Tag Archives: whimper

A new start for racing as Clare Balding is the new face of Channel 4

Channel 4 count on Clare class to clear the first hurdle with racing coverage

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 31 December 2012

A New Year and a new era for Channel 4 racing begin on Tuesday with a whimper and without the two most recognisable names and faces in the sport.

Frankie Dettori, who as a Flat jockey would in any case be on holiday at this time of the year, is banned for six months for a drug offence while John McCririck has been swept away by a broom wielded with perhaps hasty gusto by the incoming production company.

Love him or loathe him, ‘Big Mac’ boasts a profile few in horse racing can match.

Channel hopping: Clare Balding will front the racing on Channel 4

Channel hopping: Clare Balding will front the racing on Channel 4

The whimper for the relaunch of the sole remaining terrestrial coverage was guaranteed when Cheltenham postponed their New Year’s Day meeting on Monday due to waterlogged ground. Poor Clare Balding, and there has been no other occasion to think that this annus mirabilis.

Denied a proper ‘goodbye’ from her BBC racing role by the weather last week, she will be restricted to a Channel 4 ‘hello’ from Nicky Henderson’s stables in Lambourn and not from a race meeting.

Perhaps not the greatest omen. This is more a case of going through the top of the first fence rather than hitting the ground running.

La Balding will be fine. Better than that. She will be her usual excellent self, as less prejudiced observers recognised long before her unmitigated triumph at the Olympic Games.

Large than life: John McCririck will no longer be part of the Channel 4 racing team

Large than life: John McCririck will no longer be part of the Channel 4 racing team

A real pro, she thrives on good old-fashioned hard work, journalistic rigour and unbridled enthusiasm.

A small quibble. A little less of the breathless whispering, please.

Hushed tones have never been McCririck’s style and there was never any chance of this largest of larger-than-life characters going quietly.

‘It is clearly a case of age discrimination,’ the 72-year-old told Sportsmail. ‘It is illegal what they (Channel 4) have done. But what can you do I never missed a day’s work and I don’t think I was ever late. My ability is unimpaired. I am very sad.’

McCririck remains particularly aggrieved about both the manner of his dismissal and what he regards as some implied criticism. ‘Thirty years, no consultation and I am rung 30 minutes before a press release is distributed.

Missing face: Frankie Dettori will not be on Channel 4 as he is serving a six month ban

Missing face: Frankie Dettori will not be on Channel 4 as he is serving a six month ban

‘And they talk about looking for a more journalistic approach to the context. I won two British Press Awards and I was a former Campaigning Journalist of the Year. This was a deliberate attempt to humiliate and demean me. It is very hurtful.’

McCririck may come across as something of a dinosaur but he has never been frightened to get dirty at the coal face, asking the difficult questions, confronting the controversial issues and holding to account those deserving of close scrutiny.

Part of the team: Emma Spencer will be part of the Channel 4 team

Part of the team: Emma Spencer will be part of the Channel 4 team

He formed an odd but expert betting partnership with Tanya Stevenson, who will continue in her role. The problem for new producers IMG Sports Media is that they are following a hard act in Highflyer, who in 28 years won several prestigious television awards while establishing a deserved reputation for excellence.

This was never more evident than in last Saturday’s final programme from the old regime when three times racing writer of the year Alastair Down, John Francome and McCririck, the three main casualties of change, demonstrated sheer class with the most dignified of farewells.

Down, in particular, was at his lyrical and poetic best in talking about jump racing being ‘the very stuff of life’, ‘nourishment for the soul’ and a ‘magnetic pull stronger than the very poles’ against a pictorial background of wonderful memories from a high-quality back catalogue.

‘If the devil could cast his nets (he would catch) some wonderful people involved in making these programmes behind the scenes,’ Down said.

Line up: Channel 4 have taken over all racing coverage from the BBC

Line up: Channel 4 have taken over all racing coverage from the BBC

‘Haway the lads,’ the Newcastle United-supporting McCririck concluded as Stevenson moved to embrace the whiskered one.

It is doubtful whether his encouragement was intended for the lads, and lasses, who from today represent the terrestrial custodians of the Sport of Kings.

The public will be watching and so will racing.

Ricky Ponting final innings pictures: Australia lose to South Africa

Farewell, Punter! Ponting honoured during final innings for Oz… but he bows out with a whimper in crushing defeat to South Africa

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UPDATED:

09:24 GMT, 3 December 2012

Ricky Ponting's final innings for Australia ended in disappointment as he managed just eight on the fourth morning of the third Test against South Africa as the tourists clinched the series 1-0 with an impressive 309-run victory.

