Monthly Archives: November 2012

Youth to represent England

England’s Hockey squad head to Australia this weekend, with one of the youngest and inexperienced sides to ever grace the game.

According to coach Jason Lee, it is almost bare bones as most of the experienced squad are unavailable for the trip.

Some are injured, whilst others take time out of the game, and unlike very few sports, most have to go back to day to day life. For a few that means university and the harsh realities of study.

The English outfit will come up against the best nations in the champions trophy and Lee knows it will be a huge test with the players he has available.

In an interview with the BBC he said: “We’re by some distance the least experienced group – and there are some very experienced teams here,

“This is kind of a learning experience for us. Five of our players have fewer than 10 caps and six of them have never played internationally at all, so it’s certainly a jump in the deep end.”

One of the greatest opponents there will be against the Dutch, who they lost to 9-2 in the Olympics, that has almost 50 times as many professional hockey players as England do.

England’s first game will be against India (Dec 1) before they have games against Germany (Dec 2) and New Zealand (Dec 4). If they progress from the group they could make it all the way to the final on December 9th.

You will be able to catch a full report on the event here at The Sporting Week on December 10th.

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Puck Plays – British Elite League – By Dan Perry-Plant

This weekend throws up some more interesting ties as the Elite Ice Hockey League heads towards the Christmas period.

Following a four point weekend in Scotland, the Sheffield Steelers return to the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night as they take on the Cardiff Devils.

Both teams will be bolstered by new signings, as the Steelers will hand a debut to new import forward Simon Ferguson, who is expected to arrive in Sheffield in time for the game. Ferguson joins after leaving Ljubljana Olimpija HK in Austria around a month ago. He has played 334 games in the American Hockey League, and is renowned for both his scoring and penalty taking sides of his game.

The Devils have re-signed GB international defenceman Mark Richardson, who has previously played 241 games for the welsh outfit. Richardson had recently left the Devils for Arlan Kokshetau in Kazakhstan at the start of the season, and although he had a good start to the year, decided his style of play was more suited to the Elite league and the Devils were quick to snap him up.

Saturdays game will be followed by a return fixture in the Cardiff Bay and both teams will be looking to take all four points on offer. Recently key players for the Steelers have been Tom Sestito, Shawn Limpright and Steven Goertzen, and these import forwards seem to have shaken off the rust in the Scottish double header, and will look to carry the momentum into this weekend’s fixtures.

The Devils will be looking to import forward Mac Faulkner who has set the league alight this season with a rich vein of scoring form, and NHL lockout signing Paul Bissonnette who has brought a strong game to the Devils.

Elsewhere in the league on Saturday, Hull travel to Scotland to take on the Braehead Clan, and Coventry will travel to Dundee to face the Dundee Stars.

On Sunday, Braehead will travel to Coventry to take on the Blaze, Hull will travel to Edinburgh to face the Capitals and Nottingham will head to Dundee to take on the Stars.

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The Best Mascot Ever

Sammy the Saint has made the headlines today after one of the best versions of Gangnam Style ever seen.

During half time in the Premier League game between Southampton and Norwich City, Sammy broke out into song and dance and treated the fans to one of the greatest moments ever in 2012.

If you didnt get to see it last night, you can catch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQZ8X1KJ6zA

Elsewhere in Football news, Rafael Benitez saw a second 0-0 for his Chelsea side and Manchester City won 2-0 away at Wigan.

You can catch all the best football news this weekend with Tim Magnus and Billie Marshall with Game On and Terrace View.

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Ponting Retires

Ricky Ponting will be departing from the crease for the final time on an international stage next week when he finally hangs up his whites.

During his career, he has been controversial, outspoken and at times bizarre but when at his best he has arguably been the best ever batsmen for Australia and possibly the world.

He has some great moments against England, but what made him the best was that he would do anything to win.

After making his debut back in 1995 against Sri Lanka, he went on to make 13366 runs in test cricket and lies second behind only Sachin Tendulkar in the ranks. He has an average of a brilliant 52.21.

On his retirement,  Michael Vaughan said on Twitter: “The best batsman I had the privilege to play against was Ricky Ponting. He played better against me than Sachin did. Both incredible but if I had to pick one it would be Ricky. Australian cricket will not be the same without him.”

In his career he won the World Cup three times and was part of one of the best ever Australian sides that included Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.

For more information check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/17107379.

Ponting will be sorely missed in the game and it marks an end of an era for Australian cricket.

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Giants Prepare for Super League XVIII

Super League club Huddersfield Giants have hit the ground running as they prepare for the latest campaign under head coach Paul Anderson.

After a disappointing 2012, the claret and gold are looking to win that elusive piece of silverware with a brand of attacking rugby set up by a powerful front row.

With pace all over the park and a new focus on ball in hand, the Giants are looking to win confidently as well as entertaining the fans.

Club legends Eorl Crabtree and Danny Brough have been joined by new powerful new signings Craig Kopzcak and Stuart Fielden, as the Giants build one of the strongest squads to ever grace the Super league.

With pre-season well under way and a first round test against former leader Nathan Brown awaiting in February, the club need no motivation to work hard on the field.

Their Achilles heel in recent seasons has left them flat towards the playoff campaign, but with hard graft the word on the players lips, they will not let it happen again.

For more information on the club, follow @giantsrl or visit www.giantsrl.com where you can find the best and latest news every day.

 

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Cue Action – Bingham Takes Premier League Crown – By Will Vallely

Sunday evening saw Stuart Bingham win the 2012 Party Poker Premier League by comfortably beating world number one Judd Trump 7-2.

The final continued the trend of one sided Premier League finals as Stuart won by a clear five frame margin. Bingham managed to make five breaks over 50 including one century.

