The Black Cats were in front within the opening few seconds when Connor Wickham pounced on an error by Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Stoke deservedly equalised in the 27th minute as Charlie Adam continued his recent goalscoring heroics by cracking home an unstoppable shot, moments after Jermain Defoe had spurned a fine chance for the visitors. Press Association There were decent opportunities for either side to win the match after the break, but it finished with honours even, with Costel Pantilimon diving to keep out another Adam strike at the end. While the result takes Sunderland to 30 points with five games remaining, they have fallen from 16th, a point clear of the drop zone, to 18th, a point adrift of safety, with both Hull and Leicester leapfrogging them after winning their fixtures on Saturday. Stoke, meanwhile, remain ninth. The build-up to the game had certainly been far from ideal for the Wearside outfit, with midfielder Adam Johnson on Thursday being charged with three offences of sexual activity with a child under 16 and one of grooming. But – with Johnson absent from their matchday 18 – the contest began as well for Sunderland as they could have imagined as they grabbed the lead inside a minute. Begovic fumbled horribly as he tried to collect a Will Buckley cross and Wickham took full advantage, prodding in from close range. Stoke responded strongly, with Adam sending a swerving shot into Pantilimon before having penalty appeals turned down when he went down under the attentions of Buckley. Pantilimon then got down low to palm away a Jonathan Walters shot and saw a Stephen Ireland volley deflect wide. Sunderland had mustered little since their goal, but in the 25th minute they might have extended their lead as a long ball that was not dealt with by Philipp Wollscheid put Defoe through on goal. A turbulent few days for Sunderland ended with them claiming a point towards their Barclays Premier League survival bid but also dropping into the relegation zone as they drew 1-1 with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. The striker could only fire into the side-netting, though, and moments later his profligacy was punished as Adam drew things level with his third goal in four games. Neat play between Walters and Marko Arnautovic saw the latter turn nicely and tee up Adam, who rifled the ball into the top corner. Stoke continued to pressurise, with Ryan Shawcross heading over, Arnautovic bending a shot into the arms of Pantilimon and Adam trying for another spectacular effort that went too high. The Potters were putting together some nice passing moves, particularly getting joy down the left flank, and their opponents looked relieved to hear the whistle for half-time. Sunderland – with John O’Shea playing on despite taking a boot in the face from Wollscheid just prior to the interval, but Danny Graham on for Buckley – did their best to create some momentum at the start of the second period, Jordi Gomez shooting to Begovic and the goalkeeper then turning a Defoe attempt behind. The sleeping Wollscheid was subsequently robbed of possession and Wickham burst through, but a great Shawcross block denied him. And soon after, another decent chance went begging for the visitors as Billy Jones found space in the area but his shot deflected wide. The visitors then survived a scare when Pantilimon did superbly to to divert over a Mame Biram Diouf strike after the frontman chested down Adam’s free-kick. Peter Crouch came on for Stoke and saw a Sunderland shirt get in the way of his goalbound effort, before Arnautovic struck wide. Crouch’s team-mate Peter Odemwingie, recovered from his long-term knee injury, was introduced with 10 minutes to go for his first appearance since August. And with only three minutes of normal time remaining, Pantilimon preserved a point for his side by diving to tip away Adam’s drive.
