Tag Archives: western

Bryan Habana joins Toulon

Habana joins Jonny and Co at Toulon as South Africa star pens three-year deal with French side

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

13:54 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 11 January 2013

Bryan Habana's move to Toulon has been confirmed with the World Cup-winning Springbok wing joining a host of other Galacticos on the Cote d'Azur, on a three-year deal.

The 29-year-old, who has amassed 83 caps, has scored 47 Test tries along the way in establishing himself as one of the most prolific finishers in the world game.

He was named the IRB Player of the Year in 2007, after being at the forefront of the Boks' successful World Cup campaign in France.

Catch me if you can: The South Africa star has joined Toulon on a three-year deal

Catch me if you can: The South Africa star has joined Toulon on a three-year deal

His career has taken him from the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls to Cape Town, where he has played for Western Province and the Stormers in Super Rugby.

Now, after years of being linked with a lucrative move to Europe, he has agreed to add his name to the stellar cast list at Toulon, alongside the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau, Carl Hayman and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Here's Jonny: Wilkinson will be joined by Habana at Toulon

Here's Jonny: Wilkinson will be joined by Habana at Toulon

'I would like to thank everyone at Western Province for their support throughout my stay in Cape Town,' Habana said.

'I've had three great seasons in the Cape thus far, and I am looking forward to finishing off on a high before taking on a new challenge overseas.'

In the past, such a move would have removed a player from contention to be picked for South Africa, but that restrictive practice has been relaxed, which leaves the path clear for Habana to aim for a century of international appearances.

'Playing for the Boks is a huge part of my life and I would never turn
my back on my country,' he added.

'I will never stop giving 100 per cent on the field for any team I play for, and
if the Springbok coach picks me, I will be there. It's a wrench to
leave my home, even if only for a short while, but the chance to test
myself against different opposition in a new environment was difficult
to turn down.'

What Toulon will have at their disposal is a player renowned for his blistering pace, having reportedly clocked a time of 10.2 seconds for the 100metres. Such was the fixation with his raw speed that Habana was once pitted against a cheetah in a race.

Having made his Test debut against England at Twickenham in 2004, he soon established himself as a lethal try-scorer and equalled Jonah Lomu's World Cup record tally of eight at the 2007 tournament.

Four years later, he broke the South African record for international tries when he struck against Namibia in a pool match.

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte was in charge of France during the 2007 World Cup and he has made a strong push to recruit the Springboks who evidently caught his attention during that event across the Channel.

In addition to the previous signing of Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw is due to arrive at the club shortly, when he has finished his final season in Japan, while ex-Bok skipper John Smit has agreed to join Toulon from Saracens at the end of this season.

Sir Chris Hoy set to return to training in Australia after "grim" stomach virus

Hoy set to get back on track Down Under after trip to hospital with 'grim' stomach virus

|

UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 11 December 2012

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy will resume training this week after being hospitalised for 24 hours last weekend with a severe stomach virus.

The 36-year-old is currently training with a selection of British cyclists in Perth, Western Australia, as he considers whether to continue on until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Scot arrived early last week and began to feel progressively worse with gastrointestinal problems before he was taken to hospital in Subiaco, Perth, on Saturday.

Weighing up his future: Sir Chris Hoy is in training in Perth, Western Australia

Weighing up his future: Sir Chris Hoy is in training in Perth, Western Australia

Hoy, one of 12 on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, was discharged on Sunday after being given rehydration treatment and medication and he returned to the gym for a light session today.

'I'm glad to be getting better and almost feel back to normal now after a pretty grim few days,' Hoy, who is taking part in the Rotterdam Six Day event from January 3 to 8, said on his website.

'It's always frustrating when you're on a training camp and you can't train if you're injured or unwell.

'This is the first block of serious training I've done since the Games, but it could've happened at a far worse stage of the season though so it's not too much of a problem.

'It'll be good to get a solid couple of weeks training in before Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to racing in the first week of January in Rotterdam.'

Hoy added on his Twitter page: 'Had a rough weekend with a stomach virus, including a night in the hospital. Pleased to say I'm on the mend and back training now.'

Meanwhile, a World Series Cycling project featuring 10 grand prix races across the globe could be in place as soon as 2014.

What a summer: Hoy is back in full training for the first time since the Olympics

What a summer: Hoy is back in full training for the first time since the Olympics

The group are optimistic of successful negotiations with the UCI, the world governing body, over plans for 10 four-day events, which would run alongside the three Grand Tours – of Italy, France and Spain – and six of the established one-day races.

The grands prix would include a time-trial, rolling stage, mountain stage and sprint stage, with all events taking place from Thursday to Sunday. Jonathan Price, chairman of London-based sports promoters the Gifted Group, told Press Association Sport: “We want to see races up and running in 2014.

'We've already had discussions with broadcasters, we're confident there's a real appetite for this product.

'We're now going to start some serious discussions with potential host locations to get our first race up and running.'

