suspicions appear to have been well founded.

It was Glen Johnson who gave the game away. With his club painfully emerging from the biggest public relations disaster in its history, Johnson came up with a bizarre theory.

Evra, it seems, never really intended to shake hands with Suarez. Instead, he had offered his own hand so stealthily that he knew it would be rejected. He sneers: ‘Evra probably stayed up all night thinking about how to do that.’

Flashpoint: Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez

Flashpoint: Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez

Now we must assume that Johnson is not spouting this tosh off his own bat, that he must have consulted Suarez before speaking out.

Yet let us consider the terms of the Suarez apology: ‘I’m sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened. I should have shaken Patrice Evra’s hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions.’ The meaning could not be clearer.

Kenny Dalglish, whose woefully inept handling of the affair ensured that his image took an almighty battering, admitted: ‘I was shocked to hear that the player had not shaken hands.’

And that seemed to be that, until Johnson unveiled his incredible theory.

We now await a reaction from Dalglish. Somehow, I doubt that the little ray of sunshine is delighted by recent developments.

Theory: Glen Johnson

Theory: Glen Johnson

Times are hard, especially when your name is Oyston
Bovvered Karl Oyston

Bovvered Karl Oyston

A week ago, my colleague Nick Harris revealed that the Blackpool owner Owen Oyston paid himself 11million while his club were being relegated last season. Some thought this a touch excessive, especially as Karl Oyston, the owner’s son, had famously criticised the insatiable greed of overpaid footballers.

Unkind words like ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘parasite’ were used, and the Blackpool fans were not entirely appeased when Karl explained that his father ‘does not lead an extravagant lifestyle’.

In truth, Oyston Jnr is not one of nature’s diplomats. ‘If I had spent the 11m on players’ wages, nobody would be complaining but that money would be gone to Ferrari dealers and whatever else players spend it on,’ he said. I can think of some players who might find that faintly patronising.

Not that Karl is concerned about what people think. When you are as rich as the Oystons, you can do what you like. As he said: ‘Frankly, after the way he has supported the club all these years, if it was an 11m salary to my father, so what’

Incidentally, the Blackpool club credit card was reportedly twice declined by a hotel before the game at Peterborough. In the end, payment was guaranteed but you can’t blame the hotel for being cautious. After all, these are hard times. Ask the Oystons.

PS

Mario Balotelli is a bit of a card. Drives into female prisons, races quad bikes in his back garden, has friends who let off fireworks in his bathroom. That sort of thing.

Just last week, he was fined for staying out late at a strip club. But that was last week. Now, he’s a changed man. It seems it’s all down to his manager having faith in him.

‘I can’t let myself do stupid things any more,’ he says. ‘Roberto Mancini has made me grow up.’ I can’t wait for next week.

London 2012 Olympics: Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson star class gold medalists

Setting sail for London: Sportsmail takes to the water with Olympic duo

“Tack!”

That”s the cry from double Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy as the boom of the Star boat comes hurtling towards me.

I avoid tumbling into the water thanks only to the quick thinking of Andrew Simpson, who drags me back into the craft.

Saved! Sportsmail

Saved! Sportsmail”s Martin Domin almost topples overboard

Andrew and Iain are showing me the ropes at the Olympic Sailing venue at Weymouth Bay and despite doing my best to fall overboard, apparently I”m performing well for an amateur.

“Are you sure you haven”t sailed before” asks Andrew. Apart from a week spent trying out a variety of boats one summer as a teenager, I haven”t, but that doesn”t stop the Olympic duo insisting I grab the tiller and steer.

After I collect my breath, we attempt the tacking manoeuvre again. This involves turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other. As boats can”t sail directly into the wind, it must zig-zag towards it. This time I”m on the ball and slip under the boom as elegantly as I can before grabbing the tiller to keep us on course.

Tower of strength: Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson navigate the waters

Tower of strength: Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson navigate the waters

We spend an hour on the water in the boat that Andrew and Iain won gold in three years ago and what strikes me most is the physical demands of the sport. It”s impossible to gauge the effort required when watching from the shore, or on TV, but as I brace my legs on the strap of webbing and hang overboard, the pain shoots through my thighs from the strain. It”s no wonder these guys are in the gym twice a day as they get in shape to spend four or five hours on the water every day.

Andrew and Iain have known each other for 25 years and joined forces at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 to win gold. They will attempt to do so again in London next year in what will be the final appearance of the Star class after it was dropped for the 2016 Games in Rio.

Designed in 1911 by Francis Sweisguth, the Star is the oldest class and is known as the “fleet of champions” as many Olympic and world champions conclude their careers in the boat. The pair compete together in 10 races, with points allocated equal to their finishing position. The best nine from each team are then totalled and the top 10 compete in the medal race where double points are on offer. The overall points tallies are then used to determine the medalists.

Victory: Iain Percy (left) and Andrew Simpson with their gold medals

Victory: Iain Percy (left) and Andrew Simpson with their gold medals

‘We’ve been racing against each other since we were 15,’ Iain explains when we are back on dry land. ‘He always used to beat me,’ chips in Andrew.

Having dominated the British Under 19 age group when they were just 16, the pair realised they could make a career out of the sport.

Outside of the Olympics, Andrew and Iain compete professionally in the America’s Cup but their greatest success as a team came in China.

‘I’d never worked as hard for a competition in my life. That took a tiny bit of pressure off knowing I’d done everything I could,’ Iain explains.

‘We work as a partnership, some of the other teams don’t put as much emphasis on the second guy in the boat, traditionally called the crew, but we don’t work in that way. It gives us a real advantage at times because for me to be able to concentrate on the speed while Andrew focuses on the tactics, or the other way around, is a real advantage. Very few boats have two tacticians on board and although that means a lot of work in terms of communication, the result is better.

On dry land: Martin Domin with Iain Percy (left) and Andrew Simpson

On dry land: Martin Domin with Iain Percy (left) and Andrew Simpson

‘We’ve known each other for so long, we”re like brothers. We have arguments but we get on with it. We chat continually, bouncing ideas off each other, it’s a continual communication stream.’

The duo are currently in Perth, Australia for the World Championships as they continue their preparations for London.

‘We”ve got a lot of improvements to make in ourselves and in the equipment’, Andrew concludes. ‘At the World Championships, our competitors will be there and at their best. They need to qualify for the Olympics; only the top 15 out of around 60 get to go to London. It’s a big event for us to gauge where we”re at.’