Having announced his retirement prior to the match Ponting mustered just four in the first innings and fared little better in his last hurrah, thick-edging Robin Peterson to slip three balls before the lunch break at Perth.

South Africa welcomed Ponting to the crease with a respectful guard of honour but there was to be no fitting finale for the second highest run-scorer in Test history.

One of the greats: Ricky Ponting salutes the crowd at the WACA after his final international innings

One of the greats: Ricky Ponting salutes the crowd at the WACA after his final international innings

One of the greats: Ricky Ponting salutes the crowd at the WACA after his final international innings

Stand by your man: Rianna Ponting applauds her husband during his last appearance for Australia

Stand by your man: Rianna Ponting applauds her husband during his last appearance for Australia

Australia, chasing 632 for an unlikely
victory, resumed this morning on 40 without loss but suffered the worst
possible start when dangerous opener David Warner was dismissed by the
second ball of the day for his overnight score of 29.

Vernon Philander was responsible,
sending down a fine delivery that would have threatened off stump had
Warner not nicked it to Graeme Smith at first slip.

Ed Cowan hit the first four of the day
three balls later but the aim of the day was defence and consolidation
as Philander and Dale Steyn sent down a testing opening spell.

No 3 Shane Watson hit his 12th
ball for four, while the circumspect Cowan put away a Steyn full-toss
for his second boundary.

Watson found the ropes in three
consecutive overs but he was next out for 25 when Morne Morkel squared
him up and found the edge to offer Smith a second catch.

That brought Ponting to the crease for
the final time and, as well as a warm ovation from the stands, the
opposition lined up to form a guard of honour to the wicket.

Ponting stopped to shake hands with
Proteas skipper Smith and, after Cowan stole some of the spotlight with a
six off Peterson, got off the mark by pulling his sixth delivery for
four.

Respect: Ponting was given a guard of honour by South Africa's players as he headed onto the field to bat

Respect: Ponting was given a guard of honour by South Africa's players as he headed onto the field to bat

On the pull: Ponting bats in his last Test innings

Ponting bats in his last Test innings

On the pull: Ponting bats in his last Test innings, but his stay at the crease was to be a short one

All over: Ponting's final dismissal came after nicking the ball to Jacques Kallis (left) at slip off Robin Peterson

All over: Ponting's final dismissal came after nicking the ball to Jacques Kallis (left) at slip off Robin Peterson

All over: Ponting's final dismissal came after nicking the ball to Jacques Kallis (left) at slip off Robin Peterson

Prized wicket: Peterson celebrates

Prized wicket: Peterson celebrates

Luck seemed to be on the 37-year-old's
side when he was gifted a second boundary, Morkel mis-fielding at
mid-on, but that proved his last scoring shot.

Left-arm spinner Peterson got one to
bite and bounce outside off stump and Ponting mis-hit an unwise cut
straight to the alert Jacques Kallis.

The Proteas clamoured to shake his
hand as he departed to plentiful applause before his successor as
Australia skipper, Michael Clarke, struck the last two balls of the
session for four.

AB De Villiers was involved in the
next two wickets, stumping Clarke off Peterson for 44 and then catching
Michael Hussey off Steyn for 26.

Matthew Wade was joined by all-rounder
John Hastings with the home side on 198 for six and South Africa were
on the verge of an impressive victory.

Wade went for 10, caught by Smith at short midwicket when he mistimed a Peterson delivery.

Australia ended the session on 204 for seven, with Hastings and Mitchell Johnson battling against the inevitable.

Philander found the edge of Johnson's
bat and De Villiers took a regulation catch as Australia failed to add
to their total in the first three overs after tea.

Well played: South Africa captain Graeme Smith shakes hands with Ponting after his dismissal

Well played: South Africa captain Graeme Smith shakes hands with Ponting after his dismissal

Farewell: Australia legend Ponting walks off the pitch for the last time in international cricket

Farewell: Australia legend Ponting walks off the pitch for the last time in international cricket

Hastings went for a belligerent 20, caught at first slip by Smith off Morkel.

Mitchell Starc also hit out, his 68
off 43 balls including two sixes and nine fours, as he and Nathan Lyon
put on a battling 87 for the final wicket.

But they were only putting off the
inevitable and after South Africa took the new ball Lyon was finally out
for 31 when he was caught at slip by Smith off Steyn.

That left the home side all out for
322 for a 309-run defeat and a 1-0 series loss which confirmed South
Africa as the number one ranked Test side.

