What Analytics Can Teach Us About the Beautiful Game

Sports analytics, no matter the field’s renegade posturing, has now been around long enough to have its own pieces of conventional wisdom. Baseball’s cognoscenti know all about the primacy of on-base percentage over batting average, and they’ve also come to realize once-treasured strategies like bunting and stealing bases are best used sparingly. In basketball, the mid-range jump shot is slowly being phased out as an inefficient relic of antiquity. Spreadsheets are shaming football coaches into rolling the dice more often on fourth downs.But for many American fans tuning into the World Cup this month and next, soccer’s nuggets of analytic insight remain as foreign as the game itself. There are set pieces to orchestrate, attacking strategies to plan, areas of the defense to exploit — and it isn’t always apparent which tactics are best. But analytics has clear advice on how to do some things right.Soccer analytics is very much viewed as a discipline in its infancy. And the sport itself is often described as especially resistant to the pull of number-crunching, whether due to its fluid nature, its sportocratic establishment culture, or a fear that the unsentimentality of data will rob the Beautiful Game of its celebrated elegance.There’s not much truth to that. Off and on, people have been tracking relatively detailed soccer data in some form for more than six decades, up to and including the modern companies that exhaustively log every event on the pitch.That said, WAR isn’t coming to soccer anytime soon. Most attempts to create an all-in-one statistical index for soccer players (like we have for basketball and baseball) have suffered from a distinct lack of transparency1Generally speaking, no formulae for these indices have been released to the public — just vague assurances like this: “The Castrol Index tracks every move on the field and assesses whether it has a positive or negative impact on a team’s ability to score or concede a goal.” and a noticeable bias toward strikers and other scorers, whose output is most readily quantifiable. There are a number of interesting metrics at fans’ disposal, but no magic algorithm that accounts for a player’s role on his club, the system he plays in, the quality of his teammates and countless other factors. By necessity, even the individual plus/minus ratings ESPN uses for the talent portion of our Soccer Power Index fall prey to this phenomenon — we simply have to be more conservative when assessing the impact of a fullback than of a prolific goal-scorer. That makes it hard to distinguish between the value of, say, Manchester United teammates Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidić.At the team level, though, the numbers offer more hope. They have the potential to provide soccer with broad strategic conventions comparable to the sabermetric-minded rules of thumb in other sports. None of these is a hard-and-fast decree, but they offer guidelines generated by actual data instead of blind hunches.In “The Numbers Game” by Chris Anderson and David Sally — probably the definitive volume on statistical analysis in soccer — the authors tell the story of Charles Reep, a former Royal Air Force Wing Commander who was tracking play-by-play data for matches and serving as a quantitative consultant for Football League teams as early as the 1950s.Reep’s research was quite groundbreaking for its time, even if it was fatally flawed. The Wing Commander gathered data on how often a given number of successful passes were strung together, and how frequently goals resulted from those sequences, broken down by length. Reep determined that a team’s probability of retaining possession dropped precipitously with each consecutive pass attempt, and that most goals were scored on possessions of fewer than three passes — often originating from quick counterattacks.In Reep’s mind, this meant teams should abandon trying to control possession and maneuvering through the defense with endless passing. Instead, they should focus on getting the ball downfield in as few movements as possible on offense, and applying pressure on defense to generate opportunistic counter-rushes. The numbers seemed to suggest that the long game was the most efficient tactic for soccer success.But subsequent analysis has discredited this way of thinking. Reep’s mistake was to fixate on the percentage of goals generated by passing sequences of various lengths. Instead, he should have flipped things around, focusing on the probability that a given sequence would produce a goal. Yes, a large proportion of goals are generated on short possessions, but soccer is also fundamentally a game of short possessions and frequent turnovers. If you account for how often each sequence-length occurs during the flow of play, of course more goals are going to come off of smaller sequences — after all, they’re easily the most common type of sequence. But that doesn’t mean a small sequence has a higher probability of leading to a goal.To the contrary, a team’s probability of scoring goes up as it strings together more successful passes. The implication of this statistical about-face is that maintaining possession is important in soccer.2As analysts have also recently discovered it to be in hockey. There’s a good relationship3Correlation coefficient in last season’s English Premier League: 0.78. between a team’s time spent in control of the ball and its ability to generate shots on target, which in turn is hugely predictive of a team’s scoring rate and, consequently, its placement in the league table. While there’s less rhyme or reason to the rate at which teams convert those scoring chances into goals, modern analysis has ascertained that possession plays a big role in creating offensive opportunities, and that effective short passing — fueled largely by having pass targets move to soft spots in the defense before ever receiving the ball — is strongly associated with building and maintaining possession.As for the long ball, it’s proven futile in today’s game. During the 2013-14 English Premier League season, the percentage of a team’s passes classified as “long” by Whoscored.com’s data was very negatively correlated4Correlation coefficient: -0.8. with how many goals it scored.5If you’re concerned that the EPL isn’t representative of worldwide soccer, the numbers are essentially identical in Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Italy’s Serie A.The same goes for trying to spearhead an offense from the wings instead of attacking up the middle. In their book, Anderson and Sally write about a seminal piece of quantitative analysis on the 1986 World Cup from researcher Mike Hughes: “Successful teams played a passing game through the middle in their own half and approached the other end of the pitch predominantly in the central areas of the field, while the unsuccessful teams played significantly more to the wings.” The numbers from the 2013-14 season in Europe’s “Big Four” leagues6England’s Premiere League, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A. bear this out as well. The percentage of a team’s attacks made up the middle did have a moderately positive7A correlation of 0.32. relationship to its scoring rate relative to the league average, while the relationship between wing attacks and scoring was of the same magnitude and in the negative direction.This, coupled with the fact that corner kicks are surprisingly ineffective at generating goals, is probably related to the negative correlation between a team’s propensity for winning aerial duels8That is, battles for possession strictly on balls played in the air. and its overall goal-scoring rate. By the numbers, it’s a losing bet to count on goals in the air via set pieces — or even off crosses in open play — as a steady way to generate offense, just as it is to rely on the long ball to consistently produce chances. Instead, the statistics seem to support an approach more in line with the artful tiki-taka style exemplified most notably by FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team. In soccer, data and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive, just as they aren’t in any other sport.That’s the one bit of analytics wisdom that could stand to become more conventional. For now, though, we have a reasonably good idea of which metrics correlate with a team’s success more than others. Keep those in mind as you gorge on soccer over the next month. read more

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Serena Williams Shifting Attention to 2013 Grand Slam Sweep

