Elton Brand Finds New Home In Dallas

Unceremoniously released Wednesday through the amnesty clause by the Philadelphia 76ers, Elton Brand became the subject of something like a silent auction. On the NBA’s new “amnesty waivers,” teams had a chance to make offers on the 6-foot-9 forward with the most lucrative deal the new destination for the 33-year-old former all-star.Late Friday, the league announced that . . . drum roll, please. . . the Dallas Mavericks had the winning waiver bid, so to speak.“Excited,” Brand said when reached Friday by ESPN.com. “I figured that I’d be claimed [off waivers] and that’s definitely the destination I was hoping for.”Just as exciting for the Mavericks is that they get a quality big man and do not have to pay his $18.2 million salary for the upcoming season; the 76ers must pay it.“It’s going to be great playing with someone of Dirk Nowitzki’s caliber,” Brand said. “Chris Kaman is still a really good player and is going to show everybody that. And I’ve heard a lot of good things about coach [Rick] Carlisle.”Only teams under the salary cap were eligible to bid on claiming Brand off waivers. He would have become an unrestricted free agent had he cleared waivers, but the Mavericks were determined not to let the opportunity to claim Brand pass as they continue their recovery from missing out on top free-agent targets Deron Williams and Steve Nash.The Mavericks have rallied this week to add Brand, the former All-Star center Kaman and starter-level point guard Darren Collison all to n one-year deals, enabling Dallas to preserve maximum salary-cap flexibility for the summer of 2013 and its planned pursuits of stars such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.Brand said he knows he’ll be expected to play center alongside Nowitzki, despite the fact that the German is taller, but the former All-Star, said he welcomes the opportunity.“I did it all last season,” Brand said of guarding centers. “Of course, there’s a few guys we all have trouble with, but I’m not worried about it all.” read more

Laker Coach Mike Brown Gets Jim Buss Endorsement

Jim Buss, Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president, hardly content with his team’s 1-4 start, but he has “no problem” with coach Mike Brown, Buss said.“You don’t start 0-3 for the first time since we’ve owned the franchise without being on top of it,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “No matter what, you have to be aware. That doesn’t mean change is coming. That just means you have to be aware.”Much of the blame from observers has been toward Brown and the offense he has installed that is failing miserably despite the addition of all-star center Dwight Howard and now-injured point guard Steve Nash to go with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant..“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.“So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”Buss said he has been gauging player reaction to the Lakers’ new Princeton offense, Brown and how they’re dealing with the slow start by reading their public comments and talking to them directly. On Tuesday afternoon, he went down from his office to the court during practice to take their temperature, and he said he found things to be rather calm.“Kobe and I have a relationship where he can just look at me and say, ‘Everything’s cool,’ ” Buss said. “So yesterday during practice, I gave Kobe a quick glance, and everything was cool.”Bryant has continued to preach patience as the Lakers have struggled. Last week he said, “Everybody shut up. Let us work,” when asked about fan reaction to the Lakers’ slow adjustment to the system. But in Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz, even Bryant’s frustration seemed to elevate and he was caught on camera starting down Brown during a timeout in the waning moments of the fourth.When asked about his frustration level after the game, Bryant deadpanned it was, “Just a little bit.” read more

The Packers Hot Streak May Have Come Too Late To Save Their

2016, weeks 12-143-01st30th4th26th9th Rankings are among all 32 NFL teams.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group How Green Bay turned it around Going into Week 12, the Green Bay Packers were in deep, deep trouble. They’d lost four games in a row, and five of their previous six — the first time either type of skid had happened to the franchise since late in the 2008 season. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings (our pet metric for determining each team’s quality), Green Bay was the ninth-worst team in the NFL, and it had a mere 6 percent probability of making the playoffs.Since then, however, it’s hard to find any team running hotter than the Packers. Green Bay has won three straight — by an average margin of 17 points per game — and they’ve risen to 10th-best in Elo after a stunning 38-10 rout of the Seattle Seahawks on national TV Sunday afternoon. Over the past month of action, no team has improved its Elo rating as much as the Packers have. The only question now is whether this late charge will be enough to save Green Bay’s season.Through 11 weeks, the 2016 Packers were looking like a team with an average passing attack and a terrible defense and special teams — no recipe for success in today’s NFL. In fact, Green Bay had been pretty mediocre in most phases of the game for a couple seasons at that point, despite the presence of future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers under center. Rodgers had one of the top two dozen or so passing seasons ever in 2014, but he’d slumped in 2015 without many of his usual receiving weapons, and he merely had a good — not great — start to 2016.And the Packers desperately needed Rodgers to be great in 2016, because with an injury to Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews (among others), the team’s defense had slipped badly from its form of the previous few years. After giving up 42 points to Washington in Week 11, Green Bay had the NFL’s sixth-worst defense by expected points added,1Even after adjusting for the strength of opposing offenses faced. and it ranked fourth-worst against the pass in particular. The 34.2 total EPA below average (i.e., they allowed the equivalent of 34.2 more points through the air than the average defense would have) Green Bay’s pass D yielded against the Titans and Redskins in Weeks 10 and 11 represented the worst back-to-back performances against the pass by any team in the 2016 season.The Packers had thrived with a poor defense in the past — they went 15-1 in 2011 despite having the league’s 13th-worst defense by EPA — but that was back when Rodgers was carrying the team with historic passing numbers. Without those, there was little reason to think a Green Bay turnaround was imminent.But over the last three weeks, the Packers have rediscovered what made them perennial Super Bowl contenders. In spite of a nagging calf injury, Rodgers still has the NFL’s best Total QBR since Week 12, producing a league-best 12.6 EPA above average per game over that span. (It’s the team’s best three-game passing stretch since late in 2014.) And perhaps even more importantly, Green Bay’s defense has played far better over the past few games than it did all year long. With 6.2 EPA above average per game since Week 12, the team is having its best three-game defensive showing since the end of the 2015 season. 2016, weeks 1-114-612th7th29th4th31st EPA PER-GAME RANKING 201510-618th11th8th27th12th 201412-42nd11th13th9th31st Granted, the bulk of that defensive improvement came in a single game, against Seattle on Sunday. By holding the Seahawks’ passing offense to 24.9 EPA below its usual per-game output — including a staggering five interceptions of Russell Wilson — Green Bay had the fourth-best defensive outing against the pass by any team this season. It’s still an open question, however, whether that game was more of a fluke or a sign that this defense is finally coming around. Three of Wilson’s five picks were tipped, so Green Bay enjoyed some good fortune Sunday. And although the Packer D was improving in the two games leading up to its outburst versus Seattle, that meant playing “slightly below average” instead of “historically atrocious.”Even if Rodgers is healthy enough, and even if the defense has straightened out its issues, this late-season push may simply be coming too late to salvage Green Bay’s playoff hopes. Our Elo simulations currently give the Packers a 30 percent chance of making the postseason, most of which comes from their hope of winning the NFC North (and not the wild card, for which Green Bay would need to leapfrog three teams instead of two). According to The New York Times’ playoff simulator, the Packers probably need to beat both the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in the season’s final two weeks in order to make the playoffs — and even then, the postseason wouldn’t necessarily be assured.If it doesn’t happen, Packer fans will find themselves looking back at Sunday’s rout of Seattle and wondering where that version of their team was all year — and why it couldn’t have emerged sooner.CORRECTION: (Dec. 12, 4:00 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated Julius Peppers’ condition. Although Peppers is listed on the Packers’ injury report for Week 15 (http://www.packers.com/team/injury-report.html), the team said his presence on the list was “not injury related.”Check out our latest NFL predictions. SEASONRECORDPASS OFFRUSH OFFPASS DEFRUSH DEFS/T read more

