A Statistical Appreciation Of Li Na

Li Na, the two-time Grand Slam champion who on Friday announced her retirement, was the greatest Asian tennis player of all time. She was much more than that, too: At her best, she was as dominant as any of her peers, and she kept improving as she got older.“I’ve succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China,” Li wrote on her Facebook page.Li, the first Asian-born man or woman to reach, let alone win, a Grand Slam singles final, is right. Heading into the 1999 U.S. Open, when Li was 17 years old and ranked outside the top 300, China could boast only 0.55 percent of ranked players on the WTA Tour and just 0.35 percent of all singles ranking points, according to data I compiled this month with the help of colleagues Paul Schreiber and Andrew Flowers.Heading into this year’s U.S. Open, which ended early this month, China had 3.5 percent of ranked players and 5 percent of singles ranking points. The rise of China as a women’s tennis power coincided with, but also surpassed, the rise of women’s tennis elsewhere in Asia. Li was a major part of that rise, but other Chinese players have accompanied her on the journey. Li sat out the U.S. Open with the knee injuries that are forcing her to retire, which meant she couldn’t defend her ranking points from reaching the semifinals last year. In her absence, Peng Shuai, the second-ranked Chinese woman, reached the semis, by far her best career result. (Peng withdrew, injured, from her semifinal match.)Even on a tour led by No. 1 Serena Williams, who is five months older than Li, Li stood out for her ability to keep improving. She took two years off from pro tennis starting in 2002, a period during which she began studies toward a journalism degree she earned in 2009. Li cracked the top 100 at age 22, the top 20 at age 24, the top 10 just before her 28th birthday and the top five at age 29.Although Li struggled with knee problems during her last years on tour, she also kept improving, fine-tuning her serve and net game while working with coach Carlos Rodriguez. Her ranking showed it: Li played nearly all of her last nine months as an active player at a career-high ranking, first reaching No. 3 last fall, then the No. 2 ranking early this year, after winning the Australian Open.At that Australian Open, Li — sometimes inconsistent during her career — reached total dominance. She won four sets by the most dominant possible score of 6-0, including two against Top 25 opponents in the fourth round and the final. Williams, a winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, won four bagel sets at the same major tournament just twice in her career. Among the stars Li bageled at Grand Slams were two Grand Slam champions and four other major finalists.Although she never reached the No. 1 ranking, Li’s bagel rate establishes just how good she was when she was dominant: really, really good. She averaged 18 bagel sets won for every 100 Grand Slam matches played, just behind Williams’s rate. Li is ahead of four of the eight other two-time Grand Slam winners over the past decade in bagels sets won per Grand Slam match. read more

NCAA Probing Myck KabongoLeBron James Connection

Texas sophomore guard Myck Kabongo has been questioned by NCAA investigators about his relationship Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James, a Longhorns men’s basketball spokesman said.Texas spokesman Scott McConnell said Kabongo has talked with investigators but is in school and practicing with the team. Kabongo has not been declared ineligible and the school compliance department is communicating with the NCAA, McConnell said.Yahoo! Sports first reported the probe into Kabongo’s relationship with Paul, who his James’ close friend and agent. Yahoo! reported that Paul called NBA front offices on behalf of Kabongo before the 2012 draft. Usually, when players probe their stock in the draft, the college coach or someone associated with the school makes the inquiry.Kabongo chose to stay with Texas instead of entering the draft.Yahoo! reported the NCAA is also investigating whether Paul was involved in a trip to Cleveland last spring that included at least one workout with professional trainer Jerry Powell, and who paid for the trip and the workout.“We are aware of the situation,” McConnell said. “We have not heard any decisions from the NCAA.”Later Wednesday night, Kabongo tweeted, “HUGE reach.”Kabongo started 34 games for Texas last season. He was third on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game and led the Longhorns by averaging 5.2 assists. He has been projected as a possible first-round draft pick in 2013.He could be declared ineligible if the NCAA determines he received improper benefits from an agent.James and Paul met when the former was a teenager and quickly formed a strong relationship. By the time James reached the NBA in 2003, Paul had become one of his closest friends and confidants. When James left Goodwin and formed his own marketing company, LRMR, Paul became a business partner.Paul represents two former Longhorns, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and San Antonio Spurs guard Cory Joseph, Yahoo! reported. read more