After three and a half years of planning, WSC, registered as a company in Luxembourg, is close to implementation.

The first meeting with teams was held before the Tour de France in Rotterdam in 2010, with eight contracted teams confirmed yesterday as Garmin-Sharp, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Rabobank Cycling Team, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek, Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank and Vaconsoleil-DCM.

Financial backing is being provided by
Czech billionaire businessman Zdenek Bakala, who owns Mark Cavendish's
Omega Pharma-QuickStep team.

Pure gold: Hoy won two medals in London

Pure gold: Hoy won two medals in London

Bakala has led talks with the UCI since March, and, despite the world governing body being occupied by the ongoing fallout of the Lance Armstrong scandal, a conclusion to negotiations is close.

'We see this as something we wanted to do with them, because we believe it was something the marketplace wanted and was good for the sport,' Price added.

'Those discussions have been positive and I hope we're getting close now to a conclusion to them.

'Clearly they have a lot on their plate right now – that probably hasn't helped – but even against that backdrop the discussions have been positive.'

The structure can be compared to that of tennis, where the top male players feature in the ATP Masters 1000 events and the four grand slams, with the WTA Tour running alongside. In cycling, plans are similar, with a commitment for a parallel women's series.

The Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana would be part of the project alongside one-day races Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Cup, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour of Lombardy, with a points system to award the leading rider and team at the end of the season.

Riders would race a maximum of 88 days per season, while there is a commitment for an anti-doping programme in a bid to eradicate the use of performance-enhancing drugs from the sport.

Tour de France organisers the Amuary Sports Organisation, who also run races such as the Tour of Qatar and Paris-Nice, have not yet been consulted. It could be a potential stumbling block.

Price added: 'In terms of our 10 grands prix, we don't need any other race organiser on board. We no more need ASO's approval to do that than Coca-Cola needs Pepsi's approval to launch a new product.'

Price is confident a restructuring of cycling's calendar will only improve the sport, with many races on the current calendar struggling.

'Judgement has been passed on a lot of the other races,' he said.

'A lot of those races are dying and they're not dying because we've come up with a concept of a format that's driven by what television, sponsors and fans want.

'They're dying because the marketplace has cast judgement on them.

'If you want to progress as a sport and if you want to develop, you need to respond to what the marketplace want and if you don't you die.'

Meanwhile, Britons Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard are part of Team Sky's seven-man squad for the season-opening Tour Down Under. Two-time Olympic team pursuit champion Thomas will race with Rowe and Stannard in Adelaide in January.

VIDEO: Worst basketball free throw ever! Appalachian State basketball player Brian Okam embarrassed

VIDEO: Is this the worst free throw ever US college player suffers embarrassment

|

UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 11 December 2012

Outside of seeing a scoreless game,
there are few certainties in basketball and it seems at least going
close to scoring a point from a free throw is no longer one of them.

The free throw often results in a
player finding the basket. If not that then the ball may bounce out, hit
the backboard or at the very least have enough power and distance to
count as a shot.

Sadly for Brian Okam, he failed to do
any of the above with his feeble attempt for Appalachian State in a
college match at Western Carolina University.

Tension: Brian Okam lines up the shot for the Mountaineers at a Saturday game with Western Carolina

Tension: Brian Okam lines up the shot for the Mountaineers at a Saturday game with Western Carolina

Embarrassment: The ball flew high into the air...and landed almost at the feet of reserve center Brian Okam

Slip-up: The players all gaze upwards as the ball soars into the air above their heads... but doesn't travel forward

Slip-up: The players all gaze upwards as the ball soars into the air above their heads… but doesn't travel far

Butter fingers: The free throw falls far short of the basket during the game at WCU

In fact, his attempt is so bad it
barely travels three feet after looping high into the air prompting a
stunned commentator to declare: ‘I don’t know what that was, that might
be the ugliest thing I have ever seen.’

Following the throw 90 minutes into the game, WCU went on to clinch the match 70-64.

Despite the clip going viral on the
internet, with comments suggesting Okam’s throw was on purpose, the
player himself admitted it was just an error and is something that he
looks back and laughs at.

Okam said: ‘I hit the first shot and
on the second, it was just one of those crazy things where the ball
slips out of your hand. Obviously a lot of folks have seen it and it’s
gotten a lot of attention, but I’m just focused on moving ahead with
final exams this week and getting back on the winning track.

‘You look back at it and laugh a
little bit for sure, but it’s not something that will be in my mind the
next time I step to the free-throw line.’

VIDEO: Watch the 'worst free throw ever' here…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv31971','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_homehp&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv31971”,
'videoPlayer' : “2025466045001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2245856/Appalachian-State-basketball-player-Brian-Okam-makes-worst-throw-WCU.html”

});

ESPN to show NBA in UK and Ireland until end of the season

ESPN strike deal to show NBA on UK screens until the end of the season

|

UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 5 December 2012

The NBA will return to British screens this Thursday after ESPN reached a deal to show the remainder of the season, as exclusively revealed by Sportsmail.