The Devil vs Richard Sherman

From the middle of the second millennium to the pontificate of John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church had an office of the promotor fidei (“promoter of the faith”). While this prelate’s role varied slightly from century to century, his primary function remained consistent: to ensure no one was elevated to the sainthood injudiciously. This meant seeking out and presenting the best possible arguments against each Servant of God, no matter how revered he or she may have been. Thus the office earned the nickname advocatus diaboli — the devil’s advocate.On Friday, my colleague Neil Paine laid out a compelling argument for why the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is likely a better cornerback than the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson, who has lately been claiming otherwise.Paine primarily uses four pieces of evidence:Pro Football Focus’s play-by-play ratings favor Sherman.Passes thrown toward Sherman have had much worse outcomes (by a variety of metrics, including how often they’ve been intercepted) than passes thrown toward Peterson.Teams throw fewer passes toward Sherman.Seattle’s pass defense is better than Arizona’s.This is about as open and shut as statistical arguments in the NFL get (though I might add that Sherman has had four forced fumbles to Peterson’s zero). And let’s not forget that Sherman also made probably the greatest individual play by a cornerback in recent memory, accompanied by the greatest post-game interview.But before we canonize the man, let me play advocatus diaboli.Peterson claims his job is harder than Sherman’s. Paine puts this aside to focus on tangible statistical outcomes, which is probably the right approach to establish who is objectively more likely to be the better cornerback (especially with the balance of evidence so decidedly in Sherman’s favor).But while we may not be able to test a counterfactual — How would Sherman do on Arizona’s defense, and vice versa? — we can examine the stats for hints that Peterson’s theory is at least plausible.I found one particularly  interesting stat: Peterson made 151 of his career 161 tackles (94 percent) by himself, compared to 138 of 167 (83 percent) for Sherman. This suggests the possibility that Peterson carries a heavier individual burden than Sherman, which could be one reason why Peterson’s stats don’t seem as impressive.Pretty thin gruel, I know, but that’s the point: Statistical arguments in football often rest on a razor’s edge. That’s partly because nearly every statistical sample in the NFL is tiny (these two players have played only 48 regular-season games each). Beyond that, there are three major reasons to be skeptical of statistical comparisons, even open-and-shut ones, between players:Opponents adapt their strategies to the quality and types of players they’re facing. For example, they may throw toward a tough cornerback less often, or only in certain situations.Teams sometimes ask for more from certain players. Better cornerbacks may be given added responsibilities so the rest of the defense can focus on other things. To give an absurd scenario, imagine if one corner could cover two receivers adequately but not spectacularly. His stats might not look impressive, yet you’d be able to send a free blitzer on every down. How valuable would that be?One player’s stats are highly dependent on others. All the others. A cornerback’s stats depend on support from the rest of the secondary, but also on how well the defense pressures the quarterback (into making bad throws, for example). Shutting down the running game forces opponents to pass in less-efficient situations, such as third and long. A good offense also helps a defense. It creates more late leads, and thus more desperate and obvious plays by the opposing offense as it takes (necessary) risks to try to get back into the game.To sum up: Statistics are extremely unreliable indicators of player value, especially over short periods of time and in limited situations. How many flash-in-the-pan defensive standouts have we seen? How many free-agent signings go sour because the player is nowhere near as effective in a different system? (Other than quarterbacks and Deion Sanders, I’d like to say most of them.)In this case, both Sherman and Peterson have only three years of play for us to evaluate, and each has played in only one situation on one team. Thus, a single confounding possibility — that Peterson has considerably more difficult responsibilities than Sherman — if established, could make the entire multifaceted case for Sherman collapse.With that, the devil rests. read more

