Blues-Dragons derby a shadow of yesteryear

first_imgHall is MD of a property development company, PMG, that was involved in the building of Cardiff City Stadium and adjacent retail park. The project was beset by problems, most stemming from the free-spending former chairman Sam Hamman, whose reign saw the club climb the leagues but accrue massive debt – £31m of it by the time the banks asked for their money back in 2004.In October 2006 Cardiff City were two hours away from bankruptcy, but the club was saved, players were sold to pay tax bills, and eventually uber-rich Malaysian Vincent Tan arrived on the scene, pledging £100m investment as long as City played in red because that’s a lucky colour where he comes from.Cardiff Blues briefly played at the new stadium before returning to the Arms Park from the start of the 2012-13 season. Hall calls that a terrible decision, arguing that a noisy minority of Blues fans, who liked having a pint in their city-centre local rather than travelling a mile and a half out to the new stadium, engineered the U-turn. “It’s a massive backward step for the Blues and I don’t really know how they can recover from it,” he says.Muddy rivalry: Cardiff Blues taking on the Dragons is still one of the great Welsh rivalriesBragging rightsEnough of the doom and gloom. It’s Christmas, after all, and both teams will at least go into the first of their festive derbies – they meet again in Newport on New Year’s Day – on the back of league wins. The Blues beat Scarlets 21-9 last weekend, with back-row Josh Navidi scoring two tries, whilst the Dragons accounted for Zebre 25-11.Both sides have work to do, however, with only the two Italian sides separating them from the foot of the table. A top-six finish will be required to qualify for next season’s Champions Cup and currently that looks a long way off.The first Cardiff-Newport game was in 1875 and, though fans no longer hang off trees to watch, local bragging rights are still something to cherish.The Blues are without Wales captain Sam Warburton, after he suffered a stinger against the Scarlets, while one subplot will be the form of Gareth Anscombe, the Wales-qualified New Zealander who has conceded two tries this month through charged-down kicks. “I don’t think it’s a worry,” says Blues DoR Mark Hammett.Enjoy the occasion if you’re going but don’t expect to bump into Hall – he rarely attends Blues matches nowadays. Close your eyes at Cardiff Arms Park on Boxing Day and you might just imagine you’ve stepped back in time. A bumper crowd is expected for the Blues-Dragons Guinness Pro12 fixture and the atmosphere should be vaguely reminiscent of the great derby clashes of old.“The Boxing Day local derbies were fantastic occasions,” says Mike Hall, the former Cardiff, Wales and Lions centre. “Cardiff-Pontypridd was the traditional Boxing Day game and it was unbelievably well supported, but of course there were rivalries all around South Wales.“When you played for Cardiff every game was like a derby because everyone wanted to beat you. We weren’t really troubled much by Newport because they were in the doldrums when I played. Having said that, going to Rodney Parade, in front of a full house, could be a tough game. Sardis Road, Stradey, the Brewery Field were the same, real hotbeds of rugby. Players don’t experience that any more.”Hall, 49, recalls one Cardiff-Newport game mired in controversy. In 1995, with Cardiff having wrapped up the league, then coach Alec Evans chose to rest most of his first team against the Black and Ambers ahead of the World Cup. The title celebrations went as flat as a week-old bottle of popped Prosecco as Cardiff lost 24-20, with one critic noting: “Cardiff supporters were aghast at Evans’s decision.”Good old days: Cardiff captain Mike Hall holds aloft the Swalec Cup in 1994Lost generationAt least there were some supporters to feel aghast. Nowadays, says Hall, a whole generation of spectators has been lost to football as Welsh domestic rugby struggles on with a failing system.“People used to watch Cardiff ten years ago but now they’ve lost all their supporters. Regional rugby isn’t working, people aren’t watching, and we need to fire people’s imaginations and get people engaged again.“It’s hard to be excited about watching Connacht, say, in an empty stadium with no atmosphere. I feel sorry for the players really. Llanelli, Cardiff, Newport, Swansea – these are world-famous clubs but we ripped it up and we’re paying the price now. We had something special but replaced it with something artificial. The Ospreys? Who are they? We’ve lost our way a bit.”Ouch. Hall doesn’t mince his words but he backs up his criticism with a solution, albeit one that appears as infeasible as it is radical. The former Wales captain advocates returning to the traditional club structure and then picking the best players for two regional teams – not four as now – to play in European competition at the end of each season. Furthermore, he argues, the WRU should have sole ownership, with current franchise owners being rewarded for their largesse by making them life vice-presidents of the WRU, with all the perks such a position offers.With such a structure, the union could replicate the successful Irish model and playing talent would be evenly distributed. So Dan Lydiate would be back playing for the struggling Dragons instead of the up-table Ospreys, who already have a host of back-row options that include Joe Bearman and James King. “You need one paymaster – the WRU. It’s not rocket science, is it?”Old enemy: In the red of Wales, Hall chips the ball over England’s Brian Moore in 1990“Backward” BluesHall was one of the last amateurs, rashly retiring from international rugby aged 29 after Wales bombed out early in the 1995 World Cup. He won 43 caps, one of them for the 1989 Lions.He has charted his rugby experiences in a new book (details below) and very interesting they are too. Wales’ decline in the Eighties, Kerry Packer’s failed professional ‘circus’, and choosing a Cambridge Blue over a Wales cap are just some of the topics covered, but perhaps most engrossing is the story of Cardiff City. Great rivalry: Newport and Cardiff have played each other for over 125 years LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Former Wales captain Mike Hall believes only a radical restructuring of the domestic game can save rugby in the Principality TAGS: Cardiff BluesNewport Gwent Dragons Friday 26 December: Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons (2.05pm, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park)* The Mike Hall Story is published by Y Lolfa, priced £9.95. All proceeds go to the Velindre Cancer Centre. To buy a copy, click read more

