Union Jack’s Sporting Roundup August 2011

Darren Clarke Wins The British Open

IT’S BEEN a great thirteen months for Northern Ireland’s golfers with Graeme McDowell winning the 2010, US Open, and Rory McIIroy winning the 2011, US Open. Last month, Darren Clarke, made it an Irish threesome, when he claimed his very first Major with victory in The British Open. The 140th British Open Championship at Royal St George, Sandwich, Kent, July 14-17, saw former British Boys Champion Tom Lewis fire of a five under 65, to share the first round leadership with Thomas Bjorn. The 20-year-old from Welwyn Garden City, became the first amateur to lead the Open since Michael Bonallack in 1968, and he also, equaled the lowest round ever shot by an amateur in any Major. It was a tight field however, with 35 other golfers carding under par rounds. Northern Irelander Darren Clarke and Lucas Glover of the US, went to the front in the second round with 36 hole totals of four under par. Tom Lewis faltered but remained within three strokes of the lead. Veteran Tom Watson hit a hole-in-one at the sixth.

The world number one and the world number two, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood did not survive the cut however, and similar fates hit the 2010, US Open champion Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Ernie Els. The third round saw Clarke still leading by the one stroke, and on the final round as squalls and showers peppered the players, the Ulsterman from Dungannon, kept his cool for a five under 275, to win by three stroke from Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson. It was the twentieth appearance for Clarke at The Open, and he cheerfully remarked that his victory speech had been a long time in the making. He became the first Briton to win the Open, since Paul Lawrie’s victory back in 1999.

A week prior, torrential rain and lightning halted all play on the third day of the Scottish Open at Stuart Castle, Inverness, and the tournament was hurriedly made into a 54 hole contest. Luke Donald carded an impressive nine under 63 on the final round that pushed him to a one stroke victory with a 19 under 202. It was Donald’s lowest career 18 hole total ever.

England Win ODIs Series

England’s five match ODIs series against Sri Lanka, went down to the final game, where England won by 16 runs at Old Trafford, to win the series 3-2. England won the first game at the Oval by 110 runs when rain interfered and the Duckworth/Lewis method decided the contest. England 229-8 at 28 overs. Sri Lanka 121 all out. Sri Lanka won at Headingley by 69 runs. Sri Lanka 309 (Mahala Jawardene 144)-5 at 50 overs. England 240 at close. At Lords, Sri Lanka won by six wickets. England 246 (Alistair Cook 119)-7 at 50 overs. Sri Lanka 249 (Chandmai 105)-4 at close. England leveled the series at a rainy Trent Bridge with a 10 wicket victory that was decided by the D/L method. Sri Lanka 171 all out. England 174-0 at close. England clinched the series in the final game. England 268-9 at 50 overs. Sri Lanka 252.

Sri Lanka ended their English tour with triangular ODI series hosted by Scotland, and that included Ireland. The Sri Lanka-Ireland match was abandoned because of rain. Scotland beat Ireland by five runs. Scotland 325-5 at 50 overs.

Ireland 320-8 all out. Sri Lanka beat Scotland by 183 runs. Sri Lanka 284-7 at 50 overs. Scotland 101 all out.

India In England

After winning the first Test match by 63 runs in Jamaica, India went on to tie their two remaining Tests in the Caribbean, thus winning the series 1-0. In Barbados, a close finish with both sides ready to take victory was thwarted by rain on the final day and the match was drawn. India 201 and 269-6 dec. West Indies 190 and 202-7 at close. The third Test at Roseau, Dominica, was drawn too. West Indies 204 and 322 (Kirk Edwards 110, Shiv Chanderpaul 116) India 347 and 94-3 at close.

India then traveled to the UK to begin their English tour where they commenced with a three day draw against Somerset at Taunton. Somerset 425 (Arul Suppiah 156)-3 dec and 260 (Andy Strauss 109 not out)-2 dec. India 224 (Suresh Raina 103 not out) and 69-0 at close.

England beats India by 196 runs at Lord’s

England took a 1-0 lead in the four-test series against India after winning by 196 runs, led by James Anderson’s five-wicket haul and three from Stuart Broad.

Anderson took 5-65 as India, which began the fifth day on 80-1, collapsed in the evening session. Broad claimed 3-57.

Suresh Raina led India’s rearguard action, making 78 from 136 balls with 10 fours.

VVS Laxman scored 56, while Sachin Tendulkar was out for 12 in possibly his final match at Lord’s.

Wimbledon Finale

Wimbledon, June 30-July 3, saw two brand new champions emerge.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia captured the men’s singles crown with a 6-4, 6-1,1-6, 6-3, win over Rafael Nadal, while eighth seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic outplayed two time winner Maria Sharapova with a 6-3, 6-4, win in the women’s final. Britain’s Andy Murray reached the singles semi-finals for the third year running, but for the third time running he got no further. Rafael Nadal played some spectacular tennis and ousted the Scot, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Murray had previously beaten Richard Gasquet and then Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the quarter-finals.

The Murrays Aid Britain To Davis Cup Victory

Britain sustained a confident victory in the Davis Cup, July 8-10, with a 4-1 victory over Luxemburg at the Braehead Arena in Scotland.