Ohio State offense shines under JT Barrett delivers 497 clobbering of Rutgers

Correction: An earlier version of the story said last year’s game between Ohio State and Michigan was on Nov. 27, when it in fact was on Nov. 29. PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Led by redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett making his first start at quarterback in 10 games, No. 1 Ohio State thoroughly dominated Rutgers on both sides of the ball to walk away with a 49-7 victory.Barrett, who last started against Michigan on Nov. 29 of last season before going down with an ankle injury and lost the starting job to redshirt junior Cardale Jones for the first seven games of the 2015 season, picked up 324 yards: 223 in the air and 101 on the ground.“J.T. doesn’t surprise me,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “I think he’s back … I think he’s in full swing again.”The OSU defense held Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) to 293 yards, while the offense gained 530 yards of its own, led by Barrett’s 14-of-18 effort through the air.“It’s getting close to the end of the season, and it’s really time for the best teams in the country to start showing it,” junior defensive end Joey Bosa said. “We’ve got to get going, and I think this was a good start.”While not reflective of things to come, OSU (8-0, 4-0) looked vulnerable on the game’s opening drive, giving up plays of 18 and 25 yards to senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo and redshirt senior running back Paul James, respectively. The Buckeyes came away unscathed from Rutgers’ red-zone trip, however, when a 29-yard field-goal try bounced off the right upright.The Buckeyes then embarked on a long, but fruitless, drive of their own. Barrett ran the ball four times for 55 yards, but on his final one he collided with OSU redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas. The ball came out of Barrett’s hands after the friendly fire and was picked up by the Scarlet Knights.Thomas said after the game that he will not know what specifically went wrong on the play until he views film later in the week.OSU used a combination of aerial and ground attacks on its second drive to achieve a better result. Barrett completed two of three passes for 32 yards, while Elliott received four carries, the last of which was a two-yard touchdown run up the middle with 10 seconds left in the opening quarter to put the Buckeyes up 7-0.Later in the second quarter, Thomas was atoned for his inadvertent tackle by hauling in a pass from Barrett in the open field and cutting past a defender to take it to the house untouched. The 50-yard connection was good for Thomas’ sixth score of the year and gave OSU a 14-0 lead.“I had to make a play for my team, spark the offense, get them going, show Coach Meyer that we could exploit the secondary,” Thomas said.Redshirt senior Braxton Miller took over the heavy lifting on OSU’s following drive to bring its lead to 21-0 late in the first half. Barrett aired out a slightly underthrown ball for the H-back 45 yards downfield. Miller juggled the ball but pulled it in while on the ground. He then followed that up with a 16-yard run out of the wildcat formation, before Barrett put the finishing touches on the scoring drive with a two-yard sneak up the middle.“Braxton is a very unique athlete, an elite athlete, so nothing he can do surprises me,” OSU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. “I’ve seen him do things that make me say ‘wow’ every time, but he’s getting better and better at catching the ball and tracking it with his eyes and hands, so it’s good for him and it’s good for us.”At the intermission, OSU led Rutgers in total yards 248-145, with 64 of the Scarlet Knights’ output coming on their opening drive.Barrett was 5-of-7 for 136 yards in his first half as a starter in 2015 and also gained 85 yards on the ground. Rutgers redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano was 9-of-15 at the half for 99 yards, with 55 of them coming on three connections to Carroo.Despite only picking up 15 yards on the ground in the first half, Elliott came out strong in the second. On the Buckeyes’ opening drive, he had three carries for 46 yards, setting up Barrett to find sophomore H-back Curtis Samuel open in the end zone from 30 yards out to extend the score to 28-0.Barrett added a 10-yard rushing score on the next drive, a 10-play, 72-yard trek. “He played awesome,” Elliott said about Barrett. “We had great momentum today, everybody made plays when their number was called. We can’t ask for more from this.”Just eight plays after redshirt sophomore cornerback Gareon Conley intercepted Laviano on Rutgers’ first play of its drive, Barrett shoveled it to redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, who looked to throw — albeit illegally — but then trotted into the end zone to make it 42-0. The scores were Barrett’s fourth and fifth of the night — three passing and two rushing.In the final offensive possession for the starters, Elliott took a draw play up the middle for 55 yards and a score. The drive was set up at midfield from a blocked punt by Conley.Jones entered the game with the win safely at hand in next drive and engineered a lengthy 15-play drive, though it ended with a turnover on downs.Rutgers spoiled the shutout with 13 seconds to go, as a 58-yard reception set up a four-yard touchdown pass.“We were pretty upset,” Bosa said. “Of course as a defense we try to go and shut teams out, and we were that close to it. But overall we played really well, so we can’t really be upset.”Laviano only completed one pass in the second half in five attempts, while Barrett was 9-of-11 for 87 yards in the latter stanza. Thomas finished as the Buckeyes’ leading receiver after piling up 103 yards in five catches.Elliott finished with 142 yards on 19 carries, extending his streak of consecutive games with over 100 yards on the ground to 13 games.“I think we’ve improved every week. I think we’re playing at a very high level right now,” Meyer said. “There’s a good mindset in there.”The Buckeyes have beaten Rutgers by a combined 105-17 in the programs’ two all-time meetings after topping the Scarlet Knights 56-17 a season ago.The Buckeyes are next set to resume action — following a bye week — against Minnesota on Nov. 7. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. OSU players do “quick calls” before a game against Rutgers on Oct. 24 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway Township, NJ . OSU won 49-7. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor read more

Field hockey riding unbeaten streak

It has been two weeks since the Ohio State field hockey team last lost a game.At the start of the season, against superior competition, the Buckeyes struggled, dropping three games to higher-ranked teams.While OSU was ranked No. 18 in the nation, it suffered defeat three times in four games, to No. 12 James Madison, No. 3 Syracuse and No. 7 Princeton. Each loss was by a single point, with the latter two concluding in overtime. Suffice to say, the Bucks have fought through their rough patch.Since the 1-3 start, the No. 20 Buckeyes have rolled off five consecutive victories, by a combined score of 17-2. During the stretch, senior Lindsay Quintiliani has been a force at goalie. She has been named Big Ten defensive player of the week for two straight weeks.Quintiliani allowed just two goals in 210 minutes of play last week. She has posted three consecutive shutouts, blanking Vermont, Central Michigan and Ball State.Quintiliani has started every game but one since arriving at OSU as a freshman in 2006.Freshman forward Berta Queralt was awarded Big Ten offensive player of the week honors after compiling four goals and an assist during OSU’s winning streak.Now at 6-3, the second-best record in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes welcome No. 17 Indiana (5-2) to Columbus on Sunday to kick off the conference schedule.Both teams are looking up at Northwestern (8-2) in the Big Ten standings. The Wildcats finished the 2008 season in last place.Sunday’s contest between Ohio State and Indiana is at the North Turf Field at 1 p.m. read more

Chimdi Chekwa and Cameron Heyward to return for senior seasons

Ohio State won’t have to revamp its entire defensive line. Junior Cameron Heyward announced his decision Tuesday to remain at OSU for his senior year.“I am excited about next season and am looking forward to being one of the senior leaders of our team,” Heyward said through a press release. “I sat down and talked at length with my family about my situation, and they totally support my decision. I’ve been blessed to this point. I am just having fun being a college student.”Despite being a central part of a team that won the Rose Bowl, Heyward declared his intentions to help the Buckeyes reach higher goals during his senior campaign.“I want to help our team achieve the goals of winning another Big Ten title and possibly accomplishing a national championship,” he said. “If I could win some recognition, that would be great as well. I think I can be a leader for our team, and I know another season will help me become a better player.”Heyward said he wants to follow in the footsteps of the current departing seniors, who paved the way for a young OSU squad to win 11 games.“I learned a lot from seniors like Doug (Worthington) and Kurt (Coleman) and all they were able to accomplish during their senior year,” he said. “I would love to be a part of Buckeye tradition like that. I think the upside is very positive.”Heyward paced the Buckeyes with 7.5 sacks during his junior year, and had 11 tackles for loss.Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa will return to Ohio State for his senior season, he announced through a press release Tuesday.“I am not ready to leave Ohio State,” he said. “I am looking forward to my senior season. I prayed about this decision and talked about it with my parents, and I know this is the right decision for me.”Chekwa expressed his excitement for the high expectations the Buckeyes will carry into next season.“I will graduate next fall, and I am looking forward to being a leader on what can be a very special defense for the Buckeyes,” he said. “After the Rose Bowl win, we are working toward accomplishing more great things, including another Big Ten title and a run at the national championship.”Chekwa has recorded 103 tackles in his three-year career and led the Buckeyes with seven pass break-ups during his junior season. He also nabbed one interception. read more