Serena Williams is shifting her attention to winning all four Grand Slam championships heading into the 2013 season as she prepares for the Australian Open in January.The 31-year-old Williams is coming off a Sunday victory over fellow American Varvara Lepchenko in the first-round of the Brisbane International. Williams needed less than hour to defeat Lepchenko 6-2, 6-1.Williams, who is a 15-time Grand Slam champion, has held all four majors in 2002-03 season, but has yet to win all four in the same calendar year. Steffi Graf was the last woman singles player to achieve all four Grand Slams in the same calendar year in 1988.The 2012 Women’s Tennis Player of the Year addressed reporters after the match on whether she can accomplish such an achievement in 2013.“I think for me, absolutely,” Williams said. “I think maybe whoever wins the Australian Open will have that same thought. I think there is no way that Victoria (Azarenka) or Maria (Sharapova) or maybe some other players don’t feel the same way. So I think I definitely feel that way.”Williams is coming off a stellar second half of the 2012 season where she won 31 of her last 32 matches. She won titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships. Her overall record in 2012 was an impressive 58-4.But if Williams is unable to capture all four Grand Slam titles, she plans to keep playing until the 2016 Games in Rio, which will allow her several more opportunities.Williams played in her first match since withdrawing from an exhibition in Thailand due to problems with her big toes. She ultimately had surgery on her toes, but was a little hesitant entering her first match since the surgery.“I was a little nervous, but I was completely fine,” Williams said. “The doctor said I would be fine. I was excited to get an early start, so just in case I did have any pain, I could have tomorrow off. But everything was fine.”Williams will now move to the second round and play either Australian Bojana Bobosic or Frenchwoman Alize Cornet on Tuesday. read more

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As Yet Another Jameis Winston Controversy Brews He Clearly

People, the haters, want to see Jameis Winston punished. . . at all costs. If he sneezes and does not cover his mouth, those who detest the Florida State Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback will scream infraction and call for a suspension.In one sense, Winston created this animus by his insistence on showing the youthful silliness of being 20. In another sense, the money-grubbing, victory-seeking adults in the NCAA, ACC and at Florida State have at least magnified his bad judgment by not sufficiently admonishing the young man.Now, whatever he does becomes grounds for punishment for those who cannot stomach the consistent drama Winston has sparked.The latest came Saturday during FSU’s 20-17 victory over Boston College, another Seminoles late-game triumph. In the third quarter, with 5:20 left in a tied game, Winston approached the line of scrimmage to initiate a play. Official Mike Webster stood between Winston and his center.To get to the line to start the play, Winston nudged Webster to the side so he could play football. The ref moved back, stumbled slightly and the play went on.After the game, screams came from all points asking why Winston was not penalized at least, suspended at worse for touching an official. Really?The bull’s eye is on the back of Winston’s jersey. The video clearly shows the referee impeding Winston’s progress. The referee was not offended, did not call a penalty and went on with the action. And yet there are cries of foul from outlets near and far.Winston said:  “He was just holding me because he said we had a substitution. It was actually a fast-tempo play, so I was trying to get up under there and let it ride.”Critics say “so what?” The rules state you cannot touch an official. The spirit of the rule is about forcefully handling an official, particularly in the anxious moments during a shoving match or melee. Winston’s act was not malicious. He was just trying to play football, which is the reason he was on the field.Others, like officiating stalwarts Dave Cutia of ESPN and Mike Pereira of Fox, said Winston should have been ejected and a 15-yard penalty should have been marked off. Seems ejection would have been a bit harsh when the referee caused the situation.The ACC ruled the contact “incidental and insignificant,” coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads said in a statement Sunday. So that should be a wrap with this situation, right?Not right.Because he is Winston and because he’s been embroiled in a sexual assault scandal, because he exited a grocery store without paying for crab legs, because he participated in a silly prank by yelling an obscenity on campus. .  . and, essentially, has not been penalized for any of these situations, some people want him sidelined for this act.If Johnny Manziel had moved a referee to get off a play, he would have been called a “gamer who was trying to do his job.”Winston shows he’s in command of the game, and he should be suspended? It’s not like he grabbed and threw the ref to the ground. He nudged him to the side so he could execute a play.But Winston’s history makes it easy for people to squawk when he’s involved in anything just a tad out of line. It would be a lot easier if Winston grew up. He doesn’t need to be punished to accomplish this. He just has to realize the outcomes of his drama could have been significantly different, and not in a good way.Realizing that would inspire him to grow up and do what’s right. For some, that would be a good thing. For others, it will not be enough. read more

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The Suns Courtney Williams Is Playing An OldSchool Midrange Game — And

Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller has an offensive philosophy built around making his players take the most efficient shot — typically chances around the rim or threes. The Sun, who face the Los Angeles Sparks in a best-of-five playoff semifinal matchup starting Tuesday, finished this season with the third-most efficient offense in the league after finishing atop the WNBA in 2018.Even so, Miller realized that it was a mistake to try to turn his energy ball of a combo guard, Courtney Williams, into a model of the efficiency revolution that has altered the league’s offensive topography. “When we first got her, we tried to have her drive it more,” Miller said. “But she’s so good at getting those, what we call tough twos, we have just let her be what she’s going to be.”In that way, Williams’s journey in Connecticut echoed the lessons she taught her college coach, Jose Fernandez of South Florida. “We told her, ‘Hey, get to the free-throw line more. You need to drive it more,’ Fernandez recalled. “But then, it was like … she just got where she got.”That’s the deceptive simplicity of Williams’s game. She lets it fly from the dreaded midrange more than anyone in the WNBA — a combined 249 attempts from 10 to 19 feet, including a league-high 145 from 15 to 19 feet out. Williams also led the league in attempts from 15 to 19 feet in 2018 and finished second in 2017 to Indiana Fever forward Candice Dupree.“I just do what I do,” Williams said. “I do what got me here. I feel like that midrange makes me stand out from other players.”The other team with a double-bye in the playoffs, the Washington Mystics, is led by Elena Delle Donne and her three- and rim-heavy 50-40-90 season. So it may seem quixotic that the Sun are trusting a 5-foot-8 volume shooter from a spot on the floor considered inefficient. But to this point, both her methods and her path are anything but haphazard.There’s an obvious WNBA comparison for what Williams is doing, and it’s one that she’s consciously tried to emulate: all-time great Cappie Pondexter.“Cappie is my favorite player because I see so much of myself in her,” Williams said. “Being our size, pull-ups, being a scorer, being able to score at all levels anywhere on the floor, tattoos, don’t really care what nobody got to say about us. That’s how we look.”The numbers reflect a close parallel between the two. Pondexter finished second in attempts from 15 to 19 feet in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and led the WNBA in 2013. Her teammates see Pondexter in Williams, too.“They’re really difficult to guard because they can score in all types of ways,” Sun point guard Jasmine Thomas said. “And they’re athletic. I think that’s the similarity that I see, that explosiveness, that confidence. I feel like most of us, we’ve got confidence, we didn’t get here by not being confident — but, it’s just like that swagger. Even if you miss four, five shots in a row, you know you got to make this sixth one.”All the long twos, incidentally, haven’t kept Connecticut from getting a disproportionate amount of its points from beyond the arc — 27.7 percent of them, good for third-best in the league in 2019, up slightly from last season’s 26.0 percent, which was fourth in the league. Instead, Thomas sees the Connecticut attack as improved by Williams’s ability to rise and fire from a spot that defenses might ignore.“There are shots to take that are hard shots to make consistently,” Thomas said. “And that is her game. If we can’t get layups, or if our three-ball isn’t falling down, we know that we can count on her to really take over a game and string together some shots. Even when you think she can’t get a shot off, she rises up over anybody and can shoot it.”That’s another aspect to her game that isn’t accidental. While her jump-shot form can seem like a cross between natural athleticism and an almost supernatural motion, it really comes from hundreds of hours in the South Florida gym, getting off shot attempts with then-assistant coach Wil Bateast.“He really just molded me,” Williams said. “He told me, ‘You just need to be great at one thing because when you get to that professional level, people are great at what they do. You need to be great at what you do.’”So the drills would commence, with Bateast — who Williams said is “6-5, maybe 6-6” — with a hand in her face. She had to make 10 in a row, or she had to run sprints, halfcourt and back, and start over.“Coming from the baseline and coming from halfcourt, coming from the sidelines,” Williams said. “Just anywhere on the court. You need to be able to get the shot off, it don’t matter where the defender is at. No matter how big, how tall, how small, how fast — you need to be able to get your shot off.”Williams continues to evolve as a player. This season, she posted an assist rate of 23.2 percent, the best of her career, along with a steal rate of 2.4 percent, good enough for 16th among 60 qualified WNBA guards. And she’s anything but a one-dimensional scorer, either, hitting 56.5 percent of her shots inside of 5 feet, more efficient than bigs like Crystal Langhorne of the Seattle Storm and Reshanda Gray of the New York Liberty. She’s also continued to improve her 3-point shooting, hitting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc this year.“There is still room for growth,” Miller said of Williams. “There are a lot of areas where she can continue to take that next step. And if she does that, she’s already one of the elite players in the league, [but] she truly has the potential to be a first-team All-WNBA-caliber player.”But Miller doesn’t intend to change that trajectory. He’s learned, just as Fernandez did before him and just as defenders all over the league have since: When she rises, Courtney Williams is going to do what she does. read more

