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The Times Sports - 31 March 2018

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sport
Saturday March 31 2018
One
giant
leap
Joshua
v Parker
Britain hosts showdown
between two undefeated
world heavyweight
champions for first time,
pages 2-3
Tonight, 10.30pm
Sky Sports Box
Office
COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY LAWRENCE LUSTIG / MATCHROOM
Inside Bairstow leads England fightback 4-5
Spurs and Chelsea: the great culture clash 8-9
Ray Wilkins ‘critically ill’ in London hospital 9
2
2G S
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Joshua v Parker
Grounded Joshua
knows that failure
is not an option
Ron Lewis
Boxing
Correspondent
The thin line between success and
failure could be one lucky punch, one
mistimed duck. Anthony Joshua knows
this, which is why he tends to leave the
dreaming about his future to others.
Tonight, at the Principality Stadium
in Cardiff, Joshua faces Joseph Parker
with three of the four widely recognised
world heavyweight titles at stake. That
is significant: no heavyweight in history
has held all four at the same time.
It took Lennox Lewis, who has
become the benchmark for great
British heavyweights, 35 fights and 11
years from his Olympic gold medal to
get to a world-title unification match.
Joshua has done it in 20 fights and six
years. Different eras maybe, but
Joshua’s career is still very much on
fast-forward.
There has already been much hype
about a future meeting between
Joshua, the WBA and IBF champion,
and the American Deontay Wilder,
who holds the WBC title. But Parker,
the WBO champion, must not be taken
lightly. The New Zealander may not
have looked great in his two most
recent fights but he is good enough to
be a threat, dangerous enough to find
out if the whole Joshua legend is built
on sand. Come up short tonight and
everything will come crashing down.
“I feel that everyone is waiting for
you to fail,” Joshua said.
“I used to go in there thinking about
a knockout but if I just think about
performance I will revert back to
training camp — balance, position of
hands, defending and coming back.
“Performance is what wins the fight.
I have to repress the knockout urge, you
have to be mature.”
Among Joshua’s greatest assets are
his thirst for knowledge and an ability
to stay grounded. He remembers where
he came from and is aware of how he
got to where he is today.
Among the promotional and training
shots on his Twitter feed this week, he
posted a picture of himself from seven
years ago, in a hi-vis jacket chopping
wood. Eighteen months before he came
Joshua posted this picture from 2011
of him doing community service
into the nation’s consciousness by
winning Olympic gold in London at
super-heavyweight, this was Joshua
doing community service after
admitting drug possession.
His career could have been over then,
but the man who stood by him is still
in his corner today. Rob McCracken
allowed him back into the Great
Britain squad in his role as performance
director and still trains him today.
“It’s good to look back at the
struggle,” Joshua said. “It shows where
you’ve come from, the journey you are
on. The world is built on opposites, isn’t
it? It’s either success or failure, good or
bad. It’s good to show the comparisons
really. This is where it began and it’s
never too late to start.
“What you see is what you can
achieve. If you don’t know there’s a
Range Rover out there you won’t aspire
to get one. I would just tell that kid to
have a broader mindset and not focus
on the estate or the community that
you know. There’s a whole world out
there, there are people with a lot of
knowledge so it’s about broadening
your horizons.
“Boxing wasn’t that serious back
then. If it was over then I’d just have
thought, ‘It is what it is,’ because I didn’t
understand the importance of it or
where we were heading.
“Kids can feel like there’s nothing out
there for them. I won’t tell people it’s
easy. It’s tough and the way the world is
set up makes it difficult.”
Back then, Joshua considered
himself a big name in his part of
Watford. Now he is a massive name
around the world. McCracken has
watched Joshua improve from raw
novice to unified world champion and
has never seen a dip in his eagerness to
improve.
“He has always got a smile on his
face,” McCracken said. “He comes in
laughing and joking and he leaves
laughing and joking.
“He enjoys training, he wants to
know why he is doing certain things. He
is always looking at different ideas.
We’re always looking at people he is
fighting and other fighters out there.
“With boxers, you go through the
start, the middle and the end. He’s still
somewhere in the middle where he
totally enjoys it and it’s an adventure for
him and exciting for him.
“The middle of your career is the best
bit. You are learning things and
thinking, ‘I’m not bad, I can really be
good at this.’ He is not at the latter end
which is, ‘Oh f*** it, this is a chore.’ And
he’s not at the start where he doesn’t
know if he is any good or not.”
Tonight’s bout marks the first time
that Joshua has faced someone
younger than himself since the semifinal at London 2012. Joshua rightly
starts as a strong favourite with
bookmakers, but Parker presents him
with a series of challenges that he has
not faced in some time. At yesterday’s
weigh-in, Joshua recorded his lightest
reading in more than three years, which
could be a sign that he is expecting to
face a mobile opponent.
Parker, who was also significantly
lighter than in recent fights, needs to be
elusive and must try to stop Joshua
landing his jab. But Joshua’s height and
reach advantage could prove the key to
the fight. While there could be a cagey
opening, at some point Parker must
chance his arm and try to land some big
punches. Joshua can afford to be
patient as he knows that Parker is
unlikely to have much success on the
back foot and he can wear down the
New Zealander to win in around eight
or nine rounds.
If one bit of news excited Joshua this
week, it was that Sugar Ray Leonard
was coming to Cardiff to watch him
box, although even the news that a
boxing hero was coming to see him was
treated with a cold dose of reality.
“That’s sick,” he said. “They’ll be at
Parker’s fights if he beats me.”
British star’s big weakness: ice baths
Ron Lewis
Anthony Joshua never shies away from
hard work, but one thing he can’t stand
is the cold. The biggest torture of
Joshua’s training camp is the ice bath.
No surprise then that he was the chief
suspect when Mark Ellison, his nutritionist, discovered that the temperature controls on the bath had been
altered.
“I set it to 3C, which is as low as it will
go, but I noticed someone had fiddled
with it and put it up to 7C,” Ellison said.
“He hates it. At first he was straight in
and straight out again. He couldn’t last
more than a couple of minutes. I like
him to have five minutes minimum.
“He rang me one night at 10 o’clock
after being in it and asked could he have
a shower because he was ‘f***ing freezing’. I said he had to keep cold and wait
a couple of hours before having a shower. Those are the little things he
wouldn’t have done in the past.”
The ice baths are not the only things
that have changed during this camp —
so has his sleep. It meant getting a new
bed — the same mattress has been
brought to Wales for fight week — and
changing his timetable to train earlier,
having found that he would spend a
long time on his phone after a late training session instead of heading to bed.
“We monitor all aspects of his recovery, including his sleep,” Ellison said.
“That’s significantly improved.”
He was notably lighter at yesterday’s
weigh-in, but Ellison insists that Joshua’s weight is of secondary importance
to his body mass. “Our main challenge
is to get energy into him,” Ellison said.
“The last fight, his weight crept up. The
trappings of success, we’ve a great chef
here and he probably ate too much.”
Anthony
Joshua
Joseph
Parker
28
26
Age
6ft 6in
Height
6ft 4in
17st 4lb
Weight
16st 12lb
82in
Reach
76in
IBF, IBO and WBA Titles WBO heavyweight
heavyweight
Watford, UK Born Auckland, NZ
20
Fights
24
20
Won
24
20
Knock outs
65
18
0
Drawn
0
0
Lost
0
Total rounds
123
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
3
2G S
Sport
GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
ron lewis on five crucial punches for the british fighter
Joshua faces down
Parker at the
weigh-in yesterday
This could be
a nightmare
for favourite
Left jab
“Establish the jab” is
Rob McCracken’s most
regular demand of
Joshua. Everything
Joshua does starts with
the jab: combinations,
one-twos and, most
importantly, it allows
him to use his size to
control range.
Straight right
Joshua’s biggest
weapon. It often follows
quickly after a jab and
can be thrown off front
or back foot. It was the
punch that won his IBF
title as he knocked
down Charles Martin,
left, with it twice.
Hughie Fury, Parker’s
last opponent
Analysis
M
ost people are seeing this as
a straightforward fight for
Anthony Joshua, but Joseph
Parker is not to be underestimated.
It’s a good clash of styles, it will be
exciting, I see this as a genuine 5050 fight.
If you set your feet against Parker,
he has got good power and he has
deceptively fast hands as well, so can
get his shots off quickly. When I was
preparing for Parker, I had been out
of the ring for a long time, but we
concentrated on not staying in front
of him and moving away from the
shots so they lost their power.
I handled his style quite well. My
style was kryptonite to his; he never
really landed anything clean on me.
But Joshua has another style and
things could be different.
Joshua’s biggest asset is the fact
that he can punch. He can knock a
house down. If Parker stands in
front of Joshua, he is going to get
knocked out, so he has to move his
head to avoid the shots. Joshua has
got good boxing ability but I don’t
believe he will have an answer to
movement.
Everyone improves in fights, but
as he showed against Carlos Takam,
Joshua struggled with a moving
target. If Parker uses his ability and
gets his tactics right, he could cause
him a major problem.
If Parker gets caught in front of
Joshua he will be in trouble; if he
can use his movement, it could be a
nightmare for Joshua.
6 Hughie Fury challenges Sam Sexton
for the British heavyweight title on May
12 in Bolton. For tickets see https://
www.eticketing.co.uk/bwfc
Overhand right
Thrown more as a
wound-up single shot,
this punch produced
Joshua’s favourite
knockout when he beat
Raphael Zumbano Love
in round 2 in May 2015
Uppercut
Everyone remembers
the uppercut that led to
the finish against
Wladimir Klitschko, a
sign that he is now
more dangerous up
close and has better
upper body movement
Body shots
Joshua and McCracken
have spent a lot of time
developing him as a
body puncher, a
significant weapon
especially against tall
opponents.
Tall opponents suit me, says Parker
Ron Lewis
tonight’s card
Joseph Parker has begun to enjoy
listening to the plans of Anthony
Joshua. The WBO heavyweight
champion is quietly confident he can
spring an upset in Cardiff tonight.
Parker, 26, says that he has come off
his best training camp in years, helped
by surgery to both elbows last year. It
means he is fitter, faster and will be able
to get his punches off more quickly.
There has already been talk of Joshua
facing Deontay Wilder, the WBC
champion, for the undisputed title this
year, or making an American debut
against Jarrell Miller. Parker, though,
believes the only fight Joshua will be
after by tomorrow morning will be a
contracted rematch with him.
“He says he’s focused on us, so I
believe what he says,” Parker said. “But
for him to be talking to other camps
doesn’t show much respect and doesn’t
really go with what he’s saying.
“Joshua is our only focus. Even
though my team might be looking at
Live on Sky Sports Box Office from
6pm
Joe Cordina (Cardiff) v Hakim Ben
Ali (Belgium)
WBA International lightweight
championship
Josh Kelly (Sunderland) v Carlos
Molina (Mexico)
WBA International welterweight
championship
Anthony Crolla (Manchester) v
Edson Ramirez (Mexico)
Lightweight
Ryan Burnett (Belfast) v Yonfrez
Parejo (Venezuela)
WBA bantamweight championship
Alexander Povetkin (Russia) v David
Price (Liverpool)
WBA Inter-continental
heavyweight & WBO International
heavyweight championship
From 10.30pm
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker
fights in the future or talking about
other fights, no one is talking to me
about it because I don’t want to know.
“The only person I want to know
about is Joshua, the only person Kevin
[Barry, his trainer] wants to know about
is Joshua. Our whole team is focused on
him. They can say what they want; if
they are overlooking us, well it’s a big
mistake.”
Parker looked in good shape at
yesterday’s weigh-in at 16st 12½lb, more
than 8lb lighter than for his previous
bout, against Hughie Fury. He believes
Joshua’s style will suit him.
“I box better against a taller
opponent,” Parker said. “I expect him to
come forward and I expect him to be
active. I think it will go to and forth. I
expect a good solid fight.”
A crowd of 80,000 will mostly be
rooting for Joshua but Parker says he
will not be intimidated. “A lot of people
flew here from New Zealand and
Samoa to show their support and cheer
us on. Hopefully they will be louder
than everyone who is cheering for AJ.”
4
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RK
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Cricket
Bairstow and Wood fight back
Mike Atherton
Chief Cricket
Correspondent
Christchurch
Day one
New Zealand v England
Hagley Oval, Christchurch (first day of five, New
Zealand won toss): England scored 290 for eight
wickets against New Zealand
There is no more bucolic scene for Test
cricket than the Hagley Oval and for
Jonny Bairstow at least the surroundings proved to be inspiring. Three
weeks ago he scored a blistering oneday international hundred on this
ground and yesterday, with England in
a crisis, he ended the day unbeaten and
just short of a fifth hundred in Tests. He
dominated a memorable counterattack
after another dismal performance from
the top order.
It was touch and go whether Bairstow
was going to get to his hundred before
the close, given that he began the final
over of the day needing three runs to do
so. But Neil Wagner, the fast bowler for
whom the stumps are an ornament
rather than a target, was determined to
keep him waiting overnight with an
over of bouncers that Bairstow, in the
main, let fly harmlessly by, apart from
one tennis-bat style swat that failed to
connect.
Maybe there is a link between
Bairstow’s brilliant one-day hundred
and his innings yesterday, for he
appeared to be in form when others
were not. Alastair Cook and Dawid
Malan, for example, have had minimal
batting since the Ashes and are in the
ridiculous situation of being rusty at the
end of one of the longest winters on
record. Both failed again, as did the rest
of England’s top order, before Bairstow
rescued the situation in combination
with Mark Wood, who made an enterprising maiden Test fifty, full of eyecatching strokes that will, I fancy, be
enjoyed just as much in the recounting.
For a long time, it looked as though
those twin architects of the Auckland
debacle, Tim Southee and Trent Boult,
would hurry England to an insignificant first innings again, sharing all eight
wickets ultimately. They bowled an
immaculate and probing length with
the new ball, taking two wickets in the
opening hour, returned after lunch to
take three wickets for one run in nine
balls, before running out of steam.
Quite who was the more satisfied
team, then, at the close is hard to say.
Kane Williamson will feel that the eight
wickets fully justified his decision to
insert England for the second time in
this two-match series, but from two
crisis positions — 94 for five when
Bairstow came to the crease, and 151 for
six when Ben Stokes was dismissed just
after tea — England will feel gratitude
that they are still very much in the
match rather than chasing their tail
again, as they had to in Auckland after
day one when they were skittled for 58.
England made three changes to the
team who lost the first Test, with James
Vince and Wood returning and Jack
Leach becoming England’s 684th Test
cricketer, in place of Moeen Ali, Craig
Overton and Chris Woakes. At the
same time, it strengthened and weakened the batting, with Vince back in the
No 3 berth, but Stuart Broad promoted
two places to No 8, although that may
be a temporary move given how well
Wood played.
A good Test pitch should put captains
in a dilemma at the toss and once again,
with the sun shining, an autumnal feel
to the morning and a decent carpet of
grass in front of them, neither was
certain in his intentions as the coin
Lunch scoreboard, day two
England: First Innings
A N Cook b Boult
2 (7)
Poor footwork costs him his off stump
M D Stoneman c Latham
b Southee 35 (111)
Caught in crease, edge to second slip
J M Vince lbw b Southee
18 (41)
Playing around full-length ball
*J E Root b Southee
37 (63)
Poor shot to ball nipping back off seam
D J Malan lbw b Boult
0 (1)
Stuck in crease, no need for a review
B A Stokes c Watling b Boult
25 (63)
Thin edge to ball going down leg side
†J M Bairstow c Taylor b Boult 101 (170)
Skied an upper-cut to fly slip
S C J Broad c Sodhi b Southee
5 (6)
Poor drive lobs easy catch to mid-off
M A Wood b Southee
52 (62)
Beaten for pace by full, straight ball
M J Leach c Watling b Southee 16 (54)
Edged a ball that held its line
J M Anderson not out
0 (4)
Extras (b 9, lb 5, w 1, nb 1)
16
Total (all out, 96.5 overs)
307
Fall of wickets 1-6, 2-38, 3-93, 4-94,
5-94, 6-151, 7-164, 8-259, 9-307.
Bowling Boult 28.5-5-87-4; Southee
26-7-62-6; De Grandhomme 17-4-44-0;
Wagner 20-5-69-0; Sodhi 5-0-31-0.
New Zealand: First Innings
J A Raval c Bairstow b Anderson 5 (15)
Feathered a full ball that moved away
T W M Latham c Bairstow
b Broad
0 (3)
Dragged forward and nicked off
*K S Williamson not out
18 (41)
L R P L Taylor c Cook b Broad
2 (13)
Flashing drive to first slip
H M Nicholls lbw b Broad
0 (7)
Full ball nipping in towards off stump
†B J Watling not out
7 (23)
Extras
0
Total (4 wkts, 17 overs)
32
C de Grandhomme, T G Southee, I S
Sodhi, N Wagner and T A Boult to bat.
Fall of wickets 1-0, 2-14, 3-17, 4-17.
Bowling Anderson 5-1-9-1; Broad 7-3-183; Wood 4-1-5-0; Leach 1-1-0-0.
Umpires M Erasmus (South Africa) and
B N J Oxenford (Australia).
First Test: Auckland New Zealand beat
England by an innings and 49 runs.
35
Balls it took Wood to
move from 11 to 52
having taken 27 balls
for his first 11 runs
Wood proved a
revelation as he
struck his maiden
Test-match halfcentury
went up. Having inflicted a few scars in
Auckland, Williamson decided to take
his chances again and was rewarded
with the wicket of Cook before spectators had settled themselves on the
grassy banks.
Cook’s vulnerability to the new ball is
becoming a real concern. His past 17
innings in Test matches show a remarkably odd pattern: two massive double
hundreds, one against Australia and
one against West Indies, interspersed
with 15 innings in which he has not
passed 39. Once a byword for consistency, he is finding it increasingly hard
to get through the new ball and there
are not many better combinations to
expose this frailty than Boult and
Southee.
Vince looked more fluent, although
he was never entirely comfortable,
having a review called against him for
leg-before by Southee before he used
one to overturn a bat-pad decision
against Colin de Grandhomme. A fine
straight drive to the boundary preceded
another review, this time unsuccessful,
as he was adjudged leg-before to a nipbacker from Southee that would have
scraped leg stump.
Then came the mini-collapse half an
hour after lunch. Southee no longer
swings the ball as significantly as he
used to, making up for that with canny
alterations, cutting his fingers down the
seam to drift the ball into the righthander.
It was to this variation that Joe Root
succumbed first of all, the ball after
driving sumptuously to the fence. Stifflegged and upright, and thus presenting a gap between bat and pad, Root
had his off stump flattened and before
he had removed his pads in the dressing
room he had been joined by Malan and
Mark Stoneman. The Middlesex batsman was leg-before after missing his
first ball from Boult by a considerable
margin and the opener was caught at
slip to the same variation that
defeated Root.
d
Stokes, watched by his
mother and father from the
m
stands,
and Bairstow began the
s
iinitial recovery, as Williamson
turned
to his supporting cast.
t
Both move more positively into
their
strokes than those who had
t
come before them, and it was a surprise
when Stokes tickled one down
p
the
t leg side shortly after tea. Broad
lofted
tamely to mid-off, and in walkl
ed Wood at No 9 to help change the
day.
What a revelation the Durham man
was, as he drove fiercely through the
off side, pulled with authority to leg
and when the wrist spinner, Ish
Sodhi, was introduced, thrashed
him over the infield. Soon
h
enough, Williamson was forced to
spread the field and, with Bairstow flourishing as the stranglehold was removed, the control
that New Zealand had enjoyed
for so long began to disappear.
A brace of thunderous pull
shots off Wagner took
Bairstow to 50. A
finger-tipped
drop by BJ
f
Watling
was the only
W
chance
he
gave
c
although he, like Root,
had his chops rattled, this
h
ttime when a rare bouncer
ffrom De Grandhomme
snapped the strap and sent his
helmet flying off his head and
h
perilously close to the stumps.
p
Wood was bowled by Southeee with the final delivery before
tthe second new ball became
available, after which Leach
played with pleasing assurance to
p
tthe close, to ensure Bairstow’s endeavours were not wasted.
d
Broad’s early wickets help
Day two
Mike Atherton
With a nudge into the leg side for a
single, a jig of delight and both arms
raised, Jonny Bairstow went through to
an excellent fifth Test hundred on the
second morning, as England were
bowled out for 307 half an hour into
play. Below par maybe, but it represented a fine fightback after the top-order
woes of the first day.
Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson
then took four quick wickets with the
new ball, including that of Ross Taylor,
New Zealand’s second-best batsman, to
confirm England’s advantage. Broad
picked up three in one of his more
incisive opening spells of recent times,
bowling quickly and challenging the
batsmen with an attacking, full length.
Broad had been threatened before
the start of this series with demotion
from new-ball duties and he responded
to that by being England’s best seamer
in Auckland. He continued that
improvement here, by dismissing Tom
Latham, caught behind, Taylor caught
at slip and the century-maker in Auckland, Henry Nicholls, leg-before.
England would not have been in this
position without Bairstow, who has a
far superior record as a wicketkeeperbatsman, rather than as a batsman
alone, as he enjoys the dual responsibility, as well as the freedom that batting
with the tail allows. He was the last man
to be dismissed as he looked to carve
Trent Boult over the off side, only to
upper-cut the ball to an expertly placed
fly slip.
Earlier, Jack Leach became Tim
Southee’s sixth wicket of the innings,
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
3G S
5
RK
Sport
to avert another crisis
KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES
1
164
Bairstow’s century
came off 164 balls. He
hit 11 fours and a six on
the way to his fifth
Test hundred
Langer the
frontrunner
to succeed
Lehmann
Elizabeth Ammon
Justin Langer is favourite to be appointed Australia’s head coach after the
resignation of Darren Lehmann in the
wake of the ball-tampering scandal.
The 47-year-old had been widely
tipped to take over from Lehmann after
the 2019 Ashes series, when it was
expected he would step down.
Lehmann announced on Thursday
that he would leave his post after the
final Test of the series against South
Africa, which is due to finish on
Tuesday.
Australia’s new-look team — without
the three suspended players, Steve
Smith and David Warner, the former
captain and vice-captain respectively,
and Cameron Bancroft — produced a
late rally on the opening day in Johannesburg yesterday, leaving South
Africa 313 for six after an impressive 152
from Aiden Markram, the opener.
Langer, who played 105 Tests for Australia between 1993 and 2007, has been
the head coach of Western Australia
since 2012 and has led them to two
Sheffield Shield runners-up finishes.
He has also had success in the Big Bash
League as coach of Perth Scorchers,
winning the title on three occasions.
He has already been part of the
Australian coaching set-up, standing in
for Lehmann during some recent
limited-overs tours.
However, Cricket Australia (CA) will
take their time before announcing
Lehmann’s replacement. After the
Johannesburg Test, Australia have no
inside today
‘To watch Smith in tears felt
voyeuristic and predatory’
Gideon Haigh, page 6
‘We have fostered a culture
of winning at all costs’
World, main paper, page 46
Bairstow celebrates after
reaching his century early
on the second day in
Christchurch. He was out
soon afterwards for 101
England to turn tables on New Zealand
Broad celebrates the wicket of Latham — one of three he took in the first session
when he edged to the wicketkeeper,
after an assured first contribution in
England colours, ending a valuable
ninth-wicket partnership of 48. So for
the second time in consecutive matches, New Zealand’s opening pair shared
all ten wickets in England’s first innings,
the roles reversed on this occasion, with
Boult playing second fiddle to Southee.
They had thrown down the gauntlet
again to England’s new-ball pair on
another clear, but crisp morning. When
Anderson went past Jeet Raval’s outside
edge six times in the first two overs, it
confirmed the suspicion that the mornings could be the best time to bowl.
It was no surprise when Anderson
dismissed Raval soon afterwards and
only a hair’s breadth prevented Kane
Williamson from following soon afterwards as he survived a leg-before
review from Anderson.
Wake up
to Wilde
This morning: read
the report on the
second day’s play in
Christchurch from
Simon Wilde of the
Sunday Times
Available at thetimes.co.uk/
sport and on The Times
smartphone app
international cricket until they play five
ODIs and one Twenty20 match in
England in June, and they will want the
dust to settle after the ball-tampering
scandal.
A potential obstacle to Langer’s
appointment appears if CA’s review of
team culture finds that his approach is
too similar to Lehmann’s, or if it is
decided that a complete break from
anyone presently or recently involved
in the Australian coaching set-up is
necessary.
Ricky Ponting is likely to be offered a
role as an assistant coach. CA has been
trying to get the former captain more
involved in coaching the national side,
but he is concerned about the amount
of travel and being away from his
family. It is possible that they will come
to some arrangement with him to be an
assistant coach, without having to take
part in every overseas tour.
Joe Burns, Peter Handscomb and
Matt Renshaw came into the side
yesterday with Tim Paine starting his
first full match as captain.
South Africa, who lead 2-1 as they
aim to secure a first home series victory
over Australia since 1970, made an
impressive start after winning the toss
and electing to bat on a slow pitch.
Australia, though, fought back with
late wickets, including those of the
captain Faf du Plessis for a golden duck
and AB de Villiers for a battling 69, to
earn a much-needed boost in
confidence.
6
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Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Cricket
Love of the game will rise above anger
AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Gideon Haigh says
cricket’s devoted
community will
help it to make a
full recovery
A week ago, I was in Nyora, in
Gippsland, a town of around 1,500
people that puts on to the field two
senior cricket sides and one junior
team at a picturesque oval.
Nyora CC have battled back from
the brink a few years back, led by a
coach who is an old mate of mine. I
was a guest at their presentation
night, and had, as I seldom fail to at
such gatherings, a great time, with
solid cricket people. There was, as
they say, a lot of love in that room.
Afterwards, the coach and I
adjourned to his couch for some
cricket watching . . . and suddenly
turned to each other, eyes on stalks.
What. Just. Happened?
Actually what had happened was
pretty obvious, which paradoxically
was what made it difficult to take in.
Ball tampering has usually been
evidenced by blurry photographs of
furtive fingers worrying at balls and
seams, not crystal clear live footage
amenable to super slo-mo.
In the statute book, at least,
tampering has remained a relative
trifle, certainly compared with matchfixing and doping. But here the
misdemeanour was magnified by its
being so vivid, so avid, so downright
clumsy.
My phone began to ping, and has
not stopped, in a week of outrage
unexampled in my sports-writing
experience, to which my colleagues
and I have contributed our share, but
rather a lot of which emerged
organically.
Certainly I have never received
such a volume of correspondence
where opinion has run so strongly
one way. There is a degree of selfselection to this: those motivated to
write will be drawn disproportionately
from the disaffected.
But I was struck by the uniformly
pained and long-suffering tone of
these communications. This was, for
many, in the nature of a last straw,
after a protracted estrangement from
South Africa fans mock the Australia players during the first day of the fourth Test between the teams in Johannesburg
a team they’d lost faith in. At the
same time, people don’t write or
sound off about what they don’t care
about, and in this respect they had
perhaps more in common with the
objects of their ire than they knew.
The players and the coach in their
mea culpas all used the word “love”
when they talked about their
relationship with cricket. I don’t think
that’s a coincidence; nor is it
invention or hyperbole.
I’m aware of the passion
engendered by other games, but I’m
prepared here to make a claim for the
uniqueness of the love of cricket. One
simply does not love tennis or golf or
even football the same way, even
though they all matter equally — a
lot and hardly at all.
There’s the love of cricket’s
complexity, the fascination exerted by
the intricacy, variety and subtlety of
its skills. There’s the love of its
romance, of the elaborateness of its
rituals, of its ineffability and
mysteriousness to outsiders, of its
heritage and continuity in the
national story.
There’s the love of its difficulty —
the perverse affection that arises from
it being so challenging and
frustrating, for offering even the
poorest practitioner a glimpse of the
possible, for leaving at times even the
greatest so helpless.
There is also the love of its spirit.
Sometimes this is travestied as an
appeal for gentility — effete, Pommy
nonsense, all garden parties and
cucumber sandwiches.
This is a misunderstanding. The
spirit expresses a grasp of the need, as
cricket is constituted and regulated,
for restraint and mutual respect. As
the Indian sociologist Ashis Nandy
has noted, cricket is “almost unique in
providing ample scope for unjust play
as well as having strong taboos
against such play”. Participants are
quietly but bindingly committed to
doing the right thing, by each other
and by the game.
It takes only one player to disrupt
and ruin a cricket match. Two or
three, as we have seen, and the game
has no chance. In that sense, cricket
will always be in danger of plunging
into chaos; it is a source of constant
wonder to me that it does not do so
more often.
This is actually a very different
“love” to the kind that Cricket
Australia has been selling these past
few years, which has been an attempt,
through the Big Bash League, to
introduce to cricket a version of the
tribalism of football. It is accessible, it
is fun, it is lucrative but it relates to
love about as deeply as Bachelor in
Paradise.
It is also a different kind of love to
that expressed towards the game this
week by cynical and exploitative
politicians — the prime minister of
Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, cocking
his tin popular ear to this story may
have been just about its low point —
and the craven, self-serving sponsors
who quickly made for the hills.
Commonwealth Bank cutting Steve
Smith — now there’s a laugh, because
it could just as easily have been the
other way round. For all that he has
erred, Smith can tell right from
wrong; Commonwealth Bank has
spent years wringing profits from
serial violations of the law and
common decency. Perhaps this is not
the time to pick and choose, but
cricket has gone too long helping the
Commonwealth Bank launder its
filthy reputation.
While I listened sympathetically to
the plaints of others, I outraged out
quickly on this story. Professionally, I
was obliged to feed the beast of
opinion; personally, I’d just as soon
have turned away, from the spiralling
indignation, and the squalid business
of public shaming. To watch Smith in
tears and Cameron Bancroft in
anguish felt voyeuristic, predatory.
