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Graeme Swann winds up Australia Test man Ed Cowan

Swann strikes first blow in the phoney Ashes war by winding up Cowan

Peter Hayter


22:33 GMT, 27 April 2013



23:03 GMT, 27 April 2013

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Graeme Swann appears to have won the first skirmish in the pre-Ashes phoney war by duping Ed Cowan into believing the spinner and fellow Nottinghamshire team-mate Stuart Broad have been ordered by England not to bowl to the Aussie opener in the county's nets.

Cowan, named in the 16-man Ashes squad to face England, has begun a seven Championship-match stint for Notts, played alongside Broad against Derbyshire and will link up with Swann against Durham tomorrow when the off-spinner returns after the elbow surgery that forced him to miss England's Test series in New Zealand.

Having a laugh: Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann

Having a laugh: Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann

But Swann may have some talking to do first as Cowan seems to have fallen victim to his notorious sense of mischief.

The spinner has claimed he and Broad have been instructed by Test coach Andy Flower not to give the Aussie any chance of a sighter in the nets or in the middle, particularly as the first Ashes Test is at Nottinghamshire's Trent Bridge ground.

Discussing criticism of counties giving Aussie players the chance to acclimatise to English conditions and England bowlers using a Duke ball, Cowan said: 'I can certainly see that point, but I can also see the other side.

'The fact is that it's an Ashes year, so, sure, there is some benefit for me, but there is some benefit for Swann and Broad as they get a pretty intimate look at my batting.

'They're not allowed to bowl at me in the nets. It's a bit of a joke. We're getting on famously, but I'd have thought that knocking me over a few times in the nets might plant a few seeds…'

Asked whether he knew the source of this instruction, Cowan insisted it had come from the England management. But Notts coach Mick Newell denied any such order and revealed the whole thing was a Swann wind-up.

Cowan knows how humour can backfire, as he has still not spoken to Kevin Pietersen over the 'Puddinggate' row in the last Ashes tour Down Under.

Wound up: Ed Cowan

Wound up: Ed Cowan

In his critically acclaimed diary, In The Firing Line, Cowan recounted that South African-born Pietersen could not identify the bread-and-butter he ate during lunch in England's match against Australia A in Hobart on the last Ashes tour.

When Cowan told Pietersen he should recognise the dish as it was typically English, Pietersen responded by joking: 'I'm not f***ing English. I just work there.'

The joke turned sour when the comment was used to cast doubt on Pietersen's loyalty.

Despite trying to contact Pietersen to clear the air, Cowan has still not talked to him directly and he now admits he wishes he had not included the story in his book.

'The KP thing was said as a joke and it got blown out of proportion,' said the 30-year-old. 'I was disappointed and I'm sure he wasn't thrilled. I think it was a good line all the same.'

One thing about which Cowan is deadly serious, however, is what he calls the defining moment for him and his team, the upcoming Ashes series, which, after their 4-0 defeat in India, he claims will be the making or breaking of many careers.

Cowan was among those who expressed concerns over aspects of 'team culture' to coach Mickey Arthur before the issue came to a head with three players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, dropped for failing to do their homework. Cowan knows the consequences of failure.

'I wasn't some sort of tell-tale,' he said. 'There were about six people saying: “Right, is this where our culture should be heading”

'You lose a lot of intellectual ability when players like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, and even someone like Justin Langer, the batting coach, leave in pretty quick succession. It's not just batting and bowling, it's culture.

'Some things are trivial, like lateness to meetings; some aren't so trivial, like general attitudes of not going out of your way to making sure that the team is your absolute priority.

'It showed a lot of courage. It was the day the coach and captain put their heads on the block. They said: “We are going to cop some flak, but we are all in this together.”

'It was saying – if we're going to win the Ashes, we need to be solid around all these core values.

'If we lose these back-to-back Ashes series, you will see a change of personnel and management.

'But the other side is that if you can win an away Ashes series, then it is a defining moment for this team.'

Jonathan Trott helps England build lead over India as they close in on series win

Determined Trott stays calm under pressure as England move closer to memorable series win



14:03 GMT, 16 December 2012

Jonathan Trott stood defiantly up against the Indian attack, a pitch unfit for purpose and a barrage of verbal abuse to take England to within one good session of one of their best and most historic triumphs in modern memory.

