Running, jogging and triathlons are in. Football, paintball and horseback riding are out. So are sports that can be enjoyed with a beer — or three.That’s the quick take on the latest survey from the Sport & Fitness Industry Association, released Monday. The group — a partnership of six industry associations — fielded nearly 20,000 surveys in January and February, asking Americans (both individuals and households) about their physical activity last year. Overall activity was flat, a turnaround from declines in recent years.Individual sports and activities, though, showed bigger changes, some of them dramatic. The number of people who participated at least once in adventure racing or a traditional triathlon increased by more than 25 percent last year compared with the year before. Meanwhile, nonmotorized scooter-riding and non-inline roller skating experienced big declines.Even with such a big sample, year-by-year changes in individual sports may not mean much. I limited the analysis to activities with an estimate of at least 2 million participants last year, but that still means a change of 10 percent could be a difference of just a dozen or so respondents. And that’s when looking at total participants. The group also reports more regular participants, but that means an even smaller sample size. (Also, as I noted when writing about this survey in a recent piece, the survey is fielded only in English, which could skew results for activities that are unusually popular or unpopular among U.S. residents who are less comfortable speaking to strangers in English.)We get a more reliable picture when looking at five-year trends.Triathlon and adventure racing still top the gainers list. Kayaking, trail running and yoga are other solitary or noncompetitive endeavors increasing in popularity. Meanwhile, activities popular in bars or in other venues where beer often is sold — including pool, darts and bowling — are losing ground. So are all varieties of football — though touch football sustained the biggest percentage decline, suggesting concussion fears aren’t solely to blame.To sum up: We’re bowling alone — or together — less often, but running, paddling or posing more.
Source: Football Outsiders, FootballPerspective During the 2015 regular season, the Broncos and Panthers allowed the NFL’s fewest and second-fewest yards per play, respectively, and finished 1-2 defensively in Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) ratings. It’s only the eighth time the top two DVOA defenses1Using estimated ratings for seasons prior to 1989. have met in a Super Bowl, and the average defensive index of the teams involved ranks third all-time, trailing only Super Bowls XIV and IV. Everyone is obsessing over the study in contrasts at quarterback — Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning — but it’s the two defenses that should be taking center stage in the lead-up to Sunday, because by just about any measure, this is one of the best defensive matchups in Super Bowl history. BroncosRunning the ball against the Broncos’ defense is like running into a brick wall erected around another, thicker brick wall. It had the league’s fourth-best defensive DVOA against rushing plays during the regular season and was particularly fearsome up the middle, allowing the league’s fourth-fewest expected points per rush between the tackles. According to ProFootballFocus.com’s player grades, defensive end Derek Wolfe was the eighth-best interior run defender in the NFL; Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall also ranked among the top 11 run defenders at linebacker, with Von Miller ranking ninth against the run among edge rushers. If the Broncos have a weakness against the run, it’s in short-yardage situations — they allowed the league’s second-highest power success rate2Defined as the percentage of runs that achieved a first down or touchdown on third or fourth down with 2 yards or less to go, or on first- or second-and-goal from the 2-yard line or closer. — but they offset that with one of the league’s highest rates of stuffing runners behind the line of scrimmage, and they almost never allowed long runs. Only 7.4 percent of carries against the Broncos went for more than 10 yards, the third-lowest rate in the league.And Denver’s ability to stop the run is by far the weaker aspect of this defense. According to DVOA,3Again, indexed relative to the league’s distribution of pass defenses. the 2015 Broncos’ pass D ranks as the 11th-best of the Super Bowl era after blowing away the competition this season. The Panthers’ DVOA against the pass ranked second in the league but was about two-thirds of a standard deviation worse than Denver’s. 2004Buffalo135129135 2002Tampa Bay146114148 1988Minnesota144121146 2015Denver135120135 1999Tampa Bay12791134 YEARTEAMOVERALLVS. RUNVS. PASS Best pass defenses of the Super Bowl era (1966-2015) 2008Pittsburgh133125133 1980Washington11886132 2009N.Y. Jets136114134 1991Philadelphia150147142 2013Seattle137114140 1994Pittsburgh131114132 1974Pittsburgh139130138 2003Baltimore135125132 1985Chicago135119137 1982Miami12785143 1998Miami133114137 1977Atlanta127115132 1969Minnesota134123132 2012Chicago140130136 DEFENSIVE DVOA INDEX 1970Minnesota135118136 What makes the Broncos so great at defending the pass? For one thing, they led the league in adjusted sack rate, with coordinator Wade Phillips dialing up five or more pass-rushers on 42 percent of opposing pass plays, fourth-most in football. Those plays are statistically graded as blitzes, but in a Denver 3-4 alignment featuring some of the game’s top pass-rushing linebackers, the lines between a blitz and a D-line that simply creates pressure on its own start to blur. According to PFF, Miller was the top pass-rushing edge defender in the game, and his partner on the opposite side, DeMarcus Ware, ranked sixth. Meanwhile, Wolfe and Malik Jackson also finished among the top 11 pass-rushing interior linemen. And when the Broncos do need to blitz from unusual places, safety T.J. Ward can create havoc; he tied for sixth among DBs with a pair of sacks this season.But the front four is only part of the equation — a blitz-heavy scheme falls apart quickly without the ability to cover receivers. This Denver D doesn’t necessarily rely on its secondary as ball hawks; Aqib Talib’s modest total of three interceptions led the roster, and the team’s interception rate was merely average. Instead, all of the Broncos’ primary defensive backs (Talib, Ward, Chris Harris Jr., Darian Stewart and Bradley Roby) and linebackers (Trevathan and Marshall) ranked among the upper quartile at their positions in PFF’s coverage grades, sticking to receivers so effectively that only St. Louis allowed fewer air yards per completion. (“Grading” players is often a fool’s errand, since you can never be sure about coverages and assignments, but when pretty much the entire secondary grades out in the upper crust, those problems are minimized.) And no team allowed fewer overall passing yards per attempt or yards per completion than the Broncos did.PanthersFor all the lofty achievement and outright dominance by the Denver squad, the Panthers’ defense might actually have the edge in star power: Not only will it have arguably the best player on the field Sunday in LB Luke Kuechly, but Carolina’s D also outearned Denver’s in first-team All-Pro selections (3 to 1) and tied it for Pro Bowl nods (4 apiece).It’s indicative of the way these defenses stack up: Carolina’s top defensive players — Kuechly, CB Josh Norman, LB Thomas Davis (playing Sunday with “a plate and probably around 11 or 12 screws” in his arm, which he broke during the NFC championship), DT Kawann Short — can hold their own with anybody on Denver’s roster. But the lesser Panthers defenders aren’t quite as good, which makes Carolina’s statistical profile sort of “Broncos Lite.” Their strengths are similar, but the Panthers are slightly inferior to Denver whether