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Tuesday, May 26, 2015
A promising young athlete from the
Runanga Boxing Club was denied his
chance to shine last weekend due to a
lack of opposition in his weight division.
Angus Watson had been set to compete
at the South Island Golden Gloves
tournament, in Kaiapoi. The youngster
had spent the past three years training
under the watchful eye of trainer Kelly
However, despite weighing in for the
tournament on Saturday morning, no
competition could be found in either the
40kg or 44kg weight divisions. McBride
said the lack and depth of talent at the
competition was disappointing.
“The lack of entries in this tournament
was disappointing, with gaps in many
divisions evident, when in past years
there has been more competition.
“ It does bring up the question of
whether or not the glamourised boxing
fights being put on by promoters with
little or no experience or skill in regulated
boxing will be the demise of Amateur
Boxing in New Zealand,” he said.
boxer denied opposition
at Golden Gloves
The gloom loomed early on the
final day of the first test for New
Zealand as England ’s bowlers scythed
through them to win by 124 runs.
The sky darkened but the lights
helped illuminate the visitors’ second
innings rupture in the 100th test
between the countries. Their 523 is
the highest first innings from which
any of the 130 tests at the ground
have been lost.
New Zealand’s second innings
slump failed to detract from a
mesmerising conclusion to a match
which had captivated throughout.
There was respect for both teams.
In the visitors’ 17th test at the venue
they could not capitalise on a 134-
run lead, crumbling for 220 with 9.3
overs of the final day remaining. To
provide context, it is New Zealand ’s
highest score in the fourth innings at
this venue, lasting 67.3 overs.
The test had ebbed and flowed spell
by spell, session by session, day by
day with England taking the honours
on days one, four and five and New
Zealand getting the best of days two
The definitive period was the 132-
run fifth-wicket partnership between
Ben Stokes and Alastair Cook on
the fourth day. That numbed New
Zealand by extending the lead to 295
runs by stumps, a monumental chase
under any fifth day circumstances.
Cook’s 162 opened a gateway to the
After dismissing the hosts for 478,
when Boult became the 19th New
Zealander to qualify for the dressing
room honours board with five for 85
from 34 overs, they crumbled to 21
for three by lunch.
New Zealand had already been
asked to haul in what would be a
ground record fourth innings chase of
345. They had 77 overs to work with,
at a run rate of 4.48. Given the first
three innings of the match hummed
at 3.85 runs per over, there was no
reason to suspect batting conditions
had deteriorated to the extent it
A 107-run sixth-wicket partnership
between Corey Anderson (67)
and B-J Watling (59) resurrected
the cause, enabling New Zealand
to sur vive the middle session and
offering hope for a draw.
Their dismissals left New Zealand ’s
bowlers 23.1 overs to sur vive.
“England were too good for us in
the crucial stages,” New Zealand
captain Brendon McCullum said. “It
was a fantastic test to be a part of, to
play five days in front of full houses
at Lord’s and for it come down to the
final 10 overs.
“England were able to withstand
the pressure and forge partnerships.
If anything, having three of our
guys in the top six facing four balls
between us makes chasing any total
“It’s been a rocky road for us the last
two weeks but I’ve never heard Lords’
like that,” Cook said, referring to the
support. “Mentally the match was on
a knife edge the whole time. When
we were 134 behind, someone needed
a big score.”
He also paid tribute to Stokes,
particularly for his first innings
“ I’d love to score as quickly as Ben,
but the bottom line is I can’t. He’ ll
get plaudits for the century but his
(first innings] 92 was unbelievable
batting when the ball was moving
around corners at 30 for four.”
On the final day, England ’s
adrenaline surged with two wickets
before New Zealand scored. The
visitors’ anxiety pierced a skin of
previous confidence from the past
18 months. Within 21 minutes five
batsmen had come through the
white pickets in a conveyor belt of
McCullum’s reputation left pundits
assuming New Zealand would go
for the target. However, once Broad
had Ross Taylor plumb for eight,
the question turned to survival. This
team, as witnessed by two world
record sixth-wicket partnerships in
the past 15 months, is capable, but
the intensity was beyond their grasp.
First Kane Williamson (27) and
Watling compiled 49 for the fourth
wicket before Williamson edged
to Joe Root at gully off Stokes.
McCullum followed, playing-on first
Soon Anderson was in his element.
An umbrella field gave him scope in
front of square to get his eye in. His
luckiest moments came trying to
slog sweep Moeen Ali twice towards
Baker St but the ball spun beyond his
arc. He gave Stokes some of his own
medicine, depositing a short ball into
the Mound Stand.
If Anderson was the entertainer,
Watling was more the batting
accountant, checking they could
balance the books with their
contrasting approaches, and all on
an inflamed right knee. The way he
played Broad ’s steepling bounce in
the two overs before the inter val was
testament to his courage.
— N Z ME -New Zealand Herald
NZ crumbles at Lords
PICTURE: Getty Images
Brendon McCullum is bowled by Ben Stokes of England.
Remember the uproar about the
ageing All Blacks amid the ruins of
their 1991 World Cup defence.
