No fines for LeBron James or others over protest, NBA sources say

by admin on January 29th, 2019

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he supports players voicing their opinions on social issues but would prefer they abide by the rule that stipulates players wear clothing made by Adidas, the league’s official apparel provider.

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The shirts were a gesture of solidarity with the family of Eric Garner, the 29-year-old unarmed black man who died in July after being restrained in a chokehold by a New York City police officer.

Garner was videotaped saying, “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness. A Staten Island grand jury last week decided not to indict the white officer, triggering protests.

About 200 protesters were outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday night, chanting “I can’t breathe,” and “Hands-up, don’t shoot,” a reference to Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot by police in August in Ferguson, Missouri, despite some eyewitness accounts that he had his hands up.

Wearing the shirt, James said, was “a message to the family that I’m sorry for their loss.”

“Violence is not the answer, and retaliation isn’t the solution,” James said. “As a society, we know we have to get better. It’s not going to be done in one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We know that. But we all have to do better.”

The game was even more high-profile than usual as Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, were in attendance at the Brooklyn arena.

Irving, James’ two-time All-Star teammate on the Cavaliers, also wore the shirt during warm-ups, as did four Nets players: Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack and Alan Anderson. Irving said he would protest even if he wasn’t an NBA player.

“It was one of those things that I felt I wanted to be part of and take a stand,” he said.

Since the protests against police tactics erupted after the Brown shooting, athletes have become more involved. Five St. Louis Rams held their hands up while being introduced two weeks ago in a tribute to Brown.

(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech)

Ramsey goal of season contender seals Arsenal win

by admin on January 29th, 2019

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The Welsh international scored twice, as did Arsenal’s Germany striker Lukas Podolski, whose opener, a brilliantly taken angled left-foot shot after three minutes, set them on the way to an easy win over the already-eliminated hosts.

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Arsenal had to win and hope Dortmund lost at home to Anderlecht to finish top of the group but the German side drew, meaning the Londoners needed to have triumphed by six goals.

Dortmund and Arsenal both finished with 13 points but the German side took top spot with a better goal difference leaving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to praise his side’s performance on the night.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t enough but we finished with 13 points and did a job tonight. We came out strong and that’s what I wanted from the players. This group has a good dynamic and they showed that from the start.”

Wenger said he wondered what Ramsey was doing when he set himself up for his shot.

“I thought maybe that’s not the best of ideas but the way it went in was absolutely unbelievable” he told Sky Sports.

“There’s a little bit of frustration that we have finished runners-up, but we knew at halftime we needed to score six goals without conceding.

“We won four games, lost one and had one draw. Looking back, we can maybe regret that point at home to Anderlecht,” he added referring to a match in which Arsenal led 3-0 at home with half-an-hour to play but were pegged back to 3-3 in the last minute.

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Arsenal were already assured of a place in the last 16 for the 15th successive season and the outcome at the Turk Telecom Arena was virtually settled inside the first 11 minutes after Podolski and Ramsey both scored their first goals.

Ramsey’s great strike for his second goal came after 29 minutes and the scoreline stayed at 3-0 until Wesley Sneijder scored a consolation for the home side with a beautifully struck free-kick after 88 minutes.

Podolski made it 4-1 with the last kick of the game after weaving through the leaky home defence.

Arsenal, who lost 3-2 at Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday, reigniting demands from their disgruntled fans that the long-serving Wenger should leave the club, needed a good win in Istanbul and wasted no time in securing it.

Galatasaray, who knew they would finish bottom, should have cancelled out Podolski’s outrageous early strike after six minutes but Hakan Balta shot wide with the goal gaping.

(Writing by Mike Collett; Editing by Ian Chadband and Ken Ferris)

Toulon’s Castrogiovanni investigated for rant

by admin on January 29th, 2019

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A statement from EPCR on Monday said its Disciplinary Officer had requested information from Leicester Tigers after Castrogiovanni used offensive language when speaking to members of the media about Cockerill following Sunday’s European Champions Cup match between the sides on Sunday.

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Castrogiovanni, a former favourite at Leicester before leaving last May, could face misconduct charges.

He was reported to have sworn on numerous occasions when talking about the reasons for him leaving Leicester, denying that it had been because of money.

“Cockers talks about the money, but I paid £100,000 from my own pocket to leave this club because I want to play rugby,” he was quoted on the BBC.

“I always love this club and I wanted to clarify and talk face to face, which is something Cockers never does. I didn’t have an opportunity to defend myself when I left. I never want to speak with Cockers any more.”

Castrogiovanni, 33, apologised after his rant.