What had been a cagey, turgid and mostly downright dull final Test burst into life with the series on a knife-edge in the final session of the fourth day when Trott put behind him a year full of frustrations to deliver just when it mattered most.

When Kevin Pietersen inexplicably shouldered arms to a straight ball from Ravindra Jadeja – just as Trott had done in the first innings – England, who had battled heroically for the best part of four days, looked to be letting their first series win in India for almost 28 years slip out of their grasp.

Building his runs: Jonathan Trott scored a half century as England look to build a lead

Building his runs: Jonathan Trott scored a half century as England look to build a lead

They were just 98 ahead with three wickets down and the man who could have attacked them to safety gone yet again to left-arm spin. But Ian Bell joined Trott and what followed was the most fluent, potentially decisive, batting of a Test England need only draw today to take the series.

Not to mention the most controversial. For when Trott walked a few paces outside his crease and smacked a ball that had dribbled out of Jadeja’s hand and bounced several times before trickling to a halt on the leg-side of the pitch for four he ignited another argument between these teams over the spirit of cricket.

Trott was perfectly within his rights to do what he did but, even though both Jadeja and MS Dhoni reacted with wry smiles, Ravichandran Ashwin later said that this was the spark for the tense and unpleasant scenes that were to follow.

Remember, it was Dhoni who called Bell back at Trent Bridge last year when he had been run out walking out of his crease at tea. And remember it was Trott who, in Ahmedabad, pleaded ignorance when he had clearly grassed a catch. India feel that their gesture in Trent Bridge has hardly been reciprocated since.

Trott will not care. His totally legal shot – which went down as four off a no-ball – showed the competitive desire of the man and he carried on displaying it when India were convinced, wrongly, they had him caught behind on 43.

This has again been a chastening match for the umpires and those of us who against all hope tried to cling on to a game not dominated by technology. Sorry, this series has proved the Decision Review System doubters like myself totally wrong. It has been punctuated by one awful umpiring error after another.

The latest howlers came from the man this year voted the best official on the ICC elite panel, Kumar Dharmasena. Firstly he gave out Alastair Cook, wrongly, for the second time in the Test and then said no when Trott should have been given lbw on just seven to Jadeja. How important that reprieve now looks.

Frustration: Ishant Sharma thought he had taken Jonathan Trott's wicket

Frustration: Ishant Sharma thought he had taken Jonathan Trott's wicket

Add Sunday’s other wrong decision of Rod Tucker who gave Nick Compton lbw to one he inside edged onto pad – the ball then ballooned to gully so Compton should have been given out anyway, only in a different way – and this series has seen a catalogue of errors from these umpires and the ones who officiated in the first two Tests, Aleem Dar and Tony Hill.

But Dharmasena’s decision to reprieve Trott when he attempted to cut Ishant Sharma was not among them. This was the right call but that did not stop the Indian players losing their cool completely, with their agitator in chief Virat Kohli involving himself in an incident that had nothing to do with him.

There at the end: Ian Bell supported Trott at the end

There at the end: Ian Bell supported Trott at the end

They were picking on the wrong man in Trott. He is one who thrives on such things rather than being cowed by them. He appeared to blow a little kiss at Sharma – that didn’t exactly calm India down – and went on his merry way to an unbeaten 66 by the close with England on 161 for three, a priceless lead of 165.

There was one other flashpoint when Ashwin threatened to run Trott out backing up – he later said in essence that he would not have stooped to Trott’s level – but the combative Trott and his team lived to fight one last day in this absorbing and unpredictable series.

As long as England do not blow it with a cluster of quick wickets today they will surely achieve the draw they need. It would be a series triumph richly deserved. Even yesterday India, until they were stirred into a late reaction, were strangely passive, poor in the field and lacking any sort of dynamism.

Their fortunes were summed up by a quite bizarre first hour yesterday when they batted on but showed no ambition to try to win the match, scoring just 29 runs in 13 soporific overs before declaring with one wicket left four runs behind England’s 330. All they achieved was take time out of the match and made Cook’s task a little easier. It was not very Duncan Fletcher-like cricket at all.

