OFF YEAR Most things ran according to the script last weekend at the 122nd Penn Relays. Big wins for Edwin Allen High, Kingston College (KC) and St Jago High were predicted by many. There was, however, one event staged inside the chilly Franklin Field venue that proved why we actually run the races. Jamaica College (JC) arrived there as one of the favourites for the Championship boys 4×100 metres, but flubbed the second baton change. Perhaps pressure had been applied by a high-speed second leg by Akeem Bloomfield for KC. The national junior 400-metre record holder helped his school to equal the meet record set by Calabar at 39.63 seconds in bright conditions last year. Hopes for a JC track victory seemed to end there. Calabar and KC held the high cards for the 4x400m, with the impressive TC Williams High School a clear and present danger. Bloomfield was withdrawn due to the threat of injury, and remarkably, a businesslike JC quartet ran the field off its feet in the final. Calabar, the winner at Boys and Girls’ Championships, got an urgent anchor leg out of wonder boy Christopher Taylor. Noah Lyles, runner-up to Taylor at the 2015 World Youth Championships, zoomed his team forward. It was all in vain as Maleik Smith, 200-metre sprinter Michael Campbell, Devaughn Baker and Phillip Lemonios produced a big surprise. Just third at Champs in 3:15.06, the Old Hope Road school blasted that season’s best down to 3:12.34. Though Baker gave them a decisive advantage on the third leg, his team had no baton carries as quick as those by Taylor and Lyles. Smart team running did the trick instead. With the Philly chill slowing sprinters all weekend, the improvement by JC from 3:15.06 at Champs to 3:12.34 at Penns is no mean feat. By contrast, Calabar clocked 3:09.77 seconds at Champs and 3:13.09 on the new track at Franklin Field. The rest of the high-school competition ran to the script, with the JC pair of Clayton Brown and O’Brien Wasome taking the high and triple jumps, respectively, and with Shanice Love of Excelsior High continuing a great season, with a national junior record in the discus. Wins in the college men’s discus and the high-school section by Pan-Am Fedrick Dacres of the University of the West Indies and Munro’s Kino Dunkley suggested good things for the future. With the University of Technology (UTech) having an off year, the G.C. Foster College men stepped confidently into the breach with a 4×100 win. Spare a thought for Rayan Holmes of Edwin Allen. Pulled from the start of the Champs 400-metre hurdles final through illness, Holmes redeemed himself with victory in the same event on the last day of the 122-year-old event. The boys’ 4x800m was as enthralling as Holmes’ success was heartwarming. St Jago, winners in the girls’ long jump, through Tissana Hickling, held off STETHS in 7: 33.71 seconds. It was the first win by the school in the 4x800m since 1990. For all of that, and the win by Jamaica’s men in the USA versus the World 4x100m, pride of place goes to JC. Their dominating 4x400m win was a shock. In a meet where most things went with the form book, here was one time where predictions crashed and burned. – HUBERT LAWRENCE has made notes at track side since 1980.
Now 42, Potter led Ostersunds — created in October 1996 when three local clubs (Ope IF, IFK Ostersund, Ostersund/Torvalla FF) merged — to the Swedish Cup last season, having taken the side from the Swedish fourth division to the top flight in six seasons.Far from being intimidated, Ostersunds seemed ecstatic with the draw, their English manager freely admitting his outfit would not be favourites against Wenger’s Arsenal, currently sitting fifth in the Premier League.“I think it’s really cool to go home to England and meet one of the best teams in the Premier League,” said Potter, who first signed for Ostersunds in 2010.“Now we are really underdogs,” he added in a report in Swedish on the club’s website.The club, who claimed a shock win over Galatasaray in the second qualifying round and then finished second in a group featuring Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin after only losing one game, reported that Potter looked delighted as he and the club chairman realised who they had been drawn against.“Jubilation in Ostersund, OFK meet Arsenal in the next round,” the club said on Twitter.Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic face Roberto Mancini’s ambitious Zenit St Petersburg, who beat Rangers in the 2008 UEFA Cup final.“It’s never easy playing in Russia,” Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham tweeted.Celtic dropped out of the Champions League, as did Napoli and RB Leipzig, who will meet each other in what appears to be the toughest draw of the round.Lyon, who are desperate to get to the final which will be played at their own stadium, will face Villarreal, while AC Milan will face Ludogorets of Bulgaria.The first legs will be played on Thursday, February 15, with the return matches a week later.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Ostersunds’ Nigerian forward Alhaji Gero (L) celebrates scoring with Iranian midfielder Saman Ghoddos during the Europa League group F match against Athletic Bilbao in Ostersund, Sweden on October 18, 2017 © TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP/File / Robert HENRIKSSONNYON, Switzerland, Dec 11 – Arsenal’s hopes of Europa League glory will be tested in the last 32 by Swedish minnows Ostersunds, ironically coached by the only English manager left in European competition and founded in the same month Arsene Wenger took over the Gunners.In the draw made Monday, the Gunners were pitched against the central Swedish club coached by Graham Potter, who played for Southampton in the Premier League as part of a long career that saw him win one under-21 England cap and make 307 Football League appearances.