The desire to isolate, concentrate
and punish the guilty was in part
about the absolution of others who
turned a blind eye to a worsening
culture and reputation. It’s not David
Warner’s fault alone that we have a
team so widely disliked; there have
been others perfectly comfortable
with this because they thought it
worked in our favour. It’s not
Bancroft’s fault alone that he did
what was asked; it’s what the culture
encouraged him to do, even
celebrated him for.
But it’s self-indulgent in these
circumstances to give way to anger
and dismay, not if you truly love the
game. Sadly, perhaps, cricket’s not
always going to make you happy.
Sometimes it will disappoint and
depress you: it’s as straight only as the
crooked bat willow of humanity.
But love finds a way to rise above
that, and there’s lots of it out there. I
can recommend a visit to Nyora,
Steve. You’d get a real kick out of it.
6 Gideon Haigh is a columnist for The
Australian
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
7
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Football Sport
PETER CZIBORRA/REUTERS
West Ham’s
reputation at
stake on and
off the field
Matt Hughes
Deputy Football Correspondent
It says much about West Ham United’s
plight that the behaviour of the club’s
fans is being deemed equally as important as the performance of the players
against Southampton this afternoon.
Compared with their hosts at the
London Stadium, a visiting team managed by Mark Hughes in the Premier
League for the first time, who have
slipped into the relegation zone following a dismal run of one win in 17 matches, have little to worry about.
A West Ham win would take David
Moyes’s side five points above thirdbottom Southampton, representing a
huge step forward in the battle to avoid
relegation, yet such are the club’s myriad off-field problems that the eyes of
many in the recently reinforced directors’ box will be fixed on other areas of
the stands rather than on the pitch.
The FA’s investigation into the pitch
invasions and protests that marred the
3-0 defeat by Burnley earlier this
month continues, and there is a real
fear at West Ham that any repeat of
those scenes will lead to them being
forced to play home games behind
closed doors, potentially for the rest of
the season.
The prospect of West Ham being
forced to entertain Stoke City,
Manchester United, Manchester City
and Everton in an empty stadium
would significantly hinder their chances of staying in the Premier League,
particularly as their remaining away
fixtures look fiendishly difficult,
including London derbies away to
Chelsea and Arsenal and a trip to
Leicester City.
The FA has permitted West
Ham to maintain the stadium’s
57,000 capacity this afternoon, but are expected to
issue a fine once their investigation into the Burnley game
is concluded. The club have
been busy since that toxic afternoon three weeks ago, issuing 20
lifetime bans to supporters,
installing a protective barrier
around the directors’ box and
Hughes will take charge of
Southampton in the league
for the first time this afternoon
holding talks with the stadium’s Safety
Advisory Group that have resulted in a
significant increase in the numbers of
stewards and police on duty today.
In addition Karren Brady, the vicechairman, met the mayor of London,
Sadiq Khan, this week, although fans
immediately questioned how one 45minute meeting could solve the
problems between West Ham and the
London Legacy Development Corporation, the stadium owners who are
engaged in a bitter legal battle, as The
Times reported last week.
West Ham have also been attempting
to ease tensions with their fans, with
Moyes, Mark Noble and Sir Trevor
Brooking all appealing for calm this
week, although the impact of such messages remains to be seen. Despite the
calls for unity, the Real West Ham Fans
Action Group have organised a protest
to be held outside Stratford station
today, and it would not be a surprise if
this atmosphere of dissension permeated the stadium.
The fact that crowdfunding pages
have been set up to help the five fans
who are facing fines following criminal
charges also demonstrates that the
miscreants have support within the
wider fanbase.
While he will not say so publicly
Moyes is convinced that the pitch invasions cost West Ham points against
Burnley, as his side had been dominant
before Ashley Barnes gave the visitors a
surprise lead.
Then again, the manager
has enough problems in his
own department to keep him
occupied without spending
too long worrying about fan
behaviour. Having initially stabilised the
side after replacing
Slaven Bilic in
November West
Ham’s form has
slumped since a
three-game run
in which they
took seven points
from
Chelsea,
Arsenal and Stoke at
the start of December.
Injuries to Manuel Lanzini, Andy
Carroll, Winston
Noble shoves a pitch invader during the 3-0 defeat by Burnley, a game in which West Ham fans targeted the directors’ box
Reid and Pedro Obiang — and the six- said to have tightened bonds and boostmatch ban given to Arthur Masuaku for ed morale.
With three weeks without a game
spitting at Wigan Athletic’s Nick Powell in the FA Cup — have not helped Moyes took the opportunity to vary
what can be a rigid training
matters, but there are also concerns
regime, and their five days in
inside the club about elements of
Florida began with a run on
Moyes’s approach to matches.
the Miami beach boardThe Scot’s perseverance
walk and attending a
with a 3-4-3 formation has
spinning class at SoulCybeen privately questioned
Years since
by some of the players, Southampton completed cle on South Beach,
before three days of
who have also expressed
a league double over
more orthodox and
slight irritation at his habit
West Ham
tough training sessions.
of naming his team late,
The players were also
with some suspecting that he
given considerable downchanges his mind at the last
time and freedom, with
minute.
several going fishing and
Goalkeepers Joe Hart
League games in a
and Adrián, for example, row West Ham have lost playing golf in addition
had not been told who by three or more goals. to having a Chinese meal
Hakkasan,
with
would start against South- No top-flight side have at
Moyes expressing happiampton before their final
lost four by such a
ness afterwards that his
training session yesterday
margin since Forest
trust was not abused as they
with Moyes keeping his cards
in 1968
behaved themselves. As a
very close to his chest.
result the paparazzi who trailed
The January sale of André Ayew
to relegation rivals Swansea City has al- the players’ every move on their trips to
so been questioned by some of his the beach were left disappointed.
Hughes is also said to have lifted spirformer team-mates at a club short of
goals, although that was not entirely its since arriving at Southampton a
fortnight ago, instituting a back-tothe manager’s decision.
Moyes retains the support of players basics approach that has gone down
who had lost faith in Bilic long before well with the squad. While his predehis autumn dismissal — the Croat has cessor Mauricio Pellegrino was personsince said privately that he should have able and popular, the Argentinian
left last summer — and the club’s train- struggled to get his message and tactiing camp in Miami earlier this month is cal instructions across to a core of
20
3
players who are British or who have
spent the last few years playing in this
country.
Pellegrino’s obsession with possession at all costs jarred with the instinct
of many to attack at a club who have
become used to playing on the front
foot since they were promoted from
League One seven years ago, and by
November there were increasing signs
that he had lost the dressing room.
In common with most Premier
League clubs West Ham and
Southampton have acted to mitigate
the financial cost of relegation by
inserting clauses into most of their
players’ contracts, stipulating a mandatory pay cut if they find themselves in
the Championship, an outcome that
would see Moyes and Hughes lose their
jobs. It is indicative of short-termism
inherent at many clubs that both men
were only given contracts until the end
of the season, which may not be
extended even if they succeed in their
task of staying up.
With an unpopular stadium to fill,
West Ham have more to lose from relegation, particularly as their recently
published accounts revealed that even
in the Premier League it is only generating annual revenue of £8.7 million.
With more at stake than three points
this afternoon it is a wonder that West
Ham’s key triumvirate of Brady, David
Sullivan and David Gold want to watch
the action, on the pitch or otherwise.
Moyes: more crowd trouble could deter players from joining
James Gheerbrant
David Moyes has spoken to his squad
about how to deal with a recurrence of
the crowd trouble in the 3-0 defeat to
Burnley and warned that a repeat of
such scenes could put players off from
joining West Ham United.
Security has been increased for
today’s game against Southampton
after fans invaded the pitch and massed
in front of the directors’ box at the previous home game at the London
Stadium. “I want this club to appeal to
good international players,” the manager said. “I want them to say, ‘I want to
join West Ham.’ I don’t think what
happened against Burnley is going to
make those players want to join us.
“I can show you the stats that said as
soon as the pitch invasions started the
players dropped off physically, massively. So we’ve said to the players if
anything like this happens again, we
have to rally round each other because
it looked like we just went to pieces.”
Mark Noble, the club captain, took it
upon himself to tackle a pitch invader
during the chaotic scenes earlier this
month and Moyes questioned the
response of stewards.
“Do you know what I think the bigger
thing was?” he said. “I think the guy was
on the pitch that long. Nobody took
him off. Who was going to do it?
“We were waiting on somebody running on and wrestling him. Mark was
probably feeling the same as us: we are
waiting too long here, why is nothing
happening? The players have to be
protected from these situations.”
Moyes says he does not fully understand the reasons for the widespread
discontent among West Ham fans. “I’m
a bit unsure what the problems are,” he
said. “I’m a football supporter so I
understand a little bit that I would like
to be right on the pitchside watching.
“But [it’s a] fantastic new stadium and
we’re only in it a year or two. So we’re
going to have to grow into it.”
Asked if he wanted to stay past the
end of the season, Moyes, who signed a
short-term contract in November, said:
“Yeah I do, but I want a club I can move
forward and I want a club which gives
us every opportunity to do that.
“I would want to know why [there is
a divide between fans and the board].
You want to be at a club where you can
say, ‘We can make this better,’ and I
think when there are bits of it not working right, then it can break down. And
for some reason, lots of the supporters
don’t think it’s working.”
8
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Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Football
Oliver Kay
Chief Football Correspondent
Tottenham must
offer players more
than new stadium
F
or a time, it was a standing joke among
Tottenham Hotspur fans. At the start of
last season, it seemed barely a day went
by without another of their heroes
signing a new contract. One after
another, they were photographed alongside a
suited Mauricio Pochettino, all smiles as the
players put pen to paper. “I love this club,” Kyle
Walker said. “I’m over the moon that I’ll stay
here until I’m an old man,” said Danny Rose.
Between July 2014 and December 2016, the
new deals just kept on coming: one for each of
Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembélé and
Christian Eriksen, two apiece for Rose and
Hugo Lloris, three for Eric Dier, Harry Kane,
Dele Alli and Harry Winks — bigger contracts,
longer contracts, win-win for player and club.
Since then, though, Pochettino has not had
much cause to wear his suit. There have been
new deals for Winks, Ben Davies, Kieran
Trippier and some of the club’s most promising
younger players, such as Marcus Edwards, Kyle
Walker-Peters and Josh Onomah, but not for
the team’s real stars.
Walker has left for Manchester City, Rose is
halfway out of the door and talks with Toby
Alderweireld and Dembélé are at an impasse.
All has gone disconcertingly quiet on Alli and
Kane. Tottenham’s supporters might prefer to
make light of this, reassured that Lloris, Alli and
Kane are under contract until 2022, that
Dembélé is 30 and that the team have coped
extremely well without Alderweireld and Rose
for much of this season, but it is a serious and
growing concern. Yes, the bigger picture is about
their development under Pochettino and, of
course, the construction of a new 62,000capacity stadium that will be the envy of many,
but it would be naive to make light of the
challenge that lies ahead.
Put simply, that challenge is to remain
prudent and competitive in an era of excess. To
put that into context, when Tottenham line up
at Stamford Bridge tomorrow afternoon, the
vast majority of their players will be on
contracts far, far smaller than those of their
Chelsea counterparts. It means Vertonghen
earning less than Antonio Rüdiger. It means
Eriksen and Alli earning less than Danny
Drinkwater and Ross Barkley. It means Kane
earning significantly less than Álvaro Morata
and Olivier Giroud — and this at a time of
comparative restraint at Chelsea, who baulked
upon hearing of the wages offered by
Manchester City for Walker, by Manchester
United for Romelu Lukaku and by Liverpool for
Virgil van Dijk.
As Tottenham’s highest earner, Kane has a
contract worth £120,000 a week plus bonuses.
Lloris is on a similar deal. Rose, who made his
displeasure public last August, is on £65,000 a
week. There is an obvious temptation to point
out that these players do not know how
lucky they are, being paid fortunes to live
out their childhood fantasies, kicking a
ball around in front of an adoring
crowd, but the reality is that there are
dozens of Premier League players
earning six-figure sums every week.
There are players at Crystal Palace,
Leicester City, Watford and West
Bromwich Albion who earn more than Dier and
Rose. Kane’s earnings are similar to those of
Theo Walcott at Everton or Daniel Sturridge at
Liverpool — less than half of the sum earned by
Alexis Sánchez at Manchester United.
The former England midfielder Kieron Dyer
mentioned recently a conversation with a
Tottenham player, “a full international, regular
for his country and for his team” who told him
he was earning less than Dyer was at Newcastle
United in 2002.
Tottenham are not the bad guys here. We
should be lauding Pochettino and the chairman
Daniel Levy for building a team who are on
course for a third consecutive top-four finish
and have attained a sense of belonging at
Champions League level — with a wage bill
which, though significantly increased from the
£100 million reported in their most recent
financial accounts (for the 2015-16 campaign),
remains far closer to West Ham’s (£105 million,
their vice-chairman Karren Brady said last
week) than to that at Arsenal (£199 million last
season), let alone Chelsea (£222 million last
season), Manchester City (£244 million last
season) or Manchester United (£263 million last
season). Points per pound Tottenham put most
of their rivals to shame.
Admiration, though, comes with a
serious warning about what lies
ahead. For that two-year period of
what seemed like endless
contract renewals, Levy and
Tottenham were way ahead of
the curve, proactive in rewarding
excellent form with wage rises —
an extra £10,000 a week here, an
Tottenham’s talks
with Alderweireld
over a new deal are
at an impasse as
they continue to find
it tough to convince
players to commit to
the club at a time
when their chief
rivals in the Premier
League are prepared
to pay considerably
higher wages
extra £20,000 a week there — that were
gratefully accepted by players and agents alike.
As wages across the Premier League have
soared, though, so too have numerous
Tottenham players’ (and their agents’) sense of
their market value. The club’s financial scope
has increased too, with regular Champions
League qualification and the promise of far
greater matchday revenue at the new stadium,
but, even if the purse strings are loosened
considerably, it will still be hard for Tottenham
to offer the type of wages Kane, in particular,
could command elsewhere.
This is where talk of loyalty comes in. Kane
seems just the sort to put happiness before
money, but nobody should be blind to the reality
of what governs the vast majority of career
choices in football. Winning trophies? Playing in
the Champions League? It is not easy to
convince yourself of that when you consider
how many of the Premier League’s biggest
deals in recent years (Carlos Tévez, David
Silva and Yaya Touré to Manchester City,
Ángel Di María, Paul Pogba and Zlatan
Ibrahimovic to Manchester United,
N’Golo Kanté to Chelsea, Luis Suárez to
Liverpool, Henrikh Mkhitaryan to
United and Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick
Aubameyang to Arsenal, and even Mesut
Özil’s
contract extension) have not involved
Ö
the lure of Champions League football.
Pochettino and Levy will appeal to their
players’ loyalty, their desire to be part of
something special as a brighter future unfolds at
the new stadium, but in the real world it does
not seem quite as easy as that. They could win
the FA Cup — and, being candid, it would be
lovely, from a neutral perspective, to see their
progress rewarded. Even then, though, it still
will not be easy to convince themselves that
they are in the best possible place to progress
their careers when, for example, Walker has
gone from strength to strength since leaving.
Walker told The Times earlier this season that
“sometimes I feel like crying” when he considers
what he left behind at Tottenham, but his move
to City has worked out extremely happily for
him. It is far from the cautionary grass-isn’tgreener tale that some at Tottenham might have
hoped.
As for Alderweireld and Dembélé, they and
Vertonghen spent most of the past fortnight in
the Belgium squad alongside not only Kevin
De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Lukaku, whose
contracts befit their status among the most
coveted, most marketable stars of the
Premier League, but also Axel Witsel and
Yannick Carrasco, who have become two of
the best-paid players in world football since
moving to the Chinese Super League.
Witsel is reported to be earning more
than £300,000 a week and freely admits
that his choice was made “especially
with money in mind”.
Money makes the football world go
round. It always has, to some extent, but
the sums offered by the very richest
clubs these days tend to prove more
alluring than ever. That is the reality of
football in 2018. What Tottenham have
done, in a challenging financial climate, has
been difficult. Even with the new stadium, it is
unlikely to get a great deal easier.
Sterling has to stay here, says Guardiola Sturridge still out injured
Paul Hirst
Pep Guardiola hopes Manchester City
swiftly conclude contract talks with
Raheem Sterling after admitting that
other clubs may try to tempt the
forward away this summer.
Kevin De Bruyne, Nicolás Otamendi, David Silva and Fernandinho
have all signed long-term contracts this
season. City officials are yet to begin
talks with Sterling, who has two years
left on his deal, even though the
England international has been key to
the team’s success, scoring 20 goals.
“In terms of contracts, I’m not the
guy, it’s [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain] who’s talking about that, but
there are no doubts [we want to keep
him],” Guardiola, the City manager,
said of Sterling, who is on Real Madrid’s
radar, according to reports in Spain.
“It’s important he stays. But you
know the deals are the deals. The
agents and many circumstances, maybe other clubs are interested in him.
Anything can happen but he knows
how important he is to us.”
If City beat Everton today, they could
clinch the title in record-breaking time
by beating Manchester United at the
Etihad Stadium next Saturday. The
derby is sandwiched between two
Champions League quarter-final ties
against Liverpool, but Guardiola will
not rest players today. Sergio Agüero is
set to miss the Goodison Park game in
a bid to be fit for Wednesday’s first leg at
Anfield.
Steve Madeley
Alan Pardew has defended West
Bromwich Albion’s expensive loan deal
for Daniel Sturridge after the news that
the injury-plagued Liverpool forward is
ruled out for at least two more matches.
West Brom will pay almost £4 million
in wages and a loan fee for the player
who has only managed 78 minutes for
the Premier League’s bottom club since
joining in January.
Sturridge will miss today’s meeting
with Burnley at the Hawthorns and is a
major doubt for the visit of Swansea
City next Saturday.
He has started only twice, limping off
after three minutes against Chelsea on
February 12. Pardew said: “One of the
strikers that we were very interested in,
which was a buy, hasn’t played either.
It’s that kind of window when you’re
taking gambles.
“Unfortunately for Daniel a hamstring is a serious injury. We can’t accelerate that process. It is what it is.”
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
3G S
9
RK
Sport
Trophies matter, Conte tells Spurs
Pochettino’s approach is
admirable, but Chelsea
manager says silverware
is real gauge of success,
writes Alyson Rudd
The present paradox in English football
is the reverence afforded to Tottenham
Hotspur under the guidance of
Mauricio Pochettino. It is no exaggeration to state that when Chelsea host
Spurs tomorrow the backdrop will be
painted in terms of the creaking old
guard facing the shiny future
comprising talent nurtured by a
paternalistic genius. Chelsea provoke
cynicism, Spurs spark smiles.
And yet. Chelsea keep winning
trophies, keep trumping Tottenham.
There will be no asterisk next to
Pochettino’s name when the list of
successful managers pre-2018 are
pored over in years to come, though if
there was it would state merely “came
stylishly close”.
Spurs currently represent values that
are warm and comforting. They are run
sensibly with no silly salaries, they plan
ahead, there is a sizeable English core
and should Gareth Southgate’s team
perform well in Russia it will be in large
part thanks to the progress made by
Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane
under Pochettino. Spurs can be relied
upon for attractive football too. They
sizzled twice against the galacticos of
Real Madid this season and in Son
Heung-min and Christian Eriksen have
players with a sunny and compelling
creativity.
Their manager bristles at the notion
that all these factors are but loose ends
without silverware. He is concerned
only with progress and the bigger
picture of a new stadium that needs to
host Champions League games for its
construction to make sense. He is
looking towards the horizon while
successive Chelsea managers in the
Roman Abramovich era have been
gazing at the nearest all-weather pitch.
It is the latter outlook that has reaped
tangible success.
Since Pochettino took over at White
Hart Lane in May 2014, Chelsea have
won the Premier League title twice
with different managers.
Abramovich keeps his managers on
their toes. They are not the ones who
dictate the club’s direction, they are employed to succeed in the short term. It is
not a likeable model but it works. The
problem with the Spurs framework is
that should Pochettino leave, all that
presently glistens could turn foggy.
Players happy to remain on a relatively
DARREN WALSH/GETTY IMAGES
the biggest bogey teams
Chelsea v
Tottenham
Longest run since winning away in
top flight to a specific club (present
top-flight clubs only)
Stoke...................54 games at Liverpool
Most recent win: never won
Tottenham..........27 games at Chelsea
Feb 1990
Everton.................23 games at Chelsea
Nov 1994
Everton..................22 games at Arsenal
Jan 1996
Southampton.....22 games at Arsenal
Nov 1987
Newcastle........22 games at Liverpool
Apr 1994
Tomorrow
4pm
Sky Sports Premier
League
Spurs have not won at Stamford Bridge
since Gary Lineker scored in 1990
Drinkwater, left,
and Hazard
prepare for
tomorrow’s
London derby
modest wage because of loyalty to their
manager could be lured away and finding a replacement with Pochettino’s
charisma and patience would be tricky.
Indeed, Antonio Conte, who defines
his success in terms of trophies won
rather than scalps along the way, says
that Pochettino would need to move
abroad if he wanted the guarantee of
silverware.
“I think that every manager wants to
win a trophy,” the Chelsea head coach
said. “I must be honest, if you want to
win trophies, maybe for important
managers, it’s easier to go to another
country. In England, if you stay here,
never, never will it be easy to win
trophies.”
Four years ago, Conte, then the Italy
head coach, visited Pochettino at Spurs’
training ground. He was impressed
then and is impressed now. Conte feels
that Spurs have the head start over
Chelsea in terms of giving fans a new
stadium and promoting homegrown
talent. “I am talking about my period,
my era,” Conte says. “For sure, now,
they are ahead of us. But, despite this,
last season we were able to win the title
and reach the final of the FA Cup.”
There is a shift in emphasis at the
west London club. Abramovich’s
wealth is not as influential and he is
seemingly keen to see the club’s
successful youth players better integrated into the senior squad.
There is nothing to suggest, however,
that he would accept four years without
silverware while he watches the
building of their new 60,000 capacity
stadium and the nurturing of young
talent.
Which brings us to tomorrow’s fixture, one that Spurs have not won since
1990 but need to in order to stave off a
late challenge from Chelsea for the
fourth Champions League place.
It might not come down to a straight
battle between the two clubs for a topfour finish, especially with third-placed
Liverpool potentially distracted by this
season’s Champions League, but it feels
like the start of a special sort of tussle,
one that could be as significant as the
winning of a first trophy for Pochettino.
It was at Stamford Bridge two years
ago that his team let slip a two-goal
lead, let slip their self-discipline and let
Leicester City win the title. It was a
performance that underlined the brittleness of their resolve and made it
clear that the former Southampton
manager had much work to do in
forging the relentless camaraderie and
pragmatism that winning teams need
to possess.
It is because of the climate of concern
over ticket pricing and fan alienation,
with the rich clubs soaking up the talent
and the points, that Pochettino, rather
than ridiculed for missing a near open
goal in 2015-16, is still afforded guru status. He has the knack of turning defeats
into signs of below-the-surface success.
While Chelsea managers are not
permitted to feel pride beyond the
immediate ticker tape and fireworks of
silverware lest it breed a whiff of stagnation, Pochettino can construct his
own narrative. The surprising part is
that we are being allowed to watch it
unfold. He is the only big club manager
who has won nothing who nonetheless
has an arrow next to his name, Netflix
style, pointing to the next episode.
“Every important manager wants to
finish the season with a trophy,” Conte
says. “This is the truth.”
If an important manager is feted
while not winning one, though, does
that create a negative force field around
a team itself unused to success at the
final hurdle? Chelsea and Spurs could
yet meet in the FA Cup final, where a
win for the North London club would
not, according to Pochettino, prove a
thing — but it would serve to dilute the
derby paradox.
Mourinho: onus on Pogba to improve Wilkins has ‘heart attack’
Paul Hirst
José Mourinho feels that he has done all
he can to get the best out of Paul Pogba.
The £89 million midfielder’s domestic form is concerning the United
manager, who admitted last month that
the Frenchman had “not been playing
well in the last few matches”.
Pogba has started just two of the
club’s past seven games but registered a
goal and an assist for France in the 3-1
win away to Russia on Tuesday.
Mourinho bristled at the suggestion
that Pogba’s poor displays for United
are a consequence of a hamstring
injury that kept him out for two
months. “[His poor form] has nothing
to do with his injury. His recovery was
good,” Mourinho said. “I think he
[physically] is very fine after the injury.”
It is understood that the Portuguese
has taken a dim view of Pogba’s
application in training, especially since
the turn of the year. The Frenchman
lacks focus at times, according to some
Carrington figures.
Mourinho made it clear yesterday
that the onus was on the 25-year-old to
start showing the kind of form that he
exhibited in the final stages of last
season, when he was key to the team’s
Europa League success. Pogba’s first
opportunity to impress could come this
afternoon, when Swansea City visit Old
Trafford in the Premier League.
Luke Shaw, the unsettled left back,
has been named in the match-day
squad as cover for Ashley Young, who
suffered a knee injury during England’s
1-1 draw with Italy on Tuesday.
Mourinho is willing to let Shaw, who
has grown tired of being publicly
barracked by his manager, leave in the
summer if the player has had enough of
life under him. When asked whether he
thought Shaw would be at the club next
season, Mourinho said: “I think so. But
I always say the door is open for everyone so no problem for him but I think
[he will be here]. He’s selected. He’s in
the 18.”
He said that he replaced Shaw with
Young in United’s win against Brighton
& Hove Albion because the latter
offered more “class and desire”.
“I am the coach. I make the changes
I want to do,” he said. “If I want to
change the player in minute five, I
change the player in minute five. The
moment when a new rule comes into
football that forbids managers to do
that, I become a pundit, not a manager.”
Ray Wilkins, the former England captain, was seriously ill in hospital last
night, with reports saying that he had
suffered a cardiac arrest.
Wilkins, 61, was said to have been
taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London. “He is not in a good
state at all, I’m afraid. He’s critically ill,”
his wife, Jackie, is quoted as saying in
the Mirror.
“The cardiac arrest led to a fall
which has meant he’s had to be
put in an induced coma. It’s
very, very bad.”
His son, Ross, told the Daily Mail:
“I hope everyone can respect the
family’s wishes over privacy at this
very difficult time for us. It’s touch
and go whether my father will gett
through this.”
Wilkins was capped 84 times
by England between 1976 and 1986,
captaining his country ten times. He
enjoyed lengthy spells with Chelsea,
Manchester United, AC Milan,
Rangers and Queens Park Rangers
before going on to manage QPR and
Fulham.
He also had three spells as
assistant manager at Chelsea,
taking over as caretaker manager
when Luiz Felipe Scolari was
sacked in February 2009. More
recently,
despite poor health, he
r
had
worked in the media as a
h
pundit
with Sky Sports News and
p
ttalkSPORT radio.
Chelsea said in a statement: “The
thoughts of everybody at Chelsea
Football Club are with Ray Wilkins
and his family tonight. Keep fighting
Ray, you have our love and support.”
10
3G S
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Sky Bet Championship
Nuno ‘loses control’
as nine-man Wolves
close in on the title
Middlesbrough
Bamford 90
Wolves
Costa 32, Cavaleiro 37
1
0
2
1
2
Jason Mellor
Tony Pulis refused to criticise Nuno
Espírito Santo despite the Portuguese
coach’s excessive celebrations after a
dramatic victory for his nine-man
Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Pulis quickly disappeared down the
tunnel at the final whistle while his
opposite number leapt and gesticulated
provocatively in front of the Middlesbrough bench, as his side took another
significant step towards promotion.
“I didn’t see all the incidents afterwards, they were delighted obviously as
they’d just won a game,” Pulis said after
a pulsating contest in which the away
side played out the final 20 minutes
with nine men after red cards for Rúben
Neves and Matt Doherty.
“I know the manager jumped in the
air. To be honest, I don’t know the fella.
It might be different if he was someone
I knew. I’d have been delighted as
well, but I’d have reacted
differently. He’s very welcome to come into my room,
but I doubt he will.”
Nuno admitted that his
emotions got the better
of him as his side restored their six-point
advantage at the top
of the Championship
courtesy of a first victory on Teesside since
1951. In mitigation, he
insisted that he was not
ott
alone, though the regularr
sight of at least four of his
backroom staff sprinting
from the bench to protest
every contentious decision
was far from edifying.
Neves was sent off for a
rash tackle after 55 minutes
how they stand
PW
Wolves..........39 26
Cardiff............38 24
Fulham..........39 20
Aston Villa....38 20
Derby.............38 16
Middlesbro...39 18
Bristol City...39 16
Millwall..........39 16
Sheff Utd.........39 18
Preston..........39 15
Brentford......39 14
Leeds............39 15
Ipswich.........38 15
Norwich........39 13
QPR...............39 12
Nottm For.....39 13
Sheff Wed.....39 10
Hull ................. 38 9
Reading.........39 9
Bolton............39 9
Barnsley........39 7
Birmingham.38 9
Sunderland..39 6
Burton ........... 39 7
D L F AGDPts
7 6 71 34 37 85
7 7 61 32 29 79
12 7 68 41 27 72
9 9 61 37 24 69
14 8 56 38 18 62
8 13 55 38 17 62
13 9 56 44 12 62
13 10 48 37 11 61
7 14 52 44 8 61
15 9 49 41 860
13 12 55 47 8 55
8 16 52 54 -2 53
7 16 47 48 -1 52
13 13 41 46 -5 52
11 16 45 56 -11 47
7 19 43 56 -13 46
14 15 45 53 -8 44
12 17 53 59 -6 39
12 18 45 57 -12 39
12 18 34 58 -24 39
13 19 39 58 -19 34
6 23 28 57-29 33
13 20 42 69 -27 31
9 23 28 70-42 30
“Everyone in the stadium lost
control,” Nuno said, claiming that
decisions
by Stuart Attwell, who issued
d
ten yellow cards in addition to two reds,
added to the fractious atmosphere. “It’s
difficult to control your emotions when
a bad decision can cost you.”