Syracuse scores late, grabs two weekend wins over Vermont

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ As Syracuse (10-8-2) began the second half of the season, the Orange added two victories over the weekend against Vermont (8-9-4) in Burlington, Vt., to push its record over the .500 mark Both offenses were on display in SU’s 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon. Less than a minute into the first period, left wing Allie LaCombe scored to give Syracuse a 1-0 lead. Vermont responded early in the second period by taking advantage of a power-play opportunity. Right wing Victoria Andreakos tied the game with a goal assisted by Amanda Pelkey and Brittany Zuback.The Orange responded a few minutes later when Julie Knerr scored off an assist from Brittney Krebs and Jessica Sibley to retake the lead, 2-1. Halfway through the third period, forward Akane Hosoyamada gave Syracuse a two-score lead with her first goal on the day.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut just as Syracuse could have pulled away with a 3-1 lead, Vermont responded with two consecutive goals in a span of 6:17.Pelkey added Vermont’s second goal 11 minutes in to cut the lead to one goal. Center Dayna Colang added one at the 17:43 mark to tie the game at 3-3.But Hosoyamada capitalized on her scoring opportunity in the game’s waning moments. Her goal with eight seconds remaining catapulted the Orange to the victory.Syracuse returned to the ice Sunday, defeating Vermont 3-2 to complete the weekend sweep. Ten minutes into the first period, defender Nicole Renault scored a power-play goal to give Syracuse another 1-0 lead.After a shortage of goals in the first and second periods, Syracuse extended its lead to 2-0 early in the third. Right wing Melissa Piacentini scored an unassisted goal 4:56 into the final period of regulation.But Vermont responded in a similar fashion to Saturday’s performance by scoring two straight goals to claw back in the game. Sarah Kelly scored seven minutes into the period, and Pelkey added a power-play goal four and a half minutes later to tie the score at 2-2.Then Syracuse responded with another game-clinching goal. SU defender Larissa Martyniuk added a goal less than two minutes later to give the Orange a lead that would not be relinquished.Senior goalie Jenesica Drinkwater (6-1) earned two victories on the weekend.Syracuse will return to the ice Friday at 7 p.m. in Rochester, N.Y., against Rochester Institute of Technology.compiled by Matt Miselis, staff writer, [email protected] Comments Published on January 5, 2014 at 6:43 pmlast_img read more

Trump relishes feud with the NFL, reviving issue with tweets

first_imgWASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump is indulging in his favorite kind of drama — personal, aggressive, culturally volatile and entirely of his own making.And his feud with the NFL shows no signs of abating, with the president tweeting early Monday morning: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”Trump’s spat with athletes comes as the president prepares to sell a tax overhaul plan and revive …last_img read more

