Tiger Woods will have Ryder Cup role, says US captain Johnson

Tiger Woods has played on eight Ryder Cup teams in the past, though is still working his way back to top form having suffered leg injuries during a car crash in February 2021; next year’s Ryder Cup will be held in Rome, Italy at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

By Associated Press

Last Updated: 05/10/22 8:45am


Europea captain Luke Donald believes his side will be underdogs against the United States at next year's Ryder Cup, although opposite number Zach Johnson was in strong disagreement with his assessment

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Europea captain Luke Donald believes his side will be underdogs against the United States at next year’s Ryder Cup, although opposite number Zach Johnson was in strong disagreement with his assessment

Europea captain Luke Donald believes his side will be underdogs against the United States at next year’s Ryder Cup, although opposite number Zach Johnson was in strong disagreement with his assessment

Whether Tiger Woods makes it to Italy or not for next year’s Ryder Cup, he will be an integral member of the U.S. team, captain Zach Johnson said Tuesday at the year-to-go ceremonies.

“Given who he is and what he’s all about, I can tell you right now, I don’t know if he’ll be here next year, but he’ll be a part of this team in some capacity,” Johnson said. “He already is, practically.

“I can’t put this mildly – he loves the Ryder Cup. He has made it a priority of his and certainly of Team USA. He wants to be a part of it as best he can.”

Donald and Johnson avoid talk about LIV Golf over a current lack of clarity with regards to qualification for the Ryder Cup

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Donald and Johnson avoid talk about LIV Golf over a current lack of clarity with regards to qualification for the Ryder Cup

Donald and Johnson avoid talk about LIV Golf over a current lack of clarity with regards to qualification for the Ryder Cup

Woods was a player on eight Ryder Cup teams and a vice-captain in 2018, before breaking bones in his right leg and ankle in a February 2021 car crash outside Los Angeles.

Next year’s event will be held on the hilly Marco Simone course outside Rome.

“Obviously he’s gone through some things as of late that make it difficult, whether it’s travel or what have you, but he and I will be in constant communication,” Johnson said. “He has great ideas. He is great at encouragement, always positive.”

Paul McGinley reflects on the legacy Tiger Woods will leave after what could be his last appearance at The Open.

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Paul McGinley reflects on the legacy Tiger Woods will leave after what could be his last appearance at The Open.

Paul McGinley reflects on the legacy Tiger Woods will leave after what could be his last appearance at The Open.

The U.S. romped to a record 19-9 rout of Europe at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, last year, and also won the Presidents Cup comfortably last month.

“The beauty of where we are as Team USA is we’ve got some really great youth,” Johnson said. “And their role model on the golf course is Tiger Woods.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen next September, but you can rest assured that he will be in constant communication with our team.”

Arum: Hearn never wanted AJ-Fury fight | 'He killed it'

Bob Arum says Eddie Hearn “sabotaged” a prospective all-British heavyweight clash between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, accusing the Matchroom promoter of “slow-playing” negotiations and being opposed to the fight since the beginning.

Fury twice took to social media last week to set Joshua and his team a deadline by which to sign a contract agreeing to the December 3 bout, to which the 32-year-old replied by underlining his intent to sign the deal while explaining it was in the hands of his lawyers given the finer details in play.

On Monday Hearn admitted negotiations had broken down and that, while being open to further discussions, the fight was off “as far as we’re concerned”.

But Arum has told Sky Sports it was Hearn who “killed this fight”.

“He wanted to kill it because even as late as yesterday [Monday], if he’d have said let’s all get together and sit in a room and get everything finalised, it could have been done in a couple of hours,” Arum said.

Matchroom declined to comment when approached by Sky Sports News.

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Barry Jones says he always thought the super fight between Fury and Joshua was unlikely to materialise

“I mean, really sad because I really believed both fighters wanted this fight to happen,” Arum added. “The first issue was well there’s different networks involved. So, there was a meeting held and, lo and behold, all the networks signed off and they found a way to do it.

“Now, Mr Hearn got involved and he didn’t want the fight to happen from the get-go, so he slow-played it. I’ve been in this business almost 60 years so I can tell when somebody doesn’t want something to happen and then slow-plays a negotiation.

“Here, once the percentages were decided, there were no real issues. You could sit in a room for three hours and get everything finalised, but Hearn refused to do it. I think that was terrible on his part because I know Frank Warren and George, partners from Queensberry, were prepared to meet personally with Eddie and get everything worked out.

“I mean there were no issues, for a fight not to happen where there are no issues because one promoter doesn’t want it to happen and is in a stalling position is to my mind reprehensible.”

