SOUTHAMPTON VS ARSENALSOUTHAMPTON (4-2-3-1)GAZZANIGA, SOARES, FONTE, VAN DIJK, BERTRAND, WANYAMA, CLASIE, S. DAVIS, MANE, TADIC, PELLEARSENAL (4-2-3-1)GIROUD, CAMPBELL, OZIL, WALCOTT, FLAMINI, RAMSEY, MONREAL, MERTESACKER, KOSCIELNY, BELLERIN, CECHArsenal go into the Christmas period in second place and just two points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City. Interestingly, Arsenal have gone into the Christmas period in second place twice – and on both occasions they went on to win the title.They should travel with confidence; the Gunners have more wins away than at home (six to five at the Emirates) and have also scored five more goals on the road (18 to 13 at home).And Southampton have failed to win in their last five games in the Premier League, dropping from seventh to 12th in the process. It is the Saints’ longest run without a win for a year; a sixth would represent their longest non-winning sequence under manager Ronald Koeman and their worst since December 2013.They have a good record on Boxing Day, winning five and losing one of the last six. They last lost on this day in 2008, at Plymouth Argyle in a second-tier game.But Arsenal’s record on Boxing Day is even better. Since they last lost on this day, at Coventry City in 1999, the Gunners have played 14 times, winning 11 and drawing three.But three of the last four Premier League games between these teams at St Mary’s have been drawn while Arsenal last won at Southampton in December 2003.Southampton test goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, with Paulo Gazzaniga on stand-by to continue at the back. Another keeper, Fraser Forster, is still out, as is Florin Gardos and Jay Rodriguez.Arsenal miss Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Francis Coquelin among others.
CALABAR High’s Warren Barrett and Shauntae Foreman of Excelsior High were in record-breaking form at yesterday’s 23rd staging of the Purewater-JC Invitational on the grounds of Jamaica College.Barrett had a winning throw of 19.40 metres in capturing the Class One boys’ shot put. His throw erased the 2012 mark of 18.98m set by former Calabar standout Ashina Miller. Vashon McCarthy of JC was second with 17.27m, while Calabar’s Kyle Mitchell (16.72m) placed third.Foreman, competing in Class Four, cleared the high jump bar at 1.62m to erase the one-year-old mark of 1.60m set by Abbygail Wilks of Wolmer’s Girls. Second-place Shante McFarlane of Immaculate, and third-place Zoey Shaw of St Andrew High both cleared 1.45m.There were some good results in the 100m, with Vere Technical High’s Brittney Anderson leading the way among the females. Anderson clocked a fast 11.88 seconds to win her Class-Three heat. Alpha’s Kiara Grant was second overall with 11.99, with third going to Kevin Davis of Edwin Allen in 12.17.Shantae Deer of Holmwood Technical was the fastest Class-One girl, with 11.86. Edwin Allen High’s Patrice Moody, 11.88, and Camperdown’s Rushelle Burton (11.99) were second and third, respectively.Among the boys, JC’s Odario Phillips led the way with 10.82 in the Class One 100m. Vere Technical’s Tesrico Bell was second overall with 10.83, while Manchester High’s Delano Dunkley clocked 10.91 for third.Chisholm Gordon of JC was best among the Class Two boys with a winning time of 10.92.
SAO PAULO (AP):Four trained shelter dogs that once roamed the streets of Sao Paulo found themselves centre stage at the Brazil Open tournament.In an exhibition with players, Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain and Gastao Elias of Portugal, the canines Frida, Costela, Mel, and Isabelle engaged onlookers on Thursday night by picking up balls that went out of bounds. Not long ago, the same dogs had run abandoned in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city.The shelter dogs, wearing orange ribbons and trained for months, spent almost a half-hour tracking down balls often intentionally missed by the 122nd- and 140th-ranked players. Baena and Elias played for real yesterday in the ATP tournament’s quarter-finals.At the command of their trainer, Andrea Beckert, the dogs retrieved the balls with their teeth and ran off the court to their trainer. The unusual initiative was made to promote the adoption of abandoned street animals.Beckert said that the biggest difficulty was to make the animals more confident and playful.”These are dogs that were mistreated. We have to make them adapt, feel the environment, the court, the noise of the balls, and the noise of the people. Some are doing well; others are still a little scared,” she told journalists.The basic commands that the dogs learnt were “pick the ball”, “let it go”, “stay” and “come”.The organiser of the ball-dog initiative, Marli Scaramella, said that all four still live in shelters.”The idea is to show people that a well-fed and well-treated animal can be very happy. We have more than 1,000 dogs in our care,” she said.
