Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't write off Tiger - Westwood

Lee Westwood
Westwood is Europe's first world number one since Nick Faldo in 1994

Newly crowned world number one Lee Westwood insists his predecessor Tiger Woods should not be written off.

Westwood, who ended Woods's 281-week reign at the top on Sunday, said: "He has gone away and come back before."

Woods has struggled for form since taking an extended break from the game to deal with personal issues.

Any one of Woods, Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer could depose Westwood when all four contest the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai this week.

"It's an exciting time for golf," Westwood told the BBC News Channel. "It could be a real sub-text to the tournament.

"If anyone can put a run together it's so close they could take the number one spot.

"But it's taken me a long time to reach world number one, I'm not going to worry about who I am going to lose it to."

Westwood, who has been sidelined by a calf injury since helping Europe win the Ryder Cup last month, was confirmed as the new world number one after Germany's Kaymer failed to secure the top-two finish that would have seen him usurp Woods.

And the Englishman revealed that he was running an errand for his wife when he was told the news.

"I'd been sent to the supermarket to buy some mash potatoes and something else when my caddie rang me to tell me Martin Kaymer wasn't playing very well and I was about to be world number one," he said.

"It took me a while to find my shopping after that. It was on of those quiet moments where you have a little smile to yourself."

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Wales 'should lower expectations'

Quade Cooper in action in Australia's thrilling win over New Zealand
Quade Cooper in action in Australia's thrilling win over New Zealand

Wales have been warned that the autumn Tests against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand should be judged on the level of performance, not on results.

For the last year the Tri-Nations sides have been playing under the new International Rugby Board directives that encourage more attacking play.

Ex-captain Gwyn Jones says Wales will take time to adapt to the new game.

"I wouldn't judge the autumn series on results alone," Jones told the Scrum V show before Saturday's Australia Test.

"Wales' objective should be to redefine their strategy in a new age of rugby. Phase one should be about getting more competitive, phase two will be the Six Nations [as Wales build towards the 2011 World Cup].

I think he can be a bit volatile... You have to get stuck into him, get under his skin... rub his hair, get a slanging match going and have a pop at him

Jonathan Davies on Quade Cooper

"[Wales coach] Warren Gatland's side must become more inventive and less predictable... it needs a good shake-up.

"We need to see improvement as November goes on, and we must beat Fiji."

After Saturday's opener against the Wallabies, Wales' four-Test Millennium Stadium series sees them welcome South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand to Cardiff on successive weekends.

"It's going to be a very, very tough month," former Wales fly-half and captain Jonathan Davies told Scrum V.

"Managing expectation is really difficult in Wales and international rugby is all about winning.

"I still feel that we haven't got the strength in depth that we need for such a tough month of Test rugby.

Adam Jones survives brutal training

"When we have our best team out we're capable of beating anyone. When we haven't it's a struggle."

After analysing the Tri Nations sides, Jones says that Wales' best chance will come in the 13 November clash with world champions South Africa.

"They are a side struggling to catch up with the new style of play," said the former flanker.

"They kick the most and pass the least. It's so last year... they're beatable.

"New Zealand have led the way with the new game. It favours ball retention, so why give the ball away?

"Australia's attitude [to the law tweaks] has been extreme. They kick less than any international team and integral to their fluid style of play are their tricky players at nine, 10 and 12.

"Wales must fly up defensively to cut down space and blast their pitiful scrum."

The task facing Wales seems even more formidable in the wake of Australia's thrilling 26-24 win over the All Blacks in Hong Kong on Saturday.

"New Zealand will be thinking that they have to pull their finger out, while Australia will have gained a lot of confidence," said Davies.

Rees 'jumped' at captaincy chance

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrum-half Robert Jones is also an admirer of the Wallabies, but suggested that one of their strengths could also prove to be a weakness.

"[The Tri Nations sides] are 12 months ahead of us in terms of the law changes," he told Scrum V

"[Australia have] without doubt the best back line in world rugby. The axis at 10 and 12 between Quade Cooper and Matt Giteau is fantastic, these two guys make things happen.

"[But] Cooper does make a lot of mistakes because he tries so much, and he's not the bravest of defenders."

Davies added: "You need to run down Cooper's defensive channel to tire him and I think he can be a bit volatile.

"You have to get stuck into him, get under his skin... rub his hair, get a slanging match going and have a pop at him.

"If you try to blitz [the Wallabies in defence] they will beat it - you have to be more clever... The scrum can be exploited, but they are going to be difficult to beat."


