Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bayern München Break League Title Record

By Brad Eveleigh

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FC Bayern München have been crowned Champions of the German Bundesliga for the 24th time with a record 7 games to spare after a 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin.

Mathematically, Bayern could have ended the title race last Match Day however; a win by the distant 2nd placed Borussia Dortmund just delayed the invertible.

An early goal to midfielder Toni Kroos from 14 yards set the tone and took the club to a European record equaling 64th consecutive goal-score game – tied with Barcelona.

Mario Gotze extended the lead to 2 with a headed goal delivered by a cross from Bastian Schweinsteiger, which really sent the fans into a celebratory frenzy.

Adrian Ramos reduced the deficit from the penalty spot for Hertha Berlin to create a sniff of a chance to upset the championship party, but a cheeky lob from the by-line from Franck Ribery in the 79th minute sealed the title.

This was Bayern’s 52nd consecutive league game without defeat, which includes a record breaking 10 consecutive away matches. The previous record was 9 in which they set last season.

Bayern set a solid platform early in the season to break the record for the fastest League Title by winning 25 of their first 27 games (the other 2 games were drawn). They sent shivers through the league as they knocked home 79 goals in that 27 game period.

With the League now wrapped up they set their sights on next weeks Champions League Quarter-Final tie with English club Manchester United, who are surprisingly sitting mid-table in their respective League.

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pic: football prss

 

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IRB World Rugby 7s Results – Round 6 – Tokyo

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GROUP STANDINGS

POOL A
9 – New Zealand
6 – Canada
6 – Wales
3 – Portugal

POOL B
9 – South Africa
7 – Kenya
4 – Argentina
4 – Japan

POOL C
8 – Fiji
6 – United States
5 – Samoa
5 – France

POOL D
9 – England
7 – Australia
5 – Scotland
3 – Spain

SHIELD FINAL
Argentina 28 def. Samoa 0

BOWL FINAL
Wales 28 def. Scotland 21

PLATE FINAL
Australia 17 def. United States 12

THIRD PLACE
England 21 def. New Zealand 12

FINAL
Fiji 33 def. South Africa 26

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Pic: veooz

Marquez opens his 2014 Campaign with Qatar GP Victory

By Brad Eveleigh ( @Brad_Eveleigh )

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Reigning World MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez has opened his 2014 account with a first place finish on the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP season in Qatar.

The 21-year-old started from Pole Position and claimed the top spot of the podium after a thrilling battle with his Italian rival, Valentino Rossi, who had to settle for second spot.

Marquez had his work cut out for him on the penultimate lap as he was forced to strangle his Repsol Honda to the limits, regaining the lead on two occasions from Rossi and done so with a fractured right Fibula.

At the conclusion of the race Marquez stated: “I enjoyed it. I did not think about the injury,”

“Last year he won, this year I won. I’m happy.”

“On the lap before the last we overtook each other two or three times, which was so nice.”

His Repsol Honda team mate and fellow Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa, claimed the third step on the podium after a battle with Alvaro Bautista who crashes out with only two laps to go.

Championship contended and 2012 World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, crashed out in the very early stages after briefly leading the race.

Moto2: 1 – Esteve Rabat (ESP). 2 – Mika Kallio (FIN) 3 – Thomas Luthi (SWI).
*Takaaki Nakagami finished second but was disqualified due to a breach of Technical Regulations. Team appeal was rejected.

Moto3: 1 – Jack Miller (AUS). 2 – Alex Marques (ESP). 3 – Efren Vazquez (ESP)

Qatar MotoGP Results
1. Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda 42:40.561
2. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 42:40.820
3. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 42:43.931
4. Aleix Espargaro (Spain) Yamaha 42:52.184
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati 42:52.720
6. Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Ducati 43:09.087
7. Scott Redding (Britain) Honda 43:13.154
8. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Honda 43:13.189
9. Colin Edwards (U.S.) Yamaha 43:20.108
10. Andrea Iannone (Italy) Ducati 43:23.921
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda 43:27.156
12. Yonny Hernandez (Colombia) Ducati 43:27.249
13. Karel Abraham (Czech Republic) Honda 43:31.142
14. Danilo Petrucci (Italy) ART 43:43.688