NBA Power Ratings And Playoff Odds Hornets Rising Heat Falling

With just about five weeks remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, we present another edition of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. How do these numbers work? In a nutshell, each team is ranked according to a projection of its strength over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the methodology, see our introductory rankings post.A few observations on this week’s ratings:Don’t look now, but the Charlotte Hornets suddenly have a 53 percent chance of making the playoffs in the East. Winners of six of their last seven games (including five straight), they also saw their long-term talent rating improve greatly with the prospect of guard Kemba Walker returning for the season’s stretch run. A knee injury has kept Walker out of action since late January.The Atlanta Hawks, owners of the league’s second-best record, still rank just 8th in our power ratings. What’s going on? It’s not their loss Saturday to the lowly Sixers, nor is it a disconnect between the team’s winning percentage and its point differential (they rank third overall in Basketball-Reference’s adjusted efficiency differential, so they’ve been winning by margins plenty strong). Instead, the issue is similar to what plagued the Hawks last week: Injury-related playing time allocations are working against them in the short term. This time, FiveThirtyEight favorite Kyle Korver sat out over the weekend and is listed as day-to-day in the injury report, which means more projected minutes for Kent Bazemore. Since Korver carries one of the best RPM ratings in the NBA (+4.5) and Bazemore sports one of the worst (-3.8), any shift in minutes from the former to the latter takes a toll on Atlanta’s power rating.The week’s two biggest risers are the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks, and both boosts come largely because key players are returning from injury.Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, owner of the seventh-best RPM in the NBA, suited up last week for the first time since aggravating his nagging shoulder injury on February 21, and his presence alone improved New Orleans by 2.5 rating points (to say nothing of the points gained by not having to play his backups as much). For Dallas, the big gains come with Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons re-joining the lineup. Our projections expect that pair to play about 54 combined minutes per team game over the upcoming week — an increase of 25 minutes per team game that yields a 1.9-point rating improvement for the Mavericks. They also project to gain 0.6 rating points via decreased minutes for players lower on the depth chart.Since the news of Jimmy Butler’s injury broke too late to be accounted for in last week’s rankings, the full extent of its damage can be seen in Chicago’s power rating this time around. A reduction of 26 minutes per game to Butler’s projection cost the Bulls 1.7 rating points, while big playing-time upticks for low-rated wings E’Twaun Moore and Doug McDermott set Chicago’s rating back by another 1.5 points. The loss of Butler was much more damaging to the Bulls than that of Derrick Rose, whose injury only cost the team about 0.4 points of power rating after his backups were accounted for.The Miami Heat have been hemorrhaging playoff probability for weeks now and are down to just a 30 percent chance of making the postseason despite sitting at 93 percent back on Feb. 2. The team has gone 7-8 since then, while Indiana, Boston and Charlotte — at that time, three of Miami’s chief competitors for the final pair of unclaimed Eastern Conference playoff slots — have gone a combined 28-14. But Miami’s bigger problem is that their talent pool has been drained, even after winning the trade deadline. Highly-rated players such as Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside, Luol Deng and prized deadline acquisition Goran Dragic are all injured (or listed as day-to-day), while the team is projected to give big minutes to poor RPM players such as Henry Walker, Michael Beasley and rookies Tyler Johnson and Shabazz Napier. read more

