Tag Archives: steel

Sam Tomkins and Kevin Sinfield shortlisted for Golden Boot award

Tomkins and Sinfield hoping to end British drought in Golden Boot award

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UPDATED:

23:45 GMT, 10 December 2012

England internationals Sam Tomkins and Kevin Sinfield have been nominated for the 2012 Golden Boot.

Wigan full-back Tomkins won the 2012 Man of Steel award and became England's record tryscorer while Sinfield captained Leeds to a sixth Grand Final triumph and led England to victory in the autumn international series.

The last British winner of the most prestigious individual award in rugby league was former Wigan and England captain Andrew Farrell in 2004.

Sam Tomkins

Kevin Sinfield

Years to remember: Sam Tomkins (left) and Kevin Sinfield (right)

Others shortlisted for the award, which will be announced on January 4, are Australia captain Cameron Smith, his Melbourne Storm team-mate Cooper Cronk, Canterbury full-back Ben Barba and Gold Coast forward Nate Myles.

Shaun Murphy beats Luca Brecel in UK Championship quarter-finals

Young Brecel's not so pretty on the pink as Murphy ends Belgian's fairytale run

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UPDATED:

01:08 GMT, 7 December 2012

Shaun Murphy dodged a Belgian bullet as Luca Brecel ran into pink peril and bowed out in the quarter-finals of the williamhill.com UK Championship.

Seventeen-year-old Brecel was twice on the brink of a famous victory at just his second major tournament.

But the rising star missed crucial pinks in the 10th and 11th frames to allow Murphy to capitalise both times.

Eye on the ball: Shaun Murphy had to dig deep to get the better of Luca Brecel

Eye on the ball: Shaun Murphy had to dig deep to get the better of Luca Brecel

The second steal clinched a 6-5 victory for the 2008 UK champion, setting up a semi-final tomorrow against Stuart Bingham's conqueror Ali Carter.

Murphy pointed to strong words at the interval from his manager Brandon Parker as a key factor in his victory.

'Brandon gave me a good talking-to at the interval that would have rivalled one of Sir Alex Ferguson's half-time talks, and it really knocked me into shape,' Murphy said.

'It's lucky there were no hairdryers in that dressing room. I think I'd have got one. Without Brandon's words I would have lost the match.'

He would have gone out anyway if Brecel had been able to put away his chances.

'I thought I'd lost the match a couple of times, I really did think I was out,' Murphy said. 'I think the adrenaline and maybe a little bit of inexperience cost him in the end. He over-hit and under-hit a couple of shots, and I'm just relieved.

Nerves of steel: 17-year-old Brecel has been the talk of the UK Championship

Nerves of steel: 17-year-old Brecel has been the talk of the UK Championship

'The sense of relief and sense of pleasure is probably twice as much as if I'd won 6-0 with four maximum breaks.'

Murphy can see a future champion emerging, and pointed to shades of Stephen Hendry in Brecel's temperament.

'He's just not bothered. And as long as he can keep that, that's what the best champions in the game forever have all had in common,' Murphy said.

'When everyone else is under pressure and feeling it, they just waltz through it like it's a walk in the park. Hendry never used to show any nerves at all and Luca looks like he's got the same attributes.

'He doesn't seem to show any nerves, he doesn't seem to feel any pressure just until the last minute, and it was lucky for me he did.'

Elsewhere at the Barbican, Mark Davis joined the semi-final line-up as the most successful season of his 21 years as a snooker professional reached a new high.

The 40-year-old Hastings man reached his third ranking event semi-final of the campaign with a 6-4 victory over the 2003 UK champion Matthew Stevens.

Into the last four: Davis

Into the last four: Davis

Davis had never made it so far in one of snooker's majors before this term, but he began his run of success at the Wuxi Classic in June, followed it up with another semi-final showing at the Australian Open in July and now has a final in his sights in York.