MotoGP Championship Standings
25 – Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda (Spain)
20 – Valentino Rossi – Yamaha (Italy)
16 – Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda (Spain)
13 – Aleix Espargaro – Forward Yamaha (Spain)
11 – Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati (Italy)
10 – Cal Crutchlow – Ducati (Britain)
9 – Scott Redding – Honda (Britain)
8 – Nicky Hayden – Honda (U.S)
7 – Colin Edwards – Forward Yamaha (U.S)
6 – Andrea Iannone – Ducati (Italy)
5 – Hiroshi Aoyama – Honda (Japan)
4 – Yonny Hernandez – Ducati (Colombia)
3 – Karel Abraham – Honda (Czech Republic)
2 – Danilo Pertrucci – ART (Italy)
1 – Broc PARKES – PBM (Australia)

Pic: media fax

Fox Sports Wednesday Night Fights Results

By Hayden Hooper ( @Hoopaman18 )

Horn: Welterweights Head Honcho

Jeff Horn kept his undefeated record alive and asserted himself as the country’s top Welterweight with a strong performance over Rivan Cesaire at Gold Coast’s Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino on Wednesday night.

Horn began the rematch looking much improved from their August 2013 match. He landed with strong, powerful jabs, one which even put Cesaire on the deck in the opening round. After two rounds the 26 year old former Olympian seemed to have Cesaire’s measure.

Cameroon born Cesaire would begin to find success with slick counters as Horn moved in, but it was obvious he lacked the power to trouble Horn, who continued to walk straight through with relentless pressure and work rate.

Approaching the 7th round, somewhere Horn has previously never been, he was well ahead on the scorecards and looked as though the distance would not affect him.

In the 9th round of the scheduled 12, Cesaire collapsed to the canvas with a suspected shoulder dislocation. The ref counted Cesaire out and signalled the end of the contest. The TKO victory gives Horn the WBO Oriental title and his record improves to 7-0-1, 6KOs.

Tupou Too Strong For American

The Fox Sports undercard seen Heavyweight Bowie Tupou score a 6th round TKO victory over American Nick Guivas.

Tupou having just his 2nd fight in Australia since returning from a long stint in the United States was in complete control through the duration of the bout without exerting maximum effort.

The giant 123kg Tupou cruised through the opening rounds, putting Guivas on the mat in the 3rd round.

The 5th round would see the American once again crumble to the canvas after a thunderous body shot. Tupou, who was on his final warning for low blows, then landed another shot to the body which folded Guivas in half. Referee Phil Austin deemed this one to be below the belt and deducted a point from Tupou.

The 6th seen Guivas go down again, he was able to answer the count, but after a Tupou combination connected shortly after, referee had seen enough and stopped the contest. Tupou improves to 24-3, 17KOs.

Hooper Defeats Tough Korean

Damien Hooper improves his record to 7-0, but has been given the toughest test of his young career, going the distance for the first time in a 6 round bout against Korean Young-Don Um.

After 2 rounds, spectators thought the Korean was a lamb waiting to get slaughtered as Hooper stalked and picked him apart. The 3rdround would however see Um shock everybody, most of all Hooper. He landed a punch that knocked the mouthpiece out and seemed to daze the Olympic representative.

From round 3 onwards, Hooper seemed intent on brawling with the Korean. While he possessed superior attack, landing shot after shot to his opponent, defensively the 22 year old was able to be caught by southpaw Um.

Um showed great ability to absorb punishment while continuing his own attack, this along with his showmanship had the crowd applauding a very entertaining fight.

Scorecards showed Hooper was well on top throughout the contest, reading 59-55, 59-55, 60-54. He however ended the fight with cuts above both eyes and was taken immediately to hospital where he received 6 stitches.

Casboult Crashes Ramirez’ Party

In another 6 round matchup, Mark Ramirez was looking to claim a victory on his 32nd birthday, young gun Matt Casboult, 20, had different ideas.