It appears increasingly a
matter of when not if
Wolves
are promoted back
W
to the Premier League as in
the space of 90 breathless minutes they accumulated more points
than they had managed over the previous 26 years in this
o
ccorner of the North
East. They now require
a maximum of three
wins from their
remaining seven
games. They are
Cavaleiro heads home
the second goal for
Wolves yesterday to earn
a win that pushes them
ever closer to the title
unbeaten in 27 games in which they
have taken the lead this season, meaning that the outcome here looked in little doubt once their early dominance
was rewarded with two goals in the
space of five minutes as half-time approached. Barry Douglas was the
source of both goals, first when sending
over an inviting cross for the unmarked
Hélder Costa to volley in his fourth goal
in nine league appearances at the back
post in the 32nd minute after Middlesbrough failed to clear.
The advantage was soon doubled,
Darren Randolph saving Willy Boly’s
near-post header from a Douglas
corner only for the ball to loop across
goal where Ivan Cavaleiro nodded into
an unguarded net. With Wolves content to defend their lead, the onus fell
on Middlesbrough to make the running
after the break, but it was a task which
proved beyond them. The visiting side
coped with relative ease, at least until
Neves made an early exit with 35 minutes remaining, after picking up a
second yellow card inside two minutes
for an ugly lunge at George Friend.
Doherty’s second caution for a flailing elbow on Friend as the pair challenged for an aerial ball meant Wolves
were further diminished 15 minutes
later, but their opponents failed to take
advantage until Patrick Bamford’s
volley in the fourth minute of stoppage
time set up a nervy final 90 seconds.
“They will go up,” Pulis said. “And
when they do, they’ll invest again and
they’ll be a good side in the Premier
League.”
Middlesbrough (4-3-3): D Randolph — R Shotton (sub:
M Cranie 70mim), D Ayala, B Gibson, G Friend —
A Clayton (sub: B Assombalonga 70), G Leadbitter (sub:
J Howson 63), M Besic — A Traoré, P Bamford,
S Downing. Substitutes not used D Konstantopoulos,
D Fry, L Baker, J Harrison. Booked Shotton, Cranie,
Leadbitter.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): J Ruddy —
R Bennett, C Coady, W Boly — M Doherty, R Saïss,
R Neves, B Douglas — H Costa (sub: M Gibbs-White 84),
B Afobe (sub: L Bonatini 63), I Cavaleiro (sub:
A N’Diaye 58). Substitutes not used W Norris, D Batth,
R Vinagre, K Hause. Booked Ruddy, Bennett, Doherty,
Saïss, Neves. Sent off Doherty, Neves.
Referee S Attwell. Attendance 27,658.
Sunderland stun Derby to climb off foot of the table Fulham thrive
Derby County
Vydra 42
Sunderland
Forsyth (og) 10, Fletcher 36, McGeady
(pen) 50, O’Shea 76
1
0
2
1
4
Steve Madeley
Gary Rowett questioned the commitment of his Derby County players after
they gave Sunderland a huge helping
hand off the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Derby’s annual battle against promotion is apparently in full swing while
Sunderland have unexpected hope in a
season of misery after they ended a
ten-game winless run in emphatic style.
Chris Coleman, the Sunderland
manager, will take wins however they
come but Derby committed defensive
suicide to extend their own series of
winless games to eight and leave
Rowett in forthright mood.
“In six years of management that’s
the worst 90 minutes I’ve had to sit and
watch,” he said. “I’m not going to defend
that performance.
“When things go against us you see
some of the players not standing up and
being counted. I’ll be the first one that
will criticise the people that suggest we
haven’t got the bottle when the chips
are down. If I’m being honest I’m questioning it myself after tonight.
“I’m a tad embarrassed because I’ve
not seen many of my teams play like
that in the past. Tonight it was a very
abject performance and I would apologise to anyone who has paid to come
and watch.”
Victory left Sunderland only three
points adrift of safety yet for Derby, a
promising challenge for automatic
promotion has evaporated, leaving
them in a fight for a spot in the play-offs.
With nerves increasing that Derby
could throw away yet another promising season, the last thing Rowett
needed was a chaotic defensive display.
Yet a bizarre own-goal and the
clumsy concession of a penalty from
Craig Forsyth — combined with a
dreadful error from Richard Keogh —
handed goals to Sunderland as Ashley
Fletcher, Aiden McGeady and John
O’Shea found the target. It meant a fine
goal from Matej Vydra, his 19th of the
season for Derby, counted for nothing.
The opening score came on ten
minutes when Forsyth tried to head
away George Honeyman’s firm shot but
instead nodded past a wrongfooted
Scott Carson and into the net. Then, on
36 minutes, Keogh’s errant pass went
straight to Fletcher, who muscled his
way past Curtis Davies and finished low
past Carson.
There was hope for the home side just
before the break when Tom Lawrence
crossed from the left, Andreas Weimann headed down and Vydra struck a
superb volley into the top corner.
Yet four minutes into the second half
Forsyth sent Lynden Gooch tumbling
with a clumsy challenge from behind
and McGeady scored from the spot.
Sunderland hit the woodwork twice,
with a Fletcher shot and a header from
Paddy McNair, but the fourth goal duly
came when O’Shea forced a corner
home for his first goal in four years.
Coleman said: “It was a superb
performance and at one point in the
afternoon there was an eight-point gap
with Barnsley winning. Now the gap is
down to three. We get carried away
with ability but it’s amazing what a bit of
courage and steel will do.”
Derby County (4-2-3-1): S Carson — C Baird, C Davies,
R Keogh, C Forsyth — G Thorne (sub: D Nugent 58 min),
B Johnson — A Weimann, M Vydra, T Lawrence (sub:
K Palmer 46) — C Jerome (sub: J Ledley 83).
Substitutes not used K Roos, A Wisdom, A Pearce,
L Thomas. Booked: Vydra, Johnson.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): L Camp — D Love, J O’Shea,
L Koné, B Oviedo (sub: A Matthews 81) — P McNair
(sub: M Wilson 78), L Cattermole — L Gooch (sub:
J Maja 90), G Honeyman, A McGeady — A Fletcher.
Substitutes not used J Steele, K Lualua, C McManaman,
E Robson. Booked: Love, Koné, O’Shea, Cattermole.
Referee J Linnington. Attendance 27,890.
Norwich
Fulham
Johansen 66, Cairney 70
0
2
1
2
Jon West
Fulham started a Championship game
without Ryan Sessegnon for the first
time this season after the 17-year-old
was linked with a £40 million move to
Manchester United.
The left-sided midfielder came on
early in the second half at Carrow Road
to help to inspire his side to a comfortable win courtesy of two goals in four
minutes from Stefan Johansen and
Tom Cairney that extended Fulham’s
unbeaten league run to 17 games.
“It was a tactical decision, Ryan did a
great job for us in the second half,” Slavisa Jokanovic, the head coach, said.
“He is young but he shows his head is
healthy. He accepts what are rumours
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
11
3G S
Sport
MI NEWS & SPORT LTD
9
Points Wolves need
from their final seven
games to guarantee
automatic promotion
Warnock nears record as
Cardiff win eight in a row
Cardiff City
Zohore 16, Mendez-Laing 45+1,
Paterson 64
Burton Albion
Bent 21
3
0
2
1
Graham Thomas
Neil Warnock’s attempt to win what
would be a record eighth promotion
now appears more likely than not after
his team won their eighth successive
game.
The Cardiff City manager was born
in 1948, the year after his present club
set their record of nine victories on the
trot and it will be fitting should he equal
that figure in his home city when
Cardiff play away to Sheffield United
on Monday.
Kenneth Zohore, Nathaniel MendezLaing and Callum Paterson scored the
goals that kept Cardiff well clear of the
Championship play-off places and 15
more points from their remaining
eight matches will be sufficient to
guarantee a return to the Premier
League four years after their solitary
season of 2013-14.
“I’ll get a good reception up there,”
Warnock said as he looked forward to
returning to one of his former clubs.
“People remember me up there and
what I did. I’m just not so sure I’ll get the
same reception in the boardroom. That
record was set the year before I was
born, but I’d settle for a draw up there.
“I’m not that bothered about records.
They are usually pushed at you when
it’s a worst sequence, rather than the
best.”
As he has done at so many clubs,
Warnock has defied criticism and expectation at Cardiff and this battling
victory was typical of their ability this
season to gain results when their performance is not entirely convincing.
Burton were the better side for 20
minutes and managed to make it 1-1
through Darren Bent midway through
the first half, but they were overwhelmed by the power and speed of
Cardiff long before the end.
“We knew it would be difficult today,”
Warnock added. “Everyone expected
us to win and that’s the most difficult
thing in football. Having conceded an
their winning run
February 13
Bolton (h)....................................................2-0
February 17
Middlesbrough (h)..................................1-0
February 21
Ipswich (a)...................................................1-0
February 25
Bristol City (h)...........................................1-0
March 6
Barnsley (h).................................................2-1
March 10
Birmingham (h)........................................3-2
March 13
Brentford (a)...............................................3-1
Yesterday
Burton (h).....................................................3-1
equaliser, it was crucial to score again
first and we did that.”
For Burton, though, the outlook
looks bleak and Nigel Clough appears
resigned to relegation, even if he was
quick to clarify his gloomy assessment
of their predicament.
This was their fifth defeat in six
matches. “We’re down in terms of our
mood — not down, down — just down
as in low,” the Burton manager said.
“When you’re losing games, that’s
what it is. You’re down. You play quite
well, you miss chances and you concede, decisions go against you, and it
doesn’t help that feeling.
“It’s the usual story for us. We played
quite well, created enough chances,
missed them and gave away soft goals.
Usual story. Anybody who’s seen us for
the last eight weeks and the majority of
the season that’s been the same story.”
Cardiff’s winning momentum had
been halted 12 days previously when
their fixture at Derby County was
called off due to safety concerns after
a not particularly heavy snowfall, a
decision that Warnock said was a
disgrace.
His misgivings were prompted by a
concern that 17 days without a game,
due to the international break, could
upset the rhythm of his team and those
fears appeared well founded in a
surprisingly one-sided opening, heavily
weighted in Burton’s favour.
However, the visiting side missed
opportunities before Cardiff took the
lead with their first attack of note.
Junior Hoilett, whose pace and trickery
troubled Burton throughout, crossed
for Zohore to strike a crisp half-volley.
The uncertainty in Cardiff’s
defensive work remained, though, and
when Lloyd Dyer was given the space to
pick out Bent, the veteran striker forced
the ball home at the far post for the
equaliser five minutes later.
But Cardiff have developed a
valuable knack of regaining control of
games, even when they are some way
below their best. They seized the
initiative, and the lead, on the stroke of
half-time.
Mendez-Laing’s pace had already
embarrassed the onrushing Stephen
Bywater, so it was perhaps no surprise
that the Burton goalkeeper chose to
stay on his line when the Cardiff striker
next broke clear. The result was a
comfortable finish as the ball was
lashed high into the net for a 2-1 lead.
Burton never looked remotely
capable of threatening Cardiff in the
second half. Instead, the surprise was
how they managed to concede only one
further goal.
Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison had
already had the ball in the net for efforts
that were ruled out for offside and a foul
by the time Paterson made it 3-1.
That effort, too, might have been
disallowed as the ball appeared to strike
Craig Bryson on the arm before it fell to
Paterson, who scored for the fourth
league match in succession. The Scot is
one of many shrewd Warnock signings
who have improved as the season has
progressed and this was his ninth goal
of the campaign.
Cardiff City (4-3-3): N Etheridge — B Manga, S Bamba,
S Morrison, J Bennett — C Paterson, M Grujic, C Bryson
(sub: A Gunnarsson 66min) — N Mendez-Laing
(sub: Y Wildschut 85), J Hoilett, K Zohore
(sub: G Madine 71). Substitutes not used L Peltier,
B Murphy, J Ward, A Pilkington. Booked Bryson.
Burton Albion (4-4-1-1): S Bywater — J Brayford (sub:
T Egert 76), T Naylor, K McFadzean, T Flanagan —
M Sordell, J Allen, L Murphy, L Dyer — L Boyce
(sub: J Davenport 69) — D Bent (sub: J Sbarra 82).
Substitutes not used B Turner, H Campbell,
M Samuelsen, J Buxton. Booked Naylor, McFadzean.
Referee S Hooper. Attendance 21,086.
Mannone gives Clement a winning start
despite Sessegnon rumours
and what is around him. We don’t let
this situation affect him. Everything he
puts under control and his mind is
focused. I cannot make any comment
about his value but he is going to be an
expensive player.”
Sessegnon, who made his England
Under-21 debut in midweek, enlivened
an encounter in which Fulham dominated in terms of possession but failed
to create clear-cut chances.
One fell to Sessegnon after Angus
Gunn, the Norwich City goalkeeper,
came out of his area but failed to clear
a long ball, and only a goalline block by
Christoph Zimmermann kept the game
scoreless. Fulham did take the lead in
the 66th minute. Zimmermann’s
central defensive partner, Timm Klose,
was at fault by allowing Aleksandar
Mitrovic a close-range header that
Gunn could only parry into the path of
Johansen, who was left with a tap-in.
Klose’s failure to deal with Lucas
Piazon’s delivery into the box then
allowed Cairney to wrap up a victory
that left Fulham seven points behind
second-placed Cardiff City, who have a
game in hand. “It is not in our hands to
fight for second,” Jokanovic said.
“Everything is in the hands of Cardiff,
they must make mistakes. But if they
help us we will be ready to catch a
present.”
Norwich are marooned in mid-table
and Daniel Farke, their head coach,
said: “We must score more to be a team
looking at promotion next season.”
Norwich City (4-2-3-1): A Gunn — I Pinto,
C Zimmermann, T Klose, J Lewis — H Reed, A Tettey
(sub: W Hoolahan 77min) — J Maddison, M Vrancic
(sub: M Edwards 85), J Murphy — D Srbeny (sub:
N Oliveira 77). Substitutes not used J Husband,
S Raggett, G Hanley, M McGovern. Booked Murphy,
Maddison, Reed.
Fulham (4-1-4-1): M Bettinelli — R Fredericks, D Odoi,
T Ream, M Targett — K McDonald — (sub: O Norwood
68) — L Piazon, T Cairney, S Johansen, F Ayite (sub:
R Sessegnon 54) — A Mitrovic (sub: A Kamara 78).
Substitutes not used R Fonte, C Christie, T Kalas.
Booked McDonald, Fredericks, Norwood, Kamara.
Referee K Stroud. Attendance 26,750.
Paul Clement’s first big decision as
Reading manager paid off in style as the
recalled Vito Mannone saved a
stoppage-time penalty to give his side a
1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers
— their first win in ten matches.
The Italian was back in goal in
place of Anssi Jaakkola as one
of four changes Clement made
after succeeding Jaap Stam.
He justified his inclusion
with a brilliant stop to deny
Jake Bidwell from the spot
and that, combined with
Sone Aluko’s
13th-minute
goal from 255
yards, gave Clement’s side a victoryy
x
that takes them six
points clear of trouble.
ment
“I’m really pleased,” Clement
said, having seen his team play
the last ten minutes without the
sent-off Yann Kermorgant. “The
players have had a difficult time
but that was full of passion.”
Clement’s first game in charge
of Reading ended in a 1-0 win
Millwall’s unexpected progress
towards the play-off places may have
come as a surprise but there are no signs
that Neil Harris’s players are inhibited
by the prospect of breaking into the top
six. For the third time in four games
they forced a lead inside the opening
minute, this time through Shaun Williams’s header after only 27 seconds,
before Lee Gregory added a second to
defeat Nottingham Forest 2-0 and
extend Millwall’s unbeaten
league run to 13 matches.
Harris believes the lack of
expectation of his side can
work in their favour. “We
have no pressure on us,
and that helps,” he said.
“As regards any chance of
the play-offs it is one
g
game
at a time and let’s
go and beat Ipswich on
M
Monday.
If the play-offs
are no longer just a dream
it is a lot of hard work that
h got us there. But I tell
has
the players I want more.”
Alex Neil was on the
receiving end of another
potentially costly Hillsbor-
ough thrashing as his Preston North
End team went down 4-1 to Sheffield
Wednesday — their first away league
defeat since November 4 — when victory would have lifted them into the
play-off places. A 5-1 loss at the same
ground a little over a year ago contributed to him losing his job as Norwich
City manager. “This is the judgment
time of the season when you have to
maintain your performances, and even
take them to a higher level,” Neil said.
“But I’ve been in this situation before.
In the two promotions I’ve had we’ve
lost games at crucial times and responded. We have to do the same now.”
Brentford’s 1-1 draw at home to
Sheffield United was overshadowed by
the double dismissal of Ryan Woods
and Jamal Blackman. The home midfielder and visiting goalkeeper were
sent off after a Chris Mepham equaliser,
with Woods tussling with Blackman to
retrieve the ball for a quick kick-off.
Barnsley twice squandered a lead
against Bristol City and had to settle for
a 2-2 draw that stretched their run
without a win at Oakwell to a clubrecord 12 matches and leaves them a
point above the bottom three.
12
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
2G S
Sport
The ultimate Premier League guide 2017-18
How they stand
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Man City
Man Utd
Liverpool
Tottenham
Chelsea
Arsenal
Burnley
Leicester
Everton
Bournemouth
Watford
Brighton
Newcastle
Swansea
Huddersfield
Crystal Palace
West Ham
Southampton
Stoke
West Brom
P W
30 26
30 20
31 18
30 18
30 17
30 14
30 11
30 10
31 11
31
9
31 10
30
8
30
8
30
8
31
8
31
7
30
7
30
5
31
6
31
3
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
D
3
5
9
7
5
6
10
10
7
9
6
10
8
7
7
9
9
13
9
11
L F A GD Pts
1 85 20 65 81
5 58 23 35 65
4 73 34 39 63
5 59 25 34 61
8 52 27 25 56
10 55 41 14 48
9 27 26
1 43
10 45 43
2 40
13 37 50 -13 40
13 37 49 -12 36
15 39 55 -16 36
12 28 40 -12 34
14 30 40 -10 32
15 25 42 -17 31
16 25 52 -27 31
15 30 48 -18 30
14 36 57 -21 30
12 29 44 -15 28
16 29 58 -29 27
17 24 49 -25 20
Leading scorers: 28 M Salah (Liverpool). 24 H Kane (Spurs).
21 S Agüero (Man City). 15 R Sterling (Man City). 14 R Lukaku
(Man Utd), J Vardy (Leicester), R Firmino (Liverpool).
In-form Willian can
ensure a profitable
double gameweek
Paddy von Behr
Charlie Scott
The Sweeper
The second double
gameweek of the season
is fast approaching, so
we’ve ranked the fixtures
of those with two
matches and here are
four players we think
may shine.
Chelsea
In his past four league
starts Willian has racked
up 48 points. The
midfielder is a slight
rotation risk, despite
impressing in Europe
against Barcelona, but
his potential for big
returns at a price of
£7.1 million is tempting.
Man United
Eric Bailly (£6 million) is
owned by 5.8 per cent of
managers despite United
keeping clean sheets in
six of the nine games he
has started this season.
Not many defenders can
score an own goal and
still come out of a match
with credit, yet that’s
what he managed
against Liverpool.
Today
12.30pm
TV Live, Sky Sports PL Radio BBC 5 Live Times app Live updates
(4-2-3-1)
Hennessey
Kelly
WanBissaka
Sakho Van Aanholt
Cabaye
Watford
v
Loftus-Cheek McArthur Townsend
Mané
Firmino
Salah
Karius
Home win
6/1
(4-3-3)
Referee N Swarbrick (17 games)
44 Last 5 CP LLLLW
0
Liv WWWLW
Brighton v Leicester
Today
3pm
TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pmTimes app Highlights, 5.15pm
BRIGHTON
Doubt Stephens
Suspended Knockaert
(4-4-1-1)
Ryan
Schelotto
Duffy
March
Kayal
Dunk
Bong
LEICESTER
Injured Amartey Doubt
Iheanacho, James
Propper Izquierdo
33 Percentage of top-flight
own goals by English
players this season
scored by Brighton’s
Lewis Dunk (4 of 12)
Gross
Murray
Vardy
Okazaki
Albrighton
Mahrez
Iborra
Chilwell
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 37%
D 27%
A 37%
Ndidi
Maguire
Morgan Simpson
Schmeichel
Draw
21/10
(4-2-3-1)
1
34
Bri WDWWL
Lei DLDDW
Manchester United v Swansea
Highlights of Uefa Champions League, Europa
League and the FA Cup
Today
3pm
TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm Radio talkSPORT 2Times app Highlights, 5.15pm
(4-3-3)
MANCHESTER UNITED
Injured Blind, Romero
De Gea
Valencia Smalling
Bailly
Young
McTominay
Matic
Pogba
Lingard
Lukaku
Rashford
Abraham
SWANSEA
Injured Sanches, Rangel, Bony
Suspended J Ayew
A Ayew
Naughton
Olsson
Clucas
Mawson
2 Home league goals let in
after half time by United this
season – one scored by
United themselves (an own
goal)
King
Carroll
Fernández
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 73%
Van der Hoorn D 18%
A 9%
Referee R Madley (14.3 games)
2
47
Nathan Aké has thrived
at centre back despite
his relative lack of
height
Shortest to play in
centre back pairing
in last round of
Premier League
matches
Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City)
5ft 10in
Nathan Aké (Bournemouth)
5ft 11in
Adrian Mariappa (Watford)
5ft 11in
Ben Mee (Burnley)
6ft
Draw
6/1
(3-5-2)
Sat 3pm highlights available at 5.15pm
Bournemouth
OxladeMilner
Henderson
Chamberlain FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 19%
D 22%
Clyne
Robertson Van Dijk Matip
A 59%
Fabianski
Watch every Premier League
goal first on the Times
phone app. Get goal video
clips and highlights of
every big match
Nathan Aké
42 Premier League games
televised live in 2018 – none
has finished 0-0
Benteke
Referee C Kavanagh (11 games)
Don’t miss
a goal this
season
Troy Deeney
LIVERPOOL
Injured Can, Gomez
Milivojevic
Leicester
If Riyad Mahrez hadn’t
gone Awol there’s a
distinct chance he would
have scored more FPL
points than Raheem
Sterling this season. As it
is, he is merely fourth in
the midfield standings.
He is in great form too,
with 21 points in his past
two games. Marc
Albrighton would never
go Awol. The midfielder
(£5.6 million) is one of
the first names on the
team sheet — the kind of
player you want in a
double gameweek — and
has more points in 201718 than Paul Pogba.
Head
to head
CRYSTAL PALACE
Injured Wickham
Doubt Schlupp, Tomkins,
Sorloth
MU WLWWW
Swa DWLWD
Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
6ft
Newcastle v Huddersfield
Today
3pm
6ft
TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm Times app Highlights, 5.15pm
NEWCASTLE
Injured Joselu
(4-2-3-1)
Dubravka
Yedlin
Lascelles
Lejeune Dummett
Shelvey
Ritchie
Diamé
Kenedy
Pérez
Ince
Pritchard
Mooy
Löwe
Quaner
Hogg
Schindler
Zanka Hadergjonaj
Lössl
Referee M Atkinson (23 games)
HUDDERSFIELD
Injured Williams, Hefele
2 Top-flight loan goalkeepers
who have been first choices for
past two months: Newcastle’s
Martin Dubravka and
Huddersfield’s Jonas Lössl
Gayle
Mounié
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 61%
D 22%
A 18%
Draw
12/5
(4-2-3-1)
5
77
New DWDLW
Phil Jagielka (Everton)
Hud WWLDL
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
13
2G S
Sport
In association with
By Bill Edgar
Watford v Bournemouth
Today
3pm
TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm Times app Highlights, 5.15pm
(4-2-3-1)
Karnezis
Prödl
Janmaat
Doucouré
Carrillo
Ibe
Gosling
Daniels
Adrian Mariappa
99
(3-4-2-1)
L Cook
Francis
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 45%
D 24%
A 32%
Rice
Ogbonna
Zabaleta Kouyaté
0
0
Wat LWWLL
Bou LDDLW
Cresswell
Noble
Antonio
Arnautovic
8 “W” opponents in
Southampton’s past 13 wins:
West Brom lost four times,
Watford twice, West Ham and
Wigan once each
Gabbiadini
Tadic
Hojbjerg
Ward-Prowse
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 42%
D 26%
A 32%
Lemina
Bertrand Hoedt
Stephens Cédric
McCarthy
Home win
9/5
(4-2-3-1)
Referee J Moss (22.7 games)
2
78
WH LWLLL
Chances of winning the Champions League
Barcelona
Bayern
Munich
SOUTHAMPTON
Injured Austin, Davis, Yoshida
Masuaku
Hernández
Home win
7/5
(4-2-3-1)
Referee A Madley (0 games)
WEST HAM
Doubt Lanzini, Collins
Hart
Redmond
Begovic
278
Craig Cathcart
BOURNEMOUTH
Injured Mings Doubt Mousset,
A Smith
B Smith
S Cook
Aké
WATFORD
Injured Kabasele, Cleverley,
Chalobah, Kaboul, Deulofeu,
Success
11 Home games in row when
Watford have scored, but they
have not scored in their past
six away matches
Wilson
Troy Deeney
147
Richarlison
Deeney
Stanislas
Heurelho Gomes
Holebas
Capoue
Pereyra
Most Watford
appearances among
present players
327
Mariappa
Today
3pm
TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm Radio BBC 5 Live Times app Highlights, 5.15pm
Real Madrid
Manchester
City
Juventus
Liverpool
Roma
Seville
Sou WLDDL
0%
West Brom v Burnley
Today
3pm
WEST BROM
Injured Barry, Field, Chadli,
Sturridge
(3-5-1-1)
Foster
Dawson
Evans
Livermore Yacob
Nyom
Phillips
Hegazi
Gibbs
Westwood
Ward
Mee
Lennon
Cork
Tarkowski Lowton
Pope
BURNLEY
Injured Arfield
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 34%
D 32%
A 34%
2
15
WB LLLLL
Bur DLDWW
Name the season
Can you work out which
season this table is from? P
1
2
3
4
20
21
22
Wolves
West Brom
Huddersfield
Manchester United
Sheffield United
Middlesbrough
Liverpool
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
Answer below
W
25
22
20
18
11
10
9
Keane
D L
7 10
9 11
11 11
12 12
11 20
10 22
10 23
F
96
86
78
73
69
60
68
A
56
63
61
58
90
91
97
?
Pts
57
53
51
48
33
30
28
Baines
Davies
Rooney
Walcott
Tosun
Bolasie
Sané
Jesus
MANCHESTER CITY
Injured Stones, Mendy
Doubt Agüero
9 Man City goals in row that
have been scored with a left
foot
Sterling
D Silva Fernandinho De Bruyne
Delph
Laporte
Otamendi
Walker
Home win
8/1
(4-3-3)
Referee P Tierney (11 games)
0
31
Eve WLLWW
Arsenal v Stoke
MC DWWWW
Tomorrow
1.30pm
TV Live, Sky Sports PL Radio BBC 5 Live Times app Live updates
ARSENAL
Doubt Wilshere
(4-2-3-1)
Cech
Bellerín
Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
Ramsey
STOKE
Doubt Choupo-Moting, Grant,
Ireland Suspended Adam
Xhaka
Wilshere Mkhitaryan
Özil
6 Arsenal goals scored in
opening 15 minutes during
their past four home league
games
Aubameyang
Crouch
Sobhi
Jesé
Fletcher
Shaqiri
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 78%
D 14%
A 9%
Ndiaye
Stafylidis Shawcross Zouma
Johnson
Last season
Southampton
West Brom
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 10%
D 17%
A 73%
Ederson
Bill Edgar’s weekend numbers
The last time two teams were relegated from the top flight
having finished in the top half the previous season was
1992-93 (Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace) – but
Southampton and West Bromwich Albion are on course to
repeat that
Jagielka
Gueye
Away win
19/10
(4-2-3-1)
Referee L Probert (12 games)
Pickford
2 Albions (West Brom and
Brighton) who have had 94
shots on target and faced 133
shots on target this season in
the league
Rondón
Barnes
EVERTON
Injured Sigurdsson, Mangala,
McCarthy Suspended
Williams
(4-3-3)
Coleman
Brunt
Gudmundsson Hendrick
Everton v Manchester City
Today
5.30pm
TV Live, BT Sport 1 Radio talkSPORT Times app Live updates
TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm Times app Highlights, 5.15pm
8th
10th
Butland
Away win
8/1
(4-2-3-1)
Referee C Pawson (19 games)
4
68
Ars WLLLW
Sto DDDLL
This season
Southampton
West Brom
18th
20th
Answer: 1953-54
Troy Deeney is in his
eighth season at
Watford.