A Test that has never progressed beyond first gear, at least until Trott and Bell took the run-rate up close to a giddy three an over, has done little to further the cause of the ultimate game in its most passionate country. Shame on the groundsman who produced this lifeless excuse of a pitch, whether by accident or design.

But the sheer importance of this Test and what is at stake has made it compelling viewing for the purists. And England just need one last, final push now for the most extraordinary of series wins.

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

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Nottingham Forest 1 Hull 2: Tigers stay on track with gritty win on the Trent

Nottingham Forest 1 Hull 2: Tigers stay on track with gritty win on the Trent


17:19 GMT, 1 December 2012



17:40 GMT, 1 December 2012

Hull maintained their npower Championship promotion push with victory over Nottingham Forest.

It was a tale of two penalties in the first half of a drab encounter on the banks of the River Trent.

Robert Koren put Hull in front after 34 minutes before Billy Sharp levelled things up with his spot-kick in the 43rd minute.

On the up: Paul McShane celebrates his goal for Hull City

On the up: Paul McShane celebrates his goal for Hull City

Match facts

Nottm Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins, Harding, Coppinger, Guedioura, Gillett (McGugan 75), Cohen (Blackstock 75), Reid, Sharp. Subs Not Used: Darlow, Moussi, Findley, Moloney, Lansbury.

Scorer: Sharp 43 pen.

Hull: Stockdale, Bruce, Chester, McShane, Elmohamady, Meyler, Evans, Quinn, Brady (Faye 87), Koren (Rosenior 89), Mclean (Proschwitz 67). Subs Not Used: Jakupovic, McKenna, Simpson, Olofinjana.

Yellow cards: Brady, Stockdale, Meyler, Rosenior.

Scorers: Koren 34 pen,McShane 69.

Att: 19,472

Ref: Gavin Ward (Surrey).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

Paul McShane won it for the Tigers with a close-range header after 69 minutes.

Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll made two changes after seeing his side's four-game unbeaten league run come to an end with a 3-1 defeat at Ipswich on Tuesday night.

James Coppinger made only his second start since joining the Reds on loan from Doncaster at the end of August, while Andy Reid also returned in midfield.

Henri Lansbury and Dexter Blackstock dropped down to the bench as Forest played with Billy Sharp as a lone striker.

An injury to leading scorer Sone Aluko forced Hull boss Steve Bruce into his only change meaning a recall for Aaron Mclean.

A dull start to the game led to a first half littered with misplaced passes by both teams.

Forest had a lucky escape after 27 minutes when on-loan Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton conceded a corner when trying to head the ball back to goalkeeper Lee Camp.

Corry Evans' flag-kick was headed away from underneath his own crossbar by Elliott Ward before David Meyler shot into the side-netting. Meyler was involved in the penalty that gave Hull the lead.

He was brought down inside the box by Simon Gillett and Koren sent Camp the wrong way from the spot, stroking the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Out of the blue, Forest were presented with the opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a penalty for Alex Bruce's foul on Sharp.

And the on-loan Southampton striker made no mistake from the spot, shooting powerfully into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Chris Cohen might have sent the hosts into half-time ahead but the midfielder lacked composure and blasted over from close range after his initial flick from Reid's cross was blocked.

The game improved slightly after the break with early chances at both ends.

Adlene Guedioura, who scored a superb long-range effort against his former club Wolves last weekend to give Forest a 2-1 win at Molineux, curled a shot just wide before Ahmed Elmohamady shot straight at Camp.

Guedioura then had a goalbound effort blocked and Cohen volleyed the rebound into the Trent End from the edge of the area.

Forest were dominating possession without making any telling inroads and they were made to pay midway through the second half.

It was dreadful defending from O'Driscoll's side.

Koren's corner was allowed all the way through a crowded penalty box and McShane had the simple task of heading in from two yards out.

Forest continued to enjoy much of the ball, with Hull seemingly content to play on the counter attack. O'Driscoll brought on Blackstock and Lewis McGugan, with Cohen and Gillett making way, but, with Forest continually frustrating with the final ball, it made no difference.

Centre-half Ward was pushed up front in the closing stages as an additional aerial threat and he almost rescued a point for Forest in injury time but his header was plucked from beneath the crossbar by Hull keeper David Stockdale.

