Month: September 2019

Updated Elo Ratings For World Cup Teams

Although we’re loyal to the Soccer Power Index (SPI), the system  we use to produce FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup projections, we’re also big fans of the World Football Elo Ratings.Unfortunately, the Elo ratings website has not been updated since the World Cup began. So we followed their instructions for calculating their ratings and ran the numbers ourselves:Brazil, as before, ranks as the world’s best team per Elo. But the Netherlands has made huge gains and now ranks No. 2, just ahead of Germany. Spain’s rating has fallen the most, 116 points, taking the team from second to sixth.Elo and SPI are highly correlated and they’ve fared well against other methods of predicting World Cup results so far, including betting lines.

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Eagles QB Michael Vick Likely Done for Rest of

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is likely done for the remainder of the preseason after being knocked out of his second game in as many weeks.Coach Andy Reid intimated Tuesday that it was unlikely that the three-time Pro Bowler would take another snap prior to the team’s season opener at Cleveland on Sept. 9.“I’m just going to play it by ear,” Reid told reporters following practice. “I’m not going to say anything about where we’re at with that right now.”Vick left Monday night’s win at New England just six plays into the game after being leveled by Patriots linebacker Jermaine Cunningham and hurting his ribs. Vick lasted just six plays before injuring his thumb against Pittsburgh the week before.X-Rays taken at the stadium showed no broken bones or fractured cartilage, as were the MRI and CT scan he underwent on Tuesday. Vick, instead, bruised his ribs and the soft tissue surrounding it. He also needed X-Rays on his thumb, which were also negative.Vick, 32, has completed just one full season (2006) over his 11-year NFL career, leading some to question whether he will have to alter his style of play to stay healthy. Rib injuries have sidelined him for three games in each of the past two seasons.Philadelphia, which is expected to be a strong NFC contender this year, plays at Cleveland this Friday before hosting the Jets on Aug. 30 to wrap up the preseason. They’ll likely do so without their star quarterback.Not that Vick couldn’t use the work. He led Philadelphia’s first-team offense to just one first down in the 12 plays he managed over the two preseason games.“If he didn’t play again (in the preseason), then he’d be OK,” Reid said. “I would tell you I’d probably like to see him play a little bit more, but he’s got enough experience. We’re not talking about a rookie. I think he’ll probably be OK.”Rookie Nick Foles, a third-round pick out of Arizona, is the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback. read more

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One Way James Hardens Scoring Streak Is More Impressive Than Wilts

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been busy this season redefining just how much offense a single player can create. As we near the NBA All-Star break, Harden has scored at least 30 points in an absurd 30 consecutive games and counting, which, according to Basketball-Reference.com, is the second-longest streak in league history. Harden’s streak trails only Wilt Chamberlain’s 65-game run from the 1961-62 season — a season in which Wilt happened to set the NBA record by scoring 50.4 points per game. The way Harden has been filling up the scoresheet, Chamberlain comes up as a frequent comparison, continually amazing for those of us who never thought we’d get to see numbers like Wilt’s in today’s game. But what might be most remarkable about Harden is the way he’s different from Chamberlain — specifically, how his one-man show has changed his team’s offense.A big reason that Chamberlain keeps popping up is that it’s difficult to find a modern analogue for what Harden is doing. Harden currently has a usage rate of 40.2 percent, meaning he has taken a shot (or turned the ball over) on roughly two out of every five Houston plays when he’s on the court. And when he isn’t trying to score himself, Harden has also assisted on 40.3 percent of teammate baskets. The only other qualified season in NBA history to break those 40/40 thresholds belonged to Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 — and Westbrook was much less efficient that season than Harden has been this year, averaging 6.8 fewer points per 100 possessions on plays he had a hand in ending.To get a sense of just how far Harden is pushing the boundaries of productivity, here’s a breakdown of all qualified seasons since 1976-77 by possession rate1The share of total on-court team possessions a player had a hand in ending, via shots, turnovers, assists and rebounds. versus offensive efficiency. (The outermost points up and to the right are the best combinations of workload and efficiency.) With 118.6 points produced per 100 possessions on a possession rate of 40.5 percent, Harden is currently having the greatest high-usage offensive season in modern history. From a team perspective, those numbers mean that Houston is funneling nearly half of its possessions through a player who is personally averaging nearly 2 more points per 100 possessions than the league’s most efficient team (the Warriors, at 117.0). So in theory, this should be a very good thing for his team’s scoring rate, which in turn should lead to more and more wins.And in Harden’s case, that appears to be true. Since Harden’s streak began, he is averaging 122 points per 100 possessions with a usage rate of 42.8 percent, both numbers up from the 114 and 37.3 percent marks he had before the streak, respectively. And over the same span, Houston’s teamwide offensive efficiency has zoomed up from 111.2 points per 100 before the streak (sixth-best in the NBA) to 116.9 (second-best) ever since, with his Rockets’ on/off-court offensive efficiency split (+5.8 points per 100) staying roughly the same before the streak and after. Houston is also 21-9 over the streak, after starting the season 12-14. Of course, the recent return of former All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who missed 18 games during Harden’s streak, has buoyed the Rockets as well — but in general it’s safe to say that Harden’s tear has had a very positive effect on Houston’s efficiency and overall record.Why is that notable, though? Isn’t that simply the logical result of having a highly efficient player dominate his team’s possessions? You might think so, but in a dynamic sport such as basketball, things are often more complicated than they may appear. And the best example of this could be Chamberlain.Chamberlain’s career was unwittingly one of history’s most fascinating laboratories for basketball experimentation, in large part because he was the NBA’s most extreme statistical outlier ever. Wilt led the league in scoring in each of his first six seasons, with a staggering scoring average of 40.6 points per game over that span; he also led the league in field goal percentage in three of those campaigns, making 50.7 percent of his shots in total (at a time when the NBA average was around 42 percent). With such a high volume of efficient shots, you might expect that Wilt was like Harden, leading his teams to tremendously efficient offensive performances.But you’d be wrong. Shockingly, Chamberlain’s Warriors struggled to even break league average in efficiency during his seasons with the club, despite the enormous amount of high-percentage scoring Chamberlain did by himself. It wasn’t until Chamberlain switched teams and started scoring less — passing to his teammates more — that his clubs began breaking offensive records.To better understand the sometimes-counterintuitive effect a single scorer can have on his team’s offense, I reached out to Ben Taylor, author of the book “Thinking Basketball,” who was one of the first researchers to notice this phenomenon in Chamberlain’s numbers. “The arc of [Wilt’s] career is very, very unique,” he said. “Not only do some people consider him the best player ever precisely because of these raw stats, but he goes through many different coaches, they put him in many different situations, and specifically Alex Hannum comes along with this great idea — like, ‘Hey, Wilt, what if you just didn’t shoot that much anymore?’ — and he does this, and the team becomes incredible.”Chamberlain’s 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons with Philadelphia present the most fascinating test case. According to Taylor’s research, Chamberlain’s own personal scoring attempts in 1966 were much more efficient (averaging about 1.09 points per possession) than those of his teammates when they tried to score (0.94), and the 76ers had a mediocre offense with Chamberlain scoring 33.5 points per game. If anything, that makes it sound like Chamberlain should have shot the ball even more — but instead, Hannum persuaded Chamberlain to spread the ball around the following season. His teammates, basically the same cast of characters, averaged more points per attempt (1.01) on more shots per game, while Wilt himself was far more efficient (1.27 points per attempt!) when scoring “only” 24.1 points per game. The result was a championship for Philadelphia and one of history’s greatest offenses.Chamberlain’s less-is-more experience is indicative of other one-man shows from throughout NBA history, Taylor said. “You can see it with other high-usage players in a modern setting. I think the classic examples are 1987 [Michael] Jordan, 2006 Kobe [Bryant], guys like that — they’re doing a similar thing, and again you don’t have anywhere near a top-shelf offense.”But Harden has been able to break that mold by playing differently than other one-man offenses from the past. “Harden’s not the best example of one of these high-usage all time scorers,” Taylor said. “He’s a little weird in that he’s more like Steve Nash — he’s passing and dominating the offense to also set up teammates, and so you have a huge ‘creation’ player. … The stark difference between [Harden and Wilt] is that Wilt, when he was scoring, was more like a black hole, and Harden is just running everything.”The idea that Harden is what Taylor called a “Scoring Nash” is eye-opening. Playing in a similar (if not exactly identical) system to the one Nash orchestrated for four years under coach Mike D’Antoni, Harden has evolved the role of distributor to include an even greater level of player choice. If one of Nash’s great strengths was drawing defensive attention as a means of setting others up for easy shots, Harden can also use the threat of the pass as a means of giving himself more space to shoot. As a result, Harden has an “offensive load” — Taylor’s metric for measuring direct involvement via scoring or passing within an offense — of 66 percent, compared with Nash’s single-season high of 51 percent under D’Antoni in 2007.Pass-heavy initiators like Harden don’t always elevate otherwise mediocre offenses to greatness. For instance, Westbrook — who in 2017 set the NBA record for single-season usage rate (just ahead of Harden’s rate this year) — was the centerpiece of a barely average scoring attack that year, despite his record offensive load of 74 percent. But a disproportionate share of history’s greatest offenses were led by players such as Harden, Nash, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and even Golden State’s Stephen Curry — players who stretched defenses into oblivion with the interplay between their passing and scoring.That’s why Harden’s admittedly impressive scoring streak is only one part of the puzzle that has helped vault the Rockets back near the top of the Western Conference’s contender list. By playing more like the Chamberlain of 1967 than 1962, Harden isn’t just helping the team with his own statistics — he’s also making the players around him better.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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Kristaps Porzingis Is A Freak — And Potentially A Superstar