Scrum V goes behind the scenes with the Wales camp

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Giants close in on World Series

2010 World Series, Game 4 of 7:
Texas Rangers 0-4 San Francisco Giants (Giants lead series 3-1)
Dates: 27 October - 4 November
Coverage: Live commentary of all games on BBC 5 live sports extra and BBC Sport website (UK users only). Also live on ESPN America. Reports of each game on BBC Sport website & Ceefax
Listen to BBC commentary of Games 1, 2, 3 & 4 on BBC iPlayer (UK users only)

Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner was the youngest World Series starter since 1981

San Francisco closed in on their first World Series title in 56 years after beating the Texas Rangers 4-0.

Sunday's victory in Arlington behind a superb performance by rookie pitcher Madison Bumgarner means the Giants now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.

Left-hander Bumgarner, 21, shut down the Rangers for eight innings on three hits before closer Brian Wilson registered the last three outs.

San Francisco can secure Major League Baseball's crown in Texas on Monday.

The franchise's last World Series win came in 1954 when they played in New York.

The Rangers called up a pair of former US presidents on Sunday as George HW Bush and son George W Bush took to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch.

Their appearance had the Rangers Ballpark crowd cheering, but Bumgarner soon quietened the home fans .

The youngest pitcher to start a World Series game since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, he dazzled the Rangers with his precision and variety.


An infield single in the fourth, and singles in the sixth and seventh innings were the only hits off the rookie, who went 7-6 during the regular season.

"I just keep telling myself to relax," said the 6ft 5in pitcher from North Carolina, who walked two and struck out six.

"I've told myself so much that it's starting to become second nature and it makes it a lot easier on me and the players, I think, to see somebody that's relaxed out there."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said: "I can't say enough about what he did tonight, 21 years old on that stage."

Texas counterpart Ron Washington concurred, saying: "He didn't throw one pitch at the same speed and he moved the ball around. The kid did a great job."

A towering two-run homer deep down the right-field line by designated hitter Aubrey Huff off Rangers starter Tommy Hunter in the third inning got the Giants all the runs they needed.

An RBI-double to center by Andres Torres in the seventh scored Edgar Renteria, and rookie catcher Posey crushed a homer in the eighth to cap the scoring.

The Giants also shone in the field, with second baseman Freddy Sanchez making several brilliant stops and Cody Ross sliding to make a fine catch in left field.

San Francisco will send Tim Lincecum to the mound against Cliff Lee of Texas for game five, and Washington added: "We've got to figure out some ways to put some runs on the board against them."

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Kauto team eye Denman clash

By Frank Keogh

Kauto Star
Kauto Star won a record fourth straight King George in 2009

Record-breaking steeplechaser Kauto Star is being considered for a run in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and a potential clash with stablemate Denman.

The four-time King George VI Chase and dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner returns to action at Down Royal on Saturday.

And owner Clive Smith said the chance of him then running at Newbury was "between 30% and 40%".

Smith told BBC Sport: "It might be nice for him to take everyone on in a big race like that."

Kauto Star suffered a heavy fall on his last appearance when he failed to live up to favouritism in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

The 10-year-old was looking to win chasing's blue riband event for the third time, but Imperial Commander took his crown with Denman in second.

The head lad Clifford Baker rides him every day and said there's no sign of the ageing process happening

Clive Smith on Kauto Star

It had been thought Kauto Star may run only three times this term, at Down Royal, in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Gold Cup.

When it was revealed last week he had an entry in the Hennessy, which Denman has won twice, Smith indicated Kauto Star was rated less than a 20% chance to run at Newbury on 27 November.

But provided he emerges in good shape from Saturday's run in the Champion Chase, Newbury could be given serious consideration by trainer Paul Nicholls.

"It's just a little thought in the back of both our minds," said Smith. "I might move the likelihood up to 30 or 40%. There's a chance, and I definitely think it's worth some thought.

"I'm a sporting chap and like to see him run at the highest level. Nothing is certain, but it would be a great race to take everyone on. If everything went smoothly on Saturday and he doesn't make any mistakes or have an accident, we might well have a go."


Kauto Star and Denman have only met three times on the racecourse, with one Gold Cup victory apiece in their meetings before the 2010 clash.

They are considered by many to be the top staying chasers of the last 20 years, yet happen to be stabled in adjacent boxes at the Somerset yard of champion trainer Nicholls.

However, they have never met in a handicap chase like the Hennessy, where horses carry different weights according to their official ratings.

In November 2009, Denman became the first horse to win a second Hennessy since the Irish chaser Arkle.

At 11st 12lb, he was carrying 12lb more than his nearest rival in the race over three miles and two furlongs.