England rugby injuries mount – David Paice called up

All hail Paice! Hooker's joy at call-up but England injuries mount



22:10 GMT, 29 October 2012

Joe Marler became the latest player to join England’s swelling casualty as the Harlequins prop’s hamstring injury forced head coach Stuart Lancaster to send for Matt Mullan as yet another squad reinforcement.

The flow of late arrivals into the FA’s national football centre in Burton-on-Trent — London Irish hooker David Paice and Quins lock George Robson joined on Sunday — continued with the call-up of the Worcester loosehead for training ahead of the first QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham on November 10.

Marler appeared to come through Quins’ Aviva Premiership victory over Irish on Sunday unscathed, but after reporting for national duty he was diagnosed with a ‘tight’ hamstring.

Call up: David Paice has been drafted into the England squad

Call up: David Paice has been drafted into the England squad

While the RFU insisted that summoning Mullan was just a precaution, Lancaster will, in theory, aim to finalise a matchday 23 for the Fiji game by Thursday, in order to release remaining squad players back to their clubs.

Therefore, Marler has another 48 hours to prove he is fit or his place is likely to be filled by the uncapped Saracen, Mako Vunipola.

This latest alarming development follows a flurry of setbacks over the weekend, with concerns largely focused on the state of two key Northampton forwards — Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes — who both suffered knee injuries on Saturday.

Amid suggestions that the damage sustained by Hartley is ‘significant’, the hooker and his fellow Saint were sent for scans on Monday evening. The RFU medical staff were also monitoring the state of centre Jonathan Joseph’s right ankle.

Hartley had been considered a contender for the captaincy, having led England to a draw in their last outing, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in June, then following that up with a storming start to the new season. However, Chris Robshaw remained the clear favourite and is due to be confirmed on Tuesday in the role he filled with such distinction for the first seven games of this year.

Race against time: Joe Marler (left) is struggling with a hamstring injury

Race against time: Joe Marler (left) is struggling with a hamstring injury

Mullan was the third forward called up as a late replacement, after Robson and Paice checked into St George’s at short notice on Sunday night.

Paice revealed that he had to check with Joseph, his club colleague, to find out which part of the country he should drive to after being told about his sudden call-up by Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith.

‘I’ve just asked JJ where we’re going,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t sure. I haven’t spoken to anyone from England — just Brian and the media. I don’t know if people are winding me up! I’ll have to get one of the guys at Sunbury (London Irish’s training ground) to open up the changing room to get more boots out, then plug in the sat nav to find my way!’

Paice had learned last week that he had been overlooked for a place in the senior squad yet again, with Tom Youngs of Leicester promoted from the Saxons ahead of him. Yet the sense of dejection didn’t last long.

‘They called me on Tuesday night and said that I wasn’t in,’ he said. ‘I was disappointed but I’m very excited now. Brian told me in the changing rooms just after the game, and it’s a great honour. This news is a great surprise for me. I got engaged on Wednesday night, so it is a great engagement present!’

Sitting it out: Courtney Lawes (centre) and Dylan Hartley (right)

Sitting it out: Courtney Lawes (centre) and Dylan Hartley (right)

The hooker, 28, born in Darwin, Australia, made two replacement Test appearances on the tour of New Zealand in 2008, but then fell off England’s radar. He has worked hard for another shot and his chance follows the retirement of first Steve Thompson, then Lee Mears, and the injuries which sidelined Rob Webber and Joe Gray.

‘I think I’ve been playing well for the last couple of seasons and if I get my shot, I will take it with both hands this time,’ said Paice. ‘My game has come along in leaps and bounds, and I know I’m a much better player than I was in 2008.

‘The biggest thing I had to work on was my set-pieces and I think it is a major strength in my game now. I got my opportunity in 2008 through injuries and I guess it has happened again, but this time I’m going to take the chance.’

Matt Prior interview: India beware England"s world-class wicketkeeper

EXCLUSIVE: Prior warning! India beware… England's keeper has gone from mouthy upstart to world beating all-rounder



23:00 GMT, 28 October 2012

Matt Prior has come a long way since he was unfairly singled out for being a bit too gobby during his debut Test summer of 2007.

These days, his glovework is barely noticed. His batting average of 42 is the stuff of a genuine all-rounder. And, most pertinently of all as far as England’s tour of India is concerned, it was Prior who phoned Kevin Pietersen during the summer at the height of the texting controversy to find out what on earth was going on.