He fired breaks of 101, 80 and 70 in seeing off Welshman Stevens, earning himself a shot at Mark Selby, who fought back from 4-0 down to beat Neil Robertson 6-4.

The key frame was the 49-minute ninth, which after an intense battle Selby took, and when Robertson left him a cheap opening red early in the next frame the Leicester man made a match-winning 101 break.

Selby punched the air in celebration after potting the red that made victory safe, tying up victory at 12.05am.

Selby, 29, will go back to No 1 in the world should he beat Davis to reach the final, having relinquished top spot to Judd Trump in November.

Selby said: 'It's a special win. The way I finished off was pleasing but at the start of the match I was terrible, pathetic, and I deserved to be 4-0 down.

'Until 4-3 I didn't really start playing the way I'm capable of playing. I finished off well and it's surprising to come out on top.'

How Ben and Tom Youngs went from mini-rugby to the England squad

'Tom would smash right through Ben…' How the Youngs brothers went from mini-rugby to the England squad

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 7 November 2012

The galvanised steel rugby posts fashioned for the Youngs brothers by a doting grandfather have long rusted and disappeared but the memories of the young boys at play in north Norfolk linger.

Especially for a proud father like Nick Youngs, who himself played for England.

He is preparing for the possibility of watching both his sons, Ben, 23, and 25-year-old Tom, turn out for the same international team at Twickenham.

Boy wonders: Ben (right) and Tom Youngs (left) started out playing mini-rugby and could be the third brothers since the war to play for England together

Boy wonders: Ben (right) and Tom Youngs (left) started out playing mini-rugby and could be the third brothers since the war to play for England together

Haven't they grown Tom Youngs trains with England ahead of their clash with Fiji on Saturday

Haven't they grown Tom Youngs trains with England ahead of their clash with Fiji on Saturday

Off he goes: Ben Youngs (centre) is considered to be the more naturally gifted of the two brothers

Off he goes: Ben Youngs (centre) is considered to be the more naturally gifted of the two brothers

'Ben was David Campese in those days,' Dad recalls. 'Then he was Christian Cullen, complete with All Blacks shirt which he would change into as soon as he came home.

'It was quite amusing watching Ben side-stepping across the lawn, running about and pretending to score tries. Tom would boot the ball into the air and catch it.

'Ben was tiny. Tom was always quite chunky, and, of course, two years older. So when they played against each other Ben got the s*** smashed out of him.

'Ben would try to glide and step past Tom; Tom would just run through and straight over Ben.'

Think of Jonah Lomu galloping over Tony Underwood in the 1995 World Cup semi-final and you get the picture.

The Youngs look like becoming the third brothers since the war to play in the same England international side after the Underwoods, Rory and Tony, and Delon and Steffon Armitage.

The fact Nick Youngs has also been capped for England adds an extra dimension.

Nick, like Ben a scrum-half, won six caps in season 1983-84, largely, as he freely admits, due to an injury to Nigel Melville.

It was not England's finest year. But they did beat the All Blacks, as had the Midlands 10 days earlier. Youngs played in both games.

'The highlights of my career. I remember the Midlands game in particular. A Tuesday night at Welford Road. The atmosphere was amazing. We had such luck.

Talent: The Youngs' father, Nick, who was himself an England international, says that Tom was chunkier and used to smash through Ben

Talent: The Youngs' father, Nick, who was himself an England international, says that Tom was chunkier and used to smash through Ben

In action: Nick was a solid scrum-half, but retired at 26, meaning neither of his sons ever saw him play

In action: Nick was a solid scrum-half, but retired at 26, meaning neither of his sons ever saw him play

'We could have played them 100 times and been walloped on each occasion. But we tackled ourselves to a standstill and found an inner belief from somewhere.'

Youngs Snr retired at 26, weary at his three-times-a-week 230-mile round trip between the family farm and Leicester.

So his children did not see him play and they still haven't.