They were ‘up themselves’, ‘down
on harmony and over the hill’.
Accusations were nasty, personal and
on many fronts were embarrassing as
the nation pulled the rug out from
They were different times and it is
reassuring that much of that redneck
antagonism has been replaced.
Since 1991, the game has gone
professional, conditioning work has
improved out of sight and know-how,
rather than age markers, is seen as an
advantage rather than a handbrake.
Experience has a lofty value when
teams are placed into high-stakes
competition or sudden-death scenarios
as they are at World Cups. As long as
players want to be involved and can
meet the physical levels demanded by
their coaches, no one will look at their
Revisiting profiles from the 1991
World Cup, you find that none of the
original backs and only six for wards
were beyond 30, with twins Gary and
Alan Whetton the senior statesmen
More than 12 players in the mix for
an All Black spot at this year’s event
will be older than the Whettons who
had Richard Loe, Andy Earl, Graham
Pur vis and Steve McDowell for senior
Grant Fox was the oldest back
among the All Blacks until Kieran
Crowley, who had just turned 30, was
called up as an injury replacement.
This season six possible backs —
Conrad Smith, Cory Jane, Sonny
Bill Williams, Ma’a Nonu, Daniel
Carter and Andy Ellis — will have
gone past three decades like for ward
contenders Kieran Read, Jerome
Kaino, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam,
Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Ben
Franks and Keven Mealamu.
Grand-daddy of them all is Mealamu
who crested 36 in March and plans to
add even more caps to the 123 he has
gathered in his remarkable career.
Next is captain Richie McCaw who
will blow out 35 candles on New
Year’s Eve followed by Conrad Smith
who will be 34 in the middle of the
This season, all three look to be
slowing and having less impact on
matches. That ’s less impact than the
usual high-calibre contributions from
McCaw, Smith and Mealamu, so their
performance is still at a level which
will cope with most international
Before their fitness advisers flourish
sheets of statistics to prove the trio are
as sharp as ever, I’d argue their impact
is not as consistently spikey as it ’s been.
That ’s the tradeoff.
They have all the experience to rely
on as they absorb and react in an 80
They are all leaders in their
departments and the cool minds in the
fury of battle.
It is whether their bodies respond as
quickly and relentlessly as they always
did and how conditions, the opposition
and match officials interfere with what
we took for granted.
— New Zealand Herald
Are our ageing All Blacks too old?
Keven Mealamu, 36.
Maria Sharapova got back in the
groove at her happiest hunting
ground while Andy Murray ’s
growing love of clay blossomed as
both posted easy first-round wins at
the French Open overnight.
Defending champion Sharapova
was nursing a cold but opened her
bid for a third Roland Garros title
in four years with a 6-2 6-4 victory
over Estonian Kaia Kanepi on a
breezy Court Phillipe Chatrier.
Men’s third seed Murray then
took his winning streak on the red
dust to 11 matches by overpowering
Argentine lucky loser Facundo
Arguello 6-3 6-3 6 -1, maintaining
his unbeaten run since marrying
long-term partner Kim Sears.
Sharapova, who was also
champion in 2012 and runner-up in
2013 despite an intense dislike for
the surface earlier in her illustrious
career, produced her usual power
tennis to ease through to the second
It was not a perfect performance,
perhaps due to the cough that
was troubling her, but she never
looked in danger as she set up a
meeting with fellow Russian Vitalia
Sharapova left to a few boos
though after declining an on-court
“Unless I’m really in my coffin
I’m going to be out there,” she told
reporters. “I got sick a week before
the tournament, not right before.
“I guess it ’s a little bit better
timing but it ’s just the way it is. I’m
getting over it, hopefully it will pass
The world number two is in
the opposite side of the draw to
her old nemesis, top seed Serena
Williams, and will need to be 100%
to negotiate her way through to the
Former runner-up Samantha
Stosur, an easy winner against
American Madison Brengle, could
await in the third round while
eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro
of Spain, tipped as a dark horse
for the title, is a possible foe in the
Suarez Navarro beat Monica
Niculescu of Romania 6-2 6-2 but
several seeds tumbled on day two in
swanky western Paris.
Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, the
men’s 11th seed, became the
highest casualty so far, losing 6-3
7-6 (9) 6-3 to Russian Teymuraz
Gabashvili while women’s 14th
seed Agnieszka Radwanska’s slump
continued as the former world
number two succumbed 6-2 3-6
6-1 to Germany ’s Annika Beck.
American veteran Venus
Williams, seeded 15, also lost,
although a 7-6 (5) 6-1 defeat by
compatriot Sloane Stephens barely
registered on the shock scale.
With nine-times champion
Rafa Nadal and top seed Novak
Djokovic keeping their powder dry
today, Murray joined Roger Federer
in getting a head start with a
confident display on Court Phillipe
There were a few early ner ves, a
double-fault in the opening game
giving Arguello a break point that
he could not convert and again
when he allowed his 137th-ranked
opponent to recover from 3-0 down
to level at 3-3 in the first set.
