Holladay scores biggest win of career

first_imgBy Jerry MackeyWEST LIBERTY, Iowa (July 16) – Saturday’s action at the West Liberty Raceway included a 40-lap main event for the iWireless IMCA Late Models for the Ideal Ready Mix Tri-Track Challenge.The night belonged to Muscatine’s Chad Holladay as Holladay charged in to the race lead at the green flag and went on to lead all 40 laps en route to a very impressive win which saw him lap up to the seventh place finisher.The 40 laps went caution-free as Holladay built a half-lap lead over second place finisher Scott Fitzpatrick.Holladay stated in victory lane, “ This Gheer’d up car was totally awesome and this is the biggest win of my racing career.”Justin Kay nipped Joel Callahan at the finish line for third.The Performance Concepts IMCA Modifieds brought another outstanding field of cars to West Liberty. Kay made a rare appearance in the class and advanced from the 12th position start to take the lead on lap number 10 en route to the feature win.Kay scored the win ahead of Jonathan Houston and Chris Zogg.The Weikert Iron & Metal IMCA Northern SportMod feature belonged to Dalton Simonsen. The season point leader advanced from a fifth row start and took the lead on lap 10 on his way to vic­tory. Jarrett Brown crossed under the checkers in second ahead of Troy Phillpott.David Brandies scored his second feature win in as many weeks at the West Liberty Raceway in the Kile Motorsports IMCA Stock Cars. Brandies got out front early and scored the win ahead of Johnny Spaw and Greg Gill.The Mach-1 Sport Compact feature was another nail biter for the second week in a row. Cody VanDusen took the 10-lap US 6 Bodyworks Sport Compact win ahead of Jason KlerkDerus.On Saturday, July 23, the Muscatine County Fair will be in full swing as the Fair Board will pre­sent racing action with a full program of IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing. Hot laps will get underway at 6:30 p.m.last_img read more

