HOBART, Australia (CMC):Fast-bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose is seeking to fire up underdogs West Indies who face top-ranked Australia in the first of three Test matches from this evening (Caribbean time).Ambrose, the bowling consultant, is insisting that the West Indies have the manpower to challenge the home side in the three-match rubber following their humiliating 10-wicket loss to an inexperienced Cricket Australia X1.Australia defeated West Indies 2-0 in their last series played in the Caribbean earlier this year.”Even though we lost 2-0, there were moments or periods when we had them on the back foot and had their backs against the wall. And we never really finished them off,” recalled Ambrose.”So we believe we can compete, and not only compete, but we believe we can beat them, and that’s our focus: to beat Australia. Not just to compete but to win and, being the underdogs, sometimes it’s good to be that way.”The Caribbean side was able to avoid an innings defeat against the young Cricket Australia’s X1 on the strength of a stubborn partnership between Jason Holder and Kemar Roach.But their defeat has forced former players and commentators to question their confidence going into the opening Test at Hobart.However, the former fast bowler is insisting that given the expectation of the Australian public, the home side is the one under pressure to perform.”We have nothing to lose. As far as we are concerned, Australia is the one under pressure. They have to beat us because Australians expect them to steamroll us. So they are the ones under pressure, not us,” he said.”We’re here to do a job and we’re going to make a good job of it. We’re not going to worry about what has been said about us not being a good team or not going to compete and games being over in three days and all that kind of stuff.”Jason Holder’s men arrived in Australia not having won an overseas tour of note in 20 years and are ranked above only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.Ambrose has described in-form batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner as the main threat in the Australian batting line-up, but contends that their middle order is vulnerable.”They are in some good form at the moment, and there are two good batsmen and, yes, they will be key. If we can get them out early for not too many runs, I still believe that the middle order of Australia is not that solid at the moment,” Ambrose pointed out.”I think Warner and Smith will be key, and once we get them out early, that could give us some leeway to really test them.”Ambrose has identified the bowling attack as the Windies’ strength and expressed confidence in Jerome Taylor’s ability to lead an attack capable of taking 20 Australian wickets.”Since I joined the team, it took me a little while to get them to buy into my concept because they are accustomed to certain things and, of course, it would not change overnight,” said Ambrose, who took up his consultancy role in February 2014.The first Test will be played at the Blundstone Arena, from Thursday to Monday. First ball is 10:30 a.m. (Wednesday 6:30 p.m. Jamaica time).
FIFA ethics judges open case against Valcke ZURICH (AP): FIFA ethics judges have formally opened a case against Jerome Valcke, who faces a nine-year ban from football. The ethics committee’s judging chamber says it “decided to institute formal adjudicatory proceedings” against FIFA’s former secretary general after studying a prosecution file sent by ethics investigators. The judges acted one day after extending Valcke’s 90-day interim ban by 45 days. Valcke is charged with several violations of the FIFA code of ethics while serving as President Sepp Blatter’s top aide since 2007. The charges include accepting gifts and conflicts of interest. The judges gave no details of the case, citing Valcke’s “privacy rights and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty”. Man United recall winger DORTMUND, Germany (AP): Belgium winger Adnan Januzaj was returning to Manchester United yesterday after his one-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund was cut short after half a season. The Bundesliga side confirmed that the clubs agreed on “an immediate return”, and that the “last contractual details between the parties are being sorted out”. The 20-year-old Januzaj joined Dortmund at the end of the last transfer period but failed to make his mark with the side. He played just 166 minutes as a substitute in six Bundesliga games, managing four shots at goal, and scoring none. He played two full games in five Europa League appearances for Dortmund, but again didn’t score. Football’s rule-makers discuss approving video replay trials LONDON (AP): Soccer’s rule-makers are discussing whether to approve trials of video replays to assist referees who find it harder to keep up with the faster, modern game. The International Football Association Board first approved technology in 2012 that was limited to systems determining whether the ball crossed the goal-line. But the FIFA-dominated panel met yesterday in London to decide whether to allow the first official in-game tests with video replay systems that could, for example, help to inform referees on whether a penalty should be awarded, a player should be sent off, or consider violent conduct they might have missed. It is “physically harder for referees to keep up,” and high-tech assistance is proving essential, English Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn said. Kiwis beat Lankans by three runs in T20 MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP): Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson each made half centuries in a 101-run opening partnership to help New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by three runs in the first Twenty20 international between the teams yesterday. Guptill scored 58 from 34 balls to give New Zealand the high-tempo start they needed after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bowl first. Williamson supported him with 53 from 42 balls to lead New Zealand to 182-4. In reply, Danushka Gunathilaka made 46 and Milinda Siriwardana 42 to help Sri Lanka keep things close into the final over.
FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES (1) NUCLEAR AFFAIR/ KIMMY’S TRAIN (2) HOLOGRAM SHADOW (3) PERSIAN BELLE/MISS BOSS LADY (4) LORD CHEPSO/JUNIOR DON (5) WESTERN FAITH/MEL AGAIN (6) CANTARE/INSANE BOLT With the fancied horses falling like ninepins at Caymanas Park last Saturday, the Pick-9 had no takers and the carryover to tomorrow stands at $3.2 million. Meanwhile, both Super-6s start anew with guaranteed minimums of $750,000. The Pick-9 will be conducted from race three to 11, the first Super-6 from race one to six, the late Super-6 from race six to 11. We look at the first Super-6 on the Seek Back to School programme, this commencing with the Rhoel Rhoden Memorial Trophy race over 1100 metres for maiden two-year-olds. Those expected to figure prominently are KIMMY’S TRAIN (Shamaree Muir), who showed promise on her recent debut, BABY P with in-form Wesley Henry and the one I like best, the debutante NUCLEAR AFFAIR, a chestnut filly by Nuclear Wayne out of Commandra Affair, to be ridden by former champion Omar Walker for trainer Gary Subratie. She caught the eye at exercise in her preparation, galloping from the gates in 1:01.3 by 48.0 last Saturday morning and before that looked very easy when breezing 51/2 furlongs in 1:11.0. NUCLEAR AFFAIR should open her account at the expense of the Harry Parsard-trained KIMMY’S TRAIN. HOLOGRAM SHADOW, who has beaten better in the not too distance past and is coming off a runaway win recently, ought to be followed when he contests the second race (Seek Double Line Trophy) for high claimers over a mile. True, he faces some very fit horses in the recent winners CLASSY PROSPECT and GOLDEN BULLET as well as consistent BARS OF GOLD, who was narrowly beaten by stable-companion GOLDEN BULLET over 1700 metres last Saturday. But having won over this trip in the good time of 1:39.3 early in the season, HOLOGRAM SHADOW should gallop into an early lead with Ellis aboard and stave off hat-trick seeker CLASSY PROSPECT, who shoulders topweight with Walker aboard. The third race over 1820 metres for $350,000-$300,000 claimers looks tailored for the front running PERSIAN BELLE, who was an upset winner (24-1) over this very trip some months ago. He represents the lone speed in an eight-horse field and with the claiming apprentice Sadiki Blake riding in good form, PERSIAN BELLE should stave off MISS BOSS LADY and BATIDOR DE MUNDO, both of whom have already won over this trip. In the fourth race over the straight for the Seek Scrapbook Plague for non-winners of three four-year-olds and up, it will more than likely come down to a straight fight between old rivals LORD CHEPSO (Halledeen up) and JUNIOR DON (Blake aboard), both fully effective over the straight. Both met over the course on April 11 and the Patrick lynch-trained LORD CHEPSO was driven out to beat JUNIOR DON by half a length in a driving finish. He ventures over the straight for the first time since and is tipped to resume winning ways. The last two races in the first Super-6 should be won by the Lynch-trained WESTERN FAITH (Halledeen up) and CANTARE with Omar Walker aboard. Their respective dangers are MEL AGAIN and INSANE BOLT.
