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ATP World Tour – Andy Murray:

Questions surround whether Andy Murray is in the correct mind set to be competing successfully in the ATP World Tour as former pro Tim Henman hints his concentration cost him the match in his first round match against David Ferrer. Henman said “For me, there was too much dialogue going back and forth from him to his box. I just don’t think that gives him the best environment to concentrate on the next point. If there’s one area that I would like to see Andy do better, that would be it in a nutshell”. This is not the first time Murray has been criticised for being too outspoken on the court and it has been suggested at times to have hindered his concentration. Take nothing away from Ferrer though, a good performance from a man who has troubled Murray in the past, “you’ve got to give Ferrer a lot of credit. He was a dogged as ever, really consistent and made Andy work hard at all times” “even in normal circumstances he would find it difficult, as Andy’s got a losing record against him”. Murray’s next round match is against Tomas Berdych and Henman is adamant things need to change, “Andy has got to get himself 100% healthy, otherwise it’s hard to see him standing a chance” “the big question now is whether he’ll recover in time to continue in the tournament.” However, Murray did later reveal to be suffering from a groin injury and had to have the trainer called on court “He looked uncomfortable” stated Tim, “with his first serve being so erratic today, I did wonder whether his leg was causing him problems – and so it proved” and clearly there is a sense of disappointment but Henman remained optimistic for Murray’s ATP campaign, “fingers crossed it’s something that he can manage because it will be very sad and disappointing for everybody to lose him at this stage”. The fact still remains that he has lost his first round match, “for a player of Andy’s calibre, defeat in your opening match is a bitterly disappointing result”. But the main uncertainty is whether he will be able to continue in the tournament or whether he may have to pull out due to injury. Henman said “the big question is whether he’ll recover in time to continue in the tournament.” “it will be very sad for everyone to lose him at this stage”.

Wales in World Cup:

Wales’ Rugby coach Warren Gatland confessed he considered asking one of his forwards to fake an injury in Saturdays devastating defeat to France in the World Cup semi-final. Due to Prop Adam Jones being forced off with an injury in only the 8th minute and James Warbuton getting himself sent off and effectively putting Wales’ world cup hopes in doubt, an injury to another prop would have led to uncontested scrums, where neither team could push, which would only have assisted Wales, as they would not have ran the risk of being overpowered by the French side due to being a man down. Desperate times clearly called for desperate measures and Gatland revealed it was discussed in the technical area: “should we fake an injury to one of our props to go to uncontested scrums”. However he later stated that “In the spirit of the game. In the spirit of the World Cup semi-finals I didn’t think that was the fairest or the right thing to do.”. “We could easily have done that in the first 25-30 minutes of the game.”. The coach was also adamant that Referee Alain Rolland’s decision to send off Warbuton was not in the spirit of the game and effectively the “wrong decision”. Gatland, clearly aggrieved by the referee’s decision to send off his captain, spoke about the matter after the game: “I honestly believe Alain Rolland made the wrong decision.” “In terms of the rules and regulations he is perfectly entitled to give a red card but every game is different.” “I just thought on that occasion to give a yellow card would have been appropriate” Meanwhile the France side are preparing for their colossal clash with World Cup hosts New Zealand which is effectively job well done on their behalf.

2012 Olympic Roundup:

Brit Ben Ainslie ruled the waves with his fourth Olympic sailing gold medal, and is now on course to equal Sir Steve Redgrave’s GB record of winning gold in five consecutive events. Usain Bolt equalled the world record in retaining his Olympic 100m title, and on a golden day for Britain, Christine Ohuruogu stamped her way into the history books as she claimed back-to-back Olympic 400m titles. Andy Murray missed out on Olympic gold, after losing to Rafael Nadal, and Mara Yamauchi won the domestic marathon battle with Paula Radcliffe, winning silver behind Romania’s Constantina Tomescu. Ainslie comfortably maintained his title as Olympic champion in the Finn class sailing competition for the third consecutive Olympic Games after finishing in first place with 23 points after coming third in the 11th and final race. His total of four Gold medals in consecutive Olympics (three in Finn class, one in laser class) means the stage is set for him to claim five consecutive Gold’s in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games. The Jamaican sprinter Bolt jolted his way to his second consecutive Gold medal in the 100m by equalling his own world record of 9.58 seconds set in 2009 at the World Championship in Athletics. The triumph also means he broke his own Olympic record set 2008 with a time of 9.69 seconds. It wasn’t only Bolt who was in on the record breaking. Christine Ohuruogu became the first British Woman to claim consecutive titles in the Olympic Games as she narrowly beat five time world champion and previous Olympic champion American Sanya Richards to the finish line by .12 of a second with a time of 49.71 seconds. The time of 49.71 was actually .9 of a second slower than the time that won her the first gold medal in Beijing at 49.62. Andy Murray again marginally missed out in yet another final of a tournament as he lost by three sets to two to familiar foe and world number two Rafael Nadal. Murray showed a lot of character as he battled back from two sets to love to regain a grip on the match as the match went into the final