Update on the latest sports

first_imgUpdate on the latest sports SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse University has added an athletic director of diversity, culture and climate in a new position within the department of athletics. Salatha Willis is charged with developing and implementing new ways to create an equitable culture for the university’s student-athletes, administrators, coaches and staff in the athletic department. The move is a response to the racial tension that has wracked the country, including a period of social unrest on campus last fall. There were more than a dozen reports last November of racist graffiti and vandalism targeting Blacks, Jews, Asians and Native Americans. July 10, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-NEWSPosey opts to skip the seasonUNDATED (AP) — San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey is the latest big-name player to skip this season because of concerns over the coronavirus. Posey says his family finalized the adoption of identical twin girls this week. The babies were born prematurely and Posey said after consultations with his wife and doctor he decided to opt out of the season. GYMMNASTICS-BRITAIN-ABUSE COMPLAINTSBritish Olympic gymnasts decry ‘abusive behavior’LONDON (AP) — British Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie say they’ve suffered from abusive behavior in gymnastics training for many years, adding their voices to a growing number of gymnasts coming forward with similar complaints.The sisters said coaches pressured them to lose weight and overtrain, which took mental and physical tolls. They were inspired to tell their story after former teammates did the same.In a letter posted Thursday on their respective Twitter accounts, they said: “Speaking out is something we’ve both felt we really needed to do for a long time now, but in truth, we’ve been afraid to do so.” — Blue Jays infielder Travis Shaw says he’s not interested in confining himself to the hotel attached to the Rogers Centre for the summer if Major League Baseball is granted an exemption from the Canadian government to play baseball in Toronto amid the pandemic. MLB needs an exemption as anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel until at least July 21 and that is widely expected to be extended. Any exemption likely means the Blue Jays would not be allowed to leave the hotel attached to the Rogers Center when they play home games in the city. The Blue Jays have created a quarantine environment at Rogers Centre and the adjoining Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel during training camp. — The Red Sox and Blue Jays will play two exhibition games at Fenway Park before baseball’s delayed regular-season opener. Toronto will visit Boston on July 21 and 22 before heading down to Tampa Bay for its opener. The Red Sox are scheduled to open at home against the Baltimore Orioles on July 24.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSACC expects fall decision in late JulyUNDATED (AP) — Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford says the league expects to make its decision on fall sports in late July. Associated Press The babies born last Friday were about eight weeks premature. They are healthy but will need to spend time in neonatal intensive care and will have weakened immune systems for the next few months.Posey joins other top players such as Dodgers pitcher David Price, Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Colorado’s Ian Desmond in opting out this season. In other MLB news:— All-Star slugger Joey Gallo has worked out with the Texas Rangers for the first time during their summer camp. Gallo was cleared and at workouts Friday after missing the first week following positive tests for coronavirus. The 26-year-old outfielder said he never felt any symptoms but had two positive tests that sandwiched a negative result during intake testing. His return to the field comes two weeks before the scheduled start of the season against Colorado. He had 22 homers in 70 games and made his first All-Star appearance last year before wrist surgery ended his season.— The Toronto Blue Jays are shifting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. across the diamond, moving the slugger to first base from third. Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo said Guerrero feels comfortable at first and the team has Travis Shaw ready to play third. Montoyo also said Guerrero will see time as a designated hitter. He didn’t rule out that he will play some third in the future. center_img — The University of Michigan says two athletes tested positive during a second round of COVID-19 testing, bringing the total to four out of the 375 who have been tested. The school says none of the 139 staff members have tested positive.— The Jacksonville Jaguars are planning to play home games in front of a significantly reduced capacity this fall. Fans in attendance will be required to wear face coverings. The team released details in an email to season-ticket holders Friday. Jacksonville expects about 25% capacity at TIAA Bank Field in 2020 “in compliance with state and local authorities and following CDC social distancing guidelines.” The stadium’s capacity is listed at over 67,000. Baltimore was the first team to announced plans for reduced capacity. The Ravens plan to allow fewer than 14,000 fans at home game at M&T Bank Stadium in 2020.— Japan’s professional baseball league opened the delayed season three weeks ago. Now fans are back, too. After playing in empty stadiums to get started, Japan began allowing up to 5,000 fans into the games on Friday, or 50% of the stadium capacity — whichever is smaller. Officials hope to allow stadiums to be filled to 50% capacity beginning on Aug. 1. Japan’s soccer J-League is also allowing fans to return, beginning on Friday, under the same guidelines. Fans are required to use hand disinfectant and have their temperatures taken when they entered the stadium. Shops were open and food and drinks were for sale, but alcohol was not allowed. Restrictions were also put on the amount of cheering permitted, a staple at games in Japan.PGA-WORKDAY OPENMorikawa builds big lead at Muirfield Village before storms DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Collin Morikawa looks as if he’ll be tough to catch at the Workday Charity Open. He made nine birdies Friday for a 66 and had a six-shot lead among those who finished the second round. Storms twice halted play at Muirfield Village in Ohio. Ian Poulter had a 69 and was six shots behind. Two others had a few holes remaining when play resumed. Morikawa’s 13-under 131 was one off the Muirfield Village 36-hole record.Morikawa ran off four straight birdies after making the turn Friday, finished with another birdie and shot 6-under 66 to build a six-shot lead when thunderstorms arrived in Ohio. His 13-under 131 was one shot off the course record set by Jason Dufner in 2017 at the Memorial. WIMBLEDON-PRIZE MONEYWimbledon to allocate prize money despite cancellation Dutch short-track world champion Van Ruijven dies at age 27THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — World champion short-track speed skater Lara van Ruijven died on Friday as a result of complications from an autoimmune reaction, the Netherlands skating association said. Van Ruijven was 27.She died in a hospital in France, where she had been in a critical condition for days.She last year became the first Dutch short-track skater to win a world title when she won the 500-meter title in Sofia, Bulgaria. Herman de Haan, director of the national skating body, added: “It’s incomprehensible that she has been taken from us while in the prime of her life.” Both women represented Britain in the 2016 Olympic Games but they say their success has come at a high price.Twenty-eight-year-old Becky said she was called “mentally weak” for questioning her training regimen in 2018. She then injured her ankle in “a direct consequence of the unsafe training.” Her 20-year-old sister said a nutritionist required her to send daily pictures of herself wearing just underwear to prove she wasn’t gaining weight. She was 14 years old at that time.British Gymnastics CEO Jane Allen this week announced an independent review of claims of mistreatment. She said the British Gymnastics Integrity Unit already exists to investigate allegations and that there are welfare officers around the country.SYRACUSE-DIVERSITY DIRECTORSyracuse University appoints diversity director for sports WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Wimbledon will pay out $12.5 million in prize money to 620 players despite the tournament’s cancellation because of the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club said Friday.After consulting with its insurance provider, club officials said 256 players who would have competed in the main draw will each receive 25,000 pounds ($31,000), while 224 players who would have competed in qualifying will each receive 12,500 pounds ($15,600).In addition, 120 players who would have competed in doubles will each receive 6,250 pounds ($7,800); 16 players who would have competed in the wheelchair events will each receive 6,000 pounds ($7,500); and four players who would have competed in the quad wheelchair events will each receive 5,000 pounds ($6,200).All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis said “we are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognize the impact of the cancellation on the players.”OBIT-VAN RUIJVEN The league put out Swofford’s statement Friday afternoon, saying the league has prepared “numerous scenarios” for fall competition over the last few months. The decision would come from the league’s board of directors.Earlier this week, the ACC delayed the start of fall competition until at least Sept. 1. That move impacts non-revenue programs like soccer, volleyball, field hockey and cross country, but not football for now. The first football game involving an ACC team is North Carolina State’s trip to Louisville on Sept. 2.In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:— The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a conference of historically black colleges, is suspending all fall sports out of concern over the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference says several of its schools are in states experiencing dramatic increases in new COVID-19 cases. It says the recent rise in cases has led to a pause in phased reopening plans in many of those states, resulting in uncertainty as to whether students will return to campus this fall at several CIAA institutions. The conference said it will explore the possibility of a modified schedule for football, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country next spring.— The University of Virginia says two football players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will self-isolate for at least 10 days. The school says other members of the program found to have come into close contact with them will also go into quarantine. The school tested 110 players when they began returning to campus for voluntary workouts on July 5. The players with positive test results will self-isolate for 10 days, or until they have been fever-free for at least three days, whichever is longer. Those determined to have come into close contact with those infected also will self-quarantine for 14 days. last_img read more