they’re defending the pass or the run.Stylistically, however, the Panthers do operate differently in some important ways. At the most elemental level, they run a 4-3 scheme that relies less on creative blitz packages and pressure from the edges, instead using Short to generate a pass rush from the middle of the defense, and fellow DT Star Lotulelei to occupy blockers and eat up space. The end result was fewer sacks and less pressure overall, but that only makes Carolina’s performance in coverage even more impressive. Despite giving opposing passers the league’s sixth-most seconds in the pocket per drop-back, the Panthers allowed the 11th-fewest air yards per attempt and seventh-lowest completion percentage.It all starts with Norman, who has few peers when it comes to blanketing receivers. Alongside him, the Carolina secondary is littered with such solid cover DBs as Kurt Coleman, Roman Harper, Cortland Finnegan and Tre Boston, all of whom PFF rated among the top half of their respective positions in terms of pass coverage. This depth proved important because Carolina used five or more defensive backs on 463 pass plays this season (26 percent more than the NFL average), more than any other team despite a banged-up secondary that suffered a number of key losses.Speaking of which: The only glaring hole in the DB corps might be Robert McClain, whom PFF rated as one of the worst cover corners in football since signing with Carolina at midseason after a rash of injuries befell the team. But coverage ratings for individual players often don’t tell the whole story, and the rest of Carolina’s roster rates well in pass coverage — Kuechly was graded by PFF as the game’s best cover LB. The all-around cover skills of Carolina’s entire D helped them yield the league’s second-lowest rates of yards per attempt and yards after the catch.Against the rush, Carolina profiled a lot like Denver: It was poor at stopping runners in power situations (worst in the league, in fact), but it also stuffed a lot of runs behind the line of scrimmage. The biggest difference is that, unlike the Broncos, the Panthers did yield some long runs; they ranked 15th at preventing what Football Outsiders calls “open field” yards — i.e., rushing gains starting more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage — per carry (Denver ranked second). That’s one reason why this is a good run defense but not a great one.All told, this is the 15th-most evenly matched defensive matchup in Super Bowl history according to DVOA. And the quality of offensive competition each defense will face ought to help level the playing field even more. Denver’s historically great D is facing a very good Carolina offense led by the suddenly amazing Newton at QB; Carolina’s great-but-not-historically-so defense is facing one of the worst offenses to take the field in a Super Bowl — particularly when it comes to passing.The Super Bowl is all about pomp and spectacle, razzle and dazzle, offensive fireworks and star quarterbacks booking FastPass times at the tea cups. Sometimes that leaves little room for an appreciation of subtler things, like defense. But in this case, all eyes should be on that rougher side of the football — it will be a long time before you see another defensive clash of this caliber on Super Bowl Sunday.Check out our live coverage of Super Bowl 50.
FiveThirtyEight Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (June 21, 2016), we talk about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory in Game 7 of the NBA Finals and wonder how much championships matter when we talk about history’s greatest players and teams. Then, we welcome ESPN FC’s Mike Goodman to chat about the USMNT’s run to the semifinal of the Copa America. Finally, Mike stays around to break down the opening games of the 2016 Euros, and we ask him what’s going on with Cristiano Ronaldo. Plus, a significant digit on the matchup between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA.Links to what we discuss are here:Ben Morris wonders if the Steph Curry revolution is over already.Ben Morris’s original piece on why Steph Curry is revolutionizing basketball.Reuben Fischer-Baum writes the Warriors aren’t even the second-best team ever.Neil Paine says LeBron led the Cavs on one of the greatest playoff runs in NBA history.ESPN Stats & Information Group breaks down how LeBron carried the Cavs to the title.LeBron is so great, says Bryan Armen Graham in The Guardian, he should now be considered the greatest of all time.Mike Goodman asks whether the USMNT has finally turned the corner under Jurgen Klinsmann.The Guardian wonders why casual fans have stayed away from this year’s Copa America.Over at the Euros, The Upshot breaks down how teams can qualify for the next round.And, Sam Borden looks at what the new tournament structure has meant for fans from smaller countries.Borden also delves into Cristiano Ronaldo’s frustrations after Portugal’s tie with Austria.You can find Mike Goodman’s new soccer podcast, The Double Pivot, here.Significant Digit: 23. That’s the combined number of games the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx had played in this season’s WNBA without losing. The Sparks lost 72-69 to the Lynx on Tuesday evening. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
Tulane safety Devon Walker was seriously injured during Tulsa’s 45-10 victory over Tulane, with reports indicating that Walker actually stopped breathing on the field and needed CPR and a tracheotomy.Reports later indicated that Walker suffered a spine fracture after taking a blow to the head delivered by a teammate as they both attempted to make a tackle right before halftime of Saturday’s game against Tulsa in H.A. Chapman Stadium. After Walker was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, he was diagnosed with a cervical spine fracture and edema (swelling) in his spinal cord. Doctors say Walker will need spinal surgery and it’s not clear whether the injury has caused any paralysis.But Tulane team Dr. Buddy Savoie seemed intent on downplaying the drama of the on field emergency. He said drama said Walker never lost consciousness and his life was never in danger, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.“I think it went as well as it could go,” Savoie said. “There are always concerns about stability, but he is stable right now. He was stable when we transported him. I do not think based on the information we have that his life was ever in danger.”Some sideline media reported seeing medical staff giving chest compressions consistent with CPR, and the Golden Hurricane’s trainer reportedly said Walker had a collapsed lung in addition to the broken neck.The Tulsa World reported: “Medical personnel administered CPR as Walker was motionless at the north end of the field.”Savoie did not say whether Walker had feeling or the ability to move his extremities. He did not respond to text messages from the Times-Picayune looking for more detail.In the press conference, he did say Walker’s spine was swollen, that Walker was in traction (immobilized) and would need surgery in the next day or so.“It was just a difficult day, probably the most difficult day ever,” Tulane first-year coach Curtis Johnson said after the game. “Just seeing one of our guys, one of our family members out on the ground, go in an ambulance. … I don’t know they could focus on what they are doing. … I thought about saying hey, let’s just not doing anything else. Let’s just get on the road and go and see Devon.”“The current plan is for him to have surgery in the next one to two days,” the Tulane athletic department released in a statement. “He is being treated by specialists. The Tulsa physicians did a great job taking care of Devon.”Walker is a hard worker in the classroom as well as on the field, where he made the team as a walk-on. Walker is a cell and molecular biology major with designs on becoming a pharmacist like his sister, Yolan Bender.
