Tag Archives: quarters

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.

Ashley Barnes charged by FA

Brighton's Barnes could see four-match ban extended after being charged for trip on referee

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

16:47 GMT, 13 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:07 GMT, 13 March 2013

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Brighton's Ashley Barnes has been charged by the Football Association for the apparent trip on referee Nigel Miller on March 9 at the Reebok Stadium.

Barnes appeared to make contact with Miller in the closing seconds of his side's 1-0 defeat by Bolton, an offence for which he was shown a red card.

His punishment was a four-game ban, one more than the standard three due to it being the striker's second dismissal of the season.

Scroll down to watch footage of the incident…

Marching orders: Barnes is dismissed by referee Nigel Miller

Marching orders: Barnes is dismissed by referee Nigel Miller

Lengthy ban: Barnes has been sent off twice this season

Lengthy ban: Barnes has been sent off twice this season

Lengthy ban: Barnes has been sent off twice this season already and his protests (below) fell on deaf ears

But, having considered the evidence, the FA have opened proceedings which could lead to an enhanced punishment.

The FA have ruled that the incident displayed 'truly exceptional circumstances' and as such it has been referred to an independent three-man commission who can recommend a further ban if they feel it necessary.

A statement today read: 'The FA has
charged Brighton and Hove Albion's Ashley Barnes following his side's
game against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday 9 March 2013.

'It is alleged that Barnes's
behaviour in relation to the match official, for which the player was
dismissed for violent conduct towards the end of the game, constituted
an offence whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply
was clearly insufficient.'

Close quarters: Miller and Barnes are just yards away from each other as Bolton clear

Close quarters: Miller and Barnes are just yards away from each other as Bolton clear

Trip: Barnes sticks out a boot as Miller sets off on a run

Trip: Barnes sticks out a boot as Miller sets off on a run

Whistle: Miller sticks up his hand as he stops the game

Whistle: Miller sticks up his hand as he stops the game

Barnes has been given until 6pm on Thursday to respond.

Speaking immediately after the match –
and before reviewing video evidence – Brighton manager Gus Poyet said:
'I would like to see it.

'Before I talk to him I'm going to have a look because if he's done something to the referee…let's wait and see.

'My way of managing this is I prefer
the player to calm down because if you go to the dressing room and you
ask them straight away then they will put their excuse in there and
blame somebody else.'

VIDEO: Watch Barnes's trip on referee Miller from 50 seconds in

Final moments of Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

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Carl Frampton stops Kiko Martinez to claim European title

Frampton wins European title and becomes first man to stop Martinez with dominant win

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

23:44 GMT, 9 February 2013

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UPDATED:

01:13 GMT, 10 February 2013

Carl Frampton sent out a chilling message to the super bantamweight division by becoming the first man to stop Kiko Martinez and rip the European title from the stunned Spaniard in Belfast.

Frampton, 25, had twice seen a meeting with the champion postponed when Martinez pulled out and had promised to make his adversary pay the ultimate price.

And he did just that, knocking the 26-year-old out with a bludgeoning right hand in the ninth round.
Martinez is no stranger to Ireland having stunned Bernard Dunne inside one round in Dublin six years ago and he had promised to silence the fervent home crowd once again.

Champion: Carl Frampton stopped Kiko Martinez in the ninth round to claim the European title

Champion: Carl Frampton stopped Kiko Martinez in the ninth round to claim the European title

Frampton meanwhile delivered a
career-best performance in September when disposing of two-time world
champion Steve Molitor in six rounds.

But the Canadian was clearly past his
best on that occasion and Martinez, who shares a trainer with world
middleweight champion and namesake Sergio, was expected to pose an
altogether tougher test.

And so it proved as he went in search
of his younger opponent in a cagey first round. Frampton, content to
box on the back foot, landed the first meaningful punch with a solid
left hook to the body.

Martinez was quick out of the blocks
in the second stanza, forcing the home favourite back on to the ropes.
While Frampton stuck to the game plan for the most part, boxing at range
and picking his punches; when he did engage at close quarters, he was
given a sharp reminder of the visitor's knockout power.

Team: Frampton celebrates with his manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan

Team: Frampton celebrates with his manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan

Frampton picked up the pace in the
subsequent round, delivering impressive combinations before withdrawing
to the outskirts of the ring.

