Category Archives: Sport

Weekend Sporting Round-up

By Sam Bulcock

The Big Story

Foxes Five Points From Destiny

Leicester City need a maximum of five points from their remaining three games to be crowned English champions after thrashing Swansea City 4-0 on Sunday. Claudio Ranieri’s men proved they could cope comfortably without top scorer Jamie Vardy as they moved eight points clear at the top of the table.

The win was not the only success for the Foxes on Sunday either, as later in the evening Riyad Mahrez was won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award. The Algerian international scored his seventeenth league goal against Swansea to go with his eleven assists for the season.

The award caps a remarkable year for the 25-year-old who joined the midlands club in 2014 from French side Le Harve for around half a million pounds.

Despite predictions they would struggle without Vardy, Leicester were never really troubled once Mahrez gave them a tenth minute lead. Two goals from Leonardo Ulloa either side of half-time sealed the win before Mark Albrighton added a gloss to the score line late on.

Leicester fans may well be celebrating as early as Sunday should Tottenham fail to beat West Brom and the Foxes then beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

United And Palace Book Final Spots

The 135th FA Cup Final will be contested by Manchester United and Crystal Palace after both sides won their semi-finals over the weekend.

Saturday evening saw United book their place first after Anthony Martial scored in injury time winner to see off Everton. Marouane Fellaini had given the Manchester club a first-half lead but a Chris Smalling own goal let the Merseysider’s back in.

The game appeared set for extra time before Martial found space and fired home a dramatic winner with the last significant kick of the match.

Palace meanwhile had a somewhat more comfortable passage, beating Watford 2-1 on Sunday. Alan Pardew’s men led early thanks to Yannick Bolasie’s header but Watford captain Troy Deeney equalised from a corner in the second-half.

Unlike United, however, Palace didn’t leave it late as Connor Wickham nodded in soon after to seal a famous win.

Paris v London For European Glory

The final of rugby union’s top European competition will be between Saracens and Racing 92 after both clubs progressed over the weekend.

Saracens held off fellow English club Wasps to secure a second appearance in the final in three years while French club Racing 92 scraped past Leicester on Sunday.

Neither side has won the competition before and will seek to break their respective ducks in Lyon on the 14th May.

And Finally

Kenya enjoyed double success in the London Marathon as Jemima Sumgong and Eliud Kipchoge won the women’s and men’s elite races respectively. Sumgong recovered from a nasty fall to win the race for the first time.

Kipchoge won for the second straight year and finished just seven seconds slower than the world record time for the distance.

Nearly 40,000 runners set off to complete the 26.2-mile course across the capital.

 

Featured image by admin PFA under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic the title is Riyad Mahrez the Men’s PFA Players 2016 and can be found here.

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Weekend Sporting Round-up

 

By Sam Bulcock

Weekend Sporting Round-up

The Big Story

Late Show From Leicester

Leicester City had to rely on a last minute penalty from Leonardo Ulloa to grab a point against West Ham in a highly controversial match on Sunday afternoon. Referee Jon Moss stole the post-match headlines after a series of contentious decisions that left both sides feeling aggrieved.

Leicester had taken a first-half lead when Jamie Vardy fired passed Adrian in the West Ham goal for his 22nd goal of the season. Vardy was then at the centre of the games first major talking point when he was given a second yellow card after being adjudged to have dived looking for a penalty.

Moss then endeared himself to the home crowd further still when he awarded a penalty for the visitors after Wes Morgan was penalised for pulling down Winston Reid. Andy Carroll blasted the Hammers level before Aaron Cresswell gave them the lead two minutes later with a glorious volley.

Moss wasn’t done there though awarding another penalty, this time for Leicester in the final seconds which Ulloa gratefully slotted home.

The Foxes are now eight points clear of Tottenham at the top of the table who travel to Stoke on Monday night.

Villa’s Fate Finally Confirmed

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Aston Villa’s defeat to Manchester United on Saturday confirmed their relegation to the second tier of English football for the first time since 1987. Marcus Rashford scored the only goal for United who still harbour hopes of finishing in the top four.

Villa will now look to rebuild in the Championship under a new management team with David Moyes and Nigel Pearson the current frontrunners for the job.

Rampant Rosberg Remains Perfect

Nico Rosberg won his third race in a row at the Chinese Grand Prix to maintain his 100% start to the 2016 Formula 1 season. The German was in control for the majority of the race and now holds a 36-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings.

Lewis Hamilton, who started from the back of the grid after engine trouble in qualifying, battled through the field to eventually finish seventh but already faces an uphill struggle to win a third successive title.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished second with Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat taking the final podium spot.

And Finally

England cricket captain Alastair Cook found himself the subject of an unusual debate over the weekend after landing himself in trouble over his choice of helmet. Cook was spoken to by officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board after failing to comply with new regulations.

The new regulations were brought in after high profile injuries to Craig Kieswetter and Stuart Broad. Cook did change his helmet on Monday but got little use out of it as he was dismissed for just 1 batting for Essex in their County Championship match with Sussex.

 

Featured image by Egghead06 under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic the title is West Ham United v Leicester City December 2014 Kick- off and can be found here.

