Eventing: New Zealand’s Jonelle Price claims first CCI4* victory with Badminton win…


Jonelle Price has won the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

The 37-year-old New Zealander, riding owner Tricia Rickards’ Classic Moet, rattled several fences during Sunday’s final showjumping phase but crucially all the poles stayed up. That meant the pair finished clear and more than four seconds inside a tight optimum time.

Price becomes the first female winner of the event since Lucinda Fredericks won the title 11 years ago. She only returned to eventing in the autumn after six months away from the international circuit to have a baby.

The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials  04 05 2018
Jonelle Price and Classic Moet – winners of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2018

Classic Moet has also recently become a mother after her embryo transfer foal by Upsilon was born earlier this year.

Price was tied for the lead (28 penalties) with Oliver Townend and his mount Ballaghmor Class going into the final phase but she was closer to the optimum time which gave her the lead.

Two rolled poles for Townend and Ballaghmor Class saw the pair drop down to fifth.

That meant that Price had a pole in hand over the British rider and his other ride – Cooley SRS, who finished second.

Burhgley Horse Trials cross country day 02 09 2017
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. The pair finished fifth at this years Badminton

Price win also means no Rolex Grand Slam for Townend after the Brit won last year’s Burghley event and most recently Kentucky.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing is awarded to the rider who wins all three of the sport’s major CCI4* competitions – Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton.

Rising star Ros Canter and her ride Allstar B tipped one rail in an otherwise foot perfect round to end the competition in third place.

Influential course…
Kelvin Bywater’s course proved to be very influential with only nine combinations jumping clear rounds. Of those nine, just five finished without time faults and therefore adding nothing to their score after the first two phases.

Faults were spread fairly evenly across the track, but the water tray at fence 11 claimed it’s fair share of high profile scalps, including Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (10th) and Mark Todd, who was riding Kiltubrid Rhapsody (sixth).

Both Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul) and Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser) also jumped clear to finish among the top Brits in fourth and seventh place respectively.


League One: Evans favourite for Peterborough role…


It would appear that Peterborough United may have just found their new manager.

He comes in the shape of former Boston United, Crawley Town and Rotherham United manager Steve Evans. He has also taken charge of Leeds United before joining Mansfield Town part way through last season.

Possible new POSH boss? Steve Evans

Evans, who is considered to be the favourite to become the next POSH manager, dramatically quit his current job at League Two promotion pushers Mansfield tonight (February 27), and was even spotted watching from the directors box at his prospective new side’s fixture with Walsall at the ABAX Stadium.

He has been backed constantly by punters to take over The POSH after the news of Grant McCann’s sacking on Sunday night.

Former Northern Ireland international Grant McCann was sacked as POSH boss on Sunday night

Since announcing his resignation, along with his assistant Paul Raynor, Evans has been quoted at 1/12 to become the next POSH manager according to SkyBet.

If the rumours are true, it would fulfil a lifelong dream of a man who has supported The POSH since moving to the area 30 years ago, although the club are yet to comment on the possibility of Evans taking charge.

League One: End of the road for a club legend as Peterborough sack McCann…


It is the end of an era at Peterborough United after the club sacked manager Grant McCann late on Sunday evening (February 25).

Chairman Darragh MacAnthony made the difficult decision to sack the former Northern Ireland international to try and give the club’s hopes of promotion from League One a boost.

POSH have recorded no wins in their last seven matches before McCann’s sacking, with the latest of those being a lacklustre 1-1 draw against struggling AFC Wimbledon at the ABAX Stadium on Saturday (February 24).

Relieved of his duties: Former POSH manager Grant McCann

Speaking about the decision, MacAnthony said:  “I love Grant, he is a legend of this football club and always will be, but it has not quite happened in management for him here and it was the right time to part ways.

“I thank him for all his efforts and wish him and his family the very best in the future.”

The club currently sits 10th in League One following Saturday’s draw, leaving them six points outside the playoff places.

Next up for them is the visit of Walsall on Tuesday (February 27) – a game that has already been thrown into doubt due to expected bad weather.

If the game does go ahead, McCann’s assistant David Oldfield will take caretaker charge.

NHL: Neck injury ends Canucks forward Dorsett’s career…

Derek Dorsett

Vancouver Canucks tough guy Derek Dorsett has been advised to end his ice hockey career.

In a press release, the Canucks say that the 30-year-old forward  “will not return to the Canucks active roster due to health reasons and risks associated with playing.”

Dorsett, who had been with the Canucks since 2014 after being acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers, underwent cervical disc herniation surgery in December 2016 which left both arms numb for a time. He surprised many when he was eventually cleared to play again at the start of this season.

Dorsett had an inspired start to this season, scoring seven times in 20 games for the Canucks. However, he was sent home from his team’s eastern road trip on November 21 after complaining of stiffness in his neck and back.

It was then that the doctor who performed the initial surgery, Dr. Robert Watkins, advised him to stop playing.

Derek Dorsett (right) pictured with spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins at Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles.