By the middle of the fourth session, a
bad cut had opened up under Martinez's left eye and Frampton
immediately set to work with his right hand. But the Spaniard remained
dangerous, landing a solid left jab, perhaps sensing that his days were
numbered, only to be pinned against the ropes as Frampton sensed the
finish.

Although Martinez continued to stalk
his prey in the fifth, Frampton was proving more and more elusive,
slipping and sliding out of range as he moved further ahead on the
scorecards. A quieter sixth round followed but Frampton upped the pace
again as the fight entered its second half.

Martinez, whose cut opened again, was more reluctant to come forward and the Belfast favourite landed several plum shots.

Finally: Frampton had twice seen his meeting with the Spaniard postponed

Finally: Frampton had twice seen his meeting with the Spaniard postponed

Frampton was drawn into a toe-to-toe
brawl at the start of the eighth round but slipped on to the back foot
as the session progressed, allowing him to pick his shots with unerring
accuracy.

Martinez had shown exactly why he had
always heard the final bell when he shipped several huge shots at the
start of the ninth but his resistance proved futile when a huge straight
right left him floundering on the canvas.

The Spaniard rose unsteadily but
after staggering back towards his corner, the referee waved the fight
off. Frampton, who was ahead on all three scorecards by four rounds
(twice) and two rounds on the third, extends his unbeaten record to 16
professional contests.

Frampton, who will likely return to
Belfast on May 11, potentially in a final eliminator for the IBF world
title, said: 'I can't remember much about the [knockout] punch. It was a
decent shot.

'I proved I've got a good chin. I
could feel his power but he didn't hurt me. He didn't make my legs
wobble but you can see from face that he hits hard.

'He's not been wobbled before but I
took him out. The plan was to box from the outside but when we traded, I
felt I got the better of him.

'I want to be a world champion. I
feel the buzz and its getting better. The best man won on the night but
he's a tough man. I was hitting him and he was coming back.'

Rugby fans to be taken up close and personal to the players with new television "Refcam"

Rugby fans to be taken up close and personal to the players with new television 'Refcam'

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UPDATED:

11:18 GMT, 19 December 2012

Rugby fans will be closer than ever to the hard-hitting action from this weekend with the introduction of a 'Refcam' which promises to revolutionise how the sport is broadcast.

Officials will have a three-inch square High Definition camera strapped to their chest with a Velcro harness to record the action unfolding in front of them.

Sky Sports directors will have access to the feed for television output, while the RFU will make use of footage for referee training.

New insight: Rugby fans will be able to see the action close up with a new 'Refcam' being trialled in a Championship match this weekend

New insight: Rugby fans will be able to see the action close up with a new 'Refcam' being trialled in a Championship match this weekend

The first referee to wear the 'Refcam' will be Matt Carley, who takes charge of the Championship match between Newcastle Falcons and London Scottish at Kingston Park on Sunday.

The camera should offer a unique perspective into the role of the officials and what happens on the field of play.

It also records audio for an additional insight into conversations and arguments between players in addition to the existing ref's microphone.

If Sunday's trial is successful, the 'Refcam' could become a staple of television coverage of rugby.

'You are looking right into everything,' said Ed Morrison, the RFU's head of elite referees. 'You see what the referee sees. It is a way we can measure ourselves in a more accurate way and at the same time offer more education. The potential is enormous.'

Scrutiny: Officials' decisions will be analysed making use of the video evidence

Scrutiny: Officials' decisions will be analysed making use of the video evidence

Sky made an approach to Morrison last month following a successful experiment by American broadcaster HBO at an Amir Khan bout.

A tiny camera was sewn into the referee's bow tie, delivering a high quality, close quarters feed of every blow.

'I was spellbound,' added Morrison. 'It's a quite incredible piece of technology.

'For a scrum, you are looking down the tunnel. If you want to emphasise something, this will do so enormously.

'We can freeze it and ask a referee, What were you looking for What do you see wrong with that ruck or maul It will make a great training tool.'

The technology was successfully trialled by leading RFU official JP Doyle in a recent under-16 match at Harrow School.