It’s true that Pietersen was dropped from the Test side the following day. But not before he and Prior had endured a heart-to-heart that history may yet record as the starting point of Pietersen’s ‘reintegration’.

Glove story: Matt Prior has proved himself as top class with gauntlets and bat

Glove story: Matt Prior has proved himself as top class with gauntlets and bat

Prior’s response to this suggestion is that of the archetypal team player. ‘I don’t think I can take any credit because next day all hell broke loose,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘There’s been a bit said about the phone call. I just did what I’d do if it had been anyone: KP or Broad or Swann, or any one of my team-mates.

‘If they’ve got an issue in the dressing room, the right thing to do is to speak to them and say, “what’s up” And I’d do exactly the same if the same thing happened again. But hopefully it won’t.

‘I can see that Kevin wants to be a part of this team — and for us that’s great news.’

The charges against Prior during the 2007 home series against India ranged from the puerile to the pernicious. Not only was he accused of having scattered the jelly beans at Trent Bridge that so enraged India’s attack leader Zaheer Khan. He was said to have bragged to Sachin Tendulkar about driving a Porsche.

Both claims were untrue, yet Prior took them on the chin, knuckled down after subsequently losing his Test place, and is now — like all good keepers — the beating heart of the fielding effort.

If he is still keeping spirits up come the fourth Test at Nagpur in December, we’ll know Alastair Cook’s tourists have punched above their weight.

Prior, who along with his team-mates was due to arrive in Mumbai on Monday following a training camp in Dubai, is pragmatic about the challenge ahead.

Since David Gower captained England to victory in 1984-85, India have lost only four Test series at home out of 40.

Point to prove: Prior says England are still hurt about defeat to South Africa

Point to prove: Prior says England are still hurt about defeat to South Africa

Only Pakistan, South Africa and Australia have triumphed there in that time. ‘India is as tough as it gets for an England cricketer,’ said Prior at Chance to Shine’s Brit Insurance Annual Achievement awards. ‘For this team, it’s the final frontier. We haven’t won there for 28 years, which is longer than it took us to beat the Aussies in Australia.

‘Someone mentioned to me recently that it doesn’t seem as big as the Ashes because it’s not the old enemy and it doesn’t probably capture the nation’s imagination as much as Australia.

‘But for us it’s a massive series, and it will be a huge challenge.’ Prior has spent his time since the end of the English season ‘getting really quite fit and stripping off a few pounds’.

Wicketkeeping under the Indian sun can be a gruelling business. But he is also determined to help erase the memories of a traumatic summer in which England imploded, on and off the field. ‘To win in India would be very special. What would make it more special is that we would have come back from a tough summer.

‘I’m a big believer that team hardships can, if dealt with in the right way, lead to the team being stronger. And that ultimately is the most important thing.’

Is the team still hurting after losing the Test series — and the No 1 ranking — to South Africa

‘There’s hurt whenever you lose a Test series,’ said Prior. ‘The No 1 spot is certainly something we want to get back. But it’s not going to be an overnight thing. With Cooky now coming in as captain, it’s an exciting time for the team to start again, and say, right, that was a good two-year period, and we’re about to start on another period.

Mates: Prior gets on well with Kevin Pietersen and helped his reintegration

Mates: Prior gets on well with Kevin Pietersen and helped his reintegration

‘This is a window of opportunity to see how far we can get over the next year to 18 months.’

Central to England’s hopes of triumphing in a country that has brought them a single Test victory — Andrew Flintoff’s ‘Ring of Fire’ win at Mumbai in March 2006 — from their last four visits will be their batting against India’s spinners. In that regard, England’s three trips to Asia in 2012 have not been auspicious.

‘You can’t keep performing like that against spin on subcontinental wickets,’ said Prior. ‘I think we learned a lot of lessons.’

Chief among them, believes Prior, is that there is no one-size-fits-all method of tackling spin.

‘Maybe where we have gone wrong is that we tried to follow one template,’ he said. ‘I don’t think you can do that.’