Watkins said: “The latest evaluation of Derek’s neck revealed that he’s sustained a cervical disc herniation adjacent and separate to his previous fusion,

“Given his current condition and the long-term, significant health risks, I advised Derek not to return to play.”

His abrasive playing playing style made Dorsett a firm favourite among hockey fans, in a career which spanned 515 NHL games, during which he scored 51 goals and accumulated 1,314 penalty minutes.

It is not known how or when Dorsett reinjured his neck, although he absorbed a number of blows to his head when fighting LA Kings forward Andy Andreoff in a game on November 14.

Vancouver Canucks’ Derek Dorsett and LA Kings’ Andy Andreoff get to grips during the first period of an NHL game in Los Angeles on Nov 14

Speaking about the decision, Dorsett said: “As hard as it was to hear, Dr. Watkins’ diagnosis is definitive,

“There is no grey area, and it gives me clarity to move forward. I have a healthy young family and a long life of opportunities ahead of me.

“Hockey taught me a lot and it will help me be successful in whatever I choose to do in the future.”



Tennis: British player Dan Evans banned for one year after positive cocaine test…


Tennis player Dan Evans has been banned for one year after testing positive for cocaine, which he accidentally mixed with the medication in his washbag.

British number four Evans provided the positive sample before competing at the Barcelona Open on April 24. His suspension has been back-dated to begin from that date.

The 27-year-old will therefore be free to return to competition from April 24 2018.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) explained the suspension saying that because cocaine is not performance enhancing and it was taken outside of competition, a potential four year ban was reduced to 12 months.

They also said that Evans ‘promptly admitted his violation’ and then accepted his explanation of how the cocaine got into his system adding that he bore ‘no significant fault or negligence for the violation.’

Along with the suspension, Evans has also had to forfeit €103,890 (£92,205) of prize money and the ranking points gained between the date of the test and the announcement of the positive finding in late June.

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 14.20.07

According to the decision announced by the ITF on Tuesday, Evans said ‘leftover’ cocaine had accidentally mixed with permitted medication on the ‘same pocket of his washbag’.

Evans also said that he took those tablets daily from April 20 2017 to April 24 2017 – the date on which he provided his sample.

Expert Dr Pascal Kintz successfully proved that the amount of cocaine ingested by Evans was no more than 1-3 mg – a quantity which was ‘inconsistent with knowing ingestion and consistent instead with inadvertent contamination’.

Before the incident, Evans had reached a career high of 41 but is now down to 108th and will slip even further down the rankings before he is eligible to return to competition in April 2018.

NHL: Blues’ Fabbri to miss entire 2017/18 season…


The St Louis Blues have been rocked by the news that forward Robby Fabbri will miss the entire 2017/18 season after re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee.

The news was announced by Doug Armstrong, the President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the National Hockey League franchise.

Armstrong’s press conference can be found here.

Fabbri originally suffered the injury on February 4 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was checked into the boards by Pittsburgh’s Carter Rowney during the first period and put no pressure on his leg as he left the ice.

After surgery to repair the torn ACL and months of intense physiotherapy and rehabilitation, Fabbri was cleared to play again on July 31. He joined the team in mid-September for the start of training camp.

Last Friday (September 22) saw Fabbri play in his first pre-season game, playing 19 minutes and eight seconds when recording three shots on goal against the Washington Capitals.

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St Louis forward Robby Fabbri will miss the entire 2017/18 NHL season

Blues GM Armstrong had said after the game that Fabbri had noticed some swelling in his left knee. That led to an MRI scan on Sunday morning where doctors felt they saw a tear in the ACL. It was then confirmed after Fabbri flew to Chicago to see Dr Bernard Bach, who confirmed the injury.

Fabbri is now expected to undergo surgery to repair the injury within the first two weeks of October and is expected to make a full recovery before training camp next September. However, he has been ruled out to play any part this season or postseason.

21-year-old Fabbri has appeared in 123 regular season games in his career, recording 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) and 52 penalty minutes.

Injuries keep racking up

The injury to Fabbri isn’t the only one that the Blues are currently dealing with. Forward Zach Sanford suffered a dislocated shoulder during his first practice session and is expected to miss five to six months, Alexander Steen sustained a hand injury that will sideline him for the rest of preseason at least, while defenceman Jay Bouwmeester left a training camp scrimmage with a fractured ankle.

The team were already without Patrik Berglund, who will remain sidelined until December while recovering from an offseason shoulder injury.

More opportunities for younger players

The injuries in the roster will certainly create more opportunities for some of the club’s top prospects that still remain on the training camp roster. These include Sam Blais, Tage Thompson, Klim Kostin and Wade Megan – all of which have impressed at training camp thus far.


Polish Speedway: Wrocław and Leszno set for Ekstraliga title battle…


Sparta Wrocław will face Silesian rivals Unia Leszno after double world champion Tai Woffinden led Vaclav Milik to a dramatic 5-1 in Gorzow on Sunday.

With the scores level at 87-87 on aggregate going into the final heat of the semi-final tie, Woffinden and Milik came up against home pairing Bartosz Zmarzlik and Martin Vaculik for the all important place in the final.