Casboult showed plenty of skill on his way to outpointing the more experienced Ramirez. Scorecards read 59-55, 58-56, 60-54. Caboult moves to 4-0, 1KO.

In the opening fight, Heavyweights James Porter and Marco Monarco went head to head for 4 rounds. Porter claimed a majority decision victory with scores of 39-37, 38-38, 39-37.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview

By Mick McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

This week is the final leg of the Florida Swing on the PGA Tour and we finish with the ‘Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

The event was founded in 1979 and before that it had several different name changes since it began in 1966 when it was known as the ‘Florida Citrus Open Invitational’ and was played at the Rio Pinar Golf Club which is also situated in Florida. Arnold Palmer has owned Bay Hill since 1974 however the tournament was first played under his name in 2007. In the 1966 Inaugural event Lionel Herbert beat the Legend Jack Nicklaus by 2 shots. Arnold Palmer has also won this event and that was in 1971, eight years before he became the host.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of only 5 tournaments given Invitational status by the PGA Tour. The other 4 are The Heritage, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Memorial Tournament and AT&T National. Invitational events have smaller fields which are usually between 120-132 players.

The field this week is of a very high standard with players such as Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley, Harris English, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler teeing it up.

The bookies top five in betting are  8/1 Tiger Woods, 14/1 Justin Rose, 14/1 Justin Rose, 14/1 Bubba Watson and 22/1 Hunter Mahan.

Tiger Woods is the Defending Champion this week and will be looking for his ninth win at Bay Hill. While he is not in the best of form this season he is a proven winner on the course.

The course is Par 72, 7419 yard with 103 bunkers and water coming into play on 9 of the 18 holes. The Purse is $US6.2M with the winner taking home $US1,116,000. The Pros rank Bay Hill as one of the most challenging and enjoyable courses on the tour. Unlike a lot of the courses on tour where it becomes a birdie-fest, Bay Hill is one of those courses that will require patience and plotting to make your way around all 18 holes. Just ask John Daly who in 1998 hit 6 balls into the water on the 6th hole during his last round to score an 18!!

This week it is all about ball striking and hitting those greens. Looking back at the past winners you will notice that they all ranked highly in Greens in Regulation stats. If you get lost in the Bermuda rough it makes it almost impossible to shoot for the green.

Patience is paramount this week. As mentioned earlier it is vital to play your shots well and maintain those Pars as they are just as important as the birdies this week. It will require a steady head and poise.

Not many rookies or first times fair well at Bay Hill so look for players who have had good experience on the course and know how to plot their way around here. Experience will get you a long way at Bay Hill. Just look at the list of past winners and you will see what I mean.

Taking all this into consideration I have managed to find three players who should fit the bill this week.

Zach Johnson 25/1

When it comes to a cool head and mapping your way around a course then you can not look past Zach Johnson. He is a proven winner on the Tour with 11 PGA Tour victories to his name.

He started 2014 off with victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and has not missed a cut this year. He backed the win up with a T8th at the Sony Open and continued the form with a T3rd at the Humana Challenge.

Next up were a pair of T33rd’s in both WGC Accenture Match Play and The Honda Classic. His last outing was in the WGC Cadillac Championship where he finished T16th.

This will be Zach’s eleventh trip to Bay Hill and in that time he has only missed the one cut! His record from 2004 till 2013 reads as 6th, 8th, 43rd, 42nd, 54th, 3rd, MC, 47th, 11th and 34th. He certainly knows the course inside out.

If you look at Zach’s stats for the season you will see that his game is perfect for Bay Hill. 4th in driving accuracy, 8th in Greens in Regulation, 24th Strokes Gained Putting, 4th in Birdie average, 5th in Scoring average, 2nd in All Round rankings, 3rd in Par 4 Birdie or better, 14th in Ball Striking and 17th in Scrambling.

With Johnson this week you have a play who ticks all the boxes. He has plenty course knowledge and experience, great current form and his stats set up well for what is required. At 25/1 is a fantastic each way bet.