Will Buyout Season Help The Cavs And Warriors

It’s buyout season in the NBA, meaning that washed-up, out-of-favor or otherwise disgruntled veterans have begun to make their way to contenders. Specifically, Deron Williams and Jose Calderon have (or will soon have) new teams. Williams appears to be headed to Cleveland, where he’d become the latest in a long line of faded stars and aged role players to team up with LeBron, while Calderon seems likely to wind up in Golden State.Neither move would likely change how deep Cleveland or Golden State goes in the playoffs, but both players could fill key roles for the defending finalists.Deron WilliamsWilliams, who has already cleared waivers and has reportedly informed the Cavs that he’ll sign with them, has had a rough year in Dallas, being displaced in the rotation by Seth Curry, Devin Harris and Yogi Ferrell. He’s averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 assists in 29.3 minutes on the season but has seen his role cut considerably since January. But even though Williams’s overall stats remain down and he clearly isn’t the player he was earlier in his career, there’s a chance that he’ll fill the specific needs of the Cavs.LeBron James has publicly called for Cleveland to add another point guard to its roster after the departure of Matthew Dellavedova to restricted free agency, and the stats bear out the claim: The Cavaliers have only three players with an assist rate over 10 percent:1Basketball Reference.com’s assist rate is an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor. LeBron (41.9), Kyrie Irving (30), and 21-year-old backup point guard Kay Felder. This season, Williams has a 40 percent assist rate, which may not be the best gauge of point guard play on its own but could be a good indicator that he can help the Cavs.While the Cleveland offense is known for ball movement and numerous 3-point shooters, it also relies on having a player initiate the offense using ball screens and drives. That’s what draws the defense’s attention away from the other, off-ball actions that spring Kyle Korver or Richard Jefferson open. Williams should help to keep those skills on the floor when James and Irving take a rest. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Williams scores 89.9 points per 100 possessions as a pick-and-roll ball handler (this is fairly good) and outperforms Felder in nearly every scoring category.Williams obviously won’t solve all of the Cavs’ problems — for that, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith will need to return healthy and ready for the playoff run, and Andrew Bogut, who has secured his release from the Philadelphia 76ers and is expected to sign in Cleveland, will have to help hold down the fort until they return. But if Williams can do even a passable job at alleviating the playmaking deficiency that’s forced James into long minutes, he may prove just as crucial as either of those players.Jose CalderonCalderon was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers and is reportedly leaning toward the Warriors as his preferred destination. Calderon would be the Warriors’ third point guard, behind Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston, so his role would be smaller in Oakland than Williams’s would be in Cleveland, but adding shooting off the bench is key for Golden State, which has surprisingly few dead-eye shooters on the roster behind Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. When Did Sports Become So Political? Related: Hot Takedown Calderon has never been a lockdown defender, and rarely even a serviceable one, but he’s always balanced that out by being one of the most efficient offensive players in the game, picking up a 50-40-90 season along the way. This season, his shooting numbers are all way off of his career norms — 41.6 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from three, and a 50.8 true shooting percentage — though he’s also played fewer than 300 minutes on the season.During his longest stretch of extended action — an eight-game run in November and December during which he was pressed into starting — Calderon looked more like himself, posting a 60.2 true shooting percentage and 34.6 assist percentage. He also put up a 116 defensive rating to a 107 offensive rating, and the Lakers dropped five of those eight, so he wasn’t exactly a game-changer. But in a spot-role for the Warriors, he wouldn’t need to be.Most relevant to a job with the Warriors is Calderon’s 39.3 percent shooting on spot-up threes, making him, at worst, one more piece of shooting on a team that runs on the stuff.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Ohio State womens soccer clinches postseason spot behind Paradisos 2 goals

OSU senior forward Michela Paradiso (9) during a game against Purdue on Oct. 9 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Anbo Yao / Lantern photographerMichela Paradiso saved her best for last. Playing in her final home game for the Ohio State women’s soccer team, the senior midfielder/forward netted a career-high two goals to lift the Buckeyes over Michigan State on a rainy Wednesday evening at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.With the win 2-0 over the Spartans, OSU (10-5-3) clinched the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten tournament, which is set to begin on Sunday.“I knew we needed this game to enter the Big Ten tournament so I just wanted to help carry my time and show them what it takes to come out on top,” Paradiso said.The game, which was senior night for Paradiso and forwards Marisa Wolf and Katelyn Kraft, was a perfect finale for the players to end their careers in Columbus on.OSU got on the board early on. In the third minute of play, Paradiso — an Upper Arlington, Ohio, native — possessed a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts and finished from 15 yards out.With the win, the Buckeyes are 9-1 when they get on the board first on the season.The hometown girl’s story just continued to get better.“(Paradiso) has really found herself this year,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “Michela’s a very serious young woman. She takes her academics seriously, she takes herself seriously and her soccer. So what I’m proud of is that she’s really found a way to enjoy everything.”Perhaps it was the way Walker prepared Paradiso in the morning that propelled the senior to be successful on Wednesday night.“I said to her this morning, ‘Just soak it all in because you don’t get these moments back.’ So I think for her to have those goals and help carry her team into the Big Ten tournament and what we were calling a championship game today, I’m just so proud of her,” Walker said.In the 31st minute, Paradiso drew a penalty kick and finished to her right for her second goal of the night and her fifth of the season.Heading into halftime, OSU led the Spartans 8-4 in shots, including 5-1 on the frame. The teams were knotted in corner kicks at two.The Spartans brought on very physical play in the first half, and Walker said she prepared her team to stay at ease and not feed into negative energy.The Buckeyes were unrelenting in their pressure in the second half though they sat comfortably with their two-goal lead.“We really felt that was the biggest challenge. In soccer, a 2-0 lead is most difficult because all it takes is one goal and all of a sudden the team gets their confidence back and your team feels like they’re on their heels,” Walker said. “We just challenged them to step up and make sure that we did all of the little things again.”Freshman goalkeeper Devon Kerr was in the net for the entire 90 minutes as opposed to the Buckeyes’ usual starter, redshirt junior Jillian McVicker,..“Devon is such a big presence, physically. She makes great reactionary saves,” Walker said. “Devon is so young so there’s still a lot of experience that she needs to gain so for us today she really did what she needed to do.”Walker said she could not be more proud of her team and how it rose to the challenge presented to them.“I want them to really enjoy this moment right now while we wait to see where we’re headed,” Walker said.The win for the Buckeyes gave them the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten tournament, which granted them a matchup with No. 2-seeded Wisconsin.“This is what you’ve done all this work for,” Walker said. “The excitement is that we’ve gotten there and now let’s see what kind of run we can put ourselves on.”Paradiso last appeared in the Big Ten Tournament as a freshman, so she said she is excited to return in her final year wearing the scarlet and gray.“It feels so good,” she said. “For a lot of these girls it’s their first trip to the Big Ten (tournament), only the senior class has been there. I’m just so happy to bring back that tradition … of going to the tournament.”OSU’s quarterfinal matchup against the Badgers is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin. read more