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Spring games nothing more than glorified practices

One of the hardest sporting events to draw conclusions from is a college football spring game.If a player breaks a 70-yard touchdown run or intercepts two passes, he’s pegged as a breakout star for the fall. Ohio State’s Spring Game was no different.Redshirt freshman quarterback Kenny Guiton was the media darling of the postgame interviews following his 167-yard, two-touchdown performance.In last year’s Spring Game, Terrelle Pryor’s strong performance riled up Buckeye fans, giving them dreams of the second coming of Troy Smith. Then the regular season commenced, and Pryor struggled through the year up until his MVP performance in the Rose Bowl.In Saturday’s game, there were times when Terrelle Pryor looked like Randall Cunningham, and then there were times when he channeled his inner Akili Smith. He was told not to scramble. Thus, it’s impossible to make sense of his performance at all.The defenses dominated the game for the most part. Ben Buchanan and Derek Erwin punted a combined 13 times. Tresselball in April anyone?The Spring Game is a lot like the NFL Draft. The beginning is filled with excitement and anticipation. But in the end, the game never measures up to the hype, and the media coverage is overblown.After the game, I hinted to junior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher that we in the media tend to put a lot of emphasis on the Spring Game, and he smiled in agreement.“Yes, you guys certainly do,” Sanzenbacher said.He added that the players are basically just trying to enjoy themselves during the game.“For us, it’s more fun than anything,” Sanzenbacher said. “We’ve been working hard the past 14 days, too.”Usually a good indicator of how the game will go is to take note of the weather forecast. Last year, 95,722 watched the Gray defeat the Scarlet 23-3 in a game that featured a handful of exciting plays and essentially perfect spring weather.The best word to describe the weather on Saturday would be mediocre. It was going to rain at some point during the game, and it arrived at halftime. When the downpour was over, the stadium looked like a Jacksonville Jaguars home game as the announced crowd of 65,223 had mostly filed out.The excitement didn’t arrive until late in the fourth quarter, when Guiton threw a beauty of a pass to junior receiver Taurian Washington to put the Gray up for good, 17-14.All in all, the game was mundane, which describes plenty of OSU games in recent memory. But in reality, that’s probably how it should be. The only difference between a normal spring practice and the Spring Game for Tressel’s crew is that the Spring Game is played in the Horseshoe.That’s the point. This game doesn’t mean anything. It’s an overhyped scrimmage that the media has fallen in love with, and expects too much of.On the other hand, sports fans have spoken, and they want to see as much football as possible. Nothing says success like excess. read more

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NCAA hits Ohio State with 1year bowl ban loss of scholarships

The Ohio State football program has received a one-year postseason ban for the 2012 season and a loss of scholarships from the NCAA Committee of Infractions. According to a report from The Columbus Dispatch, the Buckeyes will be allowed to play in the Gator Bowl against the University of Florida on Jan. 2, but will forfeit postseason eligibility next season, which would include a possible berth in the Big Ten Football Championship Game and a bowl game.  OSU will also face a reduction of four scholarships over the next three years in addition to the five scholarships the school already forfeited over that time period, according to the report. The NCAA has added an another year of probation the the football program’s self-imposed two-year probation. Former OSU coach Jim Tressel has been handed a five-year “show cause” penalty for his role in the violations meaning any program that attempts to hire him in the next five years could face NCAA sanctions. The penalties stem from a series of NCAA violations the OSU football program committed dating back to December 2010 when OSU became mired in a scandal involving players receiving improper benefits including discounts on tattoos.  The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Jan. 2 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., where the team will play Florida. read more

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Commentary New York Giants rough start hard to watch for lifelong fans

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs (right) sacks New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning at Soldier Field Oct. 10. The Bears won, 27-21.Credit: Courtesy of MCTTwelve dollars. That’s all I spent on a New York Giants football sweatshirt that I’m truthfully too scared to wear at the risk of being ridiculed. It’s hard enough being a fan of a football team in a different state, but it’s even harder when that team has yet to win one of its six games this season.I was born and raised in New Jersey, so being a New York Giants fan is all I’ve ever known. I was taught that the Giants are the best and that I’m supposed to hate the Philadelphia Eagles … which I do. Being a fan of the G-men has never been a problem until this season.Coach Tom Coughlin is 67 and is in his 10th year coaching the team. He’s one of the oldest NFL coaches ever, but after earning a pair of Super Bowl rings for the Giants, it doesn’t appear he’ll be going away anytime soon.The Giants have won two Super Bowls in the last six years (2008 and 2012). With a history like that, you would think that they would be a team to fear. This year, not so much. They’ve had their worst start to a season since 1976 and quarterback Eli Manning has had arguably the worst season of his career, currently leading the league in interceptions with 15. Ouch. That’s gotta be rough while his big brother Peyton and the Broncos are having an awesome season, winning their first six games and leading the league in total offense, passing yards and points scored.Since I’m a fan of Ohio State football as well, I can’t imagine how current Giant players, former Buckeyes Jonathan Hankins and Jim Cordle feel right now. Playing on the OSU football team has spoiled them into not really knowing what a losing consistently feels like. In Cordle’s five years at OSU (he redshirted in 2005), the team was a combined 54-10, and in Hankins’ three years, the Buckeyes were 30-8, including the 12 vacated wins in 2010.My goal is not to bash the team I’ve grown up watching, it’s to share a little bit of my disappointment OSU fans might not understand. This is the first time my friends who are Cleveland Browns (3-3) fans are laughing at me.In my mind, this season is over for the Giants. Will I still watch the games? Yes. Will I still have hope that they can win a game? Of course. Will I wear that $12 sweatshirt anytime soon? To be determined. But I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to come anywhere close to the playoffs at this point, so my heart is a little broken for them. read more