Eastern Conference leaders New York Knicks and Miami Heat will be the first game shown by the broadcaster as part of a deal that will showcase three live games from the US per week.

The revived partnership, which had expired last summer, will also see ESPN air the NBA All Star Game in February as well as the first and second round NBA Play-off games, Western Conference Finals, and NBA Finals.

On the ball: New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will launch ESPN's return to UK screens

On the ball: New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will launch ESPN's return to UK screens

NBA SCHEDULE – DECEMBER 6-12 – ON ESPN

Thursday 6th Dec, 1 am.*
New York Knicks @ Miami Heat
Friday 7th Dec, 2:30 am
LA Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Monday 10th Dec, 1 am
San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets
Tuesday 11th Dec, Midnight
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets
Thursday 12th Dec, 1 am
Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics

*morning of Friday, December 7th

'We're very pleased to have the NBA returning to ESPN this season, and are looking forward to getting straight into the action and bringing UK and Ireland fans the world’s top basketball league with some great early match-ups,' said ESPN EMEA's head of programming and production, Simon Potter.

British fans will now get the chance to watch London 2012 Olympics stars Luol Deng and rookie Joel Freeland in action for Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers.

Accompanying ESPN’s live coverage this season will be studio shows NBA Tonight and NBA Countdown, providing round-ups of all the action from around the league.

Hands on: British fans will be able to watch Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng in action

Hands on: British fans will be able to watch Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng in action

David Beckham"s boys gorge on hotdogs, pizza and goals as Daddy delivers LA Galaxy win… with a little help from Robbie Keane

Beckham boys gorge on hotdogs, pizza and goals as Daddy David delivers Galaxy win… with a little help from two-goal Keane

|

UPDATED:

11:36 GMT, 12 November 2012

Daddy didn't become England captain on a diet of hotdogs and pizza… but that didn't stop the three Beckham boys chomping through a snack list of junk food as they watched their father cruise to victory in the MLS play-offs last night.

Robbie Keane scored two and set up another as Beckham's LA Galaxy beat the Seattle Sounders 3-0 to take a commanding lead in the first leg of the Major League Soccer Western Conference finals.

Relishing the match: Cruz (left) and Romeo Beckham chomp on hotdogs as dad David stars in LA Galaxy's 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders last night

Relishing the match: Cruz (left) and Romeo Beckham chomp on hotdogs as dad David stars in LA Galaxy's 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders last night

David Beckham plays in a MLS play-off home game between LA Galaxy and Seattle

Beckham in action at The Home Depot Cente

Woah boys: David Beckham feels the pressure during LA Galaxy's 3-0 MLS play-off victory at the Home Depot Center last night, as he three sons snacked on junk food in the stands

We're here, Dad: Cruz tries to catch his father's attention while big brother Brooklyn (right) tackles a slice of pizza

We're here, Dad: Cruz tries to catch his father's attention while big brother Brooklyn (right) tackles a slice of pizza

Play me in: Becks was still visibly frustrated, despite his side's comfortable win

Play me in: Becks was still visibly frustrated, despite his side's comfortable win

Mike Magee added the other goal for
defending champions who will head to Seattle next Sunday in prime
position to earn their third MLS Cup appearance in four years.

The Beckham brothers Brooklyn, Romeo
and Cruz clearly enjoyed themselves in the stands at The Home Depot
Center, waving to their dad and smiling throughout the 90-minute rout.

Mum Victoria was not present and the boys took advantage by tucking into their favourite treats.

Brace yourself: Keane scored twice as Galaxy eased to victory over Seattle

Brace yourself: Keane scored twice as Galaxy eased to victory over Seattle

Brace yourself: Keane scored twice as Galaxy eased to victory over Seattle

If LA survive and Houston Dynamo wrap-up the Eastern Conference finals after beating DC United 3-1 in the first leg earlier Sunday, the MLS Cup would be a rematch of last season's game, which David Beckham and the Galaxy won at Home Depot Center.

Andre Hainault, Will Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie each scored second-half goals at Houston to give the Dynamo the win over United.

Nick DeLeon scored for United in the 27th minute.

Double delight: The former Premier League heroes inspired Galaxy to victory

Double delight: The former Premier League heroes inspired Galaxy to victory

Double delight: The former Premier League heroes inspired Galaxy to victory

The win gives Houston a two-goal aggregate lead heading into next Sunday's decisive match at RFK Stadium in Washington. United will have to win that match by three goals to advance.

The Dynamo extended their home unbeaten streak to 30 games, dating to June 18, 2011. Houston are four wins or draws away from matching Real Salt Lake's league-record 34-game home unbeaten run.