James Ward started with a loss to Gilles Muller, but Andy Murray leveled the first day proceedings with a 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, slamming of Laurent Bram, who had not played pro-tennis for four years. Murray accompanied by brother Jamie, beat Mike Vermeer and Bram in straight sets in the doubles on the second day. The final day saw Murray beat Muller and Ward beat Vermeer, which sets up a match with Hungary in September, to decide who gets promoted to the African/Europe Zone 1 Group.

Haye-Maker Tamed, Ricky Hatton Retires

A series of vociferous verbal attacks on the character of Wladimir Klitscho, did not turn into a physical advantage in the ring for WBA heavyweight champion David “Hayemaker,” Haye, as he attempted to take the Ukrainian’s WBO and IBF crowns at Hamburg, July 2. The Bermondsey fighter (25-2) put on a disappointing display for the 10,000 Brits who followed him to Germany, and blamed a broken toe on his loss after a unanimous decision was given to Klitscho. Haye was not only out-boxed, but out-weighed too. The Briton came in at 213lb, while Ukrainian was 243lb. Klitscho (56-3) with his brother Vitali, now hold all the legitimate World titles.

Ricky Hatton (45-2) announced his retirement from the ring last month, but will continue as a promoter. A defeat by Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2007, ended his undefeated run but he came back winning against Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi. Manny Pacquiao, knocked him out in the second round of his last fight, and allegations of drug use only complicated the career of the ‘Manchester Hitman’ as the end of an illustrious 14 year boxing career came to close at the age of 32.

At the European Amateur Boxing championships in Ankara, Turkey, Andrew Selby and Fred Evans became the first Welsh gold medallists in 86 years. Liverpudlian Tom Stalker won a silver and Londoner Charlie Edwards a bronze.

Ricky Burns’ First Round KO

Scotland’s reigning WBO super-featherweight champion Ricky Burn (32-2) retained his crown at the Echo Stadium, Liverpool, July 16, with a first round knockout of London challenger Nicky Cooke (30-3). Cooke appeared to twist strangely as he went down, but the damage had been done. The under-card saw two much regarded British lightweights meet. Manchester’s Kevin Mitchell (32-1) floored unbeaten John Murray (31-0) from Dagenham, in the seventh, and had him down again in the eighth when the ref stopped the fight.

Dario Franchitti Wins In Toronto

Scottish driver Dario Franchitti, chasing a third consecutive IndyCar Championship, took his fourth victory of the year at the Hondy Indy at Toronto, July 10, on a narrow street course at downtown Exhibition Place, where mishaps and collisions added to the excitement but caused major problems for many drivers. Franchitti and pole-sitter Will Power, collided on the 57th lap, which resulted in the Scot getting the advantage, while Power was forced out of the race. It was the 29th career Indy win for Franchitti, who also picked up championship points with a fifth place finish behind Marco Andretti in the Iowa Corn Indy, late June. The Scot led the table mid-July with 353pts and Power chasing with 298.

The Red Bull team of Sebastian Vettel, and Mark Webber, continue to lead the Formula One series. Vettel earned his sixth victory of the year at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain, late June, but had to take second place behind Fernando Alonso at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, July 10. Vettel leads the drivers’ table mid-July with 204pts, with team-mate Webber on 124pts.

Women’s World Cup

FIFA’s Women’s World Cup, hosted in Germany, June 26-July 17, featured sixteen nations divided in to four groups of four. The England women struggled in their first game against Mexico after Fara Williams had put them ahead, but the Mexicans came back for a 1-1 tie. In the second game, New Zealand led by 1-0, at half-time, but Jessica Clarke and Jill Scott netted to give the England side a 2-1 win. England beat Japan in their final group game with a 2-0 win, courtesy of Ellen White and Rachel Yankey. Coach Hope Powell watched in dismay as England were just three minutes away from a semi-final place, when Elise Bussaglia found the net for France in the quarter-finals. A Jill Scott goal in the 58th minute had put England in front. The score 1-1 at ninety minutes saw extra-time added, but neither side could find the net. France won the penalty shoot-out 4-3. It’s the third time the English women have reached the quarter-final, (1995 & 2007) but could progress no further. Japan had never beaten the USA in 23 attempts, but in the final at Frankfurt, July 17; and a 2-2 tie followed by extra-time, the match went to a penalty shootout with the Japanese women winning 3-1.

More Sport

Britain’s former world Ironman champion and record holder, Chrissie Wellington, broke her own world record with a time of eight hours, nineteen minutes and 13 seconds in the 140 mile, Ironman Challenge Roth in Germany.

Only four men finished in-front of her … Larry Godfrey and Amy Oliver picked up a bronze medal in the mixed team event at the World Archery Championships in Turin, Italy … Keri-Ann Payne collected Gold at the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, where she won the 10k open water event … An 1857 handwritten soccer rules pamphlet originally owned by Sheffield FC, sold for $1.4m at Sothebys last month.