set at two sets a piece. However, the Spaniard edged it in the final set and once again won gold at the Olympic Games just as he did in Beijing in 2008. Disappointment for Murray but a Silver medal was a vast improvement on his 2008 Olympic campaign where he crashed out at the first round to Lu-Yen-hsun of China. The battle of the Brits was won by Mara Yamauchi as she beat Paula Radcliffe to the silver medal in the Women’s Marathon with a time of 2:33:31 compared to Radcliffe’s 2:33:35. An inspired performance by both competitors who were unlucky that Romania’s Constantina Tomecu was in fine form once again to retain her Olympic title once again with a time of 2:30:44. The marathon saw Paula Radcliffe make her best ever performance at the Olympic Games after her previous campaigns were riddled by injury and we therefore failed to see her true potential. Team GB’s Tom Daley also spun his way to fame as the teenager won Bronze in the Men’s 10m platform final with a total of 525.80 points. Australian Matthew mitcham won Gold with a total of 537.95 and Jose Guerra olive of Cuba came in second. Today also set the scene for two more finals for some of our GB team to compete in. Chris Hoy beat fellow compatriot Jason Kenny in the men’s Cycling sprint semi-finals and will face Mickael Bourgain of France in the final. Also In the women’s sprint semi-final Victoria Pendleton of GB booked her place in the final against Willy Kanis of the Holland after beating Shuang Guo of China.

Cricket - India vs England:

Indian pace bowler Vinay Kumar put in a career best performance to finish with figures of 4-30 as India go 2-0 up in the one day international series with England. The day started in England’s favour as Alastair Cook won the toss and chose to bat first. However, this decision seemed to instantaneously strike the India attack into life as Vinay Kumar took his first wicket of the day to take a commanding 0-2 advantage after the first two overs, with openers Cook and Kieswetter being dismissed almost instantly. Kumar didn’t stop there. He then dismissed Trott, who led a brief counter-attack reaching 34 off of 37 balls, before edging the ball to wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni, and England were lucky to scamper onto 121-5. England did seem to pull themselves together momentarily to reach a respectable 207-5. Before collapsing to 237 all out after 48.2 overs, not a fearful score line by any means. Kumar managed two more Wickets by dismissing Bresnan and Swann as England’s tail-enders tried to put up a respectable fight, however the target set by England wasn’t enough to keep India from gaining a 2-0 series lead. Like England, India began poorly, losing both their openers inside the first seven overs. However Gambir and Kohli kept India well ahead of the required run rate and found the boundary with increasing ease to the delight of the partisan crowd. Kohli reached his seventh one-day hundred with an impressive display off just 89 balls. Gambir also shone as he provided support to the all firing Kohli. He reached his 26th one-day half century and the two stormed India to a ruthless 2-0 lead in the five match series.

Practice Match Report: Hamworth United 4 – 1 Tillington town. Hamworth United striker Royston Vasey hits three and was sent off in thrilling encounter that now means Hamworth will be without Vasey for their crucial clash against Cansdale city, which could see either team qualify for next seasons Champions League. Vasey saw red after gaining two yellow cards which could be argued to have been easily avoided. The first came after needlessly taking his shirt off during a fiery celebration and he later came to rue that decision as he clumsily caught defender Juan-Pablo Jones with a late challenge which saw him head for an early shower. Early on in the game United were on top and there were early signs that it would be a good day for Vasey as Ernie ‘Tucker’ Johnson sent a sliding pass through for him and was unlucky to see his snap shot from the edge of the box smartly saved by Croatian Sasha Grcnic. However, against the run of play it was Tillington who took the lead through Hertz van Rentall in the 24th minute. A fast passed counter attack saw the Dutch striker spray an inviting pass out to the wing which was met by the fast-breaking George Wiggins, who’s diagonal pass was returned to van Rentall who finished clinically. The shock lead never seemed to unsettle United and it didn’t take long before the two teams were back on level terms. The central pairing of Johnson and Diaz took a strong grip on the game and Johnson’s crunching tackle in the middle of the park provided the ball to Vasey who found space and converted for his first goal of the game. The celebration of this goal led to the first of his yellow cards. Nothing can be taken away from Vasey on what was a fine second goal. He managed to pick up the ball on the right of the penalty area, trick his way through three defenders before chipping the ball over the reach of goalkeeper Grcnic making it 2-1. Before being dismissed Vasey had time to complete his hat-trick when seven minutes into the second half he met an inviting cross, played in by Le Pouffe from the left wing, with a superb header which gave Hamworth a deserved 3-1 lead. Then came the moment of madness from Vasey, his team 3-1 up and cruising, he saw a second yellow for the late challenge on Jones. Despite this he trooped off to a standing ovation from the home crowd and Hamworth even had time to add a fourth through German striker Hans Anfeet. Hamworth manager Ruud Persson pleased with his teams win added : “I am delighted. We are on course for a Champions League spot” “Although Chigley seem to be uncatchable at the top of the table, until the mathematics say otherwise, we will chase them down.” The defeat left Tillington manager Mick Sterbs to ponder over a relegation battle that has seen his side take only one win from the last nine games.

Workshop Pieces  

Several pieces of work created in our Sports Writing Seminars

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