If Kauto Star and Denman were to run at Newbury it would mean many rivals would run 'out of the handicap', carrying more weight than their official rating.

Trainer Paul Nicholls with Denman and Kauto Star
Trainer Nicholls with Denman and Kauto Star

"In some ways, we wouldn't be opposed to having a go at the Hennessy as it could be his last season at the very top," said Smith. "It might be nice for him to run in a very big race like that.

"There's a good gap. The Hennessy is three weeks after Down Royal and a month before the King George."

Since arriving in England from France in 2004, Kauto Star has never finished out of the top two in the 21 races he has completed. He has fallen twice and unseated his rider once.

He is the only horse to have regained the Cheltenham Gold Cup after being beaten in the race, and made history again by surpassing Desert Orchid's achievements in winning the King George on Boxing Day for the fourth time on the trot.

Smith has said the horse was lucky to survive the blunder in the 2010 Gold Cup, and he will be anxiously watching from the sidelines on Saturday.

"I'll be nervous, alright. When I see him jumping well, the nerves go away," said the businessman, who bought the French-bred horse for £375,000 six years ago.

"Ruby has said since that the fall at Cheltenham was almost life-threatening, and we feel that he got away with it. He was a bit bad for a month afterwards."

Kauto Star now appears to have recovered from that mishap.

"He fell on his neck, so the muscles in his neck were quite sore but he was OK after three weeks," said Smith. "The head lad Clifford Baker rides him every day and said there's no sign of the ageing process happening. He's full of beans.

"I must have been to see him five times and he looks the same as ever."

Opponents on Saturday could include the Irish pair of China Rock and Sizing Europe.

"It will be no walkover. He might not be 100%t wound up, because we want that on Boxing Day," said Smith.

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Monday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


Out-of-favour Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz, wanted by Fulham, is on the verge of sealing a January loan move to Spanish side Getafe.
Full story: Daily Mail

Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson will make a transfer window move for 18-year-old Manchester City striker John Guidetti, dubbed the 'Swedish Wayne Rooney'.
Full story: Daily Mirror

City, meanwhile, hope to bring highly-rated Colombian goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla, 17, to Eastlands from the Boyaca Chico club in the teenager's home country.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Wigan will battle it out with Newcastle for the signature of Swansea midfielder Darren Pratley, whom Latics boss Roberto Martinez made skipper during his time in charge at the Welsh club.
Full story: Daily Mirror


Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson will meet with the club's new principal owner John W Henry to discuss the Reds' plans for the January transfer window.
Full story: Guardian


Blackpool boss Ian Holloway claims he will "not be that upset" if the Seasiders are relegated from the Premier League this season. "We won't be the first team to go boing, boing as West Brom fans can tell you," said the outspoken manager, who took the club back to the top flight last term for the first time since 1971.
Full story: Daily Mirror

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Liverpool 'grit' pleases Hodgson


Hodgson happy with Liverpool progress

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson hopes the hard-fought 1-0 victory at Bolton will kick-start his team's season.

The Reds moved from the Premier League relegation zone to 12th following an 86th-minute winner from Maxi Rodriguez.

Hodgson said: "I'm beginning to realise there is grit in the team as the wins against Blackburn and Bolton show we are capable of standing up to the test.

"I'm hoping we'll be able to build on that and get ourselves back to where we think Liverpool FC belongs."

On 24 October, Hodgson's team emerged victorious from a physical encounter with Sam Allardyce's Blackburn and the former Fulham boss was pleased his side showed similar character to win at the Reebok Stadium.

"You know there are going to be a lot of long throws, a lot of long goal kicks, the two front players are going to back into your centre-halves and try to pressure them into mistakes," he added.

"You know they are going to be very quick on to the second ball, so before you even think about playing you've got to win your fair share of battles.

We should have had two penalties - Coyle

"When you get the ball you've got to try and pass it and I think that's what we did throughout the game. We got ourselves into good positions in their half of the field many times in both halves and fortunately one of them paid off.

"It's been a good spell, I always knew we were capable of this spell and also always knew that the clouds would pass but we've still got a lot of work to, we've got a lot of injuries at the moment."

Liverpool owner John W Henry, who heads the American company, New England Sports Ventures, that took over the Anfield outfit in October, insisted last week he had no intention of selling the club's best players.

He stated: "We intend to build on the strength of the current squad, not undermine it."

Hodgson underlined this following the win against Bolton and stated: "I can only emphasis to our fans that we are still thinking about restructuring.

"There's a lot of work for the new owners to do to help us in this respect but I think they will be happy at least that they have got a group of players who've got a lot of fight, spirit determination and a lot of quality."