Back in action Turner could return as soon as tonight

Ohio State guard Evan Turner, who was injured in early December, might be returning to the court much sooner than expected. The junior practiced with the team Tuesday night and, depending on how he feels today, could be in the line-up for the Buckeyes’ game against Indiana tonight.Turner told a source close to The Lantern on Dec. 15 that he expected to return in three weeks.The junior had tests done Monday to check the progress of the fractures in his lower back that have kept him sidelined for the Buckeyes’ last six games. Coach Thad Matta is awaiting news from team doctors and says he’s hoping to get word soon that “everything is good to go.”If Turner is able to return, it would be nearly a full month earlier than the eight weeks he was expected to miss immediately following the injury, but Turner himself had previously indicated that his rehab was coming along faster than expected.“He was telling me the Minnesota game [on Jan. 9] or the Purdue game [on Jan. 12],” Matta said about Turner’s possible return. “Honestly, I’ve stayed out of it. I’m not a doctor.”Matta did say, however, that he will not rush Turner back into the mix, citing a concern for his player’s future.“It’s an unfortunate situation, but I’ll take my competitiveness and I’ll take all that out the window to protect one of my players,” he said.If he was to return tonight, it would likely not be in a starting role, but rather he would come off the bench. Either way, a final decision might not be made until game time, Matta said. His return, be it tonight or later this week, could not come at a better time for the Buckeyes, who have begun the Big Ten season with back-to-back losses and have dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time all season.The Buckeyes are in desperate need of a win against the Hoosiers and can ill-afford to begin the Big Ten season 0-3, especially given the two-game road trip to Minnesota and Purdue that awaits them following tonight’s home game.“The main thing is we just have to stay positive,” junior guard Jon Diebler said. “We’re eager to play again. We just came off two losses, but we’re still positive and our margin for error is really small right now.” Though Matta agreed that the Buckeyes need to get back on track, he was not necessarily willing to deem this game a “must-win.”“I think that any time you’re in a conference race, to me every game is crucial,” Matta said. “There’s so much basketball to be played, not just by us, but by every team in the league. The good thing for us is after next Tuesday we’ll be halfway done with our road games.”Matta said that it is “very” rare for a team to begin a conference schedule playing four out of five games on the road and joked that he planned to find every coach in the country that was faced with a similar schedule, and take them and their families on a Hawaiian vacation.“My wife asked me, ‘why would you want to go by yourself?’” he said. “But I don’t even care. It’s the schedule they gave us and we have to play it.”As for Indiana, the Hoosiers arrive in Columbus on the heels of a 71-65 win over Michigan last Thursday. However, their leading scorer, Maurice Creek, fractured his knee early in the second half of a Dec. 28 game against Bryant University, and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Matta said that even without Creek, and even though Indiana finished last year last in the conference, he expects the Hoosiers to be tough.“They are looking to push the ball up the floor and try to hit quick in transition,” he said.”From what I’ve seen, they’re playing well.”Though Diebler seconded his coach’s sentiments regarding the Hoosiers, he knows that if Turner were to return, the Buckeyes will be tough to beat. “You can’t say enough about Evan because he does so much on the court,” Diebler said. “Yeah he fills up the stat sheet, but the little things he does that don’t show up on the stat sheet, that’s what really makes us go as a basketball team.“Getting him back to complete the unit is going to make us that much better.” read more

Ohio State earns 2seed in NCAA Tournament East Region will play Loyola

The Ohio State men’s basketball team is headed for the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed in the East Region and will continue postseason play March 15 against No. 15-seed Loyola University, Maryland on Thursday. The Buckeyes (27-7) cemented their placement in the East bracket, in which the regional championship will be held in Boston, with a run to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game Sunday. There, OSU lost to the tournament’s top seed, Michigan State, 68-64. OSU will meet the Loyola University Greyhounds of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds defeated Fairfield, 48-44, to win the MAAC conference championship March 5. Game time for Thursday’s contest between the Buckeyes and Greyhounds at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh has not been set. read more

Ohio State mens soccer coach John Bluem I dont see anybody thats

Despite the hardships its faced, there’s no quit in the Ohio State men’s soccer team. OSU coach John Bluem hasn’t seen evidence of that, anyway. It’s hard to deny the obstacles OSU has faced. Early in the season, it was injuries. Recently, it was the Buckeyes’ 3-2 overtime loss at Michigan that has set the team back. The loss also dropped the Buckeyes’ record to 4-6-1 on the year. With a week between games, OSU is using its time away from game action and on the practice field to right itself. OSU’s next Big Ten Conference test will come Sunday at home against Michigan State. “I’m satisfied with the work of most of the guys at practice,” Bluem said. “I don’t see anybody that’s quit. They all want to be successful still. They all want to win games and they’re all trying their best. This week will be very good for us, a little time off to catch up on some injuries that have been bothering us.” OSU senior co-captain and midfielder Austin McAnena agreed that time off will help the team rest up. “Everyone’s been working hard, and there have been a lot of guys in and out,” McAnena said. “We’re a deep team, and any guy that comes off the bench could be a starter one day.” Some OSU players have taken advantage of the injury problem, said junior co-captain defender Sage Gardner. “I think the guys injured at the beginning of the year are starting to improve their fitness, and that’s the key,” Gardner said. “I think they’ve all contributed pretty well.” With plenty of team depth, McAnena said he sees more players coming back as opportunities for players to get on the field remain. Gardner agreed, saying that the more healthy players there are, the better off everyone will be. “We need pretty much everybody now, everybody that we can have healthy because we’re starting to get into the real meat of the season, with the rest of the Big Ten coming up,” Gardner said. McAnena said having different players come back throughout the season is better for the team as a whole. “Every guy that comes off the bench gives us a spark,” he said. OSU’s match against the Spartans (3-6-1) is scheduled to kick off Sunday at noon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