Minnows Mavis Bank High School have their sights set on dominating the distance races at this year’s Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships at the National Stadium.Located in the hills of rural St Andrew, Mavis Bank have dominated the road races this season. In fact, their athletes Garfield Gordon and Crystal Brown are among the leading road racers this season.Gordon is down to compete in the Class One 5000m and 2000m steeplechase at the championships. He finished a close-up fourth in the steeplechase in 2015 and is considered one of the favourites for this year’s event.Meanwhile, Brown, who will contest the Class Two 1500m and 2000m steeplechase events, is one of the hot favourites to win both at the championships.Head coach Devon Grant is confident that his athletes will do well.SURPRISES”We are going to make a name for ourselves at Champs this year and we are going to create some surprises,” said Grant. “We have dominated road races in Jamaica, the 5Ks and the 10Ks and so what we are trying to do now is to carry that over into Champs.”We can win the Class One 5,000m with Garfield because I believe that once he applies himself then he will come away with a medal for us,” Grant predicted. “I think he can also win the steeplechase open but he must apply, stay focused and execute his race properly.”Grant pointed out that his school also has a “great chance” of winning medals in the girls 1,500m Class Two and the girls Class Three 800m.”My athletes have no doubt about themselves and they feel good. I have used my experience and try and motivate them and they have been coming along and so I know that they will do well, extremely well at Champs,” he said.However, Grant added that their preparation heading into the championships hasn’t been a smooth one. He explained that the lack of proper training facility hampered their training progress this season.”We have had some hitches in our preparations because we don’t have a field to train on (and) we have to travel to Hope Gardens or the University of the West Indies to train and this costs a lot to transport the kids there and the school cannot afford it.”
National 400m hurdles champion Annsert Whyte may have booked his spot to today’s semi-finals of the men’s 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships inside the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China, but he was far from happy with his performance. Whyte, clipped the second hurdle but managed to hold it together to post 49.10 seconds to finish fourth as one of the automatic qualifiers for the semi-finals, which take place at 5:40 a.m. and will no doubt be keeping an eye on Tuesday’s final. Disappointment aside, Whyte who came into this championship after back-to-back sub-49 seconds clockings, says he is excited and proud about advancing to the next round and is willing to back himself, once he gets there. Whyte was solid out of the blocks but had some issues on the backstretch before he was able to gather himself and come across the line with what was a decent run in the end. He does, however, know that he will make a much improved performance in the next round if he is to achieve his objective to make the medal round. “I’m not really pleased with the execution, but I am pleased with the time. I am glad that I am through to the semi-finals, and I just want to come here tomorrow and see how it goes,” Whyte said. Whyte explained his points of concerns but was clear in his ambitions here in Beijing. “The second hurdle; when I went out, I started well but when I got to the second flight I hit it and it kind of threw me off my rhythm. But, I was able to keep my composure and maintain it through to the end,” Whyte said. “I need to run the backstretch a little smoother and faster as well but to tell the honest truth, I want to come here and get a PR and make it to the final and then see what happens,” added Whyte. The 400m hurdler has a personal-best time of 48.58 done in Kingston in 2014. – Andre Lowe
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP):Ben Stokes unleashed one of cricket’s most destructive innings for his 258 as England racked up 629-6 declared in a morale-crushing day for South Africa in the second Test yesterday.Stokes powered to the second-fastest double century in Tests in an astonishing display of dominance over the struggling but still top-ranked Proteas, propelling England from 317-5 overnight to its huge first-innings total in less than 40 overs of power hitting on the second day at Newlands.”I’m probably not going to play like this ever again in my life,” the 24-year-old Stokes said.Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, who was 150 not out, had a record partnership of 399, with Stokes claiming the fastest 250 in Test cricket, before he was run out. Their partnership was the best for the sixth wicket in Tests and England’s second best for any wicket.South Africa, staring at a big defeat and a 2-0 series deficit, was fighting at 141-2 at stumps, still 488 behind. England had removed both openers – Stiaan van Zyl to a run out and Dean Elgar for 44 – to give Stokes a wicket to go with his brilliant contribution with the bat. Captain Hashim Amla was 64 not out and AB de Villiers 25 not out, desperately trying to hold England at bay.Earlier, when England declared two balls after Stokes’ dismissal, the tourists had scored 312 runs in a session and a half at a scintillating rate of nearly seven per over. On a day of landmarks under Table Mountain, the bigger picture was that England amassed its second-highest total in more than 120 years of Test cricket in South Africa, only behind its 654-5 in the timeless Test in Durban in 1939.That was almost entirely down to the stunning Stokes-Bairstow partnership, a boundary-filled stand that left South Africa utterly dejected and way behind in the series, having already lost the first Test by 241 runs.”It was just a very intense session and a half by Ben Stokes, which was quite amazing to watch from where I was standing,” South