“First of all I want to make amends for my profanity and apologise to everyone feeling offended by what I said, I’m sorry if my words have created misunderstandings,” he said in a statement. “It also wasn’t my intention to offend anyone, but only to point out my position after some statements.”

Castrogiovanni’s team mate Delon Armitage is also being investigated by EPCR after allegedly abusing home fans during Toulon’s 25-21 defeat at Welford Road.

“Should the Disciplinary Officer decide that there are grounds to bring a misconduct complaint in respect of one or both of the incidents, the case or cases would be heard by an independent Disciplinary Committee under the Disciplinary Rules,” a statement said. “In the meantime, both players are free to play.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Tom Hayward)

English clubs hit spending record despite sluggish January sales

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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Despite clubs’ “relative restraint” in January, the total spending in 2014-15 surpassed the 2013-14 record of 760 million pounds, Deloitte said.

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The amount spent in January was far less than the 225 million pounds record for the winter established in January 2011.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte who have been monitoring the spending of clubs for the last two decades, said: “Given the record level of spending seen in the summer, it is not entirely surprising that we haven’t seen a new record for the January window.”

The biggest spenders were champions Manchester City, league leaders Chelsea and Champions League perennials Arsenal, who between them accounted for around half of the total, according to the firm.

The window ended on Monday more with a whimper than a bang with the biggest deal of the day being Chelsea’s 35 million euros (£26.4 million) for Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado from Italian club Fiorentina.

The Cuadrado deal was part-funded by the English club’s sale of Andre Schurrle to German side Wolfsburg for 22 million pounds.

But the last-minute shopping spree often associated with the closing of the January transfer window failed to materialise as Europe’s top clubs largely kept their powder dry.

The lack of trading was unusually light, leaving presenters of Sky Sports News’ much-hyped deadline day coverage programme, who bizarrely all wear yellow ties for the day, desperately searching for something to talk about.

City’s biggest move came when they signed Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony from Swansea City earlier for 25 million pounds while Manchester United’s only arrival of note was former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes on a free transfer.

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules have made it less likely that clubs sign players without first off-loading some of their squad, stalling the usual merry-go-round.

Transfers of players from the Premier League to other European leagues is also hindered by the huge salaries.

The reluctance of club managers to part with players at such a delicate phase of the season has also become an increasing factor in the mid-season window.

Speaking to the BBC, former Hull City chairman Paul Duffen explained the lack of January activity.

“Getting players out in the market, there are problems such as liquidity. Clubs don’t have it, apart from Chelsea today,” he said. “There is the danger in January for a player that if it goes wrong, it could harm their career.

“They could find they go on loan at a club who get relegated and end up in a worse situation than they were.”

(Additional writing and reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

WA town’s residents defy fire evacuation

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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Around 40 residents have chosen to remain in the “undefendable” township of Northcliffe, which is in the path of an out-of-control bushfire.

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The town in West Australia’s far south is under imminent threat from fire and it is not safe to stay and defend, authorities say.

Householders have been urged to leave to the north towards Pemberton with most of Northcliffe’s 600 residents evacuated.

About 240 firefighters and 60 support personnel are battling the blaze that has burnt 25,000 hectares since it was sparked by lightning at Shannon National Park on Friday.

Shire of Manjimup president Wade DeCampo told AAP an unoccupied house owned by former councillor, the late Tom Fahey, has been lost in the fire.

A southerly wind change on Tuesday evening put Northcliffe directly in the path of the blaze, with the front only five kilometres away.

Despite the emergency warning, some locals chose to stay put, indicating they would defend their properties, Mr DeCampo said.

He urged residents not to leave it too late to evacuate.

“People won’t believe it will hit the town,” Mr DeCampo said.

“It’s their home, it’s their castle, they’re willing to risk their lives.”

Northcliffe Hotel publican Steve McGavin told AAP he took his two grandchildren to the Pemberton evacuation centre after police told him to evacuate.

Mr McGavin said the family was now heading to Margaret River to be with the children’s mother rather than spend another night on bunk beds.

He said the town had faced fires before but they’d never been told to evacuate.

Mr DeCampo said the windshift meant the next 12 hours would be critical for emergency services.

“They cannot see an end point to this fire,” he said.

Residents are being told the fire could burn up to 100,000 hectares and Pemberton – the current evacuation meeting point – may also have to be evacuated.

DFES says the fire is moving at more than 500 metres an hour with spot fires starting up to 100 metres ahead of the front.

More than 100 Victorian firefighters have been flown to WA to help tackle the blaze.

Bridgetown catteries and dog kennels are providing free housing for the pets of people who have evacuated, while the local brigade is collecting livestock from paddocks.

