Wagga Wagga Touch Association are running their annual charity day knockout on Sunday 7th of August at 9am at Jubilee Park. The cost will be $10 per player, per team with all proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald incorporated Kids Cottage appeal. Nominations are being accepted in the following divisions: Mens/Womens/Mixed Open Mens/Womens/Mixed Under 18’s Mens/Womens/Mixed Over 35’s Divisions may be merged if there are not enough nominations for a certain division, with alll games being 30 minutes long with teams changing ends after each touchdown. Players can register in as many different divisions as they like and each team must be prepared to supply a duty referee. Registration forms must be returned by August 1 to: OPSM, DON Tuckwells Audio or mailed to WTA, PO BOX 2037, Wagga Wagga, 2650. The registration forms can also be faxed to 02 69312290 or emailed to [email protected] Get a team along to support the Kids Cottage Appeal!
LONDON – Retired German tennis star Boris Becker is claiming his unpaid role as a sports attache for Central African Republic gives him diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings in Britain.The three-time Wimbledon champion took up the attache role in April. His lawyers claimed in Britain’s High Court late Thursday that this protects him from ongoing bankruptcy actions.Becker says his role as Central African Republic attache to the European Union on sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs means he is covered by a 1961 convention on diplomatic relations.Legal expert Mark Stephens told The Associated Press that in his view Becker’s claim is valid, but he urged Central African Republic to take steps to prevent the apparent abuse of diplomatic immunity.“Central African Republic should be asked to revoke his immunity for this particular case because it relates to his personal activities and predates his appointment and in no way relates to his diplomatic function,” Stephens said. “That would let the court case proceed.”The 50-year-old Becker, who lives in Britain, was declared bankrupt in June 2017. He is selling some of his memorabilia including Wimbledon trophies in an effort to reduce his debts.The former world No. 1 has criticized the bankruptcy proceedings as “unjustified and unjust,” saying he had been pushed into an unnecessary declaration of bankruptcy by “a bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats” trying to damage him.“I have now asserted diplomatic immunity as I am in fact bound to do, in order to bring this farce to an end, so that I can start to rebuild my life,” Becker said.Becker was named to the volunteer sports attache role on April 26, more than nine months after his bankruptcy declaration.Central African Republic President Faustin Touadera said at the time he was “extremely pleased that a world star like Boris Becker, with his extensive international relations, has agreed to support our country.”Becker said then that he hoped to help improve living conditions in Central African Republic. A press release indicated he would have an office at the country’s embassy in Brussels.Since the appointment, Becker’s Twitter feed has shown no signs of promoting anything in Central African Republic. It was also not immediately clear whether Becker has ever visited the African nation.The landlocked Central African Republic is one of the world’s most impoverished countries, destabilized by deadly sectarian violence since 2013 with thousands of people of killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.The news of Becker’s claim of immunity was met with confusion Friday in the country’s capital, Bangui, where several people said they didn’t even know who Becker was.A spokesman for the presidency said it was up to Becker to be responsible for his own actions.“We’re not responding to something that has nothing to do with us,” spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme said.But a member of the country’s Olympic committee, Cecile Kolingba, said “trying to brandish this diplomatic cover to escape justice, I find that dishonest.”Attacks by armed groups surged again last year in parts of the country of 4.5 million people, sending thousands of people fleeing from their homes. The unrest has created more than a half a million refugees, according to the United Nations.___Marboua reported from Bangui, Central African Republic. Cara Anna in Johannesburg contributed.
EDMONTON – The Alberta government is looking for a new builder for the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen says it has terminated the contract with the current builder, Calgary-based Graham Construction.Graham Construction and the province have been at odds over the timeline and costs of the $763-million project.In July, Jansen directed Graham submit a revised plan to get back on track, but says the new blueprint wasn’t good enough.Work on the project will now be stopped, with a new construction manager expected to be hired by late next month.Graham officials could not be immediately reached for comment but have previously accused the government of crippling the project with never-ending design changes, poor budgeting and bad faith negotiations.