15Kwame Brown40Marvin Williams 2Joe Smith27Cliff Robinson 16Michael Beasley41Jared Sullinger 19Anthony Davis44Thaddeus Young If those assumptions hold, the Knicks have a hell of a prospect on their hands. The NBA is a tough league for rookies, so merely staying in a team’s rotation at age 20 is often a sign of a bright future. So far, however, Porzingis has not just been a rotation player but an above-average one4According to the blend of Box Plus/Minus and Real Plus-Minus that we use as part of CARMELO — usually a sign of superstar potential. In fact, Porzingis’s long-term upside score, based on his wins above replacement projection from 2016-17 through 2021-22, is 36.3. That’s very good; at the start of this season, it would have made Porzingis the 17th-most-valuable franchise player in the league, in the same vicinity as Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall and Jimmy Butler.But Porzingis’s projection also involves tremendous uncertainty. In 2018-19, for example, his 90th percentile projection5According to CARMELO, Porzingis has a 10 percent chance of achieving a WAR at or above his 90th percentile projection. is 13.3 WAR, good enough to put him on the fringes of the MVP discussion. Meanwhile, his 10th percentile projection is just 0.0 WAR (exactly replacement level), or roughly the same range as Quincy Acy. The error bars around CARMELO’s forecasts for young players are often wide, but these are especially so.OK, but is he Dirk?What gives? Part of it is the problem we alluded to before. CARMELO works by identifying comparable players, and Porzingis is a hard guy for which to find historical precedents. Only one player, Brook Lopez, achieves a similarity score of 50 or higher with Porzingis6A score of 50 is the point at which we consider a player to be “extremely similar.” — and if we’re being frank, the Lopez-Porzingis connection doesn’t have the “eye test” appeal that CARMELO comparisons often do.But faced with unusual players like Porzingis, CARMELO has to make some sacrifices. In the case of Lopez, it ignores the fact that Lopez almost never shoots from behind the arc (although he does have a decent midrange game). In the case of Kevin Love, Porzingis’s No. 4 comparable, it finds another big man with a good outside shot and strong rebounding numbers — but ignores that Love is shaped much differently than Porzingis, 5 inches shorter but quite a bit bulkier, especially in his youth. And since CARMELO relies on metrics that utilize box score stats, it can be difficult to translate calling-card traits like “quick feet in defensive transition” to on-the-stat-sheet comps, which in turn means the model may promote the formal similarity of Porzingis’s defensive numbers to those of Shawn Kemp, when he’s closer to Andrei Kirilenko stylistically.You can get a fuller sense for the range of possibilities when sorting through Porzingis’s top 50 CARMELO comparables, a list that includes everyone from Shaquille O’Neal to Darko Milicic. There’s also a cameo appearance from Porzingis’s idol, Dirk Nowitzki, who checks in at No. 17. Why doesn’t he rank higher? Because, as Nowitzki correctly points out, Porzingis has been considerably better so far at age 20 than Nowitzki was at the same age. CARMELO “thinks” the Porzingis-Nowitzki comparison is unflattering — to Porzingis.The 50 NBA players most comparable to Porzingis 22Tyson Chandler47Shaquille O’Neal 4Kevin Love29Derrick Williams 9Yi Jianlian34Serge Ibaka 18Shareef Abdur-Rahim43Chris Webber RANKPLAYERRANKPLAYER The New York Knicks’ future once looked very dismal indeed. It looked that way for a very long time, for a great many reasons — but that was before the arrival of the Great Latvian Hope. Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 rookie whose selection was resoundingly booed at this summer’s draft, has instead very quickly become the most popular athlete at Madison Square Garden1Sorry, Carmelo Anthony and Henrik Lundqvist. after barely more than a month on the job.Porzingis detonated onto the NBA landscape with a series of putback dunks in his first handful of games; more importantly for Knicks fans, he’s since maintained a level of play that’s ranged between solid and spectacular. On the season, Porzingis is averaging 17.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes and draining threes at a rate that would make fellow Giant Baltic Person Arvydas Sabonis proud.2Porzingis has made the typically painful adjustment to NBA 3-point range rapidly, raising his percentage to 35.4 after early season struggles. No player in NBA history, in fact, has possessed quite this combination of youth, height, quickness and outside shooting skills. Porzingis’s play has been so strong and so dazzling that he’s that rare rookie on whom airy basketball aesthetes and turgid statistical fundamentalists can agree: This kid is the real deal.The Porzingis projectionSo what does his future hold? We have a (probabilistic) basketball-shaped crystal ball called CARMELO,3No relation to Carmelo Anthony, although we took some inspiration from him. our NBA projection system. Before the season began, we ran CARMELO projections for more than 500 players; this included rookie projections for players such as Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 overall pick and Porzingis’s opponent Wednesday night, based on their college statistics. But we didn’t run one for Porzingis or other international draft picks who didn’t play NCAA ball. Let’s fix that!Below, you’ll see a CARMELO projection for Porzingis based on his first 25 NBA games. It makes one heroic assumption: extrapolating out that 25-game performance to a full 82-game season. In other words, it assumes not only that what Knicks fans have seen from Porzingis so far is about what they’ll get from the rest of the year, but also that he’ll stay healthy. But Porzingis’s offensive approach does bear some resemblance to today’s Dirk Nowitzki. Porzingis is frequently compared to Jahlil Okafor and Towns, and that’s unsurprising considering that they play the same position and were all drafted so high. However, Porzingis is the only one in that trio who, like Nowitzki, has 21st-century range. In fact, his basic spatial shooting distribution closely mirrors that of the NBA itself as about a quarter of his shots come from downtown, a third come in the midrange and the rest come near the basket. 10Shawn Kemp35Zaza Pachulia 11Rudy Gay36Darius Miles 14Lamar Odom39Antoine Walker 3Derrick Favors28Al Jefferson 1Brook Lopez26Ryan Anderson 23Chris Bosh48Darko Milicic 6Amar’e Stoudemire31Jonas Valanciunas 17Dirk Nowitzki42Harrison Barnes 8Tobias Harris33Tracy McGrady 5Anthony Randolph30Tim Thomas 12Elton Brand37Greg Monroe 24Luol Deng49Nene 20Josh Smith45Paul George 7Spencer Hawes32Rashard Lewis 13DeMarcus Cousins38Andrei Kirilenko 21Kevin Garnett46Eddy Curry 25Enes Kanter50Al-Farouq Aminu The diversity of Porzingis’s scoring portfolio is also an encouraging sign for his development. Although he converts his shots at just average rates from virtually every spot he shoots from, the fact that he can do that as a 20-year-old 7-foot-plusser is remarkable. While the league is full of bigs who can shoot the ball, it’s rare for a rookie to enter the league as such a competent shooter. Shooting was the Achilles heel of young bigs like Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin, who have since developed range out to the 3-point line.The good news extends to the defensive side of the ball as well; Porzingis is already an effective rim protector. Considering that many were worried that he was “soft” entering the league, these numbers, perhaps more than his offensive ones, should put the doubters to bed. He blocks multiple shots per game, opponents shoot just 47 percent near the basket when he is present, and he is a big part of why the Knicks are among the most efficient rim-protecting teams in the NBA right now. The Knicks!Then again: The Knicks! A franchise whose glory days are more than 40 years behind it, and which has squandered more than a few good opportunities in the past. What could go wrong this time around?A strictly limited run?The one looming issue could be Porzingis’s durability. Among his top 50 comparables, about 20 percent7Excluding very recent comparables who haven’t had time to complete six full seasons. played fewer than 1,000 minutes (or were out of the league entirely) by their sixth NBA season. Usually, this is a sign of a serious injury. Furthermore, among his comparables, there was an inverse correlation between height and durability: The tallest players on Porzingis’s list were more injury-prone.That’s a potential problem because Porzingis isn’t just tall but gigantic: one of only 25 players ever to play in the NBA at 7-foot-3 or taller. That produces some cool factoids — among players 7-foot-3 or taller, Porzingis has already drained the fourth-most 3-pointers in league history (behind Sabonis, Manute Bol and Zydrunas Ilgauskas) — along with some worrying trends. For instance: no player 7-foot-3 or taller has ever made it to his 1,000th NBA game. (Mark Eaton, with 875 career games, came closest.)Is there really such a thing as being too tall for the NBA, as Phil Jackson asserted when he drafted Porzingis? Well … maybe. The chart below tracks the height distribution of NBA players since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, weighted by minutes played, and compares it against a normal distribution. There are some interesting discrepancies: the most conspicuous is that there are far fewer players listed at exactly 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 than you’d expect from a normal distribution. That could reflect the fact that such players are “tweeners” — too small to play forward, but not necessarily fleet or agile enough to play guard — or that their heights are exaggerated upward to avoid the tweener label. Charles Barkley, officially listed at 6-foot-6, was probably more like 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 instead, for example.There is also a comparative absence of players listed at 7-foot-1 or taller. Based on the normal distribution, you’d expect about 6 percent of NBA minutes to be played by these supergiant players; instead, about 3 percent of them have been. There are lots of plausible explanations for this — for instance, there may be diminishing returns to height beyond about 7 feet, and some very tall players may actually round their heights down instead of up. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the most durable players in league history, was listed at 7-foot-2, and opponents swore up and down that even that number was missing an inch or two. Still, looking at the broader trends, perhaps there is some reason to be concerned about players carrying such large frames.But having “some reason to be concerned” is unavoidable in neurotic New York — and a heck of a lot better than the state of absolute despair that preceded it. And the upside is having a player who, like Anthony Davis, has a chance to redefine his position. Porzingis! is the most exciting show to hit the Knicks since Linsanity.Read more:CARMELO NBA Player Projections2015-16 NBA Predictions read more