Indian Premier League, the great festival of T20 cricket, is now over, at least until the next year.Mumbai Indians became the most successful team in the history of the tournament, edging ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings, to win the trophy three times.After 60 matches and 47 days, Mumbai emerged as the champions in the 2017 edition of the IPL.They had finished second in the league table in both 2013 and 2015 seasons when they were crowned champions and won the 2017 title having finished as table toppers, thus breaking the jinx that had been plaguing the team finishing on top at the end of the league phase.Mumbai had managed to keep the core of their team – Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga and Ambati Rayudu, a clear indication of their success this decade.Coming into the final, the team from Mumbai, had lost all their encounters (twice in the league stages and once in Qualifier 1 against Pune).The narrative of the final followed a slightly different note , and whoever was writing the script could not have produced a better work as the match went to the last ball to decide a winner.Mumbai Indians had a disastrous start as Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons was removed cheaply by Jaydev Unadkat in the third over of the match. After a stabling 33-run partnership from Rohit and Rayudu in the middle order, it looked like they were headed for a decent total. But a flurry of wickets left Mumbai reeling at 79/7 with just five overs to go. Krunal Pandya (47 off 38 balls) and Mitchell Johnson stepped up with a hard-hitting 50-run partnership to take Mumbai to 129/8.advertisementIn the second innings, Rahul Tripathi was sent back cheaply, but a stand from Ajikya Rahane and Steve Smith seemed to take Pune ever closer to the target, as they departed a batting collapse ensued. Johnson was the star with the ball as well with figures of 3/26 and was ably supported by Jasprit Bumrah, who returned with figures of 26/2.Pandya and Johnson led from the front to win Mumbai the game in the final.Multiple players put their hand up at various points in the tournament and took responsibility for winning the match for the team. Be it Nitish Rana at the start of the tournament, Jasprit Bumrah’s super over heroics, the ever present Pandya brothers (Hardik and Krunal) firing with either bat or ball, Karn Sharma’s late resurgence, Parthiv Patel’s opening knock or the astute captaincy along with match-winning knocks from Rohit Sharma, someone or the other has performed for Mumbai.Summing up, Mumbai Indians’ record-breaking victory in the 10th edition of the IPL, it was not on the back of stellar performances from a certain star in the team, but the team in itself as a team. THE KEY PLAYERS FOR MI Parthiv PatelThe diminutive opener was the backbone of the batting order for Mumbai Indians, providing important starts to the team. He was the top-scorer for Mumbai with 395 runs from 16 games, his best performance individually. His consistent starts were the cornerstone for every Mumbai innings, as Parthiv finished with an average of 24.68 proving his importance to the team. His highest of 70 against Gujarat Lions, which Mumbai won in the super-over. His glove work has also come in handy, enforcing two stumpings and six catches. He also has scored the fourth highest number of fours with 49 hits crossing the boundary ropes. Krunal Pandya The Man-of-the-Match in the final with a quickfire 38-ball 47, Krunal has been the most vital cog in the Mumbai machinery, shining with both bat and ball. His performances have bailed Mumbai out on many occasions, be it with the bat at the tail-end of an innings if and when the batting failed, or with the ball when his team needed to stem the flow of runs and pick up wickets. Krunal’s all-round show is only a glimmer of what lies ahead even if he hasn’t yet made his first-class debut.His injury scare in the middle of the tournament aside, Krunal amassed 243 runs in 13 games at 34.71 and took 10 wickets at 27.30, emerging as one of the more successful all-rounders in the past two years along with his brother. Hardik PandyaAfter last year’s disappointing season when his brother outshone him in every department, the impetus was on the younger Pandya, to perform for Mumbai. His key knocks during the tournament and his miserly bowling figures justified the faith shown by Mumbai Indians on the man from Baroda. Hardik scored 250 runs in 17 matches at 35.71 and took six wickets, with a best of 2/22 against Kolkata Knight Riders leading them to a comfortable win. He also had the fifth highest strike rate of 263.63 scoring 29 off 11 balls, in the game against Kolkata Knight Riders. advertisement Kieron PollardMost would have thought that the behemoth that is Pollard, would have fizzled out by now. His performances in the 10th edition of the IPL (his eight), will concrete his position as one the greatest to grace the world of Twenty20 cricket. Known now as a mercenary for hire throughout the world, he finished with 385 from 17 games, second in the leading run-getters for Mumbai this season and 12th overall, at an average of 29.61. His 70 runs in 47 deliveries helped Mumbai Indians withstand a fiery spell, including a hat-trick, from leg-spinner Samuel Badree to win Mumbai an important encounter against Royal Challengers Bangalore. THE X-FACTORJaprit BumrahThe shining jewel in the crown for Mumbai over the last few seasons, Jasprit Bumrah proved yet again exactly why he has been touted as one of India’s best bowlers in the recent past.The death-over “specialist”, Bumrah has been on call to deliver the most accurate of toe-crushers with the precision of an assassin and his plethora of slow balls has bamboozled the best batsmen in world cricket. He bowled a magical Super Over against Gujarat Lions, containing the likes of Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina to just eight runs, defending a total of just 11 runs.Bumrah has been Rohit’s go-to man throughout the season, whenever Mumbai needed to break the momentum and take wickets. He finished his best-ever season with the Mumbai Indians as the highest wicket-taker in the squad with 20 wickets in 16 matches. He proved to be the leader of the bowling attack, holding his own with the likes of Johnson, Malinga, Mithcell McClenaghan and Tim Southee in their ranks.