Carla tops it up to four

first_imgCarla Bianca completed a four-timer with a hard-fought triumph in the Xtravision & HMV Supporting Irish Autism Action Dance Design Fillies Stakes at the Curragh. Weld said: “That’s four now back-to-back for this filly. She was slow in the spring to get going, but has progressed with every run and it was a nice performance today. “The Blandford is a possibility for her and the faster the ground, the better for her. “I thought nine furlongs was her correct trip, but the way she came home today pleased me most of all because she has a lot of pace. I liked the way she came home in the last half-furlong.” Sretaw ended a remarkable run of six seconds in terrific style by taking the 21-runner Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Cambridgeshire. There were lots in with a chance as things changed rapidly in the final furlong in what proved a rough finish, but Wayne Lordan galvanised Gavin Cromwell’s five-year-old (11-1) to land the premier handicap with a strong burst down the outside. Vastonea (16-1) was half a length away in second with the 4-1 favourite Hasanour third and Maggie Dalton (25-1) fourth, while Warbird was the principal sufferer in scrimmaging down the centre of the track. “We were very hopeful. She’s been second six times in a row and deserved this,” said owner Eamon Waters. “She’s been running to her handicap mark all the time and kept going up, but in fairness to her she kept improving. “I bred her and bought the mare for small money. It’s nearly like a dream and I’m afraid I’ll wake up. She’s entered at Leopardstown on September 14 but it’s up to Gavin where she goes.” Press Associationcenter_img The Dermot Weld-trained filly, wearing the Moyglare Stud colours carried to victory by Dance Design in the 1996 Irish Oaks, continued her progression to land Group Three honours over nine furlongs. Alive Alive Oh led two furlongs out travelling sweetly, but the 5-4 favourite dug deep under Pat Smullen to assert in the closing stages, and then held Pearl Of Africa by a length. last_img read more

Women’s tennis hopes to overcome season of bumps, bruises

first_imgThis year, the University of Wisconsin women’s tennis team has dealt with more than its fair share. With numerous injuries forcing adjustments in the lineup — oftentimes playing matches without a full roster — the Badgers have truly tested their players and overall attack of the game.”With all that we’ve dealt with, we’ve really had to re-evaluate our goals and overall strategies,” head coach Patti Henderson said. “At the beginning of the year, we set goals that we wanted to happen and achieve, and things have definitely been tested.”With the team’s No. 1 singles player Caitlin Burke injured, Kaylan Caiati and Liz Carpenter — No. 2 and No. 3, respectively — have had to step up.”Although there have been close matches we’ve been unable to win, Kaylan and Liz have definitely stepped up,” Henderson said. “By showing that these girls can be confident at a higher level, the younger members of the team should follow by example and apply it to the court.”At this point in the season, Wisconsin’s goal is simply to keep playing through the adversity it has encountered.”It’s important that everyone plays their hardest and leaves the match, win or loss, knowing you put everything out there,” Burke said. “While we have been struggling a little, it’s important to set by example and go out there and give it your all every time.”If anything, our main goal is to make sure that the Badger legacy lives on and that we return to the tennis world as a threat in our final upcoming games this season.”A tough schedule awaits as Wisconsin (3-10 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) faces its last non-conference opponent in No. 3 Notre Dame (14-1 overall, 0-1 Big East) Thursday at the Neilsen Tennis Stadium and finishes the season with five Big Ten matches.With the grueling schedule ahead, the Badgers know that this is their time to show that, despite the setbacks, UW is a team to watch out for.”If we are able to win all the rest of our Big Ten conference matches, then there is definite potential to get back on track and finish the season on a good and positive note,” Henderson said. “With the schedule we have coming up, it’ll be interesting to see if matches will go our way, and if it does, this team is right back in it.”last_img read more

Rugby World Cup: Is this the age of the southern hemisphere?

