Tag Archives: proudest

Louis Smith and Pat Rice receive MBEs

Medals of honour: Team GB heroes Smith, Baker and Hosking and Arsenal legend Pat Rice given gongs by the Queen

team were today honoured at Buckingham Palace by the Queen.

Gymnast Louis Smith, who scooped silver on the pommel horse and bronze in the men's team competition, described being awarded the MBE as 'the proudest moment of his life', but risked being turned away when he showed up having forgot his invitation.

He tweeted: 'Hahaha not the greatest start. @gabstone9 forgot our invites to Buckingham palace. Not quite as easy getting in as a school disco #oops

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Sophie Hosking

Pat Rice

Rowing and football: Sophie Hosking and Pat Rice's respective contributions were also honoured

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

'Today is the day I become Louis Smith M.B.E ooooooo exciting times'

Natasha Baker, who was also honoured
for winning two gold medals in dressage at the Paralympics said the
occasion was 'absolutely incredible', but had earlier tweeted in a panic
over her fear of missing the ceremony.

Baker had been stuck in traffic on the M4 but eventually made it to Buckingham Palace on time. 'Stuck in traffic on M4 on my way to collect my #MBE . Any police around to give me an escort!' she tweeted.

Louis Smith

Britain's Natasha Baker

Olympians: Louis Smith and Natasha Baker were among Team GB's most impressive performers at the Games

'Tempted to get Jordan (scooter) out and drive to Buck Pal! Think she would be faster than this traffic! Don't think I'm going to get there!'

Sophie Hosking, winner of gold in lightweight women's double sculls, was presented with an MBE at the investiture ceremony.

Pat Rice

Rob McCracken

In their element: Pat Rice (centre) with the FA Cup won at Arsenal at his peak and boxing guru Rob McCracken

British Amateur Boxing Association performance director Rob McCracken, who overlooked a haul of five boxing medals at London 2012, also receives the MBE, as was former Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice, who spent 44 years at the club, winning seven trophies as a coach.

Is this some kind of joke? Saint Lallana stunned by England call

Is this some kind of joke Saint Lallana stunned by England call

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UPDATED:

14:55 GMT, 10 September 2012


Astonished: Adam Lallana was surprised to be drafted into Roy Hodgson's England squad to face Ukraine on Tuesday evening

Astonished: Adam Lallana was surprised to be drafted into Roy Hodgson's England squad to face Ukraine on Tuesday evening

Adam Lallana has admitted he thought Southampton manager Nigel Adkins was having a laugh when he told the youngster he had been called up by England.

The 24-year-old was one of three players called up by Roy Hodgson following a spate of withdrawals from his squad to face Ukraine in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday.

Chelsea duo John Terry and Ashley Cole were ruled out over the weekend, and today Theo Walcott went back to Arsenal after contracting a virus.

Daniel Sturridge was also unable to train on Monday because he felt ill and, although Hodgson expects the striker to be fit, he was left with little alternative other than to draft in replacements.

Lallana was one following an encouraging start to the season, except he did not quite believe it.

'I didn't think the gaffer was being serious when he called to tell me this morning,' Lallana told www.saintsfc.co.uk.

'I was at home about to head into the training ground when he called – I must have asked if he was having me on a dozen times!

'I'm totally shocked to be honest.'

Named Saints' skipper this summer on their return to the Premier League, Lallana has represented England at Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 levels.

And whilst he realises it is a long shot that he will make his debut tomorrow, he is delighted with the recognition.

'It's such a proud accomplishment to be called up to play for your country at any level, but to be called into the senior side is probably the proudest moment of my career so far,' he said.

Dream come true: Lallana has been brought in as cover following injuries to John Terry, Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott, among others

Dream come true: Lallana has been brought in as cover following injuries to John Terry, Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott, among others

'It is every player's dream to represent your country at the top level.

'I'm realistic in accepting I might not be that heavily involved, but the fact that I will be around such experienced international players is something I am really excited about.'

Lallana will link up with former team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who featured in Friday's 5-0 defeat of Moldova in Chisinau.

And as Walcott is another Southampton old-boy, clearly the south coast outfit are doing something right.

'It reflects really well on the club,' Lallana said.

'It shows just how far Southampton has come to have an English player represented at national level.

'We have a lot of talented young English players here and I'm sure that I won't be the last person to represent our country.'

Donald McCain is filling the void left by Ginger

McCain Mk II is filling the void left by the legendary Ginger

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 4 April 2012

The delivery is less colourful and expletive-free but the sentiment could have issued from the lips of his famous father, Ginger.

Twelve-year-old daughter Abbie has just been beaten in both her first pony races. Donald McCain expresses both pride and satisfaction. Defeat is far more character- building.

‘I don’t think long-term it does you any harm having to struggle a bit,’ he says. ‘One of the best groundings for training a good horse is having a few bad ones.’

Pride and joy: Donald McCain, the son of legendary trainer 'Ginger', with 2011 National winner Ballabriggs

Pride and joy: Donald McCain, the son of legendary trainer 'Ginger', with 2011 National winner Ballabriggs

Ginger McCain would have felt the same. The Aintree legend, with his four Grand National victories, knew a bit about overcoming adversity, especially in the quiet years that followed three-time winner Red Rum.

Ginger’s death in September will leave a massive void on Saturday week on the stage he adored, 12 months after he stood in the winner’s enclosure delivering a trademark irreverent reaction to his proudest moment — success for his son courtesy of the Jason Maguire-ridden Ballabriggs.

The three-day Aintree meeting promises to be emotional for the McCain family, with widow Beryl unveiling Ginger’s statue a week on Thursday, a few yards from the one immortalising Red Rum.

But, if the John Smith’s Grand National has lost its greatest champion, it has not had to look far for his successor.