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Five takeaways Mike Weber is a workhorse Silver Bullets too aggressive and

OSU freshman running back Mike Weber (25) outruns two MSU players during their game on Nov. 19, 2016 at Spartan Stadium. The Buckeyes won 17-16. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorEAST LANSING, Michigan — A score of 17-16 pretty much sums up the No.2 Ohio State and Michigan State game on Saturday. It was chippy at times, and ugly at others, but the Buckeyes prevailed over a three-win Spartans team looking to salvage what it can from a disappointing season.OSU coach Urban Meyer and his players all agreed Mark Dantonio’s team is far better than the credit received from fans and analysts this year. To be fair, most of the team did say this during the entire week leading up to the game.It took some gutsy running by redshirt freshman Mike Weber and a few defensive stands by the secondary to find a way to win, but that’s the point of having quality players at every positions. The term dogfight was thrown around once again in postgame interviews, and most of the players were far from overjoyed with the team’s performance.Be that as it may, the Buckeyes are now 10-1, and are 7-1 in the Big Ten, with time to prepare for The Game against Michigan on Nov. 26. And as of right now, it looks like it’s going to be No. 2 versus No. 3. Here are five takeaways from OSU’s nail-biter in East Lansing.Barrett needs to run as much as possibleRedshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett has been a playmaker ever since he traveled all the way from Wichita Falls, Texas, to Columbus. One of the biggest threats he presents is the ability to tuck it and run when the defense has the pass covered, or whenever he feels like he has a crease.Even with that ability, Meyer said he needed to cut down on the amount of carries his quarterback has in a game to ensure he can keep Barrett healthy. A quick glance at the box score would make it seems as though the Buckeyes’ coach forgot his earlier statement.Barrett had 24 carries Saturday — two more runs than passes. In his second most carries in a game this season, Barrett had his second highest rushing yardage total, but failed to locate the end zone. When asked about how a scrappy game against a sneaky-good opponent leads to this kind of game for Barrett, Meyer shrugged his shoulder and nodded his head in agreement.“The way it goes,” he said.It’s doubtful Barrett gets over 20 carries next week against a hard-hitting Michigan defense.Buckeyes defense a little too aggressiveA defense that jumps the ball and can read plays to blow up runs in the backfield is valuable. A defense that over-pursues plays and gives up big plays is not. Even though OSU’s defense is about as good as it gets at the Division I level, the Buckeyes have a severe problem with over running plays.For example, redshirt junior linebacker Chris Worley said the team had some breakdowns and lack of edge containment. On one play in the second half, redshirt sophomore running back L.J. Scott broke free down the right side of the field. After breaking off the edge, there wasn’t a Buckeye within 10 yards of him. On the play, a motion by the wide receiver caused sophomore cornerback Denzel Ward to shift from the right side of the offensive line to the left. The Buckeyes defense, including redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis and sophomore linebacker Jerome Baker, pushed to the left side of the offense on the snap and were totally fooled by the end-around.Although the play didn’t hurt down the road, this kind of over-aggressiveness has caused some big plays against OSU, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will be looking to capitalize next week. Weber picking up steam at the right timeAs a Detroit native, facing Michigan State in Spartan Stadium is pretty close to a homecoming for redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber. On Saturday, he was a big factor in OSU’s win with 111 yards and a game winning touchdown.With the final regular season showdown less than a week away, OSU will need the services of Weber if it hopes to knock off the Wolverines. His touchdown Saturday was his first away from Ohio Stadium this season, and ended up being the decisive score. Standing at just 5-foot-9, Weber has the stature of a power back with a low center of gravity, but flashed some speed on a 52-yard dash down the sideline that eventually set up his touchdown run.And with Michigan up next, Weber is all business.“Right now, we’re looking at it as a national championship,” he said. “That’s how we’re supposed to look at it. Go out all week, get a good game plan and work hard at it and try to execute the game plan. Now it’s really personal.”Who did OSU play again?Michigan State, at least according to the Buckeyes, is a quality opponent. OSU struggled with a team that has just three wins, and had to depend on late-game heroics from redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley to seal the deal with an interception.This game will easily be forgotten in the weeks to come, and the College Football Playoff committee will most likely follow suit. It was a tough game that OSU earned the W in. Games like these are never a large downfall of a team. The Buckeyes, along with Clemson (defeated Troy 30-24) and Michigan (loss to Iowa and won 20-10 over Indiana) have been in close games against mediocre teams.The important thing to remember is regardless of the outcome from this game, all eyes from the committee will be on Ohio Stadium next week. Whoever wins should find themselves in a playoff spot.Michigan and De’Veon Smith the ultimate testL.J. Scott had a monster day against the Buckeyes, compiling 236 yards total and crossing the goal line twice. Although he has the reputation of being a pretty good every-down back, there were some pretty uncharacteristic mistakes by the Buckeyes’ defense. So many in fact, that Urban Meyer doesn’t see a win for his team if they play in a similar fashion next week.“That’s very true,” Lewis said. “Come out next week kind of flat, you obviously won’t win the game. Give credit to Michigan State, they played a very good game, very physical thing. Just got to correct the little things — stopping the run.”Michigan senior running back De’Veon Smith is about as easy to stop as a runaway train. The mistakes made by the Silver Bullets against Michigan State cannot be made against a team as dangerous as Michigan. In the Wolverines’ lone loss this season, Iowa shut down Smith for just 28 yards on 12 carries. In Saturday’s win over Indiana, he had 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns. There seems to be a trend of good performances for Smith and a Michigan win.It’s Michigan week for OSU, and the assignment at hand for the Buckeyes could not be more difficult. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