first_imgThe fundamental division of the rugby universe is the Earth’s equator.Of the 10 so-called Tier 1 nations—those countries that care most about the sport and play it best—six lie in the northern hemisphere while four are in the southern half of the globe.That rift, like college football’s divisions and their respective personalities, tends to inform every conversation about rugby style.This weekend, however, the discussion took a southerly turn. For the first time in tournament history, southern hemisphere teams won all four of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals. After two routs and two nailbiters, only New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina remain.Scotland came closest to breaking up the southern party on Sunday afternoon in the final match of the round. Despite five Australian tries, it held a two-point lead here at Twickenham with one minute to go after Mark Bennett returned an interception for a try. But a last-minute penalty, which didn’t sit well with the Scots, sent Australia to the semis with a 35-34 victory.It was hard to believe that Scotland had been winless during Europe’s Six Nations tournament last spring. “We were one kick away from the semifinals of the World Cup and probably should have been [through],” Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw said, aggrieved by what he felt was a generous penalty call. “This Scotland team is different from the one that was in the Six Nations.”Earlier in the day, Argentina scored the upset of the round by taking down a battered Ireland side 43-20. And on Saturday, South Africa edged past Wales, 23-19, before the All Blacks dismantled France 62-13, with the largest ever victory in a World Cup knockout game.It was New Zealand’s 12th straight win in the tournament, dating back to 2011. As for France, a squad wracked by doubt and internal discontent, this tournament marked the first time since 1991 that Les Bleus failed to reach the semifinals.“There’s a world between our two teams, it’s really striking,” France’s Frederic Michalak said of the All Blacks (above, pcitured). “And the gap keeps growing. Small teams are getting big and France will drift further and further away from the top nations if the trend continues.” The upshot is that on the shores where rugby was invented, the World Cup will be decided by sides that came from half a world away. That fact has already prompted much hand-wringing in English and French rugby circles, although the history of the tournament suggests it might be an anomaly. In six of the seven previous World Cups, the semifinal lineup had featured two southern teams and two European nations.After all, part of the semifinal lineup comes down to how the draw breaks down for the group stage of the tournament.New Zealand coach Steve Hansen chalked up the southern hemisphere’s 2015 success to the quality and diversity of the rugby currently played in the annual Rugby Championship—the answer to Europe’s Six Nations competition.“When you play South Africa, you have to be physical. When you play Australia, you come up against a highly skilled team who like to play running rugby and you have to be able to combat that. Then, you’ve got New Zealand who have a little bit of both,” Hansen said. “So, the competition creates a rugby player that can be multi-functional.”He then threw out the common soccer argument that surfaces every time England stumbles on the international stage. The English Premier League, like England’s pro rugby competition, is among the most dynamic in the world, but Hansen believes the influx of foreign players holds back the growth of domestic talent. The same goes for the high-paying Top 14 league in France. Whether or not the relatively young professional scene actually is holding back northern hemisphere sides—the game was played on an amateur basis until 1987—Hansen also proposed another, more basic factor: the southern countries simply have better weather.“When you contrast that with the northern hemisphere, when you can be playing in snow and rain and freezing cold,” he said. “That is not conducive to playing running rugby.”Scotland coach Vern Cotter, a New Zealander who made his name working in France, wasn’t so sure. “You can use that I suppose,” he said, surly from a heartbreaking defeat that finished in the October rain. “Is it cultural? Is it weather? Is it things you practice? I don’t know.”One thing is certain at this World Cup: the solutions for winning in England this fall had to be imported from at least 7,000 miles away.– Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Ranking Michael Jordan’s 15 most iconic basketball moments

