Cricket in The City – charity event

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Date: Thursday 8 September 2016
Time: 12pm – 6.30pm matches, followed by a reception
Location: The Honourable Artillery Company in Moorgate, London, EC1Y 2BQ

A host of special guests will step up to the wicket this September to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, which supports families with seriously ill children being treated at specialist hospitals across the country.

All Out For Cricket in The City on Thursday 8 September promises an afternoon of top-class live cricket with six teams, each featuring a special guest including ex-England cricketers Mark Ramprakash and Matthew Hoggard, competing in a round-robin tournament. The event, taking place at the stunning Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) grounds in Moorgate, will conclude with a three-course dinner and a Q&A with the cricketing stars.

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This year, guests will enjoy an exciting new format, with the number of teams increasing from two to six, meaning even more action. With competitive matches, engaging commentary, drinks in the sunshine and a break for afternoon tea in the exclusive HAC setting, this is the perfect day out for cricket fans. Cricketing legends Mark Ramprakash, Matthew Hoggard and Min Patel will each captain a team, and will be supported by a celebrity star and six more players offered by a London company.Mark Ramprakash, who will be playing in the event for the fourth time, says: “My love for cricket only comes second to my love for my children. This charity is all about family and keeping families together in their time of need. I am delighted to be playing for The Sick Children’s Trust and I am sure it’ll be a wonderful day and raise lots of money for the cause.”

All proceeds will go to The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity which provides free, high-quality ‘Home from Home’ accommodation and supports over 4,000 families whose children are seriously ill in hospital every year. It costs £30 to support a family for one night in one of its ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, and the charity relies entirely on voluntary donations to cover this cost.

Matthew Hoggard, who has been on the winning side for the past two years, said: “This will be my third year at All Out For Cricket in The City, which always proves to be a great day out. I’m excited to get back onto the pitch to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, which offers invaluable support to so many families during the most difficult of times imaginable.”

The event last year was a huge success, raising over £65,000. For more information about the event or to buy tickets please call Hannah on 020 7283 4854 or email hannah@sickchildrenstrust.org.

Cricket – Women’s cricket enters an exciting new era

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Women’s cricket enters an exciting new era this weekend with the launch of the Kia Super League. Here’s everything you need to know… Who is competing? The ground-breaking T20 competition will feature six brand new teams.

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England women’s star players will line up alongside some of biggest names in international women’s cricket, including… ICC Women’s World T20 winning captain, West Indian Stafanie Taylor (Western Storm), Australia’s Ellyse Perry (Loughborough Lightning) and Wisden Cricketer of the Year, New Zealander, Suzie Bates (Southern Vipers).

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What’s the format?
Exciting T20 cricket in a round-robin tournament. Over 16 days the teams will contest 15 group matches with everyone bidding to qualify for finals day at the Essex County Ground, Chelmsford, on Sunday 21st August.

When does it all get underway?
On Saturday 30th July when Yorkshire Diamonds host Loughborough Lightning at Headingley.

How can I get involved?
Tickets are on sale now for all matches. Don’t miss your chance to see the best women’s cricketers in the world in action this summer.

ICC Women’s World Cup
This new format then leads us onto Lord’s, the home of cricket, who will host the showpiece final of the ICC Women’s World Cup on 23rd July 2017. Which can only be good for the women’s game.

Olympics – Finish in the Olympic Stadium as a team!

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Take on a Team Challenge this summer!

Has your team got what it takes to conquer the Great Team Relay on Thursday 14 July?

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Join us in the iconic setting of Newham’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a 4 x 5k Team Relay and enjoy your big finish line moment inside the Stadium where athletic greats Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Usain Bolt were hailed heroes in 2012.

Whether it’s for the fun, the fitness or to take first place… your team of four can be made up of all abilities and are invited to join this fantastic event.

Once you’ve finished, you and your team can relax and sample the many hospitality packages available within the Stadium.

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Sailing – Nick Thompson Repeats as Laser World Champion on Epic Final Day

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2016 Laser Standard Men’s World Championship Riviera Nayarit, Mexico : 10th-18th May 2016

(Riviera Nayarit, Mexico) Great Britain’s Nick Thompson won his second Laser World Championship and has now joined an elite group of sailors who can claim back-to-back titles in what many consider one of the world’s toughest sporting events.

Nick Thompson

The wind on the final day was only a 15 degrees south of the typical direction but caused the biggest place changes seen during 14 race series in the waters of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. Big gains and losses affected both the championship leader and those further down the leader board. As Thompson said, “It was definitely very stressful!”

Most of the top sailors started near the pin, but the wind shifted right and never allowed them to tack and cross to the right side of the course. It was not clear what had happened until the fleet rounded the first mark and Giovanni Coccoluto ITA led his teammate Marco Gallo out of the chasing group.

Thompson was back in 25th position but surprisingly his nearest rivals, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France and Croatia’s Pavlos Kontides found themselves in 41st and 50th places respectively.

But Thompson almost let his victory slip away when on the next upwind leg he dropped to 40th place while Bernaz amazingly clawed his way up to the top of the fleet. Robert Scheidt also dropped from the top-10 down to 30th on the leg.

At the finish, Coccoluto held on to his position to the lead Wannes van Laer of Belgium and Dutchman, Rutger van Schaardenburg, across the line. Bernaz held on for fifth place and with Thompson’s 41st place finish, it was all down to the last of the 14 races to decide the title.