LONDON (AP):In a Premier League season where the usual narrative has been ripped up, there was no shortage of surprises yesterday.The tone for the day was set by Manchester City collapsing 2-0 at Stoke and Leicester then seized the opportunity to go top of the league by beating Swansea 3-0.Leicester were struggling to avoid relegation last season but now find themselves atop the standings the exact opposite of Chelsea’s trajectory. The defending champions’ season sank to a new low when they lost 1-0 at home to promoted Bournemouth, an eighth defeat in 15 league games that leaves them just three points above the relegation zone.Glenn Murray scored an 82nd-minute winner after barely 90 seconds on the field as Bournemouth became the first Premier League newcomers to beat Chelsea since 2001.”It must rank as the best individual result in the club’s history,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said.And it’s been some history at 125-year-old Bournemouth, with the south-coast team coming close to being relegated from the fourth professional division in England and going out of business entirely over the last decade.Embattled Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho maintained that the loss was undeserved and said the referee should have awarded a penalty before Bournemouth’s goal when Simon Francis handled.”We dominated the game but one refereeing mistake cost us,” Mourinho said.While no one expects Chelsea to be a relegation candidate, the team is now 17 points behind leaders Leicester languishing in 14th place, with Bournemouth only two points behind the champions.fifth draw in nine gamesChelsea’s defeat puts Manchester United’s frustrations into perspective. United endured a fifth 0-0 draw in nine games in all competitions as West Ham held Louis van Gaal’s fourth-place team in check at Old Trafford.Arsenal went to second by halting a three-game winless run with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland that saw Olivier Giroud score for both teams.There was only one negative for Leicester. Jamie Vardy last weekend broke a Premier League record by scoring in his 11th consecutive match, but the striker missed out on equalling the all-time pre-1992 top-flight mark of 12 games.Instead, Riyad Mahrez grabbed his first career hat-trick to send Leicester two points clear.Leicester’s victory at Swansea will cast further doubt on the future of home manager Garry Monk whose team has taken only six points out of out a possible 33.Leicester displayed the attacking swagger sorely lacking in City’s performance at Stoke as Manuel Pellegrini’s side went a fourth away game without a win in the league. Marko Arnautovic scored twice from Xherdan Shaqiri’s assists as Stoke tore City apart.”In this game we are playing with the same players in the last three games,” Pellegrini said, bemoaning injuries to Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero. “Maybe it’s the reason why we didn’t play with the energy that we need to win.”Tottenham drew 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion after Dele Alli’s opener was cancelled out by James McClean. Tottenham remain three points behind United the only team to beat the north London club in the league on the opening day.Watford moved into the top half of the standings by beating Norwich 2-0 as captain Troy Deeney scored for a fourth consecutive game.
Saturday 11 p.m.: Chelsea vs Stoke City SPORTSMAX210 a.m.: Man City vs Aston Villa12:30 p.m.: Watford vs Leicester7 p.m.: Everton vs West Ham10 p.m.: Newcastle vs BournemouthSunday8:30 a.m.: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool11 a.m.: West Brom vs Man UnitedSPORTSMAX Saturday
“I am pleasantly surprised at their frame of mind based on the fact that we lost three points in the boardroom. They are in a positive frame of mind and declared that they will go out and do what they have to do. Based on that mood, we are pretty optimistic that we will come away with a positive result,” Reynolds added. Humble Lion’s chances will be boosted by the return to fitness of the talismanic Wolry Wolfe, along with Ricardo Cousins, Andrew Vanzie and Kemeel Wolfe. Levaughn Williams has been scoring for them, especially since the enforced absence of Francois Swaby, and he will again be expected to shoulder the goalscoring burden with Swaby still out. Reno are just four points above the relegation zone and with five matches to go, that does not spell safety and they cannot afford to finish pointless against Portmore United. The veteran Bradley Stewart has lit a fire in the hearts of the Rivoli United players and they must be confident that they can get the better of Waterhouse even though they are playing away from home. Tivoli Gardens are a rejuvenated bunch under Glendon “Admiral” Bailey and are expected to make things