Over he goes: Keane performed his famous celebration after scoring for Galaxy

Over he goes: Keane performed his famous celebration after scoring for Galaxy

Over he goes: Keane performed his famous celebration after scoring for Galaxy

Keane on you: Robbie Keane's wife Claudine and son Robert Ronan Jnr cheer on Galaxy last night

Keane on you: Robbie Keane's wife Claudine and son Robert Ronan Jnr cheer on Galaxy last night

Robbie Keane scores twice as LA Galaxy beat San Jose Earthquakes

Keane at the double as LA Galaxy book place in Western Conference finals

|

UPDATED:

11:06 GMT, 8 November 2012

Robbie Keane struck twice as Los Angeles Galaxy turned on the style with a 3-1 win at San Jose Earthquakes, dumping the Western Conference's runaway regular season winners out of Major League Soccer's play-offs.

Houston Dynamo held on to book a place in the Eastern Conference final with a 1-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City still enough to give them a 2-1 aggregate victory.

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Brace yourself: Keane scored a double for LA Galaxy and performed his traditional celebration (right)

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, defending champions Galaxy looked determined from the outset with David Beckham going close with two free-kicks inside the opening 10 minutes.

San Jose suffered a setback when central defender Victor Bernardez had to be substituted with injury, forcing a reshuffle at the back.

All white on the night: Beckham went close with two free-kicks inside the opening 10 minutes

All white on the night: Beckham went close with two free-kicks inside the opening 10 minutes

Job done: LA Galaxy turned on the style with a 3-1 win at San Jose Earthquakes

Job done: LA Galaxy turned on the style with a 3-1 win at San Jose Earthquakes

Keane brought Galaxy level on aggregate with a fine solo goal in the 21st minute, running at the San Jose defense before driving the ball in off the inside of the post with a well-struck effort from outside the area.

The former Tottenham and Liverpool star struck again when he made a perfectly timed run and was found by a delightfully weighted pass from Landon Donovan, before rounding Earthquakes keeper Jon Busch and slotting home.

David Beckham

David Beckham

Boot-iful: Beckham sports a pair of pink boots in the game against San Jose Earthquakes

Magee combined with Donovan to score LA Galaxy's third of the night

Magee combined with Donovan to score LA Galaxy's third of the night

Donovan was the creator again when he picked out Mike Magee, who fired in a first-time shot to make it 3-0 with six minutes left in the first half.

San Jose substitute Alan Gordon pulled one back in the 82nd minute but the Galaxy held firm to eliminate the team which had won the 'Supporters' Shield' for top regular season record.

The Galaxy will face the winner of Thursday's game between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders.

Houston, beaten finalists in last year's MLS final, will play the winners of the other Eastern Conference semi-final between New York Red Bulls and D.C.

Ryder Cup 2012: Olazabal"s crew thrown overboard at Medinah"s own Tea Party

Olly's crew thrown overboard at Medinah's own Tea Party

|

UPDATED:

00:32 GMT, 30 September 2012

The visiting supporters tramped the fairways of Medinah, singing their songs and flaunting their flags of blue. But their confidence was little more than bravado. For in this sun-dappled corner of America’s mid-West, the cream of European golf is facing a hell of a beating.

This being sport, miracles may never be discounted, but as they go into the singles with a 10-6 deficit, Europe’s chances of retaining the Ryder Cup lie somewhere between remote and negligible. And, despite some extraordinary late heroics from Ian Poulter, they licked their wounds and steeled themselves for the inquests ahead.

For the first two days of this Ryder Cup contest have seen a changing of the old order. Recent years have offered an unfolding story of Europe’s golfers, bristling with belief and committed to the cause, bringing to earth the best that the States can offer.

Team USA's Jim Furyk reacts after sinking his putt on the fourteenth hole

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after a missed putt on the seventh hole

Face facts: At some stage, class had to tell

The team ethic was paramount and reputations meant nothing. Because Europe expected, and Europe was rarely denied.

Yet always there was a sense that
someday soon the Americans would rouse themselves, would start to
respect their own traditions.

A nation which has given us an entire
pantheon of golfing gods — from Jones to Hogan, Nicklaus to Woods —
could never be comfortable in the role of victim. Sooner than later,
sheer class was certain to raise its voice.

Forlorn figure: Tiger Woods has lost his three Ryder Cup matches

Forlorn figure: Tiger Woods has lost his three Ryder Cup matches

And here on the western outskirts of
Chicago, we have seen that transformation. Centre stage has been
forcefully occupied by young men with esoteric first names; Brandt and
Bubba, Keegan and Webb. And others have moved, perhaps temporarily,
towards the wings: Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and, or so it seemed
for most of two days, Tiger Woods, the greatest player of his era.

Time was when Woods could bend the game to his own will, but that task is now much harder.