NCAA to announce results of investigation into Syracuse at noon Friday

first_imgThe NCAA will release a report regarding the results of its investigation into Syracuse University at noon on Friday, according to an NCAA press release.There will be a conference call at 1 p.m. to discuss the findings and Committee on Infractions’ decision regarding SU. Britton Banowsky, the NCAA’s chief hearing officer and commissioner of Conference USA, will discuss the results on the call, which will be open to the media. SU has reportedly been the subject of an NCAA investigation since 2007, when the university self-reported potential violations within the athletics department. No current student athlete was involved in the investigation, according to multiple reports. The announcement comes more than 100 days after SU officials and coaches traveled to Chicago for a hearing in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Sanctions are typically announced 30-60 days after a hearing. More coverage to come on dailyorange.com throughout the day. Follow the @dailyorange and @DOsports Twitter handles for live updates. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Published on March 6, 2015 at 9:24 am Contact Brett: blsamuel@syr.edu | @Brett_Samuels27 Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Walker and Streb joint leaders at USPGA Championship

first_imgWalker and Streb both made it to 9-under par yesterday, with Streb carding a remarkable 63 at the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.The American pair are two shots clear of world number one, Jaston Day and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo.But McIlroy was one of the big disappointments yesterday. The world number four continues to struggle for form and a bogey on the last saw him finish on 3-over par.It leaves Padraig Harrington as the only Irish player in the weekend field – the three-time Major winner sits on 1-over par.last_img read more

Darren Fletcher: Manchester United midfielder out until summer

first_imgManchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the rest of the season following surgery to resolve his chronic bowel disease.The 28-year-old Scotland captain had to take a break from the game in December 2011 because of ulcerative colitis but returned to make 13 appearances this season for club and country.His last appearance was on Boxing Day as an 89th-minute substitute in the 4-3 victory over Newcastle.United say the surgery was planned.A club statement read: “Darren Fletcher will be unavailable for the remainder of this season having undergone surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition.“We wish to stress this was a planned procedure undertaken at the optimal time having achieved a period of sustained good general health, as illustrated by the fact that Darren has trained with the team regularly this season and been available for selection right up to the operation. “Whilst it is frustrating for both Darren and the club that he won’t be able to contribute further during this campaign, this decision has been taken with our full support in the best interests of his long-term health and we look forward to him returning next season with this problem firmly behind him. “We would be grateful if his privacy could be respected at this time and in the coming months in order to aid his recuperation.”Fletcher, who is contracted to the Red Devils until 2015, returned to first-team football after 11 months out when he came off the bench in United’s 1-0 Champions League win against Galatasaray in September.He made his Scotland comeback in the 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat by Wales in October.However his last start was on Saturday, 1 December in their 4-3 win at Reading and since then he has made only two brief substitute appearances.last_img read more