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Fury had set Joshua another deadline last week to sign a contract that would see the pair face off in December

Hearn had suggested Arum was pouring water onto the potential fight by voicing doubts over it materialising.

“Maybe I said that I thought it wouldn’t happen but that’s because I knew Eddie, I knew that Eddie would find a way to sabotage the fight,” Arum continued.

“Now, I mean, isn’t that ridiculous? ‘Bob said the fight wouldn’t happen, therefore it’s not my fault’. What are you talking about? Get in a room with Frank Warren and his son George and work out the couple of issues that are really nothing and get the fight on.

“But, Eddie Hearn has nothing left really in his stable and he is clinging to AJ as his only potential attraction.”

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Mahmoud Charr questioned whether Fury is ‘scared’ to sign for a fight after revealing his team tried to contact the WBC champion’s promoter Frank Warren

In threatening to walk away from the fight were his deadlines not met Fury drew some criticism for his role in the hopes of the clash fizzling out.

However, Arum insists the WBC heavyweight champion is not to blame and said people “will blame Eddie Hearn forever” if the fight fails to come to fruition.

“Tyson Fury is Tyson Fury. He hasn’t been trained in law school so he wants a fight, if he’s imposing deadlines which aren’t really deadlines because he’s sending a message, get off your asses and get this thing done,” Arum continued.

“It was clear that was the case. So, nobody should be blamed for this fight not happening, not Tyson, not AJ, not anybody else other than Eddie Hearn.”

Arum, meanwhile, remains optimistic of Fury facing Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship in the early months of 2023.

“Absolutely. I keep in contact on virtually a daily basis with Egis Klimas, the manager of Usyk, because he’s also the manager of fighters that we promote,” said Arum.

“So, I always take a reading on this and Klimas said that in his discussion with potential sites, it would be the last week in February or the first week in March which would suit us all.”

Red-hot Hughes returns with four Sedgefield rides

Brian Hughes has made an excellent start to his champion jockey defence and looks to have every chance of more winners at Sedgefield this afternoon on Sky Sports Racing.

2.15 Sedgefield – Can Calliope follow up?

Hughes heads to Sedgefield with last time out winner Calliope possibly his best chance in the Paxtons – The Caseih No.1 UK&Roi Dealer Handicap Hurdle (2:15) for Dianne Sayer.

The nine-year-old made no mistake at Perth last month and will have to shoulder an extra 7lb but might be able to defy that penalty.

Tracy Waggott’s Hajey looks of interest having won his last two starts, albeit they were over 200 days ago. Joie De Vivre is also worth considering having run on the flat three weeks ago for the Martin Todhunter team.

2.50 Sedgefield – Minella Voucher in line for fourth straight success

The evergreen 11-year-old Minella Voucher is in the form of his life and looks to have found an excellent opportunity to make it four-in-a-row in the Rainton Construction Handicap Chase (2:50).

Assuming that his most recent success at Fontwell just five days ago hasn’t taken a toll on the Alexandra Dunn-trained veteran, he will take some beating under apprentice rider Philip Armson.

Of his six rivals, Toby Wynne – who rode Minella Voucher on his three successes – partners Oceans Red for the Greenall and Guerriero team while Atomic Angel was a beaten favourite last time for Sue Corbett.

3.25 Sedgefield – Consistent Tico Times goes for sixth chase win

If the Dianne Sayer team hasn’t got off the mark by this point, they will have a superb chance to do so with the in-form Tico Times in the Fairfield Handicap Chase (3:25).

The nine-year-old has thrived of late with three wins in five starts, and already has wins over the course and distance so looks primed to land again.

Ben Haslam will look to rejuvenate the JP McManus-owned Arthur’s Quay, while Bempton Cliffs is worth another look after beating Ragamuffin back in May at Warwick.

Wednesday racecards | Latest Sky Bet odds

Watch every race from Sedgefield live on Sky Sports Racing on Wednesday, October 5.

Alphonsi: Red Roses will deem it a failure if they don't win World Cup

Maggie Alphonsi believes England are the team to beat as they aim for World Cup glory; the tournament gets under way on Saturday in New Zealand as South Africa face France, England come up against Fiji and Australia and New Zealand clash

By Megan Wellens

Last Updated: 03/10/22 5:13pm

England hope to be celebrating World Cup success in New Zealand next month

England hope to be celebrating World Cup success in New Zealand next month

England hope to be celebrating World Cup success in New Zealand next month

When it comes to Rugby World Cup glory, no one knows the highs and lows as well as Maggie Alphonsi, and for the England legend there is only one team to beat this year: the Red Roses.