Undefeated still Ohio State mens tennis secures 10year home win streak

The longest home win streak in all of NCAA sports turned 10 years old Friday. The Ohio State men’s tennis team defeated Wisconsin, 7-0, and extended its home win streak to 10 years, exactly a decade after its last loss. The 164-match win streak is the longest active win streak in all NCAA Division 1 athletics, with the most recent loss in Columbus dating back to April 5, 2003 against Illinois. “To do something you can hold onto for the rest of my life…it’s something that might never be broken at Ohio State, a place rich in athletics and tradition,” coach Ty Tucker said. The No. 5 Buckeyes (22-2, 6-0) continued to prove their dominance in the Big Ten over the past decade, where the team has captured seven-consecutive regular season crowns (2006-12) and tacked on six more Big Ten tournament titles (2006-11). The Badgers (10-8, 1-5) never amassed a point on Friday night against the record-breaking Buckeyes. OSU athletic director Gene Smith was in attendance for the feat and heaped praise on Tucker, who has coached the team since 1999. “Ty (Tucker) is an outstanding recruiter, he’s a good teacher, he recruits great kids…one day he’ll win a national championship – I believe that. It’s just a matter of the bounce of the ball here and there…to say that in Ohio, you could possibly win the national championship in tennis is significant,” Smith said. “I love these kids, they’re great kids, and Ty is one of our best coaches. Having the opportunity to come and support him in this moment…it’s a special thing, it really is.” The Scarlet and Grey dominated in the doubles game against Wisconsin, sealing victories on all three courts. The OSU tandems of junior Blaz Rola and redshirt sophomore Kevin Metka, redshirt senior Devin McCarthy and junior Ille Van Engelen, and redshirt junior Peter Kobelt and senior Connor Smith defeated their Wisconsin opponents 8-3, 8-1 and 8-6, respectively. It was the 24th time during the 2013 campaign that OSU had won the doubles point. In the singles game, the Buckeyes continued its dominance, as OSU shutout the Badgers. The three singles wins needed to clinch the team victory came from freshman Constantin Christ (6-1, 6-0), Rola (6-2, 6-3), and redshirt sophomore Hunter Callahan (6-4, 6-2). Callahan’s win was the third time he has clinched a victory for OSU this season. The remaining three singles matches ended in similar fashion for OSU, with Kobelt winning 6-3, 6-4, Van Engelen winning 6-4, 6-2, and McCarthy winning 6-3, 6-4. Following the match, several upperclassmen players reflected on contributing to such a historic program milestone. “10 years is a great accomplishment. As players, I feel like we can all take a deep breath of relief and continue on with the rest of our season. It was one of our goals to get to this streak, but we have other goals that we would say are more important – winning the Big Ten and maybe making a run in the NCAA (tournament),” Kobelt said. Some players, like Rola, said how grateful they were to continue the legacy that many famous OSU tennis players have left behind. “I’m probably just a little, little part of this elite group…it’s just really a team effort through all those (10) years…everyone who comes (to OSU) should be honored and proud to play here,” Rola said. Tucker said a key to building – and sustaining such success – was in part thanks to attracting all types of talent to play at OSU. “To look back on everything-we had a nice mix. We had the best players from Ohio, guys that became All-Americans, guys that overachieved,” he said. “We splashed some good international talent in with them, and they seemed to like each other and have a good time.” Immediately following Friday’s win against the Badgers, Tucker joined his team on the courts of the Varsity Tennis Center and enjoyed a lighthearted celebration before narrowly escaping an attempted Gatorade bath from a group of his players. But it was not long before Tucker allowed himself to return to business as usual. “There’s still a lot of work left to do in the season, and we’ve got to get refocused…but the guys should enjoy (the win) right now.” The Buckeyes are scheduled to continue Big Ten play against Minnesota Sunday at noon at the Varsity Tennis Center. read more

Ohio State announces entire 201718 womens basketball schedule

Tue., Jan 16MichiganColumbus Sun., Nov. 5vs. Urbana (exhibition)Columbus Wed., Jan. 31Penn StateColumbus Thu., Dec. 28vs. NebraskaLincoln, Nebraska Sat., Jan. 13IndianaBloomington, Indiana Wed., Dec. 6vs. FloridaGainesville, Florida Wed., Nov. 15vs. IdahoColumbus Sun., Dec. 31vs. IndianaColumbus Mon., Jan 22MarylandCollege Park, Maryland Sun., Jan. 7MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan Sun., Feb. 11South FloridaTampa, Florida Sun., Dec. 3vs. MaineColumbus Fri., Dec. 15vs. DartmouthColumbus Thu., Nov. 30vs. Duke (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)Durham, North Carolina Sun., Jan. 28Michigan StateColumbus OSU then-junior guard Kelsey Mitchell looks to move he ball inside against No. 9 seed Northwestern on March 3 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. OSU won, 99-68. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerOhio State announced its entire 2017-18 schedule, featuring games against powerhouse programs such as Louisville, Duke and Stanford, Wednesday evening. Game times and television networks will be announced at a later date. The Buckeyes, who return four starters, including two-time Big Ten Player of the Year senior guard Kelsey Mitchell, open the season with a matchup against 2017 Final Four participant Stanford on Nov. 10 as part of the previously announced Countdown to Columbus event. This will be the only game Ohio State plays in St. John Arena, as every other will be played at the Schottenstein Center.Two days later, on Nov. 12, as part of the season-opening event, the Buckeyes host Louisville. Ohio State was scheduled to play Connecticut, but will instead play the Cardinals. The matchup was changed due to television demands and travel logistics, according to a release from Ohio State.Idaho comes to Columbus to face off against Ohio State on Nov. 15. The Buckeyes then head to Las Vegas to take part in the South Point Shootout which will be held over Thanksgiving weekend. The full field of teams has yet to be announced.The Buckeyes will stay on the road as they head to Durham, North Carolina, to face Duke as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.Ohio State plays four more games – versus Maine (Dec. 3), at Florida (Dec. 6), versus Dartmouth (Dec. 15) and at Cincinnati (Dec. 17)– before heading to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Cornhuskers to kick off its in-conference schedule.Three teams – Michigan (Jan. 7 and 16), Penn State (Jan. 31 and Feb. 25) and Indiana (Dec. 31 and Jan. 13) – are scheduled to have home-and-home series against the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes will play home games against Minnesota (Jan. 4), Michigan State (Jan. 28), Rutgers (Feb. 8), Purdue (Feb. 18) and Northwestern (Feb. 21).Ohio State will head on the road for away matchups against Nebraska, Maryland (Jan. 22), Iowa (Jan. 25), Wisconsin (Feb. 3) and Illinois (Feb. 13). It will also play South Florida on Feb.11 in Tampa, Florida.During Big Ten play, Ohio State doesn’t host more than two home games in a row or go on the road for more than two games Ohio State will also participate in one exhibition game – against Urbana on Nov. 5 – prior to the season opener. Fri., Nov. 10vs. Stanford (Countdown to Columbus)Columbus (St. John Arena) Sun., Feb. 18PurdueColumbus Wed., Feb. 21NorthwesternColumbus Sun., Dec. 17vs. CincinnatiColumbus Thu., Jan. 25IowaIowa City, Iowa Sat., Feb. 3WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin Thu., Jan. 4MinnesotaColumbus Thu., Feb. 8RutgersColumbus Sun., Nov. 12vs. Louisville (Countdown to Columbus)Columbus Nov. 21 – 25TBA (South Point Shootout)Las Vegas Tue., Feb. 13IllinoisChampaign, Illinois Sun. Feb. 25Penn StateUniversity Park, Pennsylvania read more