American wunderkid: Keegan Bradley celebrates birdie on the ninth

American wunderkid: Keegan Bradley celebrates birdie on the ninth

‘Rested’ from the morning foursomes,
he spent much of the afternoon pouting, wincing and silently cursing his
own failings as he and Steve Stricker engaged with Sergio Garcia and
Luke Donald. The Europeans led from the first hole, expanded it to four
shots and protected it quite heroically. Because traces of genius still
cling to him, Woods discovered his pride and touch late in the day, when
a stunning burst of birdies on the back nine transformed the match and
turned back memory’s pages before Stricker missed a seven-footer at the
last to give Europe a deserved victory.

Yet the trials of Woods were no more
than a small distraction for the Americans. They raised their game,
holed their putts and generally handled themselves like a bunch of
professionals who understand their business. Blessed by a 5-3 lead at
the start of the day, they set off with the wind in their sails, and
they never truly allowed it to drop. ‘U-S-A, U-S-A!’, the patriotic din
rarely relented. There are times when its stridency can jar, but these
players had generated their own euphoria and reaped its rewards.

Rory McIlroy falls to his knees after missing a putt on the 18th

Agony: McIlroy falls to his knees after missing a putt on the 18th

Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari
were Europe’s first victims of the afternoon fourballs, effectively
blown away 5&4 by Watson and Webb Simpson. Never in genuine
contention, they seemed almost relieved to be put out of their misery.

Rory McIlroy and Poulter, whose
partnership smacked of something thrown together in desperation by the
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, worked hard to match the earnest
consistency of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, but the Americans led from
the opening hole, swept along by the momentum of the day until the
brilliance of the Europeans, especially a nerveless birdie putt by
Poulter gave them the lead at the 16th, and another on 17 protected it.
Ultimately, he rolled in a 12-foot putt to sink his fifth birdie in a
row and win the match.

saturday foresomes

Yet the embodiment of Europe’s
struggle was the man who had provided their most memorable moments on
the opening day. Nicolas Colsaerts spent Friday living the dream,
apparently incapable of making an error or missing a putt.

In the morning, reality came crashing
in. Infallibility was gone, incapability became the order of the day.
Partnered by Garcia in the foursomes, Colsaerts missed putts of every
range and variety, including a two-and-a-half footer on 13. His deepest
misfortune came when, one down and two to play against Dufner and
Johnson, he swatted his tee shot into the water on 17.

Time out: Luke Donald talks to basketball legend Michael Jordan

Time out: Luke Donald talks to basketball legend Michael Jordan

He looked like a man, in John
Arlott’s famous phrase, who sought the sanctuary of an empty hotel room,
and a six-chambered revolver as the match was surrendered. To his
enormous credit, he battled his misfortune through the long afternoon.
In company with Paul Lawrie, he went toe-to-toe with Dustin Johnson and
Matt Kuchar, despite quite outrageous luck with putts which flatly
refused to fall. But Colsaerts will emerge from his first Ryder Cup with
reputation enhanced.

The galleries revelled in it all yet
the composition of spectators told a tale of their own. Study the crowds
and you might easily conclude that America is populated exclusively by
white people, with the solitary exception of Michael Jordan. Yesterday,
they gave instinctive applause to the two ex-Presidents Bush as they
toured the course in a buggy. George Dubya seemed vaguely alarmed by the
rare compliment. The players they follow are cast in the same
God-fearing, Romney-voting mould. The overall impression is of the Tea
Party at play, and their delight in battering Europeans is
unmistakeable.

Nicolas Colsaerts of Europe and Sergio Garcia

Harsh rality: Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia

They took distinct satisfaction from
the spectacle of Westwood and Donald losing to Mickelson and Bradley by
what the old-timers used to call a ‘dog licence’, 7&6. It was all
over by 10.15am, a defeat which will wound Westwood, hero of so many
Ryder Cup moments.

But when it was over, and despite
Europe’s efforts to salvage their reputation, it had been America’s
morning followed by America’s afternoon, with every omen pointing to an
all-American weekend.

Great view: A young fan watches th action

Great view: A young fan watches the action

They took distinct satisfaction from
the spectacle of Westwood and Donald losing to Mickelson and Bradley by
what the old-timers used to call a ‘dog licence’, 7&6. It was all
over by 10.15am, a defeat which will wound Westwood, hero of so many
Ryder Cup moments.

But when it was over, and despite
Europe’s efforts to salvage their reputation, it had been America’s
morning followed by America’s afternoon, with every omen pointing to an
all-American weekend.

In the pink: Ian Poulter on the first tee

In the pink: Ian Poulter on the first tee

Dynamic duo: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson

Dynamic duo: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson

Emile Heskey pictured in Newcastle Jets kit

Look who's back! Heskey slips on Newcastle Jets kit for first time as A-League debut beckons

|

UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 25 September 2012

Emile Heskey's Aussie adventure has taken a step closer to launch after the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker slipped on his Newcastle Jets kit for the first time.

Heskey has signed for the Australia's A-League team and has penned a year-long deal with the New South Wales club for the 2012-2013 season.

The former England international striker will be propelled into action soon with the domestic season Down Under beginning next month.