As a leader in the team that ended a 20-year drought and won the 2014 Rugby World Cup, Alphonsi knows the euphoria of claiming the biggest prize and believes the current Red Roses side have the capabilities to go all the way.

However, with England considered as firm favourites heading into the tournament – a record 25-match unbeaten run and No 1 world ranking cementing them as the ones to beat – many teams will be out to show they are the ones who can topple this side.

“They are very much expected to win,” said Alphonsi.

“The odds are in their favour, they are number one in the world, they are the reigning Six Nations champions, they are full of confidence and have the resources, the investments and the players.

“I just think these players are prepared for it and many will be saying if they don’t win it would be a failure.”

‘They don’t know how to lose’

The World Cup will certainly present some challenging clashes for the Red Roses and they will be pushed to their limit as sides look to put them in a situation they do not encounter very often: A match in which they are losing.

England Women head coach Simon Middleton says despite his side's No 1 ranking and record unbeaten run they cannot guarantee victory at the World Cup

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England Women head coach Simon Middleton says despite his side’s No 1 ranking and record unbeaten run they cannot guarantee victory at the World Cup

England Women head coach Simon Middleton says despite his side’s No 1 ranking and record unbeaten run they cannot guarantee victory at the World Cup

Some see this as the best way to get under England’s skin, but Alphonsi believes they are well prepared for all scenarios, even ones they do not often have to face.

“They have a ‘we don’t know how to lose’ mindset because to go that many games unbeaten, they will naturally have that,” she added.

“Some will see that as a negative because they have not lost or been tested it is hard to know what to do when put in that scenario.

“But knowing (coach) Simon Middleton and the quality of players, they will have covered all bases, including those scenarios and how to deal with it.

“They were tested a few times in the Six Nations, especially first half against Wales in the set-piece.

“However, you can’t count out New Zealand, Canada and France because they are also feeling like it is their time.

“I think England will get to the final – crazy to say they won’t.

“If New Zealand get to the final as a home nation it would be great for the crowd and interest.

“But I am also excited by the fact that an outsider could do it, like France who always finish third.

“They might do something completely different, who knows. There are some dark horses.”

A record-breaking Rugby World Cup

Women’s sport is in a constant state of growth as more coverage and visibility drives its viewership and this year’s World Cup is expected to continue to boost those numbers.

England captain Sarah Hunter says tournament experience could be a big factor going into the World Cup

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England captain Sarah Hunter says tournament experience could be a big factor going into the World Cup

England captain Sarah Hunter says tournament experience could be a big factor going into the World Cup

With record attendances and media interest, Alphonsi thinks, if they can claim World Cup victory, we could see the Red Roses reach the heights of the Lionesses in this summer’s Euros when the tournament takes place in England in 2025.

She said: “My expectations are incredibly high.

Maggie Alphonsi believes an England vs New Zealand World Cup final on November 12 would be brilliant for rugby as it rides a wave of momentum Maggie Alphonsi believes an England vs New Zealand World Cup final on November 12 would be brilliant for rugby as it rides a wave of momentum

Maggie Alphonsi believes an England vs New Zealand World Cup final on November 12 would be brilliant for rugby as it rides a wave of momentum

“This World Cup will break many records. There are over 30,000 tickets sold for the opening game so for that many people to come and watch in New Zealand is huge, that in itself Is amazing.

“It will be the most-covered World Cup in terms of television, print and radio and I think it is going to be a tournament that will captivate the world.

“It will add to the momentum of women’s sport especially over here and we get to put women’s sport back in the spotlight. We saw that in the summer with the Lionesses and that still blows my mind.

“The FA and the Lionesses set the bar high with an amazing tournament across the country and the amount of people that attended was brilliant.

“In 2010 we got to the final and we had a crowd of just under 14,000 which was significant back then.

“2025 is not that far away and women’s sport is on the crest of a wave and hopefully we can emulate what women’s football has done, making sure we can take it around the country and put out a statement.

“Then we can see the final at Twickenham with a sell-out capacity and good build-up.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30m a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

'I'm happier than ever' – How Africa helped Hamilton find peace

Lewis Hamilton says a journey of self-discovery, including a mid-season trip to Africa, has helped him overcome a challenging period in Formula 1; the seven-time world champion sat down with Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff for an interview to mark the start of Black History Month

Last Updated: 04/10/22 10:23am


Lewis Hamilton talks to Naomi Schiff about his heritage and the origin of his surname.

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Lewis Hamilton talks to Naomi Schiff about his heritage and the origin of his surname.

Lewis Hamilton talks to Naomi Schiff about his heritage and the origin of his surname.