Dede Ayew has no regrets joining Swansea

first_imgAndre Ayew has revealed he has no regrets about signing for Swansea City – and claims starring at the Liberty has helped him make a name for himself in the Premier League.But the Ghana star has admitted he can still offer more to the Swans having vowed to improve as part of the side’s battle to avoid relegation worries.Ayew has been a hit in South Wales since his summer Bosman move from Marseille, grabbing eight goals – including the winner at Everton in Francesco Guidolin’s first game in charge – to make him the side’s top scorer.His form saw several rivals take notice of the 26-year-old with Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce making January attempts to lure him to the Stadium of Light, prompting one of Ayew’s representatives to express his surprise Ayew stayed put at the Liberty.The Swans were always unwilling to let go one of their top performers and Ayew has now outlined his happiness at the club and his switch to British football, though did stress he is not ready to rest on his laurels.In an interview with Canal Football Club on French television, Ayew said: “You hear it before you get there, but once you get there you really feel the enthusiasm of fans, stadiums, intensity in matches. “I am delighted to be in the Premier League which is for me the best championship in the world. I am very happy with my choice to play for Swansea, I have managed to make my name in England but I must continue to work because I know I can do much better.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

The Dodgers’ weekend walk-off drama highlights baseball’s bullpen paradox

first_imgGames decided by 7+ runs… 13.2%  14.8% Or maybe not.Through Monday, 88 games ended in their final plate appearance, including 32 that ended with a home run. That’s a slower pace than 2018, when 214 games ended in their final plate appearance – 102 with a home run. Even though the home run rate has risen overall, and bullpens are allowing more runs, the rate of walk-off home runs is down. Hmm.Maybe the walk-off opportunities are there in the ninth inning, but closers are winning most of those battles and pushing more games into the 10th. Wrong again. Through Monday, 8.45 percent of all games required extra innings, down from 8.89 percent last season.That suggests, in all likelihood, teams are getting fewer chances to play extra-inning games because more games are ending in blowouts. Regardless of how you define a blowout, you’ve got a case: Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Matt Beaty, Alex Verdugo and Will Smith will always have last weekend.Any retelling of their careers will include the time the Dodgers swept the Rockies in a three-game series, each game ending with a home run by a different rookie. That had never happened in major league history, and it might never happen again.The only question is how the story of last weekend will be told. Will we be obligated to mention the feat occurred in a record year for home runs? Must we note that relief pitchers have a higher earned-run average (4.50) than starters (4.44) for the first time since 1969? Are the conditions of the modern game so extreme that last weekend could have been predicted?The short answer is no. In one sense, that’s a shame. Baseball is in a state of civil war between its analytics and aesthetics. MLB executives are struggling to save front offices from the ruthless pursuit of efficiency at the expense of entertainment value. To that end, the Dodgers’ dramatic weekend sweep hinted at progress. Maybe a rising home run rate makes back-to-back-to-back walk-offs more possible. Maybe the dilution of bullpen talent has allowed for more late-game lead changes and less predictable endings. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco 20182019 How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire OK, but with bullpen ERAs rising every season since 2014, surely we’re seeing more come-from-behind wins in the late innings, right? Not so fast. Through Monday, 43.8 percent of all wins were comebacks, an increase of less than 1 percent compared to 2018. In fact, when we compare the winning percentages of teams holding the lead after the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, we see that the games have paradoxically grown more predictable in 2019: Leading after 5… 78.4%  80.8% Leading after 6… 82.7%  85.0% Games decided by 6+ runs… 19.4%  21.3% Games decided by 5+ runs… 28.0%  29.2% What the heck is going on?Comebacks aren’t occurring late in games but early, when the starting pitcher is still around. Bullpens are doing a better job at holding leads than they were a year ago. If they’re doing a worse job at preventing runs, their mistakes are usually masked by an equally ineffective bullpen on the other side, or an outsized early advantage.Related Articles Games decided by 1 run… 27.5%  26.8% Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Leading after 7… 87.5%  87.8% Leading after 8… 91.6%  92.1% Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season 20182019 Two other factors worth mentioning: the Orioles and the Nationals. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network co-tenants are double-handedly sinking bullpen statistics into the depths of the Anacostia River. The chosen relievers for Baltimore (6.34) and Washington (6.29) combined to post a 6.32 ERA through Monday. Subtract the two outlier teams, and major league relievers (4.38) would have a lower ERA than starters (4.44). The pitching universe would be spinning on its proper axis, or at least it would appear so at a glance.It’s hard to label baseball’s bullpen problem a “crisis” when it’s being driven so heavily by two teams. The Nationals and Orioles are on pace for the highest ERAs by any bullpen since the 1953 Detroit Tigers. They ought to regress to the mean by October.For the other 28 clubs, regardless of the cause of their bullpen woes, the effect remains something of a paradox. Relievers are on pace to throw a larger share of innings in 2019 than ever before – about 41 percent of them, a stat driven in part by the proliferation of “openers.” On the whole, relievers are allowing more runs on average. Yet the outcome of each game is rarely in doubt after the fifth inning.As for the weekend walk-offs, the story of how Beaty, Verdugo and Smith ended consecutive games with home runs in their rookie seasons demands context. In 2019, it was a refreshing departure from what’s become a mostly predictable game. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start last_img read more

