23-01-2019 Which football teams doctored their playing surface to hinder opponents? | The Knowledge

Plus: top-scoring defenders, non-league double delight and strange middle names. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Pep Guardiola says he didn’t leave the Etihad grass long against Liverpool. But which teams or managers have used this tactic to help their own side or hinder an opponent?” asks George Jones.Let’s start with the Poundland Machiavelli, former Cambridge and Lincoln innovator John Beck. Everyone in football knows about the infamous Beck and the stunts he used to pull at Cambridge. He brought in statisticians to lecture his players about how few passes were needed to score. He had the grass grown several inches long in the corners to hold up the ball when his players knocked it over the top. During the week they would rough up the pitch so anybody who tried to play football against them was at a disadvantage. “We just used to boot it upfield, so it didn’t really matter to us,” Steve Claridge recalls in his autobiography. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 David Gilbert makes 147th official 147 maximum break

English snooker player David Gilbert makes the 147th official 147 maximum break, 37 years after Steve Davis registered the first.

23-01-2019 Five West Indies players to watch against England

From Roston Chase to Shimron Hetmyer, the players who could give England problems during the forthcoming Test seriesSpin-bowling all-rounder who has been outscored by only Kraigg Brathwaite over the 30 months since his Test debut. He disappointed on the tour of England in 2017, when he averaged 13.33 in six innings, but stood out in last year’s trip to India, where he averaged 46.25, scored a century – the only one in his last 30 Test innings – in Hyderabad and was his team’s most consistent player. “He’s a quality player,” says the former West Indies head coach, Stuart Law. “I think he understands spin. They face a lot of spin back in the Caribbean. He has a long reach and he’s a clean striker of the ball. He has worked hard against pace and it’s not a weakness any more, it has started becoming a strength.” The 26-year-old is increasingly unlikely to be seen with the ball in his hand, though: Chase bowled at least 30 overs in four of his first five Tests, but has not done so since Headingley in 2017 and these days rarely gets into double figures. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Emiliano Sala was 'so ready' to join us, says Cardiff City chief executive – video

Cardiff City chief executive Ken Choo has said that the club is in shock over new signing Emiliano Sala's disappearance. The 28-year-old striker was aboard a small passenger plane that lost contact on Monday night off the coast of Guernsey as he was flying to Wales from Nantes, French authorities have said.The Channel Islands air search chief officer, John Fitzgerald, told the Associated Press: 'After all this time the weather’s quite cold, the water is very cold out there ... I am not expecting anyone to be alive.'Sala completed his move from Nantes to Cardiff for a club-record fee over the weekend, but had returned to France to say goodbye to his teammates. He was set to train with Cardiff for the first time on Tuesday morning and expected to make his debut against Arsenal next week. Emiliano Sala: Cardiff's new striker who was on missing plane – video report Continue reading...

23-01-2019 NBA: Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry's worst five seconds of basketball

Golden State superstar Stephen Curry shows he is human after all with five seconds of basketball to forget in the Warriors' 130-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

23-01-2019 Usain Bolt: Sprinter-turned-footballer declares his 'sports life over'

Eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt officially calls time on his pursuit of a career in professional football, declaring his "sports life over".

23-01-2019 'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

23-01-2019 Danielle Collins continues Australian Open run to reach semi-finals

American beats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three setsCollins reaches her first grand slam semi-final in MelbourneDanielle Collins continued her remarkable grand slam breakthrough by defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach her first semi-final at the Australian Open.The 25-year-old American arrived at Melbourne Park having never won a match in the main draw of a slam but recovered from a set down to win 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in two hours and 16 minutes. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 England’s Marlie Packer: ‘I thought it was all over. I’d lose my job, lose my rugby’

The Saracens back-rower’s career hung by a thread after a ‘soul-destroying’ drink-driving incident but the RFU’s support meant the chance of a fresh startMarlie Packer remembers it as a gorgeous August Saturday. Saracens had a pre-season friendly. She was still recovering from an operation, so didn’t play, but spent the day running out the water bottles. They won handily, and afterwards everyone went to the pub. It was the first time the whole squad had been back together since they won the Premiership final three months earlier. “Everyone’s spirits were really good,” Packer says. She had two drinks. “I didn’t really think about it, I didn’t feel drunk or anything like that, I was just in a good mood. We all were.” And then she drove home.It’s a long way from Saracens’ home ground to Packer’s house in Twickenham and she was most of the way there when it happened. Coming down the Kew Road she saw a car come rushing up to a junction ahead. She was sure it was going to pull out, so swerved into the other lane to avoid it. Her van clipped the back of an oncoming car, the airbags exploded, and her van smacked into the kerb. Through the shock, she felt certain she wasn’t hurt, so she unbuckled herself, opened the door and ran around behind to check on the people in the car she had hit. Mercifully, they were fine too. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Six Nations: Bath centre Jonathan Joseph returns to England squad

Centre Jonathan Joseph is added to the England squad heading to Portugal on Wednesday to begin preparations for the Six Nations.