After controversially missing out on a record eighth Formula 1 world championship in December and then enduring the most disappointing season of his career, Lewis Hamilton is “happier than ever”.

The 37-year-old could be forgiven for finding himself in a tough place after his most turbulent period in the sport, but instead has found purpose away from the track.

At the centre of the ongoing journey of self-discovery that has helped Hamilton find “peace” in the face of professional struggle, was an August trip to Africa to explore his family heritage.

“That’s been something I’ve been trying to learn more about,” Hamilton said as he sat down with Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

“It’s not until I’ve got into my 30s that I’ve wanted to go down this road of discovery, to try to understand, where did we get the Hamilton name? Where were we originally from? Where did the slaves come over on the ships from to the Caribbean?”

Highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

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Highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Perhaps hinting at the possibility he may be documenting his journey, Hamilton continues: “So I’m going through that process now and I can’t let too much out of the bag at the moment.

“But what I have discovered is how we got the Hamilton name. He was a slave owner from Scotland, Robert Hamilton, who then had a plantation, had around 150 slaves, and obviously at some stage then the slaves took on the name of the slave owner.

“There was another slave-owner whose second name was Davidson, so my grandad ended up being called Davidson-Hamilton, both of which I have in my name, so that’s pretty cool just to know a little bit about that.”

‘Trying to understand your place in the world’

Many are already familiar with Hamilton’s F1 story, the boy, who along with his incredibly dedicated father, overcame challenge after challenge to become the sport’s most successful driver of all time.

The multiple jobs that Hamilton’s father Anthony had to work to fund his child’s karting career have been well documented, while it is also widely accepted that when Hamilton made his debut in 2007, Formula 1 was not a sport where a driver of his profile would be welcomed.

“Having to operate in an organisation that was predominantly white, having to speak differently, be different, I remember the pressures of the idea that I had to be different,” said Hamilton, who remains the only Black driver to have raced in F1.

“I spoke many years ago about feeling like I have to squeeze into a different shape to fit in. There’s one shape that can get into F1 and if you’re not that shape, then you’re not welcome. So you kind of squeeze yourself into that just so you can get through, and then when you get in you can slowly become yourself, and that’s what I did.”

While reflecting on the past still troubles Hamilton, he says it is also what partly motivated him to travel to Africa.

“I think it was just really trying to understand your place in the world,” he says. “Growing up I had a lot of traumatic experiences with discrimination, that even just recently I was visiting my parents and they said ‘you never told us about that’.”

Relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the 2021 season.

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Relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the 2021 season.

Relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the 2021 season.

Another key factor in planning his trip, was finding purpose after the dramatic conclusion to the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi in December. Hamilton had driven flawlessly and was set to be crowned champion, before a hugely controversial ad-hoc ruling from the race director saw Max Verstappen overtake him on the final lap.

After receiving a knighthood in London just days after the incident, Hamilton pretty much disappeared from the public eye for the next two months, leaving time to focus on himself.

“I made the decision in January that I was going to take on that kind of discovery,” Hamilton said. “After New Year’s I was thinking about how I want to live with more intention, and plan ahead, which I never ever do. It’s kind of everything spur of the moment, and most often when it’s like that, you don’t always optimise the time, you’re not always where you really want to be.

Experience the incredible conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP from on-board Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's cars and listen to the team radios, including Hamilton saying the race had been 'manipulated'.

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Experience the incredible conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP from on-board Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s cars and listen to the team radios, including Hamilton saying the race had been ‘manipulated’.

Experience the incredible conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP from on-board Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s cars and listen to the team radios, including Hamilton saying the race had been ‘manipulated’.

“Then coming from quite a difficult time at the end of last year, and recovering from that, re-focusing into a season. Then having something to look forward to because I’d planned it so far in advance.”

With the trip planned, Hamilton had to endure more pain on the track. His Mercedes team, who had won eight consecutive constructors’ titles, were caught out by the sport’s radical new design regulations for 2022 and found themselves unable to keep up with rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

By the time the F1’s summer break rolled around in August, Hamilton had long given up any hope of winning the title, and his great rival of 2021 Verstappen was cruising towards a second successive crown.

‘The motherland has a special energy’

Thankfully for Hamilton, his decision to plan ahead helped ensure he was not left to despair.

“It was one of, if not the most, special experience for me,” Hamilton said. “Just to tap into a little bit of Africa and experience a few different countries.

“I didn’t go to the wealthy parts, I know there’s a lot of wealth and great buildings and businesses, but I really wanted to get to the rarest and rawest part of countries, and see how people live with very little.

“That for me was really empowering, just to think that my ancestors would have been in one of those tribes, and it’s beautiful.”

