Wimbledon roof trial set
The first match to be played under the new retractable roof of Wimbledon’s Centre Court will take place in May. The All England Club, in a statement on Tuesday, said they “confirmed its intention to hold a ticketed event open to the public in the Centre Court ahead of The Championships 2009, in order to test the new roof and air conditioning system. The event is scheduled for Sunday, May 17 2009.” Wimbledon is perenially plagued by rain delays and the aim of installing the sliding roof on its showpiece court is to prevent matches piling up during the tournament.
Body investigates betting
The sport’s governing body is investigating a match at the UK Championship after British bookmakers reported suspicious betting patterns. Three firms suspended betting on Stephen Maguire’s win over Jamie Burnett in the first round on Monday after noticing unusually heavy betting on a score of 9-3 in Maguire’s favor. Maguire eventually won by the predicted score, but only after Burnett missed a black in the 12th frame that would have made it 8-4. The players have acknowledged that they were aware of speculation on the score before the match, but Burnett has denied any wrongdoing. “In the last frame, I have never felt more pressure in my life,” Burnett said. “On the black, I said to myself, ‘I need to get this, I need to get this,’ in case some people start talking. I just felt so under pressure, probably the most pressure I have felt in my life. Then to come off was the lowest feeling, I felt terrible,” Burnett said.
Epic goes into fourth game
The English FA Cup tie between Droylsden and Chesterfield will go into a fourth match after floodlight failure forced the abandonment of their second-round replay on Tuesday. Chesterfield, who play in English soccer’s Division Three, led 2-0 when the lights at non-league Droylsden’s Butchers Arms Ground went out with about 20 minutes left. It was the third time the matchup failed to produce a winner. The original game on Nov. 29 was abandoned because of fog. Last week’s replay finished 2-2 but that match was overshadowed by a bizarre goal. The game was all square at 1-1 when Droylsden put the ball into touch deliberately following an injury to Chesterfield’s Carl Lamb. But, after Lamb got back on his feet, the ball was thrown to Jack Lester who, instead of just passing back to the Droylsden goalkeeper, as is the convention in such circumstances, lobbed Craig Mawson for a goal. Chaotic scenes ensued with stewards having to intervene to prevent a confrontation between the rival benches. When the game re-started Chesterfield, seemingly embarrassed by Lester’s goal, allowed Droylsden’s Steve Halford to run through unopposed from the kick-off to make it 2-2.
Oram hits back at slur
New Zealand’s Jacob Oram hit back yesterday at suggestions by former teammate Craig McMillan that he seems too ready to pull out of games with injuries. McMillan said that Oram had been wrapped in cotton wool by team management. “You’ve always got sore calves, but you just get on and do it,” McMillan said. “Unfortunately, with Jake’s track record ... he has missed some games that maybe he could have got through.” Oram, who has missed five straight Tests through injury, said he did not expect to hear such comments from an ex-teammate. “He knows the rigors and the stresses of international cricket and it’s a bit rich saying if it’s 50-50, I don’t play,” he said.