Henrik Stenson 25/1  

The World Number 3 had an amazing season last year which saw him win the Deutsche Bank Championship, TOUR Championship and DP World Tour Championship. He also became the first golfer to win both the FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai.

After such a ground breaking season Henrik has eased his way back into this year. He started off with three events on the European Tour with results of a Missed Cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC, T28th at the Qatar Masters and a T29th in the Dubai Desert Classic.

It was then over to the PGA Championship where he has played three tournaments resulting in two Top 20 finishes. They were T17th WGC Accenture Match Play, Missed Cut in The Honda Classic and T16th at the WGC Cadillac Championship.

Stenson gets the nod this week as we all know how well he hits the ball and finds the green. Last season he was ranked 1st in Greens in Regulation and 1st in Ball Striking. Two stats that are required at Bay Hill. With his game in great shape since joining the Tour this season we can expect to see the Stenson we all know and love play well.

Henrik first played at Bay Hill in 2007 and finished T22nd on debut. He did not return until 2010 where his results have improved each year. 52nd in 2010, 47th in 2011, 15th in 2012 and 8th last year. Let’s hope that form continues on the upward curve this year.

Gary Woodland 50/1 

Woodland gets the final position this week as his form is continuing to improve over the last four tournaments as well as having the required stats that set up well for Bay Hill. From seven starts this year he has had no missed cuts and had four Top 20 finishes.

His season to date reads as T13th Hyundai Tournament of Champions, T38th Humana Challenge, T10th Farmers Insurance Open, T37th Phoenix Open, T33rd WGC Match Play, T16th WGC Cadillac Championship and T8th Valspar Championship. It is those last four events that stand out- 37th, 33rd, 16th, 8th. He is on the upside each week. This could be the week to strike while the iron is hot.

Gary’s course form reads as a missed cut in 2011, 48th in 2012 and 27th last year. Again, it’s another upside in results. Stats wide he is 24th in Greens in Regulation, 7th in ball striking, and 4th in Scrambling from the Rough. All positive stats.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

Valspar Golf Championship Preview

By Mick McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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The PGA Tour stays in Florida this week as we head to the Copperhead course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour for the Valspar Championship.

This is a Par 71, 7340 yard course. The tournament was founded in 2000 and has always been played at the Copperhead course. There are five Par 3′s and four Par 5′s to contest and the closing three holes (16,17,18) are rated amongst the most challenging closing stretch on the Tour.

The fairways and Greens are Bermudagrass with the fairways being tighter than most courses on the tour and the greens smaller than average. The Par 4, 460 yard, 16th hole is the most difficult on the course with water along the whole right hand side. This can create havoc if the wind is coming in from the left.

This event has gone through a few names changes in its short history. It was originally known as the Tampa Bay Classic from 2000-2001, however there was no tournament in 2001 due to September 11 terrorist attacks. In 2002 it became the Tampa Bay Classic Presented by Buick. After one year of sponsorship from Buick it became the Chrysler Championship from 2003-2006. Pods then sponsored it in 2007-2008 as the PODS Championship until it became the Transitions Championship from 2009-2012. Last year it was known as the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. (Bit of a mouth full). In September last year the Valspar Corporation signed a four year deal to become the title sponsors of the event, giving us yet another name change!

After two stellar fields at the WGC Cadillac Championship and Honda Classic in the past two weeks we still have a good turnout of top players for this tournament with players such as Jason Dufner, Graham DeLaet, KJ Choi, Paul Casey, Brandt Snedeker and Marc Leishman taking part.

The Top Five in betting this week are: 16/1 Harris English, 18/1 Jordan Spieth , 20/1 Matt Kuchar, 20/1 Luke Donald and 25/1 Justin Rose.

Looking at the Copperhead course this week we can expect to so some real challenging golf as it can play difficult at times, especially if the wind decides to make things exciting which always plays a part in Florida. This can cause a lot of problems for many players especially those with little experience on the Copperhead course. The Par 5′s will also play a major part this week as they are all reachable for most players, so Par 5 stats should be closely monitored.