Hamilton posted updates on social media as he spent time in Namibia, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, describing himself on Instagram as “fully transformed” at the end of his two-week trip.

“We live in such a bubble,” he reflects. “There’s so much happening around the world and so many people are struggling with so much. It’s sad to see if you really sit and watch the news, because it feels like it’s worse than ever.

“That experience of going to Africa, seeing people with so little – I say so little but they also have everything, they’re so happy – but just seeing a different way of living. We accumulate too much stuff, we eat too much food, the things that we take for granted, people don’t have that luxury and I think it’s really great to have that experience to put things into perspective.

“There, it was just when I was most at peace. The motherland has a special energy there, it is like the centre of the earth. I could feel those vibrations there. It was also the music, the smiles of the people, the way people share their energy. I saw so many things that I didn’t know I was going to experience.”

Despite returning to the track reinvigorated, Hamilton has remained winless in the four races since the season’s resumption, with Verstappen now on the brink of sealing the title.

Hamilton appears likely to lose his record of having won a race in every single season of his F1 career, but has repeatedly gone on record to say he is not bothered by the possibility of the streak ending, and it’s hard not to believe him.

“It’s been a good period, transitional,” he says. “I definitely feel I’m happier than I’ve ever been, which is really strange because I’m not winning in racing, and that’s really been my go-to thing.

“Having success there would bring me so much happiness, but I’m finding more happiness in my personal life now, just being more comfortable in who I am, and my surroundings and my intentions.”

Price and Cullen win as Wade and Smith suffer shock Grand Prix exits

Nathan Aspinall secured a shock win over Michael Smith; Martin Lukeman came through with a surprise upset against James Wade; Gerwyn Price secured a dominant victory as Joe Cullen overcame Damon Heta in a tight contest

Last Updated: 05/10/22 12:47am


Check out the best action from Day 2 of the World Grand Prix in Leicester

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Check out the best action from Day 2 of the World Grand Prix in Leicester

Check out the best action from Day 2 of the World Grand Prix in Leicester

Michael Smith suffered a shock first-round exit at the hands of Nathan Aspinall in a night full of upsets at the World Grand Prix in Leicester.

The Stockport man came away with a 2-1 win over Smith as the world No 4 struggled to find his rhythm on the doubles.

Martin Lukeman provided the performance of the night in a shock victory over James Wade, while Gerwyn Price put in a professional performance against Martin Schindler and Joe Cullen overcame Damon Heta.

The final match of the evening was touted as a big encounter and it did not disappoint as Smith and Aspinall faced off in a fast-paced clash.

Aspinall started the encounter with much more promise, breaking Smith early with a 116 finish to go two legs ahead.

Nathan Aspinall started his match against Michael Smith with a 116 checkout in the first round of the World Grand Prix

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Nathan Aspinall started his match against Michael Smith with a 116 checkout in the first round of the World Grand Prix

Nathan Aspinall started his match against Michael Smith with a 116 checkout in the first round of the World Grand Prix

‘Bully Boy’ fought back to claim a leg of his own but it was not enough as the world No 16 took advantage of some inaccuracy on the doubles to claim the first set.

The second set continued in the same vein as the first as Aspinall raced into a two-leg lead but Smith was not ready to go down without a fight and checked out on 95 to keep himself in the tie before backing it up with a 101 finish to bring the set level.

Smith took out this finish to level the second set against Aspinall

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Smith took out this finish to level the second set against Aspinall

Smith took out this finish to level the second set against Aspinall

A crucial leg followed and a lovely 171 put Aspinall close to victory with three match darts, but he failed to take his chance and Smith checked out on D10 to bring it to a set apiece.

A nervous third set ensued but Aspinall managed to find his form to secure a 3-0 whitewash, checking out on D16 to take the match.

Tuesday, October 4 – Results

First Round Madars Razma 2-1 Ryan Searle
Ross Smith 2-1 Andrew Gilding
Danny Noppert 2-0 Gabriel Clemens
Joe Cullen 2-1 Damon Heta
(8) Rob Cross 1-2 Daryl Gurney
(5) James Wade 1-2 Martin Lukeman
(1) Gerwyn Price 2-0 Martin Schindler
(4) Michael Smith 1-2 Nathan Aspinall

Price cut an ultra-confident figure as he stepped out for his clash with Schindler and he got off to a flying start, breaking the throw in the first leg and holding his own to power ahead.

With both players unable to find the doubles to checkout, Schindler battled his way back with a D5 in the third leg of the set but it was to no avail as ‘The Iceman’ discovered his accuracy once again to take out D2 for the first set.