'I haven't shown them any recordings and I wouldn't. The game is so slow and dreary. I am embarrassed by it.

'When old farts talk about the game being so great in their day, I tell people they should watch the matches I played in. That shows the truth.'

Like so many of their generation, the Youngs boys started in mini-rugby, in their case at Holt RFC in Norfolk.

Both moved to North Walsham RFC which carried on their rugby education.

So did the renowned independent school Gresham's, chosen not just for sporting reasons. 'Both boys suffered from dyslexia,' their father explains.

'I struggled terribly with dyslexia at a time when it was not identified as that. They just called me thick. I remember sitting an exam not even being able to read the question.

'Tom struggled to read and write. Ben was better. But the dyslexia unit at the school was terrific. The academic side was tough but the sport was a great release, just as it had been for me.'

Brotherly love: Tom (left) and Ben (right) are both delighted to see each other succeed at the top level

Promising: Ben was already showing his ability here, aged 14

Brotherly love: Tom and Ben (left) are both delighted to see each other succeed at the top level of their sport, as Ben shows his promise aged just 14 (right)

Say cheese: Ben (left) and Tom (right) pose for the camera in this childhood photograph

Say cheese: Ben (left) and Tom (right) pose for the camera in this childhood photograph

Say cheese: Ben (left) and Tom (right) pose for the camera in this childhood photograph

Ben started as a centre and full back while always wanting to play fly-half.

It was during a trial for a London youth side that a selector saw him as a scrum-half.

Dusty Hare at Leicester took the same view. So, Ben embarked on a crash course in the art of the No 9, with Dad providing valuable tuition on passing from the floor and box-kicking during extra training at North Walsham.

Tom's conversion from centre to hooker, initiated by Heyneke Meyer, the former Leicester and current South African coach, came much later and proved more dramatic.

Nick remembers a phone call from Meyer when Tom was contemplating the switch.

'He told me that Tom already ticked most of the boxes for being a hooker. All he needed to learn was scrummaging and throwing in at the lineout!

'I remember his first game. He was targeted. There was a punch-up at the scrum and his first throw at the line-out looked like a beachball in the wind.

Competition: David Paice (left) is keeping a close eye on fellow hooker Tom Youngs (right)

Competition: David Paice (left) is keeping a close eye on fellow hooker Tom Youngs (right)

Close control: Ben Youngs (centre) will be hoping to dismantle the Fijians in Saturday's Test

Close control: Ben Youngs (centre) will be hoping to dismantle the Fijians in Saturday's Test

'I laugh about it now. He is still a work in progress but he has come so far. If anyone wants to criticise him, they should imagine what he has gone through. He just rolled up his sleeves and never complained.'

No-one would dispute that Ben possesses the more natural talent, as his father concedes.

'He has the kind of natural flair that you are born with and that can't be coached. He gets it from his mother, Trot (Patricia).

'But if you want to get Tom really wound up and upset, ask him how he copes with his brother's success.

'Tom is so happy for him, not at all envious. And Ben is equally thrilled about Tom's arrival in the England squad.

'I just think that it shows how anyone, anywhere, can pull on that England shirt. I think of Ben and his matchstick legs running around at a little place like Holt.'

Gerry, 86, the grandfather who made the rugby posts, will be at Twickenham on Saturday with his wife Helen, hoping to see two grandchildren in action 28 years after watching his son in the same stadium.

The family are looking forward to a great day.

Rangi Chase ruled out of England autumn internationals

Blow for England as groin injury rules Castleford's Chase out of autumn internationals

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 22 October 2012

Ruled out: Chase has a groin injury

Ruled out: Chase has a groin injury

Castleford half-back Rangi Chase has been ruled out of England's autumn internationals after picking up a groin injury on their training camp in South Africa.

The 2011 Man of Steel complained of the problem during last week's high-altitude camp in Potchefstroom and a scan has ruled him out of the games against Wales in Wrexham on Saturday and France at Hull KR's MS3 Craven Park a week later, as well as the November 11 final if England get there.