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Mens hockey Ohio State fails to secure weekend sweep tie Arizona State

OSU sophomore forward John Wiitala passes the puck along the boards against an Arizona State defender. Credit: Courtesy of Ric Kruszynski/OSU AthleticsThere’s always a reason as to why the game is played. The No. 10 Ohio State men’s hockey team found that out the hard way on Saturday afternoon.Despite being heavy favorites following a 6-1 victory on Friday, the Buckeyes (11-4-5) tied Arizona State 2-2 in the weekend finale at the Schottenstein Center.The Sun Devils (7-17-2) tied the game with an extra skater with 26 seconds left in the third period on a goal from freshman forward Tyler Busch. OSU junior forward Kevin Miller and sophomore forward Mason Jobst scored to take the team’s only lead late in the second period. This result marks the fourth tie of the season for OSU, all coming to non-conference opponents.The teams could not decide a winner after an overtime period and the game officially ended in a tie, but Arizona State won the ensuing shootout 1-0. “We just got to keep getting better. Every time you lace it up, you’ve got to compete at the highest level,” coach Steve Rohlik said. “That’s a good hockey team. To have the lead right to the end, you’ve got to find a way to win that game, and to walk away with a tie leaves a little bitter taste in your mouth for sure.”Hard hits and bodies on the ice were present from the opening faceoff in this matchup. Both the Buckeyes and the Sun Devils produced a number of dangerous chances in front of net throughout the first period, including a power play for each team.Despite these factors, both squads entered the first intermission scoreless.Arizona State opened the game’s scoring on the power play with 10:20 left in the second period. Junior right winger Wade Murphy ripped a slapshot from the blueline that found its way through traffic, and into the back of the net.However, the Buckeyes responded strongly with just under three minutes to play in the period.Miller finished his fifth goal of the season from just out in front of the crease to tie the game at one, with assists coming from freshman forward Ronnie Hein and senior defender Drew Brevig. Less than a minute later, after OSU received a penalty for too many men on the ice, Jobst skated with speed past the Sun Devils’ defense and netted a shorthanded wrister senior goalie Robert Levin to take the lead into intermission.The Speedway, Indiana, native has now recorded 12 points in his last six games, but he said that his team needs to create more scoring opportunities for themselves moving forward in order to win games. “(We need) more shots,” Jobst said. “I think we had 24, and that’s just not enough. We’ve got to shoot the puck more.”During the third period, the Buckeyes had a chance to add insurance with a little over four minutes left when sophomore forward John Wiitala poked away a Sun Devil pass to go on the breakaway — but after a series of dekes, he saw his shot kicked away by Levin.This chance would come back to haunt Rohlik’s side, Busch found the back of the net to force overtime, and eventually won in a shootout.The deadlock lasted through the end of overtime into an eventual shoot-out, which concluded with the Sun Devils on top, but Rohlik said that his team needs to get better this next week headed back into conference play.“Our message is we’re going to Penn State, a great environment, obviously a very good hockey team, and we’ve got to be prepared this week and ready to go,” he said.Ohio State is back in action next weekend, as it travels College Park, Pennsylvania, for two conference clashes with the No. 4 Nittany Lions. Both Friday and Saturday’s puck drops are set for 7 p.m. read more

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Hall seizes opportunity to play with Pryor a second time

Freshman running back Jordan Hall is trying to prove he isn’t just “the guy who played at the same school as Terrelle Pryor.”Hall’s high school career in Jeannette, Pa., was mostly spent as the secondary playmaker on offense to Pryor. The backfield duo brought the Jeannette Jayhawks their first football state title during Pryor’s senior and Hall’s junior season. As an encore, they followed it up a few months later with a matching state championship as starters on their high school’s basketball team. After his quarterback left for Ohio State, Hall didn’t waste much time deciding where he wanted to attend college. “I knew I was going to be a Buckeye,” Hall said after OSU’s win on Saturday, in which he led the team with 90 yards rushing. “I just got that gut feeling coming up here for junior day, the Spring Game. I just had that gut feeling and so far it’s working out.”The freshman has made an early impact and given a depleted running back squad some consistency on the depth chart. Sophomore Dan “Boom” Herron and junior Brandon Saine have battled injuries recently, and Hall has taken the opportunity to prove that he is more than just “Pryor’s old teammate.”Coming out of high school, Hall was not seen as a player who could make an impact right away. Recruiting experts thought it would be Jaamal Berry or Carlos Hyde who would be making their names known early, but things haven’t gone as planned for the two highly touted backs. Berry’s injuries and Hyde’s inability to qualify academically have left Hall to carry the load. “I knew I was coming in with two other really good running backs,” Hall said. “So it was kind of like motivation for me, but we’re all working hard. Jaamal is working hard too, but his injuries aren’t allowing him to play.”Hall believed the low expectations placed on him would give him a chance early in his career to surprise some people. “I definitely took it as a challenge, and I worked real hard in the offseason because I knew I was kind of an underdog coming in, so it motivated me,” Hall said. “Coming out of high school, everyone thought since Jeannette was such a small school, that we wouldn’t be ready to play college football, but it shows that if you’re an athlete, you’re an athlete and you can play.”Hall has 231 yards rushing this season and one touchdown. His most impressive stat, however, is his average of 5.1 yards per carry, more than either Herron or Saine. His running style gives OSU something different than “Boom” and “Zoom,” especially while the two are plagued with injuries. “I always had a belief and confidence in myself, but the injuries are allowing me to make plays so I’m just trying to take full advantage of it,” Hall said. “It’s funny, coming in we were like, we got five good running backs that could run, and we were all doing pretty good, then two go down. So everyone has to step up, you can never take a week off in practice, because you never know what can happen to the running back in front of you.”Being from the same high school as Pryor might cause any player to feel overshadowed, but not Hall. He has nothing but admiration for the Buckeye quarterback and believes all the attention is warranted. Pryor’s commitment to OSU also made Hall feel more comfortable with his own decision.“He deserves it. He works hard and he’s a leader,” Hall said. “I’m just playing, and I’ve never felt overshadowed. It was a reason that I came, but it wasn’t the main reason. Knowing I had someone I could ask questions to that helped my decision.”While Hall continues to surprise people, he hasn’t surprised himself. “I don’t know how people really felt about me, but I know how I felt about myself,” he said. “So I’m not really surprising myself, but I’m just trying to take full advantage when I’m in the game.” read more

