Latest – A dismal night for both Wellington Phoenix football teams, which were both beaten comfortably in A-League matches against the Newcastle Jets.
The womens team lost 5-1, conceding three in an nine minute spell in the second-half.
But they finished by scoring themselves, with hard-working forward Ava Pritchard etching her name into the club’s record books by scoring the team’s maiden goal.
“I know you look at that result and the goal kind of goes missing a little bit but that’s still a little piece of history for us,” said coach Gemma Lewis.
“That’s a little piece of history for her and I’m just proud that they kept pushing for the goal as well,” Lewis told media post-match.
The Phoenix’s high press which had troubled Western Sydney Wanderers last week in their history-making 0-0 draw wasn’t as effective against the Jets.
“What we were aiming for was trying to use the platform of last week and build and improve off it and I think in moments we did, but not consistently enough,” she said.
Meantime, the men’s team was also far from its best, beaten 4-nil.
Georgian forward Beka Mikeltadze scored a brace for Newcastle, while left back Dylan Murnane and Brazilian playmaker Daniel Penha also found the back of the net.
Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay didn’t mince his words after the game, labelling it the worst performance of his time at the club.
“We ended up getting the result that we deserved tonight because we were second best to everything and I don’t think we were good with and without the ball,” he said.
Breakers fall to 0-2
The Breakers are contemplating another tough loss in the NBL going down to South East Melbourne Phoenix 95-88.
The loss is their second straight to the Phoenix after they lost their first game of the season, just a week ago.
Photo: Scott Barbour/Photosport Ltd 2021
The Breakers had to overcome more adversity, with import guard Jeremiah Martin ruled out with an ankle injury sustained in training, and then they lost lost fellow import Peyton Siva to a hamstring complaint early in the first quarter.
But the Breakers played with lost of courage to fight back from a 13-point deficit to level the scores in the final quarter.
In the end, they just ran out of legs.
Australian Boomer Mitch Creek top scored for the Phoenix with a career-high 36 points including 6/7 from the three-point line.
The Breakers best contributors were Hugo Besson (26 points, eight rebounds), Finn Delany (23 points, including five triples) and Yanni Wetzell (18 points, four rebounds).
“Unfortunately we are off to a rough start going 0-2 in our first two games, but we fought” head coach Dan Shamir said.
World Rugby announces players of the year
France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont has been named World Rugby’s men’s player of the year while England lock Zoe Aldcroft won the women’s award.
The 25-year-old Dupont became the third Frenchman to win the award after Fabien Galthie, currently the national team coach, in 2012 and flanker Thierry Dusautoir in 2011.
Dupont beat Australian duo Michael Hooper and Samu Kerevi and England lock Maro Itoje to the award, which was determined by a vote from fans, after impressing for France and helping Toulouse to the Heineken Champions Cup and French Top 14 double.
“It’s hard to believe,” Dupont said. “To be named alongside two French players… they are legends of our sport, so it’s weird to see myself named in this list. You almost have the feeling of not deserving this place.”
Aldcroft started all eight of England’s matches this year and helped them win a third successive Six Nations title. The 25-year-old captained the Red Roses for the first time last month as they crushed the United States 89-0.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Aldcroft, who won the vote ahead of England team mate Poppy Cleall and French duo Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus.
Hamilton fastest ahead of Formula One showdown
Lewis Hamilton pushed Formula One rival Max Verstappen off the top of the timesheets to end the opening day of practice for their title showdown at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix comfortably fastest.
The Briton lapped the revised 5.2-km long Yas Marina track in one minute, 23.691 seconds, the only driver to drop below the 1:24 mark with his 24-year-old Dutch rival fourth.
The Red Bull driver had lapped fastest in Friday afternoon’s opening session of track action with Hamilton, whose quickest lap time was deleted, third.
But, the Dutchman could get no closer than 0.641 seconds off the Briton’s benchmark in the evening, though he did appear to have the edge over Hamilton during the heavy-fuel race simulations.
Verstappen and Hamilton head into Sunday’s race, a winner-takes all showdown, level on points. But the Dutchman is ahead 9-8 on wins and will become champion if neither score.
The pair have already collided three times this season, raising concerns that a thrilling title battle might end in a crash.
But the governing FIA has warned drivers of severe consequences, such as a points deduction, for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Tennis star loses his coach
Britain’s Andy Murray has split with coach Jamie Delgado after working with his compatriot for over five years, British media reported on Friday.
Delgado joined Murray’s team in 2016 as an assistant coach, when the Scot won a second Wimbledon title and finished the year as world number one, and took over from Ivan Lendl as the main coach in November 2017.
The 44-year-old Delgado, who represented Britain in the Davis Cup as a player, will work with Canadian world number 14 Denis Shapovalov, the reports said.
Murray, ranked 134th, had hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019 and has not been able to revive the old form and consistency that saw him win three major singles titles.
Team USA set for new coach
Steve Kerr seems set to succeed Gregg Popovich as the new head coach of USA Basketball.
Kerr was an assistant on Popovich’s gold medal-winning squad at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Kerr, the head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, will coach Team USA at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics, according to ESPN.
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few are expected to be named as Kerr’s assistant coaches, per the report.
Kerr, 56, has won three NBA championships since becoming head coach of the Warriors in 2014. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2015-16.
Gerrard comes home to face former team
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard says he is happy to sacrifice his popularity at Anfield for a positive result for his side when they face Liverpool in the Premier League tomorrow.
The Liverpool great returns to Anfield for the first time as a coach with his Villa side looking for their fourth win in five league matches.
Gerrard, who took charge at Villa early last month, won numerous trophies in 17 years at boyhood side Liverpool but said he was not placing any special importance on returning to the ground where he made his name.
“I really respect and understand all the noise around the game for obvious reasons,” Gerrard told a news conference on Friday.
“The noise is for other people to get excited about. For me, it’s about preparing the team in the best way I can, to try and get a positive result for Aston Villa.
“For everyone else, it’s a massive occasion. For me, it’s three points, it’s a big game of football and it’s 90 minutes that we need to focus on.
“If I’m on the bus, heading back down the M6 towards Birmingham and I’m not the most popular at Anfield, so be it.”
The 41-year-old has made quite the impression since arriving at Villa Park, leading the struggling side up to 10th in the league standings with 19 points from 15 games.
US motorsport legend dies
Al Unser, who was part of one of American motor racing’s most famous families and one of only four drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, has died at the age of 82 after a long illness.
Unser, who was diagnosed with cancer 17 years ago, died on Thursday at his home in Chama, New Mexico, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said on Friday.
“His quiet and humble approach outside of the car, combined with his fierce competitive spirit and fearless talent behind the wheel, made Al a fan favorite,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said in a statement.
“He will be remembered as one of the best to ever race at Indianapolis, and we will all miss his smile, sense of humor and his warm, approachable personality.”
Despite being known for his patience behind the wheel, Unser holds the record for the most laps led in the Indianapolis 500, having pushed the all-time mark to 644. With 27 starts in the race, he trails only A.J. Foyt (35) and Mario Andretti (29).
Unser won the Indianapolis 500 in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987 while older brother Bobby Unser, who died in May, triumphed in 1968, 1975 and 1981. They are the only brothers to win the race.