According to our projections, the San Antonio Spurs currently have an 87 percent chance to make their 22nd consecutive playoff appearance. But only two months ago, our projections gave them just a 4 percent chance of making the postseason while they were struggling with new players and a bad defense. In the video above, Chris Herring walks through what’s changed for San Antonio and where things stand for the franchise as we march toward the playoffs.
Former OSU defensive lineman Joey Bosa (97) celebrates after making a sack during a game against Maryland on Oct. 4 in College Park, Md.Credit: Lantern file photoOhio State coach Urban Meyer was all smiles on Friday on the NFL Network’s set for the 2016 NFL draft. Meyer could be seen celebrating every time one of his former players had his name called this weekend. The 2016 OSU draft class is one for the books.Mostly led by underclassmen from Meyer’s first recruiting class, OSU was a metaphorical pipeline for the NFL, producing 12 overall selections through the weekend.Although Joey Bosa was considered by many to be a potential first overall pick as the 2015 season concluded, his draft stock slowly dropped after producing what many deemed to be subpar numbers for a player of his expected caliber at the NFL combine.Even with the criticism, the San Diego Chargers made Bosa the first Buckeye taken in the draft with the third overall pick. His presence of the edge should be immediately felt next season.Ezekiel Elliott was the next OSU product to be selected. The Dallas Cowboys took the former high school track star at No. 4 to bolster a running game that suffered last year after the departure of Demarco Murray. The remainder of the first round saw Eli Apple taken at No. 10 by the Giants, Taylor Decker selected by the Lions at No. 16 and Darron Lee picked up by the Jets with the 20th pick.Five picks in the first round ties the mark set by the 2006 draft class for most players drafted in the first round for OSU. This marks the second time OSU fell just shy of the record of selections in the first round, which is six, set by the University of Miami (Fla.) in 2004. All five of the picks were within the top 20. Two more Buckeyes saw their NFL dreams come true in the second round, as the New Orleans Saints selected both wide receiver Michael Thomas at No. 47 and safety Vonn Bell at No. 61.Thomas was a favorite of the Saints coaching staff and provides a solid target for veteran quarterback Drew Brees.Bell was also sought after by Saints coach Sean Payton but was not expected to fall into the second round. Multiple mock drafts saw Bell being a late first-round selection.Both Thomas and Bell join former Buckeye linebacker James Laurinaitis, who was signed as a free agent this offseason by New Orleans. Three more former OSU starters found new homes in the third round, highlighted by Braxton Miller to the Houston Texans. The Texans had previously selected former Notre Dame standout receiver Will Fuller. Both athletes are known for breakaway speed and stellar athleticism.Adolphus Washington became a member of the Buffalo Bills, and Nick Vannett will be playing at CenturyLink Field next season with the Seattle Seahawks. The final two selections for the Scarlet and Gray went on opposite ends of the fourth round, as linebacker Joshua Perry became the fourth pick of the the fourth round, and quarterback Cardale Jones was the last player drafted in the fourth. Perry joins his Bosa in San Diego. It came as a surprise to no one, as Bosa appeared on camera in California to announce the 102nd pick. The crowd roared as the two members of Meyer’s “Silver Bullets” were reunited.Jones was the final Buckeye selected in the 2016 NFL draft but found a good fit with the Buffalo Bills. Bills coach Rex Ryan likes athletic quarterbacks who can push the ball downfield, and Jones fits the bill.Two notable former OSU players, H-back Jalin Marshall and safety Tyvis Powell, did not hear their names called over the course of the three-day festivities. However, Marshall was picked up after the draft by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent, along with former offensive lineman Chase Farris, who signed with the Detroit Lions. Powell, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Bill Rabinowitz, will sign as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. The 12 players mark a new record for the NFL draft for most players from one program selected through four rounds.Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to update where Tyvis Powell signed as an undrafted free agent.
The No. 10 Ohio State wrestling team knew they would have to wrestle above their years in order to beat an older and more experienced No. 15 Virginia Tech team. With three matches decided in the final 10 seconds of play, the team did just that in beating the Hokies, 21-12, in front of 2,474 fans in St. John Arena Sunday. “I think they grew up a lot,” coach Tom Ryan said of his team. “It is an exciting group.” The match started in the 174-weight class with No. 4 redshirt sophomore Nick Heflin earning a victory by decision 6-2 to give the Buckeyes an early three point lead. Redshirt junior C.J. Magrum, the most experienced wrestler for OSU, followed that match up at 184 pounds with a 12-6 decision victory. One of the most exciting matchups of the meet was No. 14 freshman Andrew Campolattano against redshirt sophomore Nick Vetterlein. Campolattano held a 3-1 advantage heading into the final period. After a Vetterlein escape, the lead was down to 3-2. “Andrew … is not used to being in matches like that,” Ryan said. “He made a positioning mistake with 10 seconds to go.” With just two seconds remaining in the match, Vetterlein earned a takedown on Campolattano for a 4-3 victory to tighten the meet to 6-3 Ohio State. With the heavyweight matchup, the Buckeyes took a decisive lead in the meet as redshirt sophomore Peter Capone defeated No. 17 redshirt senior David Marone by injury default. Capone was in a position behind Marone and buckled Marone’s right knee in a takedown attempt. Marone fell to the mat crying out in pain and after two injury timeouts, the match was declared over. “It is a legal move, but it’s terribly unfortunate,” Ryan said. “This early in the year, he’s a good heavyweight and it certainly impacted the match. Hopefully it’s not bad.” With a 12-6 lead, the Buckeyes never looked back. Freshmen No. 16 Cam Tessari and No. 15 Hunter Stieber each earned decision victories back-to-back on takedowns with less than 10 seconds left. After both victories, Ryan ran around the bench in excitement pumping his fist. “It felt great,” Tessari said. “I felt like I was kind of being the aggressor the whole match and it wasn’t going my way. I knew if I kept it up the whole match it would happen for me.” Stieber said that despite the win, the team’s performance was “average” and did not wrestle as well as they could have. “We wrestled good period, but we didn’t wrestle good matches,” Stieber said. “And that’s what we got to do to win.” Stieber’s older brother, No. 4 redshirt freshman Logan Stieber, won his highly anticipated match against No. 5 sophomore Devin Carter 6-1 to improve his record to 8-0. No matches were won by more than six points and each match except one, Capone’s injury default victory, was won by decision. “Normally they are up by twelve … they’ve won so much,” Ryan said of his young team. “The matches we won late were because we attacked and the matches that we lost late were because we didn’t attack. You gotta keep attacking.” The Buckeyes (4-0) will be back in action Dec. 2 and 3 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