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Leadership contributing to No 13 Ohio State womens volleyballs hot start

OSU freshman setter Taylor Hughes (6) sets the ball during a match against Florida State on Sept. 6 at St. John Arena. Credit: Ashley Roudebush / For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team has started off the season going 8-1, including three victories over top 25 teams in then-No. 14 Florida State twice and then-No. 13 Arizona.Before the 13th-ranked Buckeyes open conference play with No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 23 Minnesota next week at St. John Arena, the team has three final nonconference matchups in Rochester, Michigan, against Eastern Illinois, Western Michigan and Oakland.OSU plays in statistically the toughest conference and has the ninth toughest schedule overall in the NCAA.A key contributor to OSU’s success so far this season has been junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe. The third-year starter put together strong performances in the D.C. Koehl Classic tournament, including a match against Florida State in which she tallied zero hitting errors. Sandbothe is second on the team in kills with 110 kills, and has a .419 hitting percentage through nine matches, 33rd best in the country.       “You need players like that,” coach Geoff Carlston said about the Big Ten co-Player of the Week. “She’s certainly one of the kids we’re looking to for those moments.”Sandbothe said she sees herself as a player who likes to lead the rest of her team by example.“All of us have a passion for the game, and if I can influence my team by having that swagger and confidence on the court, that’s the player I want to be,” she said. “And if my teammates can look to me to be that kind of player consistently, I feel like that’s a privilege for me.”With two freshmen and four sophomores on the roster, Carlston said he looks to the seniors for leadership but has equally been impressed by the juniors.“I think our younger players tend to gravitate toward other people,” he said. “Our juniors have really stepped up in terms of taking on that leadership role. I’ve seen them keeping our team relaxed and in the moments.”Along with Sandbothe, junior libero Valeria León — the team’s defensive leader — said she takes on some of the responsibility of assisting the freshmen and sophomores in understanding how to play in big games.“We always talk about staying in the moment,” León said. “Don’t get excited, don’t get too nervous.”OSU returned most of its key players from last year’s squad that was a set away from an Elite Eight appearance — which would have been the first in Carlston’s tenure at OSU — and an improved 12-8 conference record from the 2013 season, when the Buckeyes were 6-14 in Big Ten play.León said she sees the team continuing its strong start through conference play and into the NCAA tournament.“After this year, I’m going to be a senior so right now, I’m approaching this year like it’s my last one,” León said. “I think we have a pretty good chance to make it far this year. I’m really excited for this team.”Sandbothe echoed the libero’s enthusiasm about the team.“Our team definitely has a dynamic and chemistry unlike we’ve ever had,” Sandbothe said. “Don’t count us out for being a Final Four team — and winning the Big Ten.” read more

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Wrestling No 2 Ohio State comes away with second straight Big Ten

Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder runs out of the tunnel prior to his match in the the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorEAST LANSING, Michigan — Ohio State is back on top.For the second straight season, the Buckeyes claimed a Big Ten championship with four wrestlers taking home individual titles. This is the third conference championship under head coach Tom Ryan. After the championships, he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. All 10 Ohio State wrestlers qualified for the NCAA championships in Cleveland on March 15-17. Nine of 10 wrestlers for Ohio State advanced to the semi finals, with seven advancing to the final and four winning it all, which was enough to seal the team title over No. 1 Penn State. “This weekend, we felt like we had a little more margin of error [than last year], and the guys wrestled out of their mind,” Ryan said.No. 2 seed Kyle Snyder won the heavyweight title 4-2 with a takedown in the second overtime round against No. 1 seed Adam Coon of Michigan, avenging a loss to Coon on Feb. 11. This was Snyder’s third straight Big Ten championship.“They have clearly done a great job preparing him for someone that’s got great leg attacks, so there were some adjustments Kyle made and tonight, one of those adjustments worked out,” Ryan said.Snyder gameplanned specifically for Coon, which lead to him shooting less often than usual, leading to the lack of scoring. “His leg defense has got better, so I gotta be a little more strategic with what I do, but takedown in overtime is cool,” Snyder said. Ohio State senior Nathan Tomasello defeated Minnesota No. 5 Ethan Lizak 10-7 in the 125-pound final. It was the fourth individual Big Ten championship for the Buckeyes’ No. 3 seed. No. 1 seed Joey McKenna shutout Illinois’ No. 3 Michael Carr 13-0 in the 141-pound final. This is McKenna’s third straight conference title, after he won two Pac-12 championships during his time with Stanford, before he transferred to Ohio State in 2017. Sophomore Kollin Moore was the top seed at 197 pounds, but he entered the tournament a loser of two of his last three bouts. However, he put all those struggles behind him and claimed another Big Ten championship.“Kollin Moore is a workhouse out there, and when you don’t have the volume of training behind someone who’s a workhorse late in matches,” Ryan said. “When you shoot 30, 40, 20 times, you start to feel it more than if you just got that cardio behind you, but he’s had some great practices in the last few weeks and he’s looking strong right now.”In the 184-pound final, Nittany Lion No. 1 seed Bo Nickal beat Ohio State No. 2 seed Myles Martin in 7-4 decision. Martin scored one takedown against Nickal, but the riding time advantage in favor of Nickal, along with tough defense, found Martin out of time to mount a comeback. In the second straight meeting between the two, Wolverine No. 1 seed Stevan Micic won against Ohio State No. 2 Luke Pletcher in the 133-pound final. In Pletcher’s semifinal match Saturday, he rallied against sophomore Mitch McKee, the No. 3 seed for the Golden Gophers. McKee heald a 3-0 lead going into the third period, but Pletcher scored three straight takedowns to win 6-4. Ohio State No. 4 seed Micah Jordan earned runner-up at 157 pounds, losing to Michigan No. 3 seed Alec Pantaleo in the finals 3-1. A late second-period takedown proved the difference between these two. Pantaleo also beat Jordan 12-7 on Feb. 11.Ohio State No. 2 174-pound Bo Jordan lost to Michigan then-No. 6 Myles in the dual meet, and hoped to get revenge against the now-three seed in the semifinals in order to have a shot at Penn State No. 1 seed Mark Hall. However, Bo was pinned by Amine in a surprise result Saturday night. Bo later earned the third-place match.Ohio State No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes outwrestled Nebraska’s Colton McCrystal 7-5 at 149 pounds. At 165 pounds, Ohio State junior Te’Shan Campbell finished 9th, which earned him a spot at NCAA championships. read more

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Football Dwayne Haskins pays no attention to Heisman talk