Pietersen once claimed Prior was England’s best player of spin. Had he not middled a sweep straight into the midriff of Lahiru Thirimanne at short leg at a crucial stage of a fourth-innings run chase at Galle in March, they might even have won the Test series in Sri Lanka. So what’s his secret

‘I see it as a game of cat and mouse. Rotating the strike is the biggest thing. It’s all well and good hitting boundaries and big shots to release pressure, but if you can rotate the strike, you can release the pressure that way.

‘You’ve got to try to move fielders. That allows you then to hit ones and twos into an area that’s as safe as possible. That’s my way of doing it — but everyone has their own way.’

The modesty is unnecessary, for Prior’s way sounds as thoughtful as any. Besides — as Pietersen will confirm — he has earned the right to be listened to.

Matt Prior was supporting Chance to Shine, the campaign to bring cricket back to schools. To make a donation visit www.chancetoshine.org

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Match report

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



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.

World Twenty20 2012: Steven Finn issues Chris Gayle warning

Fiery Finn issues Gayle warning ahead of Super Eights opener against West Indies



21:00 GMT, 25 September 2012

Upbeat: Finn is confident England can turn things around

Upbeat: Finn is confident England can turn things around

England headed to the hills on Tuesday, where they pledged to go on the attack when they come face to face with Twenty20’s biggest gun.

The long bus ride from Colombo to the picturesque city of Kandy was followed by a declaration of intent for their opening Super Eights match against West Indies at nearby Pallekele on Thursday.

Chris Gayle will spearhead a West Indies line-up brimful of big-hitting batsmen but England believe they have the firepower to cut him down, as they did when they last met in a Twenty20 match at Trent Bridge last summer.

Steven Finn dismissed Gayle for two then
as England won by seven wickets, the sort of result which would take
them halfway to the semi-finals if they can repeat it on Thursday.

‘Gayle has an aura about him and it’s
exciting to come up against people like that,’ said Finn. ‘It will be a
challenge bowling at one of the best Twenty20 batsmen in the world but
it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.’

England will approach that challenge by attempting to make early inroads into a West Indies line-up which also includes plenty of others capable of clearing the boundary, such as Kieron Pollard.

Dangerman: Gayle (left) will open the batting for West Indies

Dangerman: Gayle (left) will open the batting for West Indies

‘It’s going to be up to me to set the tone against Gayle,’ said Finn. ‘My job with the new ball is to put the opposition under pressure by taking early wickets because that stalls any momentum.’

There was a confident and relaxed mood about England on Tuesday, at odds with their inept display against India on Sunday.

They believe the switch to what is likely to be a pitch with more pace at Pallekele will suit them in a group which also includes New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Finn was on good form despite enduring a tortuous road trip here.

Confident: England feel that the Pallekele pitch will suit them

Confident: England feel that the Pallekele pitch will suit them

‘Four-hour bus journey has made me feel like I have bowled 30 overs,’ he tweeted.

There was an immediate riposte from his erstwhile team-mate and current TV pundit Kevin Pietersen, who displayed his confidence that he is close to an England comeback by replying: ‘You went on a bus Findog You should have asked and I would have got you the heli we use for our transport. Next time…’

Pietersen has not spoken to many of the England team since his exile began nearly two months ago but taking the mickey is a start.

Bradford Bulls new manager is Francis Cummins

Bullish! Cummins handed the reins at troubled Bradford on Potter recommendation



13:40 GMT, 17 September 2012

Bradford have appointed former Leeds winger Francis Cummins as their new head coach on a three-year contract.

Cummins, who was recommended for the job by his predecessor Mick Potter after he opted to return to Australia, was unveiled on Monday morning at Odsal hosted by new owner Omar Khan and honorary chairman Gerry Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe said: 'We had no hesitation in taking Mick's recommendation to offer the job to Francis and we are delighted he has accepted our offer.'

New man: Bradford Bulls have confirmed Francis Cummins as their coach

New man: Bradford Bulls have confirmed Francis Cummins as their coach

It will be Cummins' first role as a head coach and, at 35, he will be the youngest in Super League when he takes charge of his first match in February.

Catalan Dragons' Australian boss Trent Robinson is nine months younger but he is leaving at the end of the season to take charge of Sydney Roosters.

Cummins enjoyed a one-club career with Leeds, for whom he made 356 appearances from 1993 to 2005, and also won three caps for Great Britain.