Kevin Pietersen saga: KP could still be in Test squad to face India

KP closing in on England return and could yet be in Test squad to face India

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UPDATED:

22:14 GMT, 1 October 2012

England out with a whimper

Read Paul Newman's report on the end to England's World Twenty20 title defence

England crashed out of the World Twenty20 to hosts Sri Lanka on Monday night after being torn apart by Lasith Malinga, as the Kevin Pietersen saga took another turn.

The defending champions were routed by fast bowler Malinga’s five for 31 in Sri Lanka’s 19-run victory, but Pietersen could return for the four-Test India tour in November.

Closing in: Pietersen could still face India in the four-match Test series

Closing in: Pietersen could still face India in the four-match Test series

A central contract for Pietersen is being ratified by the ECB board and if he agrees to it, then the bitter dispute and his exile should end this week.

England will then think of adding him to their 16-man party for India, one of cricket’s toughest tours.

Pietersen was missed in the Twenty20, as England lacked the nous to beat the top nations. They leave Sri Lanka on Tuesday having beaten just Afghanistan and New Zealand.

Disappointing: England struggled in Sri Lanka

Disappointing: England struggled in Sri Lanka

Wigan 3 Wolves 2: Miserable season ends in defeat for Connor"s men

Wigan 3 Wolves 2: Boyce the unlikely hero as Latics record fifth win in six

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UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 13 May 2012

Bottom club Wolves departed the Barclays Premier League with a whimper as Wigan showed their visitors exactly what is required to survive in the top flight.

The Molineux side finished the campaign having conceded 82 goals and it was their leaky defence which saw them concede an early lead at the DW Stadium.

Even a late consolation to improve the scoreline could not gloss over their problems and new manager Stale Solbakken will have much to address over the summer.

High hopes: Boyce heads in his first

High hopes: Boyce heads in his first

MATCH FACTS

Wigan: Al Habsi, Lopez, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Moses (Crusat 58), Di Santo (Rodallega 78), Maloney (Gomez 82).

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Ben Watson, Sammon, Diame.

Booked: Lopez.

Goals: Di Santo 12,Boyce 14,79.

Wolverhampton: De Vries (Ikeme 51), Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, Henry, Edwards, Hunt (Forde 58), Ebanks-Blake (Fletcher 75), Doyle.

Subs Not Used: Elokobi, Johnson, Milijas, Jonsson.

Booked: Stearman, Berra.

Goals: Jarvis 9, Fletcher 86.

Attendance: 21,986

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Click here for the final Premier League table

Wigan capitalised on some weak
defending as Emmerson Boyce, who has excelled on the right of midfield
since manager Roberto Martinez adopted a 3-4-3 formation, scored twice
and could easily have had a hat-trick.

Matt Jarvis had put Wolves ahead but
Franco Di Santo and Boyce turned things around very quickly and when the
latter spectacularly volleyed home in the second half the result was
put beyond Wolves despite substitute Steven Fletcher's late consolation.

The first-half action was
encapsulated in a manic six minutes which perfectly summed up Wolves'
dreadfully disappointing season and highlighted why Wigan survived
against the odds.

In the ninth minute Stephen Ward
played in Jarvis down the left but when he collected the ball out wide
he still had plenty to do. But having cut inside on to his right foot he
curled a perfectly-weighted shot around Gary Caldwell, Wigan's player
of the season, and past goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi into the far corner of
the net.

The joy of the self-deprecating
Wolves fans, who frequently sang about going to Barnsley next season,
was short-lived, however, as Wigan were level soon after.

Top job: Martinez has masterminded a fine run of form for Wigan

Top job: Martinez has masterminded a fine run of form for Wigan

Stephen Hunt dawdled in possession 30
yards out and James McCarthy required no second invitation to nick the
ball off him. Even though he eventually ran into traffic on the edge of
the penalty area Di Santo was on hand to fire home a low shot.

Wolves' lackadaisical attitude to
defending cost them again barely three minutes later when Jean
Beausejour flicked over a corner from the left and Boyce headed in from
12 yards.

Sliding in: Adrian Lopez tackles Stephen Hunt

Sliding in: Adrian Lopez tackles Stephen Hunt

The visiting fans had clearly decided
they were determined to enjoy themselves with the Championship lying in
wait next season and celebrated the goal with possibly more vigour than
they had when Jarvis had put them in front.

Loyal: Wolves fans show their support for their relegated side

Loyal: Wolves fans show their support for their relegated side

Early in the second half goalkeeper
Dorus de Vries had to be replaced by Carl Ikeme, who a month ago was
playing at Doncaster before being recalled after injury to Wayne
Hennessey and Rovers' relegation to League One.