Gerwyn Price enjoyed this 101 finish on his way to victory over Martin Schindler

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Gerwyn Price enjoyed this 101 finish on his way to victory over Martin Schindler

Gerwyn Price enjoyed this 101 finish on his way to victory over Martin Schindler

The Welshman’s dominance continued into the second set as Schindler was unable to get comfortable, a sublime 101 finish to break the throw spurring him on to victory and into the second round.

Lukeman came through with the biggest upset of the night against Wade, taking the first set in three straight legs and stunning the world No 5 to secure his first televised victory.

Lukeman, who sits outside the world top 50, was easily finding some big maximums while Wade struggled to get going on the doubles, Wade at one point needing seven darts to get his leg going on the doubles.

Martin Lukeman caused a huge upset, beating James Wade in the first round

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Martin Lukeman caused a huge upset, beating James Wade in the first round

Martin Lukeman caused a huge upset, beating James Wade in the first round

The second set produced a partial fightback from Wade as he brought his average back up, a crucial D2 keeping him in the tie but the third leg saw Lukeman battle well and hold his throw with a D10 to take the lead.

Out of nowhere, Wade found a vital 121 finish to bring it to a deciding leg but it was Lukeman who ended with three match darts and used them well, hitting the D8 to secure the biggest win of his career so far.

It was touted to be a tight and exciting match-up and Cullen and Heta did not disappoint in their opening set, trading breaks of throw and ton-plus finishes before a D16 saw Cullen take the opener.

Heta take complete control in the second set, breaking Cullen twice, including a brilliant 115 finish, to take a 3-0 whitewash and bring the tie all square but Cullen took the final set and the match on D8 to conclude a gritty and enthralling match.

Joe Cullen struck an early break in his first-round match against Damon Heta

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Joe Cullen struck an early break in his first-round match against Damon Heta

Joe Cullen struck an early break in his first-round match against Damon Heta

The tight contests continued as former world champion Rob Cross and former World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney faced off, both players holding their throw before Cross’ inability to find the crucial double to start, missing nine times, gifted Gurney a chance to break and take the first set.

After Cross fought back in the second set, hitting two maximums and breaking Gurney to make things even, ‘Superchin’ held it together and broke Cross early in the final leg to take the big win.

Last year’s semi-finalist Danny Noppert was back to show his form on the doubles again as he took on Gabriel Clemens. An astonishing second leg saw the Dutchman take 13 darts to get going on the double but he rallied to leave himself on a ton-plus finish of 101 to seal the leg before going on to take the set.

Danny Noppert missed 12 darts at double to get started in the second leg of his game against Gabriel Clemens but still managed to win the leg after a remarkable turnaround

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Danny Noppert missed 12 darts at double to get started in the second leg of his game against Gabriel Clemens but still managed to win the leg after a remarkable turnaround

Danny Noppert missed 12 darts at double to get started in the second leg of his game against Gabriel Clemens but still managed to win the leg after a remarkable turnaround

Clemens fought back for a couple of legs but Noppert raised his game and grinded out a 2-0 win as he looks to go one step further than 2021.

With three debutants on show as the opening round came to a close, there were some upsets to be had and Madars Razma had a strong showing as he won 2-1 against Ryan Searle, taking the first set after breaking the throw twice before taking out a lovely 108 finish to win the match and progress to the second round.

Andrew Gilding hit this 102 checkout on his way to winning the first set of his first-round match against Ross Smith

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Andrew Gilding hit this 102 checkout on his way to winning the first set of his first-round match against Ross Smith

Andrew Gilding hit this 102 checkout on his way to winning the first set of his first-round match against Ross Smith

An all-British tie between Ross Smith and Andrew Gilding saw Smith come away with the spoils in a closely-fought 2-1 victory.

Wednesday, October 5- Fixtures (1900 BST)

Second Round Adrian Lewis vs Chris Dobey
Peter Wright vs Krzyztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen vs Stephen Bunting
Jonny Clayton vs Dimitri Van den Burgh

Wednesday sees the players from night one back in action as Adrian Lewis faces Chris Dobey, Peter Wright is up against Krzysztof Ratajski, Michael van Gerwen plays Stephen Bunting and Jonny Clayton faces off against Dimitri Van den Bergh as the second round gets under way.

Live World Grand Prix Darts

October 5, 2022, 7:00pm

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CL round-up: Napoli thrash Ajax | Barca, Atleti defeats

Giacomo Raspadori netted twice as Napoli came from behind to deliver a masterclass and score a runaway 6-1 win at 10-man Ajax in the Champions League.