Bengaluru: Cricket pundits Wednesday called for fresh ideas to prevent key games being abandoned without a result after Virat Kohli’s team crashed out of the Indian Premier League following a rain-hit match. Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore were locked in a must-win game against Rajasthan Royals but the match was abandoned late Tuesday due to heavy downpours. After the start had been delayed by more than three hours due to rains that left one end of the pitch sodden, organisers reduced the match to the minimum five-overs-a-side. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuBut further showers meant Rajasthan could not complete even that. Indian leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal took a hat-trick to restrict Bangalore to 62 for seven in five overs and Rajasthan were 41-1 off 3.2 overs when rain stopped play. Former South African captain Shaun Pollock suggested the match could have started earlier if more “adaptable” rules had allowed bowlers to all use the same, drier end of the pitch. “When they looked at the pitch and saw there was a water problem could they not have reduced it to a five-over game (earlier) and played from one side?” he told the online Cricbuzz chat show. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters”If you know rain is coming on the PGA (golf) tour they don’t tee off at one o’clock, they bring it forward then they make it two-tee start and begin at nine o’clock.” “We need to be a little more adaptable. At the end of the day both those teams needed those two points. Somehow a common sense rule should be implemented at times.” Bangalore, who have never won the IPL, have nine points from 13 games and are out of the race for the play-offs with one match to go. Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings have already made the play-offs while the remaining five teams are still fighting to grab the last two slots. “Sometimes the players have to give a little bit and sometimes the officials have to give a little bit,” former India batsman Ajay Jadeja said on the Cricbuzz chat show. “Covers need to get better. We still can’t be living in an era of uncovered pitches. And there are people who are providing you better covers, you just don’t want to spend on it.” Before the start of the match Kohli, the world’s number one Test and ODI batsman, had rued losing 10 out of 13 tosses in the current IPL season. “I was trying to practise the coin toss, nothing seems to be working,” Kohli joked. The world’s most popular T20 tournament ends with the final in Hyderabad on May 12.
New Delhi: In a damage control move ahead of voting in Delhi for the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Friday distanced itself from the controversial remarks of Sam Pitroda on 1984 anti-Sikh riots.In an official statement, the Congress said, “We continue to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty in 1984 riots as also the subsequent acts of violence including the 2002 Gujarat riots. Any opinion remark made by any individual to the contrary, including Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party.” In a statement, which was issued after Pitroda’s remarks drew criticism from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress said, “Violence and riots are unacceptable and unpardonable in our society. Indian National Congress and its leadership have strived to ensure justice for 1984 riot victims”. The grand old party has also advised all party leaders to be careful and sensitive while making statements on any issue. Meanwhile, Pitroda has apologized for his statements and claimed that his statements were blown out of proportion because his Hindi is not good. Pitroda claimed that his statements on the 1984 riots were twisted. “The statement I made was completely twisted, taken out of context because my Hindi isn’t good, what I meant was ‘jo hua vo bura hua,’ (what happened was bad), I couldn’t translate bura (bad) in my mind,” Pitroda clarified. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who also tweeted the party’s official statement, said, “Riots and violence have no place in our society. Indian National Congress abhors violence of any kind, against any person or a group of people based on their caste, colour, region or religion”. While turning the table on BJP for fielding terror accused candidate in Lok Sabha elections, the Congress said, “Unlike the BJP, which has decided to field a candidate charged with terror crimes and is being lauded as its face by none less than Narendra Modi himself, Congress has shown the moral and political courage to punish people and leaders accused of violence/role in 1984.” “This is the yardstick of self-imposed accountability and sense of justice to people followed by the Congress, unlike the BJP,” the Congress said. Scaling up its attack on BJP, the Congress, in its statement said, “For BJP, riots are vote garnering exercise in every election, instead of ensuring justice and closure. People should see through this Machiavellian game of deception, distraction and distortion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” On Thursday, Sam Pitroda, who is the president of the Indian Overseas Congress, had made the comment when he was asked about the BJP’s claim that the Nanavati Commission that probed the 1984 carnage had recorded that “instructions to kill” came directly from the office of then PM Rajiv Gandhi. “I don’t think so, this is also another lie, and what about 1984? Ab kya hai 1984 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. 1984 mein hua to hua. Aapne kya kiya? (You speak about what you have done in five years. It happened in 1984, so what? What have you done),” Pitroda had told a private news agency. The comment was seized by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, at a public rally, called it an egregious display of arrogance by the Congress. “Congress, which ruled for a long time, has been insensitive and that is reflected by the three words spoken yesterday…these words have not been spoken just like that, these words are character and mentality and intentions of the Congress. And which were these words, these were ‘hua to hua’,” PM Modi said. The BJP’s Delhi unit has asked the police to file an FIR against Pitroda.