For Donald, who admits to a graveside apology when he could not muster a runner over the iconic fences at the track’s December fixture, the passion for the National burns just as brightly as his desire to protect it.

Gone but not forgotten: Ginger McCain beams as he stands with the Grand National trophy in 2004, and (below) with the last year's winner Ballabriggs

Gone but not forgotten: Ginger McCain beams as he stands with the Grand National trophy in 2004, and (below) with the last year's winner Ballabriggs

Gone but not forgotten: Ginger McCain beams as he stands with the Grand National trophy in 2004, and (below) with the last year's winner Ballabriggs

Changes have been made to three of the
fences and additional welfare measures introduced since the two deaths
which took the gloss off the victory of Ballabriggs, but Donald is
adamant that the sport must now be confident and resolute in defending
the race.

Pictures of an exhausted Ballabriggs being given oxygen that was not really needed after his victory were misinterpreted, Donald insists, as was the decision not to take the horse to the winner’s enclosure. Poor PR also left well-meaning actions looking chaotic.

Donald said: ‘We were told that for the future of the race, and to keep it safe, more changes had to be made but I don’t think what has been done will make a huge amount of difference.

‘I hope now we can draw a line in the sand and say, “This is the Grand National, leave it alone”. It’s the greatest test of a thoroughbred racehorse on the planet. It is not about class but toughness, durability, professionalism and heart.

High times: Ballabriggs in 2011

High times: Ballabriggs in 2011

‘It is unfortunate Ballabriggs did not go
in the winner’s enclosure but the best thing for the horse was to get
him in the peace and quiet of the stable.’

Ginger would have said the same, only more stridently. He hated the interference in the race that flowed through his veins like the Mersey flows through its home city.

When Amberleigh House gave Ginger his fourth National in 2004, much of the credit went to Donald, his regular rider on the gallops. Winning last year, however, meant more than just his name etched on the trophy.

‘I love Aintree, I have grown up with it but you couldn’t describe what it meant to Dad. One of the satisfying things is knowing he got to see another Grand National winner come out of everything that he put together.’

That ‘everything’ is the most successful National Hunt stable north of the Trent, which captured two Cheltenham Festival wins this season and houses nearly 150 horses in Cheshire.

It is a metaphorical million miles from the cramped stable behind the Southport car lot where a six-year-old Donald watched from his bedroom window as Red Rum returned through crowded streets following his third win in 1977.

Ballabriggs, 11 years old and carrying 11st 9lb, will try to be the first horse since to win the National more than once. Bookmakers make him 14-1 after a fourth place at Kelso last month, in his only run since his big win, left some pundits disappointed. Not Donald.

‘It was the same when he was second in the same race and everyone was knocking him. I was thrilled with him and so was Jason.

Legend: Ginger on board the great Red Rum, who died in 1995

Legend: Ginger on board the great Red Rum, who died in 1995

‘He thought he ran a better race than last year, and, with the exception of Synchronised (Cheltenham Gold Cup winner), I don’t think the National is as strong as last year.

‘What Dad always taught me is to prepare a horse for one day and that’s what I’m doing. It’s not about the week before or the week after. It’s about one day in April.’
And what a day it could be.

l TRAINER Nicky Henderson says Burton Port, fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will miss the National to run in Thursday’s Betfred Bowl Chase as long as Ballabriggs makes the big race. Both are owned by Trevor Hemmings.

SIX NATIONS 2012: Alex Cuthbert not just along for the ride

Cuthbert has not just come along for the ride: England's loss is Welsh gain

Horses for courses: Cuthbert is equally at home in the saddle or in a Wales shirt

Horses for courses: Cuthbert is equally at home in the saddle or in a Wales shirt

Alex Cuthbert has come a long way since he was riding his favourite showjumper Neopolitan The Second to success as a teenager.

Some five years on and this talented sportsman is a new force in Wales’ gigantic backline that is tipped to bulldoze England aside next Saturday at Twickenham.

The irony is that the 21-year-old could have been lining up in the white and red rose but for the talent-spotting network of Wales’ coaches.

‘Yes, they (England) missed him,’ is the view of father Pete, the Gloucestershire farmer whose proudest moment came when 17-year-old Alex joined him at his club of Westbury-on-Severn for a season.

‘He was very quick and was able to run in the tries for us. It was great to play a season alongside him,’ Cuthbert Snr added.

His rise into a Triple Crown showdown is remarkable because Cuthbert bucks the trend of professional rugby clubs who nurture players from 14 onwards.

Powerhouse: Cuthbert is becoming a key cog in Wales' back line

Powerhouse: Cuthbert is becoming a key cog in Wales' back line

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Try time: Cuthbert scored against Scotland

Again, he made an immediate impression by scoring nine tries in his first two tournaments, which brought him to the attention of head of performance Joe Lydon and national coach Warren Gatland.

Cuthbert cemented his Welsh ties by moving to Cardiff to study before joining the Blues on a joint contract which allowed him to play sevens for Wales.

‘He had lots and lots of raw potential,’ Lydon recalled. ‘But I must admit I thought he was not ready this season to make the step up into the Blues team and now the national squad.

‘But credit to the Blues coaches and Warren for giving him the chance. I’ve been proved wrong.’

Cuthbert has taken the rapid rise in his stride, modestly stating that he had the ability to have taken up showjumping, football, athletics or rugby.

‘At 16 I was doing everything – horse riding, football, running and some rugby. But I never thought I would be doing one sport professionally.’ He admits that he misses the show jumping world which brought Neopolitan The Second enough success to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show.

He claims his English-born father will be wearing a Welsh jersey and that his whole family will be at Twickenham in support. ‘I couldn’t have done it without them,’ he adds.