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No 14 Ohio State womens gymnastics defends its honor to the last

Ohio State women’s gymnastics coach Carey Fagan stopped short of calling this Friday’s contest against Kent State revenge. But, neither she nor her team has forgotten about a one-tenth-point loss to the Golden Flashes in last year’s regional qualifier that knocked them out of the NCAA Championships. “That stung, and I know it’s been on the minds of the girls for almost a whole year,” Fagan said. Almost a year later, a similar feeling still resonates with the team. The No. 14-ranked Buckeyes, though, have harvested that disappointment into this season’s rallying cry: “Our honor defend to the last tenth.” And it has been the driving force behind a year that Fagan and her team have condensed into a single word — consistent. “I think one of the best things we’ve done is we’ve been really consistent — we haven’t had to count a fall in several meets,” she said. “For us, all our scores have been right in that low 196, high 195 range.” Sophomore Sarah Miller echoed her coach’s sentiments. “I think that, overall, we’ve been really consistent throughout our entire season,” said Miller, who earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors this week. “Generally, all of our scores have pretty much reflected our season.” OSU, which hasn’t posted a score lower than 195.175 this year, set a school record for their 197.625 team score against Denver Feb. 18. Fagan said she thinks her team’s consistent and sometimes dominating performance is a combination of senior leadership and the strong sophomore class that includes Miller. “I think (the seniors are) coming upon the end of their gymnastics career, and I think they’re really doing a good job kind of motivating some of the younger kids,” she said. Fagan said her seniors’ lead-by-example approach has been different compared to past seasons. “I think the best leadership comes from when they’re performing well and they have the confidence,” she said. “It’s harder if you’re not doing well to kind of step up and be like, ‘Come on guys,’ if you’re not taking care of your own business.” “So the fact that our seniors are doing a good job, they sort of have that confidence and that backing.” Fresh off a 196.025-195.000 win against No. 10 Penn State, the Buckeyes look to put it all together Friday night. “Vault and floor, in general, are strong events for us,” Fagan said. “But if we can hit bars and beam really well in one night, I think it’ll be a good score for us.” In some ways, much of OSU’s season has led up to their rematch with Kent State. But, junior Colleen Dean said the Buckeyes need to approach Friday with the same mentality they took on against Penn State last weekend. “We all kind of have that feeling of a little animosity towards Kent State,” Dean said. “But like Penn State, we don’t want to focus on beating this team or like, the other team, because that’s something we can’t control. But we can control our routines and what we do with them.” Fagan said, for the most part, mental toughness isn’t an issue for OSU. “This group of athletes is pretty confident, and so they don’t need the constant repetition like some other teams that I’ve coached,” she said. “To me, I know walking into the meet on Friday, if they feel physically good, we’re going to be in good shape.” Miller said she knows how much a win would mean for her team. “We definitely want this,” she said. “It was just little things that happened at regionals, tenths here and there, and we definitely want this really bad.” read more

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Football Ohio State retains No 2 ranking in AP Poll

J.T. Barrett broke the school’s total offense record against Indiana. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Assistant Sports EditorThe first Associated Press Top 25 Poll of the regular season was released Tuesday, and Ohio State remained behind just Alabama in the No. 2 spot. No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Penn State and No. 5 Oklahoma round out the top five. Ohio State received just one first place vote after receiving three in the preseason poll.Ohio State did enough to maintain its grasp on the second spot in the rankings after coming away with a victory against Indiana, 49-21. Though they started off slow and trailed the Hoosiers by one at the half, the Buckeyes outscored Indiana 36-7 in the second half of the game to seal the Week 1 victory.In total, the Big Ten saw four teams listed in the Top 25. After Ohio State and Penn State, Michigan was ranked at No. 8 and Wisconsin sat at No. 9.Kickoff for Ohio State’s game this Saturday against Oklahoma is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at Ohio Stadium.AP Poll1. Alabama (60)2. Ohio State (1)3. Clemson4. Penn State5. Oklahoma6. USC7. Washington8. Michigan9. Wisconsin10. Florida State11. Oklahoma State12. LSU13. Auburn14. Stanford15. Georgia16. Miami (Fl.)17. Louisville18. Virginia Tech19. Kansas State20. Washington State21. South Florida22. Florida23. TCU24. Notre Dame25. Tennessee read more

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Track and Field Ohio State sending nine athletes to NCAA indoor national

Ohio State redshirt sophomore sprinter Kendall Sheffield (middle) competes in the 60m with teammates Nick Gray (right) and senior Zack Bazile (left) during a meet in the French Field House on Feb. 16. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State track and field teams will send nine athletes will be starting spring break early with a trip to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA indoor national championship Friday. Senior Zack Bazile currently has the farthest long jump in the country at 8.14 meters. Bazile is the only athlete in the NCAA to jump farther than eight meters twice.This is Bazile’s first time going to the indoor national championship. Bazile has gone to the NCAA outdoor championship every season of his collegiate career.Senior Nicholas Demaline will be return to the NCAA indoor championships in shot put. Last season Demaline finished sixth at this meet. This year, he is coming in with the fifth-farthest throw in the NCAA at 20.24 meters.Junior Nick Gray is tied for the second-fastest collegiate time in the 200-meter dash at 20.45 seconds. Gray is tied with South Carolina’s senior Ncincilili Titi.Junior Sade Olatoye qualified with the fourth best weight throw in the NCAA at 23.84 meters and has faced off against the top three weight throwers in the country at least once. Olatoye finished fourth last year and will be facing off against the defending national champion, Cincinnati’s Annette Echikunwoke.Olatoye also qualified in shot put as the top-ranked Big Ten thrower.The Ohio State men’s 4×400-meter-relay team made up of sophomore Asa Burke, Gray, senior Drelan Bramwell and freshman Andre Jeff will also make the trip to Texas. The team broke the school record with a time of 3:05.09 at the Big Ten Championship meet. Senior Maggie Berrie qualified in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.82 seconds and also grabbed a spot down at College Station. She qualified by a very thin margin, while Tennessee Tech’s D’Airrien Jackson did not qualify with a time of 52.84 seconds. Senior Cole Gorski qualified in pole vault with a jump of 5.47 meters, set at the Music City Challenge earlier this month. Gorski was tied for 16th place, the last spot to qualify. Junior Coty Cobb was just one spot below Gorski and barely missed the cut. read more