There’s no doubt anymore that Dwayne Haskins is in the Heisman Trophy conversation.After being three yards shy of the school’s record for passing yards, tallying 455 yards and six touchdowns in Ohio State’s 49-26 win over Indiana on Saturday, the redshirt sophomore quarterback not only cemented his name in contention: he launched it to the top, with only Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa really standing in his way.In Wednesday’s interviews, Haskins said he tries not to make the award talk his top focus.“I don’t think I’m paying attention to it, I’m aware of it, more so, but it’s not like my main focus right now,” Haskins said. “It’s just a blessing to be considered with those guys, those are great quarterbacks and we’re all pretty cool with each other, so we’re competing every week.”Tagovailoa is one of those players Haskins is cool with.“We talk every week,” Haskins said. “We sent each other scriptures before the game on Saturday, just, you know, sent out blessings to each other, so he did a great job last week.”Both Haskins and Tagovailoa have their teams to 6-0 records, and both have stats that jump off the page.Haskins is completing 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,919 yards, with 26 touchdowns and four interceptions. Tagovailoa is throwing for a modest 1,495 yards, but on only 101 attempts, and is up to 20 total touchdowns without an interception.Though the two could be battling for the NCAA’s top prize, Haskins said it isn’t a competition between the two.“No competition, I was like ‘how did you go 10-for-13 for 300 yards?,” Haskins said. “He’s like ‘I don’t know,’ but I mean that’s pretty cool, I wish I could do that one of these games this year.”Wide receivers don’t like the new touchback ruleRedshirt senior wide receivers Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon interviewed together on Wednesday, and the main topic of conversation did not involve the offense.Instead, both Dixon and Campbell discussed their distaste for a new touchback rule, allowing returners to call for a fair catch anywhere inside the 25-yard line to be ruled as a touchback, placing the ball at the 25..Dixon said he did not want to change his game plan on returns.“Not mine, but the coaches, I want to return everything,” Dixon said.Before Dixon could finish, Campbell interjected, saying the new return rule “sucks.” And Dixon agreed.“Yeah, it sucks so bad,” Dixon said. “Right now it’s like if you back up a little bit, just fair catch it … that rule is crazy.”Moving to their role in the passing game, Dixon and Campbell were also asked about how much former Ohio State and current New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas has been an inspiration for them.Thomas broke the NFL record for most receptions through the first two games of a season with 28 catches, and is No. 2 in the league for receptions at 46 in his first five games.Dixon said he seems him as an idol, but that his inspiration comes elsewhere. “My inspiration comes from things bigger than just a person, mostly my family, my daughter who’s on the way,” Dixon said. “He inspired a lot of people because he came from here and he’s doing it at a high level right now, but inspiration goes deeper than that for me.”But Dixon said one of the receivers, junior Austin Mack, may not hold that same opinion.“Austin loves him,” Dixons said. “Austin’s probably his biggest fan.”Jonathon Cooper likely to be out against MinnesotaRedshirt junior defensive tackle Davon Hamilton gave an update on the status of junior defensive end Jonathon Cooper, who was seen leaving the game on a cart in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Hoosiers.When asked about Cooper, Hamilton said “he will not be out there this week” for practice leading up to the matchup against Minnesota.Cooper has eight tackles this season, three of which are for a loss, including a sack against then-No. 15 TCU.On Monday, head coach Urban Meyer said Cooper and junior linebacker Malik Harrison, who was also taken off the field on the same cart, were making strong progress.“Much better today,” Meyer said on the status of Cooper and Harrison. “Probably know more today or later tomorrow, but much better.”There have been no official updates on the type of injury sustained by either Cooper or Harrison. read more

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Football Demetrius Knox signs with Seattle Seahawks as undrafted free agent

Ohio State redshirt senior offensive lineman Demetrius Knox (78) makes an “H” as he is taken off the field in the second half of the game against Michigan on Nov. 24. Ohio State won 62-39. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorFormer Ohio State offensive lineman Demetrius Knox signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent Saturday evening.Blessed to say I’m a Seahawk!— Demetrius Knox (@Meech_Dream14) April 27, 2019Following Malcolm Pridgeon, Knox is the second of Ohio State’s 2018 starting guards to sign with an NFL team following the draft.Former Ohio State guard-turned center Michael Jordan was drafted as the No. 136 pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round of the draft. Knox started 12 games at the right guard position for Ohio State before having his senior season cut short with a foot injury suffered during a 62-39 win against Michigan in his final game at Ohio Stadium.Despite the injury keeping him out of Ohio State’s victories at the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl, Knox still participated at the Buckeye Pro Day in March.Knox won a starting position on the Buckeye front line after six games as a backup in 2017, and would go on to start 20 straight games before his injury.His 2018 campaign earned the Fort Worth, Texas native third-team All-Big Ten honors. read more

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Alevel results the most unfair in a generation warn headteachers following changes

first_imgBut leading heads representing schools such as Eton College and Harrow argue the reforms have been “rushed and flawed” and will breed inconsistency and confusion.Ofqual maintained that its reforms were to make the system “clearer, more consistent, and fairer for all students”.However, Chris King – chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) – argued that the changes to the exam appeal system will have “lifelong consequences” for bright pupils who will miss out on Oxbridge places by a few points because of subjective marking. Mr King added: “The extent of uncertainty and inconsistency in how this summer’s grades can be checked is absurd.  This has all the hallmarks of reforms brought in far too quickly with some previously announced changes being confirmed, others changed and yet others shelved.”“It is also unacceptable that these further changes have been announced after some schools broke up for the summer holidays.“In addition, we have only now found out for the first time – and very late in the day – precisely how the new experimental mark-checking system will be tested this year when initial marks are reviewed across all subjects.  “Just as we feared, this process will be very vague and unsatisfactory, leading to the likelihood of fewer accurate replacement marks than in previous years.  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 its latest annual survey the regulator found that 42 per cent of head teachers feel that the current appeals system is unfair compared to 29 per cent who think that it is fair.   It also found that head teacher trust in A-levels has declined since last year from 88 per cent to 85 per cent. “Reviewers will have to look out for ‘unreasonable exercise of academic judgment’ but all they will have to go on is Ofqual’s advice that ‘unreasonable’ should be given its normal meaning and a common-sense approach should be adopted’. What kind of precision check is that for high-stakes exams such as A-level?”   Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the NATH, said: “It is clear that unreasonable deadlines have been put on exam boards to make the changes announced three months ago.  “Their further alteration over the summer is bound to cause confusion and shows that the regulator rushed the proposed reforms.”An Ofqual spokesman said: “It’s really important to us that students get the marks that their performance deserves.”The decisions we have taken will make the systems schools and colleges use to challenge GCSE, AS and A-level results in England clearer, more consistent, and fairer for all students.“The changes have been informed by research and based on extensive consultation with schools’ groups, subject associations, teachers and students.”We are phasing in the reforms so that exam boards can make the necessary changes to their systems in an orderly and achievable way.“We have written to around 7,000 schools and colleges in England on three occasions to draw their attention to the planned changes, and issued a succinct guide to help anyone with an interest navigate the new arrangements.“None of the changes we are making will stand in the way of a marking mistake being found and corrected.”Check out our guides• Step-by-step guide to Clearing Ofqual, reforms, A-level, clearing, university places, results He told the Telegraph: “This unfair situation could have a seriously harmful impact on young people’s life chances. A-level results will be the “most unfair in a generation”, headteachers have warned, after changes to the appeals process that may result in students missing out on places at elite universities.Leading heads of both private and state schools said that students appealing exam results face “the most chaotic and unfair year in a generation”.Search for Clearing vacancies onlineDownload the Clearing app on iPhone or AndroidIn May this year, Ofqual, the exam boards regulator, said it would only allow re-marking if there were “clear errors”.In a major clampdown on exam appeals, Ofqual said it would press ahead with a tougher system that will make it harder for some pupils to get a “second bite of the cherry”. “For example, there is a risk that students might not get the marks they deserve and miss out on a place at Oxford, Cambridge or another top university or medical school.“One or two marks can mean the difference between fulfilling their dreams or being forced to completely rethink their futures.“Lack of accuracy and fair appeal is not only wrong but has lifelong consequences; this is why we call on the regulator to put the wellbeing of students rather than the system at the centre of its approach.”His warnings came as hundreds of thousands of students prepare to learn their A-level results later this week. A-level Results Day 00 : 00 : 00 : 00 Days Hrs Mins Secs • Step-by-step guide to Adjustment• Step-by-step guide to A-level Results Day One or two marks can mean the difference between fulfilling their dreams or being forced to completely rethink their futuresChris King, HMC chairman The HMC and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have warned students and parents that this year “it may be harder than ever before for A-level candidates who appeal their grades to get a fair outcome”. They argue that the new rules on formal appeals against this summer’s results are ‘confusing’ because they will only apply only to three subjects.They said that the list of subjects – physics, geography and religious studies – has now been changed since it was first announced earlier this year.   In June Ofqual published a survey which showed deteriorating faith in A-levels among head teachers.   Headteachers have said the new rules on formal appeals are ‘confusing’last_img read more