West Ham v Southampton
Chelsea v Tottenham
Tomorrow
4pm
TV Live, Sky Sports PL Radio BBC 5 Live Times app Live updates
CHELSEA
Injured Luiz, Barkley, Ampadu
(4-2-3-1)
Caballero
Azpilicueta Christensen
Kanté
Moses
Rüdiger
Fàbregas
Willian
TOTTENHAM
Injured Winks
Doubt Kane
Alonso
Hazard
2 Managers here – Chelsea’s
Conte (Italy) and Spurs’
Pochettino (Argentina) – with
exactly 20 caps and two goals
as players
Morata
Son
Lamela
Alli
Eriksen
Dembélé Wanyama
Rose Vertonghen
Sánchez
Aurier
FINK TANK PREDICTION
H 51%
D 25%
A 24%
Lloris
Home win
6/5
(4-2-3-1)
Referee A Marriner (21 games)
2
54
Che LWLLW
Tot DWWWW
10%
20%
30%
40%
Barcelona may be
the best team, but
Messi is no Ronaldo
Daniel Finkelstein
The Fink Tank
When Chelsea fans
consoled themselves
that they had been
beaten by the best team
in the Champions
League and the best
player in the world,
were they correct? Well,
yes and no.
Henry Stott, Mark
Latham and Dinesh
Vatvani have developed
the Fink Tank’s
computer model of
European football, using
a weighted measure of
goals scored and
conceded and fine
tuning it to provide the
probability of victory or
defeat in games
between sides in
different countries.
The model shows that
Barcelona are the best
overall side remaining
in the competition and
by quite some distance.
Bayern Munich, the
second-best side, are
only 75.6 per cent as
good. The reason for
Barca’s dominance is
because they are well
balanced.
They aren’t the best
side in attack (that’s
Real Madrid) or in
defence (that’s Juventus)
but they are competitive
in each part of the field.
By contrast Real are
only 61.5 per cent as
good as Juventus in
defence while Juventus
are only 58.1 per cent as
good as Real in attack.
The best English team
is Manchester City. It
is an open question
whether, at 64.6 per
cent as good as
Barcelona, the
model
undervalues
them.
Salah is ranked
No 3 in the competition
To believe this you
would have to think that
there had been a sharp
increase in the relative
quality of the Premier
League which had not
yet been priced in. This
is plausible without
being probable.
The dominance of
Barça means that they
are more likely to win
the Champions League
than the bookies think.
The standard bookie
odds are around a 25 per
cent chance, while the
Fink Tank puts it at
38.5 per cent.
Manchester City are
very popular with
punters who are happy
to take up bets based on
a 22 per cent chance of
them winning the
trophy. The Fink Tank
puts the chance at
10.8 per cent.
So that’s the yes bit.
Chelsea were beaten by
the best team in the
competition. But the
best player in the world?
Not quite. Clearly Lionel
Messi is extraordinary
and over his career is
almost certainly the
best player in the world
and maybe even the
best player ever. But at
the moment, based on
his contribution he is
second-best to Cristiano
Ronaldo, as has been
the case for some time.
What about the
suggestion that
Mohamed Salah
c
could
one day be
mentioned in the
s
same
breath? True,
even without the
“some day” bit.
The Liverpool
forward is the
third-best
p
player
left in
t
the
competition and
not far behind
Messi at the
moment.
14
1G S
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Football
SERENA TAYLOR/NEWCASTLE UNITED
‘If you’re from
the academy
fans assume
you’re no good’
Paul Dummett, the only
Geordie in the Newcastle
team, is thriving under
Rafa Benítez after 18 years
of proving people wrong,
he tells George Caulkin
I
t has been a long journey for Paul
Dummett, although the distance is short,
from Kingston Park to St James’ Park, from
doubt to acceptance and, finally, to love.
At a club that dots between extremes, the
left back’s reliability is unusual, but in
Newcastle United’s last match his name was
sung, a fitting tribute much delayed. “It was
weird,” he says. “Normally people shout,
‘Dummett, you’re shite.’ ”
A sturdy defender who relishes defending,
Dummett shuns flamboyance. In an era of
dashing full backs he does not offer glitter, but
solidity is precisely why he is prized so highly by
Rafa Benítez and his absence for 136 days this
season with a hamstring injury put his worth
in context. In the 12 games he has played
since returning to the team, Newcastle have
lost only to Manchester City and Liverpool.
Victory over Huddersfield Town today
would take Newcastle to 35 points, close
enough for survival to beckon. This life is
all Dummett knows. “You never switch
off,” he says. “I’m a fan, all my family
and friends are fans, so wherever I go
it’s always football. The whole city
revolves around how well the team
are doing. If the team gets beat,
town is quiet; if the team wins, town
is busy. I feel it.”
He grew up close to Newcastle’s
ground. “It was Kingston Park when I was
younger and then we moved to Gosforth
when I was 11,” he says. “I still live there
now. My first memory is playing football
and my first memory as a fan is watching
Alan Shearer, my hero as a kid. I had a
season ticket with my dad and brother, up
in level seven, which was quite a climb. I
was in the East Stand for a bit as well.
“I was there when Kieron Dyer and Lee
Bowyer had their fight on the pitch. I
remember Sir Bobby Robson’s team. I was
ballboy once when Laurent Robert was
playing and he hoyed [threw] his gloves to
one side and I picked them up. Now I’m
playing and other people are watching. It’s
strange when you think about it. I’ll carry
on doing it for as long as the club want me.”
There have been moments when
Dummett, 26, has not felt wanted at all,
Dummett says that Newcastle must
keep Benítez if they are to improve
but he has doubled down on effort, a model of
perseverance. He fought for his place, for a
career, for football. “When I was six, my dad,
Ian, took me to a little soccer school in
Ponteland,” he says. “The weather was bad so
they did it in the gym. Dad said I was like Bambi
on ice. My co-ordination was terrible.
“After training Dad said, ‘Look son, I don’t
think football’s for you.’ The week after, he took
me to Newcastle Falcons for a bit of rugby but I
said, ‘I want to go back to football.’ The next
time it was on grass and totally different. Two
years later, I joined Newcastle and I’ve been
there ever since, apart from loans, but there
have been times when I’ve wondered, ‘Am I
going to get kept on, am I going to be
released?’
“When I was leaving school at 16, not
really knowing what was going to happen,
dad
d would ask me, ‘What if you don’t make
it?
i Get some extra education.’ I put it off. He
knew how difficult it was to become a
player. He runs a plumbing and
heating company, so if it hadn’t
happened I’d probably be
working for the family business,
like my mam and brother.
“I’d always tell my dad not
to worry. I suppose I just
believed the worst wouldn’t
b
happen. It was either
ha
confidence
or the kind of thing
c
where you think, ‘Ah, it won’t be me,
it’ll be someone else.’ I just had the
same attitude then that I have now,
that
I’ll keep trying, keeping working,
t
that
I’ll give it my best shot. I always
t
ended up staying.”
The naysayers included Alan
Pardew, Newcastle’s former
manager. In 2012-13,
Dummett had two spells on
loan
at St Mirren. “When I
l
came back at the end of the season,
Pardew
told me he was giving me another
P
one-year contract but said, ‘I don’t think
you’ve
what it takes to play in my team.’
y
“It was a shock. It was one of those: there
you
y go, another contract, but you’re not good
enough. You’ve got no chance, basically.
“My response was to say, ‘It’s up to me to
prove you wrong,’ and I think Pardew liked that.
I’m naturally fit, but I worked even harder on
my fitness and either started or came on for
Birthplace distance from Newcastle
Kenedy
DeAndre Yedlin
Chancel Mbemba
Christian Atsu
Ayoze Pérez
Jesús Gámez
Islam Slimani
Javier Manquillo
Martin Dúbravka
Mikel Merino
Joselu
Mohamed Diamé
Florian Lejeune
Massadio Haïdara
Matt Ritchie
Rob Elliot
Jonjo Shelvey
Dwight Gayle
Jacob Murphy
Ciaran Clark
Isaac Hayden
Jamaal Lascelles
Karl Darlow
Paul Dummett
miles 5,938
4,563
4,223
3,405
1,974
1,283
1,280
1,012
948
842
629
462
456
456
290
Dummett
251
is the only
247
244
Geordie in the
243
Newcastle
241
first-team
240
squad
142
102
0
every pre-season game that summer. We played
Manchester City in our first Premier League
game, Steven Taylor was sent off and I came on.
Against Liverpool, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was
sent off, I came on again and scored. The club
asked me to sign a new six-year contract
straight after that, which was quite a difference.
It just shows what can happen. You have to be
lucky to get an opportunity, but then you have
to take it.”
Pardew provided the motivation and was not
too rigid to block Dummett’s path to the team,
but he never admitted being wrong. “No,”
Dummett says. “He said nothing. When Pardew
has been at other clubs there’s been some
interest in taking me there, but I don’t know
whether that’s always been true and I’ve never
spoken to him direct.”
Under Benítez, Dummett has thrived, a
mainstay during Newcastle’s promotion season.
His improvement has been palpable, and there
has been another contract extension. “When we
were first linked with the manager, I remember
thinking, ‘He’s not going to come here,’ ”
Dummett admits. “It was a reminder of how big
this club is. We’re lucky to have him. Hopefully
we can stay up, he’ll stay and we progress.
Because the fans love him so much, it’s made it
easier for us. There’s pressure, but it’s a good
environment. I wouldn’t say a bad word about
him. He’s been nice about me, which is great
when he’s achieved so much and worked with so
many fantastic players. He always says he wants
to strengthen, bring in another left back, I don’t
have a problem with that. I want to be pushed.”
There is a stubborn determination that filters
across to his international career. There have
been two caps for Wales (he qualifies through
his grandfather), but none since 2015. “Under
Chris Coleman I was going away knowing I
wouldn’t be playing,” he says. “You have to be
professional, but it was difficult. I wasn’t picked
for Euro 2016 but I was taken away for the
friendlies and to cover for injuries until a couple
of days before. I was gutted.
“I’d be thinking to myself, ‘When am I ever
going to get an opportunity?’ I didn’t feel like I
had a chance, like I was part of the squad,
because I wasn’t involved. I decided to have a
break from it, to concentrate on playing for
Newcastle. Coleman said that for as long as he
was manager he would never pick me for Wales
again, but it’s been a different approach from
Ryan Giggs and we’ve had a conversation.
“He said that I’d get opportunities to play. No
manager can guarantee games and I understand
that. I told him that I wouldn’t close the door —
it’s a massive honour to play for your country —
but if I’d gone with Wales now, got injured and
Newcastle went down, I’d have regretted it for
ever. My contract is with Newcastle. I want to
do the best for Newcastle, make sure we stay up.
After that, I can have a rethink.”
That commitment will crystallise Dummett’s
relationship with Newcastle’s supporters. He has
had to work for it, work for everything. “If the
club had bought me for £8 million it might have
been different,” he says. “When you’ve come
through the academy and cost nothing maybe
they assume you’re no good. And if the team is
struggling, you’re associated with it more as a
local lad.
“Fans like to see attractive football and I’m
never going to be taking people on, doing fancy
tricks and hitting one in the top corner. I know
what I can do and I know what I can’t do. I do
what I can as best I can.”
It has been a slow burn, but Dummett is
Newcastle’s own and they proclaimed it against
Southampton three weeks ago. “I haven’t had
that sort of thing before,” he says. “It’s taken a
long time. It was strange when I heard it. I was
buzzing. I just need to keep putting
performances in, so they keep doing it and sing
it louder. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted.”
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
15
1G S
Sport
Matt Hughes Football Notebook
TIMES PHOTOGRAPHER MARC ASPLAND
Chelsea hope
big club hire
Conte to save
them £9m
Chelsea could
have to pay
Conte for up to
a year if they
dismiss him
Stam ally’s future on line
B
rian Tevreden’s position as
director of football at Reading
will come under scrutiny at the
end of the season after the club’s
decision to sack Jaap Stam as
manager last week. The Dutchman
was instrumental in his compatriot’s
appointment at the Madejski Stadium
two years ago and the pair worked
closely together so Tevreden is seen
at the club as being vulnerable after
Stam’s replacement by Paul Clement.
Reading have a potential replacement
for Tevreden already at the club
having appointed Ged Roddy as their
academy director last month. Having
previously spent eight years as the
Premier League’s director of football
development, Roddy is well qualified
to step up to the position of technical
director.
C
helsea hope that a big
European club, such as Paris
Saint-Germain, will offer
Antonio Conte a job this
summer as it would save
them a significant amount of
compensation should he leave. Under
the severance terms of the two-year
contract Conte signed last summer,
the Italian is entitled to be paid for up
to a year until he gets another job, or
the difference between his old and
new salary if he returns to work
immediately. PSG would be one of
the few clubs able to match Conte’s
salary of £9 million and he is on their
shortlist to replace Unai Emery, who
is expected to be sacked at the end of
the season. Chelsea would also be
obliged to pay off the nine Italians on
his back-room staff if they sack Conte,
with only the assistant goalkeeping
coach Henrique Hilário, the assistant
coach Carlo Cudicini and the fitness
coach Chris Jones expected to remain
in the light of their boss’s departure.
Winger’s Dutch courage
B
Southgate wows No 10
G
areth Southgate’s blunt
dismissal of Boris Johnson’s
recent remarks about Russia
staging the World Cup has been
well received by Downing Street.
The government is seeking to ease
tensions with Russia regarding the
tournament despite the
continuing diplomatic row with
Britain, and Johnson’s
comparison of this summer’s
World Cup to the 1936 Olympics
staged in Nazi Germany at last
week’s foreign affairs select
committee went down badly
at No 10. Southgate was
dismissive of Johnson
when recounting his
positive experience of
Russia staging the
Confederations Cup at a
press conference before
England’s friendly against
Holland in Amsterdam on
London, in talks over the London
Stadium this week, but it was not for
want of trying. The club have written
to the mayor’s office nine times over
the past year seeking a meeting
before finally being granted a slot.
Friday last week, telling
journalists, “It’s of little interest
to me what the foreign secretary
thinks about it”, much to the
delight of Downing Street
aides.
Kane target
H
arry Kane’s
ambition of
beating Alan
Shearer’s Premier League
goals record of 260 will
be a factor in the
decisions he makes
regarding his future and
could help Tottenham
Hotspur to keep hold of
their talisman striker.
While there is little
prospect of Tottenham
agreeing to sell Kane to an
English club, a world-record offer
from Real Madrid could tempt them
to do business, particularly after they
have settled into their new stadium.
Kane has set a target of surpassing
Shearer’s top-flight record however,
which is likely to require him to spend
the vast majority of his career in
England. The 24-year-old has some
way to go to beat Shearer as he is
26th in the Premier League table with
102 goals, although his strike rate of
0.71 goals per game is the best on the
list, which suggests his target is
attainable.
Mayor makes Brady wait
K
arren Brady, the West Ham
United vice-chairman, was
widely criticised by fans for
receiving only a 45-minute audience
with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of
rentford pride themselves on
doing things differently under
the ownership of the gambling
and data entrepreneur Matthew
Benham, often taking an alternative
approach that extends to the players.
The club’s Dutch winger, Florian
Jozefzoon, has been so impressed
since signing for the Championship
team from PSV Eindhoven in January
last year that he recently asked the
board if he could buy a stake in
Brentford, but Benham politely
declined the request.
Media on hacking alert
S
uch are the fears about Russian
hackers at the World Cup that
some media organisations have
told their staff not to use the USB
flash drives that are routinely given
away as part of a welcome pack at
major tournaments because of the
suspicion that they could contain
hacking software. One global media
company has also increased the
death-in-service element of the life
insurance covering reporters it is
sending to cover the tournament to
the value of $1 million (about
£710,000).
Mee stalling
on new deal
Mike Whalley
Ben Mee’s future at Burnley is looking
increasingly uncertain, with Sean
Dyche indicating that the defender is
continuing to stall over a new contract.
Mee has just over a year to run on his
present deal and if he does not agree an
extension by the summer, the club will
consider selling him.
The centre back has been an important figure in Burnley’s rise this season,
standing in as captain while Tom
Heaton, the goalkeeper, has been
recovering from shoulder surgery.
Dyche, the manager of a Burnley
team who visit West Bromwich Albion
in the Premier League today, is relaxed
about Mee’s situation, having sold key
players before without it affecting the
club’s progress. Michael Keane left for
Everton for an initial £25 million last
July, followed a month later by Andre
Gray, who joined Watford for £18 million. Burnley are not under pressure to
sell, having announced a £22.2 million
profit in their latest accounts.
“I’m not concerned,” Dyche said.
“We’ve had it before. ”
I’m staying put,
says Allardyce
Timothy Abraham
Sam Allardyce insists that he will still be
in charge of Everton next season and
has dismissed speculation that his job is
under threat.
Rumours persist that Everton will
replace Allardyce at the end of the
season, with Paulo Fonseca, the Shakhtar Donetsk coach, and Marco Silva,
the former Watford head coach,
regularly linked to the position.
Everton fans remain largely sceptical
about Allardyce’s ability to take the club
forward, although since the 63-yearold’s appointment their points tally is
the sixth best in the Premier League.
“I have no problem with the security
of my position and never have,”
Allardyce said. “Only other people have
created that insecurity. I worry about
the team’s performances — or lack of —
and not the insecurity on whether I lose
my job or not. That will be determined
by the players on how well they
perform, or on not getting results.”
16
2G S
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport Rugby union
Inside the Dublin
school supplying
stars to Leinster
For tomorrow’s purposes, the names
in question are Dan Leavy and James
Two and a bit years ago, when the All Ryan — two of the architects-in-chief
Blacks won the World Cup, of England’s downfall at Twickenham
Christchurch Boys’ High School could two weeks ago — plus Luke McGrath,
reasonably be said to be the best rugby- the scrum half, and three more, Max
playing school in the world. After all, in Deegan, Nick McCarthy and Rory
the starting XV for the final, Dan O’Loughlin on the bench.
Ryan is very much the coming superCarter, Brodie Retallick and Owen
Franks were all CBHS old boys. There star of Irish rugby, a Maro Itoje in green
was a fourth on the bench and a fifth in (today in blue). At St Michael’s they saw
him coming from way off. Bernard
the squad.
Is it the best rugby-playing school in Jackman, the former Sale Sharks and
the world now? This is, of course, to a Ireland hooker, was a coach there when
large extent subjective, yet the answer Ryan was in his second year. “Even
may lie on the Ailesbury Road, in then,” Jackman recalls, “everyone was
Dublin, where, tucked in around the saying, ‘That’s the kid. That’s the kid.’ ”
Jackman went from St Michael’s to
foreign embassies and ambassador residences, there is a private school for 600 coaching at Grenoble and is now head
coach at the Dragons. It is not unusual
boys called St Michael’s.
Why is this relevant this weekend? for a former player of Jackman’s quality
Because tomorrow, when Saracens play to be coaching at Irish schools such as
Leinster in the quarter-finals of the St Michael’s.
“If you want to coach in Ireland,
Champions Cup at the Aviva
schools rugby is as close as you
Stadium, they will be coming
can get to professionalism,”
up against not just the team
he says. “It was a big part of
who look the strongest in
Leinster
v
my development. You test
Europe, but also a system
yourself in knockout, highthat feeds off one of the
Saracens
ly intense competition. I
best schools.
Tomorrow
know, it’s school rugby, so
One of Leinster’s many
Kick-off: 3.30pm
that sounds ridiculous, but
strengths is their excelBT Sport 2
it’s true.”
lence in identification and
What does professionalism
development
of
young
at St Michael’s look like? They
players. Of Leinster’s 45-man
play today, will have video analysis of
senior squad, 37 have come through
their academy. The production line is so each player’s game in their inbox by
strong that The Irish Times recently tomorrow, will be doing the first of the
described Leinster as “akin to Ajax in week’s gym sessions at 7am on Monday
morning and then the full post-match
their 1980s pomp”.
And quite a lot of this is to do with video review session on Monday lunchSt Michael’s. In the broader Leinster time.
That is one reason why Ryan, Leavy
squad, there are 14 St Michael’s alumni.
Blackrock, Dublin’s more famous rugby et al can transfer so quickly from school
school, has been overtaken as a devel- rugby to the professional game —
opment centre for professional rugby because they have been conditioned in
players. St Michael’s has provided the a school system that is so close to the
past six captains of the Ireland Under- real thing. That is not just St Michael’s,
though. Christchurch Boys in New Zea20 team.
On recent Six Nations weekends, land is no different. The top English
when Ireland, Ireland Under-20, schools too.
To give the level of the rugby at
Leinster and Connacht were all playing,
there were, at any time, between 20 and St Michael’s some context, though,
22 St Michael’s old boys in action. It Kirkham Grammar and (an injury
even goes as far as the headmaster, -depleted) Wellington College, two of
whose two sons, Cian and Ronan the strongest school sides in England,
Kelleher, have also graduated from the played there in the autumn and were
school and into the ranks of the beaten 65-0 and 72-0 respectively.
Some more context: some of the top
professional game.
Owen Slot Chief Rugby Correspondent
Brian O’Driscoll on the key
English public schools recruit heavily
and compete with each other with the
scholarships they can give to attract the
best up-and-coming players. At St
Michael’s, though, Andy Skehan, the
director of rugby, explains, “No one is
recruited. There is no vetting of
their athletic ability coming in. We
just get what we get and make the
best of it we can. We have no
players coming into the school
late.”
What is also impressive is
how St Michael’s mapped out
their rapid progress. “I remember reading the match programme at Lansdowne Road
internationals and they listed the
schools the players came from, and I
thought, ‘ It’d be quite cool if we couldget one from St Michael’s,’ ” Skehan
says.
Ten years ago, a decision was made to
improve the school rugby programme.
This involved, for instance, two new 4G
pitches being laid and increased levels
of professionalism in the senior teams.
A unified coaching vision across all
teams and age groups was introduced; a
lot of it is Leinster-based, while the
attack owes a lot to Exeter Chiefs.
In 2012, they won the Leinster Senior
Schools Cup, a huge event. They were
beaten in the final the year after. They
haven’t been in the final since, which is
just a comment on the quality of the
competition and the quality of the
Leinster supply line.
Blackrock, Belvedere and Clongowes
are traditionally the toughest rivals. In
their semi-final against Belvedere this
year, St Michael’s were 19-3 up with ten
minutes to go, made a number of substitutions and lost by a point.
Does this make them the best rugbyplaying school in the world? Blackrock,
who beat Belvedere in the final, would
probably like a say in that. Or, ideally, St
Michael’s would be playing in the
inaugural World Schools Festival next
week in Paarl, South Africa. That is a
20-team
invitation
tournament;
Christchurch Boys High will be there.
St Michael’s were invited but declined because too many of their top
players were unavailable as they were
playing for Ireland Under-18 or Under19. That is a nice problem to have, a
great situation for Leinster to inherit.
Farrell passed fit but rested Irish side start as favourites
Owen Slot
The team news was good for Saracens
yesterday, and not so hot for Leinster.
On that front, Saracens appear to have
the edge. However much they are
buoyed by the return of Owen Farrell,
though, this fixture is about so much
more than one man.
For Saracens, it was a good start to
Easter when Farrell had recovered
from a quad injury. Whether he is ready
to take up place-kicking duties will not
become clear until tomorrow afternoon. It may well be that Alex Goode
has to step up as kicker.
On the other side, Seán O’Brien’s
long-awaited comeback will have to
wait a little longer. Leinster were
hoping for that extra lift by picking an
iconic player but it will take more than
that setback to stop Leinster, who bring
so much momentum into this
potentially epic quarter-final.
It is impossible to divorce tomorrow’s
game at the Aviva Stadium from
Ireland’s grand-slam win two weeks
ago. We left the Six Nations wondering
about England and fatigue. The Ireland
grand-slammers left it and seemed to
head straight for Dubai.
We are back into a knockout game
that pits one team who are rested
against one who are not. Of Leinster’s
starting XV, only five played last weekend. And Saracens? Of their starting
XV, 13 played last weekend. If George
Kruis and Farrell had not been injured,
it may have been the full house.
Saracens, of course, are so convinced
that fatigue is a massive red herring that
Maro Itoje joked about it with his try
celebration last weekend. We will see
how funny the joke is tomorrow. But
these are systems and coaching decisions too. Mark McCall, the Saracens
director of rugby, could have rested
more first-choice players last weekend
but put as much of his Champions Cup
team together as he could. This
Leinster team have not really played
together since January. They had been
on such a roll it seemed nothing could
stop them. They have grand-slammers
among them and have been toasting
their success on the beach.
Hard work versus celebration. This is
one of the many decisions that pits two
smart rugby brains against each other.
Many would install McCall as the next
Ireland coach; others in Ireland would
have Stuart Lancaster, the Leinster
senior coach. That is one of the many
subtexts to a massive game.
Though it is tempting to read this as
England versus Ireland, but in different
shirts, it is about the struggle for performance. Leinster tend to be consist-
ently excellent, and were by some
distance the best team in the pool
stages, but since the Six Nations started
they have won two games out of five.
Saracens, meanwhile, are searching
for performances to match last season’s,
such as the semi-final win over Munster
at the Aviva. They have been up and
then massively down this season.
Schalk Burger, the Saracens flanker,
put it in straightforward terms: “The big
thing for us, as a group of mates, is to
pull together and put up a performance
representative of Saracens and what we
stand for. We are the type of team that
embraces these sort of challenges.”
Now is truly the time to show it.
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
17
2G S
Sport
Lowering height of
tackle may actually
cause more injuries
clashes
W JAMES RYAN
v MARO ITOJE
The really good players
respond when their
performances are being
questioned and it has
looked as though Maro
has responded to
suggestions that he
might have been needing
a rest. He’s a future
captain of England,
undoubtedly. Ryan is
also a natural leader
and, like Itoje, is an
extremely athletic lock.
He is perhaps a year ahead
of what we might have expected
in his development, having started
the grand-slam match against
England two weeks ago. Amazingly,
he has not lost a game in his
professional career.
Ben Kay
B
E
X JOHNNY SEXTON
v OWEN FARRELL
Even if he is not fully fit, Owen
Farrell at 80 per cent or more
is still going to be a real threat
and an important player for
Saracens. Farrell and Sexton
have so much in common:
they’re bolshie, they’re
stubborn, they’ve both learnt to
cool their occasionally fiery
temperaments. They’re two of
the best three fly halves in the
world, with Beauden Barrett
making up the club.
W TADHG FURLONG
v MAKO VUNIPOLA
The two pillars of the British &
Irish Lions’ scrum in New Zealand.
I thought Mako was one of the
shining lights for England in their
defeat by Ireland at the end of
the Six Nations, he just kept
going. Maybe there’s a danger
now that he’ll be running on
fumes, but he’s an incredibly
consistent performer in the
loose. Where Furlong will hope
to get the edge is in the scrum,
but he’ll need plenty of help
from his team-mates against the
Saracens pack.
6 BT Sport is the only place to
watch rugby from the
Champions Cup, Challenge
Cup and the Aviva
Premiership. For more info
visit www.bt.com/sport
Solomona accused of using term ‘faggot’
John Westerby
The homophobic insult that Denny
Solomona has been accused of making
is the same term that led to Mathieu
Bastareaud being banned for three
weeks earlier this season.
Solomona, the Sale Sharks wing, will
attend a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, having been accused of verbally
abusing Jamie Shillcock, the Worcester
Warriors fly half, during their teams’
Aviva Premiership meeting last weekend.
Shillcock has alleged that Solomona
twice used the term “faggot” when the
pair scuffled in the 56th minute of the
match at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Bastareaud, the Toulon and France
centre, was found guilty of using the
same insult towards Sebastian Negri
during
his
club’s
European
Champions Cup game against
Benetton in January.
A guilty plea meant that Bastareaud’s ban was reduced from
six weeks, the minimum entry
for the offence, to three
weeks. It is not yet
known
how
Solomona will
plead
Sale’s wing could face
lengthy ban
at his hearing. The Sale wing,
who was part of England’s
Six Nations squad without
adding to his two caps,
has scored 11 Premiership tries this season,
one fewer than
Worcester
wing
Josh Adams, the
league’s
leading
scorer.
Sale have four
Premiership games
remaining and lie
seventh in the table,
six points away from
the top-four play-off
positions.
verything in sport happens
in the moment and tends to
be judged accordingly. When
England win the Six
Nations, Eddie Jones is the
best thing since sliced bread. And
be
when England finish fifth a year later,
wh
it’s seen in some quarters as an
unmitigated disaster. There’s a lot of
un
black and white in sport, not so many
bl
shades of grey, and the same rationale
sh
tends to apply when we have a
te
pressing problem that needs solving:
pr
here is the issue, we need to make a
he
clear-cut change as soon as possible.
cle
But sometimes there are
unintended consequences of changes
un
that we can’t appreciate until those
th
changes are made. Take the change in
ch
the breakdown laws this season. I
th
don’t think many people foresaw,
do
when the ruck laws were redrafted to
wh
favour attacking teams, that midfields
fav
would become so much more
wo
congested and that there would be
co
bigger collisions as a result. This was
a knock-on effect, unforeseen until
the new laws were being
implemented, and sometimes you
have to go through that process to see
whether something works, especially
in a game such as rugby, with so
many moving parts.
This crossed my mind when the
Professional Rugby Injury
Surveillance Project on the English
game was released this week, coming
with the recommendation from the
RFU that World Rugby should
consider lowering the legal height of
the tackle to reduce the risks of
concussion.
The report had found that incidents
of concussion had risen for the
seventh consecutive year and that it
was the most commonly reported
injury, accounting for 22 per cent of
the total injuries studied.
I have huge respect for the work
that Simon Kemp, the RFU’s medical
services director, is doing and this is
clearly one of the biggest issues facing
the game. But I wonder if lowering
the height of tackles could come with
the unintended consequence of
actually making the collision more
dangerous for the tackler.
According to the report, 19 per cent
of injuries to the ball carrier were
concussions. For the tackler, this
figure was 43 per cent. The tackle is
naturally more dangerous for the
tackler because he’s the one who has
to react to the carrier’s sudden
movements, he’s the one who’s more
likely to get something slightly wrong
in this high-speed blur of action.