Ohio State defense quiets critics Spartans attack

EAST LANSING, Mich. – For about five weeks, the Ohio State football defense heard almost nothing but criticism. For the majority of OSU’s game Saturday against Michigan State, the Buckeyes’ defense heard almost nothing at all. Playing against an MSU team that features one of the nation’s most prolific running backs, OSU, time after time, sent the Spartans’ offense back to its sideline and the bulk of the 76,000-plus screaming fans at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., into their seats with not much to cheer for. A week removed from giving up 403 yards of offense to a now 0-4 Alabama-Birmingham team, the Buckeyes allowed just 303 yards. The Spartans were 4-for-15 on third down, averaged a mere 1.5 yards per carry, and completed only 52 percent of their passes. The stat the Buckeyes are likely most proud of, though, is the 45 yards MSU junior tailback Le’Veon Bell totaled on the ground. Coming into Saturday’s contest, Bell was the nation’s third leading rusher, averaging 153 yards per game. “That’s a good back. He won’t be held to (such low yardage). I’m venturing to say that won’t happen again to that guy. He’s a good player,” said OSU first-year coach Urban Meyer. OSU players agreed with their coach. “It’s amazing, ain’t it?” said OSU redshirt senior defensive end Nathan Williams of the Buckeyes’ bottling up Bell. “It’s incredible. We played our butts off up front.” Saturday’s defensive performance was needed by OSU, and not just to pave the way for a win against a Big Ten foe. Coming into its game against the Spartans, OSU ranked at the bottom of the Big Ten in defense, and it was something that shocked Buckeye players. “Somebody sent us a text last week showing us we were last in defense, and we were just like, ‘Dang,’” said redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby. Williams said he took the criticism aimed at OSU’s defense to heart. “We take things personal, and we showed it (Saturday),” Williams said. Prior to kickoff Saturday, MSU’s defense ranked best in the Big Ten. But by 7:40 p.m., it was the Buckeyes’ defense that looked better, as now No. 12-ranked OSU (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) held on for a 17-16 victory against then No. 20-ranked Spartans (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten). “We have a lot of confidence in this defense. I have a lot of confidence in this defense. I think (Saturday) we finally played to our potential,” said senior linebacker Etienne Sabino, who all but sealed the win with a third-down hit on MSU junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell late in the fourth quarter that stalled a possible game-winning drive. The potential for the defense, according to OSU players, is to be the best in the conference and one of the best in the country. “Michigan State’s supposed to have one of the best defenses in the Big Ten, so we just wanted to come out here (Saturday) and show that we’re the best defense in the Big Ten,” Roby said. The players the OSU defense employed Saturday are mostly the same players that have been playing, and struggling, throughout the first month of the season. Those players’ muscles were not any bigger and their legs were not any quicker Saturday against the Spartans. The difference between OSU’s defensive performance against MSU versus its output during the first month of the season was, according to Buckeye players, the game plan. OSU had nine players in the box most of the game and had its defensive backs play one-on-one coverage. They forced Maxwell to throw and did not let Bell, a 6-foot-2, 244-pound bruiser, gain yards up the middle. Williams, who has been a part of the OSU program since 2008, said the game plan was the best he’s ever been a part of in his career as a Buckeye. “We’ve seen (Bell) get going on tape, and it’s all bad news once he gets running downhill. So we didn’t give him the opportunity to get going downhill. We closed the gaps, and played great defense,” Williams said. As bad as OSU had been on defense heading into its game against MSU, Meyer said he was confident the Buckeyes were capable of the performance they turned in Saturday. “Absolutely I thought (we were good enough to win). I thought our defense was good enough to play better the first four games; that’s how much confidence I’ve got in our players and coaches,” Meyer said. Meyer and his players said they know the strong defensive outings will have to continue for the remainder of the season. This upcoming Saturday, OSU faces No. 21 Nebraska. The Huskers average 44.8 points per game and more than 300 yards per game on the ground. It will be another major test for the Buckeyes’ defense, but Williams said he hopes OSU’s performance against MSU will give OSU a leg up. “I hope Nebraska looks at this tape and realizes they can’t run on us,” Williams said. Whether or not the Huskers hear Williams warning will be proven Saturday, as OSU takes on Nebraska at 8:00 p.m. in Ohio Stadium. read more