Stanley Cup Final 2019: Blues’ Jordan Binnington on unexpected rise to stardom

first_imgST. LOUIS — As he spoke with reporters last week after being announced as the Rangers’ new president, John Davidson brought up his time as president of the Blues. The job was his first as an executive after a lengthy playing and broadcasting career.Davidson was with the Blues for six years and led an organization that drafted the core of the team that’s suiting up in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, including captain Alex Pietrangelo, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and netminder Jordan Binnington.  ” target=”_blank”>Binnington calmly skated to his teammates. Carl Gunnarsson scored the overtime game-winning goal in Game 2 of the SCF; as other guys were hugging and high-fiving, Binnington had no reaction.The reaction from the Blues bench as Gunnarsson scores in OT … pic.twitter.com/hP6nB9lLzP— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) May 30, 2019″It’s crazy. We’re so excited and he’s calm,” defenseman Colton Parayko noted. “I don’t know if that’s his personality or he just realizes we have three more [wins] to go ’til he can really celebrate. I don’t know. We’re obviously excited as a group that we have him back there.”He’s just calm back there. It’s cool to see. He strives for success. He strives to be a competitor and be a winner. . . . Every single game he gives us a chance to win.” “Binnington, we didn’t know would be this good and I don’t think the Blues knew he’d be this good, but, God bless him, he’s good,” Davidson said.The 25-year-old rookie has not only been good, he has been great.In 32 regular-season games, he notched a 24-5-1 record, a 1.89 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and five shutouts. That performance earned him a Calder Trophy nomination. His numbers have dipped slightly in the postseason (2.37 GAA, .915 save percentage), but he has nearly matched Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask in the Stanley Cup Final. The backstops are separated by .03 and .005 in GAA and save percentage, respectively.Binnington with a gigantic save on Pastrnak off the draw. pic.twitter.com/5udcFpsa4r— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) May 30, 2019″It’s a great story,” Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. “He kind of came in and right from his first game he got a shutout [at the Flyers on Jan. 7] and our team started playing a lot better at that time and he’s been a big part of it. Nobody is surprised anymore.”St. Louis drafted him in the third round in 2011 after he posted decent, but not earth-shattering, numbers for Owen Sound in the OHL. He was midding in the minors, too — until the 2017-18 season. That year, the Blues loaned him to the Providence Bruins because they didn’t have a spot for him with their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. With Providence, he posted a 2.05 GAA and .926 save percentage. In contrast, Carter Hutton, who was the Blues’ backup last season and signed with the Sabres in the offseason, had a 2.09 GAA and .931 save percentage in the NHL.Binnington got his first taste of the NHL in January 2016, a 13-minute relief outing, and then had to wait almost three years to get back. He made two appearances with St. Louis last December, was sent back down, and then was recalled in January. The rest is history.”It’s been amazing,” St. Louis forward Pat Maroon said on the eve of Saturday’s Game 3 at Enterprise Center. “Very confident, works hard and he does the little things that makes him a good hockey player, so it’s going to continue. He’s going to be a good goalie for many years in this league. Everyone’s proud of him. He’s showed a lot of poise in the last few months.””From where he was, where he is now, and you guys always talk about his personality, his demeanor, but obviously what makes him a good goalie is that nothing seems to rattle him. You see how he bounces back every single game. It’s fun to watch,” said Pietrangelo.Speaking of which: Have you seen Binnington? Ice water may indeed run through his veins — which is kind of fitting. Maroon scored in double overtime of a Game 7 against the Dallas Stars and alright guys, it’s the gif you’ve all been waiting for:the extremely passionate reaction from jordan binnington after pat maroon scores in double overtime to send the blues to the western conference final … pic.twitter.com/vcXQpbnboP— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) May 8, 2019last_img read more