'It is a great shame,' coach Steve McNamara said. 'He has trained hard during our camp and has been an integral member of the squad.

'The lad is devastated to miss out. He was looking forward to the month ahead with England and making a huge impact.

'The important thing now is for him to rest, rehabilitate and get himself ready for the new season. He has a big 12 months ahead and can be part of our World Cup aspirations.'

England's chief medical officer Dr Chris Brookes said: 'Although Rangi's injury is responding to treatment, it has been decided that this improvement has not been sufficient for him to participate in the tournament.

Key player: Chase won the 2011 Man of Steel award

Key player: Chase won the 2011 Man of Steel award

'The England Rugby League medical staff will continue to monitor his progress and rehabilitation to ensure he is fully recovered from this injury.'
McNamara will select his team for the Wales game from a reduced 23-man squad, but has not ruled out bringing in a replacement during the tournament.

'I do have the option, if I desire, to bring in an extra player, but at this stage I don't envisage adding to the 23 now that Rangi is out,' he said.

England also look certain to be without Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins for the opener as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, while his club-mate, hooker Michael McIlorum, still has one game left of a three-match suspension to serve.

Both could return for the game against France, who opened the tournament with a 20-6 victory over Wales in Lens on Saturday.

Bo van Pelt wins Perth International

Van Pelt holds nerve to edge out Dufner and clinch maiden European Tour title in Perth

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UPDATED:

10:35 GMT, 21 October 2012

Bo van Pelt clinched his first victory on the European Tour with a two-shot triumph in the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

American Van Pelt came into the final day with a one-stroke lead after holing a 60-foot birdie putt on the 18th on Saturday and picked up a shot on the first on Sunday to set the tone for his round.

He finished on 16 under overall after carding a 68 to beat compatriot Jason Dufner by two shots, with first-round leader Alejandro Canizares three strokes further back in third.

Pretty in pink: Bo van Pelt celebrates winning the Perth International

Pretty in pink: Bo van Pelt celebrates winning the Perth International

'Jason and I had a great battle and played well. It definitely got tight there at the end but luckily for me I came out on top,' Van Pelt told the European Tour website.

'Lake Karrinyup was a great test of golf all week. It's been a battle; the wind blew, the greens were firm and fast, and it was just a joy to play all week.

'Whenever you get a lead you want to take advantage of it so it was nice to finish one off this week.'

Holding his nerve: Van Pelt beat his countryman Jason Dufner to the title

Holding his nerve: Van Pelt beat his countryman Jason Dufner to the title

Van Pelt demonstrated nerves of steel around the green and rolled in from 15 feet at the seventh to turn in 32, before picking up his fourth and fifth birdies of the day immediately afterwards.

He two-putted at the 15th to give Dufner hopes of catching up but Van Pelt birdied the next and another dropped shot at the 17th proved inconsequential after Dufner had bogeyed the 16th.

Paul Casey finished in a tie for fifth – alongside fellow Englishman David Howell, Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Rhys Davies of Wales – after a marvellous final round of 67.

Frustrated: Dufner finished two shots behind Van Pelt after their respective final rounds

Frustrated: Dufner finished two shots behind Van Pelt after their respective final rounds

The 35-year-old Casey has struggled for form this season after suffering a dislocated shoulder in a snowboarding accident last Christmas but is showing signs of getting back to his best and finished on eight under overall – one stroke behind fourth-placed Michael Hendry.

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Match report

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Wolves move one step closer to double after Waterhouse clinches win

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UPDATED:

21:18 GMT, 29 September 2012

Warrington are 80 minutes away from the elusive double after coming from 14-6 down to win their Super League play-off semi-final against St Helens at Langtree Park and secure a first Grand Final appearance.

Two tries in a three-minute spell midway through the second half from Australian forward Trent Waterhouse clinched victory for the Wolves, who will meet Leeds at Old Trafford next Saturday in a repeat of last month's Challenge Cup final which they won 35-18.