Ohio State backup quarterback battle Cardale Jones with early edge on JT

Then-redshirt-freshman Cardale Jones (12) rushes the ball during a game against Florida A&M Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadiun. OSU won, 76-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe starting quarterback position at Ohio State is set in stone.Senior Braxton Miller ­— and his two, back-to-back Chicago Tribune Silver Footballs for Big Ten Most Valuable Player honors — has that spot locked up.But with fan favorite and coach-on-the-field Kenny Guiton out of eligibility and looking to get a shot in the NFL, the player who will fill the backup slot behind Miller is a glaring question mark during spring practice.OSU coach Urban Meyer said last week the competition has picked up between redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett, but said Jones has the early edge and has been running with the first team offense while Miller rehabs from shoulder surgery.Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman echoed that sentiment Tuesday after practice.“Cardale’s done a great job,” Herman said. “He’s playing like a quarterback at Ohio State should, but through the nine practices, we just need for those guys to play to their strengths.”Barrett and Jones carry entirely different body types — Barrett is just 6 feet 1 inches tall and is listed at 225 pounds, while Jones towers above the other quarterbacks on roster at 6 feet 5 inches and is a solid 250 pounds. Jones’ strong arm is his identity, while Barrett is more a finesse player who focuses on getting the ball to his receivers on time. Getting each player to understand that, Herman said, is half the battle.“I tell those two guys a lot of the time, ‘Just be you.’ Their strengths are so different,” Herman said. “I tell J.T., you get paid — and he gets paid a scholarship, that’s what I’m talking about — to make great decisions, to get the ball out of your hands and be accurate. You’re not going to grow (physically) … Cardale is 6 foot 5 and 250 pounds and can throw it through that wall.”The only quarterback on the roster with game experience other than Miller is Jones, who played in three games of mop-up duty last season after the outcome of those games had already been decided in favor of the Buckeyes.Barrett redshirted last season while recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus that ended his senior season at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas.The opportunity to further develop each player with Miller out is both a good and bad thing, Herman said. The good: each young guy gets an opportunity to get snaps with the first team offense. The bad: Miller is missing out on vital practice time in his own progression as a player.“Is it frustrating? Yes,” Herman said of not being able to fully work with Miller. “But I think if you dwell on what you can’t do with him, you forget or maybe you don’t do justice to the things that we’re trying to do with him.”Among those things are having a camera on his hat as Miller watches plays unfold in practice, and reviewing them with Herman and Meyer at the end of the day to learn more about what the defensive unit is doing.“Braxton stands behind (the other quarterbacks) and gets all the mental reps like Kenny Guiton used to last year,” Meyer said after practice March 18.That’s as important a step as any, Herman said.“Right now I can tell in the meetings he’s more engaged,” Herman said of Miller. “And I’ll say this again. Braxton, in my opinion, has always been very football smart. You don’t get to do the things you do on a football field without understanding what’s going on.”But with how injury-prone OSU’s starter was last year — Miller sprained his MCL early in OSU’s 42-7 win against San Diego State Sept. 7 and missed the next two games, and also missed time in the team’s Orange Bowl loss to Clemson — having a solid backup like Guiton is vital.While Jones has impressed enough to earn the majority of the first-team reps, he was inaccurate Saturday in the first team scrimmage of the spring — one the defense won.“It was a ‘This is my first scrimmage on a winner-loser day, running as quarterback with the first offense at the Ohio State University and I’m nervous as hell,’” Herman said on Jones’ performance. “And it showed.”But a day like that is all part of the maturation process, Herman said, and isn’t symbolic of what either man has done so far in spring practice.“What they showed on Saturday was not indicative of the previous four practices or (Tuesday’s) practice,” Herman said. “Everything about spring ball is a learning experience. And these guys are doing that each and every rep they take.”The Buckeyes are set to take on Navy in their first game of the season Aug. 30 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