Gus Williamson, Sky's executive rugby producer, said it would 'showcase rugby in a very good light.'

He said: 'The collisions in rugby are so brutal now. Imagine seeing two 18-stone forwards crashing into each other only 18 inches from the referee.

'It will make for some compelling images and it will offer a perspective of what it takes to do the job of the referee.'

The results of the trial, to include a number of Championship fixtures, will be assessed in the new year.

CAMERA TECHNOLOGY IN OTHER SPORTS

Boxing – A tiny camera was sewn into the referee's bow tie by American broadcaster HBO at a recent Amir Khan fight

Cricket – Broadcasters use a variety of technology to judge whether umpires have made the right call, including stump cams, Hawk-eye ball tracking and the Snickometer

Football – Goal line technology was trialled at the FIFA Club World Cup last week, using a microchip in the ball

End to controversy: Goal line technology was trialled by FIFA in the recent Club World Cup using a micro-chipped football and an adapted watch which flashes 'Goal' if the ball crossed the line

End to controversy: Goal line technology was trialled by FIFA in the recent Club World Cup using a micro-chipped football and an adapted watch which flashes 'Goal' if the ball crossed the line

Tennis – Hawk-eye uses ten high-speed cameras around the court to judge whether the ball went out

Max Chilton lands Marussia F1 deal for 2013

Max power! Chilton becomes fourth Brit on grid after landing Marussia deal

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 18 December 2012

Max Chilton insists he is 'already up to speed' with Formula One after Marussia confirmed the promising youngster as the fourth Briton on the grid for the 2013.

Chilton replaces Caterham bound Charles Pic for the 2013 season and despite having just two Formula One tests under his belt, the 21-year-old Reigate-born racer is convinced he is ready to make the step up from the GP2 grand prix feeder series.

'It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling today, with the announcement that I will be racing for the Marussia F1 Team in 2013,' said Chilton.

Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013

Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013

Max Chilton: Racing history

British Formula Three Championship (2007-09)

Chilton tasted victory at one race in three years, ending his final season 4th in the standings.

GP2 series (2010-12)

The Briton graduated to the F1 feeder series in 2010. After two largely lacklustre years, Chilton ended last season with two wins from the final four rounds finishing 4th in the championship.

'It comes at the end of what has been
a fantastic year for me, and those steps – my GP2 pole positions and
wins, my performances in the F1 Young Driver Test and in FP1 at Abu
Dhabi – have given everyone the confidence in my ability to compete at
the highest level of motor sport.

Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year

Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year

'I am very fortunate to have spent
the last six races with the Marussia F1 Team as Reserve Driver, which
means that instead of a standing start, I am already up to speed and at
ease with the people, the culture, the systems and of course, the 2012
package.

'During the period since the Japanese
Grand Prix, I have watched at very close quarters the incredible
commitment and determination to succeed that saw everyone in the team
pushing until the very last race. I feel very lucky to be able to embark
on my F1 racing career with this group of people.

Brit of all right

Lewis Hamilton

Chilton becomes the fourth Brit on the grid next year, joining Lewis Hamilton (right), Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta.

With just three seats left to be confirmed next season, only Germany can boast the equal number of drivers. But with Adrian Sutil tipped for a return that could become five.

The other countries who will be represented in 2013 are France (3), Australia (2), Mexico (2), Finland (2), Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela.

'Pre-season testing is just a few
weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation
whilst spending as much time as possible working with the technical team
to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season.'

Chilton is the son of Grahame
Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield's UK
holding company who is reportedly worth around 100million.

Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season

Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season

However, he has previously stated
that the estimated 9.5m funding he has secured to realise his Formula
One dream does not come from the family coffers.

Even so the funding boost will be
welcomed at Marussia who narrowly missed out 10m in prize money after
being pipped to tenth place in the constructors' championship by
Caterham at the season finale in Brazil.

Marussia team principal John Booth is
adamant that, funding aside, his young protege has the talent to help
the Banbury-based team build on the solid progress they made in 2012.

Booth said: 'We have spent a
significant amount of time evaluating his performances during 2012, both
in our own car in a testing situation and also from the pit wall as we
monitored his progress alongside the other members of our junior talent
pool during Grand Prix support races.