Warrington, who will become only the sixth club to contest the Grand Final, ran in four second-half tries to thwart Saints' bid for a seventh successive trip to Old Trafford and bring Mike Rush's reign as caretaker coach to a sorry end.

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

St Helens, the last team to do the double in 2006, dominated the first half and ought to have been further ahead than 14-12 at the break but they quickly ran out of steam when Warrington got their second wind in the second half.

The Wolves, who lost to Saints in the opening round of the play-offs, were boosted by the return of Man of Steel contender Ben Westwood for his first appearance since Wembley but it was his second row partner Waterhouse who stole the show.

The former Kangaroo international was a Grand Final winner in the NRL with Penrith Panthers back in 2003 and will fancy his chances of doing the double.

Yet Saints had looked the more dangerous side throughout the first half with right winger Tommy Makinson going close and left winger Francis Meli denied by a forward pass from Jon Wilkin and it was no surprise when they opening the scoring on 11 minutes.

Makinson had no right to score after taking Chris Flannery's pass with Chris Riley still to beat but he produced an acrobatic dive to get around his man and plant the ball over the line.

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

It was against the run of play that Warrington took the lead on 17 minutes, with Wilkin conceding possession with a knock-on 30 metres from his own line and Richie Myler combining with Brett Hodgson to get Riley over at the corner.

Hodgson's touchline conversion made it 6-4 but Saints remained unfazed and they looked to have seized control with two tries in a 10-minute spell.

Second rower Mark Flanagan took the ball to the Warrington line of defenders to suck in their defence and his long, looping pass gave Meli the space to cross at the corner.

The big Kiwi would have had a second try but for a last-ditch tackle from Hodgson but the Warrington full-back blotted his copybook shortly afterwards, spilling Wilkin's towering kick to present his opposite number Paul Wellens with the easiest of scores.

Makinson kicked his first conversion at the third attempt to make it 14-6 but Warrington scored what proved to be a crucial try two minutes before the interval when loose forward Simon Grix charged onto Lee Briers' pass.

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

The visitors were back in front eight minutes into the second half when right winger Joel Monaghan was first to Briers' high kick and, although he dropped the ball, it went backwards and he had the presence of mind to gather it back up and touch down.

Hodgson maintained his accuracy with his third goal to make it 18-14 and the Wolves produced some tremendous defence to keep their lead intact before hitting a purple patch in which they ran in three tries in seven minutes.

The impressive Waterhouse supported a break by centre Ryan Atkins to score his first before powering through a tiring defence for his second while Riley finished off a smart crossfield passing move to claim the visitors' sixth try.

Meli stopped the rot with a consolation try eight minutes from the end but Hodgson wrapped up the scoring with a penalty to take his goal tally to six from seven attempts.

London 2012 Olympics: Jess Ennis rules out 100m hurdles

Ennis rules out bid for 100m hurdles as golden girl prepares for 'break'

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UPDATED:

08:39 GMT, 5 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Britain's gold medal heptathlon hero Jess Ennis has ruled out any chance of appearing in the individual 100 metres hurdles at London 2012.

Ennis had entered herself for the event, which have heats on Monday and a final on Tuesday, in case she had any problems in the heptathlon.

But, after sparking off a British gold medal hat-trick in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday night, Ennis is ready for a break.

Golden girl: Ennis flies the flag after her heptathlon win

Golden girl: Ennis flies the flag after her heptathlon win

Sheffield Steel: Ennis will not compete in the 100m hurdles

Sheffield Steel: Ennis will not compete in the 100m hurdles

'Right now I'm just going to enjoy this moment for as long as I possibly can, spend some time with my family and then have a break and relax,' the 26-year-old told BBC Breakfast.

'It's being a long build-up and it's been stressful.

'I did think about it (entering the 100m hurdles) especially when I ran a personal best in the hurdles.