When referee Gene Steratore turned on his microphone at midfield to greet the captains for the pregame coin toss Thursday night in Baltimore, the crowd could hear him say: “Good evening, men. It’s good to be back.”And with that, the fans roared.That act likely will be played out in stadiums across the NFL on Sunday, as the traditional officials retake their positions on the field and the much-maligned replacement officials faded to black.Steratore and his seven-man crew donned their familiar stripes for the first game of Week 4 after three weeks of replacement officials created moments of chaos throughout the league. The new/old officials predictably were serenaded with a hearty round of boos for one call that went against the home team, but there were no headline-making gaffes.“You know we always pride ourselves in being a face without a name,” Steratore, a 10-year league veteran, told The Associated Press about an hour before kickoff. “This will be a little different, but I don’t expect it to last too long. And that’s the goal — is that we can let them get through that portion of this. It’s happy to be back; it’s happy to be appreciated. But then as soon as the game starts, it’s happy to disappear again and let the entertainers entertain.”The final pass of the game sailed out of the end zone, saving the regular refs from the same type of call that brought the replacements to the height of unpopularity just three days earlier.Referee Gene Steratore and his crew didn’t have to decide which player came down with the ball, and fans and players aren’t going to spend Friday going ballistic that their team was robbed. From the pregame cheers to the final whistle, it was overall a good return for the NFL’s veteran men in stripes, who ran a mostly smooth and efficient game Thursday night as the Baltimore Ravens edged the Cleveland Browns, 23-16.“It was great to have those guys back,” Ravens running back Ray Rice said. “It looked like they knew what they were doing.”.The league’s experiment with replacement officials ended on “Monday Night Football” in controversy. A touchdown was awarded even though replays appeared to show it should have been an interception. From then on, the posturing was done. The sides got down to serious negotiating with Thursday night’s return the result.“I thought they handled (the game) great,” Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur said. “I had all the confidence in the world that this was going to be officiated in the right way.”The love for the officials was evident all evening. About an hour before kickoff, they walked on the field and heard cheers from the early arrivals. A few minutes later, Steratore was shaking hands with Shurmur near midfield and getting a hug from Ravens face-of-the-franchise Ray Lewis at the 30-yard line.Later, when the crew returned, it received a standing ovation, and the officials doffed their caps to the crowd. One fan held up a sign that read: “Finally! We get to yell at real refs! Welcome back!”
To the left are the factors I used and the weights I assigned each.Some things don’t matter in my book. I don’t take into account our prematch ratings of each team. A Bayesian would figure that the better teams are more likely to play better soccer, but in a tournament that has seen favorites dominate the later stages, I don’t want to give them any other advantages.Also, while knockout matches get a boost because they’re considered more meaningful than group-stage matches, I also don’t give any extra credit for knockout games that are tied after 90 minutes. Part of the beauty of soccer is that matches take a predictable, and brief, amount of time. So all stats are normalized to a 90-minute match, and penalty kicks don’t factor in. Relatedly, I have no bias for or against draws. Either they come in the group stage and are critical to standings, or they’re in the knockout stage and are settled by penalty kicks.I didn’t merely add together these numbers. A typical match had 725 completed passes per 90 minutes, but just 2.65 goals per 90 minutes. Plus, some of the measures were expressed in percentages. So I used standard scores, aka Z scores: the number of standard deviations each measure was from the mean. Each match’s final score was the weighted sum of Z scores for each measure.And here are the Top 10 and bottom 10 matches, according to my method:Belgium-U.S. did well across the categories. It was meaningful and close for all but the two minutes between the second Belgium goal and the lone U.S. goal. It had lots of one-on-ones, chances and expected assists; and few offsides, bookings and major errors.In other words, it was the mirror image of the dreadful France defeat of Honduras. France led comfortably for nearly all of the second half. The match had few one-on-ones, a relatively low proportion of shots that were on goal, few chances or assists, and an own goal by Noel Valladares, the Honduras goalkeeper.While I’m comfortable with both of these choices, I was surprised to see the two semis in my top 10. Germany’s rout of Brazil wasn’t competitive after the first 20 minutes, but the German attack’s efficiency and pinpoint passing made it look like a classic anyway. (It also had few fouls, bookings and offsides calls.) And it did have a certain car-wreck quality that made it highly watchable. Argentina’s penalty-kick ouster of the Netherlands was highly meaningful and close throughout, with accurate passing. That helped it overcome the lack of goals and, especially, chances — the fewest per 90 minutes of any match so far.The rankings also make me want to watch replays of Nigeria — which had two top-five matches — and they provide a parting insult to Spain, which played two matches in the bottom 10. They also highlight the drama of the Round of 16, which had three of the top nine matches.Just to show how much my preferences matter, I tested a few small changes in the weightings and came up with different results. Weight goals per 90 minutes by four instead of one, and Germany-Brazil is the best match of the World Cup in addition to the most surprising. Or shift the weight on successful tackle percentage to four, and Germany-Algeria takes the prize. (No simple tweak, though, can rescue France-Honduras.)As these examples demonstrate, this