Latest – The Wellington Phoenix have advanced beyond the FFA Cup’s round of 32 for only the second time in the club’s history.
Ben Waine Photo: PHOTOSPORT
A young Phoenix side, featuring four debutants, have beaten Western United 1-0 in Geelong to book a meeting with Melbourne club Avondale FC in the last 16 next week.
Ben Waine scored the only goal of the game for the Phoenix in the 35th minute, heading home an inch-perfect cross from right back Louis Fenton.
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay made eight changes from the XI that started last Friday’s A-League match against Western Sydney, with Oli Sail, Ben Old and Clayton Lewis the only players backing up.
The starting XI had an average age of just 21 with young Australian midfielder Luka Prso and academy graduates Kurtis Mogg, Finn Surman and Oskar van Hattum all making their debuts for the Phoenix.
The Phoenix will travel to Newcastle tomorrow to prepare for Friday night’s A-League match against the Jets.
Meanwhile Leichhardt are into the last eight after beating A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1.
Williamson to miss Bangladesh series
Black Caps captain Kane Williamson will be sidelined by an elbow tendon injury for at least two months, coach Gary Stead said, ruling him out of January’s two-test home series against Bangladesh.
The recurring injury also forced Williamson to miss the second test against India in Mumbai, where New Zealand went down by a record 372 runs on Monday to lose the series 1-0.
“Kane’s going along okay,” Stead told reporters from Mumbai on the eve of the squad’s return home. “I said right from the start, I expected it to be a sustained period of time.
“Last time … was about eight or nine weeks. I expect it’s somewhere in that timeframe again.”
Stead said surgery on the joint was unlikely, but he was also reluctant to predict that Williamson would be fit to face South Africa in two tests in February and March.
“We’re trying not to put a timeframe on it,” Stead added. “It’s all about the load on the elbow and when you’re in the test arena, the extra time in training and batting as well is what tipped him over the edge, I guess.
“Kane’s doing it tough, don’t get me wrong. He hates the thought of missing any cricket, let alone test cricket for New Zealand.”
Middleton named coach of the year
England’s Simon Middleton has become the first coach of a women’s team to win World Rugby Coach of the Year.
Middleton guided England’s “Red Roses” to their third successive Six Nations title in April and the team finished the year with an unbeaten record, winning 18 tests in a row.
His side also scored two record breaking wins over New Zealand last month.
Middleton beat competition from Australia men’s head coach Dave Rennie, New Zealand men’s head coach Ian Foster as well as Zealand women’s sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney.
Twice world champions England are the top-ranked women’s team and among the favourites at next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
All Blacks winger Will Jordan was named the “Breakthrough Player of the Year”, thanks to his record of 15 tries in 11 tests this year.
Bellingham fined for referee comments
The German Football Association has fined Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham $66,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct after he criticised referee Felix Zwayer following the weekend’s Bundesliga defeat by Bayern Munich.
Zwayer had turned down Dortmund’s appeals for a penalty before awarding one to Bayern for a handball from Mats Hummels. Robert Lewandowski scored from the spot to give Bayern a 3-2 win and a four-point lead in the standings.
After the game, England international Bellingham said: “You can look at a lot of the decisions in the game. You give a referee, that has match-fixed before, the biggest game in Germany. What do you expect?”
The DFB said in a statement that Bellingham “doubted and ultimately denied the referee’s impartiality” with his comments. Both Dortmund and Bellingham have accepted the DFB’s verdict.
Zwayer was named in a 2005 scandal involving referee Robert Hoyzer, who was jailed for fixing matches in a two million euro betting fraud.
The DFB had banned Zwayer for six months for accepting 300 euros from Hoyzer and agreeing to make incorrect decisions in a match when he was an assistant referee.
Bairstow out of Ashes opener
England have omitted Jonny Bairstow from their 12-man squad for the Ashes opener in Brisbane today and opted to keep seasoned paceman James Anderson in reserve for the second pink ball test in Adelaide.
Jonny Bairstow Photo: Photosport
Mark Wood was named with fellow quicks Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson but may end up making way for spinner Jack Leach depending on the Gabba wicket.
If Wood is preferred, Joe Root-captained England could go in with five seam-bowling options, with Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes included as all-rounders.
Anderson is fit but is being rested for the match in Adelaide, the team said.
England clarified that Anderson had no injury concerns after media reported he had been ruled out of the Gabba test due to a calf strain.
With Buttler confirmed as wicketkeeper, middle order batsman Ollie Pope is set to be the beneficiary of Bairstow’s omission and will have a chance to build upon his 81 in the fourth test against India at The Oval.
England, who have not won at the Gabba since the 1986/87 series, are bidding to win the Ashes in Australia for the first time since claiming a 3-1 victory in the 2010/11 edition.
Bulldogs dump Asiata
The Bulldogs have parted ways with John Asiata following his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The NRL has not mandated the vaccine but have allowed clubs to and it’s understood Canterbury have become the first side to lose a player over the issue.
Asiata, 28, had only just joined the Bulldogs on a one-year deal after playing in 2021 with the Broncos.
Barty takes top award
World number one Ash Barty has been named WTA Player of the Year for the second time and U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu took the Newcomer of the Year title.
Australian Barty, who won the title in 2019, won a tour-leading five titles this year including the second Grand Slam trophy of her career at Wimbledon where she beat Czech Karolina Pliskova in the final.
She also defended her title at Miami and triumphed in Melbourne, Stuttgart and Cincinnati to secure her third year-end number one ranking in a row.
Raducanu, 19, entered the U.S. Open as a qualifier ranked 150th in the world and ended it as Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion for 44 years.
Czech Barbora Krejcikova took the WTA prize for the Most Improved Player of the Year following a stellar season in which she won the French Open singles crown.
Carla Suarez Navarro was named the Comeback Player of the Year award.
The 33-year-old announced in September, 2020 that she was being treated for early stage Hodgkin lymphoma and underwent months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before returning at the French Open in June.
Pakistan on top
Bangladesh are struggle for survival with just a day to play in the rain-hit second test against Pakistan in Dhaka.
The hosts are 76 for seven in their first innings, still trailling Pakistan by 224 runs.
Sajid Khan took six wickets for Pakistan.
Bangladesh are in danger of having to follow-on with the weather their only likely saviour on the final day.
Pakistan won the first test by eight wickets.
Bangladesh will leave for New Zealand later this week.
Pollard heading to Leicester
Leicester Tigers have signed South Africa’s World Cup-winning first-five Handre Pollard ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Pollard, who has won 60 caps for South Africa since making his debut in 2014, will join Leicester next season after leaving French Top 14 club Montpellier.
The 27-year-old joined Montpellier after helping South Africa win the 2019 World Cup in Japan.