Africa’s Elgar said. “I was standing at the boundary a lot, fetching the ball.”Stokes’ catalog of big blows brought a series of stats. He bludgeoned 30 fours and 11 sixes, the most sixes for England in a Test innings. The 130 he scored in the firstsession was the most by any player before lunch in a Test. The double hundred came off 163 balls, only behind Nathan Astle’s double ton off 153 deliveries for New Zealand against England in 2001-02.Having made just his third Test century, he went to 200 with a pull through midwicket for four, and leaped in the air with his fist pumping. His 250 off 196 balls was quicker than anyone else. The style of his innings was clear: 186 runs came from crunching blows to the boundary – or over it.On any other day, Bairstow’s 150 off 191 balls with 18 fours and two sixes would have drawn the attention.England scored 196 in 25 overs before lunch and 116 in 13.5 overs in the afternoon, before Alastair Cook put the South Africans out of their misery with the declaration.The end result was that England, already 1-0 ahead in the series, was in complete command at one of South Africa’s favourite grounds, and where England hasn’t won since 1957.But the ground’s reputation as a bastion for South Africa came crumbling down with Stokes’ assault. He finally fell to a bizarre dismissal when he hit a swirling catch to short mid-on, where AB de Villiers dropped the chance but managed to run out Stokes at the non-striker’s end with a direct hit.
CLEVELAND (AP):The Golden State Warriors returned to the floor where they won the NBA championship last season and embarrassed the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-98 on Monday night.Stephen Curry scored 35 points in three quarters for the Warriors, who built a huge early lead and cruised to their fifth straight victory over the Cavaliers, who appear at this stage to be the best team the Eastern Conference can put up against the several title contenders in the West.Golden State retained a 10-1/2 game lead in the Pacific Division ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, who hit a franchise-record 22 three-pointers in an overtime win against Houston.Chicago closed within 4-1/2 games of Cleveland for the Central Division lead by winning at Detroit, while Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas to an overtime victory against Boston.Golden State’s Curry made seven three-pointers – his last put the Warriors ahead by 40 points late in the third quarter – and the reigning league MVP seemed right at home in Quicken Loans Arena, where the Warriors clinched their first title since 1975 last June.Andre Iguodala added 20 as the Warriors bounced back from a surprise loss to Detroit over the weekend.LeBron James scored 16 for Cleveland, which needed a late flurry of points to avoid the heaviest home loss in franchise history.Los Angeles’ sharpshooting J.J. Redick scored a career-high 40 points as the Clippers beat Houston 140-132. Redick connected on his first five attempts behind the arc and finished nine for 12 on three-pointers, tying Caron Butler’s club record for threes.Chris Paul had 28 points and 12 assists for the Clippers. He, Redick and Jamal Crawford each made three-pointers while the Clippers opened overtime on a 9-2 run.Houston’s Dwight Howard had 36 points and tied a career high with 26 rebounds en route to his 10th straight double-double, the league’s longest active streak. He secured it before half-time with 13 points and 15 boards.Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points to lead the Mavericks past Boston 118-113 after overtime.Nowitzki scored 21 of those points across the fourth quarter and overtime, while Deron Williams had 10 of his 20 points in OT for the Mavericks, who led by 17 points in the second quarter, but trailed by six in the fourth before rallying.Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart led Boston with 20 points apiece.Chicago’s Pau Gasol had 31 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a 111-101 victory at Detroit.- AP
Clarke has won a combined 15 Boys’ Champs titles with three different schools. He won his first championship with St Jago in 1988; then moved to Jamaica College where he won seven titles. He won his first double in 1991-92 with the Old Hope Road-based school and his first triple with the ‘Dark Blues’ from 1998-2000. He joined his alma mater, Calabar, in 2003 and saw them to back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008. Last year he claimed his first four-peat and now he has won five straight titles for the first time. “I am humbled by the success and I give God thanks for it as well,” he told The Gleaner. Calabar finished with 287.50 points, well clear of KC, 250, and JC, 227.50. 15 TITLES Last year Calabar High matched their best ever winning streak at the annual Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships, when they won their fourth successive crown. On Saturday, the Red Hills Road-based school lifted the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for the fifth time on the bounce, when they beat away the challenge of perennial rivals Kingston College (KC) to gain their 26th hold. For head coach, Clarke, last year was his first time winning four straight and after extending it to five-in-a-row on Saturday, the tactician described the victory as ‘memorable’ and says plans are in place for the school to go on and claim a sixth straight championship. “This is a memorable one, very historic. The school in its history has never done five straight before. KC is a talented team, very well coached, but today (Saturday) was our day. But that’s championships for you,” Clarke commented amid the team’s celebrations on the running track. “But it’s not so much for me, it’s for the school. They have never gone five straight, so that’s historic. For me it’s also quite an achievement and I am quite pleased by the success. “We are always planning ahead, like three years ahead so it’s quite a possibility,” he said about winning next year.