BBC Autumnwatch presenter sidelined for being too white and middle class

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “Whatever I may think, it’s crucially important that high-profile shows like the Watches reflect diversity,” he said. “Chris, Michaela and I are all white and middle class, so a more diverse team must present some of the films that go out.”It’s hard for me because it’s my living, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, ‘No, that’s the right decision, it has to be like that.’ ”The news comes weeks after the BBC was criticised for axeing comedian Jon Holmes from Radio 4’s The Now Show, when he claims he was told: “We’re recasting it with more women and diversity”.Holmes said he accepted the need for diversity but asked: “Should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man?”In April this year, the BBC introduced “tough” new diversity targets including an aim to have half the faces on screen be women by 2020, 15 per cent be black or minority ethnic, eight per cent disabled and a further eight per cent LGBT. Martin Hughes-Games, who claims he will be sidelined by the BBC Martin Hughes-Games on Winterwatch Hughes-Games surprised fans in September by tweeting that: “The BBC commissioner Tom McDonald has decided my services no longer required on Springwatch etc. “Sad, but it’s been brilliant. Thank you.” The next day, the BBC issued a statement denying it, saying: “It is simply not true that Martin’s services are no longer required on the Watches. “As well as being contracted for Autumnwatch we have begun conversations with Martin about an evolution of his role for Winterwatch and beyond.”But Hughes-Games has now claimed he has officially been sidelined, telling the Radio Times: “It’s going to be completely different for me of course, and I will desperately miss Michaela and Chris, and in my heart of hearts I think we do have a wonderful relationship that works on screen, but I do see what Tom [McDonald] needs to try now.  Martin Hughes-Games, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan “I won’t be going, I will still be a presence there, but we’ve yet to quite work out how that will be. We’ll see how it evolves.”Though sanguine, the broadcaster warned audiences would soon spot if a new presenter was there only for their appearance.“If somebody’s in there because they’re pretty and they don’t know what they’re talking about, the audience will soon let you know what they think, particularly in this era of social media,” he said.”So we have to do it, but we have to choose the right people as well.”Of his exit, he admitted the timing was “just bl—- awful”, leaving him wondering at the age of 60 how he would provide for his newborn son Sam.A spokesman for the BBC said last night: ” This is not a decision about diversity and was never described as such; Martin will be presenting Autumnwatch and conversations about his role after that are ongoing.” Martin Hughes-Games, Chris Packham, Michaela StrachanCredit:BBC Martin Hughes-Games on Winterwatch Martin Hughes-Games, who claims he will be sidelined by the BBC Martin Hughes-Games, the wildlife presenter, is to be sidelined from the BBC’s much-loved nature shows to make way for someone less white and middle class, he has suggested.Hughes-Games, who joined “the Watches” in 2009, said Autumnwatch and Springwatch  needed a “more diverse team” to suit the agenda of modern television as he claims he has been shifted from the main line-up.The broadcaster said he had been “genuinely sad and upset” to have learned his anchoring services may no longer required, just three weeks after the birth of his son.But the BBC insisted any future decisions about Hughes-Games’ role would be nothing to do with diversity, confirming he is due to take full part in the new series of Autumnwatch as planned before negotiating future shows.”Conversations about his role are ongoing,” a spokesman said.In an interview with the Radio Times, Hughes-Games said he understands the need for the BBC to try out new faces on screen.last_img read more

Commuters complain as Uber takes advantage of tube strike with surging prices

first_imgGood to see that Uber is taking full advantage of the tube strike and the surcharge is already kicking in. 🙄🚕 #LondonLife #TubeStrike— Hannah McIntosh (@hannah_macca) January 9, 2017 Well… Uber prices x3 surge on this glorious morning #uber #TubeStrike pic.twitter.com/RDxPXpPlcx— Astrid H. Thorseth (@astridhasund) January 9, 2017 An Uber spokesman said: “Uber uses dynamic pricing to ensure that people can always book a car when they need it.”The fare increases automatically, and only in response to real-time demand when there are not enough available cars.“As all of the licensed drivers who use the Uber app work independently, higher fares incentivise more drivers to go online so we can help more people get where they need to go. “Without this pricing model there would simply be no cars available.” Good day to be an uber driver #TubeStrike (I think that’s at like 3x surge pricing) pic.twitter.com/RvQ9KJ1sMg— Ed Brown (@Edsbrown) January 9, 2017 Ouch 3.3x surge pricing with #uber Clapham to Kings X set me back £71.61 !! 😫 and I missed the train #TubeStrike #uberpaybackday pic.twitter.com/FBS89KRYd7— rob howarth (@HowarthRob) January 9, 2017 Jess, a Twitter user, wrote:  “Usually costs me £8 to Uber it to work, today it would cost between £27-£35.”Zach Hemmant-Low, who works in the City, tweeted: “Tube strike and @Uber is 3.1x the normal rate yay #£90commute.” Some Uber journeys around London allegedly cost commuters almost five times the usual price, after they were faced with huge bus queues and no Underground services due to the ongoing tube strike on Monday.While Uber has a supply-and-demand surge policy, which increases prices to get more cars on the road and reduce waiting times, angry commuters have accused the company of ‘cashing in’ on the strike.The company defended its “dynamic pricing” strategy, which it said ensures commuters “who need a ride can get one”.People have had to choose between walking, cycling, paying through the nose for a ride or joining long queues for a bus.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. London’s bus network was also under strain, with long queues at many stops including Paddington and Golders Green.At Liverpool Street station commuters could be seen dashing towards the bus stops – already swollen by the large number of people trying to complete their journeys to work.Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said he “condemned” the industrial action and called on the unions to return to the negotiating table.He said he had inherited the dispute but was taking action to address the unions’ concerns. I mean, could get an Uber. Oh. Wait #TubeStrike pic.twitter.com/5SKVZfznot— Ellen Stewart (@ellenRstewart) January 9, 2017 Don’t know who I think less of – the @RMTunion for causing this commuter misery or @Uber for cashing in with 4.5 x surge pricing #TubeStrike— Paul Bristow (@paulbristow79) January 9, 2017 Rush-hour commuters faced severe delays as the 24-hour strike by London Underground workers placed huge demand on the rest of the capital’s transport network.Clapham Junction in south-west London, one of Britain’s busiest railway stations, was evacuated shortly before 9am as it was “dangerously overcrowded”, according to the South West Trains Twitter account.Thousands of people were left queueing outside the station during the 30-minute closure.last_img read more

Bird brains not so stupid pigeons show humanlike ability to build knowledge

first_imgIt is currently debated whether certain primates show a degree of cumulative culture. Having, literally, bird brains, pigeons are not generally considered to be the most intelligent of creatures.But new research reveals that in a crucial respect they are more like humans than any other.Scientists at Oxford University found that homing pigeons are the only known species in the world other than humans able to build and pass on wisdom across the generations. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Isambard Kingdom Brunel built on and advanced engineering knowledgeCredit:Hulton Archive/Getty Dr Takao Sasaki, who co-led the research, said: “At one stage scientists thought that only humans had the cognitive capacity to accumulate knowledge as a society.“Our study shows that pigeons share these abilities with humans, at least to the extent that they are capable of improving on a behavioural solution progressively over time.”The Oxford team pointed out, however, that the building of knowledge over time, a phenomenon called “cumulative culture”, works very differently in humans than it does in homing pigeons.When people share and pass on knowledge through generations, it makes culture and behaviour more complex, as demonstrated by the evolution of activities like manufacturing or agriculture.By contrast, when the process occurs between homing pigeons, the end result is an increase in efficiency, but not necessarily the complexity of the behaviour.Co-author Dora Biro said: “One key novelty, we think, is that gradual improvement we see is not due to new ideas about how to improve the route being introduced by individual birds.“Instead, the necessary innovations in each generation come from a collective form of intelligence that arises through pairs of birds having to solve the problem together.“In other words, through two heads being better than one.”The team believe that investigating a similar style of knowledge sharing may be the key to identifying whether cumulative culture exists in other species.Many animal groups have to solve the same problems repeatedly in the natural world, meaning any feedback they register from past attempts has the potential to influence or improve the decision the group makes in the future. While many animals teach basic skills to their young, such as learning to hunt, until now none had shown it was possible to improve the collective ability of their species in the way mankind becomes ever more advanced.But the scientists found that in the case of homing pigeons, families of the bird were able to improve their efficiency navigating across large distances over time.They sent pairs of the homing pigeons off on a specific route, and then continuously replaced one experienced bird from a couple with an inexperienced one who had never flown the course before.The experiment was designed to establish whether individual birds could pass their experience of the route down to the next pairing, and to see if the collective intelligence of the group improved so that their efficiency over the route improved.Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study showed that the group’s homing performance got consistently better, and that each new pair of pigeons flew a more streamlined route over the course.The homing pigeon navigates by means of magnetoreception, which allows it to detect a magnetic field to perceive direction, altitude and location. Isambard Kingdom Brunel At one stage scientists thought that only humans had the cognitive capacity to accumulate knowledge as a societyDr Takao Sasaki, Oxford University In the study, later generation groups were found to outperform those who flew solo or as part of pairing which never changed.last_img read more