After a Europa League match at home to Napoli on Thursday, Liverpool face Premier League leaders Chelsea at home on Sunday.

"At least we go into that with 12 points, which is a hell of lot better than nine!" said Hodgson. "It will be a fantastic atmosphere at Anfield. We're not playing that badly and we'll give them a good game."


Meanwhile, midfielder Joe Cole could miss that match against his former club after being forced off against Bolton with a hamstring injury.

Hodgson commented: "He said it was just a tweak and we don't think it is too serious but, as with all muscle injuries, we won't know until he has had a scan."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle was understandably unhappy with the result and said: "I don't think we deserved to lose the game.

"The application and effort was first class and I thought we dominated the game for long periods without having too many clear-cut opportunities.

"But I thought we had a penalty in the first half from a clear handball from Jamie Carragher, possibly a penalty in the second half for the push on Kevin Davies.

"These are the margins in the Barclays Premier League that you have to come out on the right side of and unfortunately for us it's a cruel ending."

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Razzaq century stuns South Africa

Second one-day international, Abu Dhabi:
Pakistan 289-9 beat South Africa 286-8 by eight wickets

Match scorecard

Pakistan celebrate a wicket
Razzaq also picked up an early wicket for Pakistan

Abdul Razzaq hit a sensational 109 not out from 72 balls with 10 sixes as Pakistan staged an astonishing recovery to beat South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

Chasing 287 to level up the five-match one-day series at 1-1, Pakistan needed an improbable 53 from the last 24 balls with three wickets standing.

Razzaq attacked Albie Morkel and Charl Langeveldt with brutal efficiency.

And the winning hit came off the penultimate ball when Morkel was crashed through the covers for four.

Pakistan had performed poorly in the 2-0 Twenty20 series defeat to the same opponents and were then swept to one side in the first ODI.

In this game, Colin Ingram fired his second century in only his fourth ODI innings as South Africa put up 286-8, before Pakistan struggled to 70-4 in the 19th over. A familiar script appeared to be writing itself.

The first suggestions that there might be a surprise ending came when Shahid Afridi hammered a rapid 49, though it was the stand between Fawad Alam (48) and Razzaq - batting at seven in the order - that really began to make South Africa wonder.

When Alam became Langeveldt's 100th ODI victim in the 42nd over, slicing a catch to extra cover to end an 81-run stand from 12.3 overs, the momentum was lost for a while.


Razzaq, who joined a select group of eight men to have hit at least 10 sixes in an ODI innings, went ballistic in the 47th over, which began with a required run rate in an excess of 13.

Three sixes were pummelled off Langeveldt (3-75), and although a succession of tail-enders were run out in the process, Razzaq managed to retain enough of the strike to keep his team in with a hope.

The next two overs went for a combined 19, leaving 11 wanted from the last set of six balls, and crucially Razzaq was back on strike.

He went to 99 from the second ball with his ninth six, hit the next one way over deep mid-wicket to go to 105 and could afford a dot ball before carving the winning strike from Morkel's fifth.

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Newcastle spirit delights Hughton


Hughton hails 'special' derby win

Newcastle manager Chris Hughton praised his "spirited" players after they saw off local rivals Sunderland 5-1 at St James' Park on Sunday.

Reports had suggested Hughton's job was under threat before the club issued a statement last week backing him and talking about renegotiating his deal.

"I can't do anything about my contract situation, all I can do is the best job I can," Hughton told BBC Sport.

"I'm helped by a group of spirited players that are capable of anything."

The 51-year-old added: "They are playing in a very, very tough league and I'm buoyed on by them."


Newcastle dominated their north-east rivals from start to finish.

They were 3-0 up by half-time thanks to a double from Kevin Nolan and a Shola Ameobi penalty.

The Black Cats' day took a further turn for the worse when former Magpies player Titus Bramble was sent off for a professional foul on striker Andy Carroll, before Ameobi scored his second goal and Nolan grabbed his third.

Sunderland top scorer Darren Bent scored a late consolation.

Nolan dedicates hat-trick to family

"It's difficult to pick out one player on a day which was very special for the team," stated Hughton.

"It would have been special for the back four and keeper to come away with a clean sheet but Sunderland are a handful up front and we defended well."

Hughton also showed his appreciation for the home section of the 51,988 crowd, who turned up at St James' Park and sang their praises for the former Spurs assistant.

"The crowd chanting is a nice feeling - they're a fantastic crowd," he said.

"Anybody who hasn't been to St James' before now, knows what it's like now."

