Pattinson gets shock call-up
Former roof tiler Darren Pattinson was set to make his England debut after being named in the side to play South Africa in the second Test against England at Headingley yesterday. Pattinson, who has appeared in just 11 first-class matches, wasn’t in the original squad for this match and nor was he even the first reserve. But, having been called up as cover for James Anderson on Thursday, the 29-year-old swing bowler was included in the team. Anderson was passed fit but left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom, who suffered a back strain during the drawn first Test at Lord’s, was omitted. All-rounder Andrew Flintoff was recalled for his first Test in 18 months at the expense of the out-of-form Paul Collingwood in the other change to the England team.
Silva leaves Arsenal
Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva has left Arsenal to join Panathinaikos. The former Gunners captain, who was a key member of the team that went unbeaten through the 2003-2004 Premier League season, cost the Greek team a transfer fee reported to be about £1 million (US$2 million). Panathinaikos announced it signed a three-year deal with Silva on Thursday. The Brazilian thanked about 1,000 fans who gathered to greet him on Wednesday at Athens International Airport. The 31-year-old Silva ends a six-year spell with the north London club, with his departure continuing manager Arsene Wenger’s policy of ditching older players.
Super 14 chiefs mull revamp
The heads of Rugby Super 14 said yesterday they wanted to expand the finals of the championship from a top-four to a top-six play-off series from next year. The board of SANZAR, representing the three nations included — South Africa, New Zealand and Australia — said it would put forward the proposal to those countries for consideration. They also discussed ideas for an overhaul of the competition’s structure when Super Rugby is revamped — possibly from as early as 2010 — to expand the tournament from its current 14 teams. Argentina, Pacific island nations and Japan have been linked to an expanded Super Rugby and Tri-Nations format. Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill said the US was also in the mix for a Super Rugby franchise. “The first step next year is the expanded play-off finals series and perhaps as early as 2010 you could see an expanded Super Rugby competition,” he said. O’Neill said separate playing conferences within the Super Rugby competition would also be possible as the competition expanded, while the format of the six team play-offs is still being discussed.
Gunmen free Yobo’s brother
Gunmen released the kidnapped younger brother of Nigeria soccer player Joseph Yobo on Thursday. Rivers State police spokeswoman Rita Inoma-Abbey said Norum Yobo, who was seized on July 6 in the oil hub town of Port Harcourt, was reunited with his family late on Wednesday. Inoma-Abbey had no details about the circumstances of the release or whether a ransom had been paid. Norum was expected at police headquarters in Port Harcourt yesterday to assist with investigations, she said. Joseph Yobo played for Everton last season and is a regular on Nigeria’s national team. Everton said on its Web site that Joseph Yobo was in Nigeria with his brother but was expected to return to England on Monday to begin preseason training.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being