WA shopping centre blast kills two men

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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Two men have died after an explosion at a Perth shopping centre where they were carrying out electrical maintenance.

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Two other men were seriously injured in Tuesday’s blast, after which witnesses reported seeing people running from the scene on fire.

Police said it was believed all four men were working near an electrical transformer at the rear of a Woolworths supermarket at Galleria Shopping Centre in suburban Morley at around 9.30am.

Witness Jonathan McDonagh described the scene as horrific, panicked and rushed.

“I came driving in and saw three people come running out … they were on fire,” he told AAP.

“I had the radio on and didn’t hear the bang, but I saw a puff of smoke.

“A young man on the ground, he was dead.

“I saw another moving around, obviously not OK.

“I gave him a good helping hand, as much as I could.

“They were really burnt badly.”

Mr McDonagh was among several people who helped the injured, taking off his shirt and using it to put out the flames. Other bystanders were dousing the men with water.

Another witness said: “It was just `whoosh’ and then there were these guys coming out and hitting the deck and then ripping their gear off.”

Stephen Beer from Federation Centres, which manages the Galleria, said the accident occurred during routine electrical maintenance.

The exact cause of the explosion is unknown but lightning has been ruled out, and EnergySafe and WorkSafe are investigating.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has cordoned off the scene.

High Energy Service Pty Ltd, a privately owned company that services the high voltage electrical industry, said the four men were their employees and subcontractors.

“This is a truly tragic day and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased persons, and those of the injured employees,” the firm said in a statement.

“Our staff are currently working with DFES to ensure the site is safe.

“We will be fully co-operating with all the relevant authorities in their investigations and will be conducting our own investigation.

“Our focus at this moment is supporting those injured people and their families and our other employees.”

The three injured men were rushed to Royal Perth Hospital in a critical condition with serious burns.

One of the men had burns covering 80 per cent of his body and was conscious and breathing when paramedics attended.

Hours later, police said the man had died.

A woman who was trying to assist the injured suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Several other people were treated for shock and smoke inhalation on the spot, but didn’t need to be taken to hospital.

Mr Beer said a large section of the centre, the Woolworths/Target mall, would remained isolated and closed for the time being.

A Woolworths spokeswoman stressed the explosion did not occur in the supermarket or areas managed by Woolworths.

Lumumba joins Demons’ AFL leaders

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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Former Collingwood star Heritier Lumumba has made an immediate impact at Melbourne, joining their leadership group for the upcoming AFL season.

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Lumumba is part of a six-man group that will have Nathan Jones as the skipper.

It will be the first time since Brad Green led the Demons in 2011 that they have not had co-captains.

Jack Grimes, who stepped down from the captaincy after last season, remains in the leadership group.

Lumumba is in his first year at Melbourne after a successful but occasionally rocky spell at Collingwood.

“It shows what high standards he has,” coach Paul Roos said.

“There are a lot of rumours, a lot of talk about Heritier, which surprised me.

“The players would agree, we’ve seen nothing but high standards, nothing but a guy who’s been compliant and wants to drive the group.

“For him to be named in such a short space of time, it gives you an idea of how highly regarded he is already by the guys at Melbourne.”

Jones became co-captain last season and was the obvious choice to lead the team again.

“We’ll continue to raise the bar and raise the standards as leaders as much as we can,” the star midfielder said.

“I’m really confident in the current list of players we’ve got and the direction the footy club has taken, that we’ll be back to being a great footy club again.”

Roos said he had an open mind whether the Demons should continue with co-captains.

“I’m never 100 per cent sold … one captain, two captains, three captains – I’ve seen them work in a lot of different formats,” he said.

“We were really comfortable, as the players were and as the leadership group was, to go with one captain.”

Lynden Dunn was rewarded for improved form with the vice-captaincy, while Daniel Cross and Chris Dawes are the other members of the leadership group.

“For him to be named vice-captain is a very, very good effort,” Roos said.

Lumumba and Dawes were members of Collingwood’s 2010 premiership team, while Cross played in preliminary finals at the Western Bulldogs.

Jones and Dunn have endured Melbourne’s ongoing lean period, with the club finishing second-bottom last year despite definite improvement.

“There’s a really good mix of guys who understand how difficult it’s been, but also some guys who’ve had some real success, who can continue to raise standards around here also,” Roos said.

Ebola fighters donate $45,000 to Liberals

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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A company awarded a $20 million federal government contract to fight Ebola in Africa donated $45,000 to the Liberal Party.

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Australian Electoral Commission party financial disclosures for 2013/14 show Aspen Medical gave $30,000 to the federal Liberals.