Now think of the tackler setting
himself even lower for a tackle, and
what will be coming from the ball
carrier. If he sets his head lower,
shifting the trajectory of the hit down
a few inches, there will be knees,
elbows and hips in close proximity. A
lot of hard bones for the side of his
head to come into contact with.
Consider also that many carriers
dip into the tackle, with their backs
almost horizontal when they’re taking
contact, while carrying the ball
around their midriff. Where does the
tackler aim? This doesn’t leave much
in the way of soft landings on the
carrier’s body for the tackler’s head to
find. I’m not sure that lowering the
tackle height would reduce the risk of
concussion and it might even make
the situation worse. We won’t know
because you can never tell whether a
significant change like this will lead to
other unintended consequences. But
this is an area where the game needs
to get things right.
I should say that I believe the spike
in concussions detailed in the report
is not a sign that the game is
becoming more dangerous, merely a
reflection of improved education.
Quite simply, players are reporting
their concussions more often.
Back in my playing days at
Leicester, our training sessions could
be fierce and it was not unknown for
them to erupt into huge punch-ups. If
a player was feeling groggy, he’d take
a minute, shake it off and pitch
himself straight back into the fray.
Nowadays, because of the brilliant
work involved in the study of injuries,
players are much more aware of the
risks and will put their hand up when
they’ve been knocked on the head for
the medics to take a look at them.
There are times, of course, when
the tackler simply puts his head in the
wrong place. Jonny May was one such
May receives treatment for the head
injury he suffered against Wasps
example, knocked out playing for
Leicester against Wasps last weekend
when he lined up a tackle on
Christian Wade. The Wasps wing
stepped in, dipped slightly into
contact and May jarred his head in
contact with Wade’s shoulder. But it’s
so hard for the tackler to react to late
movement from the player with the
ball. Tacklers are often accused of
being reckless, but there’s always got
to be margin for error.
If we go much further down the
path of penalising reckless tackles,
we’ll see more players being sent off
and more games being decided by
one marginal misjudgment in a
tackle, detracting from what
supporters have paid to watch.
I wonder if the rugby league system
of placing players on report, with the
possibility of disciplinary action
further down the line, would be more
effective than sending them off for
slight errors in the timing of a tackle.
Rugby is inherently a reckless sport.
The players generally know that
participation comes with a risk
attached and they gladly accept that
risk, but I really don’t think the game
is becoming more dangerous.
To ensure that this remains the
case and that mums and dads can
believe this is a safe game for their
kids, we must keep looking at ways to
reduce concussions, but I’m not
convinced that lowering the height of
the tackle is the clear way forward.
18
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
3G S
Sport Rugby union
Late tries put Scarlets into the
Scarlets
La Rochelle
29
0
2
17
1
Champions Cup quarter-final
Steve James
It was not necessarily the game to
match a remarkable atmosphere and
occasion as Welsh regional rugby at last
returned to the European party, with
Scarlets progressing to their first semifinal in this competition since 2007.
But nobody in Llanelli was complaining about that last night. The victory
was all that mattered and it was thoroughly deserved in the end, achieved
by some brilliant work from their pack
at the breakdown and in defence, in
particular a captain’s performance from
the hooker Ken Owens, two secondhalf tries and the trusty boot of Leigh
Halfpenny.
There has never been a Welsh winner
in the elite European competition —
and the last Welsh semi-finalists were
Cardiff Blues in 2009 — and Scarlets
will have to do it the hard way in the
semi-final, with a trip either to Dublin
to face Leinster or Coventry to meet
Saracens, but they will know they can
play a lot better than this. They are a
seriously dangerous side.
“We can dare to dream,” Owens said.
“It wasn’t pretty at times but, as someone who has been at this club all my
career, this victory means everything to
me. It was the biggest game of my club
career.”
Only in the last quarter through a try
from the centre Scott Williams did we
really see their true style, those quick
passes and offloads, but that was down
to a combination of nerves and a huge
La Rochelle side that often dragged
Scarlets down to their pace.
“We didn’t quite execute the game
plan we wanted,” Owens admitted. “But
we ground out the victory. In knockout
rugby we have learnt that you can try to
play as much rugby as you want, but
you have just got to find a way to win.
That is what we did.”
The visitors simply conceded too
many penalties at crucial moments,
especially in the first half.
They were unable to please the
referee, Luke Pearce, sufficiently, in
particular at the breakdown, where
Tadhg Beirne and John Barclay were
superb for the home side. Pearce,
unusually for an Aviva Premiership
official, often sided with the defender
and jackaler rather than the attacker.
Scarlets had scored first with a Halfpenny penalty kick but then came a
controversial score from La Rochelle.
The outstanding centre Arthur
Retière had unexpectedly received the
ball from a ruck — that often flummoxes defences — and duly opened up
Scarlets with a lovely kick and collect.
From there Jérémy Sinzelle, the fly
half, kicked to the corner, where the ball
evaded Steff Evans, the home wing.
There was a mad scramble to touch the
ball down, with Halfpenny and the lock
Romain Sazy in attendance.
After lengthy deliberation from
David Grashoff, the television match
official, the try was awarded to Sazy.
Alexi Balès converted to make it 7-3.
Halfpenny kicked a second penalty
goal and when Scarlets lost their wing
Paul Asquith, they replaced him with
Josh Macleod, a flanker, meaning
James Davies had to move to the wing.
The other option would have been to
bring Dan Jones on at fly half, with
Rhys Patchell moving to full back and
Halfpenny to the wing.
It seemed rather a waste to banish
Davies out wide given how influential
he has been for Scarlets in recent times,
but Macleod made an immediate
impact, winning a penalty at the breakdown so that Halfpenny could kick his
third penalty goal and return Scarlets
to the lead at 9-7.
That became a five-point advantage
when Halfpenny kicked his fourth
penalty goal.
La Rochelle did rally, though, and
Balès, the scrum half, very nearly went
through for a try. A penalty was some
consolation, at least, and Balès kicked
that himself to make it 12-10 at the
break.
When Steff Evans was injured, his
head hitting Balès’s elbow, Scarlets had
to make that back-line change with
Jones arriving at fly half, but not before
Halfpenny, now on the wing to accommodate Patchell at full back, had kicked
his fifth penalty goal after yet another
silly La Rochelle offence at a ruck.
The French side pounded at the
Scarlets line but then, having somehow
survived through valiant defence and a
Barclay turnover, came the killer blow
from the home side.
Hadleigh Parkes, again having one of
those quietly efficient games, made the
initial break with his trademark spin
out of the tackle. The ruck ball was
quick so that Gareth Davies could feed
Jones.
The replacement fly half made a
clever long pass to Patchell, who could
have used Halfpenny outside but went
himself and duly scored Scarlets’ first
try of the match. Halfpenny converted
brilliantly to make it 22-10.
La Rochelle would not yield easily,
however, and again were camped on
the west Walians’ line but this time
Patchell, who started at fly half before
moving to full back, received the ball
from Jones before opting not to pass
to Halfpenny and running over for the
Scarlets’ opening try, making it 20-10
Halfpenny converted, and the score
was 29-10. It was all over. A last-ditch
try from replacement Pierre Boudehent from his own half was no consolation for La Rochelle.
another hero, the replacement Lewis
Rawlins, appeared to save the day. But
the yellow card we had all been expecting — Beirne had been very fortunate
at one stage — came as the replacement Will Boyde was sent to the sin-bin
for side entry at a ruck.
No matter. Scarlets had one moment
of magic up their sleeves. Gareth
Davies had collected a kick in the
sweeping role and the ball was transferred swiftly to the short side by Patchell and Aaron Shingler, freeing the
flanker-cum-wing James Davies down
the right-hand side. He found Williams
inside and the centre stretched away to
score.
Scorers: Scarlets: Tries Patchell 61min, Williams 75.
Conversions: Halfpenny 2. Penalty goals: Halfpenny 5
(4, 11, 17, 25, 45).
La Rochelle: Tries Sazy 8, Boudehent 80. Conversions
Noble, Balès. Penalty goal Balès.
Scoring sequence (Scarlets first): 3-0, 3-7, 6-7, 9-7, 127, 12-10, (half-time), 15-10, 22-10, 29-10, 29-17.
Scarlets: L Halfpenny; P Asquith (rep: J Macleod 14
[rep: W Boyde 62, sin-bin 69]), S Williams, H Parkes,
S Evans (rep: D Jones 45); R Patchell, G Davies
(rep: A Davies 78); R Evans (rep: D Evans 68), K Owens,
S Lee (rep: W Kruger 56), T Beirne, D Bulbring
(rep: L Rawlins 56), A Shingler, J Davies, J Barclay
(rep: R Elias 78).
La Rochelle: C Bouldoire (rep: P Boudehent 31);
V Rattez, A Retière, P Aguillon, S Barry; J Sinzelle
(rep: B Noble 62), A Balès (rep: T Kerr-Barlow 56);
D Priso (rep: K Tufele 62), P Bourgarit, U Atonio
(rep: M Boughanmi 52), R Sazy, M Tanguy, B Veivuke
(rep: K Gourdon 24), Z Kieft (rep: G Lamboley 56),
A Amosa (rep: H Forbes 56).
Referee: L Pearce (England).
Attendance: 15,373.
Fixtures
Today
Football
Kick-off 3.0 unless stated
Premier League: Brighton v Leicester; Crystal
Palace v Liverpool (12.30); Everton v Man City
(5.30); Man Utd v Swansea; Newcastle v
Huddersfield; Watford v Bournemouth; West
Brom v Burnley; West Ham v Southampton.
Sky Bet Championship: Birmingham v Ipswich;
Hull v Aston Villa (5.30).
League One: Walsall v Portsmouth.
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership: Aberdeen v St
Johnstone; Celtic v Ross County; Hibernian v
Partick; Kilmarnock v Hamilton; Motherwell v
Rangers (12.30).
Championship: Dumbarton v Livingston;
Dunfermline v Queen of South; Falkirk v
Brechin; Inverness CT v St Mirren; Morton v
Dundee Utd.
League One: Alloa v Arbroath; East Fife v Ayr;
Queen’s Park v Airdrieonians; Raith v Albion;
Stranraer v Forfar.
League Two: Annan Athletic v Berwick;
Cowdenbeath v Stenhousemuir; Elgin v
Stirling; Montrose v Edinburgh City; Peterhead
v Clyde.
Vanarama North: Blyth Spartans v AFC Telford;
Innard at the
Anglo-Welsh Cup final
Jack Innard scored two tries as Exeter
Chiefs regained the Anglo-Welsh Cup
with a 28-11 win over Bath at
Kingsholm. It was the fourth final in a
row that the Chiefs had contested and,
after losing the past two, they claimed
back the trophy they first won in 2014.
Bath went into the final unbeaten in
this season’s tournament but they were
comfortably second best on the day as
their wait for a first trophy since 2008,
when they won the European
Challenge Cup, went on.
Apart from Innard, the hooker, right,
Toby Salmon scored Exeter’s other try,
with Joe Simmonds adding three penalties and two conversions, while Bath’s
Results
Darlington v Southport; Leamington v FC
United of Manchester; York v Chorley.
South: Chippenham v Eastbourne Borough;
Gloucester v St Albans; Wealdstone v East
Thurrock.
Evo-Stik Premier Division: North: Ashton Utd v
Mickleover Sports; Coalville Town v
Workington; Halesowen v Stourbridge;
Lancaster City v Sutton Coldfield; Marine v
Buxton; Matlock Town v Stalybridge; Nantwich
Town v Farsley Celtic; Rushall Olympic v
Altrincham; Shaw Lane v Barwell; Stafford
Rangers v Grantham; Whitby v Warrington
Town; Witton Albion v Hednesford.
South: Bishop’s Stortford v Merthyr; Chesham
v Redditch; Dorchester v St Neots Town;
Farnborough v Kings Langley; Frome Town v
Banbury; Gosport Borough v Biggleswade;
Hereford v Royston Town; Hitchin v Tiverton;
Kettering v Weymouth; St Ives Town v
Basingstoke; Stratford Town v Kings Lynn
Town.
Bostik Premier: Enfield Town v Brightlingsea
Regent; Hendon v Met Police; Leatherhead v
Billericay; Margate v Worthing; Merstham v
Harrow Borough; Needham Market v Tooting &
Mitcham; Staines Town v Folkestone; Thurrock
v Leiston.
Women’s Super League: Yeovil v Liverpool.
League Two: Doncaster v Watford (5.0).
Rugby union
European Champions Cup: Quarter-finals:
Munster v Toulon (3.15).
European Challenge Cup: Quarter-finals:
Connacht v Gloucester (1.0); Edinburgh v
Cardiff Blues (Murrayfield, 5.45).
British & Irish Cup: Quarter-finals: Bedford v
Ulster A (3.0); Ealing Trailfinders v Cornish
Pirates (3.0).
Women: Tyrrells Premier 15s: FirwoodWaterloo v Wasps (2.0); Worcester v
Darlington Mowden Park (2.0).
Other sport
Boxing: IBF, WBA, WBO, IBO heavyweight title
bout: Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker, Cardiff
Principality stadium.
Ice Hockey: Elite League play-offs: Sheffield v
Guildford (7.0); Fife v Manchester (7.15).
Tomorrow
Football
Premier League: Arsenal v Stoke (1.30);
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur (4.0).
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership: Dundee v
Hearts (12.30).
FA Women’s Super League (2.0): Arsenal v
Chelsea (12.30); Birmingham v Sunderland;
Everton v Bristol City; Man City v Reading.
League Two: Brighton v Tottenham (2.0);
Durham v Oxford Utd (12.0); Sheffield FC v
Millwall (2.0).
Cricket
Football
Millwall
Williams 1, Gregory 33
16,004
Sky Bet Championship
Norwich
Fulham
Barnsley
(1) 2
Bristol City
(1) 2
Moore 7, Potts 78
12,236
Diedhious 31
Brownhill 90+1
Brentford
Sheffield Utd (0) 1
(0) 1
(2) 2
(0) 0
26,750
Reading
Nottm Forest (0) 0
(1) 1
QPR
(0) 0
MCC University matches: First day of three
(11.0): Fenner’s: Cambridge MCCU v
Nottinghamshire. Bristol: Gloucestershire v
Cardiff MCCU. Canterbury: Kent v Oxford
MCCU. Hove: Sussex v Loughborough MCCU.
Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Durham MCCU.
Worcester RGS: Worcestershire v Leeds/
Bradford MCCU.
Mepham 68
Basham 55
11,174
Sent off: R Woods (Brentford) 69, J Blackman
(Sheff Utd) 69
Aluko 13
Sheffield Wed (0) 4
Preston
Cardiff
Nuhiu 50, 90+2
Lucas João 52
Forestieri 90+6
Moult 72
26,588
Rugby union
Derby
European Champions Cup: Quarter-finals:
Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92 (2.0); Leinster
v Saracens (3.30).
Other sport
Basketball: BBL Championship: Sheffield v
Leeds (2.0); London v Leicester (4.15); Cheshire
v Glasgow (5.30).
Ice Hockey: Elite League play-offs: Manchester
v Fife (5.30); Cardiff v Coventry (6.0); Guildford
v Sheffield (6.0); Nottingham v Belfast (7.0).
(2) 3
Zohore 16
Mendez-Laing 45+1
Paterson 64
(1) 1
Vydra 42
27,890
Leeds
Bent 21
21,086
Sunderland
(2) 4
Honeyman 10
Fletcher 36
McGeady 50 (pen)
O’Shea 76
(1) 2
Ekuban 4
Hernández 50
Middlesbro
Burton Albion (1) 1
Bolton
(0) 1
Le Fondre 53
35,377
(0) 1
Wolves
(2) 2
Bamford 90+4
Costa 32, Cavaleiro 37
27,658
Sent off: R Neves (Wolves 56), M Doherty
(Wolves) 71
(0) 2
Johansen 66
Cairney 70
20,273
Sent off: Y Kermorgant (Reading 81)
P
Wolves................39
Cardiff.................38
Fulham................39
Aston Villa..........38
Derby...................38
Middlesbro..........39
Bristol City..........39
Millwall...............39
Sheff Utd ............ 39
Preston................39
Brentford ............ 39
Leeds...................39
Ipswich................38
Norwich...............39
W
26
24
20
20
16
18
16
16
18
15
14
15
15
13
D
7
7
12
9
14
8
13
13
7
15
13
8
7
13
L
6
7
7
9
8
13
9
10
14
9
12
16
16
13
F
71
61
68
61
56
55
56
48
52
49
55
52
47
41
(0) 1
A
34
32
41
37
38
38
44
37
44
41
47
54
48
46
GD Pts
37 85
29 79
27 72
24 69
18 62
17 62
12 62
11 61
8 61
8 60
8 55
-2 53
-1 52
-5 52
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
19
3G S
Sport
Froome ‘suffers setback’ in bid to
avoid ban for use of asthma drug
semi-finals
JAMES CROMBIE/INPHO/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Cycling
Martyn Ziegler Chief Sports Reporter
Chris Froome has suffered a first setback in his hopes of avoiding a ban for
excessive levels of salbutamol after the
UCI referred his case to its independent
anti-doping panel, according to Le
Monde, the French daily newspaper.
The Team Sky rider had been hoping
that his explanations would be enough
to persuade the international cycling
union to drop the case but it will now
proceed to the next stage in the process.
The four-times Tour de France winner returned an adverse finding for
double the permitted level of the
asthma drug salbumatol at the Vuelta a
España in September last year.
Froome, 32, had argued there were
natural reasons for it and that there had
been no wrongdoing on his or the
team’s part.
He has been allowed to continue
competing until the case is resolved and
is part of Team Sky’s plans for the Giro
d’Italia, which starts in Jerusalem on
May 4.
However, if the case is still hanging
over him it looks unlikely he will be
permitted to take part in the Tour de
11
Years since a Welsh
team reached the semifinals of European
club rugby’s leading
competition
France as organisers have
indicated they will not issue an
invitation.
David Lappartient, the UCI
president, said earlier this
month that he believed
Team Sky should have suspended Froome pending
the outcome of the case
and that it would be “a disaster for the image of
cycling” if he rode in the
Tour de France without
his case being resolved.
Froome’s hopes of
avoiding a ban rest on
him being able to conat there
t
vince the panel that
was a natural reason for the
high level of salbutamol.
In previous cases, Diego Ulissi tested positive
for a similar level of salbutamol at the Giro in
2014 and was banned
for nine months by a Swiss disciplinary
panel.
In the 2007 Giro, Alessandro Petacchi tested positive for salbutamol and
was then banned for a
year by the Italian
authorities.
When the news of
t
the
adverse finding
b
broke,
Froome insisted
h had followed the rules
he
about the permitted dose.
He said at the time: “It is
w
well
known that I have
a
asthma
and I know exactly
w
what
the rules are. I use an
inhaler to manage my
symptoms and I know for
sure that I will be tested
every day I wear the race
leader’s jersey.
“My asthma got worse
at the Vuelta so I followed
t team doctor’s advice to
the
i
increase
my salbutamol
d
dosage.
“As always, I took the
g
greatest
care to ensure that I
d
did not use more than the perm
missible
dose.”
The UCI has not
been convinced
by Froome’s
explanation
Grace ends Saints’ nine-year derby wait
St Helens
Wigan Warriors
21
0
2
18
1
Betfred Super League
Christopher Irvine
double as Exeter secure cup
points came from a try by Cooper Vuna
and two penalties from Freddie
Burns.
“I’m really proud of this
group of players as we
thought we were out of
this competition at
various stages during
the season,” Ricky
Pellow, the Exeter skills
coach, said.
“The club has a squad
of 48-52 players and we
have faith in all of them, and
they showed that today by playing with emotion and passion in a
competition that is a massive part of the
club’s development plan.”
Todd Blackadder, the Bath director
QPR ..................... 39 12 11 16 45 56 -11 47
Nottm Forest......39 13 7 19 43 56 -13 46
Sheff Wed...........39 10 14 15 45 53 -8 44
Hull......................38 9 12 17 53 59 -6 39
Reading...............39 9 12 18 45 57 -12 39
Bolton..................39 9 12 18 34 58 -24 39
Barnsley..............39 7 13 19 39 58 -19 34
Birmingham........38 9 6 23 28 57 -29 33
Sunderland..........39 6 13 20 42 69 -27 31
Burton.................39 7 9 23 28 70 -42 30
League One
AFC Wimbledon(0) 0
Fleetwood
4,378
Sowerby 22
Blackpool
(0) 1
Doncaster
(1) 1
(1) 2
Daniel 56
4,533
Rowe 43, 70
Bristol Rovers (0) 2
Bury
Telford 65
Lines 85 (pen)
Danns 54
9,030
Northampton (0) 0
Charlton
6,416
Reeves 14
Fosu-Henry 19, 51
Magennis 79
Oxford United (0) 1
Scunthorpe
Henry 56 (pen)
7,479
Toney 12
(0) 1
(2) 4
(1) 1
of rugby, did not spare his side criticism.
“We set ourselves up in the first
quarter as our kicking was
aimless and our discipline
killed us,” he said. “We
were on the back foot for
the whole of the first 20
minutes and didn’t
have any possession at
all. We came out a
different team after the
interval but it shouldn’t
take a rocket at half-time
to make us turn in a performance.”
6 Two tries by Alex Tait helped
Newcastle Falcons to beat Brive 25-10
at Kingston Park and earn a place in the
European Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Plymouth
(2) 4
Lameiras 3, 88
Carey 33, 52
Rochdale
Southend
(0) 0
11,965
(1) 3
Shrewsbury
(1) 1
Rathbone 45+12
Davies 80
Henderson 90+6
Thomas 8
4,098
Rotherham
Peterborough (0) 1
(0) 1
Lavery 68
9,573
Wigan
There was no finer way for St Helens to
break Wigan’s nine-year stranglehold
over the great rivals’ Good Friday derby
fixture than Regan Grace’s spectacular
try from Jonny Lomax’s perfect looping
pass five minutes from time.
St Helens had been staring at yet
another Easter loss to their arch rivals
after George Williams converted Willie
Isa’s try to put Wigan 14-12 ahead. But
the early league leaders’ admirable
control in the last nine minutes and
flurry of nine points allowed them to
stretch their advantage to four points at
the top of the table.
Sean O’Loughlin added to Wigan’s
disciplinary woes with a contentiouslooking ball steal in allowing Danny
Richardson to draw the home side level.
His penalty was followed by a conversion from wide out after Grace’s diving
finish, then a drop-goal to render Joel
Tomkins’s last-act second try for the
Marriott 90+8
(1) 3
Grigg 40, Vaughan 49
Powell 66
P W
Wigan..................37 24
Blackburn............38 23
Shrewsbury.........39 23
Rotherham..........39 20
Scunthorpe..........40 15
Plymouth.............39 17
Peterborough......39 15
Charlton .............. 38 16
Portsmouth.........38 17
Bristol Rovers.....39 16
Bradford..............38 16
Southend.............39 13
Doncaster............38 12
Gillingham...........38 12
Fleetwood Town.39 13
Blackpool.............39 11
Oldham
(0) 0
L
5
5
7
13
10
13
11
12
17
17
17
15
13
13
17
14
F
71
72
52
64
57
51
61
50
48
56
49
45
47
43
51
45
A
23
35
31
46
48
47
49
46
47
58
56
59
45
43
57
50
GD Pts
48 80
37 79
21 78
18 66
9 60
4 60
12 58
4 58
1 55
-2 54
-7 53
-14 50
2 49
0 49
-6 48
-5 47
12
11
10
11
10
10
8
7
10
11
12
9
10
10
14
9
16
16
17
19
17
20
15
23
53
47
39
37
50
36
38
32
58
57
52
50
65
67
46
59
-5
-10
-13
-13
-15
-31
-8
-27
46
44
42
42
40
40
38
30
League Two
Barnet
10,625
D
8
10
9
6
15
9
13
10
4
6
5
11
13
13
9
14
Oxford Utd..........38
Walsall................38
MK Dons..............39
AFC Wimbledon..39
Oldham................37
Northampton......40
Rochdale..............37
Bury.....................39
Crewe
(0) 1
McKirdy 70
Cambridge Utd(2) 3
Crawley Town (0) 1
Ibehre 4, Maris 22
Brown 58
Payne 49 (pen)
4,131
Cheltenham
Carlisle
(0) 0
3,107
(0) 1
(2) 2
Luton
(0) 1
Hylton 88 (pen)
5,461
(0) 0
Stevenage
(0) 0
(0) 3
Exeter
(1) 2
5,368
Lincoln City
Newport Co
Accrington
(1) 1
Coventry
Demetriou 40
4,667
Biamou 79
Notts County (0) 0
Wycombe
Rowe 60, Green 62
Palmer 86
Port Vale
(0) 1
(0) 1
(0) 0
Stockley 10, Taylor 78
9,785
(1) 2
Chesterfield (0) 1
Pugh 45
Reed 56
Whitfield 82
5,713
Sent off: D Pugh (Port Vale) 45+2
Swindon
Devitt 74 (pen)
Eastman 15
Prosser 27
Grimsby
(0) 0
5,053
Conneely 60
Sent off: M Benning (Mansfield Town) 13
8,038
(0) 2
Akinde 51 (pen), 87 (pen)
1,951
Colchester
Mansfield
Warriors academic. Justin Holbrook,
the St Helens head coach, said:
“There’d been a lot of talk of the eight
years and this win means so much.”
Shaun Wane, the Wigan head coach,
bemoaned the late loss of Sam Tomkins
through illness. Morgan Escaré, deputising at full back, kicked Wigan into an
early lead, but Saints improved once
Ben Barba slipped the shackles. Luke
Thompson’s offload left the full back to
cover 50 metres and beat Escaré.
Wigan persistently fell foul of Robert
Hicks, the referee, and were further
punished by James Roby darting from
dummy half and angling a pass for Zeb
Taia, who left John Bateman and Josh
Woods clutching at thin air, to grab
Saints’ second touchdown.
The home side’s similarly low-key
start to the second period was
exploited. Sam Powell’s inside ball and
Williams’s switch to Tomkins produced
a timely retort. Tomkins was held up,
but Isa seized O’Loughlin’s pass to
ground out wide, defying a clutch of
defenders.
It levelled the scores and Williams’s
touchline conversion nudged the
Warriors in front, before Richardson’s
immaculate kicking and Grace’s
intervention turned the tide. “I’ll get
(0) 1
Norris 55 (pen)
6,328
Yeovil
P
Accrington...........38
Luton...................40
Wycombe............40
Notts County ...... 40
Exeter..................39
Coventry..............39
Lincoln City.........39
Mansfield............39
Swindon..............39
Carlisle................40
Morecambe
(1) 1
Lang 43
P
W
24
21
20
18
20
19
17
16
19
16
Forest Green
D
5
11
11
13
6
8
13
15
4
12
L
9
8
9
9
13
12
9
8
16
12
F
65
82
73
61
52
48
56
56
60
57
A
40
42
54
42
44
32
42
41
59
49
P
GD Pts
25 77
40 74
19 71
19 67
8 66
16 65
14 64
15 63
1 61
8 60
Colchester...........40
Newport County . 39
Cambridge...........40
Crawley...............40
Cheltenham.........40
Stevenage...........39
Crewe..................40
Yeovil..................37
Morecambe.........39
Port Vale.............40
Forest Green.......39
Grimsby...............40
Chesterfield........38
Barnet.................40
15
13
14
15
12
11
13
11
9
10
11
9
9
8
13
15
12
8
12
12
4
9
15
12
7
11
7
9
12
11
14
17
16
16
23
17
15
18
21
20
22
23
49
49
42
50
58
50
50
47
38
43
47
32
41
36
44
50
52
57
58
56
65
57
48
55
67
61
68
59
over it,” Wane said, “in about a year.
We did some good stuff, just not enough
of it.”
Elsewhere, Hull beat Hull Kingston
Rovers 30-22 and Leeds Rhinos were
held 22-22 by Huddersfield Giants. Josh
Charnley scored two tries on his league
return from Sale Sharks in helping
Warrington Wolves to defeat Widnes
Vikings 32-18, and Catalans Dragons
lost 32-16 away at Salford Red Devils.
Scorers: St Helens: Tries: Barba, Taia, Grace. Goals:
Richardson 4. Dropped goal: Richardson. Wigan
Warriors: Tries: Tomkins 2, Isa. Goals: Escaré 2,
Williams.
St Helens: B Barba; T Makinson, R Morgan, M Percival,
R Grace; J Lomax, D Richardson; K Amor, J Roby,
L Thompson, D Peyroux, Z Taia, J Wilkin. Interchange:
T Fages, L McCarthy-Scarsbrook, L Douglas, M Knowles.
Wigan Warriors: M Escaré; T Davies, J Bateman,
O Gildart, J Burgess; G Williams, S Powell; T Clubb,
T Leuluai, B Flower, W Isa, L Farrell, S O’Loughlin.
Interchange: J Tomkins, R Sutton, T Tautai, J Woods.
Referee: R Hicks.
St Helens
Wigan
Warrington
Castleford
Leeds
Hull FC
Wakefield
Widnes
Salford
Huddersfield
Hull KR
Catalans Dragons
5
-1
-10
-7
0
-6
-15
-10
-10
-12
-20
-29
-27
-23
58
54
54
53
48
45
43
42
42
42
40
38
34
33
Vanarama National: AFC Fylde 2 Halifax 0;
Boreham Wood 0 Barrow 0; Bromley 1
Wrexham 1; Chester 0 Torquay 2; Dover v
Tranmere (postp); Eastleigh v Ebbsfleet
(postp); Gateshead 0 Dag and Redbridge 0;
Guiseley 1 Leyton Orient 3; Maidenhead v
Sutton Utd (abandoned h-t with score 2-3);
Maidstone 1 Hartlepool 2; Solihull Moors 0
Aldershot 0; Woking 2 Macclesfield 3.
