Pat Fahy’s stable star was a Grade One winner over hurdles at the meeting last year and has twice been placed at the highest level over fences this term. He lost little in defeat when third in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last week and Fahy is hoping the ground will be a little slower at Punchestown. “It was maybe just a touch too quick for him,” said Fahy. “Maybe if they’d gone quicker early in the race, he might have been like Lord Windermere in the Gold Cup, a bit outpaced, but then they would have come back to him at the end. “Time will tell, if the ground was slower they might not have got away from him at the finish. His jumping was spot on, though. “We’ll stick to the novice route this year, he won’t go for the Irish National. “He got light coming home so I need to build him back up now and get him ready for Punchestown.” Press Association Morning Assembly will return to the scene of his finest hour for the Growise Champion Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival.
Replacement centre Gareth Maule claimed the bonus-point try a minute from time, squeezing under the posts. But that was after Scarlets saw a 25-11 lead shrink to 25-23 in the space of two minutes following tries by wing Fionn Carr and full-back Robbie Henshaw. Two minutes later Richard Kelly, who had replaced Ball at half-time, went over but the referee said the player was held up. After scoring the opening try Jonathan Davies was involved in the second as scrum-half Gareth Davies went over under the posts for his ninth try of the campaign. Priestland converted to take his side in to a 20-6 advantage. Scarlets followed that with an incredible try started with Liam Williams in his own 22. Priestland and Kristian Phillips continued the counter attack finished off by Josh Turnbull. Scrum-half Kieran Marmion grabbed a try back for Connacht from a quick tapped penalty as the Irishmen reduced the deficit to 14 points at 25-11. Connacht finished strongly and grabbed two tries in the space of three minutes. First Carr latched on to a chip from replacement outside-half Miah Nikora, who also converted to cut the deficit to seven points, and he was followed over by Henshaw. But Nikora could not convert which would have drawn the scores level. In a dramatic finish Maule stretched over for the fourth try, but McKeon scored Connacht’s fourth. And after Maule’s score, Connacht managed to have the final say with a fourth try for Ewen McKeon to secure two bonus points. Scarlets welcomed back Rhys Priestland for the first time since the RBS 6 Nations Championship and also included their other Wales stars Davies, Liam Williams, Ken Owens, Rhodri Jones and Jake Ball. The Scarlets went cruised into a 7-0 lead inside two minutes through Wales centre Jonathan Davies. The move began after a quick tapped penalty in their own half by Priestland. Impressive wing Jordan Williams went on a 40-metre run before putting Davies over. If the home fans thought it was going to be a try-fest in the warm spring sunshine they had to rethink as Connacht replied with two penalties on six and 21 minutes. But Scarlets gave themselves some breathing space three minutes later when Priestland struck a 40-metre penalty from in front of the posts. Priestland struck the post with a second penalty eight minutes from half-time as Scarlets took a 13-6 lead in to the break. Four minutes into the second half Priestland had a chance to further improve his side’s lead only to find the post again with his 35-metre attempt. Scarlets had to endure a Connacht comeback late in the second half before claiming a 32-30 bonus-point victory in a dramatic RaboDirect Pro12 contest at a sun-drenched Parc y Scarlets. Press Association
Rose arguably had the shot of the round after he made a 75-foot putt to claim an eagle on the par-five fifth hole. Cabrera parred the first two holes before claiming a birdie on the third, although that was cancelled out on the next hole with a bogey on the fourth. Three more birdies saw the 44-year-old go out in 33 and a further three on the back nine in consecutive holes from 10 to 12 saw him finish on 66. The two-time major winner was pleased with his first round performance and praised the changes made to the course. He told pgatour.com: “It was a really good first round. I played really good on the greens. “The changes are really good and on the 16th hole it is a really good change. “I felt really good putting.” Mickelson had an up and down opening round, going out in 32 with birdies on the first, third, seventh and eighth holes, before bogeys on the 13th and 17th holes cancelled out two of the birdies he carded on his return, on the 10th, 12th and 15th holes. Flores started and ended his round with a bogey, but shot seven birdies to go level with Mickelson, while Cink, who started on the back nine, enjoyed his opening round as he finished a further stroke back. The Argentinian thrived on the new Bermuda grass greens and hit seven birdies, with the only blot on his card a bogey at the par four fourth hole as he finished the round holding a one stroke lead over Americans Phil Mickelson and Martin Flores, who were tied for second. Stewart Cink, Jonathan