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Prince Harry impresses Aberdeen children with viral dance move dabbing

first_imgHis presence at the university delighted the children at the Streetsport initiative Chris Jackson/Getty Prince Harry is pictured ‘dabbingCredit:Chris Jackson/Getty She wrote on Facebook: “So I caught Prince Harry dabbing today…”. Prince Harry delighted children in Aberdeen by showing them he knew how to ‘dab’, which is a viral dance move in which the dancer drops their head to their elbow and raises their other arm, as if they are sneezing.Abbie Little was at the official engagement on Tuesday at Robert Gordon University, and filmed Prince Harry’s stealthy attempt at the dab. While there he learned about the Streetsport scheme, which sees volunteers take free weekly sports and art sessions into Aberdeen’s communities in order to tackle anti-social behaviour. 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.center_img .@official_tWitch taught @HillaryClinton how to dab. I think she’s finally ready for office.https://t.co/TeoLRpeqNl— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 11, 2016 His presence at the university delighted the children at the Streetsport initiativeCredit:Getty Images Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, the university’s principal, said: “It’s a really good day for the university but also for Aberdeen, because this is about creating a sense of community, particularly in less advantaged communities.” Even Hillary Clinton has joined in on the craze, and has been taught to dab by Ellen Degeneres.It is still perhaps surprising that news of the viral dance move has reached the Royals.Prince Harry was attending a youth sports initiative at the university, where he played mini tennis, street hockey and form of one-on-one football known as Panna KO. Dabbing is said to have originated in the Atlanta hip-hop scene, but gained mainstream attention in 2015 as NFL players and multiple celebrities ‘dabbed’ on television.Young people now often film and photograph each other dabbing as a joke and post it online.last_img read more

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Great Ormond Street Hospital worker sparks anger after saying she hopes Brexiteers

first_imgA spokesman for the hospital (pictured) emphasised that Ms Gorb’s comments were “not a Great Ormond Street Hospital stance”Credit:John Stillwell I want people who are leaving to one day unfortunately have a child who needs that treatment but it is not thereNicola Gorb A Great Ormond Street Hospital worker has said she hopes Brexiteers’ children fall ill so they can experience how leaving the European Union will hurt the NHS. Nicola Gorb, a 47-year-old language and speech therapist, faces calls to be sacked after her comments were aired on an episode of BBC One’s Question Time on Thursday night.  Ms Gorb apologised for the comments on Friday, telling The Huffington Post she was “deeply sorry” if what she said had been “misconstrued or misinterpreted”.”It is not what I meant to say, I care deeply about the care of children and that is what I wanted to get across,” she said. She added later: “I didn’t mean to say it and I would never wish this on children or their parents.” The Daily Telegraph has contacted Ms Gorb for comment.  A spokesman for the hospital emphasised that Ms Gorb's comments were "not a Great Ormond Street Hospital stance" 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. Hope a P45 is on its way to #nicolagorb. What sort of person makes a statement like that to make a point?— Fromthekitchentable (@ShinyHappyVicky) November 4, 2016 A spokesman for the hospital emphasised that Ms Gorb’s comments were “not a Great Ormond Street Hospital stance”.“We want to reassure all families that we will do our very best to find and offer new cures and treatments to all children that need them – whatever political circumstances the country find itself in,” she added. “We cannot comment on questions around personal conduct of individual members of staff.” The mother-of-one, who admitted she was “very much a Remainer” during the programme, said she believes Brexit will have a detrimental effect on medical research and funding.She went on to say: “I want people who are leaving to one day unfortunately have a child who needs that treatment but it is not there because collaboration has not been there.”She allegedly wrote on social media afterwards that she had had a “good rant”. Some Twitter users criticised the NHS worker. One wrote: “What a stupid way to make a point”. Another added: “Hope a P45 is on its way to #nicolagorb. What sort of person makes a statement like that to make a point?”last_img read more

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Man who used life savings to buy a field discovers ruins of

first_imgSome of the plot after it was dug by a series of volunteers “We knew from history that Trellech should have been the largest in the area,” he said. “What they had found was not big enough.” In the last 15 years, Mr Wilson has been joined by hundreds of volunteers – both from the local area and, in the summer, from universities and colleges – as they unearthed what he now believes is the hidden city. The excavation has been featured on BBC 4’s Digging for Britain series, while Mr Wilson was also invited by the Cardiff Archaeological Society to speak at Cardiff University before Christmas.Mr Wilson estimates the project has cost around £200,000 in total over the last 15 years. He is now seeking planning permission for an education centre.He said: “As we take more on, there’s a greater need to expand our campsite and while there are several campsites within a walkable distance, it would be better to have something here.” “Out of all the decisions I have made in my life I would say buying the field was one of the good ones,” he said. “I have to say that even with all the problems that I have had or that may occur, it was definitely the right thing to do.” The 37-year-old had been digging in the field opposite following a tip-off from a local farmer when the land went up for auction. He said he had looked at the area and realised it did not look typically agricultural, with large, square fields. Instead, he thought a “footprint” had been created by a structure under the ground. After putting in the highest bid and winning the plot, the former toll booth worker had to live with his parents so he could finance the field and only managed to move back out last year. But he said his decision was worth it, as his team have since found a moated mansion, around 400 square metres in size, and rare artefacts including a medieval flower pot.  A pot found at the site Credit:WALES NEWS SERVICE  A pot found at the site  I thought: ‘To hell with my parents, I will stay at home and I shall buy a field instead’Stuart Wilsoncenter_img Archaeologists and university officials had supposedly located the industrial city near the present village of Trellech in Monmouthshire, but Mr Wilson disagreed.  Some of the plot after it was dug up by a series of volunteersCredit: WALES NEWS SERVICE “This population grew from nothing to that size within 25 years,” he said. “Now it took 250 years for London to get to 40,000 people, so we’re talking a massive expansion.”And that’s just the planned settlement. The slums would have been quite numerous. There you would be talking even 20,000 plus. It’s a vast area.”If you’re working in the fields you are living hand to mouth every single day – it’s a really hard existence. Suddenly, a big industrial town comes here, this is a great opportunity for you.”You up-sticks – to hell with your land – ‘let’s move to the industrial town where the opportunity is’.”He explained the settlement was the home of several Norman lords of the De Clare family, who used it as a place to mass produce iron.Its precise location has not been known for hundreds of years after the city was lost to civil war and famine in the 17th century.  As well as living with his parents, Mr Wilson said he has also turned down jobs he may have otherwise applied for in order to keep working on the plot. “I should have really bought a house and got out from my parents’, but I thought: ‘To hell with my parents, I will stay at home and I shall buy a field instead,” he said. “People said ‘you must be mad’.”Mr Wilson, who started excavating with a small dig in 2004, said the “quite large” settlement, which dates back to the 13th century, would have had a population of around 10,000 people, making it around a quarter of the size of London.  It is an unusual decision and, possibly, one that you might come to regret; using your life savings to buy an empty field. But for one history fan it was a decision that paid off – after he dug it up and discovered it was home to a medieval city. Stuart Wilson paid £32,000 for the 4.6-acre plot of land in 2004 after becoming convinced an ancient industrial town called Trellech – one of the largest medieval towns in Wales – may be buried underneath.  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