North: Alfreton 1 Nuneaton 1; Boston 3
Kidderminster 2; Brackley 0 Harrogate 0;
Bradford PA 2 Stockport Co 3; Gainsborough 4
Spennymoor 1; Salford City 2 Curzon Ashton 1;
Tamworth L North Ferriby L. South: Bognor
Regis v Chelmsford (postp); Braintree v Oxford
City (abandoned after 30mins: 0-0); Concord
Rangers v Hungerford (postp); Dartford 1
P W
8 7
7 5
9 5
6 5
7 4
8 4
7 4
8 3
8 3
8 2
8 2
8 1
D
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
L
1
2
4
1
2
4
3
5
5
5
6
7
F
228
202
168
105
136
183
128
159
142
114
134
92
A
96
103
149
114
129
158
111
157
170
216
172
216
Pts
14
10
10
10
9
8
8
6
6
5
4
2
Hampton & Richmond 0; Havant & W 2 Westons-Mare 0; Poole v Whitehawk (postp); Truro 3
Hemel Hempstead 3; Welling v Bath (postp).
Cricket
Fourth Test
South Africa v Australia
Johannesburg (first day of five): South Africa
have scored 313 runs for six wickets
South Africa: First Innings
D Elgar c Sayers b Lyon
19
A K Markram c M R Marsh b Cummins
152
H M Amla c Handscomb b Cummins
27
A B de Villiers c Paine b Sayers
69
*F du Plessis lbw b Cummins
0
T Bavuma not out
25
K S Rabada c Renshaw b Sayers
0
†Q de Kock not out
7
Extras (b 8, lb 6)
14
Total (6 wkts, 88 overs)
313
V D Philander, K A Maharaj and M Morkel to bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-142, 3-247, 4-247, 5-299,
6-299.
Bowling: Hazlewood 18-3-60-0; Sayers 26-664-2; Cummins 19-3-53-3; Lyon 21-1-95-1;
Marsh 3-0-23-0; Renshaw 1-0-4-0.
Australia: M T Renshaw, J A Burns, U T
Khawaja, P S P Handscomb, S E Marsh, M R
Marsh, *†T D Paine, P J Cummins, N M Lyon, C
J Sayers, J R Hazlewood.
20
2G S
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport
‘I was world No 1 but I hated
Nick Matthew explains
to Rick Broadbent how
he emerged from a dark
place to focus on a fourth
Commonwealth Games
Nick Matthew’s mother makes the
best Yorkshire puddings so he knew
something was seriously wrong.
Earlier that day he had reversed his
car over an ice machine used to treat
his chronic ankle. He says it provoked
the meltdown. He took his wife and
daughter to his parents for Sunday
lunch, but excused himself and went
for a walk alone. He was gone for two
hours. “Everybody was worried and
there was I, sitting on a park bench,”
Matthew says. “I was on the verge of
what you read about, athletes getting
into depression. I was on the bottom
rung but it’s a chicken and egg cycle
of self-pity and guilt and I could
understand how people got to the
second and third rungs.”
The squash player from Sheffield is
probably the most self-aware
sportsperson you could meet and,
with the help of a psychologist, the
husband of fellow British squash
player Laura Massaro, he dragged
himself back. Having long been a
happier benchmark, three World
Open crowns, three British ones,
three Commonwealth Games gold
medals, his openness about darker
days is jolting. Now, as he heads to
the Gold Coast and then retirement
in June, he explains how hard it can
be to juggle sporting machismo with
thoughts of “what next?”
Around 18 months after soulsearching in the park, he recently met
his friend, Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Matthew, 37, was struggling again as
he prepared for his fourth
Commonwealth tilt. “She is one of my
wife’s closest friends but we don’t
really speak about sport. I was feeling
flat and had the worst week of
training I’d had all year. She said it
was probably my body’s radar
protecting me. Before the last two
Commonwealth Games I’d had food
poisoning and surgery, so she said it
was my body telling me to calm down
and not to get too excited too soon. It
took a couple of words from Jess for
me to realise my subconscious had
the handbrake on.”
Back in 2016 there was no quick fix
and Matthew admits he was lost.
Surgeons told him his ankle
needed surgery but that would
mean nine months out and the
end of his career. His back-up
team turned away, “not through
maliciousness”, but because he
was a gloomy, ageing sportsman
and they needed to serve their
futures.
“My wife always says if I have
an issue in my head I verbalise it,”
Matthew says. “She’ll say I don’t
need her help because I’ve
already said it out loud. For the
first time in my life I went inside. I
was scared to see a psychologist
because this time it was like
admitting a weakness. For six
months my wife did not know
what mood I would be in. I’d think
I was the happiest person in the
world but then crash because it
was forced and I could not sustain
it. Finally, I got the balance right
and now I’m not scared by it.”
The future will evolve around his
academy, coaching, media work and
his family. It will be an easier life.
Squash is a brutal sport and Matthew
Matthew has found peace with his
sport as he prepares to leave it behind
ttalks of his desire to be able to
rrun around after his daughter,
Charlotte. Yet he also says
C
sshoulder surgery a decade ago
was the making of him.
w
That lay-off was when he first
ggot interested in psychology. “I
tthought how can I get better at
squash
without playing squash
s
and
a that opened up this whole
world.
I was in the top 10 and
w
could
beat anybody, but the
c
psychologist
wanted to know
p
why
w I was hitting a glass ceiling.
He
H asked me what my strengths
were.
I said I was one of the
w
fittest
players and a good
fi
volleyer.
‘But are you the best?’
v
he replied.
I could think of a
r
couple of people better and he said,
‘How are you going to be the best in
the world without being best in one of
those areas?’ I started working on my
strengths rather than weaknesses and
turned them into super-strengths.
Within a year I was No 1.”
Between the ages of 14 and 20 he
says he was constantly threatening
never to play again. Even in 2013,
playing in front of a packed house at
Canary Wharf, his favourite
tournament, his introspection
unearthed doubts. “I was playing a lot
that year because I was getting
married and needed the money and I
looked around thinking, ‘I’m in my
prime, I’m the world No 1 and I want
to be anywhere but this court. I hate
this.’ ”
Nicknamed “The Wolf” and famed
for his fitness, he is at peace with his
sport as he prepares to leave it. “I’m
proud of my longevity but I feel I
want to sign off with something big,”
he says. “I feel I have something big
in my locker.”
He hopes to make it to the Dubai
Series in June for the top eight
players, but the Commonwealth
Games is what matters. And what
better way to sign off than with the
last instalment of a rivalry that should
have been British box office. James
Willstrop is an intriguing figure
himself, a vegetarian who likes
Morrissey and Larkin but not
Matthew, whom he has dubbed
“pretentious” and “vicious”.
The dislike stems from the 2009
British Open when Matthew, having
been blocked by Willstrop, asked
loudly if his dad had taught him that
move. Malcolm Willstrop, his son’s
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
21
2G S
Sport
being on court’
Champions vying
for title to help
My sporting body kick-start season
by Nick Matthew
Picture exclusive: Marc Aspland
On a good day I still feel as strong
as ever. The difference is I am more
of a diesel engine compared with
when I was at my peak and could get
to top speed faster. Now, pushing 38,
I feel I can go for longer and maintain
better quality but it’s harder to get to
those top speeds.
You need to be tough to survive in
squash. I have had a couple of knee
operations, shoulder surgery and
every time I play I strap my ankle. If I
were going to carry on after this
season I would need an operation on
that. One of the worst and best times
was 2009 when I won the British
Open. In the second round I’d had a
back spasm. These can be so bad
that I cannot tie my shoelaces. The
next day my whole body was twisted
and when I tried to stand up, one
nipple was three inches below the
other. I had a bulging disc in my
spine but had eight hours of
physiotherapy and still won.
I am not like Roger Federer. I wish I
had an ounce of his ability to make it
look as easy as he does. We all know
how difficult it is the older you get,
factoring in family and schedules, all
the wear and tear you have suffered.
I feel good being in the top eight, but
Federer is still at the top. He makes it
look the opposite of what it is. I make
my sport look every bit as hard as it
is. I’m more Novak Djokovic, grinding
wins and picking up injuries; Federer
is way too classy for me. Mind you,
he is a year younger so maybe those
12 months will catch up with him!
Squash hips are a real problem. It’s
a term you hear a lot. All that
coach, later wrote a report for the
Squash Player website, prompting
Matthew to label him “the most
opinionated man in sport”.
“I stepped so far over the line that
day that you couldn’t even see it,”
Matthew says. “I was talking under
my breath, calling him this, that and
the other, but people have done ten
times worse — spitting, whacking
opponents on the shins when the ref
is not watching. We have come from
an era when the Aussies’ rivalry with
Pakistanis was really dirty. Now
everyone is best mates.”
Well, not everyone. The British
National final between the old
warhorses in February was another
feisty throwback, with Matthew
incredulous that some blamed him.
“He was 2-0 down and, like a true
champion, decided to get in my face
and get physical. No problem, but I
was good as gold and he was telling
me to F-off. I’d never seen that side of
him. It was funny because it was the
same court as 2009, but back then I
was like a lower league club in the
cup; I could not beat him playing silky
stuff, but I could rattle him by being
physical. Now he was being physical
and the tables had turned.” You sense
a seam of respect and grudging
affection in all this chequered history.
“I hope people remember our rivalry
rather than the argy-bargy.”
It certainly makes you consider just
how good squash could be for the
Olympics. The pair’s five-game final
at the last Commonwealth Games
was “caveman squash”, according to
Matthew. Had the sport made the
Ostapenko could
become world
No 4 if she wins
said. “I just needed some time to get
myself together and get myself in a
good place and make sure that I was
ready to play.
“Like I said at the end of last season,
I had to play. My heart was there but my
body physically was not. And I think
that was the most important thing, getting myself back in the best shape that
I could be in.
“Going into this season, I knew that I
didn’t have the greatest off-season. So,
for me, the two matches that I lost the
first part of the year in Australia, [it was]
not a big deal. If you’re not 100 per cent,
you can’t expect much. I think now I
took the time to get myself together, I
guess there’s been some good results.”
There is a curious Stephens-related
statistic that even baffles her. Since the
start of last July, she has won 23 of the
28 matches she has played in North
America. In her nine matches across
the rest of the world, she has walked off
the court as the loser on all nine occasions. “I saw that the other day,”
Stephens said. “I was, like, ‘Oh my god,
that’s embarrassing.’ ”
Ostapenko did not suffer an immediate slump after winning at Roland
Garros, but her results in 2018 had
caused much frustration. Finally,
though, she is again trusting her powerful ground strokes and could rise to
No 4 in the world if she wins today.
“I think I’m calmer and also mentally
I’m stronger now,” she said. “I am
just more consistent, more
confident and just going for
shots sometimes and not
afraid to miss it.”
This will be the last
women’s singles final at
Crandon Park, as the
tournament moves to
Hard Rock Stadium
next year. It is particularly poignant for
Stephens, who was
raised
in
nearby
Plantation, around an
hour north of here.
“To play in front of my
friends and family again
here for the last time, it
feels kind of cool that I’ll
be able to close it out in
style for them,” she said.
Poulter boosts hopes for
Masters with birdie run
Controversial All Blacks
prop Murdoch dies at 74
Golf Ian Poulter, whose only hope of
qualifying for a place in next week’s
Masters field is to win the Houston
Open this weekend, put himself in
contention with a superb second
round in Texas yesterday. Starting at
the 10th, Poulter, whose first-round 73
had left him nine shots behind Paul
Dunne, the overnight leader from
Ireland, picked up shots at the 12th,
13th, 15th and 17th holes on his
outward nine and added four more
after the turn to be seven under par
overall after a 64, the joint lowest
round of the week, and within four
shots of the clubhouse lead. Justin
Rose was also seven under
Poulter thought he had done
enough to qualify for Augusta last
weekend, when he reached the
quarter-finals of the WGC-Dell
Technologies Match Play, only to
discover that that was only good
enough to reach No 51 in the world
rankings — only the top 50 earn an
automatic place in the Masters.
Rugby union Keith Murdoch, the
Tennis
lunging. I’m fortunate that I was
taught from a young age to work on
my flexibility. You adapt your training
too. When I was younger I would do
six days a week with maybe three
sessions a day. Each session would
last 90 minutes plus a warm-up. Now
it’s down to a five-day week. I used to
do lots of shuttle runs on the track in
my pomp but I don’t run now. All my
cardiovascular training is done off
my feet: rowing, biking, swimming.
There are four key areas — mental,
physical, technical and tactical. It’s
the off-court things that get harder
and you have to put a finish line in
sight to motivate you. When you’re
younger you are always setting goals
and you wake up every day striving
towards them. That gives you a
purpose. In psychology they talk
about inspiration versus motivation.
Inspiration lasts longer, but if you’re
having to self-motivate every day it’s
like sipping from a bottle that
eventually becomes empty.
Inspiration is bottomless.
Would I beat myself from five years
ago? In some areas I have improved
— experience, technique, tactics —
but in an out-and-out physical test
against my 2013 self I would not be
as good. Yet I know my body better
now and know what I can’t do.
Recovery takes longer. I was feeling
shattered before my favourite event,
the Canary Wharf Classic, a few
weeks ago. I had a niggle and a cold.
The younger me would have
shrugged it off, but cumulatively I felt
wiped out. I had to withdraw, but
now I’m going to my fourth
Commonwealth Games feeling great.
2012 Olympics, British jingoism
would have been unleashed on the
world No 1 and 2. The duo might have
been faces of the Games rather than
relatively anonymous.
Squash remains an Olympic
blindspot. Matthew has argued the
case in front of IOC suits, but says:
“Without us getting down on our
knees and begging, what can we do?
You realise it’s all about politics and
networking and all that behind-thescenes stuff. Olympic ideals look good
on paper but they don’t matter.”
The Commonwealth Games, then,
is the big deal for Matthew and
squash, their turn in the spotlight.
Forget Friendly Games fluff, the fear
and loathing in glass cages will be one
of the highlights. That is the naked
truth.
Stuart Fraser Tennis Writer, Miami
Two defending grand-slam champions
will contest the final of the Miami Open
today, yet you would be forgiven if it had
slipped your mind that Sloane
Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko hold
that status.
Since claiming one of the sport’s
ultimate prizes, both players have not
exactly set the world on fire. Stephens,
the 25-year-old from the United States,
lost eight consecutive matches after
winning the US Open in September.
Ostapenko, the 20-year-old Latvian
who won the French Open nine
months ago, had won just four of the 11
matches she played this year before
arriving in Key Biscayne.
The WTA will be quietly pleased that
Stephens and Ostapenko have returned to form to reach their first Premier Mandatory final (the tournament
status immediately below the grandslams). The women’s tour has benefited
this year from featuring more enthralling matches than the men, but it needs
players like the aforementioned duo to
become marketable star attractions by
achieving regular success.
It is timely, then, that Stephens’
results this week — she has defeated
Garbiñe Muguruza, Angelique Kerber
and Victoria Azarenka en route to the
final — have guaranteed that she will be
a top-ten player for the first time in
Monday’s rankings.
This has come later than expected
after her dismal run at the end
of last year, during which she
won just two sets across six
matches. It must be acknowledged, though, that Stephens’ New York triumph
came in only her fifth
tournament back from a
broken left foot. Her
match fitness for the
week-to-week grind of
the tour has taken
longer to return.
“No switch has
clicked,” Stephens
former All Blacks prop who was sent
home in disgrace from New Zealand’s
tour to Britain in 1972 for punching a
security guard, has died at the age of
74. “New Zealand Rugby mourns the
loss of former All Black Keith
Murdoch,” NZR said on their Twitter
page. Murdoch, who played 27
matches for the All Blacks, including
three Tests, scored a try in his final
match, a 19-16 victory over Wales in
Cardiff. He was celebrating when he
was refused entry to the Angel Hotel
in central Cardiff and knocked the
security guard down. Two days later
the team manager, Ernie Todd, sent
him home.
Murdoch, however, did not return
to New Zealand as scheduled, having
got off the plane en route, and
disappeared into obscurity in rural
Australia. “No All Black has been
more controversial, more enigmatic
and more tragic,” the team’s official
website says in its profile of Murdoch.
22
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
1G S
Sport Racing
3.50
Haydock Park
Rob Wright
2.05 Crievehill
4.25 Hatchet Jack
2.40 William Of Orange
5.00 Timeforwest
3.15 Shanroe In Milan
5.35 Muckle Roe
3.50 Potters Midnight
Thunderer: 2.05 Crievehill. 2.40 Wolfcatcher (nap).
Going: good to soft, soft in places
Racing UK
2.05
Smarkets Challenger Middle
ITV4
Distance Series Final Handicap Chase
(£30,950: 2m 3f 203y) (8 runners)
S Twiston-Davies v143
1 132421 CRIEVEHILL 21 (D,S) N Twiston-Davies 6-11-12
137
D Jacob
2 3-0512 CREEP DESBOIS 44 (D,G,S) B Pauling 6-11-5
137
H Cobden
3 164454 ORBASA 14 (B,D,G,S) P Nicholls 7-11-2
142
4 P4U514 TWENTY EIGHT GUNS 15 (T,P,D,S) M Scudamore 8-10-12 T Scudamore
134
G Sheehan
5 -32PP2 ALOOMOMO 21 (B,D,BF,S) W Greatrex 8-10-9
141
N Scholfield
6 -04114 NATIVE ROBIN 42 (D,G,S) J Scott 8-10-5
142
J J Burke
7 1-2253 MASTERPLAN 21 (P,D,F,G,S) C Longsdon 8-10-4
140
T O'Brien
8 1P-645 AMBER GAMBLER 64 (D,G,S) I Williams 8-10-0
15-8 Crievehill, 9-2 Creep Desbois, 11-2 Orbasa, 7-1 Aloomomo, 8-1 Masterplan, Twenty Eight Guns,
12-1 Amber Gambler, Native Robin.
Rob Wright’s choice: Crievehill powered clear up the hill at Sandown Park
last time and can follow up
Dangers: Masterplan, Creep Desbois
2.40
Smarkets Challenger Two Mile
Series Final Handicap Hurdle
ITV4
(£30,950: 1m 7f 144y) (11)
138
W Kennedy
1 341530 CHTI BALKO 21 (CD,S) D McCain 6-11-12
132
D Cook
2 621511 JOKE DANCER 35 (CD,S) Mrs S Smith 5-11-3
135
H Skelton
3 550223 APPLESANDPIERRES 14 (P,D,F,G,S) D Skelton 10-11-2
134
N Fehily
4 23-140 SUPER SID 35 (D,S) T George 6-10-12
133
S W Quinlan
5 532635 SLEEPY HAVEN 51 (B,CD,S) J Candlish 8-10-11
136
T O'Brien
6 -65303 WOLFCATCHER 35 (T,P,S) I Williams 6-10-8
115
N Scholfield
7 -00004 ZULU OSCAR 89 (D,F,G,S) J Scott 9-10-7
138
8 P51253 WILLIAM OF ORANGE 28 (W,T,B,D,S) D McCain 7-10-6 L Murtagh (5)
135
A Johns
9 3-2514 SPECTATOR 49 (T,V,D,F,S) T Vaughan 7-10-2
J McGrath v140
10 3-6400 PERCY STREET 73 (B,D,BF,G) N Henderson 5-10-1
-12224
132
HOLRYALE
126
(T,D,S)
D
Skelton
6-10-1
Bridget
Andrews
(3)
11
7-2 Joke Dancer, 6-1 Percy Street, 7-1 Holryale, Wolfcatcher, 8-1 Applesandpierres, Chti Balko,
William Of Orange, 10-1 Super Sid, 12-1 Spectator, 16-1 Sleepy Haven, Zulu Oscar.
Wright choice: William Of Orange has had an operation to help with his
breathing and is well-in on his best form Dangers: Wolfcatcher, Joke Dancer
3.15
Smarkets Challenger Staying
Series Final Handicap Chase
ITV4
(£30,950: 3m 1f 125y) (11)
143
D Cook
1 -33135 DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR 56 (D,S) Mrs S Smith 8-11-12
140
2 -1P414 WICKED WILLY 56 (G,S) N Twiston-Davies 7-11-1 S Twiston-Davies
A Coleman v146
3 40P64F POTTERS LEGEND 15 (P,BF,G,S) Mrs L Wadham 8-11-0
129
A P Heskin
4 016-6U MOSS ON THE MILL 81 (P,D,G,S) T George 10-10-13
143
B J Geraghty
5 534231 BEHIND TIME 14 (P,S) H Fry 7-10-11
144
G Sheehan
6 525422 PRIVATE MALONE 8 (V,S) Miss E Lavelle 9-10-10
145
W Kennedy
7 231032 WHAT HAPPENS NOW 15 (D,F,G,S) D McCain 9-10-9
143
J J Burke
8 -00464 KILLALA QUAY 38 (B,G,S) C Longsdon 11-10-9
145
Paul O'Brien (5)
9 2-3U51 SHANROE IN MILAN 64 (S) C Longsdon 6-10-8
-34152
142
HORATIO
HORNBLOWER
21
(P,G,S)
N
Williams
10-10-5
H
Cobden
10
142
D Noonan
11 005451 ABRACADABRA SIVOLA 14 (T,P,C,G,S) D Pipe 8-10-1
5-1 Behind Time, 6-1 Potters Legend, 13-2 Shanroe In Milan, 7-1 Delusionofgrandeur, Wicked Willy,
8-1 Horatio Hornblower, Private Malone, 9-1 Abracadabra Sivola, What Happens Now, 16-1 others.
Wright choice: Shanroe In Milan improved for a step up to three miles at
Doncaster and is up just 7lb Dangers: What Happens Now, Killala Quay
4.00
Carlisle
Rob Wright
1.40 Donna’s Delight
2.15 Ballycrystal
2.50 Pixiepot
3.25 Indian Voyage
Going: good to soft
1.40
4.00 Luckime
4.35 Finaghy Ayr
5.10 Ruby Tiger
Racing UK
Novices’ Hurdle
(£4,549: 2m 3f 61y) (9)
B Hughes
1 -1423 DONNA'S DELIGHT 60 (CD) A Thomson 7-11-7
R Chapman (3)
2 000-1 BOOK OF LOVE 21P M Todhunter 9-11-0
J Bowen (3)
3 -2443 GOING GOLD 14 R Hobson 6-11-0
6-P GOLIATH 8 (P) K Dalgleish 6-11-0
R Hogg (7)
4
P0 HOOLIGAN JACK 99 I Jardine 5-11-0
J Hamilton
5
R Day (3)
6 421-5 LOVELY SCHTUFF 121 J Stephen 6-11-0
0 YOUNOYOUNOYOUNO 88 I Jardine 5-11-0
C O'Farrell
7
0 ELLA'S DENE 95 T Reed 7-10-7
T Dowson (3)
8
G Cockburn (3)
9 2-435 KOALA KEEL 34P (T) N Alexander 6-10-7
5-4 Donna's Delight, Going Gold, 10-1 Lovely Schtuff, 14-1 Koala Keel, 20-1
Book Of Love, 25-1 Younoyounoyouno, 33-1 others.
2.15
Novices’ Chase (£7,473: 2m 4f) (8)
-2212 ALZAMMAAR 56 S England 7-11-4
D England
F4215 BOLLIN ACE 10 (P,D) T Easterby 7-11-4
J Hamilton
1-51U ALWAYS TIPSY 49P (D,BF) N Alexander 9-10-12
G Cockburn (3)
N De Boinville
4 4-232 BALLYCRYSTAL 28 (BF) B Ellison 7-10-12
A Clarke (7)
5 40066 BEAU SANCY 11 (T) K Johnson 6-10-12
6 14-53 SECRETE STREAM 122 (B,D) R Jefferson 9-10-12 B Hughes
7 05122 ELUSIVE THEATRE 21 S Crawford (Ire) 7-10-11 J J Slevin (3)
C Bewley (3)
8 223P EXPRESSTIME 18 C Grant 5-10-5
9-4 Ballycrystal, 3-1 Secrete Stream, 11-2 Bollin Ace, Elusive Theatre, 6-1
Alzammaar, 11-1 Always Tipsy, 20-1 Beau Sancy, 33-1 Expresstime.
1
2
3
2.50
Mares’ Handicap Hurdle
(£4,549: 2m 1f) (11)
1 415P5 OUR VALENTINA 21 (C) S Crawford (Ire) 7-12-2J J Slevin (3)
2 26043 CRAWFORDS MILL 21 S Crawford (Ire) 6-11-12 J Bowen (3)
R Chapman (3)
3 50-PP EARTH LADY 89 M Todhunter 6-11-11
4 53533 DANCING AMY 21 (T) Miss L Russell 5-11-9 C Bewley (3)
R Day (3)
5 1-234 COCKLEY BECK 59 (D,BF) N Richards 6-11-9
6 03142 PRINCESS MONONOKE 16 (D) D McCain 7-11-7
Miss A McCain (7)
B Hughes
7 -0232 PIXIEPOT 20 (D) P Niven 8-11-4
T Phelan
8 00-00 NANACAULSITESKER 47F A Berry 6-10-12
C O'Farrell
9 -P666 ANGEL'S ENVY 103 I Jardine 6-10-11
10 -6P00 AVONDHU PEARL 103 W S Coltherd 7-10-9 S Coltherd (5)
J Hamilton
11 1/P03 PLAY PRACTICE 16 James Walton 8-10-3
7-2 Pixiepot, 5-1 Cockley Beck, Princess Mononoke, 6-1 Crawfords Mill, 8-1
Dancing Amy, 10-1 Angel's Envy, Our Valentina, Play Practice, 14-1 others.
3.25
Handicap Chase (£8,447: 2m 4f) (9)
R Day (3)
1 -2233 CHIDSWELL 21 (D,BF) N Richards 9-11-12
B Hughes
2 141P5 THE CLOCK LEARY 154 (D) D McCain 10-11-12
3 F-555 CALIPTO 36 (D,BF) Miss V Williams 8-11-11 Mr H Nugent (7)
N Moscrop (5)
4 U2443 PISTOL PARK 6 (T) B Ellison 7-11-11
5 64125 UN GUET APENS 40 (B,CD) J Ewart 10-11-8 Steven Fox (5)
6 41P44 WOLF SWORD 35 (CD) Mrs S Smith 9-11-5 S Coltherd (5)
7 01434 VERONA OPERA 21 (C,D) S Crawford (Ire) 7-10-13
J J Slevin (3)
8 P2-21 BRIGHT PROSPECT 76 (D) J Stephen 9-10-11R Chapman (3)
D Irving (3)
9 P14P5 INDIAN VOYAGE 6 (T,CD) M Barnes 10-10-5
4-1 Verona Opera, 9-2 Chidswell, Wolf Sword, 6-1 Bright Prospect, Pistol Park,
7-1 Un Guet Apens, 10-1 Calipto, 14-1 The Clock Leary, 20-1 Indian Voyage.
Smarkets Challenger Mares’ Series Final
Handicap Hurdle (£30,950: 2m 2f 191y) (14)
120
A Thorne (7)
1 -55462 COILLTE LASS 14 (P,G,S) P Nicholls 7-11-12
127
Paul O'Brien (5)
2 531210 CASTAFIORE 21 (H,P,G,S) C Longsdon 5-11-8
124
H Skelton
3 2-0F40 WHATDUHAVTOGET 95 (S) D Skelton 6-11-6
130
N Fehily
4 0-1FP2 LAMANVER ODYSSEY 36 (T,D,S) H Fry 6-11-5
126
W Hutchinson
5 30-316 AWESOME ROSIE 35 (D,G,S) A King 7-11-2
126
J Quinlan
6 /43131 POTTERS MIDNIGHT 15 (G,S) Mrs L Wadham 8-11-0
127
K K Woods
7 25-302 ALL MY LOVE 15 (S) Mrs P Sly 6-11-0
126
Mr B Lynn (7)
8 030111 THE DELRAY MUNKY 33 (P,D,S) I Jardine 6-10-11
129
D Jacob
9 -61464 MONAR ROSE 36 (H,T,F) B Case 6-10-11
128
T Cannon
10 4-2223 PEGGIES VENTURE 26 A King 7-10-9
124
11 111-00 WHATSTHATALLABOUT 36 (T,D,G) N Mulholland 7-10-9 T Scudamore
25-212
128
BABY
TICKER
48
(S)
D
Whillans
9-10-6
C
Whillans
(3)
12
T O'Brien v131
13 -30340 MIDTECH VALENTINE 81 (D,G,S) I Williams 7-10-2
123
J Corbett (5)
14 321354 REIVERS LODGE 98 (H,T,G) S Corbett 6-10-0
5-1 Lamanver Odyssey, 7-1 Potters Midnight, The Delray Munky, 8-1 Castafiore, 9-1 All My Love,
Baby Ticker, 10-1 Awesome Rosie, Peggies Venture, 12-1 Whatduhavtoget, 14-1 others.