Weekend Sporting Round-up

By Sam Bulcock

Weekend Sporting Round-up

The Big Story

Wonderful Week For Willett

Danny Willett became only the second English golfer in history to win the Masters on Sunday after an unbelievable final day at Augusta. The 28-year-old was an outside bet at the start of play with many expecting 2015 champion Jordan Spieth to comfortably seal back to back Green Jackets but a remarkable 30 minutes of play changed the outcome of the entire tournament.

Spieth had been in complete control over the first 3 days and had a five shot lead on the 10th hole before a run of bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey saw the 21-year-old drop out of contention. Further up the course, while Spieth struggled, Willett charged into the lead with some outstanding shots.

He eventually finished on -5 and had an agonising wait of around 45 minutes before he could be assured of his triumph. It capped a roller coaster week and a half for Sheffield’s newest sporting hero who only decided to play at Augusta after the birth of his first child at the end of March.

Sir Nick Faldo was the last English golfer to win the Green Jacket, his third arriving in 1996. Willett can now look forward to late night feeds with a little less trepidation knowing he’s over a £1.5 million richer.

Elsewhere

AJ Lands Significant KO

Willett wasn’t the only home success story of the weekend as Anthony Joshua became Britain’s sixth ever world heavyweight champion. The Olympic gold medallist made easy work of Charles Martin to win the IBF heavyweight title in only his 16th professional fight.

The 26-year-old had won all his previous fights inside 12 rounds and Saturday proved no exception with Joshua dispatching his American opponent only a minute and a half into the second round.

The win also takes Joshua one step closer to a possible all British heavyweight fight with Tyson fury who announced on Friday his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko will take place in Manchester on Saturday 9th July.

Three The Magic Number For Foxes

Leicester city are now just 3 wins away from lifting the Premier League title after beating relegation threatened Sunderland 2-0 at the Stadium of Light. Jamie Vardy scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season to briefly take the Foxes 10 points clear.

That lead was back down to 7 later on Sunday as Tottenham thrashed Manchester united 3-0 to maintain their now faint title hopes.

Claudio Ranieri was visibly moved at the final whistle, dedicating the win to his sides supporters who can now at the very least celebrate Champions League qualification.

And Finally

Rule The World won the 2016 Grand National after a storming finish at Aintree. The 33-1 shot beat joint favourite The Last Samuri in horse racing biggest race of the year. Hotly tipped Many Clouds, who won in 2015, faded late on to the disappointment of many banking on back to back wins.

Featured image by Oliver Gunning under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic the title is The US Masters View of 10th Green, Augusta National and can be found here.  www.yourgolftravel.com

Weekend Sporting Round-up

By Sam Bulcock

Weekend Sporting Round-up

The Big Story

Brathwaite Blasts England’s Dream

The West Indies became the first team to win two World Twenty20 titles after beating England in a thrilling final on Sunday. England looked to be home and dry heading into the last over until Carlos Brathwaite hammered four successive sixes to seal victory for his side with two balls left.

In a seesaw encounter, England were indebted to Joe Root’s heroics with both bat and ball as he twice dragged them back into contention when they appeared dead and buried.

His typically stylish 54 helped England recover from 23-3 to post a below par 155-9. On pitch good for batting and in the face of a powerful batting line-up defeat still looked likely until Root again decided to intervene.

Surprisingly chosen to bowl the second over of the West Indies innings, he picked up a wicket with his first ball before dismissing talisman Chris Gayle with his third. England continued to take wickets at regular intervals but their failure to remove eventual man of the match Marlon Samuels proved crucial.

His composed 85 not out set the platform for Brathwaite to dismantle Ben Stokes’ final over and seal a historic win for Darren Sammy’s men. Their win came hours after their female counterparts had beaten holders Australia in the women’s competition.

Elsewhere

Foxes Show Their Mettle

Leicester moved one step closer to an historic Premier League title after beating Southampton 1-0 on Sunday. Captain Wes Morgan’s first half header was enough to ensure the three points and saw the Foxes move seven points clear at the top after Tottenham could only manage a 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday.

Claudio Ranieri’s men have now won 5 of their last 6 games 1-0 and need four more wins to be crowned champions of England.

At the bottom end of the table Norwich were the big winners this weekend after beating fellow strugglers Newcastle 3-2 thanks to a last minute strike from Martin Olsson.

Off the pitch, Chelsea have named Italy coach Antonio Conte as their new manager. He will take over after the European Championships in France this summer.

Rosberg Remains Perfect

Nico Rosberg maintained his 100% start to the new F1 season after he capitalised on mistakes by his rivals to win in Bahrain. The German had started behind teammate Lewis Hamilton on the grid but was leading by the second corner as Hamilton dropped to seventh following a crash.

He eventually finished third, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen taking second. Rosberg now has an early 17-point lead over Hamilton in the overall standings. The next race takes place in China a week on Sunday.

And Finally

The biggest crowd of the weekend gathered on Sunday night as Wrestlemania 32 took place in Dallas, Texas. The WWE’s premier event was reportedly witnessed by over 100,000 people in the stadium while millions more watched on television. In the main event, Roman Reigns defeated Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Featured image by وقاص ادریس under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic the title is 2016 ICC World Twenty20 logo and can be found here.