Ohio State mens hockey swept at home by NebraskaOmaha

Master Sgt. James Finfrock, a senior military instructor with the OSU ROTC, rappels down to center ice to deliver the puck Nov. 7 before a game between OSU and Nebraska-Omaha at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 4-1. Credit: Michael Griggs / For The LanternDespite wearing camouflage jerseys in honor of Veterans Day, the Ohio State men’s hockey team did not blend into its environment over the weekend. The Buckeyes stood out; they were the team unable to score goals on Friday and unable to stop the opposition the following night.The University of Nebraska-Omaha beat OSU (2-5-1) 4-1 on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.“Same result,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said of Saturday’s loss. “You have to play a little smarter with the lead. I thought we gave up a couple of easy goals on some breakdowns.”The Buckeyes squandered a 3-1 lead in the first period of Saturday’s game, then couldn’t score on the power play during the waning moments of their eventual 4-3 loss.With the Buckeyes’ net empty and extra attacker on, Nebraska-Omaha took a penalty with 1:21 remaining in regulation. The penalty put OSU on a two-man advantage.Down 4-3 at the time, OSU couldn’t convert as Maverick sophomore goalie Kirk Thompson kicked aside the Buckeyes’ last-second shot and sealed Nebraska-Omaha’s road sweep.The Buckeyes’ power play went one-for-nine on the weekend and has gone one-for-18 in its past four games.OSU senior forward Darik Angeli scored the Buckeyes’ lone power play goal of the series on Saturday, but the goal, which gave OSU its 3-1 lead, was irrelevant by the end of the night.Goals came early on Saturday as the Buckeyes and Mavericks combined for three goals on the first four shots of the game.OSU’s offense showed good signs in the first period, but OSU sophomore forward Nick Schilkey said the team’s success was lost in the final score.“Obviously a couple went in early on, but it kind of goes by the wayside by the end of the game when we can’t capitalize,” Schilkey said. “It wasn’t our best.”OSU notched the first goal of the night at the 4:05 mark when Schilkey connected with senior forward Tanner Fritz to give Fritz his third goal of the season.Less than a minute later Nebraska-Omaha freshman forward Avery Peterson scored his second of the series and first of the night. Peterson’s wrist shot from the left circle was nearly identical to the shot he beat OSU sophomore goalie Matt Tomkins with on Friday.The Buckeyes regained the lead one-minute later when senior forward Chad Niddery put a backhander behind Thompson.After scoring at nearly a goal-per-minute pace, the teams slowed until the 16:11 mark of period when Angeli and Peterson swapped goals within a two-minute span.Angeli’s goal was OSU’s final cause for celebration. Nebraska-Omaha notched goals in the second and third periods to complete their two-goal comeback.“We weren’t happy with the amount of times that their forwards got behind us,” OSU junior defenseman Sam Jardine said. “That’s just something they were trying to do, stretch us out once we got the lead.”The Mavericks’ game-tying goal came after the Buckeyes had a couple good scoring chances and marked a turning point in the game, Rohlik said.“Sometimes when you start pressing, instead of getting better you start to find yourself maybe not making those fluent plays,” Rohlik said. “That’s almost how we looked.”Buckeye sophomore goalie Christian Frey finished with 26 saves including 12 in the third period.Friday’s result brought a different type of frustration to the Buckeyes. OSU outshot Nebraska-Omaha 26-19 and led 40-22 in the faceoff circle.“Our guys didn’t have a lot of zip tonight,” Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais said on Friday. “Ohio State had the better chances.”The Buckeyes’ possession wasn’t enough to solve Maverick senior goalie Ryan Massa who made 25 saves for the Mavericks. OSU Senior forward Matt Johnson’s goal in the third period ruined what would have otherwise been a well-earned shutout.Tomkins made 15 saves for the Buckeyes on Friday.Loose Pucks-Fritz went 25-12 in the face-off circle against Nebraska-Omaha-OSU is having its worst start to its season since it went 2-5-1 to open the 2009-2010 season.-The last time the Buckeyes were swept at home was Feb. 22-23, 2013 vs. Michigan read more

