Football: Ole Gunnar Skolsjær appointed permanent Manchester United manager…

Premier League Manchester United have moved to appoint club legend Ole Gunnar Skolsjær as their permanent manager.

The Norwegian, who previously managed teams such as Cardiff City and Molde, has signed a three-year contract after arriving at Old Trafford on an interim basis following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December.

As a player, Skolsjær spent 11 seasons with United and scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final.

Speaking about his appointment, Skolsjær said: ‘This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long term,”

“From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club. It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here.

“The last few months have been a fantastic experience.”

United were sixth on the Premier League and 11 points from the top four when Skolsjær took charge. Since his appointment, they have lost just once in 13 league games – away to Arsenal this month – and now lie two points behind the Gunners, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying place.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward called Skolsjær’s appointment ‘richly deserved’.

He said: “Since coming in as caretaker manager in December, the results Ole has delivered speak for themselves,” he said.

“More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club.”

Skolsjær also became the first Manchester United manager to win his first six league games, beating a record previously held by Sir Matt Busby, and even helped them reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2014 after overturning a 2-0 deficit against French giants Paris St Germain.

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Speedway: Peterborough Panthers Press and Practice in pictures…

SGB Premiership Speedway team Peterborough Panthers held their season opening Press and Practice day on Wednesday (March 27).

Members of the media (both local and from the speedway world), and the club’s fans, gathered to meet the riders and staff that will be leading the Panthers into battle this coming season.

Below are some pictures from the event…

Speedway: Panthers to once again host Championship Fours…

Despite their move to Premiership racing for 2019, Peterborough Panthers are celebrating the news that they are to host a national speedway event once again.

The Panthers will play host to the Championship Four Team Tournament on Sunday June 23.

The event,  in which the Panthers have been dominant in recent years, is traditionally seen as a festival of racing with riders such as Scott Nicholls, Craig Cook, Rory Schlein and Danny King all doing battle for their respective clubs on one of the country’s fastest and best racetracks.

Panthers boss Carl Johnson expressed his delight at hosting the event, saying: “Anyone who has been to this event down the years knows what a great occasion it is and everyone here at Peterborough Speedway is delighted to be staging it again.

“It just adds to the excitement building. We have a top class new signing coming in over the next few days, we have a season of top flight racing with the return of club icon Hans Andersen and now confirmation we have the Fours.

“It’s great news for Peterborough Speedway and great news for the city of Peterborough as we bring national recognition with such a major event.”

Major British Speedway events 2019:
BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL: Berwick, Saturday April 27
CHAMPIONSHIP FOURS: Peterborough, Sunday June 23
BRITISH FINAL: Belle Vue, Monday July 29
BRITISH UNDER-19 FINAL: Redcar, Thursday August 15
CHAMPIONSHIP RIDERS’ INDIVIDUAL: Sheffield, Sunday September 1
CHAMPIONSHIP PAIRS: Somerset, Friday September 20
BRITISH UNDER-21 SEMI-FINALS: Isle of Wight, Tuesday April 16, Somerset (Date TBC)
BRITISH SEMI-FINAL: Redcar, Friday May 31

BRITISH SPEEDWAY FIM EVENTS 2019
SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS RACE-OFF 2: Belle Vue, Saturday May 11
GRAND PRIX QUALIFIER: Glasgow, Saturday June 8
WORLD UNDER-21 TEAM CUP FINAL: Belle Vue, Friday July 12

Bandy: Great Britain land silver at first World Championships…

It is a sport that has been absent from the world stage for over 100 years, however bandy is enjoying a resurgence in the UK following a silver medal for Great Britain at the recent World Championships.

The tournament, held in the Swedish city of Vänersborg , saw the team remain undefeated against opponents Latvia, China, Somalia, Slovakia, and Japan in the pool stage of the Group B competition.

They then went on to defeat Hungary in the semi finals before missing out on the gold medal against established bandy nation Estonia, losing the game 9-3.

