Sports shorts: Bruce to Newcastle, Ashes concerns, British Grand Prix
Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 16 July
1. Bruce set for Newcastle
Steve Bruce is set to become manager of Newcastle after he resigned from Sheffield Wednesday. However, the former Sunderland, Birmingham and Wigan boss will have a job on his hands not only leading the team but also to win over the fans. “In agreeing to become Rafa Benitez’s replacement at Newcastle he is putting himself at risk of ridicule, abuse and the sort of criticism that can destroy a man as well as a reputation,” says the Daily Telegraph. “Huge numbers of Newcastle supporters do not want him anywhere near their club. They do not think he is good enough, strong enough, wise enough or clever enough to step into Benitez’s shoes.”
2. Arsenal fans protest
New Arsenal signing Gabriel Martinelli scored on his debut as the Gunners cruised to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids during their pre-season tour of US. The teenager, who signed for the club earlier this month, fired home the third goal in a straightforward win. But things are not so rosy back home, where supporters groups have joined forced to criticise American owner Stan Kroenke. In a letter to the club the fans said: “Off the pitch, fans have never felt more marginalised, less listened to or valued… It feels as though Arsenal is at a crossroads. Things need to change.”
3. Thomas boost at Tour de France
A dramatic tenth stage of the Tour de France saw defending champion Geraint Thomas catapulted up to second as several leading riders were caught out by a breakaway. Strong winds took their toll as Belgian Wout van Aert claimed the stage win. “What had looked likely to be a transitional stage tailored to an opportunistic breakaway move, morphed into a decisive one for Thomas’s hopes of claiming a second yellow jersey in Paris as he moved into a more dominant position before the climbs of the Pyrenees,” says The Guardian.
4. Netballers beat Jamaica
England laid down a marker at the Netball World Cup with an impressive 56-48 win over Jamaica, who were ranked second in the world behind Australia coming into the tournament. The win should ensure that England make it to the semi-finals barring a dramatic collapse against the lesser nations in the competition. Serena Guthrie and Helen Housby starred for England, and the result leaves Jamaica on the brink of elimination after they lost to South Africa in the first group stage.
5. Cricket celebrations
There was no open-top bus ride for England’s cricketers after their World Cup triumph. Instead the squad paraded the trophy and met fans at The Oval in south London. In the afternoon they attended a reception at 10 Downing Street with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and former PM John Major, a big cricket fan. Meanwhile, claims that England were gifted a run in the crucial final over have been brushed off by the ECB director of cricket Ashley Giles after Australian umpire Simon Taufel claimed an overthrow should only have counted for five, not six, runs.
6. Ashes injury concerns
With the World Cup done and dusted England’s cricket selectors turn their attention to The Ashes, which start on August 1. The bulk of the One Day team will be involved with Jofra Archer and Jason Roy certain to make their Test debuts in the series. However, several of England’s heroes are struggling for fitness after their exploits with the white ball. Archer and fellow bowlers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are all carrying injuries and are unlikely to feature in the warm-up match against Ireland next week.
7. Clarke to start The Open
Local golfer and former champion Darren Clarke will hit the opening shot at The Open at Royal Portrush on Thursday. “While a number of factors have come together to bring the Open back to the Antrim town after a gap of 68 years, his 2011 success and the major titles won by his fellow Northern Irishmen Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy provided considerable impetus,” says The Times. While Clarke will get proceedings underway at 6.35am, fans will have to wait to see Tiger Woods in action. The three times Open champion is one of the last out at 3.10pm.
8. British Grand Prix could be rescheduled
Lewis Hamilton’s British Grand Prix triumph was overshadowed by the cricket and tennis last weekend, and it could prompt Formula 1 to reschedule next year’s race to avoid a similar clash. “Last Sunday's race, won by Lewis Hamilton, coincided with both the Wimbledon men's final and the Cricket World Cup dramatics,” says the Daily Mail. “And a similar horror conflict looms in 12 months' time, with the Euro 2020 final taking place at Wembley on July 12.” As a result, it says, “Silverstone bosses are in talks with F1 owners, Liberty Media, about switching the Grand Prix, most likely to the last Sunday in June, the 28th”.
9. Bumper deal for De Gea
David de Gea is expected to become the best-paid goalkeeper in history if he signs a new deal with Manchester United, thought to be worth £350,000 a week. “De Gea, 28, has been locked in a contract stand-off with United for the past year and the club have risked losing him for nothing when his existing deal expires at the end of next season amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain,” says the Daily Telegraph. “But United made the Spain No1 an improved offer in recent weeks and it is now expected that he will end the impasse by putting pen to paper on a bumper new deal.”
10. Footballer shot dead
Former South Africa footballer Marc Batchelor has been shot dead near his home in Johannesburg. The striker who played for the country’s two biggest clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, was in his car when he was killed. Police said two men on a motorbike drove up to the vehicle shot him through the window near his home in Johannesburg. Batchelor was described as a “colourful character” with “ties to a number of underworld figures”. The retired footballer “was also a witness in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial where he testified about the former Paralympian’s temper,” reported IOL.co.za. “Pistorius had a run-in with a friend of Batchelor’s who the athlete suspected of being romantically linked to his then-girlfriend model Reeva Steenkamp.”