Potential SA medallists into Olympic finals

first_img800 metresAndre Olivier missed out on the final of the 800 metres after finishing fifth in heat three of the semi-finals. She fared even better in the first of the three semi-finals, clocking 1:51.286 to win her race in the second fastest time among the women to advance to the final. 8 August 2012 The South African stopped the clock in 20.46, while Lemaitre ran a 20.34. Hartley is the fastest women ever in a K1 over 500m, having recorded a world record time of 1:46.90 at the World Championships in 2011, where she contested the B-final! Jonty Robinson scored a late goal for South Africa, which made it 5-3 before Peillat netted his second to double up South Africa’s score. TriathlonRichard Murray finished 17th in the 55-strong men’s triathlon in a time of 1:49:15. Viljoen leads the world standings this year after thowing an African record of 69.35m in New York on 9 June. Spotakova placed second on that occasion with a distance of 68.73m. “I felt really good this morning after all the training that I’ve done,” Viljoen told reporters afterwards. “I know what I’ve put in and it is just a matter of time to let everything come together.” Automatic qualifierSunette Viljoen needed just one throw to qualify for the final of the javelin throw, her distance of 65.92m bettering the automatic qualifying mark. The next five goals, however, went the way of the South Americans. Facundo Callioni and Gonzalo Peillat both struck twice as Argentina scored three field goals and three penalty goals. Semi-final placeLehann Fourie posted his best time of the season in the men’s 110m hurdles heats of 13.49 seconds. That was good for second behind Cuba’s Dayron Robles, the defending champion, who posted a time of 13.33. It also put him into the semi-finals.center_img There were no medals up for grabs for Team South Africa at the London Olympic Games on Tuesday, but some potential medal winners put themselves in a position to add to the team’s haul of three gold medals and one silver. He went through halfway in last place, but moved his way up to fifth down the back straight. Olivier, though, couldn’t find another gear and couldn’t improve his position as he finished in 1:45.44. Mohammed Aman, the first place finisher, crossed the line in 1:44.34. Bridgitte Hartley, competing in the women’s kayak single (K1) 500 metres, qualified for the semi-finals of the event after finishing second in her qualifying heat behind Hungary’s Danuta Kozak. That effort was top of qualifying group B and the third best of the day, trailing only defending champion and world record holder Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic and Germany’s Christina Obergfoll. Gold went to British triathlete Alistair Brownlee, with Spain’s Javier Gomez in second, and Brownlee’s younger brother Jonathan in third. The winning time was 1:46:25. Jobodwana’s reward is a place in the semi-finals. He goes in heat two and faces, among others, two-time 100m champion and the defending champion in the 200m, Usain Bolt. Anaso Jobodwana placed second in his 200 metres heat behind the Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, the European champion in the 100 metres, who has chosen to run the 200m in London. Gregg Clark’s charges play their last game on Saturday when they face India in a playoff for eleventh place. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material The match started well for South Africa as goals from Justin Reid-Ross and Lloyd Norris-Jones had them leading 2-0 after only eight minutes. Men’s hockeyAt the Riverbank Arena, the South African men’s hockey team lost 6-3 to Argentina.last_img read more