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Great Britain men’s bandy team at the recent World Championships in Vänersborg, Sweden Back row: # 6 Alex Smith, 65 Michael Whillock, 10 Martin Deacon (Captain) 98 Lewis Enfield, 35 Tim Smith, 5 Colin Jack, 8 Thomas Parker, 29 Christopher Hall. Front row: # 9 Nathan Gilbert, 18 Oscar Gillingham Aukner, 42 Alex Ward, 22 Robin Signeul, 15 Jacob Signeul, 77 Cormac Ahlstrom-Horgan 57 Oliver Corcoran.

What is bandy?
Bandy is a team sport, played on ice. It is similar to hockey, however it shares its most common traits with association football, ice hockey and field hockey. To play the game, skaters use a short, curved stick and direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal. The pitch is significantly bigger too, with 11 players playing the game at any one time, compared to the six in it’s close relative, ice hockey.

It has its origins in the East of England, with the first written rules published in 1882, before dying out after the First World War.

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Great Britain in action against Latvia at the World Bandy Championships in Vänersborg, Sweden

The sport saw the start of a revival at the beginning of 2018 when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Sweden on a royal tour. While there, the royal couple met players and even played the game, taking shots against Swedish national goalkeeper Linda Oden.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge playing bandy on 2018 royal tour of Sweden: //players.brightcove.net/2540076170001/B1Hli6KCG_default/index.html?videoId=5722267623001#t=43s

PGE Ekstraliga: Advantage Leszno while Gorzow defeat Czestochowa…

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Fogo Unia Leszno took a massive step towards the Ekstraliga playoff final after defeating Silesian rivals BETARD Sparta Wrocław at the Stadion Olimpijski last Sunday (September 2).

2019 Speedway Grand Prix qualifier Janusz Kołodziej led the way for the PGE Ekstraliga champions with 13 points, with 2018 star Emil Sayfutdinov scoring 11, paid 12.

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Janusz Kolodziej was the standout performer for Leszno against Wrocław

Current World Under-21 champion Maksym Drabik was one of Sparta’s best performers, scoring 10, paid 11.

Grand Prix stars Maciej Janowski and Tai Woffinden managed nine, paid 12 and nine, paid 10 points respectively. Australian youngster Max Fricke collected nine points for the Spartans.

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Maksym Drabik starred for Wrocław with 10, paid 11 points

Over in Czestochowa, Slovakian star Martin Vaculik raced to a 15-point maximum as Stal Gorzow also put one foot in the showpiece final.

Vaculik, who won the MIB Nordic Gorzow SGP just weeks earlier, was flawless from five rides to inspire Gorzow to a 49-41 first leg win.

SGP title chaser Bartosz Zmarzlik produced a brilliant performance to back up Vaculik, managing 11 points, while Krzysztof Kasprzak piled up 10, paid 11.

Michał Gruchalski and Denmark’s Leon Madsen were the top scorers for the Lions, managing 11 points apiece. It was a tough day though for Czestochowa’s SGP stars as Freddie Lindgren scored six points, paid eight, while Matej Zagar could only manage three.

The Slovene crashed with visiting rider Szymon Wozniak and withdrew from the meeting through injury.

Both return fixtures take place this Sunday (September 9).

Meeting scores…
ForBET Włokniarz Czestochowa 41:
Leon Madsen 11, Michał Gruchalski 11, Fredrik Lindgren 6+2, Adrian Miedzinski 5+1, Tobiasz Musielak 4+1, Matej Zagar 3, Bartosz Swiacik 1, Andreas Lyager 0
Cash Broker Stal Gorzow 49: Martin Vaculik 15, Bartosz Zmarzlik 11, Krzysztof Kasprzak 10+1, Szymon Wozniak 6+1, Rafał Karczmarz 5+1. Alan Szczotka 1+1, Grzegorz Walasek 1, Hubert Czerniawski 0