Meanwhile, opposite number Steve Bruce offered an apology to the Sunderland fans.

"The mark of any team or any individual is how you respond to it," commented Bruce, who supported Newcastle as a child.

Sunderland 'horror show' angers Bruce

"All I can do is apologise. When you get beaten as badly as that, here of all places, it will take a lot of recovering.

"Me, as manager, I will take full responsibility. Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong, from red cards to mistakes.

"I have been saying all week that we must handle the occasion but from the off, we didn't and we got blown away by a far superior team on the day.

"We were playing a big derby game and we had three or four players. To win it, you need seven or eight - that's what Newcastle had and we didn't have enough and we got our backsides kicked."

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Clijsters battles to WTA victory

Kim Clijsters
Clijsters was playing her first event since the US Open following a foot injury

Kim Clijsters won the season-ending WTA Championships for the third time with a battling win over world number one Caroline Wozniacki in Doha.

The Belgian, 27, followed up her US Open victory in September by claiming another of the game's premier prizes as she beat Wozniacki 6-3 5-7 6-3.

Clijsters was playing her first tournament since Flushing Meadows because of a foot injury.

Wozniacki had replaced Serena Williams as number one this month.

But without a Grand Slam to her name, the 20-year-old Dane had been hoping to land the biggest title of her career in Doha.

"I'm glad I won and it must be disappointing for Caroline, but I don't know how many more years I'm going to keep doing this," said Clijsters.

Despite winning six tournaments in 2010, questions will remain over Wozniacki's validity as number one as long as she is without a major, and she is also yet to register a single win over serial Grand Slam winners Clijsters, the Williams sisters or Justine Henin.

This has been a fantastic week for me. Kim just played amazing today and she deserves to win

Caroline Wozniacki

Sunday's final provided an opportunity for the Dane to set about rectifying that situation but again Clijsters, who beat Wozniakci in their only previous meeting in the 2009 US Open final, proved the stronger.

Wozniacki had survived a 12-minute opening game in her semi-final win over Vera Zvoanreva and she endured a similarly tough start to the final, only this time she buckled.

Clijsters grabbed the break after an eight-minute game and, although Wozniacki levelled for 2-2, it was the Belgian's more attacking game that held sway early on.

Targeting the Dane's less powerful forehand, Clijsters broke again in game five and, despite calling on her father, Piotr, for some advice at a changeover, Wozniacki dropped serve again as the set slipped away.

Clijsters, the champion in 2002 and 2003, grew stronger at the start of the second set and Wozniacki's tenacity was not enough to keep her in touch as the Belgian broke for 3-1.

But with the finish line approaching the world number three showed signs of nerves, a double-fault and a wayward forehand allowing Wozniacki to get the break back and level at 4-4.

Suddenly the top seed had the momentum and, after two break points went begging in game nine, an under-pressure Clijsters gave up the decisive break at 5-5 with a drive-volley into the net and a backhand over the baseline.

After breaks of serve were exchanged at the start of the decider an animated Piotr Wozniacki was back on court to dispense advice to his daughter, but it was Clijsters who took the initiative with some blistering groundstrokes, a forehand winner taking her 4-2 in front.

There was one more twist as Clijsters fell 15-40 down when serving for the match at 5-3, but the US Open champion saved three break points and overcame a double-fault on her first match point to wrap it up when Wozniacki smacked a return into the net.

"I'm kind of relieved because it seemed like it would never end," said Clijsters. "It was just a great battle, great fitness and I think we showed the crowd some great women's tennis."

Wozniacki said: "This has been a fantastic week for me. Kim just played amazing today and she deserves to win."

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London Irish 39-26 Sale

London Irish (18) 39
Tries: Lamb, Joseph 2, Stevenson Pens: Lamb 2 Pens: Lamb 4 Drop-goals: Kennedy
Sale (6) 26
Tries: Tuilagi, Cohen Cons: MacLeod 2 Pens: MacLeod 4

Ryan Lamb celebrates his try
Ryan Lamb celebrates his try

London Irish returned to the top of the Premiership table after surviving a stunning Sale fightback to grab a last-gasp bonus point victory.

The visitors trailed by 20 points with just 25 minutes to play but tries by Anitelea Tuilag and Ben Cohen and four Nick MacLeod kicks drew them level.

Two Ryan Lamb penalties settled home nerves and Jonathon Joseph intercepted to go over and secure the extra point.

More to follow.

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Houllier issues Reo-Coker warning


Houllier disappointed with Villa performance

Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier warned Nigel Reo-Coker about his temper after a feisty 0-0 derby against Birmingham.