ranking, like any other, is arbitrary. The factors I included and the weights I chose were based on what data I had available and my preferences. Let me know in the comments how you’d rank the matches, or rank them yourselves. There are lots of stats available at FIFA.com and Whoscored.com. I thought it’d be fun to try to devise a way to rank the 62 World Cup matches played through Wednesday for sheer entertainment value. After all, most people in the world entered the tournament without their home country to support. And many people who live in one of the 32 nations with a contender have seen their country’s team knocked out and had to choose whether to adopt a new side to support, or to simply cheer for good, exciting soccer — or, in other words, what was absent from France-Honduras, the worst match by my measure.So, what defines good, exciting soccer? What sets Belgium 2-U.S. 1, the best match of the tournament by my ranking, apart from France 3-Honduras 0, the worst? Anyone who thinks about the question probably would answer it a little differently. Here are my answers: A match needs to matter. Knockout matches matter the most, while the third of the three group-stage matches sometimes matter much less, particularly when the two teams have been eliminated from the knockout stage already.A match needs to be close for most of the time. It can end 4-0, so long as it was 1-0 until the final minutes.All else equal, a match with more goals is more fun than one with fewer goals. But not all goals are created equal. Goals caused by opponent errors aren’t the result of good play, so each one is as bad as other goals are good. I prefer assisted goals, so they get a 50 percent boost.Whatever the final score, a match will be more entertaining if it has more chances. And meaningful chances matter more. So a better match will have a greater number of expected goals and assists. Our expectation is based on the location of shots and passes — and a model built by TruMedia to estimate the expected number of goals and assists based on these shots and passes and how they’re coded by Opta’s match analysts (TruMedia supplied the Opta data for this exercise). Good chances are entertaining whether or not they lead to goals: When they don’t, a defender or goalkeeper is probably partially responsible. But missed shots are no fun and a sign of bad play. So the higher the percentage of all those shots that aren’t blocked by the defense that are on target, the better.One-on-one showdowns between an offensive player and a defensive counterpart are exciting. The more of these, the better.The greater the number of completed passes, the more the ball is moving and teammates are collaborating. Incomplete passes could be the result of ambitious passing, of bad touches or of good defense, so I ignore them.Tackles are good, but missed tackles aren’t. So the higher the percentage of attempted tackles that are successful, the better.Flowing play is better than lots of referee whistles. So the fewer fouls, the fewer bookings and the fewer offsides calls, the better.There aren’t many stats that directly measure errors, so I use one of those — misplays on crosses by goalkeepers — along with own goals and goals caused by defensive errors as a proxy for sloppy play in meaningful moments.
Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff upset on the sideline during the Big Ten tournament semifinal game against Purdue. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — Top seeded Ohio State lost in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals to No. 5 Purdue 71-60, ending their 12 game winning streak. The Buckeyes were lost without leading scorer, junior guard Kelsey Mitchell, taking over the game. The Boilermakers held the Big Ten Player of the Year to only nine points on 3 for 22 shooting and 1 for 12 from deep. Senior forward Shayla Cooper ended her last Big Ten tournament career recording a double-double and leading the team with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.“I thought we played hard, we just didn’t play well,” said OSU coach Kevin McGuff.Purdue was led by Ashley Morrissette with 24 points, three rebounds, and seven assists. She was followed by freshman Dominique Oden with 20 points and hit half of her shots from the field and all of her shots from the charity stripe. The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the Boilermakers and Buckeyes. OSU hit 52.6 percent from the field in the first quarter, but Purdue held its own, shooting 41.7 percent and going 8 for 8 at the charity stripe. With the buzzer at the first, OSU only held a two-point lead, 22-20.OSU was unable to find their touch in the second quarter. The Boilermakers went to a 2-3 zone and took away the Buckeyes range, rotating out on the Buckeyes quickly as OSU went 0 for 6 from 3-point range.“We didn’t hit many shots,” McGuff said. “Part of that had to do with their defense. They’re were really effective.”Purdue slowed down Mitchell, forcing her to take ill-advised shots and limiting her to just 2 for 12 from the field in the half. Purdue also dominated the boards throughout the first half, out rebounding OSU 25-17. Purdue lead OSU 36-31 at half.Purdue opened the second half with two quick scores from Oden and Morrissette, giving the Boilermakers their first double-digit lead. OSU started to make some shots and cut the lead back to single digits near the end of the third, but the Boilermakers fought back with more contributions from Oden and Morrissette. The quarter ended with Purdue maintaining their double-digit lead 55-42.Throughout the final quarter of play the Buckeyes played with urgency, but were unable to find their way as Mitchell continued to struggle, hitting only one shot in the second half. Ultimately, OSU never found their shot and Purdue capitalized off of the Buckeyes off-night.“(Morrissette’s) a player,” Cooper said. “She’s a great player, but we had to dig in a little more on the defensive side.”The Buckeyes will continue their tournament play into the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, which begins in less than two weeks. The NCAA Women’s Basketball selection show will reveal the fate of OSU on March 13 at 7 p.m.Nicholas McWilliams contributed quotes from Indianapolis.