Getting shirty: Heskey sport the Jets' kit for the first time

Getting shirty: Heskey sports the Jets' kit for the first time

Capped 62 times by England, Heskey scored 110 goals in 516 games in the Barclays Premier League during a 17-year career in England.

These are exciting times for football in Australia after the arrival of Italy legend Alessandro del Piero at Sydney FC.

Former Juventus and Italy forward Del Piero received his favourite No 10 shirt on Sunday as he begins a two-year contract Down Under.

Del Piero, who signed a reported $4 million (2.6m) deal on September 5, was presented with his jersey at a fan day and training session attended by about 2,000 people at Sydney Football Stadium before he spent close to an hour signing autographs.

Getting shirty: Heskey sport the Jets' kit for the first time

Their first home match will be against the Newcastle Jets on October 13, with Heskey in the Jets lineup.

Those two international signings have brought worldwide attention to the often struggling A-League, and new franchise the Western Sydney Wanderers are reported to be in talks with former German midfielder Michael Ballack, who has played for Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen.

Ballack, who turns 36 next week, made the last of 35 appearances for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga last season before moving into the commentary box with German television over the last year.

London 2012 Olympics: Lizzie Armitstead wins road race

Lizzie lands the first for Britain with silver medal in the road race

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 29 July 2012

Olympics 2012

As the heavens opened on The Mall on Sunday afternoon, memories of Beijing in 2008 flooded the mind. Memories of Nicole Cooke sprinting to women’s road race gold in driving rain under the Great Wall of China and igniting Britain’s Olympic medal charge.

Four years on, could Lizzie Armitstead do the same against the regally British backdrop of Buckingham Palace In the end, the 23-year-old Yorkshire lass was two bikelengths short, losing out only to Holland’s Marianne Vos, the best women’s road cyclist in the world.

Silver might have been gold but it was still due reward for a courageous, wholly committed ride through Surrey and the south-western suburbs of London, with ecstatic crowds lining the route and urging her on with every turn of the wheel in spite of the atrocious conditions.

Brit special: Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's road race, behind Marianne Vos

Brit special: Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's road race, behind Marianne Vos

Brit special: Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's road race, behind Marianne Vos

Brit special: Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's road race, behind Marianne Vos

Brit special: Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's road race, behind Marianne Vos

Brit special: Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's road race, behind Marianne Vos

Armitstead lost her lucky cycling goggles but by the time the four-woman breakaway group had been reduced to three by American Shelley Olds’ puncture, they had done their job.

Armitstead said: ‘I’ve been praying for rain. I feared the worst when we had the heatwave last week because I absolutely hate racing in the heat. The harsher the conditions the better for me. And, when there was a real downpour on the course, I thought, “Great” because the chances of the break staying away were higher in those conditions. Only I couldn’t see and had to take my glasses off and lost my lucky glasses, but never mind. They will be out on the road somewhere for someone to pick up.

Blast for the line: Vos just stole a march on Armitstead in the closing stages, and held off her fight

Blast for the line: Vos just stole a march on Armitstead in the closing stages, and held off her fight

Blast for the line: Vos just stole a march on Armitstead in the closing stages, and held off her fight

‘The finish was a strange, strange feeling that I’ve not experienced before in another race. It was like a dream, something you have raced for four years for and then in a flash it’s over.’

But for a classroom bet nine years ago, Armitstead may not have even had the dream. It was a desire to stand up to one of the lads in her class in Otley, just outside Leeds, which persuaded the then 14-year-old to forego a maths lesson and take part in a trial arranged by British Cycling at her school. Within two years she was a World Junior medallist and now her name is carved in Olympic history.

Royal rumble: The race begun in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, with the weather just about holding off

Royal rumble: The race begun in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, with the weather just about holding off

Royal rumble: The race begun in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, with the weather just about holding off

Royal rumble: The race begun in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, with the weather just about holding off

Jonny Clay, a bronze medallist in the team pursuit alongside Bradley Wiggins at the Sydney Olympics, was in charge of the West Yorkshire section of British Cycling’s talent identification programme which went into Armitstead’s school in 2003. He remembers the day well.

Clay said: ‘We were doing some bike racing around the school playing field. Lizzie wasn’t going to come out but she was teased and mocked by a lad in her class that morning. They had a bit of a bet going on. This guy was saying, “There’s no way you can beat me on a bike”. She came out only for that reason really, to put him in his place. She duly did so but also matched the times and the standards that we wanted to see from a 14-year-old female — and it’s all history from then on.’

Can we borrow the motor Police initially led the riders out down The Mall

Can we borrow the motor Police initially led the riders out down The Mall

Can we borrow the motor Police initially led the riders out down The Mall

Armitstead made her way through the programme quickly, joined the British Cycling Academy at 18 and appeared set fair for a career in track cycling in the endurance events when the Olympic programme was changed after Beijing. In 2009 she was a member of the British trio who became women’s team pursuit world champions in Copenhagen yet, in spite of that success, her heart told her that road cycling was her future.