'But for me it was just about the heptathlon. I'm more than happy with that and I think I just need to rest now.'

Speaking on Radio Five Live, Ennis spoke of the moment she crossed the line.

'I was feeling a mixture of excitement, relief, exhaustion, so many mixed emotions that have built up,' she said.

'It was a huge relief that I have completed the heptathlon and that I'd won.'

Ennis revealed she kept the medal by the side of her bed overnight.

'I slept for about two hours,' she added. 'I just kept looking at my medal and thinking about what I've achieved. I don't think it's sunk in yet.

'I looked at it as soon as I woke up, and I'll look at it every day.'

High hopes: Ennis produced a world best time in the heptathlon hurdles

High hopes: Ennis produced a world best time in the heptathlon hurdles

On coping with the pressure of being the face of the Games going into the event, she said: 'There has been lots and lots of pressure and everyone just expected me to win.

'It's been quite hard to deal with that but I've had great people around me.

'I just wanted to get focused and use the positiveness (sic) from everyone around the country and use that to get this gold medal.'

On her plans for the immediate future, she added: 'I'm definitely going to relax, eat lots of rubbish food, have a few glasses of wine and enjoy this moment for as long as possible.'

Leeds 40 Castleford 22: Rhinos continue rise

Leeds 40 Castleford 22: Hall and Jones-Bishop double up as Rhinos continue rise

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UPDATED:

16:05 GMT, 24 June 2012

Defending champions Leeds continued their climb back up the Stobart Super League table with a comfortable win over a Castleford side sorely missing the creative skills of Rangi Chase.

Wingmen Ryan Hall and Ben Jones-Bishop both touched down twice as the Rhinos ran in seven tries at Headingley for the second time in seven days as they built on their 44-40 win over Wakefield which lifted them back into the top eight.

They are now up to seventh while the Tigers are floundering in 12th after suffering a fourth defeat in five matches and with renewed doubt over the future of Chase, the reigning Man of Steel and England international who was left out of the side as a disciplinary measure.

No stopping him: Rhinos' Ryan Hall reaches over for a try at Headingley

No stopping him: Rhinos' Ryan Hall reaches over for a try at Headingley

It was all too easy for Leeds, who led 40-6 after an hour, although Castleford added a touch of respectability to the scoreline by the scoring the last three tries of the game, two of them while down to 12 men.

Jones-Bishop had opened the scoring in the 12th minute after being put into the clear by his fit-again centre Kallum Watkins and it could have been his hat-trick.

The England Knights winger had been pushed into touch just short of the line by his opposite number Nick Youngquest and had another effort disallowed for a forward pass from Danny McGuire.

Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield missed the conversion attempt but went on to land six from seven attempts.

The champions were not slow to go to their free-scoring wingmen but were also able to make inroads through the heart of the visitors' defence, as they demonstrated on 15 minutes when teenage loose forward Stevie Ward went through a gap and got Rob Burrow over for the first of his two tries.

The diminutive scrum-half added his second five minutes later after Danny McGuire's long pass got Hall charging down the wing and Zak Hardaker took his inside pass to send the supporting Burrow under the posts.
The Tigers briefly stemmed the tide when prop forward Paul Jackson stepped past a wrong-footed Jamie Jones-Buchanan to score his first try since the opening day of the 2011 season.

Skipper Danny Orr, taking the goalkicking responsibilities in the absence of the injured Kirk Dixon, added the conversion but Leeds made it 22-6 at the break when Hall took a return pass from his centre Carl Ablett to register his 500th point for the club.

The highlight of the match came seven minutes into the second half when man of the match Hardaker demonstrated pace, agility and strength to beat five defenders on a 60-metre run before giving Watkins the easiest of finishes for Leeds' fifth try.

Hardaker then showed his defensive mettle to haul down Tigers centre Jordan Thompson in full flight for the line before Jones-Bishop and Hall both collected their second tries.