first_imgMORE: The greatest MJ game you definitely don’t rememberJordan’s impact went beyond those games, however. He was an icon — and his basketball career was filled with iconic moments.Sporting News’ staff voted on the 15 most iconic Jordan moments. Here is what we came up with …Michael Jordan’s 15 most iconic moments15. The blockWhen:  Jan. 4, 2002Yes, Jordan spent two seasons with the Wizards. In the final minute against the Bulls, Jordan’s shot was blocked by Ron Artest. Jordan ran the length of the floor to track down Ron Mercer. He didn’t just block the layup. He snatched the ball out of the air with both hands, then slammed it into the backboard. Not bad for a 38-year-old.14. The fist pumpWhen:  June 1, 1997The Bulls and Jazz were tied at 82 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Jordan dribbled out the final seconds before launching a jumper over Bryon Russell on the left wing. The shot went in, and Jordan celebrated with a simple fist pump before being mobbed by teammates.It wouldn’t be the only time he victimized Russell.13. “I’m back”When: March 18, 1995  Jordan retired in 1993 a few months after his father died, and he played minor-league baseball for the White Sox organization. That changed on a Saturday, when Jordan sent a simple fax to the Bulls before making his return to basketball. That would lead to Chicago’s second three-peat.20 Years Ago Today: Best press release ever— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 18, 201512. The 360 layupWhen: June 2, 1989The Bulls lost Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pistons, but Jordan had the play of the game with a steal, save and 360 layup over Bill Laimbeer. For all the plays that defined the Bulls-Pistons rivalry, that one sticks out most.11. Eyes-closed free throwWhen:  Nov. 23, 1991In the closing seconds of a win against Denver, Jordan dedicated a free throw to Nuggets rookie Dikembe Mutombo by saying, “This one’s for you, baby.” Jordan buried the free throw with his eyes closed in a 107-100 victory.Jordan would later dunk on Mutombo and give him the famous “finger wag.”  10. Father’s DayWhen: June 16, 1996Jordan led the Bulls to their fourth NBA championship with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in an 87-75 victory against Seattle. The Game 6 win fell on Father’s Day, providing an emotional tribute to his late father, James, who was shockingly shot to death in July 1993.The image of Jordan lying on the locker-room floor with the Larry O’Brien Trophy still resonates.9. Jordan beats GeorgetownWhen: March 29, 1982Jordan hit a jumper with 17 seconds remaining to give North Carolina a 63-62 victory against Georgetown in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, the first of many clutch shots that would define Jordan’s career.8. The foul-line dunkWhen: Feb. 6, 1988Jordan and Dominique Wilkins engaged in one of the greatest dunk contests of all time in Chicago, and it was a can-you-top-this duel for the ages. Jordan captured the trophy with a dunk from the foul line — a poster that was on most bedroom walls for a decade.7. Jordan over EwingWhen: April 30, 1991The Knicks-Bulls rivalry was epic in the 1990s. In the first round of the 1991 NBA playoffs, Jordan threw down one of his greatest dunks over Patrick Ewing in Game 3.Jordan spun around John Starks and Charles Oakley before going baseline on the 7-foot center. The rest is history.6. Jordan holds the trophyWhen:  June 12, 1991Jordan led the Bulls to the title in the 1991 NBA Finals, and the series ended in Game 5 with a 108-101 victory. Jordan broke into tears when he clutched the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time, and it’s an image that pops up in almost every Finals montage.5. The Flu Game finishWhen:  June 11, 1997The Bulls were on the road for Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, and Jordan suffered from flu-like symptoms. He still scored 38 points and led Chicago to a series-turning win against Utah.It’s the image of Jordan collapsing into Scottie Pippen’s arms in the final seconds that has stood as the defining image from “The Flu Game.”4. “A spectacular move”When:  June 5, 1991The Bulls evened the 1991 NBA Finals with a 107-86 win against the Lakers, but Jordan made the play that signified the passing of the torch.He jumped toward the basket with the ball in his right hand before switching to his left for a layup. Marv Albert’s call — “Oh! A spectacular move by Michael Jordan!” — can still be heard today. Phil Jackson’s reaction is priceless, too.3. The ShrugWhen:  June 3, 1992Jordan dominated the first half of Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals. He scored 35 points in the first 24 minutes, and that included a record six 3-pointers.After the sixth make from beyond the arc, Jordan breezed by Portland’s Cliff Robinson, looked at the announcers and shrugged. That provided another unforgettable NBA Finals image.2. “The Shot”When:  May 7, 1989With two seconds left in Game 5 of a first-round series with Cleveland, Jordan took an inbound pass from Brad Sellers, glided by Cleveland’s Craig Ehlo and fired up a game-winning shot for a 101-100 victory.The corresponding reactions — Ehlo’s fall to the ground in despair and Jordan’s high-flying celebration — have been tied together ever since. Jordan would haunt Cleveland again in 1993 in eerily similar fashion.1. Jordan’s Last ShotWhen: June 14, 1998 The Bulls trailed by one point in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and that’s when Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone. On the other end, Jordan crossed over Russell and made the go-ahead basket with 5.2 seconds remaining.Jordan held the pose for his final shot in a Bulls uniform, and Chicago won, 87-86, for their sixth NBA championship. Michael Jordan was introduced to a new generation when ESPN’s 10-part documentary “The Last Dance” ran on ESPN.The Bulls superstar led six NBA championship runs. He had so many big games, including a 63-point performance against the Celtics in the 1986 NBA playoffs and a 55-point outburst against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in 1995.last_img read more