'We felt confident enough in his
ability and potential to appoint him to the role of Reserve Driver in
September and since that time his development has been rapid in all
aspects. First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely
capable in the car.

'Not only that, Max very quickly
embedded himself within the team, thanks in no small part to the fact
that he is a lively and affable character who we've enjoyed having
around. Having been integral to our race weekend engineering environment
for the past three months already – as well as having undertaken a
significant part of our simulator programme – Max has already found his
feet.'

Jonas Gutierrez enjoys mate tea putting Newcastle United

Jonas is fuelled by special brew: How Gutierrez puts Newcastle and the world to rights over a cup of mate

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UPDATED:

23:38 GMT, 13 December 2012

Video: When Colin met Jonas

Watch Jonas Gutierrez introduce Colin Young to the ritual of mate

There is a daily ritual with a difference at Newcastle United’s training ground.

It is two men putting the club, and the world to rights over a cup of tea. But there is something slightly different about this quiet early morning get-together in the first team dressing room.

Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini enjoy the tranquillity of their surroundings before the rest of their team-mates start to arrive and fill the four walls with noise, banter and naked bodies.

The two Argentina internationals bring their own backpacks from home to enjoy a cup of mate (pronounced 'matay'). They take out their own small wooden cup (calabash gourd), and fill it three-quarters full with some Argentine green tea leaves (yerba mate), which is purchased online or brought back from international duties.

They then tilt the gourd and create a small hole by the side in the leaves with a silver straw (bombilla) and pour in a large mouthful of water from the flask they have filled from the kettle before leaving their houses. The bombilla acts as a straw and a sieve.

Setting the world to rights: Jonas Gutierrez (left) introduces Colin Young to the world of mate

Setting the world to rights: Jonas Gutierrez (left) introduces Colin Young to the world of mate

Normally you then pass your mate to your mate. But Coloccini and Gutierrez sip their own brews and discuss their favourite topic: Newcastle United.

Gutierrez – who also likes a cup of English tea in the afternoon – said: 'It is a tradition from Argentina and Uruguay. Everyday, morning, or afternoon, you sit with your family, or a group of friends and have a drink.

'Colo and I like to sit down and talk before training. We talk about the team, what is right and what is wrong. We always try to see how we can improve things.

'A few of the lads have tried it. Ryan Taylor didn’t like it all, he thought it was too strong and he pulled a very funny face. James Perch liked it but he doesn’t like coffee and he needed to put some sugar in it.’

Fans' favourite: The energetic Gutierrez has endeared himself to the Toon Army

Fans' favourite: The energetic Gutierrez has endeared himself to the Toon Army – and the feeling is mutual

There have been good times and bad for the Argentina internationals to contemplate over their four years on Tyneside.

Both
have admitted their failings as they tried to find their feet in their
debut seasons. They eventually slipped to the Championship. The pair
could have left after relegation, but were integral members of the squad
which returned to the Premier League wiser and stronger.

'When you look at the past you realise maybe things happen for a reason,’ he says now.

'Nobody wants to be relegated but it was the right moment for this club. It might have been the right time to start form zero and have a fresh beginning. It was a hard time but look where we are now.

'For me, the biggest thing at that time was when I spoke with Diego Maradona, who was national manager, he told me it didn’t matter where I played as long as I was playing.’ Maradona once said, when asked about his team selections, that it was 'Mascherano, Messi, Jonas and eight others’.

Suited and booted: Gutierrez takes a bite out of the Warrior Skreamer Pro

Suited and booted: Gutierrez takes a bite out of the Warrior Skreamer Pro

'That
was big,’ says Gutierrez, who comes up against Manchester City’s
Argentine trio of Tevez, Aguero and Zabaleta on Saturday lunchtime.

'It
would have put me in a difficult situation to jeopardise playing for
the national team and in the World Cup. Once he said that I didn’t need
anything else and I wanted to stay to get Newcastle back in the Premier
League.’

That
Gutierrez is a footballer at all is not something his parents could
have envisaged at the age of three when he suffered a severe illness
which resulted in paralysis of the top left-hand side of his body.

He
was encouraged by specialists to take up sport immediately to develop
his limbs and bones. For a boy brought up in a small town near Buenos
Aires, football was the only choice. Within six years he had joined
Velez Sarsfeld where he was to win the Argentine championship in 2005.