Numero uno spot at stake for India

first_imgIndia face South Africa in the first of a three-Test cricket series starting at the Super Sport Park in Centurion on Thursday.India will not only try to retain their No. 1 spot in the Test rankings but will try to improve their poor record in South Africa.Described as the “final frontier” by coach Gary Kirsten, world number two South Africa will look to exploit the Indian batsmen’s well-known susceptibility to the rising deliveries on bouncy tracks and the hosts have the necessary arsenal to do that — the most potent of their weapons being world number one pacer Dale Steyn.The Indians go into the series well aware that they have won just one out of the 12 Tests they have played in South Africa. Even if they didn’t, Graeme Smith’s men have not missed an opportunity to remind the visitors of the unflattering record ever since their arrival.In fact, the pre-series verbal sparring has added the ting of drama to the series which would make the contest even more interesting.When South African coach Corrie van Zyl stated that “record books don’t lie” in an apparent reference to India’s over the years poor showing here, India coach Gary Kirsten was quick to retort that things have changed in the past couple of years.Indeed, things do seem to have changed as the Indians have been on a dream run in the Test arena, winning seven of their last nine series, but most of them have come on the turning tracks of the sub-continent.advertisementThe pace and bounce of South Africa would not be as easy to adapt considering the visitors go into the series without playing a single warm-up match.Add to this, the Indians also have to deal with a couple of injury worries in pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth. Zaheer suffered a hamstring injury during the fourth ODI against New Zealand while Sreesanth hurt himself during training.Zaheer and Sreesanth are crucial to the team’s chances given the conditions and it would be a massive jolt if they are ruled out.The conditions, in fact, would prove to be India’s biggest challenge against a quality opposition but captain Dhoni said the his side is ready with a blend of youth and experience to record their first Test series win in South Africa.”It will be important for us to adapt to the conditions. Yet I believe we will be better prepared than before, because the guys have played here in the IPL and in the Champions League and it is not that foreign to them,” Dhoni said.”We do not pay attention to what history says about what happened here in the past. We do not think too much about the statistics,” he added.Dhoni’s confidence does not seem misplaced considering the Indian batting line-up boasts of the iconic Sachin Tendulkar, who would be gunning for his historic 50th Test ton, the aggressive opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and the ever-reliable middle-order mainstays Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.Suresh Raina provides the touch of youth and it would be interesting to see how the likes of Steyn, the lanky Morne Morkel and the exciting Wayne Parnell unsettle such a formidable combination.In comparison, the South African batting may not be as experienced but it is no less dangerous with Smith being the rock.The inspirational captain has veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, the prolific Hashim Amla and the in-form A B de Villiers for company in an impressive order which would be difficult to contain in home conditions.The hosts have the edge on the bowling front with the tearaway pace of Steyn being the major difference.India would be looking mainly towards Zaheer to provide the spark with Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth doing the back-up job.Given the interesting build-up, it promises to be a mouth-watering contest between two sides who are battling it out to fill in the void that has been created by Australia’s decline as the clear numero uno team in the world.The only spoilsport could be the weather with the forecast of rain here this week.SquadsSouth Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Jaidev Unadkat, Pragyan Ojha.advertisement- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Peter Vandergugten long time City Council Alderman passed away

first_imgThorlakson says their best times spent together were hunting, “Peter loved hunting” he said and they would often hunt together. Thorlakson recalls that Vandergugten helped with “flushing out his son’s first deer, off the Old Fort Road.” “During those times we could turn off all of the thoughts of politics and problems and you could actually laugh about some of the funny stories, laughter is truly the best medicine.”“You never had to wonder where Peter stood on any issue, he was a strong personality and there were times when we fought like cats and dogs but we remained best friends,” says Thorlakson.Vandergugten tried running for Mayor in approx 1982/84 against Brian Palmer shared Thorlakson and then they both became Aldermen in 1986 serving on City Council for 19 years.”We saw a lot of change and led a lot of chance together which was deeply needed at the times as the City was fundamentally insolvent.”Thorlakson would go on to say, “Peter was one of the toughest guys I ever knew, he fought four battles with cancer and his mental toughness, determination and will power is what led him to beat the first three battles. Peter’s determination was the hallmark of his life, he was a stubborn Dutchman that at times you didn’t like but most of the time you loved” MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. – At 82 years of age, Peter Vandergugten passes away after his fourth battle with Cancer.Steve Thorlakson was a good friend and longtime associate to Vandergugten, they were introduced to each other in 1979 by a mutual friend when Thorlakson first moved to the area. Thorlakson remembers Vandergugten from Council, hunting and “Hoisting a cold one at the Legion”Thorlakson shares “We worked on many projects together. First was Chamber of Commerce which was in deep debt, Peter ran and was elected as President and I became Vice President within a year,” Thorlakson says they managed to pull the Chamber out of debt and triple the membership in approx 1984/85, he says things were really tough in those days and times and it was quite an accomplishment. “Pulling the Chamber together was an effective lobbying force on behalf of business in the area.”last_img read more