Head coach Chris Holtmann watches from the sideline in the second half of the Ohio State-Robert Morris game on Nov. 10. Ohio State won 95-64. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorChris Holtmann didn’t have any control over his schedule for his first season coaching Ohio State. He was going to be coaching in the Phil Knight Invitational whether he was in Columbus or still coaching Butler. But unlike at Butler, he has to endure the possibility of six straight games against high-major opponents.In 12 days.Now that it’s here, Holtmann is staring down the greatest test he will have not just in his first year with the Buckeyes, but also in his entire coaching career to this point.“It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to have to be mindful about with rest and sleep, and it will be interesting to see, too, the teams that come out of Portland and how they respond to this stretch once they come back.” The Buckeyes (4-0) have played well to this point and have played with more energy and consistency than they showed at any point last season. But that road ahead gets much tougher.On the schedule, Ohio State has No. 17 Gonzaga, Stanford or No. 7 Florida, Clemson, Wisconsin and Michigan. Holtmann’s squad also has a third game in Portland, Oregon, at the PK80 — the tournament celebrating Nike founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday — against either Duke, Portland State, Texas or Butler.Holtmann has made it clear he isn’t putting any goals or expectations on this season. He said it again Tuesday before his team departs for the West Coast.“For us the end game right now for us is get better today,” Holtmann said. “That’s really the end game. We don’t have another end game other than get better today.”That might be coach-speak, but let’s consider the obvious.He arrived in June after an out-of-the-blue firing of former coach Thad Matta. He arrived with no recruits remaining in the 2018 recruiting class, so he immediately had to hit the trail. He didn’t have time to really get to know his players until official practice began in September.So given the circumstances, all Holtmann has been able to do is focus one day at a time.That being said, he’s still a coach, and a coach demands a certain level of play from his players. That bar can be set and raised with a strong showing in these next six days.“It’s a good opportunity,” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “To compete against multiple teams in a span of 48 hours, it’s great, it’s exciting. We’re looking forward to it.”Just four games into the season, it might be a bit rash to call this stretch the greatest challenge he’ll face this year. But consider this: Ohio State will have played nearly a third of its schedule after this stretch, including two conference games with a multitude of opportunities for signature wins on its resume when it comes time to evaluate the Buckeyes in March.Yes, Holtmann needs to figure out his team’s 3-point shooting woes (28.4 percent), whether any issues that come with the dearth of depth at guard and address any potential injuries that might occur in the future. But in the present, there’s no greater opportunity for an early statement than the next two weeks.“I think, in a lot of ways, it was a no-brainer decision to be a part of an event like [the PK80] because of what it can reveal about your team in these moments,” Holtmann said.While most Ohio State fans will tune into coverage of the football game against Michigan this week, there’s no denying that fans badly want their basketball team to be competitive again.The Buckeyes don’t have to win all six of these upcoming games, but going .500 would turn some heads toward the program Holtmann is trying to resurrect in Columbus.
Pep Guardiola hasn’t lost his hopes ahead of his side’s clash against Liverpool despite losing the first game 3-0 away from home – but he insisted that the whole team believe that they still can turn it around and advance.The Spaniard claimed that this quarterfinal is still far from being over and his Manchester City will do anything they could to erase the heavy defeat from the first match and get through.The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach spoke about the upcoming game as he said, according to Independent:Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“We saw at the Masters sometimes you can make a bogey, sometimes a birdie. If you think about the bogey you make another one. It’s better to think about what you have to do, to analyse Liverpool, enjoy the game, attack because we need to score goals. We’ll try to score the first one and afterwards, we will see.”“One thing I’m completely sure we have is a character. We cannot do what we have done without character. In the league with these weather conditions, the number of games, every three days. We don’t solve the problem just because we are Manchester City. I assure you there is no one there on this team who doesn’t think we can do it because we have done it many times.”