Junior forward LaQuinton Ross (10) skies for a shot during a game against Dayton March 20 at First Niagara Center. OSU lost, 60-59.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorAll season long, Ohio State men’s basketball struggled with scoring.In 19 of the Buckeyes’ 35 games this season, they scored less than 70 points, going 11-8 in those matchups en route to finishing the season 25-10.The team has already lost three players for next season — senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., as well as sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle, who is heading back to Europe — and now might be without its leading scorer.According to a report Monday by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, junior forward LaQuinton Ross has decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NBA Draft.Ross, however, took to Twitter to dispel any rumors that he is in fact leaving Columbus after leading the Buckeyes with 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 2013-14.“To all the people tweeting me I haven’t said anything so guys are wasting your time!! I didn’t make a decision!” a tweet posted at 3:24 p.m. from Ross’ personal account, @qross2011, read.An OSU athletic spokesman did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment Monday afternoon.The report comes two days after sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle announced via Twitter he was leaving OSU to pursue a professional career in Europe.Ross’ departure would leave the Buckeyes with 10 scholarship players on roster for next season, even with the addition of the four players already signed for the 2014-15 season. Among those are guard D’Angelo Russell, center David Bell and forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate.Without Ross, OSU coach Thad Matta would have three scholarships to work with to try bolstering the roster, as NCAA rules allow college programs to have 13 players on scholarship each season.Following OSU’s 60-59 loss to Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday, Ross said he would decide on his future “in the next couple of weeks.”“Just basically how I feel, get insight of where I could go (in the NBA Draft),” Ross said Thursday after the loss to the Flyers about the factors that would play into his decision. “What we would have next year, sit down with my coaches and my family. Taking that advice in.”After losing to Kentucky 62-60 in the Sweet Sixteen as the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed in 2011, former Buckeye stars Jared Sullinger and William Buford elected to come back to OSU for another year — Sullinger’s sophomore year and Buford’s senior year. But after the loss to Dayton, Ross said he doesn’t know if he’d do the same.“I don’t know man. They knew what they was coming back to. They had a great system, a great system for them,” Ross said. “That year that Will came back they brought in our class and they knew they were going to have players around them.”Ross is projected as the 18th pick of the second round by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Draft according to DraftExpress.com. The draft is set for June 26.On his final call-in show of the season Monday with 97.1 The Fan, Matta said he spoke with Ross that afternoon, and then would do the same in the evening to discuss his future. After seeing his team bow out to Dayton in the second round Thursday, Matta said he “always wants what’s best for our guys.”“If it’s right, I’ll be the first to tell him to go,” Matta said. “He’s got to sit down and look at it. I think he’s capable of coming back here and having a great senior year if he wants to do that.”Ross did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment Monday.
OSU redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) scans the field after a snap during the 2017 Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 15, 2017. Credit: Mason Swires | Former Assistant Photo EditorNine Ohio State football players, including redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, the first three-time captain in program history, were named team captains Monday evening.The players, which include five defensive players and four players on offense, were voted captains by their teammates.Redshirt senior center Billy Price and redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis join Barrett as multi-year captains. Only 10 players in Ohio State football history have been named team captain more than once.Three underclassmen — redshirt junior defensive end Sam Hubbard and redshirt junior receivers Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell — and three other upperclassmen — senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes, redshirt senior defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle and redshirt senior linebacker Chris Worley — were also named team captains.
Junior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen spikes the ball during the NCAA national championship game on Saturday. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller ReporterIt took five sets, but the No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball team (3-1) upset No. 1 Ohio State (2-1) 3-2 Saturday night at St. John Arena in front of 2,237 spectators. The first set of the early-season rematch between the two teams in the past two NCAA championship games foreshadowed what proved to be a competitive match. The Cougars had an impeccable set for serving, committing only two service errors. Despite powerful jump-serves drilled by the Cougars, the Buckeyes were able to get the ball up and to setter Sanil Thomas, who was then able to work in-system plays.Consistent, quick and powerful attacks from senior outside hitters Nicolas Szerszen and Maxime Hervoir and redshirt senior opposite Jake Hanes put the ball to the wood and started the Buckeyes off with a win in the opening set 25-21.Despite losing the first set, the Cougars came onto the floor hungry for the second set. The Buckeyes won the first point after a kill from Hervoir, but the Cougars managed to side-out and take the lead and run with it for the entire set as communication diminished on Ohio State’s side of the net. BYU’s defense improved significantly in the second set, lowering Ohio State’s hitting percentage from .750 in the first set to .300. The Cougars claimed the set 25-21. In the third set, the Cougars maintained their momentum, shutting down Ohio State’s offense with three blocks and 13 digs. Ohio State’s hitting percentage dropped further to .258 and the home team was unable to overtake the Cougars, losing 25-20. Ohio State won the first point of the fourth set after a right-side kill by Szerszen and kept swinging hard throughout the set, eventually adding a second set 25-21. Thomas assisted on 15 of the Buckeyes’ 18 kills.At the beginning of the fifth set, the game remained largely up for grabs. BYU pulled away after a 5-5 tie and ended the fifth set 15-8, winning the match 3-2.Cougar outside hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez scored 24.5 points in the match — the most for both teams. BYU setter Leo Durkin assisted on 42 of the Cougars’ 53 kills. Outside hitter Brenden Sander contributed 15 of BYU’s match points.Hervoir had 20 kills for the Buckeyes, the most kills in the match by a player for both teams. Thomas topped both teams in assists with a total of 55, and Szerszen tied second for kills in the match with Cougar player Garcia Fernandez with 19 kills.