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of SheltonLuna Bosco is still waiting for her forever and loving family to come to Adopt-A-Pet, and take her home. Luna is a beautiful 2-year-old female Blue PitBull Terrier whose birthday is November 14, 2014. She weighs approximately 50 pounds, is spayed, and up to date with her vaccinations. Luna loves sitting for treats, fetch, walks, laying in the sun, chewing bones and car rides (she just falls asleep). This smart girl knows obedience commands, has good recall, and received 30 days training from Muck Creek Kennels in Roy, WA.Luna is doing very well with meeting other dogs, following commands, and learning all kinds of fun things. Luna prefers a stable and calm home, daily exercise and someone who will continue to challenge her mind. If you are interested in this beautiful girl, and would like to take advantage of a day of personal instruction at Muck Creek Kennels, contact an Adoption Coordinator at Adopt-A-Pet in Shelton.  Emails are preferred.Adopt-A-Pet has many great dogs and always need volunteers. To see all our current dogs, visit www.adoptapet-wa.org, Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington” or at the shelter on Jensen Road in Shelton. For more information, visit thedoghouse3091@hotmail.com  or 360-432-3091.last_img read more

Chiefs up against history

first_imgBy flying into New Zealand from South Africa, as they will on Tuesday morning, then winning a playoff match, they will have ended a 12-game losing streak for teams in such situations, that stretches back almost 20 years.Travelling teams have struggled in the playoffs full stop, winning just 23 per cent of matches, but when they have to fly across the Indian Ocean, and then across the Tasman, that figure falls to 13 per cent.Across the years, 18 teams have found themselves in those circumstances, with 16 losing and just two winning – in games where they were at home against opponents who had made the same trip.First, in 1996, there were the Blues, who beat the Sharks in Durban in the final round of the regular season, then returned home to beat Northern Transvaal in the semifinals.And then in 1998, there were the Crusaders, who beat the Sharks in Durban to end the round robin, then again in Christchurch in the semifinals.Since then, 12 teams have faced the arduous journey – eight from South Africa, two from Australia, and two from New Zealand – and none have triumphed.Going the other way, from New Zealand to South Africa, teams have won four times out of 11, a tally the Hurricanes will be trying to add to when they take on the Lions in Johannesburg in the early hours of Sunday morning (NZ time).Two of those wins came this year and last, when good Chiefs teams were forced to travel to play average Stormers teams, thanks to the convoluted conference format. The others came in 2011, when the Crusaders beat the Stormers, during their impressive run to the final in that earthquake-affected season; and in 1999, when the Highlanders beat the Stormers to set up the party at Tony Brown’s place, which they then lost to the Crusaders.The itinerary the Highlanders had then, from New Zealand to South Africa and back, is the hardest possible – at least until the Jaguares or the Sunwolves make the playoffs – and it’s one the Chiefs are familiar with, having done it last year, when they returned home victorious from Cape Town then lost meekly to the Hurricanes. Photo by: Getty Images (Liam Messam and the Chiefs are up against history as they try to stay alive in Super Rugby).last_img read more