Stuart was clearly overwhelmed by his victory stating: “It’s unbelievable to pick up this trophy, it just means the world. I’m over the moon; it just means so much to me.”

Bingham reached the final after a nervy encounter against John Higgins where he saw his 2-0 lead eaten up by the Scotsman and ended up trailing 4-3. However by winning the eighth frame Bingham set up a final frame decider where he managed to pull through thanks to a break of 57.

His opponent Trump also had to win a deciding frame in his semi-final bout against beat Neil Robertson and was clearly lacking in energy come Sunday evening.

However Judd conceded that Bingham was the deserved winner of the crown and had been the better player throughout the tournament.  At one point Bingham was on a 14 frame winning streak.

This was Bingham’s first ever appearance in the Premier League and will no doubt be invited back next year after his triumph. His name joins many other illustrious names on the trophy such as Davis, Hendry, Higgins and O’Sullivan.

He will be hoping to take his form through to the UK Championship in York next week where he will face hot prospect Jack Lisowski.

The UK championship is currently held by Judd Trump and is the games second most prestigious ranking event, and will be screened on the BBC throughout the tournament.

 

 

 

 

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Wiggins takes Back Seat

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford last night sensationally claimed that current Tour De France holder Bradley Wiggins will probably take a supporting role to Chris Froome in next years event.

Froome helped Wiggins to the Brits first every title, and it now appears that in 2013 the pair would switch.

Brailsford did however admit in his interview that the concept had not yet been fully agreed.

He said: “The Tour of Italy would be a very good target for Bradley and leave Froomy then to focus on the Tour de France.”

With the changes to the schedule for the 2013 tour, with there being more mountain stages than time trials, so Froome would be better suited to the course.

He came second this year behind team-mate Wiggins and also took a bronze at the London Olympics.

By taking this approach Team Sky could well win both the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France which would be another great success for the British based team.

You can follow these actions more closely over the coming weeks, as well as the rehabilitation of Wiggins after he broke ribs in a training accident.

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It’snowheaven – Sushi, Sake and Snowboards in Tokyo – By Jess Softley

For the second year in a row, the Burton Rail Days brought everything we’d hoped for and more, with 18 of the top urban rail riders competing at Tokyo for the all important first prize and a whopping $15,000.

Despite the heavy downpour of rain, this didn’t detract from the level of technically insane runs this year’s riders were performing and the sheer amount of spectators who had gathered in their thousands. As this year’s event attracted an estimated 3,000 people, it was hands down the largest crowd recorded at that venue. Tokyo was in for a real treat.

After taking first place last year, Britain’s Jamie Nicholls was going for it again and after a 45 minute jam session, the judges whittled it down to just eight riders who battled it out head-to-head. Coming first in the qualifiers for the final, it looked as if there was going to be another win for the Brit. However, it was USA’s Forest Bailey who took first place pulling out a sweet cab 360 to switch nosepress on the down rail, with a 50-50 on the closeout rail, transferring to a lipslide on the down rail.

Nichols nailed his 2nd and 3rd runs with a closeout 50-50 to frontside 270 transfer to the down rail. On another day, this would have been enough to take first place but on the day, the judges narrowly gave the top podium to Bailey. Although it wasn’t first, I know Jamie was happy with second place and the $8,000 prize.

After the event, Nichols spoke to The Sporting Week.

When I was younger, I wanted to learn how to snowboard but my feet weren’t big enough for the boots, so I actually learnt to ski first. How old were you when you had your first lesson and what do you remember about it?

This was ages ago now, actually 12 years! I was seven years old when I had my first lesson and remember those days really well. Those are some of the best memories I have to be honest. In fact I remember that feeling when I did my first grab, it was an Indy.

What made you want to get into snowboarding?

Well I just wanted to do something different and I always saw it on TV and really wanted to give it ago. So one day on the way back from the shops we drove past the Halifax Ski and Snowboard Centre which is around five minutes from my house and watched everyone snowboarding on there for a bit. I said I really want to try this to my parents so they booked me a lesson and it went from there.

At a young age you were pulling somersaults off the big kickers, were you really brave or mad? Were you ever scared and do you still get nervous?

Haha that’s funny. I still do get nervous for sure, especially when I am trying something new or right before a contest but I am normally good at controlling nerves.

Dendex, Snowflex, or the real stuff?

The real stuff! Haha but I do still love to go back to my roots and ride dry slope.

You’ve obviously come a long way from the lessons at Halifax slope, do you still enjoy it as much or has it become a job?

I know it’s my job now but I still love it! It will never become serious-serious! Because snowboarding is meant to be fun even if it is your job.

You get to travel all over the world now, but what’s the best resort you’ve been to and why?

I would say Mayrhofen is my favourite place to ride as I live there in the winter. It has an amazing park and great terrain. In fact all over the Zillertal Valley there is amazing terrain.

Your success is mainly from the Park but do you enjoy riding mountains?

I love to just ride sometimes, especially just the piste and getting creative. It’s actually really good for your control just to ride the piste.

Do you have a playlist that you ride to? If so, what’s your favourite song from it?

The Black Keys –Gold on the Ceiling. That’s my favourite song at the moment.

It’s fantastic to see you and other British riders doing so well on the International scene, what’s the next milestone you want to achieve?

I know, it’s so good to see people from a country with no mountains getting good results in big international comps. So cool! But I’m not sure really, I just take things as it comes to be honest.

If it wasn’t for the fact that there is a dry slope virtually on your doorstep, do you think you would still have been as hooked on snowboarding?

I really think if I hadn’t had Halifax slope so close to me I wouldn’t be where I am today but who knows. It’s hard to say really.

If you had to sell snowboarding in one sentence, what would you say?

Snowboarding is the best sport in the world and everyone should give it a go. Never give up too.

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