The midfielder was involved in a tussle with Birmingham's Craig Gardner and was substituted by Houllier late on.

"Sometimes when you're tired you lose a bit of control. I warned them and wasn't happy with the reaction. He will learn," said Houllier.

"We all know how competitive matches in the Premier League are but the Midlands derbies are maybe more so than others."

Former West Ham man Reo-Coker was continuously in the thick of some heated challenges and exchanges, and even after the final whistle had to be kept away from the Birmingham players by his team-mates.

He was booked after appearing to lash out at Gardner when the Birmingham man fouled him and was swiftly removed from the fray by Houllier four minutes later.


"You've got to be strong enough to take it on the chin and go on," added Houllier. "In that particular circumstance the referee had whistled and it was a free-kick so we should get on with it."

Asked about the overall game, which lacked quality, he stated: "We could have done better, maybe it's because it is a derby, extremely tense, very tight, competitive, both teams were extremely committed to the job but didn't allow many chances.

"It's a derby and sometimes they are not allowed to play. Credit to Birmingham they had a clean match, it was physical but not over the top and the referee held the two teams very well."

Houllier also pointed to the gruelling extra-time victory over Burnley in the Carling Cup on Wednesday and said: "We lacked a bit of freshness after the two hours of football in midweek. The introduction of some players brought more invention to our game and more creativity which we need."

The former Liverpool boss was encouraged by the efforts of striker Emile Heskey, who he managed at Anfield, and believes he can continue to play a useful role at Villa Park into next season.

"I think so. It's a matter of faith and belief, but he works extremely hard for the team, he did his job, had a couple of half chances but his work is more for the team," said Houllier.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish was relieved to end a run of six successive defeats against their local rivals but felt his team could have taken all three points.

McLeish pleased with Blues display

"At last a crumb of comfort but I thought it was a well-deserved point," stated the former Rangers boss. "We were exceptional organisation-wise, the defenders were on top of their game, we did well in midfield and started to look quite dangerous when [Alex] Hleb came up a gear.

"I thought we had probably the best chances of the entire match, Villa had a near miss near the end but it's one of our best performances of the season."

Indeed substitute Cameron Jerome might have won it for Blues but failed to make the most of a good opening in the latter stages.

"It was a great run in the channel, he just had to calm down a little bit, if he had passed it earlier with that bit of relaxation that he is trying to improve on, he would have had big [Nikola] Zigic in for an easy tap-in."

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Westwood becomes world number one

Lee Westwood
Westwood is the first European since Nick Faldo to be number one

England's Lee Westwood became world number one golfer for the first time ending American Tiger Woods's 281-week reign at the top of the sport.

German Martin Kaymer needed a top-two finish at Valderrama to become number one himself but ended Sunday's fourth round seven over - well off the lead.

Kaymer fired a final round of 75, with the leaders in Spain yet to finish.

Westwood, 37, becomes Europe's first number one golfer since compatriot Nick Faldo achieved the feat in 1994.

Kaymer had started the day nine shots adrift of leader Graeme McDowell after opening with a 72 on Thursday and following that with a 75 and a third round 70.


The 25-year-old, therefore, required a sensational effort on Sunday to move up the leaderboard and claim top spot. But despite a birdie on the third Kaymer showed little of his recent fine form ending the day four over par.

For Woods it is a remarkable fall from grace having at one time seemed unstoppable in his assault on Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Major wins. He has faltered badly after a knee injury and revelations about his personal life that saw him take an extended break from the game.

Westwood is currently recovering from a calf problem and does not intend to play again before the WGC-HSBC Champions event on 4 November.

His career has been in two phases, he spent 180 weeks in the top-10 between 1998 and 2001, winning the Order of Merit in 2000 and reaching world number four.

But he took a break from the game after the birth of his first child and rather lost his way, dropping outside the top 250 in the rankings.

His next victory was not until the BMW International Open in 2003, but when he won the Andalucia Open and British Masters in 2007 he moved back into the top 50 and by the end of the 2008 season he was back in the top 10.

The Worksop golfer won the inaugural Race To Dubai, the new European Tour Order of Merit, in 2009, when he was one shot away from being in a play-off for the Open Championship with Tom Watson and Stewart Cink.

At this year's Masters he was one stroke ahead going into the final day but was denied by Phil Mickelson's magnificent final round of 67 and was runner-up to Louis Oosthuizen, seven shots adrift, in the Open at St Andrews, before the calf injury hampered the remainder of his season.