Havoc: As the race progressed the heavens opened and left all the riders absolutely soaking wet

Havoc: As the race progressed the heavens opened and left all the riders absolutely soaking wet

Havoc: As the race progressed the heavens opened and left all the riders absolutely soaking wet

‘I’m glad I made the switch now,’ she added, her head still in a whirr at the kaleidoscopic colour of yesterday’s experience. If anyone had thought that the women’s race would be a comparably sparsely attended afterthought to Saturday’s men’s race, they could not have been more wrong. The women covered only two circuits of the Box Hill climb in Surrey which ultimately sapped the energy out of Britain’s men’s team, yet it was there that Armitstead’s bid for glory turned into reality.

Park life: On the first trip through Richmond Park, there was a far larger group going for gold

Park life: On the first trip through Richmond Park, there was a far larger group going for gold

Set backs: The race was marred by a succession of crashes and near misses as riders went on the attack

Set backs: The race was marred by a succession of crashes and near misses as riders went on the attack

With team-mate Emma Pooley softening up the peloton with constant attacking bursts, Armitstead shadowed Vos and, when the Dutch girl made her move, the Briton followed. It was the pivotal moment. Together they worked with Olds and, to a lesser extent, Russian bronze medallist Olga Zabelinskaya, stretching out their advantage until it became a winning margin.

The Russian was never going to be a threat in the final sprint to the line, but Vos was, beginning her final drive just as Armitstead was contemplating hers. There can be no real regrets for the British girl, though, especially when she savours the majesty of the day.

Climbing high: As with the men's race on Saturday, fans paced the roadside throughout the course

Climbing high: As with the men's race on Saturday, fans paced the roadside throughout the course

Climbing high: As with the men's race on Saturday, fans paced the roadside throughout the course

Climbing high: As with the men's race on Saturday, fans paced the roadside throughout the course

‘The crowds are something that I’ll never really forget. It’s strange not being able to hear yourself think. It wasn’t a case of thinking my legs were hurting, it was a case of not getting distracted by the noise. Being in the breakaway was perfect because the noise pushed us all the way to the finish.’

And to Britain’s first medal at a home Games since 1948.

Thank you, Surrey: The leafy villages of Surrey, south west of London, provided a glorious back drop

Thank you, Surrey: The leafy villages of Surrey, south west of London, provided a glorious back drop

Thank you, Surrey: The leafy villages of Surrey, south west of London, provided a glorious back drop

Thank you, Surrey: The leafy villages of Surrey, south west of London, provided a glorious back drop
LIZZIE ARMITSTEAD FACTFILE

1988: Born December 18, in Otley, Yorkshire.

2005: Claims scratch race silver medal at junior Track Cycling World Championships.

2007: Wins scratch race gold and points race silver at under-23 European Track Championships.

2008: September – Wins scratch race and team pursuit gold and points race silver at under-23 European Track Championships. Plays a key role in helping Nicole Cooke win the World Championships road race in Varese, Italy, as Cooke becomes the first cyclist to take the World Championship and Olympic titles in the same year.

October 31 – Wins scratch race at Track World Cup in Manchester.

November 1 – Wins points race at Track World Cup in Manchester.

November 2 – Triumphant in team pursuit with Joanna Rowsell and Katie Colclough at Track World Cup in Manchester.

November 20 – Victory in scratch race at Track World Cup in Melbourne.

November 22 – Claims team pursuit gold at Track World Cup in Melbourne with Rowsell and Colclough.

2009: February – Wins team pursuit and scratch race at Track World Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark.

March – Wins Track Cycling World Championships team pursuit title in Pruszkow, Poland with

Joanna Rowsell and Wendy Houvenaghel. Adds silver in the scratch race and bronze in the points race.

May – Wins first stage of Tour de l'Aude.

June – Finishes second to Cooke at British Championships road race.

July – Wins best young rider classification at women's Tour of Italy.

September – Finishes third overall in Tour de l'Ardeche after winning the points classification and stage six.

November – Wins Track World Cup team pursuit in Manchester with Houvenaghel and Rowsell. Adds points race gold.

2010: March 25 – Silver in Track Cycling World Championships team pursuit in Copenhagen, Denmark with Houvenaghel and Rowsell.

March 27 – Silver in the omnium at the Track Cycling World Championships in Copenhagen.

June – Finishes second to Emma Pooley at British Championships road race.

September – Wins three stages and points classification at Tour de l'Ardeche.

October – Silver in Commonwealth Games road race in Delhi.

2011: June – Wins British Championships road race.

July – Wins stage six and points classification at Thuringen Rundfahrt.

September – Finishes seventh in World Championships road race in Copenhagen and later criticises Cooke for 'riding for herself'.

November – Announces intention to focus on road at London 2012.

2012: March – Wins Omloop van het Hageland and Ghent-Wevelgem one-day races.