Kirk Herbstreit talks Ohio State football College GameDay

Fans play corn hole on The Oval during ESPN’s College Gameday on Nov. 21. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo Editor On Saturday, the statue of William Oxley Thompson will have some company, as ESPN’s College GameDay will be broadcasting live on the Oval in anticipation of the game between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan State. Despite all of OSU’s success on the gridiron, it has been years since College GameDay has come to Columbus for a game. “I can’t believe that we have not been here since 2010,” College GameDay analyst and OSU alumnus Kirk Herbstreit said. “We used to come here, kind of like what we are doing right now with Alabama where we would come once or twice a year.”Every week, College GameDay picks a highly touted game where it will broadcast its show live on Saturday morning. The show typically is on the particular campus from Thursday to Saturday.Regardless of whether or not ESPN is broadcasting the game, the show will go wherever the week’s most anticipated matchup is. “We do tend to travel no matter where the game is … we just travel to what we think is the best game,” Herbstreit said. “It’s been a lot of fun to see the fanbases when we show up. It’s like that that campus will become the face of the sport for 48 hours.”With such a popular show finally making a pitstop in at OSU, many students are excited for the chance to witness it in person.Jarrett Forkey, a fourth-year in chemical engineering, students are planning on arriving the Oval, where the set is placed, early in the morning to get hyped for the game, which is scheduled to kickoff at 3:30 p.m.“It will be a lot more rambunctious than people think,” Forkey said. “It’s been awhile since GameDay’s been here. It’s been awhile since Michigan State’s been here. There are a lot of seniors playing their last game.“There is a lot of excitement here at Ohio State.”Herbstreit agrees that the students will be ready for the game come kickoff.“I expect to see that typical Ohio Stadium nutty atmosphere,” Herbstreit said. “You have one or two games a year where Ohio State feels (the Buckeyes could be upset), and then it’s a proactive atmosphere. It’s where you are creating the sacks or you are creating the interceptions. My guess is that’s the kind of crowd it will be and it will help Ohio State’s defense and their cause.”The hype for College GameDay and for the game that afternoon, according to Herbstreit, really shows the growth of college football as a sport.“Fans get crazier and crazier. That just speaks volumes about college football,” Herbstreit said. “The sport has never been more popular and there’s never been more buzz. The passion is universal and we embrace it. That’s what makes this sport so special.” read more

Football season ticket holders to be able to pick their seats

Season ticket-holders will be able to choose their tickets in a new online system starting in 2016.Credit: Courtesy of OSU.Ohio State football season ticket holders will soon be able to select their specific seats online, akin to the way one would buy concert tickets on a virtual map.In the past, seats could be changed by making a request during the renewal process. OSU would then consider the request and possibly make accommodations, said Martin Jarmond, OSU executive associative athletic director.The ability for specific ticket holders to improve their seats depends on their standing within the university’s “donor priority system.” The point system, which is based on a weighted calculation of the ticket holder’s current, past and revocable donations, will not change, said Martin Jarmond, OSU executive associate athletic director.The only access change will be the ability to pick specific seats, rather than requesting seats in a general area.The university began mailing out brochures Tuesday explaining the new process, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The new system will distribute tickets on a four-year basis and begin for the 2016 season.The new system was rolled out for faculty and staff this season, and Jarmond said this smaller demographic, which is roughly half of the number of public ticket holders, served as a sort of beta test, and results have been better than he expected. The biggest issue with the technology has been poor function on certain browsers.The availability of the technology was the No. 1 reason for the change. The new system will be easier for the fans and for the university, as OSU won’t have to use its manpower to screen change requests, Jarmond said.As for a financial benefit of the change, “We really have no idea. That remains to be seen,” Jarmond said. “It’s just a system change, but we don’t know yet if people are going to be donating more because of it.”The distribution method for student tickets also will not change, Jarmond said, as the lack of a seating priority system moots the need to change the student ticketing process. read more

Mens basketball Ohio State reportedly offers Greg McDermott head coaching job

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott embraces his son and tournament Most Outstanding Player after their Missouri Valley Conference championship game against Illinois State on March 4, 2012, in St. Louis, Missouri. Credit: Courtesy of TNSComing just two days after the end of the Thad Matta era at Ohio State, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported the Buckeyes have offered Creighton head coach Greg McDermott the head coaching position. Ohio State has offered job to Creighton’s Greg McDermott, source told ESPN. Two sides met tonight.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 8, 2017McDermott, 52, has 23 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level under his belt, the latest seven seasons coming at Creighton where he has compiled a 165-81 with the Bluejays, 86-52 since the team joined the Big East in 2013. He is in the seventh season of a 10-year deal worth $1.1 million base salary with the team. Under his leadership, Creighton won a pair of Missouri Valley Conference tournament titles in 2012 and 2013, and a regular season title in the latter season. His Bluejay teams reached the NCAA tournament in four of his seven seasons, though they never made it past the round of 32.Prior to his time with the Bluejays, he served also as head coach at Iowa State, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State and Wayne State. In his 16 seasons with those teams, he went a combined 279-224.Though he largely struggled in his time with Iowa State, he led Northern Iowa to NCAA tournament appearances in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and a Missouri Valley Conference tournament title in 2004. read more