Getting stuck in: Gutierrez, who will skipper Newcastle when they face Manchester City, models his new boot

Getting stuck in: Gutierrez, who will skipper Newcastle when they face Manchester City, models his new boot

Gutierrez
said: 'I had a high temperature and it developed into a problem with my
body. I couldn’t move the left side of my body so the doctors said I
had to take up sport to help and my mother asked what I wanted to do.
And of course I just wanted to play football.

At ease: Gutierrez has found his spiritual home on Tyneside

At ease: Gutierrez has found his spiritual home on Tyneside

'Obviously
I don’t remember it but it was hard for my parents at the time but they
saw straight away that I was OK and I didn’t have any more problems. I
was just out every single day playing football in the streets with my
friends. I have very happy memories of my childhood and I love my town,
Saenz Pena.’

The
whole Gutierrez clan moved to Spain after the title success when he was
offered a contract with Real Mallorca, who had been Newcastle United’s
UEFA Cup opponents two years earlier.

Although
he was a success on the island, Gutierrez had his eye on a move to the
Premier League and even bought out his contract to move. Like Coloccini,
he has eventually proved one of the successes of the brief and messy
Dennis Wise era, after his switch from Mallorca was resolved by FIFA.

He may have a taste of home every day with his mates but Newcastle is very much his home now.

Gutierrez,
who captains the side in Coloccini’s absence, said: 'Newcastle is a
unique city and a unique club. The fans make the city and the club. They
make all the difference for the players.

'In
Argentina they are really passionate but some of the things that go on
at the stadium are nothing to do with football. Maybe they go to relieve
the stress of their week but I can’t understand it.

'I really enjoyed Spain. The weather is maybe better weather, especially in Majorca where you have sun nearly every day but I prefer the English football.

Kicking off: Gutierrez hopes Newcastle can buck a trend which seen the club lose five of their past six games

Kicking off: Gutierrez hopes Newcastle can buck a trend which seen the club lose five of their past six games

'The
gap between Real Madrid and Barcelona is too big and it makes league a
bit boring. You know when you start a season you are not going to fight
for first position.

'I
always dreamed to be a footballer when I was young and when I started
watching football from England I thought I would get there one day.
Mallorca was the right step at that time and made it easier to come
here.

'And I love it at
Newcastle. We had stability in our first season back and finished 11th,
then we got fifth place which was fantastic and we qualified for Europe,
which the club has not done for a while.

'We
have done a great job in the Europa League to qualify for the next
round but it has been hard in the league. The team has deserved to win
the last three games and we have players back now, which is important.

'Maybe we had more luck last year and we have to refocus and work hard to get results now. The fans have to be patient and believe in the team.’

Revenge mission: Gutierrez tries in vain to stop Yaya Toure scoring during Manchester City's 2-0 win at St James' Park in May

Revenge mission: Gutierrez tries in vain to stop Yaya Toure scoring during Manchester City's 2-0 win at St James' Park in May

The colourful new Warrior boots Gutierrez will now wear are not in keeping with his usual style to let his football doing his talking.

Perhaps they make up for the fact we will never see his famous Spiderman mask again. He has donned it on the few occasions he scored goals – it was forever appearing in the Championship season – but he’s ditched it now.

He added: 'The last time I did it the ref gave me a yellow card, and I prefer not to get a booking.

'I think the fans enjoyed it and I did but a booking can be really important, if you have to make a dirty foul and you’ve already been booked for getting the Spiderman mask out. I don’t think the manager or my team-mates would be very pleased.

'It is a shame but the team is the first thing I have to think about.’

Jonas Gutierrez wears the new Warrior Skreamer Pro boot

Adrian Lewis: Darts should be in Olympic Games

We don't spend our lives down the pub, darts should be an Olympic sport, claims two-time world champion Lewis

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 13 December 2012

World Champion Adrian Lewis has called for darts to be introduced into the Olympic Games.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on the eve of the PDC World Darts Championship, Lewis insisted: 'Darts should definitely be in the Olympic Games. Can you tell me any difference between archery and darts or shooting and darts

'It's a very similar concept and both of those are in the Olympic Games. And don't forget that darts is also a hugely popular sport.'