June 21 – Confirmed in British team for her first Olympics.

July 29 – Wins silver medal in London Olympic Games road race, beaten in a sprint finish on The Mall by Holland's Marianne Vos.

Mitchell Johnson named in Australia squad to face England

Johnson named in Australia squad to face England in summer ODI series

|

UPDATED:

08:58 GMT, 10 May 2012

Mitchell Johnson has been included in Australia's one-day international squad for this summer's tour of England.

Johnson, 30, has not appeared at international level since November when he sustained a serious foot injury on the tour of South Africa.

The Western Australia left-armer played 22 one-day internationals in 2011 and claimed 39 wickets before being struck on the foot during the Wanderers Test.

Back in the fold: Johnson has been sidelined for seven months with a foot injury

Back in the fold: Johnson has been sidelined for seven months with a foot injury

He has been recovering back in his adopted home state, but is yet to appear competitively since.

National selector John Inverarity said Johnson's selection was based on building him up for a place at the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.

'The panel (National Selection Panel) is looking forward to Mitchell being reinvigorated after being out of the game for six months,' Inverarity said.

'We could have taken a squad of 14 and that in some senses would have been a better balanced squad, but we went with 15.'

Pat Cummins is another player back in the fold after a lengthy lay-off – he suffered a bone stress injury in his foot in South Africa – while the inexperienced James Pattinson was also included.

Inverarity added: 'The reason we went with 15 was Pat Cummins is coming back so there is a little bit of a question mark there.

Whitewash: Australia hammered England in the one-dayers after the end of the last Ashes series

Whitewash: Australia hammered England in the one-dayers after the end of the last Ashes series

'With James Pattinson there also just a bit of a question mark and with Mitch one of the thoughts was that he’s very much in our sights for the Twenty20 World Cup, so we’re going to develop him as well as we can for that.

'He's in the squad of 15 but not the team as yet.'

Inverarity said they would be cautious with Cummins with the 19-year-old unlikely to be involved in every game on the tour, which includes warm-up matches against Leicestershire, Ireland and Essex before a five-match ODI series with England begins on June 29 at Lord's.

'We are also excited about the return of Pat Cummins and we are looking to ease him back into the team. He will not be expected to play in all of the eight scheduled games,' he said.

Victorian Matthew Wade was named as the lone wicketkeeper in the absence of Brad Haddin, who Inverarity said would be 'given all the time he needs' to overcome 'personal issues' relating to his sick daughter.

Australia itinerary

June 21 v Leicestershire, Leicester
June 23 v Ireland, Belfast
June 26 v Essex, Chelmsford
June 29 v England, London (Lords)
July 1 v England, London (The Oval)
July 4 v England, Birmingham
July 7 v England, Durham
July 10 v England, Manchester

Joining Johnson, Cummins and Pattinson in the pace stocks are Clint McKay, Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus, while Steve Smith and Xavier Doherty are the specialist spinners.

Smith comes in as the back-up all-rounder in place of Dan Christian, with batsman Peter Forrest and spinner Nathan Lyon the others left out of the squad.

'He's (Christian) a regular although he didn’t play all the ODIs in the West Indies, he’s also very much in our thoughts for the T20 World Cup but we’ve preferred to have Steve Smith in that role as back-up all-rounder,' he said.

'If we picked the team tomorrow, Steve wouldn’t be in it but again his end of season form was very encouraging, he’s been doing well recently in the Twenty20 (IPL) in India.'

New South Wales duo Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja were both overlooked with Inverarity suggesting their best path back into the side would be with English county clubs Worcestershire and Derbyshire respectively.

'There wasn't much point getting them into the (Australia) A side just for four days of cricket, but they have a wonderful opportunity in England to do well coming into the Australian summer.'

Mainstays Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner, Michael Hussey and David Hussey are all included.

The Australia A squad is also touring England across July and August, with Ed Cowan named to captain the side and Forrest named vice-captain.

Ridicule: Johnson was tormented by England fans for some wayward bowling during the 2010-11 Ashes series

Ridicule: Johnson was tormented by England fans for some wayward bowling during the 2010-11 Ashes series

Five players (George Bailey, Cummins, Johnson, Pattinson and Smith) were named in both squads, with Inverarity stating it was a deliberate ploy.

'The Australia A Squad has been difficult to finalise,' he said. 'While there is a busy schedule of cricket ahead, it cannot be known in advance which of the 15 players in the ODI Squad for England and Ireland will have heavy loads and those who will not and would therefore benefit from playing some games on the Australia A tour.'

Australia squad

Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson,
George Bailey, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike
Hussey, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, James
Pattinson, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, David Warner.

Australia A squad

E Cowan (captain), P
Forrest, G Bailey, J Bird, J Burns, T Cooper, P Cummins, B Cutting, L
Davis, J Holland, M Johnson, M Klinger, N Lyon, T Paine, J Pattinson, S
Smith, M Starc.