Captain Giovanni di Lorenzo, Piotr Zielinski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and substitute Giovanni Simeone added the other goals for the Italian league leaders, after Mohammed Kudus had given the hosts the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

The damage was already irreparable when Ajax captain Dusan Tadic was sent off in the 73rd minute for a second yellow card.

Napoli have a 100 per cent record at the halfway point in Group A, leaving Ajax with three points from their opening three games and in danger of missing out on next years knockout stages after their biggest defeat in European football.

Inter Milan bounced back after two consecutive losses in Serie A with a crucial Champions League 1-0 win against Barcelona thanks to a Hakan Calhanoglu goal.

The Turkish midfielder slotted home a clinical strike from just outside the area, with the ball going into the corner to the goalkeeper’s right in added time before the break.

Inter Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, left, scores his side's opening goal during the Champions League group C soccer match between Inter Milan and Barcelona at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu scored the winning goal at the San Siro

Barcelona players clamoured for a penalty in added time, complaining about a possible handball inside the box by substitute Denzel Dumfries. But after a VAR check the referee ruled there had been no infringement by the Dutch defender.

“I’m really angry, I just can’t understand how that is not a penalty; it’s clear. It’s an injustice,” a frustrated Xavi Hernandez said.

Inter and Barca will face each other again next week at the Nou Camp when a third loss in four games would leave Barca in danger of being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage for the second consecutive season.

Bayern Munich set a new Champions League record of 31 group games without defeat after thrashing Viktoria Plzen 5-0 at the Allianz Arena.

The German champions, unbeaten in the group stages since September 2017, remain top of Group C, extended their 100 per cent start this season to three matches and have yet to concede a goal.

Leroy Sane struck twice for Julian Nagelsmann’s side, who led 3-0 at half-time, while Serge Gnabry, former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane and Eric Choupo-Moting were also on target.

Goals from Club Brugge forwards Kamal Sowah and Ferran Jutgla saw the Belgians beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 to extend their unbeaten run in Champions League Group B this season.

The hosts took the lead in the 36th minute when Jutgla’s low pass across the goal found Sowah, who tapped the ball into an empty net for his second European goal in three games.

Jutgla doubled the lead in the 62nd minute after winger Tajon Buchanan calmly waited for the right moment to set up the Spaniard inside the box.

Atletico had a chance to get back into the match with a penalty 15 minutes later but Antoine Griezmann lashed the ball against the bar and moments later the Frenchman thought he had scored but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers
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Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick and Mohamed Salah’s penalty secured Liverpool a comfortable 2-0 win in their Champions League ‘Battle of Britain’ against Rangers.

Tottenham’s goalless draw in Germany against Eintracht Frankfurt – both sides spurned several chances – leaves them second in Group D, two points behind leaders Sporting Lisbon, who slipped up earlier in the evening.

Marseille turned the table on its head by sending Sporting crashing to their first defeat in a 4-1 win at the Orange Velodrome.

Marseille fell behind inside the first minute to Trincao’s effort, but hit back with two goals in three minutes from Alexis Sanchez and Amine Harit.

Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan was sent off for handling outside the area midway through the first half before Leonardo Balerdi gave Marseille a 3-1 interval lead. Chancel Mbemba added a late fourth for the French side.

Porto substitutes Zaidu and Galeno were both on target as they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 to seal their first victory in this season’s Champions League group stage.

Nigerian defender Zaidu smashed home a perfect header in the 69th minute from a cross by forward Mehdi Taremi six minutes after coming on to replace Wendell.

Brazilian forward Galeno extended their lead in the 87th minute after his shot from inside the box found the net after taking a huge deflection off Leverkusen ‘keeper Lukas Hradecky.

Leverkusen striker Callum Hudson-Odoi put the ball in the net in the 15th minute from the edge of the six-yard box but his effort was chalked off after a VAR review found midfielder Robert Andrich had fouled Porto forward Pepe Aquino in the build-up.

Taremi tapped in a cross in the 41st minute but his effort was also ruled out by VAR for handball, while Leverkusen were awarded a penalty just before half-time, but Patrik Schick’s spot-kick was superbly saved by Porto ‘keeper Diogo Costa.

Higher risk of dementia and MND for international rugby players – study

Ex-international rugby players found to be at higher risk of neurodegenerative disease diagnosis compared to their matched controls; risk varied by disease subtype ranging from around a doubling of risk of a dementia diagnosis, to an over 10-fold risk of motor neurone disease diagnosis

Last Updated: 04/10/22 4:05pm


Professor Willie Stewart has outlined his concerns regarding neurodegenerative disease that could afflict rugby players in the future after their careers have ended

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Professor Willie Stewart has outlined his concerns regarding neurodegenerative disease that could afflict rugby players in the future after their careers have ended

Professor Willie Stewart has outlined his concerns regarding neurodegenerative disease that could afflict rugby players in the future after their careers have ended

Former international rugby players are at a much higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disease, a major study into lifelong health led by the University of Glasgow has found.