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Police hunt cruel burglar who drowned puppy in a bath during breakin

first_imgMark Phillips, left, and his brother in-law, Gareth Deacon-Walker discovered the family puppy drowned after a break-in at the homeCredit:Nick Butcher/Archant  A seven-month-old puppy was deliberately drowned in a bath by a “cruel” intruder during a break-in, police have said.Benji the Cockapoo was found dead at the ransacked address in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, by owner Susan Walker on Wednesday.The mother-of-two said the sight of her lifeless pet will “haunt” her forever and has left her unable to break it to her children. Mark Phillips, left, and his brother in-law, Gareth Deacon-Walker discovered the family puppy drowned after a break-in at the home A computer and other items were stolen from the home in Cobholm Close between 3.50pm and 5.30pm, Norfolk Police said.Ms Walker returned to find her house had been burgled and her dog missing, prompting her to call her brother, Gareth Deacon-Walker, and partner, Mark Phillips, for help.They found the bathroom door jammed shut, forcing her brother to kick it down and make the grim find, according to reports.”Everything we lost is immaterial. The fact we lost the puppy is the most devastating thing,” Ms Walker, 33, told the Eastern Daily Press.”I came straight down and told Mark to not go upstairs.”That sight will haunt for the rest of my life.”She added: “Benji was really playful and part of the family. I have not told the children what has happened. We have told them he has gone missing and police are helping us find him.”Mr Phillips, 40, was said to have been reduced to tears by the sight of Benji’s body in the bath.Detective Sergeant Richard Wallis said: “This is a particularly cruel crime and I would urge anyone who may have seen any suspicious behaviour in the area at around the time of the burglary to come forward.” 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

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Jilted policeman left sex toy on his ex girlfriends car after he

first_imgA jilted policeman left a sex toy on his ex girlfriend’s car after he found out she had an affair, a court heard.PC Adam Merriman was accused of leaving the toy in an Ann Summers bag on Alex McLaren’s car outside Wembley Police Station, where they both worked.It came after the 29-year-old had checked Ms McLaren’s phone and discovered she had kissed a colleague on a drunken work night out, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard. He wanted to “embarrass” her after she ditched him, it was said.Merriman was also said to have shoulder barged her in a door way at work when they were both on shift on the day of the 2016 FA Cup semi-final between Everton and Man Utd on 23 April last year.He was accused of harassment without violence and assault by beating.The court heard Merriman and Ms McLaren, who were in the same response team, had met while training at Hendon police training school and had been dating for two years.   They were together when Ms McLaren drunkenly kissed her colleague before going back to Merriman’s flat. Merriman discovered what she had done after he checked messages on her phone and discovered the affair.Ms McLaren said that, following the discovery, Merriman had parked his car next to hers at work three times in one week. She was with a colleague when she noticed two carrier bags on her car bonnet on April 4 last year.One contained photographs, cards and receipts from their relationship and another with the Ann Summers bunny logo on it. I was completely embarrassed, I was worried people at work had seen itAlex McLaren 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. “One was from when we were in Mexico, it had all the birthday cards, Christmas cards, valentines day cards, cinema tickets and restaurant receipts in,” said Ms McLaren.”The other bag was an Ann Summers carrier bag and in it there was a vibrator. I was completely embarrassed, I was worried people at work had seen it.”Ms Mclean also told the court that Merriman had cheated on her on a number of occasions and said she had been left scared to leave the station when it was dark and was constantly looking over her shoulder.Merriman, who has no previous convictions, was acquitted of harassment without violence and assault by beating.District Judge Mike Snow said he did not find the text messages to be harassment, as she had replied many times, and explained that although he did find the leaving of the personal items including a vibrator harassment, the way the prosecution had brought the case meant that had to be dismissed.”The problem the prosecution face is that just leaves the placing of the bags on her car on the 4th April as the conduct but a single action cannot be a course of conduct,” he said.”Very personal items, pictures, cards, cinema receipts, were left as well as the item from Ann Summers, that is harassing to her but it is not sufficient. It is my duty to find Mr Merriman not guilty of that charge as a result.”Merriman no longer works at Wembley Police Station. last_img read more

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Londons Holborn Tube station evacuated as smoke fills Underground platform after loud

first_img“The scary thing was people running by but it quickly became calm.” Fire engines outside Holborn station London Underground workers stand outside a closed Holborn tube stationCredit:John Stillwell/PA London Underground workers stand outside a closed Holborn tube station Loud bang at Holborn, smoke and then an evacuation pic.twitter.com/gh9tLgGsdc— Sarah Marshall (@SarahMarshall) August 15, 2017 Fire engines outside Holborn stationCredit:John Stillwell/PA 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. The incident came as passengers were warned to avoid London’s Waterloo station after a train derailment early on Tuesday morning caused widespread delays.At Holborn, several people posted on social media that they heard bangs, followed by smoke and panic: I was on the carriage next to the loud bang on tube. Scariest thing is not knowing what happened but everyone evacuated calmly. #holborn— Yasemin Ercan (@YaseminErcanHR) August 15, 2017 Smoke fills a platform at Holborn Tube station on Tuesday morning after a reported fault with a train Holborn station evacuated, there’s smoke and people are crying and freaking out ………— Sophie Walker (@sofeeeee) August 15, 2017 Transport for London (TfL) said the incident related to a faulty train at Holborn, which is served by Central and Piccadilly line services. Trains were being held at the station while the train was inspected.At about 10am, British Transport Police said it was “working to reopen” the station after a “defective train caused an evacuation”. A short time later, TfL said the station was fully reopened and trains were stopping again as normal.Videos and images posted online showed smoke filling the platform and emergency services outside the station. Last Friday, four Underground passengers were treated by paramedics after smoke filled a Bakerloo line train at Oxford Circus. What the heck? I have just been evacuated from #holbornTubeStation #Holborn #HolbornTube there was some sort of explosion. Very scary— Annarita Papeschi (@AnnaPapeschi) August 15, 2017 Passengers on the platform at Holborn amid the fire alertCredit:Sarah Marshall/Twitter Holborn Underground station in London’s West End was evacuated after smoke began to fill the platform.Passengers reported seeing a “flash” before a “loud bang” at the Tube station at about 9am on Tuesday. About 10 mins ago, I witnessed a flash, followed by a small bang and smoke arising from the tube carriage I’d just left at Holborn station.— Andy Routledge (@drewalmighty) August 15, 2017 Writing on Twitter, passenger Sarah Marshall said: “There was smoke at one end of the station, a high pitched bang and a smell.”Lots of people ran but others encouraged people to walk and situation was calm. I was towards back of crowd. Nigel Holness, London Underground’s director of network operations, said: “At around 9.10am our staff were alerted to reports of smoke under a Central line train at Holborn. “Our staff immediately contacted the emergency services, who attended and investigated the incident. The cause of the smoke was a fault on one of our trains and it has now been taken out of service.”I apologise for the concern this would have caused our customers at Holborn this morning and for the disruption. The station reopened at around 10.05am and trains have been stopping there since.” Emergency service vehicles outside Holborn station Emergency service vehicles outside Holborn stationCredit:John Stillwell/PA Two fire engines, a police van and an emergency response unit had earlier been parked outside the station.At about 10am, a member of staff from London Fire Brigade, who emerged from Holborn station and left in one of the parked fire engines, said the issue was caused by a piece of equipment that had become overheated. Al Gwatkin, 43, from Chelsea, was getting off the Piccadilly line to transfer on to the Central line at Holborn when the incident happened.He said: “All of a sudden everyone came running out saying ‘they’ve evacuated the station’.”You don’t know if it’s terrorist-related. You’re just like ‘oh my God, get out of here’. There was panic down there. People were screaming.” Well that was the most terrifying thing I’ve experienced. Loud bang and smoke on tube @ high holborn— Francesca (@FrankieSammut) August 15, 2017 Smoke fills a platform at Holborn Tube station on Tuesday morning after a reported fault with a trainCredit:Abersentia/Twitter Passengers on the platform at Holborn amid the fire alert Commuter terror as smoke fills Bakerloo line Tube trainlast_img read more