Both sides were left holding their breath after a crash involving Vaculik and Milik on the first bend, but referee Wojciech Grodzki called all four riders back for the re-start.

Czech star Milik made the most of the second chance and made the gate, along with Woffinden, to secure a 45-45 draw (92-88 win on aggregate) and a place in the final.

Tai Woffinden was Sparta’s top scorer, managing 15 paid 16 points

Woffinden starred for the Spartans on a fantastic 15 paid 16 points, while Milik managed 13 paid 14. Polish champion Szymon Wozniak scored 10 but Maciej Janowski endured a tough night, scoring two paid three.

Slovak racer Vaculik led the scoring for Gorzow on 11, Krzyzstof Kasprzak managed 10 paid 11 and Zmarzlik raced to a 10 point haul.

Wrocław’s opponents in the final will be Unia Leszno after the Bulls stunned table toppers Zielona Gora 45-45 (95-85 on aggregate).

Janusz Kolodziej led the Leszno charge on 11, while compatriot Piotr Pawlick managed 10 paid 11 and Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov tallied nine points.

Janusz Kolodziej played a starring role for Leszno against Zielona Gora

Former world no.2 Jaroslaw Hampel was the star for Falubaz on 13 paid 14. Grand Prix title contender Patryk Dudek managed 10 paid 12, while series leader Jason Doyle was unable to build on his third place at the German SGP in Teterow, scoring only four points.

Premier League 2018/19: Clubs vote to close transfer window early…


Premier League clubs have moved to close next summer’s transfer window before the start of the season.

This is because managers have complained that allowing players to move clubs once the season is underway causes disruption to their squads.

Therefore, from next season, the window will close at 17:00BST on the Thursday before the start of the Premier League season.

However, the move was not unanimous and under the new rules, clubs will still be able to sell players until the end of the normal window.

In total, 14 Premier League clubs voted for the change, which was the minimum number needed for the plans to be approved. Five of the remaining six clubs (Manchester United, Manchester City, Watford, Swansea and Crystal Palace), voted against the plans, while Burnley abstained from voting.

Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea were one club who voted to close the transfer window early

The window across Europe runs until August 31, but the Premier League’s move means that while clubs will be allowed to sell their players until that date, the ability to buy players will stop on August 9 for the 2018/19 season.

European leagues and clubs in the Football League will still be able to buy and sell players as normal until the window closes on August 31.

Despite this though, Football League bosses have indicated that they could follow in the footsteps of the Premier League, but will require further dialogue with its stakeholders before a final decision to go ahead with a vote is made.

The early finish will not mean that the Premier League transfer window is shorter than those in Europe and the Football League. It will start earlier and be 12 weeks long, in line with FIFA rules.

However, next summer will be different than normal with the new season following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will finish on July 15.

Clubs can still do business during the tournament, however they will now have only 25 days, from the completion of the tournament, to complete signings.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will mean Premier League clubs will have a little over 4 weeks to make signings after the completion of the tournament

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane praised the move, saying that it would allow players to concentrate if the window was closed early.

Those views were echoed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who said: ‘It’s important that we close all that stuff before the championship starts,

‘Players have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of a game? It’s not the way to work.”

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also welcomed the move when asked about Barcelona’s interest in Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed the decision to close the Premier League transfer window early

Speaking before the announcement, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said that he hoped the rest of Europe would follow the Premier League in closing the window early.

He said: ‘If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don’t do this, still we have a problem,

‘The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it’s very silly.’


Tennis: World no.2 Murray unlikely to play again this season…

Unlikely to play again in 2017: Andy Murray

World number two tennis player Andy Murray is likely to miss the rest of the season because of an ongoing hip injury.

The 30-year-old pulled out of the US Open just two days before the start of the tournament and has not picked up a racket since losing out to American Sam Querrey in five sets at the Wimbledon Championships in July.

He has also withdrawn from October’s ATP tour events in Beijing and Shanghai, and will also likely miss the tournaments in Vienna and Paris later in the month.

In a statement posted on social media, the Scot said he will begin the 2018 season at the Brisbane International on January 1. This will be preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on January 15.

“I’m confident after this extended period of rest and rehabilitation I will be able to reach my best level again and be competing for Grand Slam titles next season,” Murray said.

“I have a fantastic team working alongside me to help me through this process and appreciate the support from them and all of my fans over this difficult period.”

Murray had travelled to New York with the expectation of playing in the US Open. He had practiced all week in preparation but withdrew on August 26.

On Wednesday, Murray said he had consulted with a number of leading hip specialists, as well as his own team before deciding not to play in the China Open and Shanghai Masters – two tournaments where he is the reigning champion.

Murray is also the regining champion at both the Vienna Open and Paris Masters and moved to world number one by reaching the final of the latter event last November. He was overtaken in the rankings by Spain’s Rafael Nadal in August.

He had also revealed during Wimbledon that he had suffered with a sore hip since his early twenties and that the injury became more significant following his French Open semi final defeat to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in June.

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