When looking at the past winners of this tournament they have all ranked highly in Greens in Regulation stats and have been good ball strikers, so again keep this in mind when looking for the winner as most of the greens are smaller than the tour average. It will also pay to look at good Par 3 performers as there are 5 of them to contend with this week. Taking all this into consideration I have two players who fit the bill.

Harris English 16/1 

There is a good crop of young talented golfers hitting their stride on the PGA Tour in the last 12 months and one such player is Harris English. After turning Pro in 2011 he found his way onto the PGA Tour in 2012 and has not looked back since.

Last year he won the FedEx St Jude Classic in June then followed it up with his second title in November at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. His World ranking jumped from 136th at the start of last season to be 38th at present. If he keeps going like this Harris could be inside the Top 20 real soon.

He has started 2014 with a lot of confidence. Seven starts have resulted in six finishes inside the Top 20! First up was a T11th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, then a 4th at the Sony Open, T33rd Humana Challenge, 9th Phoenix Open, T10th Northern Trust Open, T9th WGC Accenture Match Play and finally a T16th WGC Cadillac Championship.

With form like that English’s third tour victory is just around the corner.

If you look at his stats leading into this week we can expect to see him contending on Sunday as the course should set up well for his game. 13th in Driving Distance, 6th in Greens in Regulation, 4th in Birdie average, 4th in Scoring average, 5th in Par 3 birdie or better, 11th in Par 4 birdie or better, 10th in Par 5 birdie or better, 3rd in Ball Striking, 28th in Scrambling and 2nd in All Round rankings. Not to mention 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

I usually stay clear of the favourites when it comes to the golf, however this week it is impossible not to jump on board the Harris English bandwagon. He represents an excellent Each Way bet and I expect a collect this week.

Stuart Appleby 150/1 

While I am very keen on Harris English winning this week I have decided to look further afield for a good longshot selection this week. Appleby last won on the PGA Tour in 2010 when he won two tournaments. During 2011, 2012 and 2013 he contested a total of 96 tournaments and managed a woeful three Top 10 finishes. One in each year to be exact.

Roll forward to 2014 and we have a new rejuvenated Stuart who has already had two Top 10′s from his six starts to date. The encouraging part is that he has not missed a cut in any of those six starts.

Last week at the Honda Classic Appleby finished T8th with rounds of 69-69-65-72 to finish just three shots behind the Winner Russell Henley. Perhaps this is the year that sees Stuart get back into the form that saw him reach as high as World No13 in 2004. There is still plenty of life left in the 42 year old and he could surprise at big odds! Well worth a look at in Top 10 markets too.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

 

Sol Campbell blasts The FA and Fans for being Racist

By Brad Eveleigh ( @Brad_Eveleigh )

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Former England football international, Sulzeer Jeremiah “Sol” Campbell, has launched a controversial attack towards the English Football Association (The FA) accusing them of being racist.

The 39-year-old, who played for Arsenal, Tottenham, Portsmouth and Newcastle United, has said the FA and the England fans were and are unfavorable towards a Black or mixed-race Captain for the National team.

Campbell, who earned 79 caps for England, has said in his biography “If I was White, I would have been Captain for 10 years. It’s as simple as that”.

“ I think The FA wished I was White. I had the credibility, performance-wise, to be Captain.”

“I don’t think it will change because they don’t want it to, and probably the majority of the fans don’t want it, either.”

“It’s alright to have Black Captains and mixed-race in the under-18s and under-21s but not dot the full national side.”

“There is a ceiling and although no one has ever said it, I believe it’s made of glass.”

Campbell did in fact captain the national side however only in friendly matches against Belgium, Czech Republic and United States.

He also went on to criticise the selection of Michael Owen as Captain ahead of himself saying “Michael Owen was made Captain ahead of me. I thought ‘What is going on here?’ I think The FA didn’t want me to have a voice.”

“Owen was a fantastic Forward but nowhere near being a Captain.”

“I’ve asked myself many times why I wasn’t [named Captain]. I keep coming up with the same answer. It was the colour of my skin.”

 

pic: Independent UK