Ohio State redshirt junior defender Wyatt Ege eyes a shot on goal during the first period of Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Minnesota on Feb. 15. Ohio State lost 4-3. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternRight after winning the Big Ten regular season, the No. 7 Ohio State men’s hockey team (19-8-5, 12-6-4 Big Ten) will play its final regular season game when it hosts Michigan State (11-16-5, 7-11-4 Big Ten) this weekend.Ohio State has once again dropped in the USCHO polls, this time falling from No. 6 to No. 7. Michigan State, meanwhile, remains unranked in the USCHO polls, but has been consistently ranked last in the Big Ten.The Buckeyes went from a seven-game winning streak to hitting a bump in the season recently, having lost three straight games followed by a tie. The tie in the record books was an overtime win against Michigan in the Big Ten standings, giving Ohio State enough points to clinch the conference regular season title.Michigan State has also had a rough patch recently, having won only one of its past five games.Senior defenseman Sasha Larocque believes Ohio State is taking its recent Big Ten regular season win and turning that into positive momentum going into the weekend.“You play some great teams, you play good games and it doesn’t always go your way,” Larocque said. “To win something like [the Big Ten regular season title] the way we did, it is definitely good and should help morale and help us push through.”While the Buckeyes lead the Spartans in offense, defense and win percentage, Michigan State has a higher power play percentage, ranking No. 8 nationally with a 23.89 percent success rate.Head coach Steve Rohlik said Ohio State will need to avoid the penalty box in order to counter the Spartans’ major strength.“We’re going to have to be at our best,” Rohlik said. “We certainly have to be more disciplined than we were this weekend as far as penalties go. The best way to kill their power plays is to stay out of the box.”Michigan State is led by junior forward Taro Hirose, who currently leads the nation with 35 assists and 50 points overall this season. While Hirose is a major contributor, Rohlik believes the entire Michigan State offense is what the Buckeyes should really worry about. “We can’t just try to stop him,” Rohlik said. “That whole line: People forget how good they are. They work extremely hard.” Senior forward Mason Jobst agrees with Rohlik’s sentiment.“They have some very high-end, skilled guys,” Jobst said. “That top line is as good as any other line in the entire country so when it comes to shutting those guys down it’s very important; they’re very good.”No. 7 Ohio State takes on Michigan State for its final regular season games of the season this weekend at the Schottenstein Center. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday.
The note left near Dave Gilmour’s propertyCredit:Solent News & Photo Agency The note, which asks Mr Gilmour to “leave our ‘hood alone”, is signed off by the words “Save Hove From Property Tycoons”.Mrs Samson moved to the city in 2009 and is said to have been keen to restore the building to its former glory before architectural reviews revealed that it is not salvageable.The bath house was closed in the 1940s and the building was deployed as a makeshift hospital during the Second World War.Squatters from an art group called Chalk Circle occupied the building in 1999 and were allowed to stay there until 2006, when they were evicted due to complaints from residents about noise and rubbish. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is planning to demolish a 122-year-old bath house to make way for a luxury home.The 70-year-old rocker and his wife, author Polly Samson, 54, are seeking to build a new home for their eight children on the site of Medina House in Hove, East Sussex, yards from their current home.They want to keep the form of the original building and incorporate heritage features from it.But the proposals have sparked a protest poster proclaiming “we don’t need no demolition, we don’t need no thoughtless plans” has been taped to the building, in reference to the Pink Floyd track Another Brick in the Wall. The building was damaged by fire in 2013 and 2014, with the latter blaze initially assessed as arson by the fire service.Mrs Samson bought the property in October last year for a seven figure fee from developer Sirus Taghan, who had owned it for 16 years.He had been unsuccessful with 20 different planning applications related to the site, including for a block of 11 flats.Keb Garavito-Bruhn, partner at London-based Pilbrow & Partners, said that Mrs Samson had “fallen in love” with the property.He said: “Her ambition was to keep it and convert it into a family home and we have been working on plans with them for over a year.”Our plans are to rebuild Medina House, keeping the form of the original and incorporating heritage features, like glazed tiles from the old bath house.”A private home for Polly and her family, our design adapts the form and fabric of the original to its new use with contemporary sustainable construction.”We have been talking to neighbours and the council about these ideas and now look forward to presenting them to the community.”A planning application for the new development could be submitted imminently and work on the new home could begin in spring next year. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The boy has admitted murder, but the girl has denied the chargesCredit:Chris Radburn/PA Liz Edwards was stabbed to death at home in SpaldingCredit:Enterprise News and Pictures The jury heard it was the boy who carried out the murders but the girl is saying as her defence to murder that her responsibility for the killings was diminished by her mental state.But Mr Joyce said the girl was as guilty of murder as the boy.Mr Joyce said the prosecution case is that the girl, together with the boy, “planned and carried out cold, calculated and callous killings” of Liz and Katie Edwards.The killings came to light when three police officers forced entry through the front living room window to a house in Dawson Avenue, Spalding, on Friday 15 April. Officers went upstairs to find the two bodies.The house had been visited three times on the Thursday, once by the police at 9.46pm but no response was obtained. A police officer heard a dog barking when he returned at 9.30am on the Friday. Mr Joyce said the boy then went into Katie Edwards’s bedroom and stabbed her.”It seems probable that Katie was also smothered with a pillow and from the position of her body may have tried to move away from her attacker.”After the killings the girl helped the boy take off his clothes and they took a bath together to wash off any blood.”He added: “Afterwards they watched a couple of episodes of Twilight.” Two 14-year-olds carried out the “cold, calculated and callous killings” of a mum and her 13-year-old daughter before calmly watching an episode of Twilight, a court has heard.The boy and girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, planned the killings for several days after meeting at a McDonald’s to discuss their intentions, a jury at Nottingham Crown Court was told.The bodies of school dinnerlady Elizabeth Edwards, 49, known as Liz and her daughter Katie, 13, were found at their semi detached home in Dawson Avenue, Spalding, Lincolnshire, on 15 April this year.Police later arrested a 14-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl in connection with the deaths.The girl, now 15, denies two charges of murder. The jury heard a 15-year-old boy has already pleaded guilty to murdering the mother and daughter.Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, told them: “The killings happened within moments of each other. The mother was killed first. She was killed while Katie slept in a nearby bedroom.”They were both stabbed through the throat in their beds at their home.” Mr Joyce said a post-mortem examination revealed Liz Edwards has been stabbed twice to the neck cutting her jugular vein. She was also stabbed to the right shoulder and had cuts on her hands which may have been inflicted as she attempted to fight off her attacker.Katie Edwards died from a haemorrhage to the neck and smothering.Mr Joyce said: “The prosecution case is that the girl is as guilty of murder as the boy. She together with him planned and carried out the cold, calculated and callous killings. She has shown no hint of remorse.”The girl denies two charges of murder between 12 and 15 April this year. The boy has admitted two charges of murder.The trial continues. Katie Edwards was 13 when she diedCredit:Enterprise News and Pictures Mr Joyce said the girl “held a grudge” against Liz Edwards and agreed with the boy to kill both her and her daughter Katie.He said “They were serious in their intention. They meant it to happen. On the Tuesday they met at McDonald’s and further discussed their plan.”Mr Joyce said that the boy took four knives to the house in his back pack. Originally the plan was that the boy was to kill Liz Edwards and the girl would kill 13-year-old Katie but the killings were both carried out by the boy.The boy stabbed Liz Edwards in the throat as he pinned her down while kneeling astride her.”The girl was able to hear Liz Edwards struggling and gurgling signs while the killing took place. She went into the bedroom and saw the boy with a pillow over Liz Edward’s head. There were blood splatters on the wall and also blood in the floor and blood on the bed. The boy checked that Mrs Edwards was dead by checking her pulse.” The prosecution case is that the girl is as guilty of murder as the boy. She together with him planned and carried out the cold, calculated and callous killings. She has shown no hint of remorsePeter Joyce QC, prosecuting Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “Teddy could obviously smell and taste that the milk from my right breast tasted different from the milk from my left breast – and so he rejected it.”My consultant said he’d never seen anything like it before and was baffled and amazed. He told me it was very fortunate I chose to breastfeed – otherwise my illness may not have been discovered.”Mrs Boyle first noticed a lump in her right breast in January 2013.Concerned, she went to her GP who told her it was cyst and nothing to worry about.Over the course of four years, she had the cyst scanned five times as it fluctuated in size but was told it was hormonal and not malignant.Mrs Boyle put her fears to the side and carried on with her life.In May 2015, she fell pregnant with Teddy, her first born.”My pregnancy was perfect,” she recalls, “I couldn’t wait to be a mum.”In February 2016, Teddy arrived weighing 7lb 15 ounces, and was a healthy and happy baby.Mrs Boyle explains how she bonded instantly with Teddy.”We had such a brilliant connection,” she recalls, “he was breastfeeding fantastically well.”But five months on, as she continued to breastfeed, Mrs Boyle noticed her right breast wasn’t ‘working’ as well as the other and it was smaller.Concerned, she contacted her health care assistant but was told it was ‘common’ and nothing to be concerned about.But one month later, when Teddy was six months old, he stopped feeding altogether from her right breast.”If I offered him that booby he would completely freak out,” she recalls, “he’d become extremely distressed and would scream the house down.”She returned to her GP and asked if it was to do with the cyst, but was told it was fine.As the weeks rolled into months, Mrs Boyle tried her best to get Teddy to feed from her right breast but he wouldn’t budge.”He just wasn’t having it,” she recalls, “I had no problems with my left breast but every time I tried with my right he would start screaming and get very upset. He wouldn’t go near it.”He wanted nothing to do with that side, even if I gave him a cuddle on that side he didn’t like it.”When Teddy was eight months old, Mrs Boyle went back to her GP and asked to be referred for a scan.She said: “I explained about Teddy and how I was feeling very tired, I said I wanted to get a scan to check out my right breast. I felt as if Teddy was trying to tell me something. It was, what you might call, a mother’s instinct.”In November 2016, Mrs Boyle underwent an ultrasound scan at Royal Stoke University Hospital.”I’d just finished the scan and a consultant came in and said there was an area within the cyst which looked suspicious and I would need to undergo a biopsy.”Two weeks later, Mrs Boyle was diagnosed with grade 2 triple negative cancer – a non hormonal cancer which is extremely rare in young women.She said: “My mind went into meltdown. One minute I’d been enjoying the new experience of motherhood, the next I was being told that I needed life-saving treatment.”But I felt so proud of Teddy for bringing the problem to my attention. The cancer inside the cyst had been growing for three months – the exact same time Teddy stopped feeding from my breast.”Mrs Boyle tells how her consultant told her that a mother and baby’s bond while breastfeeding is very strong. Just like mammals in the wild, babies know their mother’s scent and milk and that’s how they identify it’s their mother. Sarah Boyle, 26, and her baby son, TeddyCredit:SWNS A young mother has told how her baby son saved her life after he repeatedly rejected her right breast during breastfeeding – persuading her to go to the doctor for a check-up.Sarah Boyle, 26, a call centre worker, explained how Teddy, now one, would ‘scream’ and ‘become distressed’ when she tried to breastfeed him from her right breast.Worried, she went to her GP in November 2016 and was referred to hospital where she underwent a scan and a biopsy.Two weeks later she was diagnosed with grade 2 triple negative breast cancer.The new mum, who lives with her husband Steven Boyle, 28, a recruitment consultant from Staffordshire, is now receiving chemotherapy and is planning a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.She said: “Teddy is my hero – if it hadn’t been for him I would never have suspected I had cancer. My consultant told me that breastfeeding helps a mother and baby bond. “In my case it did more than that – it saved my life.