“I had to do some quick calculations” said Thompson. “I worked out that I had to watch Jean-Baptiste and Matthew Wearn in the last race. That was impossible so I decided to sail my own race. I started near the committee boat and crossed off Matthew at the start and then had a close cross with Jean-Baptiste just before the first mark. At that point I felt back in control although there was still a long way to go. Jean-Baptiste was ahead of me until the second upwind when we split tacks and I was able to pass him and stay ahead.”

When Thompson pulled ahead of Bernaz on the second upwind leg, he had essentially sealed his victory as he successfully covered Bernaz to the finish.

Rutger van Schaardenburg won the final race, and combined with his third in the first race of the day promoted him from an overnight position of tenth to third overall, showing how close the racing was in the gold fleet.

Bernaz held on to his second place overall position and with the regatta win, Thompson became only the fifth person in 42 years to successfully defend a Laser World Championship title.

Final overall results after 14 races and 2 discards.

1. Nick Thompson GBR 61pts

2. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 73pts

3. Rutger van Schaardenburg NED 88pts

4. Matthew Wearn AUS 90pts

5. Marco Gallo ITA 93pts

6.Tom Burton AUS 101pts

7. Tonci Stipanovic CRO 118pts

8. Philipp Buhl GER 123pts

9. Jesper Stalheim SWE 123pts

10. Robert Scheidt BRA 127pts

The dates & locations for next years events are as follows:

2017 Laser Standard Men’s World Championship
5 September 2017 – 12 September 2017
Split, CROATIA

2017 Laser Masters World Championships
14 September 2017 – 23 September 2017
Split, CROATIA

Whistling Straits awaits


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Maybe predicting Shane Lowry was a good tip to win The Open Championship at St Andrews last month was a bit premature from me. Maybe not though, I still believe he could have been up there, except for that disastrous eight he got on the infamous par-4 17th road hole. He proved that just last weekend with his first win on US soil at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title in Ohio against some top names. Well played Shane.

Rory’s back! For me this could go two ways for him after his “football” injury and recent time off. Yes he’ll get around with a good score and with no real trouble, that goes without saying these day. He will not quite have enough to challenge and pick up as many birdies as we come to expect thought and he’ll leave the tournament relatively happy to be back.

Or he comes back so relaxed, refreshed and raring to go that he smashes the field and runs away with it, personally I cannot see that happening for a while now. Not with Jordan Spieth in the form he’s currently in, challenging for every single tournament he competes in and reminding us how dominant Tiger was all those years back.

Whistling Straights is the venue again for the 97th US PGA Championship, having previously held it here twice before back in 2004 and 2010. On both those occasions the winner was decided by a play off, which says it’s very difficult for one player to break away with a huge lead.

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Bubba lost on that occasion to Martin Kaymer but a lot of the usual suspects this time around did well last time too. The likes of Zack Johnson, Jason Dufner, Jason Day, along with Mcllroy were all up there.

Maybe the American Nick Watney can go well again like last time, so he’s my outside tip and he goes out first with Brit Ian Poulter. Then two other Brits to keep an eye on, obviously Justin Rose but not forgetting Danny Willett. Good luck boys.

I love watching the major US golf tournaments, mainly time wise too for us watching in the UK. You can get your jobs done, go to work but then mid/late afternoon when you get home you know you can sit down for the rest of evening to chill out and watch some outstanding golf. The Sunday evening finale is always special too, especially when it’s a close run thing and you have the a few players just one shot behind the leader and definitely in contention.

Happy times, enjoy the next four days. First tea off is just an hour away at 12.45pm BST.

I’ll be watching but this time next week I’ll be overseas myself on my fourth golfing holiday. Myself and a few friends have done it for the last four years now and this year we’re off to the Guadalmina Club de Golf in Malaga, Spain. Can’t wait!

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St Andrews set for high winds

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All the talk should now be about what is going to happen between tomorrow and Sunday, in the 144th Open Championship from St Andrews. In recent weeks we’ve had Tiger’s “comeback”, Rory’s footballing skills and of course the recent outstanding performances of 21 year old Jordan Spieth.

There has been a lot of focus (and rightly so) on these three over the last few weeks in the build up to The Open at the home of golf. There is not much for me to add about these three great golfing talents except it’s certainly not going to be easy this weekend.

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Rory’s out injured anyway, Tiger you just never know now and who is to say Spieth cannot and will not win the third straight major this year. Well, the likes of Ricky Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Bubba may have something to say.

The current focus though is the weather, with rumours of 40mph gusts of wind tomorrow, with Friday expected to be even worse. How will the golfers handle this, and not just the conditions out on the course. Strong winds like that and there could be cause for play to be suspended, which is another obstacle for players to mentally handle.

I’m sure the guys I’ve mentioned above will be fine as they’ve previously proved over the years. Luke Donald isn’t a bad shout for a very outside bet, but again I’m sure there will be questions marks?

I believe both Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer will be ones to watch as I don’t see much focus on them, they can just quietly go about their business. I’m going to stick my neck out though and say Shane Lowry can give it a serious go and improve on last years tied ninth place.

We’ll see, first tea off tomorrow is 6.32am.

On a another note, I’ve played in Scotland myself once when I stayed at a friend’s place. We’d been to visit John o’ Groats a few years back and before I came back we had a lovely round of golf at Thurso Golf Club. What a superb, but cold afternoon of golf.