Chess treated with contempt says games English supremo

first_imgGovernment bodies treat the ancient pursuit of chess with “contempt” and have no intention of recognising it as a sport, the game’s supremo in England has said.Dominic Lawson, the eminent journalist and author, said the battle to get chess on an equal footing with other sports faces widespread opposition from officials with “no understanding” of the game.He added that rival sporting bodies are trying to scupper attempts to have chess recognised because they don’t want to share funding with it. American number one Wesley So plays England's Luke McShane At the last Chess Olympiad, the game’s most prestigious team event, England finished ninth.”It seems to me that they do not want to open what they see as a Pandora’s box by allowing chess into the arena of recognised sports,” Mr Lawson said.”That is why there has been adamantine resistance.”Critics point out that Sport England recognises darts and snooker, sports that can hardly be said to require great physical exertion. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Rachel Reeves MP, one of the few chess players in Parliament Show more However, a European Court of Justice ruling expected next month may offer hope.Pressure could be heaped on Sport England to review its list if a long-running case brought by the English Bridge Union rules that the card game is a sport.The case is being watched with interest by the ECF. Entrants to chess events such as the prestigious London Chess Classic currently have to pay VAT “People in the sporting bodies are into athletics and physical sports, and when it comes to chess – if they think about it – they look at it with contempt. Rachel Reeves MP, one of the few chess players in ParliamentCredit: LONDON CHESS CLASSIC/LENNART OOTES Lawson, who has been president of the ECF since 2014, has now admitted chess has virtually no chance of achieving the recognition.”I don’t know anyone in Government now who is interested in chess,” he told the British Chess Magazine.”Part of the problem lies in the fact that chess is not perceived as part of British culture. Mr Lawson, a former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, said former Chancellor George Osborne did try at his request to get chess recognised as a sport but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport “dug in their heels”.Now, Mr Lawson said, the opportunity may have been lost.England was once a powerhouse in the game second only to the Soviet Union in the 1980s. But a steady decline has seen the national team fall back in the rankings. It seems to me that they do not want to open what they see as a Pandora’s box by allowing chess into the arena of recognised sportsDominic Lawson Entrants to chess events such as the prestigious London Chess Classic currently have to pay VATCredit:Julian Andrews “They probably have no understanding what professional chess is like and they can’t appreciate it.”Also, to be crude about it, there is a pot of money provided by the Government and certain sports have access to it and they do not want another kind of sport cutting into their share.” American number one Wesley So plays England’s Luke McShaneCredit: LONDON CHESS CLASSIC/LENNART OOTES The English Chess Federation has been campaigning for years on the issue to get chess events made exempt from VAT and compete for Lottery funding.Players currently have to fund training, facilities and travel to international tournaments with no government support.But Sport England, the body responsible for funding, has steadfastly refused to include chess on its list of sanctioned sports arguing the game does not fulfill the physical criteria.last_img read more

UK weather Heavy rain in Northern England sparks flash flood chaos

first_imgFlooding in Dewsbury, West YorkshireCredit:Charlotte Graham/Guzelian Northern England has experienced heavy downpours and flash flooding, leaving commuters facing road closures and delays.West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received 23 flood-related calls between 9am and 11am on Wednesday, of which seven were attended by crews.The callouts, mainly around Leeds, included three people stuck in vehicles, and one lightning strike damaging a property in Wetherby. A road leading to Scarborough seafront is floodedCredit:TONY BARTHOLOMEW Road leading to Scarborough seafront which flooded  Flooding at Parker road, Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury  First Bus services in York suffered “severe congestion” after one central A-road was closed due to flooding in the Fishergate area, causing diversions and compounding delays due to extra traffic associated with events at York Racecourse.A First Bus spokeswoman said: “Most of our services are delayed due to flooding and race day traffic. We would urge customers to keep checking our website and Twitter feed for the latest updates.” North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service also warned the public of the dangers of driving through standing water, and asked people to take care following reports of flooding in Scarborough.The Met Office said some areas had had as much as 40mm of rain on Wednesday morning, but the worst had passed. Mr Claydon said the worst of the downpours were moving east, creating drier conditions for the coming days.He said: “The flooding would most likely have been due to the intensity of the showers, but the main intensity started coming through around 9 o’clock this morning and is moving east fairly quickly, so it will clear out to the east in the afternoon.”center_img Choppy water in Scarborough on Wednesday afternoon Met Office spokeswoman Nicky Maxey said that early, unverified figures indicated the UK had already had around 96 per cent of the expected rainfall for August, with the potential for more to come.However, she said the weather systems were generally in keeping with the types of rainfall the UK experiences in summer months.”It’s not particularly unusual to see these heavy bursts.”The ones which went through Leeds and Northern Ireland overnight were particularly heavy, but it’s common for our summer rainfall to fall in a few heavy bursts rather than frontal rain that can last for a few days in the winter.” Spokesman Oli Claydon said the heavy, thundery downpours were the result of weather systems related to those affecting Northern Ireland on Tuesday, where emergency services responded to 60 flooding instances between 7pm and 11pm. We have a NW-SE split as we head into the weekend. Rain or showers in the NW, drier towards the SE and becoming a little warmer in the S too pic.twitter.com/Xix3vXNi7G— Met Office (@metoffice) August 23, 2017 Choppy water in Scarborough on Wednesday afternoonCredit:TONY BARTHOLOMEW Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Church can remove pews to attract local Muslims court rules