The much loved Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew has hinted he could soon be back on the airwaves despite leaving the station yesterday.Matthew said he is “saddened to leave” as he signed off as host of the long-running Sound Of The Sixties programme.The 88-year-old presented the Saturday morning show for 27 years and the BBC faced criticism after it announced he would be leaving the station as a regular host.The veteran disc jockey farewell episode featured a compilation of highlights from the programme’s history.As the last track played out, Matthew said: “That 1962 top five hit by Billy Fury brings me to the end of my reign as presenter of Sounds Of The Sixties and I must say I’ve enjoyed every minute of my 27 years in this chair.”I’m saddened to leave but I’ll be back on Radio 2 in the near future with something new, so keep your eyes open for further information.”He added: “This is your old mate Brian Matthew saying that’s your lot for this week, see you again soon.”Earlier this year, the broadcaster revealed a new voice would take his spot as presenter after Matthew suffered an “extended bout of ill health”. He later hit out at the decision and labelled their comments “balderdash” in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.Saturday’s show closed with Billy Fury’s Last Night Was Made For Love and also featured tracks Elvis Presley’s Ghetto and The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home.Matthew’s final appearance left listeners tearful and the BBC was slammed as “shameful” for jettisoning one of its most popular presenters. Sad to be listening to the last ever Sounds of the 60s with the legendary Brian Matthew. I will miss the warmth of his voice.— David Traynier Ⓥ (@DTraynier) February 25, 2017 One listener, Bryce Lawrence, wrote on Twitter: “Shame on the BBC for ditching Brian Matthew time they gave listeners what they want.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Shameful treatment of Brian Matthew, SOTS and 3.4 million listeners.— J R Tyler (@Jrtyler) February 25, 2017 End of an era. Brian Matthew stands down from “Sounds of the Sixties.” Another bit of our lives slipping away.— James H Reeve (@JamesHReeve) February 25, 2017
“There is something about the lack of reflection in his eyes which makes me certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home.”I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo. The physique is magnificent but it’s the eyes that tell the story.”So it came as no surprise to me that the Everton star copped a nasty right-hander in a nightclub for allegedly eyeing up an attractive young lady who, as they say, was ‘spoken for’. A News UK spokesman said: “The Sun’s columnist Kelvin MacKenzie has been suspended from the paper with immediate effect. “The views expressed by Kelvin Mackenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper. “The reality is that at £60,000 a week and being both thick and single, he is an attractive catch in the Liverpool area, where the only men with similar pay packets are drug dealers and therefore not at nightclubs, as they are often guests of Her Majesty.”England midfielder Barkley, 23, has a Nigerian grandfather.Labour councillor Mr Anderson had told BBC Sport: “Not only is it racist in a sense that he is of mixed-race descent, equally it’s a racial stereotype of Liverpool. It is racist and prehistoric.” The Sun apologises for the offence causedNews UK spokesman Delighted to hear the news that Kelvin Mackenzie has been suspended. Surely they can be no way back after that article.— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 14, 2017 Kelvin MacKenzie has been suspended from the Sun after he expressed “wrong” and “unfunny” views about the people of Liverpool, News UK has announced.The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, had reported the columnist to police over an article he claimed contained “a racial slur”.The comment, in MacKenzie’s Friday column, centred on Everton footballer Ross Barkley, who was punched in a Liverpool city centre bar in the early hours of Monday.He wrote: “Perhaps unfairly, I have always judged Ross Barkley as one of our dimmest footballers. Ross Barkley of EvertonCredit:Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA “The Sun apologises for the offence caused. The paper was unaware of Ross Barkley’s heritage and there was never any slur intended.”Mr Mackenzie is currently on holiday and the matter will be fully investigated on his return.”MacKenzie said he did not know of the footballer’s family background and added that it was “beyond parody” for critics to describe his article as “racist”.He said: “I had no idea of Ross Barkley’s family background and nor did anybody else. For the mayor of Liverpool and a handful of others to describe the article as racist is beyond parody.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Likewise, women born in July were 27 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, and were at 40 per cent increased risk of… Spanish scientists mapped birth month to 27 chronic diseases to see if it made a difference, and were amazed to find it has a significant impact for certain conditions. Horoscopes have long been ridiculed by science, but a new study suggests the month of your birth really can affect long term health. Men who were born in September, for example, were almost three times more likely to suffer thyroid problems compared with those born in January. Male August babies had almost double the risk of asthma in comparison to those born at the beginning of the year.
James HallCredit:Cavendish Press The former wife of a football coach posted a full English breakfast through his letterbox in a rage over his new girlfriend, a court has heard.Karen Hall, 40, had hoped to rekindle her marriage with James Hall after he insisted on a “break” after 24 years together.But the mother-of-three flew into a jealous rage and launched a five-month campaign of harassment against him after he confessed that he had a new girlfriend.Mrs Hall wept at Stockport magistrates court as she admitted harassment, criminal damage and assault.The court heard the couple, from Rainow, near Macclesfield, had met when she was 15.Mrs Hall had stuck by her husband when he was jailed for three years for his involvement in a £3.4m cigarette smuggling racket. After his release in 2012 they went on to have their second and third children.So it came as something of a shock when Mr Hall, 42, moved out of the family home last April claiming their marriage “wasn’t working”.She was “heartbroken” when, two months later, he told her he was in a new relationship. When he subsequently offered to have breakfast with his estranged wife, Mrs Hall instead posted the entire meal, including cereal, toast, bacon and sausages, through the letterbox. She shattered a pane of glass with her mobile phone before twice kicking his Mercedes.She later bombarded Mr Hall with 139 phone calls – some at 3am.She took their youngest child with her when she followed him in her car and then punched him as he went to his local pub. James HallCredit:Cavendish Press Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. In a statement to police Mr Hall, a coach for non-league Macclesfield Town, said: “I just want her to get help. I don’t wish to get a restraining order against her because we are trying to sort custody out over our children.”The court heard Mrs Hall, a part time shop assistant, had suffered a series of family bereavements and had been placed on a course of Valium.She was sentenced to a 12 month community order, ordered to complete 40 hours unpaid work and pay £170 costs.