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Asthma drug can half chance of suffering severe attack

first_imgChildren who were small in the womb are more likely to be asthmatic a second study showed  These findings suggest that antenatal factors contribute to life-long respiratory wellbeingDr Stephen Turner Patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma have very few treatment options once they are already taking high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists The drug is an antibody – a special protein in the immune system which latches on to foreign invaders, flagging them up to garbage-disposal cells. In this case, the antibody targets the rogue immune cells, called eosinophils, which trigger asthma attacks.“Patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma have very few treatment options once they are already taking high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists,” said Professor Eugene Bleecker, Centre for Genomics and Personalised Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, who led one of the trials.“Benralizumab depletes eosinophils directly, and our studies show that eosinophil counts were nearly completely depleted by week four of treatment.”Prof  Mark FitzGerald, of the University of British Columbia, in Canada, who led the second trial added: “Additional therapeutic options to control severe asthma are urgently neededThe findings are published in The Lancet medical journal and were presented at the European Respiratory Society’s annual meeting in London. 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. “We hope that our findings can aid clinicians identifying asthma risks in different individuals. By understanding which individuals are at risk of developing more severe asthma, we can encourage lifestyle changes that can help reduce this risk.”A third study by the University of Aberdeen found that babies who were small in the womb were also more likely to develop asthma in childhood.“These findings suggest that antenatal factors contribute to life-long respiratory wellbeing,” said Dr Stephen Turner,  of the University of Aberdeen.“Ultimately, any intervention is going to boil down to mothers not smoking or drinking, having a balanced diet and taking regular exercise – but this is good incentive for a healthy maternal lifestyle.”Dr Erika Kennington, Asthma UK’s Head of Research, said: “Research like this is starting to show that experiences in childhood could have an impact on your asthma in later life, but there is still so much about this we don’t yet know.“Greater investment in research is needed to discover why some people develop asthma while others don’t so we can help them to reduce that risk.”  The meeting also heard how maintaining a healthy weight as a child can prevent asthma as an adult.Scientists in Denmark compared the Body Mass Index scores of 300,000 schoolchildren aged between seven and 13 to see if it had an impact on asthma when they became adults.They found that being overweight increased the chance of a woman being admitted to hospital for a severe asthma attack by 39 per cent. In contrast, for men being underweight was the biggest risk factor, raising the chance of a hospital admission by 25 per cent.Professor Charlotte Suppli Ulrik, lead author from the Hvidovre Hospital and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said: “Our findings present an intriguing look at the differences we see between men and women when we identify predictors of asthma among children.“This could be due to a range of factors including levels of physical activity, lung mechanics and different environmental factors. Children who were small in the womb are more likely to be asthmatic a second study showed  A new asthma drug which can half  the chance of suffering a severe attack could prevent hundreds of deaths a year.Monthly injections of benralizumab were found to reduce episodes of serious shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness by up to 51 per cent.Approximately quarter of a million people in Britain suffer from severe asthma and every 10 seconds someone suffers a serious attack. Around 1,200 people a year die from the condition.But two trials on more than 2,500 patients showed that the benralizumab could offer new hope for people whose asthma can no longer be controlled by steroid inhalers and other drugs.last_img read more

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NHS bed blocking at monthly worst level on record

first_img“The forthcoming Autumn Statement offers an opportunity for the Government to provide more money for the NHS and social care, and to agree to a cross-party commission to review how we can make the NHS sustainable for the long term.”Without a serious look at what the NHS needs in funding, we will remain in a state of constant winter.”Find out more about Telegraph Private Health Insurance provided by AXA PPP.  Limited Offer: 2 months FREE + a £50 M&S voucher when you join before 1 November 2016. Conditions applyA spokeswoman for NHS England said: “It is important patients who are well enough to leave hospital can do so at the earliest opportunity, and these figures underline the importance of joined-up care within the NHS and the dependence of hospitals on well-functioning social care services – particularly for older people living at home.” The number of patients delayed at midnight on the last Thursday of July – used to provide a snapshot of levels of bed blocking – is also at a record high, the figures show.There were 6,364 patients taking up beds at this point, the highest monthly figure since the data was first collected in August 2010.Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said bed capacity was a “major concern” and warned that the NHS would “remain in a state of constant winter” unless funding issues were addressed.She said: “Patients’ treatment is too often delayed because there is no space on wards for them after their operations.”Unless the NHS and social care does more to help patients leave hospital sooner and the elective bed capacity increases, I fear we will not see waiting times improve. Without a serious look at what the NHS needs in funding, we will remain in a state of constant winterClare Marx, Royal College of Surgeons president The number of days lost through so-called “bed blocking” in England is at its highest monthly level on record, new figures show.Patients taking up beds when they no longer required hospital care took up 184,188 days in July compared to the 147,376 days in the same period last year, according to NHS England data.Reader Service: Get fast track appointments with Telegraph Private Health Insurance provided by AXA PPPThe figure, the highest since records began in 2010, marks a rise from the 171,298 days lost through bed blocking in June.Bed blocking occurs when someone is medically fit to be discharged, but care has not yet been organised to help them outside of hospital. 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.last_img read more