Ohio State field hockey improves to 20 in Big Ten play in

Sophomore midfielder Morgan Kile (8) battles for the ball in a game against Saint Louis on Aug. 28 at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won the season opener 5-0.Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz / Asst. Sports EditorThe Ohio State field hockey team brought home its second Big Ten win of the season Sunday afternoon on the road against Penn State, 2-1. Sophomore midfielder and Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, native Morgan Kile won the game when she scored her first goal of the season nine minutes into the double-overtime period off a fast break. In addition to scoring, Kile has tallied up three assists on the year for the Buckeyes, who now sit at 6-3 overall and 2-0 for Big Ten games.  OSU’s first goal of the game was scored by junior forward Brooke Hiltz nine minutes into the second half, which tied the score 1-1.Looking back, October 2011 was the last time the Buckeyes defeated Penn State (4-5, 1-2). With its first two conference games ending in wins, OSU is having its most successful start in the Big Ten since 2010.The first half of the game was mostly controlled by an offensively driven Penn State, with 14 shots and nine penalty corners in its favor. The Nittany Lions scored the first goal of the game 23 minutes in when junior forward/midfielder Brooke Birosik shot successfully off a penalty stroke.OSU’s defense, including sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro and her 11 saves, kept Penn State from advancing anymore on the scoreboard. Freshman back Hannah Pany and sophomore midfielder/back Carolina Vergroesen also assisted the defense with one save each. The score was tied in the 47th minute thanks to Hiltz’s goal shot from the short left side with an assist from freshman midfielder/forward Casey Cole. Despite the Buckeyes’ five shots, the offense was unable to score again, bringing the game into overtime.During the first overtime period, Penn State generated two shots, but the game swayed in OSU’s favor during the second. Including Kile’s game-winning goal, the Buckeyes had four total shots and took home the win with a final score of 2-1. The Buckeyes are set to return to the home field when they face off against Maryland on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Buckeye Varsity Field. read more

Sam Hubbards journey The road from lacrosse commit to OSU defensive end

OSU redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) defends during a game against Western Michigan on Sept. 26 at Ohio Stadium. OSU 38-12. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorThe Ohio State defense has nearly been an impenetrable blockade for opposing offenses so far in 2015.Through four weeks, the Silver Bullet unit ranks sixth in the nation for total defense, having allowed opponents to cross the goal line just six times while holding them to an average of 253 yards per game.A considerable chunk of the defense’s early success can be traced to the transformation and emergence of redshirt freshman Sam Hubbard — whose road to becoming a key rotation piece at defensive end for the defending national champions has been long, winding and far from conventional.Before ColumbusPrior to arriving at OSU, Hubbard was a two-sport standout for Cincinnati’s Archbishop Moeller High School, playing safety on the gridiron and midfield on its lacrosse team. He was already planning on going to college for athletics, but neither at OSU nor for football. Rather, he had already given his verbal commitment to play lacrosse for Notre Dame.He might have stayed on that road had OSU coach Urban Meyer not waltzed through Hubbard’s gym class during his junior year in high school and seen him playing dodgeball.“We were all just playing like a normal day in class and he walked in with his leather jacket and everyone was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Urban Meyer,’” Hubbard said.Meyer was there to see Moeller’s football coach, John Rodenberg, who is also the gym teacher.Hubbard admitted to giving extra effort, but said he didn’t think much of it until his coach introduced him to Meyer after class.From there, their relationship began, and by early April 2013, Hubbard decommitted from Notre Dame and pledged to play football in Ohio’s capital.After the football season, Hubbard decided to forgo his final year of lacrosse to spend the winter gaining an extra 15-20 pounds to prepare for enrolling in Columbus, as he would no longer be a safety.Redshirt seasonHubbard was recruited to be an outside linebacker, and he went through camp at the position. Shortly after, however, the coaches decided to try him at tight end to utilize the former lacrosse player’s athleticism. That experiment would only last a few weeks before he was back to working as a linebacker.Soon thereafter, his road took another turn when coaches told him he would be heading to defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s position room.“I just sat down in the back of the room and just had no idea what he was talking about for the first four or five weeks,” Hubbard said.Despite the lack of familiarity, Hubbard’s ability shined through during his first few weeks, impressing the coaching staff, including Meyer — who considered pulling Hubbard’s redshirt after a few weeks but deemed it “unfair” due to how late into the season it was.The strong finish to his redshirt campaign, combined with a spring practice effort that earned effusive praise from Meyer, resulted in high hopes for Hubbard’s regular season debut wearing scarlet and gray.Game reps at lastHubbard, who now tips the scale at 265 pounds, was just supposed to be in the rotation at defensive line for OSU, but junior Joey Bosa’s suspension for the season opener meant an increased role in his first live action.On just the game’s ninth play against Virginia Tech, he registered his first career sack before  corralling three more tackles and one quarterback hurry.OSU sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) and senior linebacker Joshua Perry (37) attempt to tackle Virginia Tech redshirt-junior tailback Trey Edmunds (14) during a game against Virginia Tech on September 7 in Blacksburg, Virginia. OSU won 42-24. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorSince the win, Hubbard has continued to excel, which is a key reason for the Silver Bullets’ dominance. The redshirt freshman has amassed multiple tackles in each game — including 1.5 sacks against Northern Illinois — to bring his season tackle total to eight.After the three position switches, Hubbard said he finally feels like he belongs.“I didn’t feel like a defensive end until I got into the game and actually played against Virginia Tech,” he said. “After I saw those game reps I realized that I did belong where I was.”It must be noted that a certain portion of his early success stems from the fact that a consensus top-10 pick in the NFL draft plays on the opposite side of the defensive line in Bosa.Hubbard doesn’t refute that claim though, admitting that Bosa was seeing double and triple teams throughout the game. However, he won’t be complaining.“I’m thankful for it,” Hubbard said.Despite the additional blockers Bosa commands, Hubbard committed to the switch and worked hard to get this far down the road so swiftly.“He’s a hard worker,” sophomore linebacker and fellow class of 2014 recruit Raekwon McMillan said. “During the offseason he was working hard, showing the older guys that he can go out there and do it out on the field.”The season is young, with the Buckeyes having eight more regular season games still on the docket. But despite Hubbard’s immediate impact, his growth and development — which safeties and co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash called “off the charts” — still has a long way to go.But he knows that.“I haven’t even been at this position for a full year. I’m just gonna keep taking all the coaching in, knowledge and more experience I get the better,” Hubbard said. “It’s only up from here.” read more