LOS ANGELES – Writers more talented than the one named above have written volumes about basketball using jazz music as a way to describe the free-flowing movements on the court.Jazz, like the best basketball, can be loosely planned and beautifully precise all at once, with the saxophonist and the drummer briefly sharing a look or the cellist quickly hearing a specific pattern of notes, telling him what comes next. While separate, they form something together.For a basketball team, the more continuity you have from year to year, the easier it becomes to understand the unspoken languages, using situations as forms of communication. And, when you reach that point where a look is as good as word, you can start creating masterpieces. Eight games into the NBA season, the Clippers have reached this point, and in a bit of a surprise, the best improvisations are coming on the defensive end of the floor, where they’re far and away the best in the league.“We understand each other better. We cover for each other. We know the schemes better,” Clippers forward and ace defender Luc Mbah a Moute said. “It’s everything – on the ball, the weak side, talking better, knowing when to switch, when not to switch, reading each other better.”It’s not as if the Clippers were defensively illiterate last season. After inserting Mbah a Moute into the starting lineup on Nov. 29 last season the team ranked fourth in points allowed per 100 possessions (100.4), the preferred measurement unit for defending.But, this season, whether it’s maturity, better players, better coaching, better schemes or, simply, continuity, the Clippers are even better.“It is a different thing,” forward Blake Griffin said. “I feel like I keep repeating myself, but we just take ownership of defense differently. There’s a different feel. Not to say in years past we haven’t… but, this year it’s all about getting stops and getting out into transition. We’re not worried about our offense.“We have guys … we can score the ball. Defensively has been our focus and our focal point, and it’s shown.”As of Thursday morning, the numbers as well as the team’s 7-1 record – best in the NBA – easily illustrate Griffin’s points.They’re allowing 89.3 points per 100 possessions. The second-best defense, Charlotte, is allowing 6.1 more. They’ve got the 10th-best offense in the league, a unit that’s climbing after a very slow start.And, their net rating, the difference between their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, is 16.1. For a reference point, the Golden State Warriors’ net rating during their 24-0 start last season was 15.7.The depth of that margin, though, comes from their dominating defense, which Coach Doc Rivers sees as something that’s actually disheartening Clipper opponents.“It kind of breaks the spirit on the other end on their defense because they can’t score and they’re thinking about scoring,” Rivers said. “It’s good. We’ve just got to keep doing it and keep getting better.”Their intensity on the defensive end hasn’t wavered whether they’re leading by 10 or 30, so far, and the Clippers view this is as a positive sign. It’s something they consider to be the next step in their growth as a team.Right now, though, the biggest gains have been in their ability to react to one another on the defensive end, to use the advantage of time together to shut down offenses.“Knowing our system and knowing what we’re trying to take away, I think, is key on the defensive end. The improvisation part is just knowing who the next guy is, whoever is closest, knowing the rotation,” Griffin said. “We like to keep (DeAndre Jordan) near the hoop, but if it doesn’t work out like that, we’re just scrambling around. And, when we get a chance, we try to reset.“I think it’s just trust.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
17 Apr 2013 Georgia’s birdie blitz retains Hampshire Rose European number one Georgia Hall has retained the Hampshire Rose with an eight-under par score for 36 holes – and a five shot winning margin. The 17-year-old England international had scores of 70 and 68 in the prestigious scratch event at North Hants. Her afternoon round included eight birdies, two of them in the last three holes. Georgia, from Remedy Oak in Dorset, won this event last year at the start of a 2012 campaign which took her into the top five in the world amateur rankings. Her fine form, which won her the British girls’ championship, has continued into this year with two gold medals at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival and now, this latest success. Her closest challengers were the Surrey pair of Inci Mehmet, from the England Golf Performance Squad, and Lizzie Prior, who both finished on three-under par. International Amber Ratcliffe took fourth place, while English stroke play champion Alex Peters shared fifth with girl internationals Shelby Smart and Olivia Winning. Olivia provided one of the highlights of the day with the low score of the event: a six-under par 67 in her morning round. Meanwhile, Bethan Popel of Gloucestershire had a hole in one at the first – her tenth hole – during the morning round. Leading scores North Hants Golf Club Par 73, SSS 73, CSS 74 74 138 Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak) 70 68 143 Inci Mehmet (Wentworth) 74 69; Lizzie Prior (Burhill) 72 71 145 Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer) 72 73 147 Alex Peters (Notts Ladies’) 73 74; Shelby Smart (Knowle) 71 76; Olivia Winning (Rotherham) 67 80 148 Charlotte Thompson (Channels) 76 72; Alice Hewson (Berkhamsted) 71 77 149 Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) 77 72; Lucy Goddard (Mid Herts) 73 76; Tara Watters (Muswell Hill) 73 76 150 Sarah-Jane Boyd (Truro) 73 77; Emily Royer (Chart Hills) 72 78 151 Kerry Smith (Waterlooville) 78 73; Bethan Popel (Long Ashton) 77 74 153 Aimee Ponte (Royal Guernsey) 76, 77; Rachael Goodall (Heswall) 76 77; Ella Ofstedahl (Mill Green) 74 79