difficult for UWI FC, and even with the free scoring Girvon Brown, they could find the going rough. Positive frame Tomorrow’s game: Former champions Harbour View will head into today’s game with the coveted possession of the fourth spot, which guarantees a place in the semi-final round of the Red Stripe Premier League if they can hold on to that at the end of the five remaining sets of games. The Stars of the East owe their position to the opportunism of Nicholas Beckett, whose late double saw off a determined Waterhouse last week. Today, they host the unfortunate Humble Lion, who held the fourth place until a boardroom decision saw them lose it and set the cat among the pigeons. In contention for that place are Humble Lion and the promoted UWI FC, who play away to the tough and hungry Tivoli Gardens. Pole position is what Harbour View currently enjoy and, according to coach Ludlow Bernard, they will do all to hang on to it. “I consider this game just as important as the others that follow, and we will treat all of them as if they are going to be our last game. The approach will be a very aggressive one,” a confident Bernard told The Sunday Gleaner. With the exception of Brian Brown, Harbour View have found reliable goalscorers hard to identify, but Bernard appears unconcerned about that. “Goalscoring has been an issue, yes, and we are hoping that others will share that burden. Beckett came up big in the last game and he will be playing in a more advanced role. “We will be creating chances for sure, but you have to consider that we will be playing against a team that is very mean and do not give up a lot of opportunities. That will make our chances more difficult, but we are confident that we have the personnel that will be incisive enough to create and convert chances,” Bernard said. For Humble Lion’s Vassell Reynolds, this game is a massive one for his team, but he is confident that his players are up for the challenge. “This is big, big, big, owing to the fact that we are three points off a semi-final spot. At this stage of the competition, three points are as precious as gold,” Reynolds said. Today’s games: • 3:30 p.m: Reno vs Portmore United – Frome Complex – 6:30 p.m: Harbour View vs Humble Lion – Harbour View Stadium – 3:30 p.m: Tivoli Gardens vs UWI FC – Edward Seaga Complex – 6 p.m: Waterhouse vs Rivoli United – Drewsland Stadium – 8:40 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs Boys Town – Anthony Spaulding Complex
Excelsior High lifted the urban area ISSA/GraceKennedy Shield cricket title for the first time in 53 years, after defeating Eltham High by 220 runs in the final at Melbourne Oval.Guided by national Under-17 batsman, Raewin Senior, bowling his part-time left-arm spin, Excelsior bowled out Eltham for 90 in their second innings on yesterday’s third and final day.This was after Eltham were set a difficult victory target of 331 at the end of day two.Eltham were bowled out for 96 in their first innings, while Excelsior made 228 and 178 in their respective innings.”We are very elated to finally get this off our backs,” stated an elated Kirkland Bailey, coach of Excelsior.”It’s been since 1963 that Excelsior last laid hands on this title and it feels good to finally take it home back to the family.”Needing to score a further 253 runs to pull off an upset win, Eltham, resuming on 58 for three, started badly by losing two wickets for the addition of two runs.This left their captain and main batsman – national Under-19 representative Ramone Francis, who batted at number six – with the Herculean task of doing damage control. He was the seventh man out when he was stumped off the bowling of left-arm spinner Rushawn Riley for 27.Riley supported Senior ended with three for 13.”We planned how to get the victory last (Tuesday) night and it worked,” Bailed explained.”Once we kept it tight, they would not have the technical competence to handle our bowling.”They have one extremely good player (Francis) and he would have to do everything for them.”Shawn Headlam, coach of Eltham, who were seeking their second title in three years and seventh overall, said he was expecting a tougher fight from his charges.”It’s a bit of a surprise how we folded,” he said. “We were a bit confident coming into the final day, given that most of our key batsmen were yet to come.”But no one wanted to stay around with the captain and in the end it cost us. It was poor cricket by us, over the three days.”He added: “We will just have to now turn our attention to recapturing the urban area Digicel Twenty20, as well as try and go on to win the all-island Twenty20.”Before Excelsior’s triumph, the closest they had reached to the title since 1963 was in 1981 and 1996 when under the leadership of Courtney Walsh and Chris Gayle, respectively, they reached the final.