4.25
Smarkets Challenger Stayers Series
Final Handicap Hurdle
Smarkets Challenger Series Mares' Final
Handicap Chase (£30,950: 2m 6f 54y) (12)
132
G Sheehan
1 241153 THE NIPPER 50 (C,G,S) W Greatrex 7-11-12
135
S Bowen
2 022212 RONS DREAM 7 (BF,S) P Bowen 8-11-10
133
3 02F321 TWO SMOKIN BARRELS 23 (S) M Scudamore 9-11-8 T Scudamore
128
T O'Brien
4 0-31P1 TARA MIST 44 (D,G,S) H Daly 9-11-7
135
A P Heskin
5 3-2232 SONG SAA 81 (T,D,S) T George 8-11-4
A Coleman v137
6 65B061 TIMEFORWEST 20 (G,S) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-2
135
P Brennan
7 31-134 SOCKSY 36 (T,BF,S) F O'Brien 7-11-1
120
A Wedge
8 1100P6 STILL BELIEVING 36 (D,F,G,S) E Williams 10-11-0
132
H Bannister
9 13-13F MAID OF MILAN 130 (P,BF,G) C Mann 7-10-12
133
D Cook
10 13-2O2 MILLY BALOO 20 (S) T Easterby 7-10-6
2P4324
134
MARIENSTAR
21
(T,S)
N
King
7-10-5
H
Teal
(7)
11
133
12 P5P121 SHENEEDEDTHERUN 36 (T,G,S) M Scudamore 8-10-3 J Kington (3)
5-1 Song Saa, 13-2 Rons Dream, 7-1 Socksy, 15-2 Timeforwest, Two Smokin Barrels, 8-1 Tara Mist,
9-1 Sheneededtherun, 11-1 Maid Of Milan, The Nipper, 12-1 Milly Baloo, 14-1 others.
5.35
Smarkets Tim Molony Handicap Chase
(£12,512: 3m 4f 97y) (10)
1
2
3
-60343 CLOUDY TOO 21 (C,G,S) Mrs S Smith 12-11-12
D Cook
23-162 MUCKLE ROE 20 (S) N Twiston-Davies 9-11-8
S Twiston-Davies
4-6025 BLAMEITALONMYROOTS 36 (S) O Sherwood 8-11-7 H Beswick (7)
Handicap Hurdle (£7,798: 3m 1f) (8)
R Dunne
1 50531 LUCKIME 47 (D) Miss V Williams 6-11-12
B Hughes
2 -3325 VOLCANIC 20 (T,C) D McCain 9-11-11
R Chapman (3)
3 36111 LETEMGO 40 (CD) A Hamilton 10-11-9
T Dowson (3)
4 14314 SKIPTHESCALES 33 (P,D) P Kirby 6-11-5
5 21020 NATIVE OPTIMIST 65 (D) S Walton 11-11-5 F O'Toole (3)
6 F-FPP ROYAL SALUTE 57 (T,B,W,D) G Bewley 8-11-4 J Bewley (3)
7 05243 GENERAL MAHLER 55 (T,W) B Ellison 8-11-2 N Moscrop (5)
22 GERONIMO 21 A Thomson 7-10-13
Mr A Chadwick (7)
8
3-1 General Mahler, 7-2 Letemgo, 5-1 Luckime, 6-1 Skipthescales, Volcanic,
10-1 Geronimo, 12-1 Native Optimist, 14-1 Royal Salute.
4.35
Handicap Chase (£6,498: 3m 2f) (11)
63211 SMUGGLER'S STASH 22 (V,CD) Mrs R Dobbin 8-12-3
R Day (3)
B Hughes
2 51222 FINAGHY AYR 16 (P,C) I Duncan 10-11-12
3 31344 LOWANBEHOLD 33 Miss S Forster 11-11-11 T Willmott (7)
J Bewley (3)
4 P-0P5 ONDERUN 33 (P) G Bewley 9-11-9
B Campbell (5)
5 42134 MISFITS 15 (T) Miss L Russell 7-11-9
S Coltherd (5)
6 U21P5 DICK DARSIE 22 Mrs S Smith 8-11-7
7 50256 ACHILL ROAD BOY 16 (BF) W S Coltherd 9-11-1 C O'Farrell
8 -PUP6 PURPLE HARRY 39 Miss T Jackson 10-10-11 R Chapman (3)
T Dowson (3)
9 U3546 SCORPO 8 V Thompson 7-10-11
S Mulqueen (3)
10 4-03P KALASTAR 133 Katie Scott 9-10-0
-40P0
THEDFACTOR
15
(P)
Mrs
J
Walton
9-10-0
D Irving (3)
11
9-4 Smuggler's Stash, 3-1 Finaghy Ayr, 6-1 Misfits, 8-1 others.
1
5.10
Mares’ National Hunt Flat Race
(£2,599: 2m 1f) (11)
P BELLE OF YORK 122 (W) M Todhunter 5-11-0 R Chapman (3)
1
35 BLUE BATON 45 Miss L Russell 5-11-0
B Campbell (5)
2
220 DERRIANA SPIRIT 73 N Richards 5-11-0
R Day (3)
3
64 DONNAS DREAM 24 C Grant 5-11-0
C Bewley (3)
4
06 FIG'S PRIDE 65 (H) N Alexander 5-11-0
G Cockburn (3)
5
0-53 LADY SAMBACK 258 (T) M Barnes 6-11-0
D Irving (3)
6
3 LILY'S GEM 95 S Crawford (Ire) 5-11-0
B Hughes
7
SAILING AWAY S Walton 5-11-0
F O'Toole (3)
8
0 SUENO TOMS 54 N Alexander 5-11-0
S Mulqueen (3)
9
ROSEY Mrs R Dobbin 4-10-7
C O'Farrell
10
RUBY TIGER H Daly 4-10-7
A Tinkler
11
11-8 Derriana Spirit, 5-1 Blue Baton, 6-1 Lily's Gem, 7-1 others.
Kempton Park
Rob Wright
2.00 Tigre Tu Terre
4.20 Kyllachy Gala (nap)
2.35 Fabricate
4.55 Sparkalot
3.10 Qaysar
5.30 Afandem
3.45 Warm Oasis
Going: standard
Racing UK
Draw: 5f-1m, low numbers best
2.00
Novice Stakes
(3-Y-O: £5,175: 1m 1f 219y) (10)
R Havlin
1 (2) 61- CROSSED BATON 197 J Gosden 9-9
T Marquand
2 (1) 1432- TIGRE DU TERRE 197 (BF) R Hannon 9-6
2 CASPAR THE CUB 39 A King 9-2
W A Carson
3 (4)
CHILDE HAROLD Mrs H Main 9-2
C Shepherd
4 (8)
DEFINITION C Hills 9-2
L Morris
5 (3)
S Donohoe
6 (5) 52- ESCALATOR 151 C Fellowes 9-2
05 KARAKORAM 33 W Muir 9-2
M Dwyer
7 (10)
KING OF BURGUNDY J Portman 9-2
R Hornby
8 (9)
0 LUMEN 17 R Charlton 9-2
K Shoemark
9 (6)
STAR OF SOUTHWOLD (W) R Hannon 9-2 G Mahon (5)
10 (7)
4-5 Tigre Du Terre, 5-2 Crossed Baton, 10-1 Caspar The Cub, 12-1 others.
2.35
Musselburgh
131
v134
128
toteplacepot Handicap
96
MASHAM STAR 21 (D,F,G) M Johnston 4-9-7
P J McDonald
67
HAYADH 7 (D,F,S) R Bastiman 5-9-7
D Tudhope
100
SET IN STONE 181 (C,BF,S) A McGuinness (Ire) 4-9-4 R Scott (3)
101
LUALIWA 38 (D,F,S) K A Ryan 4-9-4
Kevin Stott
98
OWER FLY 182 (D,F,S) Mrs R Carr 5-9-3
P Mulrennan
SHARP DEFENCE 28 (B,D,F,S) A McGuinness (Ire) 4-9-2
93
Josephine Gordon
98
Doubtful
7 (11) /3530- LEFORTOVO 260 (G,S) J Hughes 5-8-13
92
8
(6) 521-45 TWIN APPEAL 52 (B,CD,BF,F,S) T D Barron 7-8-11 B Robinson (5)
100
N Evans
9
(7) 03314- IMPERIAL STATE 245 (T,W,F) M W Easterby 5-8-8
95
10 (10) 2060-5 LUIS VAZ DE TORRES 11 (H,CD,F,G) R Fahey 6-8-7 P Hanagan
J Fanning v107
11 (9) 320442 EXCHEQUER 11 (P,D) Richard Guest 7-8-7
4-1 Twin Appeal, 11-2 Imperial State, Set In Stone, 6-1 Lualiwa, 7-1 Luis Vaz De Torres, Masham
Star, 10-1 Hayadh, 12-1 Ower Fly, Sharp Defence, 16-1 Exchequer.
Wright choice: Masham Star drops in class after a good third in listed
company at Wolverhampton
Dangers: Set In Stone, Twin Appeal
totescoop6 Borderlescott Sprint ITV4
Trophy Conditions Stakes (£18,675: 5f 1y) (9)
3.00
1
2
3
4
5
6
(11)
(5)
(4)
(3)
(2)
(6)
totesport.com Royal Mile
Handicap (3-Y-O: £18,675: 1m 2y) (12)
5351-4
5130410002212246-1
010-1
VENTURA KNIGHT 24 (D,F,G) M Johnston 9-7
MISS BAR BEACH 154 (S) K Dalgleish 9-6
CHOOKIE DUNEDIN 198 (G) K Dalgleish 9-3
AYUTTHAYA 182 (S) K A Ryan 8-12
BOOK OF DREAMS 19 (D,S) M Johnston 8-12
FAKE NEWS 21 (S) T D Barron 8-12
(4)
(3)
(5)
(1)
(2)
toteexacta EBF Stallions Novice Stakes
(2-Y-O: £4,205: 5f 1y) (5)
-BENGALI SPIRIT R Fahey 9-2
P Hanagan
1
(5)
-I AM A DREAMER M Johnston 9-2
P J McDonald
2
(3)
-MAYSON MAC D O'Meara 9-2
D Tudhope
3
(2)
-THE GREAT HEIR K A Ryan 9-2
T Eaves
4
(4)
-LIPPY LADY J Moore 8-11
Josephine Gordon
5
(1)
2-1 I Am A Dreamer, 5-2 Bengali Spirit, 11-4 The Great Heir, 5-1 Mayson Mac, 14-1 Lippy Lady.
4.45
ITV4
J Fanning
D Tudhope
C Beasley
T Eaves
P J McDonald
B A Curtis
78
v81
79
77
74
67
totetrifecta Handicap (£4,399: 5f 1y) (9)
5.30
A Atzeni
1 (7) 00-34 AFANDEM 18 (D) M Johnston 4-9-9
G Mahon (5)
2 (4) 034-6 REPTON 10 R Hannon 4-9-8
3 (8) 1-311 EXCELLENT GEORGE 28 (T,D) S C Williams 6-9-7
Milly Naseb (5)
J P Spencer
4 (2) 04055 ASCOT DAY 7 (D) D Simcock 4-9-4
L Morris
5 (5) 3500- PATRICK 183 (D) P Midgley 6-9-4
3520BAHAMIAN
SUNRISE
143
(B)
J
Gallagher
6-9-2
H Crouch
6 (6)
7 (3) 1/32 WEDIDDODONTWE 52 (D) Richard Guest 4-8-13 P Makin
M Dwyer
8 (1) 2060- LORD COOPER (T,P,CD) J Santos 4-8-9
7-2 Excellent George, Wediddodontwe, 9-2 Afandem, Repton, 13-2 Ascot Day,
10-1 Patrick, 14-1 Bahamian Sunrise, 16-1 Lord Cooper.
Novice Stakes (£6,469: 7f) (9)
Handicap (£6,469: 1m 3f 219y) (8)
Handicap (£31,125: 1m 2f 219y) (16)
Handicap (£15,563: 6f) (6)
Handicap (£6,469: 6f) (8)
Chelmsford
Rob Wright
5.45 Mr Potter
7.45 George Of Hearts
6.15 Communique
8.15 Image
6.45 Leoro
8.45 Fareeq
7.15 Grandfather Tom
Going: standard
At The Races
Draw: 5f-1m, low numbers best
5.45
Handicap (£3,429: 1m) (8)
Jane Elliott (5)
1 (6) -3420 HIPZ 33 (V,C) G Margarson 7-9-7
2 (4) 55303 NO APPROVAL 8 (D) D Bridgwater 5-9-7
Poppy Bridgwater (7)
3 (7) 43331 MALAYSIAN BOLEH 9 (E,B,C) Phil McEntee 8-9-3
Rossa Ryan (5)
F Norton
4 (8) 03653 MR POTTER 9 (V,C) Richard Guest 5-9-0
5 (5) -0031 THE KING'S STEED 14 (T,B,D) S Lycett 5-8-13
K Shoemark
6 (3) -4166 TOUCH THE CLOUDS 21 (CD) W Stone 7-8-11
L Edmunds (3)
Nicola Currie (5)
7 (1) 500/ RED SNIPER 513 R Brisland 4-8-7
K O'Neill
8 (2) 0000- FAVORITE STORY 150 C Wallis 4-8-7
5-2 Malaysian Boleh, 3-1 The King's Steed, 13-2 Hipz, 7-1 No Approval, Touch
The Clouds, 9-1 Mr Potter, 11-1 Red Sniper, 14-1 Favorite Story.
6.15
Novice Stakes (3-Y-O: £5,175: 1m) (8)
R Da Silva
1 (3) 300- CAPITAL FLIGHT 189 (H) P Cole 9-2
03 CAPLA JAIPUR 16 M Botti 9-2
M M Monaghan (3)
2 (5)
22COMMUNIQUE
156
M
Johnston
9-2
F Norton
3 (8)
0 GUARDIOLA 42 Michael Bell 9-2
Jacob Mitchell (7)
4 (2)
42 WARBURTON 10 (BF) C Appleby 9-2
G Wood (3)
5 (1)
2- WELL SUITED 264 (H,BF) S Crisford 9-2
K Shoemark
6 (7)
S W Kelly
7 (4) 06- APACHE BLAZE 101 R Brisland 8-11
L Edmunds (3)
8 (6) 04- DIABLERY 101 W Stone 8-11
6-4 Communique, 2-1 Warburton, 6-1 Capital Flight, 7-1 Well Suited, 10-1
Capla Jaipur, 25-1 Apache Blaze, 40-1 Diablery, Guardiola.
6.45
75
79
83
v87
84
84
81
68
81
totepool Happy Easter EBF Maiden
Stakes (£5,175: 7f 33y) (7)
71
P Hanagan
1
(1) 2R22- CHIEF JUSTICE 168 R Fahey 3-8-13
65- FARHH AWAY 185 M Dods 3-8-13
51
P Mulrennan
2
(6)
-HOP MADDOCKS T D Barron 3-8-13
B A Curtis
3
(7)
0- PARTY FEARS TOO 213 J Goldie 3-8-13
37
B McHugh
4
(2)
v79
S A Gray
5
(5) 32420- QUEEN'S SARGENT 198 K A Ryan 3-8-13
-ZIG ZAG ZYGGY A McGuinness (Ire) 3-8-13
R Scott (3)
6
(3)
5 ON A MAY DAY 23 M Johnston 3-8-8
-P J McDonald
7
(4)
Evens Queen's Sargent, 5-2 Chief Justice, 9-1 Hop Maddocks, 10-1 Farhh Away, 12-1 others.
(Listed: £25,520: 1m 1f 219y) (5)
31-15 UDONTDODOU 71 (D,BF) Richard Guest 5-9-7J P Spencer
1560- SOLAR FLAIR 238 (CD) W Knight 6-9-7
A Atzeni
-4331 TOMILY 7 (D) R Hannon 4-9-7
Hollie Doyle
00-11 REFLEKTOR 33 (D) T Dascombe 5-9-0
R Kingscote
-5620 HUMAN NATURE 21 (T,C,D) S C Williams 5-8-8
Milly Naseb (5)
L Morris
6 (6) 1-011 SPARKALOT 10 (CD) S Dow 4-8-8
11-4 Reflektor, 100-30 Udontdodou, 4-1 Sparkalot, 9-2 Solar Flair, 5-1 Tomily,
12-1 Human Nature.
1
2
3
4
5
4.10
Magnolia Stakes
R Havlin
1 (15) 03-00 EDDYSTONE ROCK John Best 6-9-7
2 (8) -5313 KYLLACHY GALA 2 (C) M Botti 5-9-5 M M Monaghan (3)
A Atzeni
3 (4) 6026- BATTERSEA 149 R Varian 7-9-5
R Kingscote
4 (12) 50051 FIRE FIGHTING 8 (C,D) M Johnston 7-9-2
D Muscutt
5 (7) 343-4 CROWNED EAGLE 88 M Botti 4-9-1
T Marquand
6 (3) 60-61 CONTRAST 42 R Hannon 4-9-1
J Egan
7 (9) 214-2 EMENEM 32 (C) S Dow 4-9-0
L Morris
8 (11) 3120- ARAB MOON 169 (CD) W Knight 4-8-13
Fran Berry
9 (13) 04-36 INTREPIDLY 24 (C) J Noseda 4-8-10
C Shepherd
10 (2) 0336- JACOB CATS 167 (V,CD) W Knight 9-8-10
Phil Dennis (3)
11 (6) 35-13 TESTA ROSSA 23 (B) J Goldie 8-8-7
D Probert
12(14) 3-153 WIMPOLE HALL 42 (P,C,BF) W Jarvis 5-8-6
E Greatrex
13 (5) 1022- TUFF ROCK 159 E Walker 4-8-5
J Haynes
14 (1) /1132 KELLY'S DINO 38 (P,BF) K Burke 5-8-2
Hollie Doyle
15(10) 23125 KING KEVIN 2 (B,BF) E Dunlop 4-8-2
Doubtful
16(16) 246-1 SPUTNIK PLANUM 21 (T) M Appleby 4-8-0
5-1 Contrast, 6-1 Arab Moon, Kelly's Dino, 7-1 Tuff Rock, 10-1 Battersea,
Crowned Eagle, Emenem, 12-1 Fire Fighting, Kyllachy Gala, 14-1 others.
4.55
Wright choice: Time To Study, who has a good strike-rate, has a touch of
class and remains unexposed
Dangers: Night Of Glory, Euchen Glen
5.20
(8)
(2)
(5)
(6)
(3)
(4)
(1)
4.20
0364621-121
53101-04066
Wright choice: Alpha Delphini ended last term in fine form and can pick up
where he left off under ideal conditions Dangers: Kyllang Rock, Desert Law
0-132 TIME TO BLOSSOM 38 (CD,BF) S Crisford 5-9-7 A Atzeni
0-161 ARGUS 42 (C,D) A Dunn 6-9-6
L Keniry
20-11 INN THE BULL 33 (D) A King 5-9-4
T Marquand
241-2 WARM OASIS 58 (D,BF) J Fanshawe 4-9-3
D Muscutt
/321- STANLEY 164 (CD) R Hughes 5-9-3
S W Kelly
-2120 BERRAHRI 24 (C) John Best 7-9-3 Dayverson De Barros
41/0- VINCENT'S FOREVER 262 (H,C) E De Giles 5-9-3
C Shepherd
D Probert
8 (7) /54-3 HAZAMAR 17 (T) Mrs S Leech 5-8-8
9-4 Warm Oasis, 11-4 Stanley, 9-2 Inn The Bull, 6-1 Time To Blossom, 8-1
Argus, 10-1 Hazamar, 20-1 Berrahri, 33-1 Vincent's Forever.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(12)
(10)
(4)
(13)
T Hamilton
1
(6) 4400-0 IMAGINE IF 17 (D,S) R G Fell 4-9-8
P Mulrennan
2
(2) 01010- ONE BOY 166 (CD,F,G,S) P Midgley 7-9-7
D Tudhope
3
(3) 3225-6 JACOB'S PILLOW 31 (P,D,F,G,S) R Bastiman 7-9-7
P J McDonald
4
(7) 5-2453 TOMMY G 11 (F) J Goldie 5-9-4
5
(9) 123-00 ECONOMIC CRISIS 43 (CD,F,G,S) A Berry 9-9-2 C Murtagh (5)
G Lee
6
(1) 554-34 SILVANUS 21 (CD,F,G,S) P Midgley 13-9-2
P Hanagan
7
(4) 53430- GEOFF POTTS 122 (BF,S) R Fahey 5-9-1
T Eaves
8
(8) 50000- LAUGHTON 151 (W,CD,F) K A Ryan 5-9-0
J Garritty
9
(5) 44400- FOXTROT KNIGHT 175 (D,F,S) Mrs R Carr 6-8-12
7-2 Geoff Potts, 5-1 Jacob's Pillow, Laughton, 13-2 One Boy, Tommy G, 7-1 others.
R Da Silva
1 (3) 12- PLUNGER 148 (C) P Cole 3-9-6
T Marquand
2 (4) 21- QAYSAR 129 (CD) R Hannon 3-9-6
EMBLAZONED J Gosden 3-8-13
R Havlin
3 (6)
K O'Neill
4 (8) 00- EPSOM BOUNTY 150 P Phelan 3-8-13
0- HOMBRE CASADO 143 E Walker 3-8-13
L Keniry
5 (5)
PIVOTAL MAN R Varian 3-8-13
A Atzeni
6 (9)
0 PLENTYINTHETANKSIR 16 D Simcock 3-8-13 G Bass (7)
7 (2)
SUPER D J K A Ryan 3-8-13
J P Spencer
8 (1)
WICKED SEA (H) R Hannon 3-8-8
Hollie Doyle
9 (7)
8-11 Qaysar, 7-2 Emblazoned, 6-1 Pivotal Man, 7-1 Plunger, 14-1 Super D J,
33-1 Hombre Casado, 50-1 others.
3.45
ITV4
102
B A Curtis
1
(2) 05-130 CASPIAN PRINCE (H,T,CD,F,G,S) M Appleby 9-9-10
111
G Lee
2
(4) 20011- ALPHA DELPHINI 166 (P,CD,F,G,S) B Smart 7-9-2
111
P J McDonald
3
(9) 362-50 BLUE DE VEGA 7 (P,S) R Cowell 5-9-2
108
P Mulrennan
4
(8) 51166- DESERT LAW 199 (CD,F,G,S) P Midgley 10-9-2
D Tudhope v113
5
(3) 06246- KYLLANG ROCK 175 (D,F,S) J Tate 4-9-2
86
J Fanning
6
(5) 020-00 LINE OF REASON 49 (CD,F,G) P Midgley 8-9-2
96
7
(1) 04-516 MEMORIES GALORE 53 (P,D,F,G,S) R G Fell 6-9-2 T Hamilton
90
J Hart
8
(7) 2066-6 ROYAL BRAVE 23 (CD,F,G) R Bastiman 7-9-2
99
R Scott
9
(6) 54600- TAEXALI 134 (B,F) A McGuinness (Ire) 5-9-2
11-8 Alpha Delphini, 4-1 Kyllang Rock, 5-1 Desert Law, 13-2 Caspian Prince, 8-1 Line Of Reason, 14-1
Blue De Vega, 25-1 Memories Galore, Taexali, 33-1 Royal Brave.
R Kingscote
1 (5) 106-0 AUTOCRATIC 35 (D) Sir M Stoute 5-9-0
R Havlin
2 (3) 2214/ DOMMERSEN 574 (C,BF) J Gosden 5-9-0
A Atzeni
3 (4) 6115- FABRICATE 189 (P,D) Michael Bell 6-9-0
E Greatrex
4 (1) 1-330 SNOWY WINTER 15 (T,C) A Watson 4-8-9
5 (2) 1-413 STELLAR SURPRISE 32 (T) S C Williams 4-8-9 Fran Berry
5-4 Fabricate, 11-8 Autocratic, 8-1 Dommersen, 14-1 Stellar Surprise, 20-1
Snowy Winter.
3.10
ITV4
5105-3
41/100
611161260-0
032100-5060
2.25
totepool Queen's Cup Handicap
108
CLEVER COOKIE 161 (P,D,F,G,S) P Niven 10-9-10
J Garritty
94
MOUNT TAHAN 26 (G) K A Ryan 6-9-7
S A Gray
104
TIME TO STUDY 155 (CD,F,S) M Johnston 4-9-2 P J McDonald
CARBON DATING 14 (CD,F,G) A McGuinness (Ire) 6-9-2
100
R Scott (3)
D C Costello v113
5
(6) 4302-5 CAPE COVA 75 (G) M Appleby 5-9-2
105
D Tudhope
6
(8) 20001- SIR CHAUVELIN 56J (F,G,S) J Goldie 6-9-0
110
A Mullen
7
(3) 11046- BRANDON CASTLE 98 (H,T,D,G,S) A Watson 6-8-11
-P Hanagan
8
(2) 2111 AMERICAN GIGOLO 11 (H,T) H Fry 6-8-7
105
J Fanning
9 (11) 1516-2 MIXBOY 46 (S) K Dalgleish 8-8-7
108
J Quinn
10 (9) 01610- FIRE JET 149 (D,F,G,S) J Mackie 5-8-7
110
B A Curtis
11 (5) 23020- GRACELAND 185 (F,G) Michael Bell 6-8-7
97
C Beasley
12 (7) 00/00- MIRSAALE 6J (P,D,F,G,S) K Dalgleish 8-8-7
112
0025-1
NIGHT
OF
GLORY
44J
(P,F,G,S)
A
Balding
4-8-6
Josephine
Gordon
13 (14)
110
B McHugh
14 (1) 01300- EUCHEN GLEN 140 (F,G,S) J Goldie 5-8-6
5-1 Time To Study, 6-1 American Gigolo, 8-1 Mixboy, Sir Chauvelin, 9-1 Night Of Glory, 10-1
Graceland, 11-1 Carbon Dating, 12-1 Brandon Castle, Clever Cookie, Mount Tahan, 14-1 others.
1
2
3
4
(£12,450: 7f 33y) (11 runners)
(5)
(8)
(1)
(3)
(2)
(4)
Wright choice: Fake News won in good style at Wolverhampton and
shapes as though this longer trip will suit Dangers: Ayutthaya, Indomeneo
(£62,250: 1m 5f 216y) (14)
1.50 Masham Star
4.10 I Am A Dreamer
2.25 Alpha Delphini
4.45 Imagine If
3.00 Fake News
5.20 Queen’s Sargent
3.35 Time To Study
Going: good to soft, soft in places
Draw: no advantage
Racing UK
1
2
3
4
5
6
66
T Hamilton
7
(1) 410-24 JOE'S SPIRIT 79 (H,BF) R Fahey 8-12
77
P Hanagan
8 (10) 12611- INDOMENEO 172 (D,F,S) R Fahey 8-10
-9
(8) 5-412 BREAKING RECORDS 21 (H) H Palmer 8-9 Josephine Gordon
55
A Mullen
10 (9) 01-331 HARD GRAFT 53 D Brown 8-6
74
P P Mathers
11 (7) 01-33 SHUHOOD 19 (S) I Williams 8-5
-C Hardie
12 (12) 34-24 CHINGACHGOOK 43 R Fahey 8-2
7-2 Ayutthaya, 6-1 Fake News, Indomeneo, 8-1 Book Of Dreams, Breaking Records, 9-1 Shuhood,
10-1 Joe's Spirit, Miss Bar Beach, Ventura Knight, 16-1 others.
3.35
Rob Wright
1.50
(£30,950: 2m 6f 177y) (16)
138
H Skelton
1 1-3121 RED RISING 56 (G,S) D Skelton 7-11-12
135
A Nicol
2 360231 NAUTICAL NITWIT 28 (F,G,S) P Kirby 9-11-5
132
C Nichol
3 -45311 PLANET NINE 35 (D,G,S) Mrs R Dobbin 6-11-5
137
T O'Brien
4 -43213 CLONDAW NATIVE 51 (P,S) S Edmunds 6-11-4
135
C Gethings
5 221102 CLASSIC BEN 38 (P,S) S Edmunds 5-11-4
137
A Thornton
6 -65122 HEAD TO THE STARS 20 (S) H Daly 7-11-0
114-P3
139
TARA
VIEW
116
(G,S)
A
King
7-11-0
W
Hutchinson
7
138
T Whelan
8 -56324 ZEROESHADESOFGREY 35 (B,G,S) N King 9-11-0
141
S W Quinlan
9 5-5442 BRYDEN BOY 56 (P,D,S) J Candlish 8-11-0
136
S Bowen
10 410103 MALAPIE 20 (D,S) Mrs C Bailey 10-10-11
141
11 -PP246 SOUTHFIELD ROYALE 51 (T,G,S) N Mulholland 8-10-9 T Scudamore
134
H Cobden
12 0-1031 CULTURE DE SIVOLA 55 (D,S) N Williams 6-10-9
136
S Twiston-Davies
13 P32211 AARON LAD 20 (D,S) Dr R Newland 7-10-8
139
A Coleman
14 01-125 EARLY RETIREMENT 38 (P,G,S) Mrs C Bailey 6-10-6
130
15 P26254 FINGERONTHESWITCH 51 (T,P,D,G,S) N Mulholland 8-10-4 H Reed (5)
P Brennan v142
16 034523 HATCHET JACK 42 (BF) Paul Henderson 6-10-4
13-2 Red Rising, 15-2 Aaron Lad, 9-1 Classic Ben, Clondaw Native, 10-1 Tara View, 11-1 Culture De
Sivola, Hatchet Jack, Head To The Stars, 12-1 Bryden Boy, Fingerontheswitch, 14-1 others.