BETARD Sparta Wrocław 42: Maksym Drabik 10+1, Maciej Janowski 9+3, Tai Woffinden 9+1, Max Fricke 9, Vaclav Milik 3, Damian Drozdz 2, Przemysław Liszka 0, Patryk Wojdyło 0
Fogo Unia Leszno 48: Janusz Kołodziej 13, Emil Sayfutdinov 11+1, Bartosz Smektała 8+1, Piotr Pawlicki 8, Jarosław Hampel 4, Brady Kurtz 3+2, Dominik Kubera 1+1, Jaimon Lidsey 0

 

Bandy: A guide to Peterborough’s newest and coolest sport…

It hasn’t been played on the Fens since way back in the 1910’s, however the newly established Peterborough Bandy Club is aiming to reignite bandy in the UK.

The club, which plays out of Planet Ice in Bretton, Peterborough, has been set up under the guidance of the Great Britain Bandy Federation (GBBF), by current president Lyn Gibb De-Swarte, as the founding club for the sport in the United Kingdom.

Not only is it the club’s main aim to bring the sport back in the UK, it is hoped that, over time, it will contribute players to both a Great Britain men’s and women’s team for the purpose of international competition – something which will likely increase the demand for the sport’s inclusion in the Winter Olympics.

The Peterborough club currently has 15 players at its disposal, with 9 male players and 6 female. Some players have made the transition to bandy having played ice hockey for various teams within the city, including the Peterborough Penguins, Peterborough Phantoms and more.

Here is a quick guide to Peterborough’s newest and coolest sport…

What is bandy?
Bandy is a team sport, played on ice. It is similar to hockey, however it shares its most common traits with association football, ice hockey and field hockey. To play the game, skaters use a short, curved stick and direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal.

How long is a game of bandy?
Similar to association football, a game of bandy typically consists of two 45 minutes halves. It is played on an ice pad which is around the same size as a football pitch, with teams of 11 players each. A variation of the sport, rink bandy, can be played on a field the size of an ice rink with goal cages being used. Rink bandy teams comprise of six players, although in the USA Bandy League, teams are made up of just five players. Both forms of the game are recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Is the sport an Olympic sport?
Despite never being officially played at the Winter Olympics, bandy was demonstrated at the 1952 Games in Oslo,  Norway.

What equipment do I need?
A typical bandy kit comprises of a round ball (instead of a puck), a shorter stick, socks, ice hockey skates, helmet and gloves. Knee and elbow pads can be worn if desired.

Is it a contact sport?
Bandy is non-contact, meaning women can train on the same ice as men. This is unlike ice hockey, where men’s and women’s teams have separate rules regarding contact.

What countries are the most successful?
Top bandy countries include Sweden, Russia and Norway. Russia fielded the most successful bandy team in the 1955 World Championships.

When can I train?
Training is every Tuesday night, 8pm-9pm and £10 per session.

Russia 2018: Morocco become the first team eliminated after defeat by Portugal…

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Cristiano Ronaldo continued his incredible start to the tournament, scoring the goal that saw Portugal eliminate Morocco from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Following on from his hat-trick against Iberian rivals Spain, it took the Portugal captain only four minutes to make his mark in this game, diving on the end of a cross from Joao Moutinho and heading on target.

That goal put the European Champions top of Group B, with Spain playing Iran at 7pm tonight. Ronaldo has also extended his lead as the top scorer in the race for the Golden Boot.

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Cristiano Ronaldo scores his fourth goal of the World Cup to send Group B rivals Morocco home

Morocco, who just last week failed in their bid to host the tournament in 2026, became the first team to be knocked out of this one with one Group B game to spare.

They did, however, create enough chances to earn at least a draw – and would have got it with better finishing in the final third, producing only one effort of note only to see Younes Belhanda’s header denied by Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

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Younes Belhanda had Morocco’s best chance for an equaliser in the game against Portugal

The North African nation, who were beaten 1-0 by Iran in their opening group game, are playing at a FIFA World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Morocco concludes their tournament against, 2010 World Champions, Spain in Kaliningrad on Monday June 25.