There is no date for the individual payment, but the party financial return is dated October 20, 2014.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on November 5 that Aspen Medical would be paid $20 million to operate a UK-built Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

A spokesman for the prime minister told AAP that contract was decided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in accordance with usual procurement procedures.

“Aspen – an Australian company – had a well-established track record of delivery, including in West Africa, and was able to deliver a timely response which is saving lives,” the spokesman said.

The AEC noted that a further $15,000 was provided to the Liberals’ ACT division.

But an amendment to the ACT return included the note: “Funds incorrectly paid into account. Funds returned to Aspen Medical.”

Labor received a $1500 donation from Aspen during the 2013/14 financial year.

Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon says the Liberals should pay all of the money back to Aspen to avoid perceptions of a conflict of interest.

“Mr Abbott as prime minister, who is clearly in an increasingly difficult situation, would be wise to show some leadership on this,” she told AAP on Tuesday.

Senator Rhiannon said electoral laws should be changed to ensure the government must declare whether companies receiving public funds are party donors.

“It puts a spotlight onto why we need to clean up electoral funding.”

The Greens plan to introduce a bill to ban donations from certain industries such as mining, alcohol, gambling and tobacco, but support the idea of a wider ban on corporate donations.

Comment is being sought from the Liberal Party.

Two bushfire emergencies in WA’s south

by admin on May 30th, 2019

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Two emergency warnings are in place for lightning-sparked bushfires in Western Australia’s south, with a veteran firefighter warning one of the blazes could burn all the way to the coast.

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While a fire threatens the town of Northcliffe, the alert level for the southern part of Lower Hotham has been upgraded to an emergency.

Roger Underwood, who has been fighting fires for more than 50 years, fears the Northcliffe blaze could continue to burn out of control until it hits the Southern Ocean.

Mr Underwood said the fire was burning in extremely dense Karri forest, thick with trees up to 70 metres high.

“It could be really bad,” he told AAP.

“It’s probably the biggest fire risk problem we’ve had in 50 years.”

The fire is spreading in some areas at a rate of more than 500 metres per hour, with spot fires starting up to 100 metres ahead of the fire.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says forecast thunderstorms “could cause areas of extreme fire behaviour”.

Wednesday is expected to be very hot with possibly more storms.

About 300 firefighters and support crews are on the scene and have saved several homes in the area, and will soon be joined by almost 150 firefighters from Victoria who arrived in Perth on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Underwood said there was no way to stop the head fire.

“That’s unstoppable,” he said.

“Fires in the Karri forest are not put out by men on the ground or by aeroplanes – they’re only put out by a change in the weather.

“You’ve got to work the sides of the fire and bring in bulldozers.”

People in Northcliffe and the subdivisions of Parkview, Bracken Rise and Double Bridge are directly in the fire’s path and have been strongly urged to evacuate as the areas are considered undefendable.

Only a few people have remained behind.

The Lower Hotham fire has increased in intensity and hop-overs have occurred on the eastern and western sides.

The warning applies to an area bounded by Pinjarra Williams Road, Lower Hotham Road, Tunnell Road, Fletcher Road, Stockyard Road, Boundary Road, Trees Road, Harvey Quindanning Road, Dooganally Road, Lemercier Road and George Road.

“Homes on the eastern side of Lower Hotham Road will be impacted by bushfire,” DFES said.

About 70 firefighters are on the scene.

Almost 3000 bushfires have broken out around WA since January 1, with more than 120 sparked by lightning in the past week.

Mr Underwood, the chairman of prescribed burning advocacy group Bushfire Front, said the state had entered an era of very poor bushfire management after leading the world in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Unless you have control of the fuels, in an Australian environment you’re doomed to savage bushfires.”

Amir reprieve will encourage others to come clean – ICC

by admin on May 30th, 2019

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Amir and his former team mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were all banned for spot-fixing, particularly for bowling deliberate no-balls by pre-arrangement at Lord’s, during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.

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The trio served jail sentences in Britain and were given minimum five-year bans by an ICC tribunal.

Amir’s five-year ban was scheduled to expire on Sept. 2 but ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACSU) chairman Ronnie Flanagan exercised his discretion to allow him to return to domestic cricket with immediate effect on Thursday.

“There’s an incentive to players that if you have messed up there’s a way back,” Richardson told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“Don’t forget that Amir would have been out of international cricket for five years. That’s more than half a career.

“Most players don’t even get to play five years at international level,” said the former South Africa stumper-batsman.

Left-arm bowler Amir was marked as a great prospect for Pakistan in his early days and at the age of 18 he became the youngest bowler to capture 50 test wickets during the controversial test match at Lord’s in 2010.