Byrd and Webb Simpson held a three-way tie for fourth place with a cluster of nine players including Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Scotland’s Martin Laird tied for seventh on three under. Angel Cabrera held the lead after the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte after he carded a six-under-par 66 on Thursday. Cink said: “It was a good round. Up and down a little more up than down. This golf course is not easy. You can play pretty well and still take your lumps out there. I kind of did and overall it was a good round and I am pleased. “I’ve always felt fairly comfortable playing at Quail Hollow. It’s a fun place to play and there are a lot of challenging shots out there but the course will reward good play. “I have a good attitude while I’m here. I feel comfortable and the course forces you into being in a good frame of mind.” Northern Ireland’s McIlroy started on the back nine and came into the clubhouse with 69 after three bogeys and six birdies in his opening round. However, despite not recording as low a score as others on the course, the 24-year-old was boosted by his putting performance. “I felt like I played solid,” he said. “I gave myself plenty of looks for birdies and I felt like I putted a little better today than I have done in the past few weeks. “I was looking to go a couple more under par after the turn but I bogeyed three and four but bounced back nicely on five and six and I was trying to squeeze a couple more but I think anything sub 70 today is a good score because the wind is a little gusty out there.” Press Association
Damien Duff has agreed a one-year deal to join Melbourne City on a free transfer. The 35-year-old , who won the Premier League twice with Chelsea and earned 100 caps for the Republic of Ireland, left Fulham at the end of last season after spending five years at Craven Cottage. Duff joins ahead of the 2014-15 A-League campaign as Melbourne City’s 18th confirmed squad member, with speculation set to continue over further high profile arrivals at the club. Melbourne City have already confirmed that David Villa will join the club on a short-term loan before linking up with sister club New York City for the 2015 MLS campaign. Head coach John van’t Schip said Duff’s vast experience in England would be integral to the team and would assist in the development of the squad’s younger players. “We’re excited to have a player of Damien’s quality and experience for this season,” he said. “We believe he can offer international standard quality on the pitch and will also be a great professional example for our younger players. “His career speaks for itself. He has achieved almost everything at club level and has been a great player at an international level too. “He comes to us straight from the English Premier League with Fulham, so he has been playing at the highest level against top teams and top players. “When we met with Damien, he was excited about the opportunity here and keen to work with us to help make this project a success.” City also announced they have re-signed promising duo Stefan Mauk and Ben Garuccio until 2016 and 2017 respectively. Press Association
The announcement came on the same day the fixture list was released for the new campaign, which starts on the weekend of September 5. Last season’s top two face off in round one as defending champions Leinster travel to Glasgow. New Cardiff Blues head coach Mark Hammett will begin his competitive tenure in charge with a trip to Italy to face Zebre. Elsewhere, Scarlets host Ulster and Munster welcome Edinburgh, while Connacht and Ospreys are also at home to Newport and Treviso respectively. The Christmas and New Year schedule will be expected to draw large crowds again with back-to-back derbies pitching Newport against Cardiff and Scarlets against Ospreys. Guinness has replaced RaboDirect as the sponsor of the PRO12 league ahead of the 2014/15 season. Press Association
On his part, Root said he did not expect to get so many overs under his belt but added that every game presented a new avenue for improvement. “It’s not about the number of runs you score and being the one that stands out in terms of individual accolades. It’s about building those substantial partnerships that win you games and collectively getting the job done. I feel like I’m playing all right. I don’t feel like I’m playing exceptionally well at the moment but I feel like I’m playing some good stuff and there’s still loads of things that I want to keep working on and keep improving. It was important we didn’t panic and kept it together. We managed to get across the line and did it really convincingly in the end so it’s a really good sign and will fill the dressing room with a lot of confidence in knowing that we don’t have to go about things in just one way to be successful,” Root said.On his bowling, Root said, “I didn’t really expect (to get so many overs). I got the opportunity and it was nice to pick up a few wickets. I probably burgled them rather than out-skilled them. I’m not the most skilful off-spinner, so I was just trying to be as unpredictable as possible.”England will now play Afghanistan in Manchester on June 