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood holes 30-foot putt at Ryder Cup

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Australia suffer Twenty20 defeat

Steve Smith is stumped
Australia's revival was ended when Smith was stumped

Australia's troubles continued with a seven-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in a one-off Twenty20 international.

After 2-0 defeats in both the Test and one-day series in India, they suffered their first home Twenty20 defeat.

Michael Clarke's team could only muster 133-8, but skipper Kumar Sangakkara struck 44 not out to guide Sri Lanka to victory with 21 balls left in Perth.

The Australians play three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka before the first Ashes Test on 25 November.

Australia had won all 10 of their home Twenty20 internationals dating back to 2006, but were in danger of recording their lowest total when they were reduced to 43-5 in the 11th over.

Steve Smith launched Thisara Perera over mid-wicket for six and shared a sixth-wicket stand of 66 with Brad Haddin, who lifted paceman Dilhara Fernando over long-on for six, before both departed within three balls in the 18th over.

Sri Lanka were always in control during their run chase after scoring 27 off their first three overs.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene put on 35 from 22 balls for the first wicket, before the latter edged a Peter Siddle delivery through to Haddin while on 24.


Dinesh Chandimal was given out lbw for two by umpire Bruce Oxenford, despite the ball from Dirk Nannes appearing to pitch well outside leg-stump.

The dismissals did not slow down Sri Lanka's run-rate, however, which was still at nine per over after five overs, pushing the required rate below six.

Dilshan was stumped by Haddin for 41 when Smith turned one past his bat as he charged down the wicket, but Perera ended the match in style with two sixes and a four in three balls off the leg-spinner.

"We have no excuses. I think we were outplayed tonight, as simple as that," said Clarke, who was booed by spectators at the post-match presentation. "We were just disappointing with the bat.

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Lorenzo holds off Rossi for win

Jorge Lorenzo
Lorenzo had gone two months without a victory until winning on Sunday

World champion Jorge Lorenzo held off a strong challenge from Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi to win the Portuguese MotoGP for the third year in a row.

The Yamaha rider, 23, who took the world crown from Rossi in Sepang on 10 October, came out on top again.

Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso grabbed third on the line in Estoril in the penultimate race of the season.

Lorenzo overtook Rossi with 11 laps to go before speeding clear for an 8.6-second victory over the Italian.

It was the Spaniard's first victory in two months and he can wrap up the season with a win on home soil in Valencia next Sunday.

Earlier, German rider Stefan Bradl of Suter edged Alex Baldolini to win his first Moto2 race of the season.


The race was held in perfect, dry conditions, but that did not prevent Ducati's Casey Stoner, fourth on the starting grid, from slithering off the circuit after just five laps.

Stoner subsequently lost his third position in the overall standings to Rossi.

For Lorenzo, who started on pole, this was his eighth race win of the campaign and it pushed him up to 368 points. Dani Pedrosa, only eighth here, is second on 236.

Rossi and Lorenzo battled for control from the start, but once Lorenzo hit the front on lap 17 of 28 he never looked back.

Lorenzo said afterwards: "Valentino overtook me [after four laps] and got away from me for a while, but I stayed calm and began reeling him in bit by bit."

Rossi said: "It's a particular kind of race. On the dry surface I lacked some speed and I couldn't keep up with Jorge."

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Strong winds disrupt World Champs

Venue: Lake Karapiro, Waikato New Zealand Dates: 31 Oct-7 Nov Coverage: Live coverage & highlights on BBC TV, Red Button and online (UK only)

Britain's Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter
Purchase and Hunter's race was called off after 500m with the duo in the lead

Only five races were possible before heavy winds brought a premature end to the action on the opening day of the World Championships in New Zealand.

The cancelled races have been rescheduled to take place on Monday, but that depends on a drop in the wind.

Organisers at Lake Karapiro are already considering moving all the semi-finals and the finals of the Paralympic classes forward to Wednesday.

That is because of the threat of storms that are due on Thursday and Friday.

In one of the few races to take place on Sunday, Britain's Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking advanced to the semi-finals in the lightweight women's double sculls after leading from start to finish.

The pair will be hopeful of at least matching their bronze medal from last year's event after claiming a gold and two silvers during the World Cup season.

However Chris Boddy and Adam Freeman-Pask will need to advance through the repechage if they are to reach the final of the men's lightweight pairs after finishing third in their heat.

The only other British rowers in action were Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, but their heat of the lightweight men's double sculls had just passed 500m, with the Olympic champions in the lead, when the decision was made to stop the race as conditions deteriorated.

Scottish veteran Katherine Grainger, 34, and double scull partner Anna Watkins start their bid for gold on Monday.