According to a revised anti-corruption code, a banned player can appeal to resume playing domestic cricket before the end of the ban.

“Not withstanding what he did, no one suggests that we should be tolerant or be lax on players who get involved in these type of things,” the 55-year-old Richardson said.

“But in his case, he admitted his involvement and since then he’s made every effort to disclose everything that he knows to help the ACSU with their education programmes.

“Therefore, I think he served as a good example to players who might have got involved in the past, regret what they have done and there’s a way for them to come back in due course.”

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

DR Congo players told to put euphoria behind them

by admin on May 30th, 2019

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“I’ve been talking about it all the time in training,” coach Florent Ibenge told a news conference as the Congolese prepared for their semi-final against the fancied Ivorians in Bata.

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“We have to really get our concentration back and focus on what is going to be a really tough encounter. Our last game was one of great emotion but I’ve been working hard to get all the euphoria behind us.”

DR Congo were 2-0 down just after an hour of the quarter-final against neighbours Congo in Bata but scored four goals in the last 25 minutes to seal a thrilling win.

“We expect a game full of a lot of tactics, very physical and with the need for strong mental concentration. It is difficult for the players in what will be their fifth game after two weeks of this tournament and also a couple of weeks of preparations before the tournament,” Ibenge added.

“It will be complicated for us but we hope it will as difficult for them,” he added at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

The Congolese last played the Ivorians in the qualifiers in October when they produced another thrilling performance to force a surprise 4-3 away win.

“But no two games are the same and we must forget that one. The Ivorians team has changed a lot since then, they have stiffened up the midfield and since Kolo Toure came back they’ve been a lot tougher to break down in defence.”

DR Congo must again do without captain Youssouf Mulumbu, who tore his hamstring in their second match of the tournament against the Cape Verde Islands.

Ibenge said the West Bromwich Albion midfielder remained an important team member with his leadership role on the bench.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Dam fences could stop cane toad spread

by admin on May 30th, 2019

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Toad-proof fences around man-made dams could stop the spread of the toxic pests in some arid parts of Australia, scientists say.

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In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of NSW examined the long-term control of cane toads and found that blocking their water source would kill them in large numbers.

Lead author Mike Letnic said dams built for livestock attracted toads and had vastly increased the areas that the poisonous creatures could invade.

“Cane toads need water to survive and we have previously shown they use the dams as refuges in the hot, dry periods,” he said.

“They enter the water during the day to cool down and rehydrate.

“When the rainy period returns, they move on from these dry season refuges into new territory.”

Associate Professor Letnic said it explained why cane toads were so successful as invasive species.

During the study, researchers made small fences from shade cloth around three dams in the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory and maintained them for a year.

Toads could not jump over the fences or burrow underneath, so they died en masse.

Their numbers remained low for another year while there were up to 100 times more toads living at the unfenced dams used as controls.

“By excluding toads from dams, we converted their invasion refuges into ecological traps and thwarted their spread,” Assoc Prof Letnic said.

The researchers suggested pastoralists and wildlife agencies in semi-arid and arid regions could fence out toads at dams or replace dams with tanks.

“If conducted strategically, excluding toads from man-made water sources could effectively control their populations across large areas of Australia and relieve the impacts that cane toads are having on native predators and dung beetles,” Assoc Prof Letnic said.

Head youngest-ever SA cricket skipper

by admin on May 30th, 2019

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Travis Head will become the youngest-ever South Australian cricket captain after taking over from Johan Botha.

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The 21-year-old batsman was given the job on Tuesday following Botha’s decision to stand down after three years in the position and he becomes the youngest leader in the state’s 122-year first-class history.

A former Australia under-19 skipper, Head has also led his state at under-17 and under-19 level but is in just his fourth senior season.

Given he’s yet to post a first-class century, his selection as skipper ahead of more established teammates such as Callum Ferguson and Tom Cooper came as a surprise to some.

The left-hander’s first game in charge will be the Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in Perth beginning on Saturday.

South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) chief executive Keith Bradshaw, who himself was 23 when he captained Tasmania for a Sheffield Shield match in 1987, said the appointment was a long-term move.

“Travis’s appointment demonstrates a long-term focus for our young Redbacks team,” Bradshaw said.

“Travis has demonstrated an ability to show resilience under pressure on the field in his short time playing for South Australia.

“Off-field, Travis is already well respected by the entire cricket community both in South Australia and around the country.

“We are excited to appoint a young, capable leader who we believe can achieve higher honours in his cricketing career.”

Botha, the South African international who was recruited in 2012, informed the SACA during the recent hiatus in Shield competition that this season would be his last at the helm.