5.00
133
A Nicol
4 44-1P1 KILCULLEN FLEM 16 (P,S) P Kirby 8-11-2
130
J Davies
5 6P-4PP MILBOROUGH 21 (B,S) I Duncan 12-11-1
128
A Johns
6 45-P41 BASSARABAD 67 (T,V,S) T Vaughan 7-11-0
130
7 -04603 STREETS OF PROMISE 9 (P,BF,G,S) M Scudamore 9-10-12 T Scudamore
132
T O'Brien
8 1-2P24 ZERACHIEL 20 (P,S) I Williams 8-10-10
132
P Brennan
9 U3P211 TALK OF THE SOUTH 20 (D,S) Paul Henderson 9-10-7
127
H Skelton
10 53PP63 CKALCO DES LOGES 14 (T,G,S) D Skelton 6-10-4
9-2 Muckle Roe, 5-1 Talk Of The South, 6-1 Kilcullen Flem, 7-1 Ckalco Des Loges, Streets Of Promise,
15-2 Cloudy Too, 9-1 Bassarabad, Blameitalonmyroots, Zerachiel, 20-1 Milborough.
Handicap (£3,429: 2m) (10)
1 (8) 6234R TEMASEK STAR 2 (P) A McCann (Ire) 7-9-11
M M Monaghan (3)
2 (9) 15/06 GUARDS CHAPEL 14J (V,D) G L Moore 10-9-8
Jason Watson (7)
S W Kelly
3 (6) 06-41 LEORO 14 (T,P) C Mann 4-9-8
T Clark (3)
4 (2) /06-5 DALASIRI 10 (T,P) J Farrelly 9-9-8
5 (4) -2124 NAVAJO STAR 10 (V,CD) R Brisland 4-9-8 David Egan (3)
6 (10) -3164 INDIAN RED 18 (BF) M Tompkins 4-9-4 L Edmunds (3)
Rossa Ryan (5)
7 (1) 0-464 CARACAS 14 K Frost 4-9-3
8 (5) -0003 IM WAITING 22 (T,P) A McCann (Ire) 5-9-2 Fran Berry
040-5
KIMENE
72
W
Stone
4-9-1
T Marquand
9 (7)
Doubtful
10 (3) 000-6 CHARLIE CHAPLIN 2 (B) R Eddery 4-8-4
5-2 Leoro, 4-1 Indian Red, 5-1 Navajo Star, 6-1 Temasek Star, 8-1 Caracas, 10-1
Dalasiri, 12-1 Im Waiting, 20-1 Guards Chapel, 25-1 Kimene.
7.15
Handicap (3-Y-O: £7,310: 5f) (6)
1 (3) 21114 GRANDFATHER TOM 10 (D,BF) R Cowell 9-7
E J Walsh (3)
C Lee (3)
2 (6) d22-4 MIDSUMMER KNIGHT 35 K Burke 9-2
K O'Neill
3 (5) 22311 SAMOVAR 10 (B,D) S Dixon 9-1
D Muscutt
4 (4) 11324 WIFF WAFF 22 (H,T,D) S C Williams 8-13
R Kingscote
5 (2) 55-31 BECKER 64 (D) J Given 8-13
6 (1) 21-22 KODIAC EXPRESS 9 (D) Mike Murphy 8-11
Nicola Currie (5)
3-1 Grandfather Tom, 7-2 Becker, 9-2 Midsummer Knight, Samovar, 11-2 Wiff
Waff, 6-1 Kodiac Express.
7.45
Maiden Stakes (£5,175: 6f) (5)
T Marquand
1 (4) 2/3-5 PROMISING 84 (BF) R Hannon 4-9-9
CAPLA DEMON Miss G Kelleway 3-9-1
A Jones (3)
2 (2)
3 (3) 42- GEORGE OF HEARTS 155 (W,BF) R Hughes 3-9-1
S W Kelly
Fran Berry
4 (1) 0-0 IRISH TIMES 9 H Spiller 3-9-1
MAXIMUM POWER T Pinfield 3-9-1
M Dwyer
5 (5)
4-6 Promising, 7-4 George Of Hearts, 14-1 Capla Demon, 20-1 others.
8.15
Fillies’ Handicap
(3-Y-O: £4,399: 7f) (5)
G Bass (7)
(5) 541 MAKE MAGIC 32 (CD) D Simcock 9-7
C Noble (5)
(3) 2041- ARABIAN JAZZ 204 (D) Michael Bell 9-5
Rossa Ryan (5)
(2) 6303- IMAGE 142 P McBride 9-4
(4) 031- EESHA BEAUTY 212 (D) M Botti 9-4 M M Monaghan (3)
(1) 43344 MOTHER OF DRAGONS 4 Phil McEntee 8-13
Nicola Currie (5)
13-8 Make Magic, 2-1 Eesha Beauty, 7-2 Arabian Jazz, 13-2 Image, 16-1
Mother Of Dragons.
1
2
3
4
5
8.45
Handicap (£3,429: 6f) (12)
Joshua Bryan (5)
1 (6) 36120 FAREEQ 24 (T,B,CD) C Wallis 4-9-7
W A Carson
2 (5) 03524 BILLYOAKES 19 (P,CD) C Wallis 6-9-7
3 (9) 11-05 BREATHOFFRESHAIR 43 (T,P,D,BF) Richard Guest 4-9-6
K Shoemark
4 (7) 04602 ALFONSO MANANA 19 (B,D) J Given 4-9-6 R Kingscote
5 (2) 00006 DEEDS NOT WORDS 19 (P,D) M Wigham 7-9-5 F Norton
Fran Berry
6 (10) 0-344 TAWAAFOQ 28 (H) Mick Quinn 4-9-5
J Cooley (7)
7 (8) 256-5 ARCANISTA 16 (P,D) C Dwyer 5-9-5
Jason Watson (7)
8 (11) 11560 MERCERS 12 (P,D) P Butler 4-9-4
9 (3) -4405 DREAM ALLY 18 (CD) J Weymes 8-9-3 Phil Dennis (3)
D Brock
10 (1) 40440 TASAABOQ 21 (T,P,D) Phil McEntee 7-8-7
11(12) 03505 JUSTICE ROCK 19 (H,T,CD) Phil McEntee 5-8-7
Nicola Currie (5)
K Fox
12 (4) 650-0 MULTI QUEST 19 (B,CD) John E Long 6-8-7
7-2 Fareeq, 5-1 Alfonso Manana, 11-2 Billyoakes, 7-1 Breathoffreshair, 9-1
Arcanista, Tawaafoq, 12-1 Tasaaboq, 14-1 Deeds Not Words, 16-1 others.
Course specialists
Carlisle: Trainers S Crawford, 9 from 21 runners,
42.9%; I Duncan, 5 from 15, 33.3%.
Chelmsford: Trainers J Farrelly, 3 from 13, 23.1%; C
Appleby, 20 from 87, 23.0%.
Haydock: Trainers Miss E Lavelle, 4 from 13, 30.8%;
F O'Brien, 3 from 12, 25.0%; H Fry, 3 from 12, 25.0%;
P Nicholls, 13 from 55, 23.6%.
Kempton: Trainers A Watson, 14 from 43, 32.6%; J
Noseda, 32 from 111, 28.8%; S Crisford, 11 from 43,
25.6%; J Gosden, 57 from 247, 23.1%.
Musselburgh: Trainers A Watson, 3 from 7, 42.9%;
M Appleby, 7 from 24, 29.2%; K A Ryan, 18 from 89,
20.2%; M W Easterby, 12 from 61, 19.7%.
the times | Saturday March 31 2018
23
1G S
Sport
Godolphin is now all about
Dubai’s place in the world
RACINGFOTOS
Sheikh Mohammed is
making radical changes
to the way his racing
empire is run, writes
Mark Souster in Dubai
The past year has seen unprecedented
change
at
Godolphin.
Sheikh
Mohammed’s racing operation attracts
more interest than any other in the
world, a fascination aroused by its vast
wealth, influence, success and mystique. The famous blue colours have
been carried to victory seven times in
the Dubai World Cup, until recently the
most valuable race on the planet.
But when it is renewed at Meydan
this evening, it will be the first time for
20 years that John Ferguson, the group
chief executive who departed last June,
has not been there to see it.
Last week it was revealed that Joe
Osborne, the man appointed to succeed Ferguson, would revert to his
former post as managing director solely
in Ireland. From now on, each of Sheikh
Mohammed’s racing and breeding
entities in Britain, Ireland, Australia,
America and Japan will be autonomous
organisations with power vested in
individual directors and a board.
The Times has learnt that these
various entities will report to Hugh
Anderson, managing director of the
UK operation, who will act as a global
filter for reports and information.
Another part of the new power
structure will be a committee in Dubai,
comprised of Emiratis, set up to provide
a further conduit to Sheikh
Mohammed and his wife Princess
Haya, who exerts a considerable dayto-day influence. The inference of this
major restructuring is clear. The days of
any one chief executive having the
same level of authority as Ferguson are
over. One thing will never change:
ultimate decision-making will reside
with Dubai’s ruler and Princess Haya.
Towards the end of his long association, some felt that Ferguson had
become too much of a focal point,
especially after the rift with the Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor that
precipitated his exit. Others suggested
that he did not fully appreciate the concerns felt by Emiratis. The feeling in
Dubai was that Ferguson’s involvement
began to feel like a throwback to a bygone era when the emirate was emerging from its protectorate status in 1971.
To help in that process there was
initially a dependence on British knowhow and experience, but no longer. The
message now could not be more
emphatic: Godolphin is about Dubai
and its ruler’s vision for its place in a
world order being rapidly redefined.
Given that his role was to bring some
structure, focus and discipline to what
had become a sprawling empire,
Princess Haya,
left, also exerts
a considerable
daily influence
at Godolphin
Ferguson could be said to have
succeeded in his brief. Godolphin won a
record-equalling 18 group one races last
season, after several seasons in the
wilderness, a spell made worse by the
ban issued to the Godolphin trainer
Mahmood Al-Zarooni for doping 11
horses based at Newmarket.
In the wake of that scandal, Ferguson
helped to re-establish Godolphin as a
genuine rival to Coolmore, a
commendable
legacy
allowing
Ferguson to leave with his head held
high. But the concept of Godolphin as a
Formula One-type entity with a team
principal was jettisoned. Sheikh
Mohammed has decided that going
back to his roots is the best way forward.
As part of that process, a coterie of
advisers and confidantes has been
brought back together who had faded
from view under Ferguson but who,
individually, have long associations
with Sheikh Mohammed stretching
back 30 years. They were there when he
articulated his vision of turning a desert
into an oasis for business, tourism, and
sport. He likened it to attracting birds to
a tree, and he was convinced he could
make Dubai a significant destination
on racing’s global map.
Among the group of people who have
been brought closer to the operation
again are John Gosden, Simon Crisford,
André Fabre, Anthony Stroud and
Baffert can plunder
fourth World Cup
The leading American trainer Bob
Baffert landed the Dubai World
Cup for a third time with the
brilliant Arrogate a year ago and
can strike again with West Coast.
This colt has been beaten on his
past two starts, on each occasion
finishing in the frame behind the
outstanding Gun Runner. There is
nothing of that calibre in this field.
5.50
Dubai World Cup
(Group I: £4,444,444: 1m 2f,
dirt, going, fast) (10)
1 (1) 45-30 AWARDEE (B,D) M Matsunaga (Japan) 8-9-0 Y Take
2 (2) 0-321 NORTH AMERICA 21 (T,CD) S Seemar 6-9-0 R Mullen
J Rosario
3 (3) 125-3 GUNNEVERA (T,B) A Sano (US) 4-9-0
4 (4) 0-423 FURIA CRUZADA 21 (H,T,CD) E Charpy 7-8-9 A Fresu
5 (5) 03-32 MUBTAAHIJ (T,CD) B Baffert (US) 6-9-0 V Espinoza
6 (6) /111- FOREVER UNBRIDLED D Stewart (US) 6-8-9 M Smith
M Barzalona
7 (7) 312-1 TALISMANIC (D) A Fabre (Fr) 5-9-0
M Gutierrez
8 (8) 304-4 PAVEL (T,BF) D O'Neill (US) 4-9-0
9 (9) 113-2 WEST COAST (T,B,D) B Baffert (US) 4-9-0J Castellano
10(10) 0-212 THUNDER SNOW 21 (P,CD,BF) S bin Suroor (GB) 4-9-0
C Soumillon
Evens West Coast, 7-1 North America, 8-1 Forever Unbridled, Gunnevera,
Talismanic, 14-1 Pavel, Thunder Snow, 20-1 Mubtaahij, 50-1 others.
David Loder. Gosden trained for
Sheikh Mohammed in California in
pre-Godolphin days as far back as 1986.
Crisford’s connection extends even
further, to 1982. In them Sheikh
Mohammed sees people whom he can
trust and who abide by his tenets of
discretion and loyalty.
A finger of suspicion has recently
been pointed in Gosden’s direction as
an influential and prominent — some
have suggested overly prominent —
figure in the new “court”. But that is to
overlook the fact that these men are not
flunkeys directly dependent on Sheikh
Mohammed. These are individuals
with their own successful businesses.
Gosden, who was 67 yesterday, and
Fabre have big stables and high-profile
owners to whom they owe particular
responsibility.
But the Sheikh feels that he can use
them as sounding boards, usually in
evening phone calls. Gosden was asked
to help with the sales last August. He
has insisted that that is his sole remit.
He did the bidding when Sheikh Mohammed ended his boycott of yearlings
by stallions standing at John Magnier’s
Coolmore Stud, not least Galileo, a
trend set to continue. It is Gosden who
will train Gloam, who cost £4.2 million
at the Tattersalls sale in October.
To extend Sheikh Mohammed’s
ornithological analogy, feathers may
have been ruffled, but that is his
prerogative. And with his son, the
Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan,
described in a similar mould to his
father, that is only set to continue.
Time To Study
looks class act
for Johnston’s
in-form yard
Rob Wright Racing Editor
Mark Johnston has made a fast start to
the year, with 23 winners already on the
board, and he can land the featured
totepool Queen’s Cup Handicap (3.35)
with Time To Study at Musselburgh
today.
The four-year-old improved when
stepped up to this trip last year, winning
at this track before a highly commendable fifth in the Queen’s Vase at Royal
Ascot.
Time To Study just seemed in need of
the run when a close third at Haydock
in September. He then won two of his
final three starts of the season, at Doncaster and Newbury, seeming not to
stay when below par in the Cesarewitch
in between those victories. Unexposed
after just five starts over this trip, Time
To Study has a touch of class and has
plenty of appeal in this field.
Night Of Glory rates the main threat.
He has already won both on the Flat
and over hurdles this year, so will not
want for fitness, and should again give a
good account.
Of those at bigger prices, Euchen
Glen merits respect. He had excuses
when below par on his final two starts
last year and before that had looked
unlucky when third in a competitive
handicap at York’s Ebor meeting.
Johnston could also be on the mark
with Masham Star in the opening toteplacepot Handicap (1.50). Gelded since
last season, Masham Star shaped well
when third in listed company at Wolverhampton three weeks ago and can
make the most of a drop in class here.
Alpha Delphini looks a worthy favourite in the totescoop6 Borderlescott
Sprint Trophy (2.25). He is a half-brother to Tangerine Trees, who won this
race twice and, like his sibling, Alpha
Delphini is improving with age.
He signed off last season with wins
under testing conditions here and at
Beverley and, with the ground again in
his favour, he can pick up where he left
off by taking this prize.
The totesport.com Royal Mile Handicap (3.00) can go to Fake News. A winner with cut in the ground at Carlisle
last year, he stayed on strongly when
making a winning return to action at
Wolverhampton and seems likely to
appreciate this first try at a mile.
Over jumps at Haydock Park,
Crievehill will be tough to beat in the
Smarkets Challenger Middle Distance
Series Final Handicap Chase (2.05). He
improved for a switch to more patient
tactics at Sandown Park last time,
winning with plenty in hand despite a
bad mistake two out. He can defy top
weight.
The best bet of the day is Kyllachy
Gala in the Matchbook Betting Podcast
Rosebery Handicap (4.20) at Kempton
Park. He was forced wide throughout
when third at Chelmsford on Thursday,
doing really well under the circumstances to get as close as he did. He goes well
here and can return to winning ways.
Yesterday’s racing results
Bath
Going: soft (heavy in places)
1.50 (5f 160yd) 1, Dan’s Dream (F Norton, 11-4);
2, Grandma Tilly (25-1); 3, Little Boy Blue
(3-1). 9 ran. NR: Roman River. 4Kl, nk. M R
Channon.
2.20 (5f 10yd) 1, Izzer (F Norton, 5-4 jt-fav);
2, John Betjeman (25-1); 3, Deep Intrigue
(5-4 jt-fav). 7 ran. NR: Dixieland. 1l, 2Kl. M R
Channon.
2.55 (1m 3f 137yd) Abandoned: false patch of
ground on round course.
3.30 (5f 160yd) 1, Under The Covers (F Norton,
4-1); 2, Arrogant (16-1); 3, Quench Dolly (11-4).
6 ran. NR: Here’s Two. 1l, nk. R Harris.
Lingfield Park
4.00 (1m) Abandoned: false patch of ground on
round course.
Going: standard
1.30 (7f 1yd) 1, Take The Helm (Adam J
McNamara, 8-1); 2, Reckless Endeavour (22-1);
3, Gallipoli (6-1). 13 ran. NR: War Glory. Ol, nk.
B J Meehan.
4.35 (1m 5f 11yd) Abandoned: false patch of
ground on round course.
5.05 (5f 10yd) 1, The Daley Express (F Norton,
7-2); 2, Glory of Paris (11-4); 3, Major Pusey
(5-2 fav). 6 ran. NR: Delagate This Lord,
Jashma, Red Alert, September Issue. Nk, 3Ol. R
Harris.
Placepot: £43.20.
Quadpot: £7.80.
2.00 (1m 7f 169yd) 1, Funny Kid (Maxime
Guyon, 7-2); 2, Lord George (10-1); 3,
Watersmeet (3-1 jt-fav). 9 ran. Ns, nk. C
Ferland (Fr).
2.30 (7f 1yd) 1, Diagnostic (James Doyle, 7-2
fav); 2, Carolinae (15-2); 3, Lucymai (5-1). 13
ran. 1l, Kl. W J Haggas.
3.05 (6f 1yd) 1, City Light (Theo Bachelot, 8-1);
2, Kachy (11-8 fav); 3, Kimberella (8-1). 8 ran.
NR: Atletico. 1Kl, 1Nl. S Wattel (Fr).
3.40 (6f 1yd) 1, Corinthia Knight (Oisin Murphy,
5-4 fav); 2, Lake Volta (12-1); 3, Rock On Baileys
(12-1). 10 ran. Kl, nk. Archie Watson.
4.10 (1m 1yd) 1, Lucky Team (Theo Bachelot,
40-1); 2, Second Thought (11-8 fav); 3, Goring
(9-1). 11 ran. 1Nl, hd. Joel Boisnard (Fr).
4.40 (1m 2f) 1, Victory Bond (James Doyle, 3-1
jt-fav); 2, Master The World (5-1); 3, Abe
Lincoln (14-1). 10 ran. Kl, 1l. W J Haggas.
Placepot: £77.20.
Quadpot: £5.70.
Newcastle
Going: standard
1.40 (5f) 1, Dynamo Walt (T Eaves, 12-1); 2,
Fendale (9-1); 3, Move In Time (16-1). 14 ran.
Hd, hd. D Shaw.
2.10 (5f) 1, Cowboy Soldier (L Morris, 15-8); 2,
Midsummer Knight (7-2); 3, Gowanbuster
(12-1). 7 ran. Kl, 2Nl. R M H Cowell.
2.45 (7f 14yd) 1, Chaplin Bay (J Garritty, 7-1); 2,
Welliesinthewater (5-1); 3, Tadaawol (9-2 jtfav). 9 ran. 1Kl, Kl. Mrs R Carr.
3.20 (1m 4f 98yd) 1, Island Brave (L Morris,
7-1); 2, Stargazer (12-1); 3, Eye of The Storm
(50-1). 14 ran. Ns, Ol. Mrs H Main.
3.55 (1m 5yd) 1, Gronkowski (J P Spencer, 13-8
fav); 2, Iconic Sunset (33-1); 3, Dark Acclaim
(14-1). 10 ran. 1Nl, sh hd. J Noseda.
4.25 (5f) 1, Snazzy (David Probert, 5-1); 2,
Harperelle (16-1); 3, Hard Forest (2-1 fav). 12
ran. Kl, hd. C Fellowes.
4.55 (1m 2f 42yd) 1, Casey Jones (R Havlin,
7-4 jt-fav); 2, Rude Awakening (7-4 jt-fav); 3,
Dawn Dancer (7-1). 5 ran. NR: Harmonica. Kl,
3Ol. J Gosden.
Placepot: £391.60.
Quadpot: £23.10.
Blinkered first time: Carlisle 2.15 Secrete
Stream. Haydock 2.40 Spectator, Sleepy Haven,
Percy Street. 5.35 Milborough.
24
1G S
Saturday March 31 2018 | the times
Sport
Giles Smith
TWITTER
Diligent Southgate
left powerless as FA
takes its eye off ball
I
t seems extraordinary that the FA’s
contractual obligations to another
manufacturer mean that England will have
only one match to practise with the official
World Cup ball. And it’s especially baffling
after Gareth Southgate had revealed an
impressive appetite for micro-management by
banning his players from taking syrups in their
Starbucks cappuccinos at the St George’s Park
Hilton. We’re all keen, for sure, to reap the
marginal benefits of a sugar-free Chris Smalling
— but what about working competitively with
the actual ball? Wouldn’t there be something to
gain from that, too?
Because we all know about the wild variance
of World Cup balls from tournament to
tournament. It’s the first thing everyone
complains about. Indeed, the history of protest
amply suggests that although you have been
playing the game all your life you still barely
recognise as a football the bespoke orb served
up for you on arrival at a World Cup. Especially
if you’re English. Who can ever forget the glum
confusion sewed by the devious Adidas
Fevernova of South Korea-Japan 2002, with its
cutting-edge “three-layer knitted chassis” and
its ability to get up and over David Seaman at
free kicks?
As for the Teamgeist in Germany
2006, that was a horrible nutcase
of a ball, which practically
growled when you touched it
and only really worked for
Portuguese show ponies like
Cristiano Ronaldo. And don’t
get started on the woeful
Jabulani, deployed in South
Africa in 2010, which was
essentially a balloon on a stick,
didn’t seem to have crossed the
line even when it actually had,
and would have romped away with
the prize for most anti-social object
at the tournament if it hadn’t been for
some sterling work by the vuvuzela.
Even in England’s absence, the Questra, used
in the United States in 1994, had pictures of
stars and planets on it, and whether that was in
honour of the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11
moon landing, as maintained by the organisers,
or because the ball had been designed for
optimum ease of use in conditions of zero
gravity . . . well, talk to Roberto Baggio about it.
In fact, plenty of people would argue that no
World Cup ball has quietly and honestly gone
about its business since the classic, straight-andtrue, dubbin-enrobed 25-paneller of 1966. And
even that, one senses, would have done enough
in the air to worry Joe Hart.
Couch potato’s
guide to the
weekend’s TV
6 Matching Gareth Southgate’s exemplary
work at the Starbucks counter, Ryan Giggs has
set a stamp on his new job as Wales manager
by banning the wearing of baseball caps by his
players, halting a planned golf game and
quietly advising Gareth Bale on the ways in
which different kinds of car seat might be
better for the long-term health of his
hamstrings.
Yet apparently the former Manchester
United winger stopped short of banning his
players from using their mobile phones at the
meal table. Odd. No phones at the table is rule
one in the parenting manual, in our view,
miles further up the agenda from preventing
baseball caps and golf from breaking out, and
much more worth the necessary energy of
enforcement. Yet Giggs didn’t go there. He
should do — and he should stick at it. We
would say to him: forget the war — you’ve lost
that. But at least win the battles.
Anyway, flash forward to this month’s twomatch international break, a crucial staging post
in the almost completed journey to Russia, and
while the likes of Spain and Belgium were
sensibly using their games to begin
getting match-acclimatised around
the Adidas Telstar 18, left,
England were still contractually
prodding about with a Nike
Ordem V. That’s like
preparing for tomorrow’s
chemistry test by reading
your mate’s notes on
Wuthering Heights. And so
much for the marginal gains
earned in and around
Starbucks. In cycling terms,
they’ve bought the hand
sanitiser but they’ve forgotten to
arrange the TUE. Hopeless.
But, of course, it’s not Southgate’s
fault. He is but the innocent front-seat
passenger in a brakeless juggernaut of
multimillion-pound sponsorship deals and
endorsement packages, otherwise known as the
FA — an organisation which is by no means
averse to hitching the commercial trailer in
front of the football cab.
The manager is doing all he possibly can in
matters relating to hazelnut syrup and
cinnamon buns, but behind him is an
organisation that has, quite literally, taken its
eye off the ball, which will, in the end —
experience insists — prove to be the more
decisive factor.
What can be done? There’s no substitute for
Today
8.55am Cricket, fourth Test, South Africa v
Australia, Sky Sports Cricket. 11.15am
Football, Serie A, Bologna v Roma, BT Sport
2. 11.30am Football, Premier League, Crystal
Palace v Liverpool, Sky Sports Main Event/
Sky Sports Premier League. 12pm Scottish
Premiership, Motherwell v Rangers, BT Sport
1. 1.30pm Horse Racing, Musselburgh, ITV4.
2.30pm Rugby Union, Champions Cup,
Munster v Toulon, Sky Sports Action (2.55pm,
Sky Sports Main Event). 5pm Football,
Premier League, Everton v Manchester City,
BT Sport 1. Bundesliga, Bayern Munich v
Warner,
who has
the same
abrasive
qualities as
sandpaper,
would have
a field day
in Wickes
This year’s must-have: DIY tampering kits
W
e love a trip to
Wickes as much as
Australia’s David
Warner clearly does, so we
needed no further excuse to
get in front of the shelves this
week and assemble our
consumer-friendly pick of the
best offers out there —
everything the DIY balltamperer needs in his kit bag
this summer.
Obviously, for light work, a
roll of Abrasive Aluminium
Oxide Coarse Sanding Roll, at
£14.99 for 10 metres, is just
the job, while the Wickes
own-brand Rubber Sanding
Block at £3.99 should give
you a comfortable grip and
greater purchase for those
trickier, more detailed
surface alterations. You could
find that an Angled Sanding
Sponge (£3.99) is also handy,
and is definitely a little easier
on the fingers.
There are days when even
the most assiduous manual
work can’t get the damn thing
to swing, and for those
occasions you might want to
consider a collapsible work
bench (Wickes offer a
selection of lightweight but
sturdy Bosch models) and a
actual match practice, obviously, but perhaps it
would be helpful for the players if we could
outline some of the key differences and
characteristics of the ball chosen for Russia, so
that they can begin to claw back some of the 180
minutes they have already lost to key rivals and
be at least part-way up to speed when they meet
Costa Rica for that last friendly in June.
So, the Telstar 18 harks back, in name and
colouring, to the ball Adidas provided for the
1970 World Cup in Mexico and therefore
effortlessly summons ghostly images of Peter
Borussia Dortmund, BT Sport 2. 5.30pm
Football, League Two, Luton v Barnet, Sky
Sports Main Event. 5.30pm Rugby Union,
Challenge Cup, Edinburgh v Cardiff, Sky
Sports Action. 6pm Tennis, WTA Miami Open,
BT Sport/ESPN. 7pm Golf, PGA, Houston
Open, Sky Sports Golf (7.40pm, Sky Sports
Main Event). 7.30pm Football, Serie A,
Juventus v AC Milan, BT Sport 2. 9.30pm
Curling, World Championships, Eurosport.
11pm Cricket, second Test, New Zealand v
England, Sky Sports Cricket/Sky Sports Main
Event. 11pm Baseball, MLB, Tampa Bay Rays v
Boston Red Sox, BT Sport 1.
Makita BO5031 Random
Orbital Sander — quite
pricey at £99.99 but blessed
with a surprisingly quiet
motor and an easy-to-empty
micro-filter dust box and
almost guaranteeing a fine,
swirl-free finish.
We would, however, urge
you to exercise caution with it
in the outfield and certainly
when furtively concealing it
down the front of your
trousers.
Wickes also seem to be
doing 15 per cent off on bolt
cutters at the moment, if you
want to take it up a level.
Bonetti flailing at the back post. Structurally, it
boasts a brand new “carcass”, though we wish
they would use a different word.
Most likely it will be difficult to retain
possession of it against the better sides, and you
can rest assured that it will be practically
impossible to take a penalty with. Oh, and David
De Gea, who did get the chance to use it
competitively this week, describes it as “really
strange”.
Actually, you know what? Maybe it’s better to
forget all about it until it’s here.
Tomorrow
12.30am Basketball, NBA, Boston Celtics v
Toronto Raptors, BT Sport 2. 2am Baseball,
MLB, Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco
Giants, BT Sport 1. 8.55am Cricket, fourth
Test, South Africa v Australia, Sky Sports
Cricket/Main Event). 9.15am Cycling, Tour of
Flanders, Eurosport. 12.30pm Football,
Premier League, Arsenal v Stoke, Sky Sports
Main Event/Sky Sports Premier League.
12.30pm Rugby Union, Champions Cup,
Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92, Sky Sports
Action. 3pm Rugby Union, Champions Cup,
Leinster v Saracens, BT Sport 2. 3.30pm
Motorcycling, British Superbikes, Eurosport
2. 3.30pm Football, Premier League, Chelsea
v Tottenham, Sky Sports Main Event/Sky
Sports Premier League. 4.30pm Curling,
World Championships, Eurosport 1. 6pm
Baseball, MLB, New York Mets v St Louis
Cardinals, BT Sport/ESPN. 7pm Golf, PGA,
Houston Open, Sky Sports Main Event/Sky
Sports Golf. 8.30pm Basketball, NBA, San
Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets, BT Sport
2. 11pm Cricket, second Test, New Zealand v
England, Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports
Cricket. 11pm Golf, LPGA, ANA Inspiration,
Sky Sports Golf.
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