A Cambridge college threatened to cancel this year’s May Ball following the appearance of an “over-sexualised’’ Bible-themed promotional video filmed by students in the “Forest of Sin”.Dons at Hughes Hall forced students to take down the 50 Shades of Grey-esque trailer for the annual event from Facebook because it could “reflect badly” on the college. Ball organisers said, “while we thought the trailer was sexy and fun, it appears we may have overstepped the mark”. Last week Cambridge University admitted that it has a “significant problem” with sexual misconduct, after receiving almost 200 complaints in a matter of months.The University revealed high numbers of complaints after it launched an anonymous reporting system which has also been adopted by other institutions.Of the 173 recorded complaints, 119 were allegations by students of misconduct by other students. Two students made complaints about staff, while seven staff members complained about the action of colleagues. A spokesman for Hughes Hall said: “The college has a duty of care to its students, including their online welfare, and had understandable concerns about the nature and content of the May Ball trailer.”The student May Ball committee kindly agreed to remove the video from the May Ball website and social media until we are able to have a more detailed with committee members on Monday.” Organisers have said the ball will go ahead as planned “Whatever you fancy, this is your night to pamper yourself and give into temptation…”.Despite the college’s intervention, Hughes Hall Committee are understood to be sticking to the theme of the June 16th event, though the video may be re-shot. College authorities are reported to have described the May Ball promotion as ‘overly sexualised’ However the video’s producer argued: “If the College take issue with the video they should be promoting discussion about it, not censoring it and trying to cover it up”. A student beckons in a scene from the student video Alumni include Dr Andrew Murrison, Conservative MP for South West Wiltshire and a former under-secretary for Northern Ireland, and Tom Ransley, the 2016 Olympics gold medal-winning rower.May Ball organisers on the event’s Facebook page urged students to: “Abandon yourself to your guilty pleasures enjoying a range of sultry burlesque and pole dance performances.”Luxuriate and spend away your student loan in our exclusive casino. Release your inner wrath in our dodgems ride or simply relax with a massage and hang out in our shisha den. “Fortunately hundreds of people had already watched the video and I’m sure the Hughes Hall May Ball will be a great event despite this unfortunate censorship.”Hughes Hall was founded as a college for female mature students in 1885. It currently has around 690 students of box sexes, of whom 90 are mature undergraduates, and the remainder graduates.The college prides itself on possessing an “egalitarian culture where interaction and engagement between the senior membership and students is open and encouraged”. President of Hughes Hall May Ball Committee Georgia Ziebart said: “The trailer was removed because college thought it was overly sexualised and may reflect badly on them.”While we thought the trailer was sexy and fun, it appears we may have overstepped the mark and therefore agreed to take it down.“We have a meeting with college on Monday in order to resolve the issue, and hope not to aggravate the situation anymore.” The video begins with a barefoot woman in white taking a walk in the woods Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The risque video of masked men and women in black tie and ball-gowns escaping into woods to kiss and pour champagne into each other’s mouths, culminating in a girl in a white dress taking a bit out of an apple.The move to ban the video comes just a week after Cambridge University admitted it has a “significant problem” with sexual misconduct.Hughes Hall has now been accused of censorship after the video removed from a website for the £96 ticketed party featuring burlesque and pole dancing on June 16. Joe Cook, who produced the trailer, said: “If the College take issue with the video they should be promoting discussion about it, not censoring it and trying to cover it up.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Emma Chambers and Dawn French in the first series of The Vicar of Dibley I was regularly humped like this by the unique & beautiful spark that was Emma Chambers. I never minded. I loved her. A lot . pic.twitter.com/imzkoyKja9— Dawn French (@Dawn_French) February 24, 2018 Emma Chambers was a hilarious and very warm person and of course a brilliant actress. Very sad news.— Hugh Grant (@HackedOffHugh) February 24, 2018 Emma Chambers photographed during her run in Benefactors by Micheal Frayn, at the Albery Theatre in London’s West EndCredit:Andrew Crowley/Telegraph The much loved actress Emma Chambers – who starred as the Vicar of Dibley’s dippy verger – has died at the age of 53.She was best known for playing Alice Tinker in the BBC’s gentle sit-com, written by Richard Curtis, about a female vicar and her eccentric parishioners.Her agent John Grant said Ms Chambers, who also starred in the 1999 film Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, died from natural causes on Wednesday evening and would be “greatly missed”.Mr Curtis, who also wrote Notting Hill, told the Telegraph Ms Chambers was a “fine actress” and was “more than the measure of” both his leading stars Dawn French and Julia Roberts.“We’re obviously terribly sad. She really was a great, great comedy performer – and a very fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being,” he said.”In my work she worked opposite Dawn French and Julia Roberts – and was more than the measure of the pair of them.”I suppose I particularly remember those jokes at the end of each episode of the Vicar of Dibley. They were always done right at the end of the recording – with no time left – and were big feats of complicated remembering – and she was always completely accurate, completely innocent, completely hilarious. RIP the wonderful and talented Emma Chambers. Unique,& unspeakably funny. Too young. Thoughts with her family. X— James Dreyfus (@DreyfusJames) February 24, 2018 Jonathan Sothcott, the film producer, said: “RIP the wonderful Emma Chambers – best known for The Vicar of Dibley but also stole every scene in Notting Hill. Only 53.”Chambers was asthmatic and seriously allergic to animals – unable to touch them or anything they had come into contact with.In 2002, she told The Telegraph that her allergy could leave her needing a steroid injection or being rushed to hospital.Ms Chambers is survived by her husband, fellow actor Ian Dunn. “She has that classic and hard-to-find combination of being very very accurately funny, while also seeming to be very very truthful and real.”Fans of The Vicar of Dibley expressed their sadness at Ms Chamber’s death, describing her as an “amazingly talented and hilarious actress who lit up people’s televisions” and a “comic genius”.Dawn French, her Vicar of Dibley co-star, said: “Emma was a very bright spark and the most loyal and loving friend anyone could wish for. I will miss her very much.” “Most sitcoms have an idiot of some sort but she managed to make her idiot completely different, it was amazing.”The last time I saw her was the last episode, all of my memories are to do with the programme, her passing was so sudden.” In a post on Twitter alongside a snap of the pair lying on the sofa together, she added: “I was regularly humped like this by the unique & beautiful spark that was Emma Chambers.”I never minded. I loved her. A lot”Mr Grant added: “Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work. She brought laughter and joy to many.”Her Notting Hill co-star Hugh Grant tweeted: “Emma Chambers was a hilarious and very warm person and of course a brilliant actress. Very sad news.” “I used to love watching her going over her lines in rehearsal, she would read them to herself and try to find the perfect delivery.”Alice became completely central to the piece, it was just perfect. Jeremy Clarkson, the former Top Gear presenter, recalled Chambers being “very funny”. Before her first break in television in 1994, with the role of Charity Pecksniff in the TV serialisation of the Charles Dickens novel Martin Chuzzlewit, the Doncaster-born had spent a decade honing her craft on the stage.In 2000, she was cast as Martha Thompson in Take a Girl Like You, a made for TV drama based on the Kingsley Amis novel and a remake of the 1970 film.Curtis’s partner, the writer Emma Freud, paid tribute to Ms Chambers, writing on Twitter: “Our beautiful friend has died at the age of 53. We’re very very sad. She was a great, great comedy performer, and a truly fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being.” James Dreyfus, who starred alongside her in Notting Hill, wrote: “RIP the wonderful and talented Emma Chambers. Unique & unspeakably funny. Too young. Thoughts with her family. X” Chambers and French during filming in 2006Credit:BBC I’m sad about Emma Chambers. Knew her when she was a kid in Doncaster. She was very funny.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) February 24, 2018 He wrote on Twitter: “I’m sad about Emma Chambers. Knew her when she was a kid in Doncaster.” Co-writer of the Vicar of Dibley actor Paul Mayhew-Archer, 65, hailed her “amazing” talents.”I loved working with her, she was stunning. I am devastated, she was a key part of the Vicar of Dibley,”he said.