The former swooped on a stray Castleford pass to sprint 50 metres to the line while Hall outjumped Brett Ferres to gather Sinfield's crossfield kick and touch down.

Trailing 40-6, the afternoon got worse for the Tigers when full-back Richard Owen was sin-binned for fighting with Burrow.

However, they rallied while down to 12 men, scoring tries through Ferres and prop Craig Huby, who also kicked a conversion, while Ferres grabbed his second four minutes from the end, with Ryan McGoldrick this time adding the goal.

Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow close in on Olympic diving spots

Couch and Barrow close in on Olympic diving spots with PB in Sheffield

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UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 8 June 2012

European champions Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow all but sealed their Olympic place with a personal best at the British Gas Diving Championships in Sheffield on Friday afternoon.

The 10 metre platform synchro pairing continued their impressive year so far with a score of 327.18 – beating their previous best set last month when they won the European crown in Eindhoven.

It was also a British record and underlined why no other pairing had decided to challenge them for an Olympic place that will be confirmed by Monday's team announcement.

Sheffield steel: Barrow (right) and Couch celebrate their victory

Sheffield steel: Barrow (right) and Couch celebrate their victory

'It was a little bit crazy because it felt like all eyes were on you,' Couch said.

'But with the PB everything is going to plan. We are working really hard.

'I dropped one of my dives today so it wasn't the best we can do. If I got that it could have been 330 or above.'

That sort of score would elevate them into Olympic medal contention but Barrow, who is set to go to her first Games, was not getting carried away with Saturday's individual platform still to come.

'It would be my first time (at the Olympics) but we still have a competition tomorrow so we can't relax,' she said.

High hopes: The pair are on the verge of Olympic qualification

High hopes: The pair are on the verge of Olympic qualification

'After that then I think, hopefully, we'll celebrate.'

Nick Robinson-Baker and Chris Mears are set to join them on Monday's squad list after winning their third consecutive British men's 3m synchro title.

The pair signed off for their Olympics with a score of 428.34 – just below the personal best they set when taking silver behind the all-conquering Chinese in Mexico two months ago.

'We're 95 per cent sure that we are going to be going (to the Olympics) judging by that performance,' Robinson-Baker said.

'We went for it today and had a cracker.

Personal best: Barrow and Couch head to London 2012 on top form

Personal best: Barrow and Couch head to London 2012 on top form

Personal best: Barrow and Couch head to London 2012 on top form

'We'd like to think that will secure our place on the Olympic team. We'll be all ears on Monday morning.

'The name of the game in diving is consistency and Chris and I have shown that for the past three years.

'We are looking stronger and fitter, everything looks sharper in the water.

'As you well know in a few weeks it's the Olympic final and hopefully we'll be there and smash it.'

David Haye and Dereck Chisora trade insults at press conference

Insults fly from disgraced caged fighters: Upton Park summer showdown set for shamed boxers

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UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 9 May 2012

Forget the steel fence, the steak knife and the irony of billing this fight ‘Licence to Thrill’, Tuesday’s preamble to a July 14 bout was best summed up when a thug deemed unfit to box in this country squared up to a television reporter and took exception to a question.

The interviewer had suggested to Dereck Chisora that there was something wrong with what was going on, that he and David Haye should not be entitled to earn money on the back of the punches and tripods thrown during a press conference in Munich three months ago. Chisora didn’t like it.

‘Will you watch the fight’ Chisora snapped. Silence. ‘Will you be watching’ he repeated. Silence.

The fight is on: David Haye and Dereck Chisora are separated by a fence during a press conference to announce a fight on July 14

The fight is on: David Haye and Dereck Chisora are separated by a fence during a press conference to announce a fight on July 14

Chisora turned his back. ‘You answer my question then I’ll answer yours.’
This is a fight that should not be happening and yet if it was that simple Frank Warren would not have made his announcement at a 35,000-seat football ground that will almost certainly be sold out in a shade more than nine weeks.