18 while West Indies face a vital clash against Bangladesh in Taunton on June 17. highlights New Delhi: Joe Root single-handedly demolished West Indies in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against West Indies in Southampton with a century and two wickets. His wicket of Shimron Hetmyer broke a solid stand with Nicholas Pooran and he also took the big wicket of Windies skipper Jason Holder as the West Indies were bowled out for a below-par score of 212. Root hurt West Indies with the bat by smashing a brilliant century to guide England to an eight-wicket win. Having also scored a century against Pakistan, Root has now amassed 279 runs in four matches, becoming the first England player to score two hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup since Kevin Pietersen 12 years ago. He has also become the first in history to compile three in total, as the hosts moved to the second position in the points table.Skipper Eoin Morgan, who walked off the field due to a back spasm, has lavished praise on Root by stating the Yorkshire batsman continued to impress every single time. “He is such an important player for us, he is the glue that holds everything together and probably a side of his batting that’s got better over the last two or three years that people haven’t seen a lot of is his expansive game. He never seems to be scoring at less than a run a ball. You look up and he’s going at more than a run a ball. It’s exceptional to see him come out and be in this form,” Morgan said. Joe Root is the first England player to hit three centuries in World Cups.Root is the first player since Kevin Pietersen to hit two tons in a single edition.England plays Afghanistan in their next league game. For all the Latest Sports News News, ICC World Cup News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Fukushima: The J-Village sports complex in Japan’s Fukushima was once a staging ground for battling the 2011 nuclear disaster, but next year it will host Olympic teams and the torch relay, sending a message of recovery. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin at the centre, and Olympic softball and baseball matches will be played elsewhere in Fukushima, as part of efforts that officials and residents hope will help repair the reputation of a region now synonymous with the nuclear meltdown. “The torch relay is a golden opportunity to send a message about our reconstruction to the world,” said Yusuke Takana, a 32-year-old official at the J-Village, from where the Olympic torch will set off on March 26, 2020. “The J-Village overcame the disaster and has been revived in its original form as a sports training centre,” Takana said. Built-in 1997 as a fully-fledged sports training complex, the J-Village was radically transformed by the nuclear meltdown. Thousands of workers wearing radiation protection suits, gas masks and dosimeters were dispatched every day to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from the sports centre, located just on the edge of the initial 20-kilometre (12-mile) no-go zone. Sports fields were used as a heliport, a decontamination centre and temporary houses were set up for plant workers, while armoured vehicles and firefighters were stationed at its parking lots. “It was so painful to see these buildings being put up on the ground where we trained in our youth,” said Ayako Masuda, a former goalkeeper with a women’s football club run by the nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO). The J-Village’s pitch was her team’s home ground, said the 44-year-old, who stayed with TEPCO as an employee after retiring from football. ‘Difficult tasks’ remain The complex clean-up at the nuclear plant continues, but the J-Village’s role as a staging centre diminished over time and it reopened fully as a sports centre in April. On a Friday afternoon, schoolboys were kicking and heading a ball on the turf as part of a summer football camp, cheered from the sidelines by coaches and parents. “The pitch is beautiful. It’s well worth playing here,” said Ryuki Asai, a 12-year-old boy in his team’s soccer uniform. There are few signs of the role the J-Village once played, though a digital display showing radiation levels still operates outside the front gate. It registered 0.111 microsieverts per hour at the gate — barely different from 0.110 in central Japan’s Gifu. Emiko Takahashi was visiting with her son from Tokyo and had checked the radiation levels posted on the J-Village website. “Coming here with my son is a way of supporting Fukushima’s reconstruction,” Takahashi said. The complex will be used for training by Japan’s men’s and women’s national football teams ahead of the Olympics, and Argentina’s rugby team plans to train there before the World Cup that begins in Japan on September 20. Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori called the facility a symbol of reconstruction while acknowledging that “difficult tasks” remained. ‘I want to come back’More than 160,000 people were evacuated after the nuclear meltdown caused when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami on March 11, 2011. Some areas affected by the meltdown remain off-limits, and some 43,000 residents have yet to return home. Levels of radiation in areas directly around the plant remain extremely high, hampering a decommissioning process that is expected to take decades. And while radiation levels are now largely normal outside the restricted zone, Fukushima is still fighting its association with the meltdown, particularly fears over the safety of local food. “The reputation damage remains deeply rooted,” said Shunji Miura, an official from Fukushima prefecture. As part efforts to rehabilitate its reputation, Fukushima will host Olympic matches in softball and baseball — Japan’s most popular sport. On Saturday, children from 13 countries gathered at the Azuma Sports Park that will host the Olympic matches for a baseball tournament. “I hope that when these children go back home they will tell people that Fukushima was good,” said Sadaharu Oh, Japan’s retired home-run king, who helped organise the tournament. “And I hope that those who hear that from them will change their image” of Fukushima, Oh added. Yi-Yu Tseng, a 10-year-old pitcher from Taiwan, acknowledged the history of the nuclear disaster made the prospect of visiting “a little bit scary”. “But I’m feeling less scared now,” he said. “I want to come back to Fukushima.” For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. highlights Japan was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in 2011.The Tsunami killed about 10,000 people.Fukushima’s nuclear plant suffered a meltdown after the tsunami hit the facility.
‘Top Gun’ Hopkinson trumps rivals again; Milling is junior winnerCONTINUING to display match winning form, veteran marksman Harold ‘Top Gun’ Hopkinson has once again outshot his rivals in claiming the top spot in the Guyana National Rifle Association (GuyanaNRA) Smallbore Section .22 Precision Shoot held last Saturday at the Tactical Services Unit Range of the Guyana Police Force.Hopkinson’s form, which allowed him to do well in the just concluded Grenada Gun and Rifle Association’s Second Annual six Stage, Level 2 IPSC competition in the Spice Isle, still held as he amassed 232 points along with two V Bulls to win the senior category.Taking second place was Chad Melville who ended with 228 points the same as Dr Johan DaSilva. However, Melville shot 4 V Bulls which meant that Dr DaSilva had to settle for third place.The senior competitors shot from the 10m and 15m distances while the juniors aimed from the 5m, 7m and 10m distances.The leading junior on the day – the top three competing in their first precision pistol match – was Terry Milling who accumulated 232 points and one V Bull. Second was Michael Tang with 225 points and 5 V Bulls while third place went to Sherwin Solomon who tallied 221 points and 1 V Bull.This was the third such competition held by the GuyanaNRA Smallbore Section for the year.
The announcement took all of 30 seconds to say, but the ramifications are still being felt.Ever since senior quarterback Matt Barkley declared his intention to return to school for his senior season on national television, USC has been lauded as the preseason favorite to win the national championship.When the “experts” talk of such predictions, the discussion usually centers on Barkley and Co. on the offensive end. One of Barkley’s main targets, sophomore receiver Marqise Lee, made some sensational plays in practice on Thursday.“[Lee] was the MVP of today,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “Obviously he’s a great player and he has the potential to be a real star player.”The Trojans do not just feature an experienced offense, however. With eight starters returning from last year’s squad that was third in the conference in points allowed, the Trojan defense is not to be taken lightly.“As a defense, we just come out and do what we’re supposed to do,” junior cornerback Nickell Robey said. “All we’re worried about is winning on third downs and getting off the field.”Robey, a starter since his freshman season, has taken on more of a leadership role this year and has made it a point of emphasis to help the younger players adjust.“We have a lot of young guys, so we’re trying to get them acclimated to the system. When we can do that, we’re going to be better as a defense.”On Thursday, the defense got the better of the high profile offense, forcing turnovers and making it difficult for the offense to move the ball.“The defense kind of dominated today for the most part,” Kiffin said. “It’s always hard to evaluate the offensive line and the run game when you have no pads on.”With the loss of three starters on the defensive line from last year’s unit, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is relying on newcomers to step up.“We have to show up inside. That’s where it all starts,” Orgeron said. “If you’re weak inside, you’re not going to have the type of team you want.”Orgeron is hoping for solid play from returning seniors Devon Kennard and Wes Horton.“Devon and Wes are coming. Those are guys I expect to play well,” said Orgeron. “Last year, Devon had some missed sacks, some missed plays. But he’ll get them this year.”If Thursday’s practice was any indication, the defense will turn some heads this season.