Hat-trick: Lewis is going for his third World Championship title

Hat-trick: Lewis is going for his third World Championship title

And Lewis, who claimed the World Championship title in both 2010 and 2011, has dismissed the reputation that darts players have in certain quarters of being 'heavy drinkers' and has called on the critics of the sport to try darts out for themselves if they believe it to be so simple.

Lewis, 27, continued: 'I know people say that we are a load of beer drinkers but we are far more professional these days. These critics should come and have a go at playing darts if they think it is so easy.

'We don't spend our lives at dartboards in the pub – we are at home practising. It is one of the most skilful sports in the world and there is no reason as to why it shouldn't be in the Olympics.'

Lewis, who defended his World Title by defeating Andy Hamilton 7-3 in last year's final, is confident of his chances ahead of the tournament, and is excited by the prospect of defending his title for a third consecutive time.

At the double: Lewis claimed back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011

At the double: Lewis claimed back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011

'It would be an incredible achievement to win three in a row. To make history like that would be fantastic. I was very proud after winning the World Championship the first time, so to win it three times, and consecutively, would be great.

'I'm in good form and feel ready. I've been to a few charity and sponsors' events recently but have had a week off and practised and I feel refreshed and prepared.'

And Lewis has admitted that it would be a dream to face darts legend, Phil Taylor, in the final of the tournament at The Ally Pally.

'To play and beat Phil in the final would be fantastic. He is the greatest darts player in history,' added Lewis.

'But once you are out there, you just have to play your own game and not think too much about who you are playing.'

Taylor, 52, boasts a world record 15 World Championship wins, and has been something of a father figure to Lewis, who credits Taylor hugely with his development.

'Phil and I are great mates. We have a lot of banter but he has given me so much help over the years. I used to train with him when I was younger, which was an incredible experience for me.

'What I learnt from him was how to be dedicated to the sport. I was at his house the day after he had won the World title in 2004, and I thought Phil may have had a bit of a break and relax for a bit. But he was at that dartboard practising the morning after. That's how motivated and dedicated he is. He is simply the best.'

Darren Barker beats Kerry Hope

Barker puts on brutal display to see off Hope and eyes second world title fight

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

22:06 GMT, 8 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

23:48 GMT, 8 December 2012

Darren Barker made a spectacular return to the ring and set himself up for a second world title shot next year with a convincing win over Kerry Hope.

The 30-year-old middleweight had been out of action for 14 months since losing to Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City last October. But he made short work of fellow former European champion Hope at London's Olympia.

Barker has had a year to forget after undergoing surgery to fix a long-standing hip injury before a return against Italian Simone Rotolo in September was shelved after he suffered torn tendons in his arm.

Flush: Darren Barker saw off Kerry Hope with ease

Flush: Darren Barker saw off Kerry Hope with ease

Welshman Hope meanwhile enjoyed a
fairy-tale win over Grzegorz Proksa in March to win the European title
but lost it just four months later in a rematch.

The 31-year-old beat Hungarian
journeyman Norbert Szekeres over six rounds in a tune-up fight in
Nottingham last month but was no match for a rejuvenated Barker.

The opening round was a tense affair
with both boxers opting for single shots with their lead hands as
opposed to multiple-punch combinations.

Hope tried to drag Barker into
fighting at close quarters in the second session but the home favourite
ended the round well by keeping his distance and working from the jab.

Having shaken off the inevitable ring
rust, Barker began to control the centre of the ring and march Hope
down as he brought his right hand into play. And it was a hook from that
hand that all but ended the visitor's challenge in the fourth stanza.

Hope was floored against the ropes
and although he groggily beat the count, his corner threw in the towel
seconds later. 'I was a little frustrated in the first couple of rounds
due to ring rust but it was enjoyable and I was glad to be back in
there,' Barker said.

'I proved that I could still mix it;
Kerry Hope is a former European champion and I've dismantled him quite
impressively. If I had put in a bad performance, or lost, I would have
called it a day but it's given me a lot of encouragement.

Throwing in the towel: Barker (right) marked his return to the ring in style

Throwing in the towel: Barker (right) marked his return to the ring in style

'I don't want to hang about in this
game, I think I've got another three or four years left. I want the big
fights and I want to be on the world stage. I've been at world level and
I want to be back there.