‘It’s a fight that people want to see,’ Warren had said. ‘It has everything.’

Tuesday’s shameless press conference at Upton Park didn’t have everything — the owners of the 24 tripods present will have been grateful — but it had more than most, including a seven-foot high fence between the two leading characters and a squad of four goons per man.

Caged: Haye and Chisora square up with a fence between them

Caged: Haye and Chisora square up with a fence between them

Necessary Probably not, but the bad blood between these two Londoners is real. Haye had been speaking for 24 seconds when he delivered his first insult. ‘As far as I was concerned we settled our differences in Germany,’ he said. ‘He came down and said he was going to give me two slaps and ended up on the floor.’

Haye went on: ‘I’m looking forward to this fight. The guy’s said so many things about me; that he’s going to do this and do that. He didn’t learn his lesson in Germany so I’ve got to do it properly, with no tripods and no bottles. We’ll do it the old-fashioned way in the ring and I can expose him officially. It can be on my boxing record, not my police record.’

Match makers: Chisora's promoter Frank Warren with Adam Booth, trainer and manager of Haye discuss the fight

Match makers: Chisora's promoter Frank Warren with Adam Booth, trainer and manager of Haye discuss the fight

The former heavyweight world champion was then six seconds into his second answer — after being asked his opinion of Chisora — when Chisora gave his first public words of the afternoon. ‘I don’t like him,’ he said.

There followed comments on Haye’s suit and hair and Chisora’s take on the brawl that not only replaced memories of his impressive performance in defeat against Vitali Klitschko the same night, but saw his boxing licence withdrawn by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Battle of words: Chisora traded insults with Haye at the press conference

Battle of words: Chisora traded insults with Haye at the press conference

‘That was a lucky shot you hit me with, David,’ he said. ‘You are 1-0 up but in July I am coming to whup your ass.’

Haye then commented that ‘the best thing to come out of your mouth was my fist’ and Chisora replied: ‘You keep talking, the more you keep talking the more I get upset. And the more I get upset, the more I want to jump over this thing (the fence) right now.’

‘And get knocked out again, eh’ Haye replied. ‘We’ve played that game before. You lost. I felt you drop to the floor, then you got up and said, “You glassed me! You glassed me”.’

In between the more typical examples of trash talk, Chisora recalled a night last month when he bumped into Haye.

‘I saw him in London, and guess what he picked up. A knife,’ Chisora said.
‘I was eating a steak,’ Haye replied. ‘In a restaurant.’

For 20 minutes it went on — it was that kind of afternoon.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

TIM CAHILL
Everton forward
‘How can two boxers with no licence both box The press conference was just embarrassing. Haye vs Chisora fight is a nonstarter. Both lack class.’

BRIAN MOORE
Ex-England rugby union hooker
‘If you pay to view you want your head testing. You’d get a better fight outside Upton Park any night of the week’

GARY NEVILLE
Ex-England and Man Utd right back
WHEN asked ‘Will you be watching the Haye v Chisora fight’ Neville responded on Twitter: ‘NO!! Rubbish.’

ROBERT SMITH
BBBC general secretary
‘Another country has come into our jurisdiction and overruled us. We’re obviously not happy about it and it’s not what we feel should happen.’

FRANK MALONEY
Boxing promoter
‘Why is this happening These guys are two losers. It’s happening because of a punch-up in a press conference.’

BARRY HEARN
Boxing promoter
‘I’m a realist. Since the early days boxing has been run by money. It’s a big fight, it will draw a lot of attention and make a lot of money for everyone involved, but my company would never work on any show that wasn’t licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control. I have to doubt the credibility of the Boxing Board of Luxembourg. Are they experienced enough It’s hard to take the moral high ground in boxing because there perhaps isn’t any, but the idea of a fight in this country run by the board of Luxembourg is unacceptable.’ — BBC 5 Live