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Taxi driver died in multivehicle crash in Birmingham minutes after telling his

first_imgImitaz Mohammed has been named among the victims West Midlands Fire Service said 40 firefighters helped in the aftermath of the “horrific” crash, and were met with what they described as a “complex scene, spread over some distance”. The location of the accident All first responders at the scene are doing their very best in very difficult and upsetting circumstances. This is a very serious incident. If you saw the crash happen or the circumstances leading up to it, please call us now on 101.— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) December 17, 2017 The scene of a multi-vehicle crash at the entrance to the underpass on Lee Bank Middleway, near EdgbastonCredit:Aaron Chown/PA “He didn’t know what had happened to the second person in the car so he was at the scene trying to find out. It must have been horrendous for him.”People have told me there were bodies scattered across the carriageway.” Police officers work at the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on Lee Bank Middleway, EdgbastonCredit:Christopher Furlong/Getty Images The fourth was taken to the major trauma centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in a critical condition.Of those travelling in the three other cars involved in the crash, a man and a woman were treated for minor injuries, one man was discharged after assessment and another said he did not require any assistance.The Hazardous Area Response Team of West Midlands Ambulance Service described it as a “significant incident”.The road will remain closed on Sunday. West Midlands Police described the circumstances of the incident as “very difficult and upsetting”.Relatives of the victims arrived at the scene on Sunday morning, desperate to find out what happened. The scene of a multi-vehicle crash at the entrance to the underpass on Lee Bank Middleway, near Edgbaston “Sadly, there was nothing that could be done to save the driver and he was confirmed dead at the scene. The man and woman in the back were rapidly extricated.”Unfortunately, it was not possible to save the woman and she was also confirmed dead at the scene.”The man was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with the MERIT trauma doctor travelling with the crew. Sadly, he died at hospital.” Six people have died and a seventh is critically injured after a multi-vehicle crash in Birmingham in the early hours of Sunday morning.Police have appealed for witnesses to the “harrowing” collision as they try to establish how it occurred.Three men were killed when they were thrown out of their car while a black cab driver and his two passengers, a man and woman, died after the vehicle was left on its side.A fourth man travelling in the car remains in a critical condition at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.The taxi driver has been named as “happy, loving” father-of-six Imtiaz Mohammed.He had six children all aged under 15 and was described by his father as a “happy, loving and friendly guy”. Imitaz Mohammed has been named among the victimsCredit: Birmingham Mail/BPM Media Police officers work at the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on Lee Bank Middleway, Edgbaston The scene on Lee Bank Middleway in BirminghamCredit:SWNS.com One passer-by, who asked not to be named, said: “It is really horrific.”A man turned up here and said the police had knocked on his door this morning and told him one of his relatives had died in the crash. The location of the accident The scene on Lee Bank Middleway in Birmingham The scene on Lee Bank Middleway in Birmingham  One of their girls had been due to celebrate her fourth birthday on Monday.His younger brother Noorshad Mohammed revealed how just moments before the fatal crash, his sibling rang his wife to tell her he would be coming home.The 32-year-old said: “It was his last job of the night.”That was the last time she spoke to him.”He was going to come home – he rang his wife at 1am, and they were going to have something to eat.”And then that was it. That was the last time they spoke.”Older sister Nassrin Bibi paid tribute to her brother and said the family had been “shattered” by what had happened.Mr Mohammed worked for local firm Castle Cars, who said in a statement: “Imtiaz was a wonderful young hard-working family man”, who was “loved and respected by all”.The crash occurred shortly after 1am at the entrance to the underpass on Lee Bank Middleway, near Edgbaston, at the junction of Bristol Road.Six vehicles were involved in the incident, West Midlands Ambulance Service said. Five ambulances and three paramedics were sent to the scene. 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. The scene on Lee Bank Middleway in Birmingham Credit:SWNS.com A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said a man and woman in the first car managed to escape with “relatively minor injuries”, and were taken to Heartlands Hospital.He added: “The second vehicle, a ‘black cab’, was on its side. Surrounded by the 33-year-old’s other relatives at the family home, Ikhtiar Mohammed recalled how his “heart sank” as police knocked on his door at 5am on Sunday.The 65-year-old said: “I knew there was something wrong, as soon as I saw them.”I thought to myself, ‘which of my sons is hurt’, I just knew something was seriously wrong.”He said that Mr Mohammed’s wife, Nargas Gul, was still in deep shock while relatives struggled with how to break the news to the couple’s five daughters and son. There were four men in the third car, the spokesman said, three of whom were confirmed dead at the scene.last_img read more

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Mother convicted of tricking daughter into forced marriage abroad in legal first

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. A mother has been convicted of tricking her daughter into a forced marriage abroad in a case believed to be a legal first.The 18-year-old girl was married to a man 16 years older than her while on what she had been told was a family holiday to Pakistan. Her mother was found guilty of tricking her into travelling and forcing her to marry following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, where a jury heard how the victim had sobbed as she was married to the male relative, who had left her pregnant following an earlier trip.She was just 13 when the marriage contract was created against her will and had had to undergo an abortion on returning to the UK, with her GP reporting his concerns to social services.It is the first time a forced marriage case of this kind has been successfully prosecuted in a criminal court in England, with the mother convicted of deceiving the girl in order to convince her to travel.Forced marriage was made illegal in June 2014. A year later a man was jailed at Merthyr Crown Court for offences including a forced marriage which took place in Wales, and there is at least one other live case on-going in the courts. She was remanded in custody for sentencing on Wednesday, as her daughter watched from the public gallery.Judge Patrick Thomas QC told the jury the adjournment was appropriate as the case was “entirely novel”, with no other relevant case law to rely upon.Following conviction, Elaine Radway, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “It is thanks to the brave testimony of the victim that this serious offending was uncovered and that there was sufficient evidence to secure the conviction today.”Superintendent Sally Holmes, from West Midlands Police’s public protection unit, said it had been a complex investigation, with officers travelling to Pakistan to gather evidence.She said: “One of the difficulties with these cases, is that ultimately, children love their parents and the last thing they often want to do is criminalise them.”In coming forward, that is ultimately what they may find themselves doing.” Giving evidence during the trial, the girl told how wedding preparations went ahead despite her objections.She travelled abroad shortly before she turned 18 and the couple were then married in September 2016, after she had celebrated her birthday.The teenager had described how she was taken to get ready for the ceremony, and there an imam gave her papers to sign and asked if she wanted to get married.The victim – under pressure from her mother – had to say “I do” or “I accept” three times, before signing.She told the court: “I didn’t want to get married to him.”After concerns were raised by UK authorities the girl’s mother was summonsed to the High Court and lied on oath, telling the court that her daughter had not been married.Jurors also heard how years earlier, following her abortion, the teenager had turned to drink and drugs.After a referral to children’s services about the pregnancy, her mother claimed her daughter and the man were just “two teenagers who had sneakily had sex”.The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the identity of the victim, was convicted of deceiving the victim to go to Pakistan, in order to enter into a false marriage, forced marriage and perjury. read more

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Baby number four Duchess of Cambridge feeling broody

Mr Barr asked: “Baby number four?” The royal couple were greeted by hundreds of cheering well-wishers in Ballymena on the second day of their Northern Ireland… During a walkabout in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, the Duchess met five-month-old baby James Barr and told his father Alan: “He’s gorgeous. It makes me feel a little broody.” The Duchess, who comes from a family of three children herself, also commented on a little girl’s coat, saying, “I love your cool coat. Charlotte loves pink.” The Duchess of Cambridge admitted to feeling a “little broody” today, inspiring speculation her children might be joined by one more. The Duchess laughed and conceded: “I think William would be a little worried.” 

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