LATE SUPER-6 FANCIES TOMORROW’s Jamaica Oaks 12-race programme at Caymanas Park offers a host of carry-overs, including $4.2 million in the Pick-9 from Race Four to 12 and $1.1 million in the late Super-6 from Race Seven to 12. There is also a place pot carry-over of $281,000 as well as $95,097 hi-five carry-over from Sunday to tomorrow’s fifth race and a superfecta carry-over of $146,000 from Sunday’s eighth race to the first race tomorrow. We look at the second Super-6 commencing in Race Seven, a four-year-old and up restricted allowance (non-winners of two) for fillies and mares to be contested by 10 starters over 1,200 metres. VALLEY OF QUEENS, KIMBERLY GOLD, SWEET DIMENSION, and the sparingly raced filly PROLIFIC PRINCESS are expected to figure prominently. Victory should go to the Neive Graham-trained PROLIFIC PRINCESS despite racing for the first time since August of last year. Back then, she was a runaway winner over this trip in the fairly good time of 1:14.3, and with connections, including popular owner O’Shaun Connection doing very well with their string of horses this season, PROLIFIC PRINCESS should return with a bang under title-chasing jockey Omar Walker. She has most to fear from KIMBERLY GOLD, who hails from the in-form stables of Steven Todd. (7) PROLIFIC PRINCESS (8) ITALIANO/MIND SET (9) LORD EQUUS/CLASSY AVIATOR (10) LOTTERY TICKET/ HONEY DARLIN (11) NUCLEAR AFFAIR (12) SMOKEY TOPAZ/ MERITONE Walker, Graham, and O’Shaun Connection should team up once again to win the eighth race over 1500 metres (claiming $450,000-$400,000) with down, in-class ITALIANO. Having beaten better in his first two races of the season in January, the seven-year-old grey gelding should defy topweight of 57.0kg over what is an ideal trip for him but should still be wary of the Wayne DaCosta-trained MIND SET and the recent winner STAR NEW VISTA. LORD EQUUS, who finished a good fifth to FUTURE KING in the recent Post to Post 2000 Guineas, should take a lot of beating in the ninth race over 1200 metres, this for non-winners of two three-year-olds. Trained by 14-time champion PhilipFeanny, LORD EQUUS notched his last win over this trip in the fairly good time of 1:13.4, and based on his good fourth to CHASE THE GREAT in the March 19 Prince Consort Stakes (Guineas trial), will prove hard to beat with only 51.5kg and Oneil Mullings aboard. CLASSY AVIATOR (Wesley Henry up) and the Wayne DaCosta-trained LITTLE BIG HORN (Walker up) are twin dangers in a field of 11. Race number 10 for the Ricochet Cup over the round-five course for maiden three-year-old fillies should resolve itself into a straight fight between the Feanny-trained HONEY DARLN (Mullings up), who went down fighting against SUPER COP last Saturday, and the DaCosta-trained LOTTERY TICKET (Walker up), who showed promise on her recent debut. It should to be close, but for me, it’s LOTTERY TICKET. The 11th race, the Caribbean Choice Jamaica Oaks for native-bred three-year-old fillies over 2,000 metres, looks a mere formality for the impressive 1000 Guineas winner NUCLEAR AFFAIR, to be ridden by champion jockey Shane Ellis for trainer Gary Subratie and owner Michros. This exceptional hree-year-old filly is unbeaten in three starts this season, and having looked razor sharp at exercise, should lead home Guineas runner-up A THOUSAND STARS in a field of 10. Then, close all bets with the speedy SMOKEY TOPAZ under top apprentice Linton Steadman in the last race over 1,200 metres, where MERITONE and BLUE DIXIE are main rivals in a field of 11 overnight allowance horses. IDEAL TRIP
Dottin set for Heat return ADELAIDE, Australia (CMC): Barbados and West Indies all-rounder Deandra Dottin is set to make a dramatic return for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League this weekend, three weeks after undergoing face surgery. The 25-year-old suffered multiple fractures to her cheekbones following an on-field collision with teammate Laura Harris, while attempting to field a delivery during a game against Melbourne Stars at Allan Border Field on December 27. Dottin had titanium plates inserted during surgery to rectify the injury. The live-wire Dottin has resumed training with the Heat and has been cleared to suit up for the weekend double-header against Adelaide Strikers – today