With 45 minutes to end their
top-flight stay on a high, Wolves had the first chance of the second
half when Kevin Doyle's header was well saved by Al Habsi at the foot of
the far post.

Safe: Wigan fans show their appreciation for Martinez as Di Santo celebrates the opener (below)

Safe: Wigan fans show their appreciation for Martinez as Di Santo celebrates the opener (below)

Franco Di Santo

Against all odds: Wigan finish the season in 15th place

Against all odds: Wigan finish the season in 15th place

But Wigan responded with two good
attempts of their own with Shaun Maloney's shot saved by Ikeme after a
through-ball from substitute Albert Crusat, who also drove a shot into
the side-netting having been put through by Di Santo.

Hugo Rodallega, whose contract is up
next month, came on for what was more than likely his farewell
appearance and immediately set up the third. His header down dropped
right into Boyce's path and he smashed a swerving volley into the top
corner from 20 yards.

With six minutes remaining Boyce had a
chance to shoot for his hat-trick but sentimentality – or a defender's
instinct – took over and he squared for Rodallega but the ball was
hacked clear before it reached the Colombia international.

A mistake by Adrian Lopez allowed
Doyle to dispossess him on the edge of the area and when the ball
dropped to substitute Fletcher he knocked in a consolation.

Rodallega almost signed off in
fairytale fashion by hitting the post seconds from the final whistle,
which brought a sea of fans flooding on to the pitch to celebrate
securing an eighth successive season in the top flight.

Portsmouth 1 Derby 2: Rams late charge sends Pompey down with a whimper

Portsmouth 1 Derby 2: Rams late charge sends Pompey down with a whimper

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UPDATED:

16:27 GMT, 21 April 2012

Portsmouth will compete in the third tier of English football for the
first time in 30 years after their spell in the npower Championship came
to a disappointing end against Derby.

Luke Varney cancelled out Jake
Buxton's first-half opener but Steve Davies converted the winning
penalty to deprive Michael Appleton's side of even the smallest
consolation at the end of a torrid campaign.

With Bristol City winning
at home to Barnsley, Portsmouth's fate was sealed anyway, but their
disappointment will have been compounded by their failure to finish
their home campaign on a high.

Take that: Jake Buxton celebrates opening the scoring for Derby

Take that: Jake Buxton celebrates opening the scoring for Derby

The game started scrappily, with both
sides struggling to retain possession and create any sort of momentum.

It was the visitors who were first to threaten, Jamie Ward finding room
to fire off a shot from inside the box but Jason Pearce was on hand to
block it behind for a corner which Ward wasted.

MATCH FACTS

Portsmouth: Ashdown, Ward, Rocha, Pearce, Rekik, Norris, Halford, Allan, Harris (Futacs 60), Kitson, Varney. Subs Not Used: Mokoena, Etuhu, Magri, Webster.

Booked: Kitson, Varney, Pearce.

Goals: Varney 74.

Derby: Fielding (Legzdins 46), Brayford, Shackell, Buxton, Roberts, Ward, Bryson, Hendrick,Tyson (Bennett 79), Steve Davies, Robinson (Hughes 68). Subs Not Used: Bailey, Carroll.

Booked: Steve Davies.

Goals: Buxton 41,Steve Davies 78 pen.

Att: 17,707

Ref: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

The Rams pressed again
and Theo Robinson's strike produced a routine save from Jamie Ashdown.
Pompey's first chance to apply some pressure came to nothing when Greg
Halford fouled Frank Fielding as Scott Allan whipped in a corner.

Allan
then had a go himself with an ambitious 30-yard strike which was
diverted off course by Jeff Hendrick. Frank Fielding was finally called
into meaningful action on the half-hour mark, scrambling across goal to
tip Joel Ward's effort wide.

Derby were soon back on the front foot and
when Ward swung in a delivery from the right, Buxton was unmarked to
head home from close range.

Dave Kitson's frustration was evident and he
was booked for kicking out at the lively Ward on the stroke of
half-time.

Fellow striker Varney mounted a more constructive response to
the setback with a 20-yard shot which Fielding did well to hold onto.

Manager Nigel Clough was forced into a change at the break as the
injured Fielding was replaced by Adam Legzdins, whose last appearance
for Derby came back in September in the 3-0 win over Millwall.

Down and out: Portsmouth's David Norris reacts

Down and out: Portsmouth's David Norris reacts

Legzdins
first task was to keep out Varney's shot from outside the area and he
was equal to the challenge.