The study, which is the largest undertaken on former rugby players to date, has revealed a doubling of the risks of a dementia diagnosis, and an over 10-fold risk of motor neurone disease diagnosis.

The research, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, compared 412 former international rugby players in Scotland – all over the age of 30 in 2020 – with over 1,200 individuals from the general population.

While results did show age at death was slightly higher among former players, the comparative risk of neurodegenerative disease diagnosis was approximately two and a half times higher, with disease not varying by player position.

Former Wales second row Ryan Jones was diagnosed with early onset dementia in July of this year, aged just 41, while former Gloucester forward Ed Slater retired from professional rugby the same month following a diagnosis of motor neurone disease, aged 34.

Former Wales second row Ryan Jones was diagnosed with early onset dementia this year in July, aged 41 Former Wales second row Ryan Jones was diagnosed with early onset dementia this year in July, aged 41

Former Wales second row Ryan Jones was diagnosed with early onset dementia this year in July, aged 41

Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions second row Doddie Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June 2017.

Prof Willie Stewart, lead consultant neuropathologist, said: “This latest work under our FIELD program of research demonstrates that risk of neurodegenerative disease is not isolated to former footballers, but also a concern for former rugby players.

“As such, this study provides further insight into the association between contact sports and neurodegenerative disease risk. Of particular concern are the data on motor neurone disease risk among our rugby players, which is even higher than that for former professional footballers.

“This finding requires immediate research attention to explore the specific association between rugby and the devastating condition of motor neurone disease.”

Ed Slater retired from professional rugby in July 2022 following a diagnosis of motor neurone disease, aged 34 Ed Slater retired from professional rugby in July 2022 following a diagnosis of motor neurone disease, aged 34

Ed Slater retired from professional rugby in July 2022 following a diagnosis of motor neurone disease, aged 34

The study also found that, although rugby union players had a higher risk of death overall from neurodegenerative disease, they were less likely to die of respiratory disease. And while deaths in former rugby players were lower than expected up to age 70, there was no difference to matched population controls over that age.

Dr Emma Russell, researcher at the University of Glasgow and first author on the study, added: “An important aspect of this work has been the ability to look across a range of health outcomes in former professional rugby players, allowing us to build a clear picture of health in this population.

“Our data show that, in contrast to our previous findings in former professional football players, rugby players do not appear to benefit from a reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease or cancer, suggesting the possibility of sport-specific influences on lifelong health.”

Rugby players have been found to be over twice as likely to suffer from neurodegenerative disease, a study has found Rugby players have been found to be over twice as likely to suffer from neurodegenerative disease, a study has found

Rugby players have been found to be over twice as likely to suffer from neurodegenerative disease, a study has found

Professor Stewart added: “Taking these new results in rugby, together with our pathology work and previous FIELD studies in football, the risk exposure of concern must remain repetitive head impacts and head injuries. As such, precautionary approaches should be adopted to reduce unnecessary head impacts and better manage head injuries across all contact sports.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK: Findings regarding rugby players concerning

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said of the findings: “Rugby means so much to so many, it is a game that inspires, that brings people together from many cultures around the world, and one that is played by both men and women, at all levels up and down the country. But as with all contact sports, it has risks.

“While the benefits of physical exercise on brain and heart health are well known, multiple studies show links between traumatic brain injury and the development of dementia. Previous findings from this research team have also suggested that ex-professional footballers are at increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

“It’s concerning to see research now identify former male rugby players as being at increased risk of dementia, and at particularly high risk of the neurodegenerative condition motor neurone disease.

Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions second row Doddie Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June 2017 Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions second row Doddie Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June 2017

Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions second row Doddie Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June 2017

“The research team point towards head impacts during the careers of rugby players having a role in the development of the diseases, however quantifying the number of head injuries fell out of the scope of this research study.

“While this is the biggest study of its kind into former male rugby players, there are still uncertainties over the exact size of the risk – for example, since Motor Neurone Disease is a rare condition, there were no cases of MND in the aged-match controls and so much larger studies are needed to paint a clearer picture.

“Interest in the links between participating in sport and risk of dementia is at an all-time high. Researchers, funders, stakeholders, and custodians of the sport must seize this moment to deliver new, coordinated research to give every person the best possible chance of living a dementia-free life.”