and tomorrow – at the Gabba in Brisbane. Ramgeet shines with triple PHOENIX, Arizona (CMC): Veteran Jamaican rider Andrew Ramgeet rode a handsome triple to keep tabs on leader Scott Stevens at Turf Paradise here Wednesday. Riding on the eight-race card at the southwestern United States racetrack, Ramgeet won race five with 3-1 chance Aparri, race seven with 4-1 bet Make Money Honey before wrapping up his haul in the day’s final race aboard 6-1 choice Mysterious Man. Seeking to narrow Stevens’ lead, Ramgeet opened his account over six furlongs when he steered six-year-old chestnut mare Aparri to victory by 31/2 lengths over the four-year-old and upward fillies and mares. His second win came over a mile when he partnered with six-year-old bay mare Make Money Honey to trounce the four-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 33/4 lengths. Algeria self-destruct at African Cup LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP): Title contender Algeria self-destructed at the African Cup of Nations, giving away an own goal and paying for some even worse defending in losing to North African rivals Tunisia 2-1 yesterday. Ramy Bensebaini gave away the own goal by deflecting Youssef Msakni’s cross into his own net in the 49th minute in Franceville. Faouzi Ghoulam helped Tunisia double their lead with his woeful defending as he tried to head the ball back to his goalkeeper from way out. Ghoulam then fouled Wahbi Khazri, who swooped on the ball, to give away a penalty. Naim Sliti made it 2-0 from the spot in the 66th. It left Algeria, who got one back in injury time from Sofiane Hanni, sinking in Group B with just one point from two games.
STRONG CHALLENGE Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby is always smiling, but her countenance was brighter than usual at the Western Relays in Montego Bay last Saturday. The glow came from a fine performance there and the good training she has had so far for the 2017 season. McLaughlin-Whilby, a 2016 Olympic relay silver medal winner, contributed fast legs to Sprintec teams in the 4×100 metres and 4×400 metres relays on a cool evening at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Her team finished second in both events to strong teams from the MVP Track Club, but McLaughlin-Whilby sparkled. In an unaccustomed role of lead-off running in the sprint relay, she jetted from the blocks and gave Sprintec a good start. Her effort showed the speed that won her gold medals in the 100 metres at the 2002 Carifta Games in the under-17 age category and at Boys and Girls’ Championships in 2005. “This was my first race for the season, and I was excited because we have a little makeshift 4×100 team”, she said, “and I hadn’t run a start leg in, like, probably 17 years.” With double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson on the anchor leg, the MVP team won in 43.61 seconds. Missing from the Sprintec line-up was Gayon Evans, who is racing on the European indoor circuit. McLaughlin, now 31, helped the Maurice Wilson-coached Sprintec Club to challenge MVP in the 4×400 with a 51.3 seconds run on the third leg. Shericka Jackson, the Olympic 400 metres bronze medallist, sealed the win – 3 minutes 32.67 seconds for MVP. Sprintec clocked 3 minutes 33.16 seconds. In between those efforts, McLaughlin-Whilby explained that so far, her training for the 2017 season has been going well. “Well, training is going great. I can’t complain, just taking it one day at a time,” was her analysis of her preparations so far. Despite a fifth -place finish in the 200 metres in the World Championships as far back as in 2009, the former Holmwood Technical and University of Technology athlete had worked past injuries to reach the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year. Her fast contribution to the women’s 4×400 relay helped Jamaica to the silver medals. That experience has made her optimistic about this season. “Yes,” she agreed, “and the good synergy that me and Mr Wilson had from high school, that contributed to everything that I achieved last year, and I’m looking forward to great things this season.” Asked if her targets included lowering her 400 metres personal best from 51.03 to something below 50 seconds, she smiled and said, “That’s the plan most naturally.”