Once Murray, twice a French
Open semi-finalist, broke in
the eighth game though he was
“I hope (ner ves) are always there,”
he said. “I can’t remember the last
time I played a first-round match in
a slam and did not feel nervous.”
Murray was joined in the second
round by fourth seed Tomas
Berdych who beat Yoshihito
Nishioka 6-0 7-5 6-3 .
Nishioka was one of seven
teenagers in the men’s draw, two of
whom produced excellent wins.
Croatian Borna Coric, 18, beat
American Sam Q uerrey 7-6 (8) 6-3
0-6 6 -3 while Australian wildcard
Thanasi Kokkinakis, 19, put out
Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Kokkinakis will face countryman
Bernard Tomic next.
Nick Kyrgios, yet another Aussie
young gun, lived up to his 29th
seeding by breezing past Denis
Home crowds flocking in to the
grounds had plenty to cheer too
with French number one Alize
Cornet opening proceedings on
centre court with a fighting 4-6 6 -4
6-1 triumph over Italian Roberta
Vinci and the ever-popular Gael
Monfils, the 13th seed, defeating
compatriot Edouard Roger-
Vasselin. — Reuters
Murray and Sharapova in
winning form at French Open
PICTURE: Getty Images
Andy Murray of Great Britain plays a backhand in his match against
Facundo Arguello of Argentina.
Casey Kopua has certainly had more
productive 30 minutes of netball.
She has played quarters where
seemingly every ball coming into the
opposition attacking third finds its
way into her hands. She has had games
where she has restricted the opposition
to just five goals a quarter. She has come
up with the clutch plays for her side in
But it is hard to recall a 30 minute
passage of play in Kopua’s career that
would have been more widely celebrated
than her appearances in second and
fourth quarters of the Magic’s win over
the Central Pulse in Hamilton last
The Silver Ferns’ inspirational skipper
made her long-awaited return to the
court last night, marking a major
milestone in her bid to lead the national
side at the World Cup in August after
suffering a devastating knee injury in
last year’s Constellation Cup.
Kopua, who has been forced to watch
the ANZ Championship action from
the sideline all year, took the court
in the second quarter to rapturous
applause from her hometown crowd
at Claudelands Arena for her first
transtasman league appearance of
While her anticipation and timing was
off at times, Kopua showed no signs of
fear or caution as she threw herself into
everything, giving her re-built knee a
thorough working over.
There were a couple of flashes of the
old Kopua brilliance however, with
a stunning intercept at the top of the
circle, where she cut off a Liana Leota
high ball into the shooters a particular
She sat out the third spell, but returned
at goal defence in the final quarter with
the match hanging in the balance as the
homeside holding a narrow 37-35 lead.
It was a tense time to introduce the
star defender back into the fray, but
she — and the rest of her Magic team-
mates — held her ner ve down the
home stretch to close out a 52-47 win
over the Pulse and cement second spot
on the New Zealand conference table.
The loss leaves the Pulse needing to
win their final round clash against
the Thunderbirds in Adelaide next
weekend, and hope the Steel fall to the
Firebirds, to book their place in the
New Zealand conference finals. But on
the strength of last night’s performance,
and their indifferent form all year, few
would tip the Pulse to break their eight
year drought on Australian soil next
The Pulse have looked a broken team
in recent weeks. Emotions ran high
for the Wellington-based side after
grabbing just one of the points on offer
against the Steel last week, with the
southerners snatching a draw courtesy
of a late penalty shot that was advanced
into the circle by umpire Jono Bredin.
Pulse captain Katrina Grant was seen
after the match angrily remonstrating
with Bredin over the decision, as
the frustration of a long season of
disappointment spilled over.
Last night was probably the Pulse’s
last opportunity to get it right.
— N ZM E -New Zealand Herald
Magic hold out Pulse to
cement second place in
Real Madrid have fired their coach
c lub president
Florentino Perez said, making the
popular Italian pay for a disappointing
season without a major trophy.
“The board of directors has taken the
decision this afternoon to relieve Carlo
Ancelotti of his duties as coach of Real
Madrid,” Perez told a news conference
at the club’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium
“It has been a very hard decision ... but
Real Madrid is extremely demanding
and we believe it is time to give a new
impulse (to the club).”
The former AC Milan and Chelsea
coach leaves Madrid after just two
years in the job having failed to convert
a record run of victories last year into
silver ware at the end of this season.
Madrid had won the Club World
Cup on a streak of 22 consecutive wins
between September and December to
add to the Copa del Rey and UEFA
Super Cup in a record four-trophy haul
But they were beaten to the Spanish
league title by a treble-seeking Barcelona
and eliminated by city rivals Atletico
Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
Ancelotti’s last chance of keeping his
job was ended when one of his former
clubs, Juventus, knocked Real out of the
Champions League earlier this month
to progress to the final.
That was too much for the club’s
popularity with fans and players.
Media have reported that Napoli’s
Spanish coach Rafael Benitez is the
favourite to replace him.
Perez said the new coach would be
named next week. — AFP
Real Madrid coach sacked
for not enough silverware
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