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Women may be outdrinking men thanks to the march of wine oclock

first_imgYoung men and women are drinking at similar levels, the study suggestsCredit:PA  Beer bottle  The charity, which is calling for mandatory health warnings on alcohol, said many people needed more information about how to keep within recommended limits, to reduce their chance of physical and mental ill-health.Earlier this year, the Government published new alcohol guidelines, which for the first time gave men and women the same maximum weekly limit, at 14 units. binge drinkers  The findings suggested that women born after 1981 may be drinking even more than male peers, they said.The global research used data collected since 1948 to examine the habits of more than four million people, born throughout the last century. Young women are just as likely as men to drink at a problem level, the global study suggests Credit:PA  Government advice on alcohol says 14 units is a safe limit for men and women Credit:PA  Emily Robinson, director of campaigns, from Alcohol Concern, said women’s drinking had been on the rise for more than half a century, with many seeing “wine o’ clock” as a daily treat.“Since the 1950s we’ve seen women’s drinking continue to rise. Drinking at home has continued to increase and because alcohol is so cheap and easily available it’s become an everyday grocery item. We’ve also seen a concerted effort from the alcohol industry to market products and brands specifically to women,” she said.“People often don’t realise that alcohol has become a habit rather than a pleasure, with women having wine o’clock most nights of the week.”center_img wine  It found that men born before 1910 were more than twice as likely as female peers to drink alcohol – a difference which was eliminated among those born towards the end of the century.Similar gender patterns were seen in problem and binge drinking and in harm caused by drinking, the global study found.While men born at the start of the last century were three times as likely as women to drink heavily, almost no difference was found between today’s young men and women, researchers said.The trends show a steady convergence in gender habits over the last century.For every five years, the gap narrowed by around 3 per cent, the study found. Women may now be out-drinking men after a century which has seen traditional gender differences wiped out, major research has found.Experts said that the march of “wine o’clock” had seen daily drinking become the norm for many women, putting them at risk of long-term harm.The study of four million adults, published in BMJ Online, found that in the past, men were twice as likely as women to drink alcohol, and three times as likely to do so at a harmful level.The research, which tracked drinking habits for those born throughout the last century, found differences in habits have been almost eliminated.Researchers said the “sex convergence” was almost entirely explained by rising alcohol use among women – especially among younger groups. But the steepest changes occurred after 1966, when those who reached their 20s in the 1980s, 1990s and this century began to match and even outdrink men, according to the research which analysed 68 global studies.Researchers, led by Dr Tim Slade, from the University of New South Wales, said programmes to prevent alcohol harm needed to do more to target female drinking.“Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon,” they concluded. “The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women in particular should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.” Until now, men had been given a higher limit, at 21 units.It came despite fears that the setting of equal limits could encourage women to drink more, and give a “false impression” they could drink at unsafe levels.A spokesman for the Portman Group – the industry body which promotes responsible drinking – said UK trends did not mirror global patterns. “The idea that women are now ‘catching up’ with men’s alcohol consumption does not reflect the real-life evidence of how women drink in the UK today. Official government data shows significant declines in women’s alcohol consumption, frequency of drinking and binge drinking rates over the last decade and today 84 per cent of women do not exceed low risk guidelines,” he said. Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol and drugs at Public Health England said: “Recent trends suggest that alcohol consumption in men is falling more sharply than for women which is contributing to the reduction in the gender gap. However men remain more likely to drink and much more likely to drink at dangerous levels compared to women.” 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.last_img read more

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Pippa Middleton and husbandtobe make first public appearance at society event just

first_imgMs Middleton and James Matthews were not afraid to walk into the limelight at the ParaSnow Ball at Hurlingham Gardens.While the two have been snapped at Wimbledon before, and were seen at Sandringham with the Royal children, this is their first public society event. Pippa Middleton is preparing for life in front of the camera before her wedding dayCredit:SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock The 12th century church is away from prying eyes, on a private estate near Englefield House which is owned by MP Richard Benyon.After the service, the newlyweds will travel to Pippa’s parents’ Bucklebury home for a marquee reception. Carole and Michael Middleton bought the Georgian Grade II-listed manor house, which has an 18 acre garden, back in 2012. Pippa Middleton and her husband-to-be rarely make public appearances, and especially do not often attend society events.However, all eyes will be on them at their wedding in two weeks, and perhaps to get used to the unusual attention the pair stepped out on Thursday night. James Matthews smiled but did not look directly at the cameras 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.center_img Pippa and James will wed at St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire, just six miles from the quaint village of Bucklebury where the bride grew up with elder sister Catherine and younger brother James. The bride-to-be looked radiant in her elegant and understated dress.Fans of the Royal Family have been looking forward to seeing what Pippa Middleton will wear on her wedding day.Their wedding is set to be a special event, as Prince George and Princess Charlotte will act as page boy and bridesmaid, and Prince Harry is expected to attend with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.Pippa Middleton, 33, is just weeks away from marrying hedge fund manager James Matthews, 41. They are due to tie the knot on Saturday, May 20. James Matthews smiled but did not look directly at the camerasCredit: SilverHub/REX/Shutterstoc Pippa Middleton is preparing for life in front of the camera before her wedding daylast_img read more

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Boy drowns on hottest day of the year despite efforts of air

first_imgFriends visited the park yesterday to lay flowers at the scene where Robbie was pulled from the water.They told how the teenager got into difficulty while trying to swim to an island in the middle of the North Metropolitan Lake at the Lee Valley Park.Ryan Soltwell, 18, said: “I woke up and saw it all over social media and I asked a friend what happened.”She said he had come river-jumping and swimming and he drowned. One of Prince William’s final assignments as an air ambulance pilot has ended in tragedy, after he could not save a drowning 17-year-old boy. The teenager, named by friends as Robbie Lea, got into trouble in a lake at the Lee Valley Park in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire on the hottest day of the year. The Duke of Cambridge was scrambled to pilot an Air Ambulance helicopter to the country park after the emergency services were alerted.The Duke of Cambridge was scrambled to pilot an Air Ambulance helicopter to the country park after the emergency services were alerted.After an hour long search the body of a boy was pulled from the water. Tragically he was pronounced dead at the scene, the first person this year to drown while out swimming in the recent spell of hot weather. “We’ve all done it before but nothing’s ever come out like this.”Morgan Harrison, 17, who also went to the scene, said: “He was just going out and having fun. I think it’s just really horrible.”Stuff like this happens, he wasn’t doing anything stupid I think he was just having a good time, it was a hot day and he obviously wanted to cool down he has not realised the danger.”I first heard last night.”I was in bed and I about to go to sleep and I got a text message saying people keep saying Robbie’s missing and he’s passed away and I couldn’t believe it and it was all over social media.”I was just really sad, distraught to be honest.”I didn’t really get to sleep I was just worrying about his family, my boyfriend and his friends, the people he was with.”I’ve just seen lots and lots of people posting pictures saying I can’t believe you’re gone.”I would like to say he’s got a lot of people missing him, he’s got a lot of support and that we all love him.”Robbie, who attended Goffs School in Cheshunt, had recently started studying engineering at Hertford Regional College. Think carefully before swimming in unsupervised areas and look out for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the location where you are swimming.Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen An eye witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We knew something was up when a helicopter was flying extremely low just over the Lee Valley Park.”We could see it was landing so ran over to see what was going on.”Little did we expect to see Prince William himself flying the helicopter.”It was a very surreal moment when he left the helicopter to help with the search and rescue, for he had no visible guards or protection.”He arrived in an East Anglia Air Ambulance with one other co-pilot.”The man said he did not see a body being retrieved from the river, but that a group of people nearby had to be ushered away from the scene. Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue confirmed that Robbie was found following an extensive bankside and water search.Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen said: “We were called yesterday evening to reports of a boy who had got into difficulties while swimming at Lea Valley Park in Cheshunt.”Following a search we recovered the boy from the water. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”Now that the weather is so warm it’s very tempting to cool off with a swim. Eyewitness Dave Samuels said: “There were two helicopters, one police and one air ambulance, there were emergency services everywhere including water rescue with people getting boats ready.”Whatever had actually happened, you couldn’t say the emergency services hadn’t tried, I have never seen so many.”A Hertfordshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: “A search led by the fire service was carried out.”The boy was recovered from the water but sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene.”There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident and a file will be prepared for the coroner of Hertfordshire.”Lee Valley Regional Park is a 10,000-acre 26 miles long linear park which runs through the northeast of Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire.The area includes a network of rivers, canals and lakes.  Swimming and paddling is not permitted in the park. He wasn’t doing anything stupid I think he was just having a good time, it was a hot day and he obviously wanted to cool down he has not realised the danger.Morgan Harrison Prince William in the air ambulance at the lake at Lee Valley Park Videos taken at the scene show the Duke of Cambridge landing his helicopter, and then walking towards the scene at around 8.00pm on Thursday. Prince William at the lake at Lee Valley ParkCredit:Herts Mercury / SWNS.com Prince William in the air ambulance at the lake at Lee Valley ParkCredit:Herts Mercury / SWNS.com 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. “However, even the strongest swimmer can get into difficulties and we would advise people to think carefully before swimming in unsupervised areas and look out for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the location where you are swimming.”The Duke of Cambridge, who is a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, landed the helicopter on the river bank at approximately 7.45pm.Paramedics and a water rescue team from the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service also attended the scene. Prince William at the lake at Lee Valley Parklast_img read more