European Soccer

The preliminary qualifying rounds of the Europa League, June 30-July 7, saw Fulham easily overcome their first European hurdle, and one of the Welsh clubs did too. Damien Duff, Danny Murphy and Andrew Johnson earned the Cottagers a 3-0 win in the home leg against Nes Soknar of the Faroes Islands, and drew the away leg 0-0. The New Saints drew 1-1 in their home encounter with Cliftonville. At the away leg in Ireland, a fourth minute goal by Phil Baker gave TNS the lead. They hung on for a 1-0 result and a 2-1 winning aggregate. Neath scored first in Norway against FK Aalesund, but the hosts quickly returned fire winning 4-1. In Wales, the Norwegians won 2-0.

Fulham Win, Welsh & Irish Clubs Out, Dundee Utd Out

The second qualifying round of the Europa League, July 14-21, saw Fulham win 3-1 in Ireland, against the Crusaders. Matthew Briggs put the Cottagers ahead, Timmy Adamson made it 1-1, but goals by Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy provided the winning result. At the Cottage, Andrew Johnson, Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora, and Steve Sidwell penetrated the Irish net for a 4-0 win and 7-1 winning aggregate.

Dundee Utd traveled to Poland, where a 75th minute goal by Slask Wroclaw was enough to give the hosts a winning 1-0 advantage. The Scots won the home leg at Tannadice, 3-2, but the away goal rules put the Poles through.

In Wales, TNS had a handful with FC Midtjylland, and though Steve Evans gave them the lead in the 54th minutes, the Danish side came back to win 3-1. In Denmark, Midtjylland won 5-2, leaving the New Saints European journey at an end. At Llanelli, two goal by Jordan Follows (8th & 51st) put the Welsh side 2-0 up, but they gave away a penalty in the 81st minute, and were mightily disappointed that their 2-1 win against Dinamo Tbilisis, was not more conclusive. The away leg in Georgia, saw Llanelli crushed 5-0. Ulster side Glentoran, lost 0-2 at home to Vorksa Poltava of Poland, and the away leg 0-3.

In the preliminary qualifying round of the European Champion League, July 12-19, Welsh champions Bangor Town, found themselves outplayed at home as HJK Helsinki came away 3-0 winners. In Finland, the Welsh got hammered 10-0. Ulster champions Linfield drew 1-1 at home against BATE Borisov, and lost 0-2 in Belarus.

Green Jersey For Cavendish

The Tour de France, July 2-24, saw Cadel Evans become the first Australian to win cycling’s premier event, while Britain’s Mark Cavendish, who only recently was awarded the MBE, won six stages including the final sprint stage to win the green jersey. Cavendish has now won 20 stages over the last few years, a record for a Briton. Triple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, was involved in the crash mayhem during the seventh stage, broke his collarbone and could not continue.

The tour was marred by several spectacular crashes this year, that saw numerous unlucky riders halted in their tracks.

Khan Wins In Vegas, Tyson Fury Takes British Crown

Amir Khan (26-1) turned on the magic at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel, Las Vegas, July 23, retaining his WBA light-welterweight crown against Zab Judah (41-7) with a fifth round knockout. The Bolton youngster aggressively moved against the Brooklyn challenger, where a crippling body punch forced the 33-year-old Judah on the canvas. Same evening at the Wembley Arena, two unbeaten fighters battled it out for the British & Commonwealth heavyweight crown. Challenger Tyson Fury (15-0) from Manchester, took an unanimous decision over reigning champion Dereck Chisora (14-1). Fury, named after former champion Mike Tyson, proved much more the physical fighter and observers felt he fully deserved the decision.

Copa America

Argentina hosted the 2011 South American Nations Championship last month, July 1-July 24. This competition began in 1916, and except for a twenty year break prior in the 1980s, the Copa America brings out the local rivalries. Mexico and Costa Rica joined the ten South American nations this year, commencing with three qualifying groups of four. The tournament is played every two-three years and Brazil has won it four of the last five times. Hosts’ Argentina did not impress. In the group stages they drew with Bolivia and Colombia, and then beat Costa Rica 3-0, a team that had sent its Under 23 International side. In the quarter-finals they tied 1-1 with Uruguay, and lost on penalties. The nation was NOT happy that Messi and company had been thus eliminated. Brazil tumbled out in the quarter-finals against Peru, where another penalty shootout decided the game. At Buenos Aires, July 24, Uruguay claimed the honours with a 3-0 victory over Paraguay in the final.

World Cup 2014

The 2014 World Cup to be hosted by Brazil, got under way last month with a series of preliminary pre-group games. 203 nations will take part in the initial draw with just four FIFA nations, (Mauritania, Bhutan, Brunei and Guam refusing to register). Plenty of goals in Asia where Vietnam slammed Macau with a 13-1(6-1,7-0) aggregate, while Cambodia and Laos’ second game conclusion brought the aggregate to 6-6, before extra time saw Laos edge through with two late (8-6) goals. Nepal romped through against Timor-Leste with 7-1 aggregate, but Jordan bashed them 9-0 in the first leg, next round. The Caribbean minnows were in action too. The Bahamas overwhelmed the Turks & Caicos Islands 4-0 away, and won 6-0 at home with Lesly St Fleur hitting five in Nassau.

 

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