first_img“Individually the pews are not of major importance as objects in their own right. However, en masse, they make an important contribution to the character of the interior of the church. “The rhythm of repeating pews, the dark wood and the shape of the aisle drawing the eye to the east is an important element of what makes this a Victorian church interior,” it said. The plans are part of an extensive refurbishment of the church’s interior, including a new heating system, new flooring, and new disabled access and toilets. The pews are set to be replaced by 125 stackable chairs as well as 8 new pews “to give a bit of solidity to the arrangements of seating”. The Chancellor said he had “no hesitation” in ruling that the pews were “not of any significant historic merit, particularly since they were only recently installed in 1970”, and could be removed. The ruling comes as Bath Abbey has been given permission to remove its pews, which were part of an interior designed by Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert-Scott, in order to give it more space to hold events such as bake sales and graduation ceremonies. A Government-commissioned report published earlier this week found that churches needed to branch out into GP surgeries and Post Offices to better serve local communities.  A Church of England church has been allowed to remove its pews in order to cater for local Muslims.  St Thomas Werneth, in Oldham, near Manchester, has been given permission to remove the pews to allow it to hold more events with the wider community, which is “broadly Muslim”, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester said. In a ruling made last month, Geoffrey Tattershall QC said that the church would be allowed to remove the seating because the proposals would have “major public benefit outweighing any harm resulting from the loss of the pews”. The 19th century church is the only one in the parish and is in an area which is 88 per cent non-white British. “Its continuing presence is important in enabling social cohesion and contact between local Muslims and Christians,” the Chancellor said. “The purpose of the re-ordering of the Church is to open up the Church for community use, as part of its service and mission to the mainly Muslim community in the parish and to enable the wider community to share its heritage.”The Church wishes to be a place of welcome, growth and engagement for the local communities.”The plan was supported by the Venerable Cherry Vann, the Archdeacon of Rochdale, who said there was “significant interfaith work” going on in the area and “a genuine desire among some of the Muslim leaders to build bridges and work in partnership with the Church.””Moreover there is clearly some goodwill towards the church in the (at present) largely Muslim community in Werneth and it is important that the church has the flexibility and capacity to exercise a ministry of hospitality to those living in the parish through a variety of community-based activities,” she said. Local church school St Thomas in Werneth was earlier this year reported to have only Muslim pupils.The Victorian Society raised concerns about the plans, which it said would be “damaging” to the Grade II listed church.  The rhythm of repeating pews, the dark wood and the shape of the aisle drawing the eye to the east is an important element of what makes this a Victorian church interiorVictorian Societycenter_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Miserable interval performance set to end as theatre doubles lavatory capacity

Les Miserables’ West End home is to more than double its lavatory capacity, after it emerged that audience members are missing up to 10 minutes of Act II because of queuing at the interval.Planning permission has been granted to allow Cameron Mackintosh, owner of the Queen’s Theatre, to install up to 33 additional lavatories in the venue. It currently has 24.According to the planning documents, the proposed designs will alleviate the current situation of visitors needing to queue for lavatories “for up to 10 minutes into the second act of the play”.Some of the additional lavatories would be “super loos” – with a hand basin inside the cubicles, allowing customers to wash their hands before leaving them. This, the application states, means “congestion within the lobby is mitigated”.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Nick Clark, features editor of The Stage magazine, said the document states that there is a need to “serve the patrons of the Queen’s Theatre”.“The three areas of additional toilet provision make the best use of unused or unkempt internal and external spaces, that meet this need,” it says, adding: “The proposals breathe new life into otherwise idle or worn spaces of the theatre.”Westminster Council’s planning applications list confirmed an application had been received for full planning permission and listed building planning consent. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mr Clark tweeted that the theatre is having to “build a load more loos as punters keep missing the start of the second half.”The plans have been welcomed by the Theatres Trust, which said: “Takings during intervals are critical for the overall sustainability and viability of theatres, as is the need for audiences to have a positive theatre experience. Therefore, we support efforts to resolve such known challenges. More generally we welcome efforts by theatre owners and operators to improve their buildings and facilities.”Earlier this year, Mackintosh announced plans to close the theatre for refurbishment, with details yet to be revealed. read more

Harry and Meghans tour Down Under to take in koalas Invictus Games

The event, at which The Duke will speak, promises to be a celebration of the outstanding achievements and inspiring spirit of the Invictus Games competitors.After their brief visit back to Sydney, the royal pair will then travel to New Zealand and will be greeted by a haka performed by members of the country’s Defence Force at a welcome ceremony in Wellington.  The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s much anticipated first overseas tour together is set to take the monarchy to new heights.Their 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand later this month will see the Duke climb Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Australian prime minister.A royal source said it will be “a different kind of visit” to the solo tours the Duke is used to when he was a bachelor.  During a packed first overseas tour to the Pacific region, the couple will take part in 76 engagements and meet mental health campaigners, as well as get involved in sporting activities with ambassadors for the This Girl Can campaign.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The trip also coincides with the Duke’s Invictus Games in Sydney. A day before the Paralympics-style championship for injured or sick servicemen and women begins, he will raise the Invictus flag at the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The couple will also go to Taronga Zoo in the city, where they will meet two koalas and their joeys that are part of the zoo’s breeding programme. Prince Harry on a previous trip to Sydney to launch the Invictus Games in June 2017Credit:DAVID MOIR/AFP A royal source said: “It’s the Duchess’s first tour and it’s all quite new and daunting in terms of what she wants to do.  Prince Harry on a previous trip to Sydney to launch the Invictus Games in June 2017 Sign up for our newsletter Your Royal Appointment – everything you need to know about the Royal Family, direct to your inbox each week. They will then travel onto Auckland, where they will pay a visit to the North Shore to dedicate a 20-hectare area of native bush to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.After unveiling the commemorative plaque, the couple will join children from the Trees in Survival group in a “welly-wanging” contest.The unusual sport, in which competitors are required to throw a Wellington boot as far as possible, is believed to have originated from England in the 1970s, but has become popular in countries abroad including New Zealand. Before returning back to the UK, the Duke and Duchess will attend a kiwi breeding programme in Rainbow Springs, where they will have the chance to name two young kiwi chicks that have recently hatched.Throughout the trip, the couple will be accompanied by ten staff, including a hairdresser for the Duchess.The couple will stay at the Governor-General’s residences in Sydney and Wellington, and in a royal villa in Tonga.The details of the tour come a day after a Conservative MP has said that Prince Harry should be made the UK’s ambassador to America to “cut through” US politics.Tom Tugendhat MP told The Atlantic magazine: “You are looking for someone who has cut through into the U.S. political scene. “New Zealand has hosted many, many royal visits and they offered up a number of engagements and the Duchess thought it was all very good.”The couple will leave Australia for Fiji, where they will unveil a new statue commemorating Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, a British-Fijian soldier who lost his life in the 1972 Battle of Mirbat.The Duke will also lay a wreath at the Fiji War Memorial and meet a number of Fijian war veterans, some of whom served with the British Armed Forces. Today, there are more than 1250 Fijians still serving in the British Army.The Duke and Duchess will then fly to Tonga, where they will visit the oldest secondary school in the Pacific founded by a British missionary in 1866, Tupou College. They will then return back to Sydney for the final day of the Invictus Games, where they will spend the afternoon at the wheelchair basketball finals, before attending the Closing Ceremony that evening at Qudos Bank Arena.  read more