'I badly want to fight Martin Murray
and Matthew Macklin and I'm sure they do too. The boxing public deserve
to see those fights, but at world level.'

Earlier in the evening, Kal Yafai
continued his seemingly inexorable march towards domestic honours and
beyond with his sixth win from as many contests against Spanish champion
Jorge Perez.

The Birmingham bantamweight missed
out on a place at the London Olympics but has taken to the professional
ranks with considerable ease.

This was his second eight-round
contest after he dispatched Pio Antonio Nettuno in just 52 seconds in
Nottingham on the undercard of Carl Froch’s world title defence against
Yusaf Mack in November.

And Yafai, 23, looked set for
another very early night when left hooks to the head and body floored
Perez at the end of the opening round.

But the Spaniard beat the count and
withstood several brutal barrages in the following two sessions only to
be rescued from further punishment when referee Mark Green stepped in
with just under a minute remaining in the third.

Rocked: Barker catches his opponent with a devastating right hook

Rocked: Barker catches his opponent with a devastating right hook

Yafai will now top the bill in his
hometown on January 19 alongside the next Prizefighter tournament and on
the same night as stablemate Kell Brook fights Devon Alexander for the
IBF world welterweight title in Los Angeles.

Also on the undercard, John Ryder
won his British middleweight title eliminator against Irish Prizefighter
champion and fellow unbeaten prospect Eamonn O'Kane.

Ryder, 24, will now set his sights on
the winner of Billy Joe Saunders' clash with Nick Blackwell at the
Excel Arena next Saturday.

The Londoner enjoyed the better of
the opening rounds and, working from a southpaw stance, landed
effectively with the right hand before a strong left rocked O'Kane in
the third stanza.

Rounds four and five were scrappy
affairs but Ryder reasserted his dominance in the sixth although O'Kane
did well to answer a powerful left with a timely reminder of a right
hand. The decisive moment came early in the eighth round when yet
another hook to the head had O'Kane struggling.

No Hope: Barker was too powerful for the former European champion

No Hope: Barker was too powerful for the former European champion

He remained on his feet but a
succession of similar shots forced referee Howard Foster to wave the
fight off midway through the session.

Meanwhile, American Carson Jones and
late-replacement Dean Byrne fought out an entertaining draw which many
ringside observers felt should have gone the way of the Dubliner.

Jones, who lost to Brook in July, was
scheduled to face Lee Purdy but the Colchester welterweight was forced
to withdraw after failing to recover from a virus.

Crowd favourite Erick Ochieng made a
third successful defence of his English light-middleweight title with a
hard-earned but largely uneventful points win against Max Maxwell over
10 rounds.

There were also four-round shut-out
victories for unbeaten novices Callum Smith and Martin J Ward while the
popular Wadi Camacho made it six without defeat.

Andy Carroll not worth 35million, says Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Fergie: He'll be a handful but I'd never pay 35m for Carroll like Liverpool did

|

UPDATED:

07:29 GMT, 28 November 2012

LIVE: MAN UNITED v WEST HAM

Follow the action from Old Trafford and the rest of tonight's big Premier League games with Dan Ripley HERE from 7pm

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he would never have paid 35million for Andy Carroll.

The much-maligned England forward heads to Manchester United with West Ham tonight fresh from scoring the first goal of his loan stint at Upton Park.

For a team who have made a habit of conceding the first goal this season, Carroll is an obvious threat.

In the firing line: Manchester United manager has said he would never pay 35million for Andy Carroll like Liverpool did

In the firing line: Manchester United manager has said he would never pay 35million for Andy Carroll like Liverpool did

Yet Carroll continues to struggle to live up to his billing as England's most expensive player thanks to that extraordinary move from Newcastle to Liverpool in January 2011.

'He has only played something like a dozen games for Newcastle and then he had to deal with a 35million transfer to a club like Liverpool. That's quite a big jump,' Ferguson told United's official website.

'I'd certainly not sign that kind of player for that kind of money.

'We've gambled on young players in the past, maybe a couple of million or whatever, but when you get that level you really have to do a bit more homework and see how he is in his second season maybe.