Weekend Sporting Round-up

By Sam Bulcock

The Big Story

Roy’s Boys Prevail in Berlin

Roy Hodgson hailed his best moment as England manager on Saturday night after his young side fought back from two goals down against world champions Germany to win 3-2.

For sixty minutes it was all too familiar from England as despite some promising work they found themselves two goals after a swerving Toni Kroos strike was followed up by a powerful Mario Gomez header.

Impressively though the second goal only served to galvanise England even more who pulled a goal back when Harry Kane brought down a Jordan Henderson corner, superbly turned his man and fired home with expert precision.

Nathaniel Clyne then crossed for Jamie Vardy to flick home the goal of the game before Eric Dier powered in another Henderson corner in injury time to seal a famous win.

While the right result is always useful, Hodgson will have been especially pleased with an overall performance full of energy, confidence and skill. Dele Alli continued his remarkable rise to footballs top table with a man of the match display that highlighted his vast array of talents.

The only negative for Hodgson was an injury to Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland who has suffered a fractured ankle and is set to be out for 3 months.

Elsewhere

England Set Up Decisive Day

England’s men’s and women’s cricket teams both booked places in the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 with wins over the weekend.

The men held off a valiant late Sri Lankan charge to eventually win by 10 runs and set-up a match with unbeaten New Zealand on Wednesday in Dehli. Eoin Morgan’s men were largely indebted to Jos Buttler, whose 66 not out came off just 37 balls as Sri Lanka conceded 72 runs off the final 5 overs. Chris Jordan then took 4-28 to condemn the holders to an early exit.

The women had already sealed their progression before they faced Pakistan on Sunday but that didn’t prevent them putting in their best performance of the competition so far. Captain Charlotte Edwards scored an unbeaten 77 as her side thrashed their hapless opponents by 68 runs.

They will play before their male counterparts on Wednesday against current champions Australia.

Cambridge Triumph on Tricky Thames

Cambridge men won their first Boat Race since 2012 after navigating choppy waters on the Thames. They never relinquished an early lead and eventually won comfortably after surviving the difficult conditions.

Cambridge women did not fare so well with the turbulent water and struggled to stay afloat as Oxford women won for the fourth year running.

Blackwell Remains in Hospital

British boxer Nick Blackwell remains in a medically induced coma after his British middleweight title defeat by Chris Eubank Jr. The fighter suffered a bleed on the brain following a brutal encounter on Saturday night.

Blackwell was finally stopped in the tenth round on the advice of a doctor, with large swelling clearly visible above his left eye.

Featured image by Олег Дубина under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic the title is Roy Hodgson Euro 2012 vs Italy and can be found here.

4 Alternative Sports To Try This Year

By Sam Bulcock

  1. Footgolf

It’s a fact of life that great things come in twos. Ant and Dec, Wallace and Gromit, and everyone’s favourite, the Chuckle Brothers. It’s with this in mind that we introduce to you the sport of Footgolf, one of the UK’s fastest growing. Combining, you guessed it, football with golf courses the sport has quickly developed into a worldwide activity. Boasting an international federation and a World Cup competition, the sport in the UK has been adapted by many established courses as a way to extract new members and income. The aim is simple, kicking a standard size 5 football into a hole in the shortest number of shots possible. It’s the perfect pastime for those fed up with the ferocity of Sunday league football but equally unwilling to fork out for golf clubs and membership fees. A list of courses offering Footgolf can be found here.

  1. Bubble Football

Following a similar, albeit, less conventional theme we move onto Bubble Football. Again football provides the basis for the latest rival to the standard stag do activities. Simply put the game is basically your average kick about, except half your body is encased in a zorb leaving you somewhat unbalanced and exposed. It’s certainly low on tranquillity but high on laughs. The growth of the sport in the media means there are now numerous companies offering cheap hire of all the gear you need.

  1. Dodgeball

We’ve all seen the classic film where, spoiler alert, Vince Vaughan’s plucky underdogs overcome the odds to win the Las Vegas International Dodgeball Open. What you might not be aware of is that dodgeball has since taken on a life of its own, capturing the imaginations of young and old alike. Leagues and one off tournaments operate up and down the country and offer an intriguing alternative to the standard and somewhat stale Thursday night 5-a-side. Violent and exhausting in equal measure, dodgeball is a fantastic workout with the added bonus of being an excellent source of stress release. Just remember, take care of your balls, and they’ll take care of you.

  1. Sepak Takraw

The oldest sport on our list, its origins dating back to the 15th Century, and yet most likely the least well known. Easily summarised as volleyball with your feet, the sport has been a mainstay of culture in south-east Asian countries such as Thailand and Laos for some time. The sepak takraw chief has even lobbied for the sport to be considered for future Olympic Games. While relatively low on physical exertion, the sport requires high levels of skill and athleticism as well as a certain degree of bravery to fling yourself around a hard court. It may not have quite taken off in the UK just yet but keep your eyes peeled because something so exciting can’t remain hidden for long.

Featured image by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic the title is Bubble Soccer and can be found here.