Mpumalanga province, of which host city Nelspruit is the administrative capital, is home to a spectacular array of scenic attractions. The best known is the Kruger National Park, with its two-million hectares of unspoilt African bushveld. He wanted to reflect the area’s important connection to the Kruger Park, and came up with 18 giraffe supports as a signature feature. Facing outward, they patiently guard the surrounding rocky outcrops. “It’s just such a bright and breezy space,” remarked a visitor from Gauteng province. “You can’t help but feel happy.” “It’s a bit like us – not too serious!” It may have been freezing elsewhere in the country, but when Honduras and Chile met each other head-on at Nelspruit’s World Cup opener on Wednesday, it was in glorious sunshine – and in the World Cup’s quirkiest stadium. Mbombela Stadium’s design has been met with rave reviews. As the predominantly Chilean-favouring crowd started streaming in on Wednesday, visitors were enthusiastically photographing each other against the backdrop of the giraffes. It was with this in mind that Cape Town-based chief architect Mike Bell tackled the brief to design a stadium for the province. Others liked the ease of access and the abundance of ablution facilities, but number one was the stadium’s quirkiness. Inside, the liberal use of bright colours was inspired by the province’s native Ndebele tribe’s way of decorating their homes, and zebra-striped seats completed the wildlife theme. “We’re very proud of our stadium,” commented Mike Bruwer, a Nelspruit resident. 18 June 2010 Matias Vergara, a Chilean student, commented on the stadium”s setting. “I like the nature and hills around it,” he said. “You don’t feel like you’re anywhere near a city.” Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee
CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 26: Former Ohio State and NFL player Eddie George walks off the court after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 26, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 118-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Former Ohio State Heisman Trophy-winning running back Eddie George is the Grand Marshal at tomorrow’s Big 10K race, so for at least one day, he’s forced to be nice to fans of other league schools. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to wear any apparel related to his program’s biggest rival. Thursday, a Michigan supporter named Gerald Blanc posted a photo of himself and George to Instagram. In the caption, he noted how he attempted to put a Wolverines hat on George’s head, but the former tailback “knocked it out” of his hand. Priceless.There’s nothing quite like college football rivalries. Ohio State vs. Michigan is one of the best.
Chris Spielman is headed to Fox Sports. The former ESPN college football analyst will have a college football and NFL role at Fox. Spielman, 50, had been at ESPN since 2001. [email protected] is excited to welcome @chris_spielman as an @NFLonFOX and @CFBONFOX analyst: https://t.co/EED0gUHVz5— FOX Sports PR (@FOXSportsPR) May 17, 2016From the release:Former Ohio State All-American and NFL All-Pro linebacker Chris Spielman returns to FOX Sports as an NFL and college football analyst, it was announced today by FOX Sports President, Production & Executive Producer John Entz. Spielman, who began his broadcasting career with FOX Sports Net in 1999, serves as a game analyst during the upcoming NFL season and contributes to the network’s extensive college football coverage.“I’m excited about being part of FOX’s NFL and college football coverage for years to come.” Spielman said.“Chris is a tremendous broadcaster with a wealth of NFL and college football knowledge,” Entz said. “His outstanding career both on and off the field brings a huge amount of credibility to FOX Sports. We feel really fortunate to have him with us.”Spielman played at Ohio State in the mid-1980s and was a two-time All-American. He played in the NFL from 1988-99. [Fox Sports]
National Title OddsMichigan now has the second-best odds to win college football’s national championship, according to a Las Vegas sportsbook. Westgate Las Vegas Superbook had updated its national title odds for the 2016 season. Alabama, at 5 to 1, remains the favorite to win it all. The Crimson Tide won the national championship a season ago and bring back a decent amount of their contributors along with an elite recruiting class. The Wolverines, though, have seen their odds recently jump. Michigan now has 7 to 1 odds to win it all, with Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State trailing Jim Harbaugh’s program with 8 to 1 odds. Here’s the full list. @chengelis Updated College Championship Odds ONLY have Alabama ahead of the Wolverines to win it all now… pic.twitter.com/95VTsCoxvA— Johnny Detroit (@Johnny_Detroit) July 10, 2016Who’s your pick to win it all this season? The 2016 campaign kicks off in less than two months, with the first college football Saturday set for Sept. 3. We can’t wait.