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Free health treatment for British tourists in Europe and EU criminals to

first_imgBritish tourists will be guaranteed free health cover when they are on holiday in the EU, David Davis has disclosed, as the Government prepared to publish its detailed Brexit negotiating position on migrants’ rights. The Brexit Secretary will ask the EU to continue with the current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, and said that if Brussels refuses, the Government will foot the £155 million a year bill. He said EU citizens will have to undergo criminal record…center_img Mr Davis gave fresh details of what will be in a 15-page document sent to the EU on Monday setting out Britain’s position on migrant rights, which will form the basis for tough head-to-head negotiations over the coming weeks.last_img

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Wimbledon Strawberries revealed to have been subsidised to keep price same for

first_imgTo ensure their freshness, they are picked at sunrise each morning at the Hugh Lowe Farm in Kent, which has supplied the championships for more than 20 years.Hugh Lowe Farm’s managing director, Marion Regan, has previously warned that strawberries may have to be imported after Britain leaves the EU, amid fears there will be a shortage of migrant fruit pickers.But Mr Davies said: “Obviously that would be her view, our view is that we think we will be able to maintain British strawberries.” 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. Mr Davies said: “Food price inflation at this time is running higher than it has in previous years, but it’s something we saw coming down the line. For us it’s about making the right choices so our guests have the best experience. “What’s really important to us is that our strawberries are accessible and we do help subsidise the strawberry offer in order to make it more accessible for our guests. We will pay a portion of that to Compass to deliver on those prices year on year.”Mr Davies said that strawberries have become more popular year on year, resulting in 28 tonnes of strawberries being sold last year. Meanwhile, the BBC’s Today at Wimbledon programme has attracted criticism for using a large bowl of strawberries as a display piece on the show with fears the fruit was going to waste.However, a BBC spokeswoman said: “There’s a plastic insert in the bowl to make it appear that there are more strawberries in there than there actually are.”The strawberries have been in the bowl since Monday night on the TV, they are kept in the fridge and at the end of the day they go on the same show.”Asked whether the strawberries would be handed out to staff before they went bad, she said “who can say”. Meanwhile, the AELTC revealed that sushi has also soared in popularity as both spectators and competitors opt for high-protein snacks, with sales increasing by 306 per cent from 2014 to 2016. center_img Wimbledon has revealed that it subsidises its strawberries and cream treats in order to keep the price affordable for customers.A bowl of strawberries and cream, a traditional part of a day at the championships, has remained at £2.50 for the last seven years.There have been fears that the cost of fruit will increase after Britain leaves the EU, with some studies suggesting the price of soft fruit could increase by as much as 50 per cent.But Anthony Davies, head of food and beverage, at AELTC, said the club’s caterers, Compass Group, will continue to subsidise the cost of strawberries to make sure it was affordable for all.  In 2014, the club sold 17,900 pieces of the raw fish delicacy but by 2016 the figure had increased to 54,784 pieces during the championship fortnight.The club said players have also requested that low-fat chocolate milk be on offer in the cafe as it is thought to aid their post-match recovery.Andy Murray is known to be a sushi fan, but his mother Judy warned: “You have to be careful how much sushi you eat, you can end up with too much mercury in your system.” “We do help subsidise the strawberry offer in order to make it more accessible for our guests”Anthony Davieslast_img read more

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Huge bonfires light up Belfast to mark start of Twelfth of July

first_imgVery busy night, 133 incidents attended including 40 bonfire incidents. Read our statement – https://t.co/i0vseNZd5U— NIFRS (@NIFRSOFFICIAL) July 12, 2017 twelfth of July Twelfth of July That community interface has been the scene of violence in recent years. A total of 18 venues will be hosting parades across the region. Sinn Fein reacted angrily to a coffin bearing an image of the late Martin McGuinness being attached to one in east Belfast, while Irish flags and posters of Sinn Fein and other non-unionist politicians were a common sight on many fires. Huge bonfires across Belfast have ushered in the start of the annual ‘Twelfth of July’ celebrations in Northern Ireland.The enormous bonfires created a spectacular sight across the city ahead of thousands of Orange Order members taking part in parades across the country today. People watch a bonfire in the Sandy Row area igniteCredit:Reuters  Twelfth of July celebrations Bonfires built side by side are lit Credit:Reuters  Twelfth of July celebrations The lighting of the bonfires at midnight on the eleventh night mark the start of the annual Twelfth of July celebrationsCredit:Getty  Orangemen and nationalist residents at the most contentious parade – at Woodvale/Ardoyne in north Belfast – have struck a deal that aims to reduce tensions in the area. A loyalist is silhouetted as he gathers in front of the bonfireCredit:Getty  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 Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) described the night as “exceptionally busy”, with crews dealing with 95 operational incidents between 10pm and 1am. Homes were boarded up at a number of bonfire sites amid concerns around safety and risk to property. Firefighters doused at-risk buildings with water in an effort to keep them cool as the fires raged nearby.There is cautious optimism this year’s Twelfth, the main date in the Protestant loyal order calender, will pass off without major incident. A child throws bits of wood onto a bonfire Credit:Reuters  During the most intense period, the NIFRS’s regional control centre handled an emergency 999 call every minute. The bonfires often prove contentious and this year was no different. Twelfth of July celebrations  The events mark King William of Orange’s victory over James II at the Battle of Boyne in Ireland in 1690.Firefighters in the region dealt with 40 bonfire related incidents – up 21% on last year – on a night when they received 213 emergency calls in total and mobilised to 133 incidents overall – a 49% hike on 2016. Twelfth of July A man holds a Union flag in front of a bonfire Credit:Reuters last_img read more

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