The two had a more bruising encounter
moments later as Varney caught the goalkeeper in an attempt to get to a
loose ball, leaving the former Birmingham trainee requiring a bandage on
his head.

With news of the Robins' progress at Ashton Gate filtering
through, the home fans tried manfully to rally their side but Ashley
Harris' long-range drive never looked likely to threaten as it drifted
wide.

Harris limped off soon after with Marko Futacs, scorer of the
winning goal in the dramatic 4-3 victory over Doncaster, coming on to
replace him.

Allan then fizzed a shot against the crossbar following a
powerful run before Portsmouth finally got their reward with 16 minutes
to play.

Futacs slipped in Varney and he coolly slotted past the
substitute goalkeeper as their personal duel continued.

The hosts' joy
was short-lived as four minute later Ward was brought down by Pearce in
the box and despite Davies' spot-kick striking Ashdown's legs it still
found its way in.

Derby held on to win their final away fixture of a
league campaign for the first time in 10 years, but the overwhelming
emotion at Fratton Park was one of dejection as Portsmouth contemplated
life in League One next season less than four years after winning the FA
Cup at Wembley.

Ricky Ponting captains Australia to Sri Lanka defeat

Captain Ponting back with a whimper as Australia are thrashed by Sri Lanka

Ricky Ponting's return to the Australia captaincy ended in a crushing eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka following a rain-affected one-day international in Sydney.

Sri Lanka secured their first win of the Commonwealth Bank Series in emphatic style as they first bowled Australia out for 158 before making light work of a revised chase.

Ponting's opposite number Mahela Jayawardene led the way with 61, from 66 balls, while Kumar Sangakkara became the third Sri Lankan to post 10,000 ODI runs as Sri Lanka got home with a massive 101 balls to spare.

Dejected: Ricky Ponting's Australia suffered a crushing defeat to Sri Lanka

Dejected: Ricky Ponting's Australia suffered a crushing defeat to Sri Lanka

It meant defeat for Ponting who, in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke, took over the captaincy for the first time since standing down after last year's World Cup.

The veteran endured a miserable day, adding just two to a poor series with the bat so far, although he looks set to get a chance at redemption against India on Sunday with Clarke revealing he is still struggling with a hamstring problem.

'I've got a little hamstring strain. It's on the mend. It's probably unlikely I'll be picked for Brisbane, though,' he told Channel Nine.

'I've done a lot of work over the last couple of days and team physio Alex Kountouris would prefer me to rest but I'm not far away at all.'

To further sour Australia's mood it was confirmed upcoming all-rounder Mitch Marsh looks set for a lengthy period on the sidelines after complaining of back pain in the SCG nets.

Sri Lanka were unconcerned by their hosts' travails, though, as they produced a bonus-point success to revive their bid to reach the final of the triangular tournament.

Triumph: Sri Lanka celebrate on their way to victory over Australia

Triumph: Sri Lanka celebrate on their way to victory over Australia

After sharing the wickets in an impressive display in the field, bowling out Australia for 158 with one ball left in a revised 41-over game, their batsmen opted for aggression.

The target was revised to 152 under the Duckworth-Lewis method and was always in hand when Jayawardene and former skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan crashed 74 inside the first 12 overs.

Dilshan thrashed 45 from 41 balls before he was caught at slip off Clint McKay, but Jayawardene made sure he guided his side home with a composed half-century.

Along the way Sangakkara (30) joined him in reaching 10,000 ODI runs, although the left-hander holed out off Brett Lee with just 20 needed.

Soon afterwards Jayawardene reached his 50, off 58 balls, before seeing out the win.
Earlier, Australia relied on David Hussey's battling 58 to give them any hope of victory.

Good game: Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene outshone his counterpart

Good game: Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene outshone his counterpart

Ponting's decision to bat first was immediately undermined as his side crashed to 88 for six before the rain break reduced the match to 41 overs.

Lasith Malinga made the initial breakthrough when he continued David Warner's run of low scores, the opener spooning a simple catch to Farveez Maharoof for 13.

Maharoof was in the thick of the action, claiming the wickets of Ponting, who he outfoxed with a slower ball he could only pat back, and Peter Forrest.

Forrest's stay was blighted also by a terrible mix-up which saw Matthew Wade run out while Mike Hussey edged behind off Angelo Mathews a ball after launching him for six.

Dan Christian was caught lbw by Perera just before the rain delay while Clint McKay and Brett Lee fell quickly after the restart.

Sri Lanka's only blip in the field was in dropping David Hussey twice, Malinga and Mathews the culprits, and while he embarked on a recovery mission of sorts, with 58 from 64 balls, it was not enough.