The former Ireland international cut his coaching teeth as an assistant at Leeds before being appointed as Potter's number two at the start of the 2010 season.

Along with Potter, Cummins worked without pay for the last three months of the season after being made redundant by the administrator amid the club's financial problems in early July.

England v South Africa – live score fifth ODI Trent Bridge

LIVE: England v South Africa – follow the score from the fifth ODI at Trent Bridge



13:02 GMT, 5 September 2012

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England will be determined to complete a notable NatWest Series one day international triumph after the huge disappointment of their heavy Test defeat by South Africa.

Alastair Cook's side were comfortable six-wicket winners at Lord's and take a 2-1 lead into this final encounter at Trent Bridge.

But they must do so without Jonathan Trott, who has been ruled out with the hand injury he suffered in Sunday's win.

Victory over the Proteas will be huge boost ahead of a busy winter schedule.

There are two T20s against South Africa yet to come, before the team head to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20.

There follows a Test, ODI and T20 series away in India.

England won the toss and elected to bat. There were two changes to Cook's team: Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes replace injured pair Trott and Steven Finn.

You can stay right up to date with the latest score from Nottingham by clicking on the link below.


England: A N Cook (Capt), I R Bell, R S Bopara, E J G Morgan, J M Bairstow, C Kieswetter (Wkt), S R Patel, J C Tredwell, C R Woakes, J W Dernbach, J M Anderson.

South Africa: H M Amla, G C Smith, D Elgar, A B de Villiers (Capt Wkt), J P Duminy, F du Plessis, W D Parnell, J L Ontong R J Peterson, D W Steyn, M Morkel.

Umpires: H D P K Dharmasena and R K Illingworth

Line 'em up: England can seal the series against South Africa at Trent Bridge

Line 'em up: England can seal the series against South Africa at Trent Bridge

Nike replace Umbro for England kits

FA announce deal with Nike to kit out England as American giants replace Umbro



10:47 GMT, 3 September 2012

American sportswear giant Nike will be the new official kit provider for the England football team.

As revealed by Sportsmail, Nike will launch a new England strip as next spring as the Football Association marks its 150th anniversary.

The new kit will be released just a year after the current version went on sale, which in turn replaced one used for just eight games.

Change strip: How the England kit may look with the Nike swoosh

Change strip: How the England kit may look with the Nike swoosh

Supplying kit and match-balls to all of Club England’s 24 football teams at every level, including the men’s national teams, women’s, Futsal, disability and amateurSponsorship and support of St. George’s Park, the home of the National Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent, which in addition to hosting the England Senior team will train and develop a generation of coaches, referees and medical staff every yearSupporting partner of Wembley Stadium, the home of English footballSupporting partner for The FA Cup, supplying match balls for every round of the world’s most famous cup competitionSupply of product to County FAs

Fans will be reluctant to splash out on yet another replica which commands a price tag of around 50.

The strip could make its debut in the Auld Enemy clash with Scotland at Wembley on August 14.

The contract runs until 31 July 2018 and replaces the deal with Umbro, who Nike bought in 2007 but decided to sell this summer.

And rather than stick with the Manchester-based brand who have supplied England's kit for most of the last 60 years, the FA opted to transfer their allegiance to the parent company before the sale went through.

The FA refused to confirm the value of the deal but it is understood to be at least the same value as the contract signed with Umbro.

It also includes sponsorship rights at the new National Football Centre and Wembley and the supply of match balls for the FA Cup.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said: 'I am delighted that the FA has secured this new wide-ranging and comprehensive partnership with Nike.

'It is an extremely exciting time for both parties with the opening of St George's Park this year and The FA's 150th anniversary in 2013.

New order: Rooney and Co are set to be kitted in strips by Nike instead of Umbro

New order: Rooney and Co are set to be kitted in strips by Nike instead of Umbro

'I would also like to place on record
our gratitude to Umbro and their significant contribution to the game,
the FA and England teams, over a 60-year period.'

Nike Brand president Charlie Denson
added: 'The pride and passion of England fans is renowned throughout the
football world and we are delighted to partner with the FA.

'We look forward to supporting England
teams at every level with innovative product technology and playing our
part to help develop the future of English football through our support
of St George's Park.'