THE JAMAICA National General Insurance (JNGI) sponsored JNGI 100 Sporting Clays is on today at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore, St Catherine. The best local A to E Class shooters, ladies, juniors and hunters classes are expected to turn out and compete for top honours at today’s tournament. The registration process will commence at 9 a.m. and run through to 10.30, when the shotgun start will commence. The entry fee for shooters is $1,000, which will include lunch from Scotchies. There will be no entry fee for ladies and juniors, however. CLASS CHAMPIONS All eyes will, no doubt, be on Bruce DuQuesnay, who reigned supreme last year. Other defending class champions will be Damian Chung in the A class, while Nick Hudson was B class winner. The C class winner was Ray McMaster, with Diallo Richardson topping D class. In the E class, Simon Khourie was victorious, while outstanding junior shooter Nicholai Clarke won his category, and Delano Vickers, the hunter class. Taylor Ziadie took the ladies, honours, and Roman Tavares-Finson won the sub juniors category. JNGI are returning as sponsors for a second year. Jamaica Skeet Club president Khaleel Azan says it is all systems go for today’s tournament. He hailed JNGI for “going all out with providing gifts and lunches by Scotchies for all shooters at no cost”.
“It was all about spending time in the middle and waiting to launch in the end. All in all it was a tremendous effort, the guys really fought through the entire Test match,” said Bravo. “If you look back at the first two days in the entire Test match we were totally out played. The way Bishoo bowled put us in good stead to come out on top.” Bravo’s century followed up his first innings of 87, which was made in 398 minutes off 258 balls with nine fours and a six. “Some days, you may score faster. Some days you have to stick it out. It is not always glorious shots. Sometimes you have to show that sort of determination and discipline to get the job done,” said Bravo. “I tried that in this game. It worked, who knows the next game can be probably fluent. You never know, but at the end of the day I am putting in a lot of work in the nets and I am really happy to reap the rewards, especially in this game.” West Indies will now move on to Abu Dhabi for the second match of the series, starting on Friday. Tremendous effort DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC): Stylish middle-order batsman, Darren Bravo, says his marathon innings was designed to frustrate Pakistan and set up victory for West Indies in the opening Test which ended here on Monday. Pakistan pulled off a 56-run win at Dubai International Cricket Stadium to upstage Bravo’s magnificent 116 on the final day under lights, as the West Indies chased a come-from-behind victory. Bravo’s knock lasted nearly seven hours, off 249 balls and included 10 boundaries and a six. “It was a situation where I actually wanted to bat out the entire day. I know as long as I batted and spent a lot of time in the middle, definitely it was going to frustrate the Pakistanis and set up the game for us,” said the elegant left-hander. “I just wanted to bat there and have couple partnerships and that would have made it much easier.” West Indies trailed Pakistan for three days until leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo claimed career-best figures of eight for 49 on the fourth day to send Pakistan tumbling to a paltry 123 in their second innings to set up a dramatic finish. Bravo’s century carried West Indies into the final hour on the fifth and final day and gave the regional side hope of an opening win. But Jason Holder’s men were dismissed for 289 in their second innings with 12 overs left in the contest.