Jordan Taylor notched a double-double against Green Bay as Wisconsin got its first win in three games Wednesday night. Taylor leads the Badgers in points and assists.[/media-credit]After seeing its perfect start to the season muddied by two consecutive losses, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team got back on track Wednesday night.Despite another weak first-half showing, the Badgers (7-2) shot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half of a 70-42 win over UW-Green Bay (4-5) at the Kohl Center. Point guard Jordan Taylor led all scorers with 15 points and added a career-high 10 assists, while forward Ryan Evans scored 14 points and forward/center Jared Berggren contributed 13.The victory comes four days after Wisconsin had its 23-game home win streak snapped by another in-state rival, the No. 16 Marquette Golden Eagles, in a 61-54 loss. Three days prior to that, the Badgers fell on the road to the then-No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels 60-57. Both games, especially the UNC one, saw UW play inspired basketball at times, though the complete efforts ultimately were not enough to pull out wins.“You should be on a mission every night,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “I don’t try to get guys more revved up for one game than another. Bright young men figure out that every contest is pretty important, every possession is. There wasn’t anything different in what we were doing.”Initially, it appeared the Badgers would be in for another battle at home, as UW shot just 12-for-33 (36.4 percent) from the field in the first half. After a layup by guard/forward Rob Wilson (five points, two blocks) put Wisconsin ahead 8-2 at the 15:31 mark, the Badgers went scoreless for the next four minutes. When Green Bay guard Steve Baker drew a foul on a layup and converted the and-one attempt to bring the score to 12-11 with 10:20 left in the first half, the Phoenix came as close as they would all game. From that point until halftime, UW built a 21-10 run that had the Badgers leading 33-21 at the break.“We played a good team on a mission tonight,” UW-GB head coach Brian Wardle said. “We knew right off the bat that Wisconsin was coming out.”The first half was especially successful for Wisconsin’s bench, which scored 14 points to Green Bay’s seven. For the game, UW’s bench players outscored UW-GB’s 21-16, led by guard Ben Brust’s six points. Freshman guard Traevon Jackson and freshman forward Frank Kaminsky each scored four points in 11 and 14 minutes of playing time, respectively.The second half unfolded much more smoothly for the Badgers, who outscored the Phoenix 19-8 in the first 10 minutes out of halftime. Taylor led a UW offense that seemed to get to the basket more than did in the first half – and overall, more than it had in the past two games. The senior point guard converted four of his six free throw attempts, but Wisconsin still struggled as a team to make its free throws – a still-troubling sign for a team that made 81.8 percent of its tries last season and nearly broke the NCAA record of 82.2 percent. The Badgers finished the game 13-for-19 from the charity stripe, just 68.4 percent.Nevertheless, Taylor and the Badgers took solace in the fact they recorded 16 assists to just six turnovers – a solid 2.66 assist-to-turnover ratio – and forced the Phoenix into 16 turnovers.“I don’t think I would say [we’re] settling, but just trying to make good decisions every time down the court and get the best shot,” Taylor said. “Shots aren’t falling for some guys right now, but we’ll keep working, keep getting better every day and that’ll come.”With the game clearly in hand, Wisconsin’s lead blossomed to its largest at 28 points, 68-40, with 2:14 remaining in the game.Green Bay was led by 7-foot-1, 215-pound center Alec Brown with 10 points. Brown pulled down just four rebounds, well short of his 7.5 per game average. Forwards Brennan Cougill and Daniel Turner each scored six points, while Cougill led the Phoenix with eight rebounds (five offensive).“That was definitely an emphasis of ours in practice the last few days,” Berggren said of limiting Brown. “We knew he’s a good player; if he catches it inside, it’s not good for us. So we just tried to focus on keeping the ball out of his hands, working to front him, force them to throw some lobs over the top and have some backside help.”