Head scratching: Ferguson admits Carroll will cause his defence some problems at Old Trafford

Head scratching: Ferguson admits Carroll will cause his defence some problems at Old Trafford

'He's still not had a lot of games but he is a big lad, aggressive and a great header of the ball.

'He'll be a handful for our defenders.'

After working alongside the 23-year-old at close quarters during Euro 2012, Wayne Rooney knows the reality of Carroll's performances is nowhere near the perception many have of him.

He said: 'That type of player doesn't always get all the goals but they can cause trouble up front and create problems.

'I am sure that is what Sam Allardyce wants him to do.'

Rather like Rooney, Carroll demands attention. It seems he cannot have a quiet game, when he blends into the background.

Head start: Carroll opened his account for West Ham during their 3-1 defeat at Tottenham

Head start: Carroll opened his account for West Ham during their 3-1 defeat at Tottenham

He has to either be brilliant or awful, with the brutal assessment often falling on the latter.

Rooney knows from personal experience such situations are never quite so black and white.
However, he accepts they come with the territory.

'It is something you get used to,' he said.

'In the Premier League, you are there to be judged, whether that is good or bad. You just have to deal with it.'

With Paul Scholes suspended, Ferguson has already confirmed Anderson will start for only the second time in the Premier League this season.

It is also possible either Phil Jones or Chris Smalling will replace Rafael at right-back, whilst David de Gea might also come in for Anders Lindegaard.

Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar puts in magical display

Pietersen puts in genius display as England are spinning to victory in Mumbai Test

|

UPDATED:

11:30 GMT, 25 November 2012

Towards the end of a traumatic year for English cricket, here was a day to gladden their fans’ hearts.

First Kevin Pietersen lived up to the name of the fake Twitter account that caused so much angst in the summer and produced an innings of pure genius. Then England’s spinners got to work on India’s batsmen.

That’s right: England’s spinners got to work on India’s batsmen. It feels strange even writing it. The Mumbai Test was supposed to be just another part of India’s masterplan to humiliate England on turning pitches and show them that winning a series 4-0 is simply a matter of being granted home advantage by the fixtures computer.

Pure genius: Kevin Pietersen showed his class in the Mumbai Test

Pure genius: Kevin Pietersen showed his class in the Mumbai Test

So sure was MS Dhoni of his tactics –
and why wouldn’t he have been after the horror show of England’s first
innings at Ahmedabad – that he demanded a Wankhede pitch which would
turn from the first ball. He wanted, he said, to take the toss out of
the equation. He got his wish. And, barring a miracle tomorrow, it
appears to have blown up in his face.

There
is, though, no accounting for special talent, and it’s only fair to
point out that the highest score in England’s 413 after Alastair Cook’s
122 and Pietersen’s 186 was Nick Compton’s 29. Between them, Cook and
Pietersen made three-quarters of England’s runs.

But that’s the deal in international
cricket, and of India’s trio of spinners, only Pragyan Ojha looked even
vaguely capable of coming to terms with it.

Cook
was superbly stoical once more, the first player to score a hundred in
each of his first four Tests as captain. At this rate, you wouldn’t bet
against him extending the sequence to five at Kolkata.

Spinning to victory Monty Panesar was in devastating form too

Spinning to victory Monty Panesar was in devastating form too

Pietersen doesn’t do stoical, and
thank God for that. It misses the point to harp that he has shown
England what they were missing, because his gifts have never been in
doubt.

But when he plays like this – driving
against the spin, paddling over his left shoulder, slog-sweeping for
six – the only thing to do is sit back and enjoy.

After that, it was all about Graeme
Swann and Monty Panesar, who both invoked the spinner’s elixir of
bounce, bite and turn – qualities curiously lacking in Ravi Ashwin and
especially Harbhajan Singh.

From 30 without loss, India’s batsmen
looked as clueless as England’s had done on the second evening and
third morning at the Sardar Patel Stadium, though there was a certain
sadness about the ease with which Panesar worked over Sachin
Tendulkar.

An all-time great, he is danger of
leaving Test cricket with a whimper. Walking off to virtual silence from
his home crowd, he may have reflected that – with apologies to
Pietersen – there really are very few fairytales in sport.