Grainger and Watkins stick to one boat

Grainger has earned silver in the last three Olympic Games and chose to continue to 2012 in the hope of gold.

She and new partner Watkins won World Cup titles in both the double and quadruple sculls this season.

But the schedule for the event on Lake Karapiro, near Hamilton, would have seen them have to race a quad final and doubles semi-final within three hours.

"It would have been fascinating to try for both events but we want to focus on the double scull in New Zealand to give ourselves the strongest possible chance of success," said Grainger.

Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton will return to a Great Britain crew for the first time since the Beijing Olympics later in the week.

The duo disappointed with silver in the quad in 2008 and rejoin Annabel Vernon, with Beth Rodford the new addition.

Flood, 30, took a year off to qualify as a prison officer and has taken time to regain fitness this season, competing in the single scull during the World Cup season.

Houghton's return was delayed because of surgery this summer.

Greg Searle, 38, is set to compete in his first Worlds for a decade, in the men's eight.

Searle targets world gold in New Zealand

Searle, who won gold at the 1992 Olympics, rejoined the GB squad this season after 10 years of retirement.

The GB men's eight won the World Cup series this summer and, were Searle to win a World Championship medal it would be his first since taking bronze as a single sculler in France in 1997.

When he announced his comeback last December, Searle targeted a place in the squad for the World Championships as his first step in his quest to win a third Olympic medal at London 2012.

"The pull of London 2012 is just so strong," he told Radio 4's Today programme.

"Having won a gold aged 20 back in 1992, the idea of shooting for it at 40 in 2012 will get me out of bed every morning.

"It is tough to compete [at my age] but we've got such a good structure in place - with the push for 2012 and the lottery funding into British sport - that it's been great to get back into the system.

"Working with the younger guys, I'm really getting the most out of myself doing it.

Chris W

"There is a bit of 'here comes the old man with a walking stick'! But I hope I can use my experience to be part of the best Olympic team we ever put together."

Andy Hodge and Peter Reed stay in their pair, despite calls for them to move to the four after a tough season.

They face a daunting challenge in attempting to end a run of 10 successive defeats to New Zealanders Eric Murray and Hamish Bond on the world champions' home water.

Hodge and Reed positive over Worlds task

"Of course racing is tough when you're collecting silvers, but we are hard guys and we're constantly improving," said Reed.

"We're the fastest boat the GB rowing team can field and we've moved on significantly."

But the move by head coach Jurgen Grobler to keep the duo together means Britain's only defending world champions, the men's four of Alex Partridge, Richard Egington, Alex Gregory and Matt Langridge stays together.

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Pietersen sympathises with Rooney

England's Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen has been helped by coach and friend Graham Ford

England's Kevin Pietersen has told the BBC he empathises with Wayne Rooney's plight and that sportspeople like him do not deserve to come under pressure.

Batsman Pietersen has also had his form scrutinised ahead of the Ashes series in Australia and went to South Africa recently to improve his technique.

"I look at the Rooney situation, he's getting killed every day," the 30-year-old told BBC's Sportsweek programme.

"He's a genius and should be backed. It doesn't help when people hammer you."

Rooney, who currently has an ankle injury, has performed below his best for Manchester United since the start of the season and was set to leave Old Trafford before signing a new deal with the club in October.


Meanwhile, Pietersen had a poor summer with the bat for England, only scoring more than 50 once, and was subsequently dropped for the one-day series against Pakistan.

Both the cricket press and public began to question whether he should be selected for the Ashes series.

"I wasn't fed up with the scrutiny, I found it funny," added Pietersen, who criticised his axing from the one-day squad on Twitter, for which he later apologised.

"The journalists get paid to make opinions and the punters have the right. But people don't realise we know as sportsmen if we're not playing well."

The South African-born batsman returned to his homeland in October to play two first-class games and rediscover his form with the bat with the help of friend and cricket coach Graham Ford.

"Fordy is someone I have known since I was seven," said Pietersen, who has scored 16 Test centuries and averages 47.80.

"It's about mental things. He knows me as a person. I haven't given a lot away about me as a person when I'm playing for England. But Fordy knows me as a person.

"He talks to me in a different way to perhaps anybody else in the country apart from my brothers and parents.

"He picked out one little technical thing I haven't been doing right and we worked on that little thing. I feel fantastic now."

Meanwhile, Pietersen said he was unwilling to get involved with a pre-series sledging row with Australia captain Ricky Ponting who said that there was a "big question mark" regarding the England's batsman form.

"This is my fourth series against Australia and every time in the lead-up things are said," he added.

"I'm not prepared to add any fuel to any fire."

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