Football JT Barrett eclipses Drew Brees sets Big Ten record for career

Ohio State redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett throws a pass in the first quarter against Penn State on Oct. 28. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWell, add one more to the list. Redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett set the Big Ten record for career touchdown passes in the second quarter against Penn State Saturday, eclipsing former Purdue Boilermaker and future NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Barrett’s 14-yard connection with wide receiver Terry McLaurin was his 91st career touchdown pass. The score cut into Penn State’s lead, making it 21-10, with 9:32 remaining in the second quarter. Barrett already set the record for career touchdowns responsible for among Big Ten quarterbacks earlier this season, also passing Brees. As a freshmen, he set the Big Ten single-season record for touchdowns, with 45.He now owns 29 school or Big Ten records. read more

Mens Basketball Kam Williams came through for Ohio State nearing end of

Ohio State redshirt senior guard Kam Williams (15) celebrates after making a 3-pointer in the first half of the game against Rutgers on Feb. 20. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThere was just 1:54 remaining in the game when South Dakota State forward Reed Tellinghuisen knocked in his second free throw to tie his team’s first-round game in the NCAA Tournament against Ohio State at 70.Had the Buckeyes crumbled in that next 1:54, redshirt senior guard Kam Williams’ five-year career at Ohio State could have ended abruptly — not with a bang, but with a whimper.But Williams, always the most energetic player on the court for Ohio State, was not going to allow his team to exit the NCAA Tournament with a whimper. Just 18 seconds later, Williams heaved up a 3-pointer, was fouled and drilled the shot.After making the free throw — and three more after being fouled on another 3-point attempt — Williams gave his team the lead and set them up with a Saturday date against Gonzaga in the Round of 32.For someone who has never really shined for an extended period of time at Ohio State, Williams had a memorable performance to keep his team’s title hopes alive. He has always shown glimpses of becoming a potentially dynamic player, but just has never broken out. Williams scored more than 20 points in a game at least once in each of the past four years. Overall, he has achieved the feat six times. There have been times when he appears unstoppable from beyond the arc.However, for as often as he appeared flawless from 3, Williams also would attempt low-percentage shots that halted his team’s momentum or just quickly gave the ball back to the opposition.He also has had discipline issues. Before the team began its game against Illinois on Feb. 4, it announced Williams would be suspended indefinitely. He missed games against Illinois, Purdue and Iowa while head coach Chris Holtmann said he was finishing up work on a project.When he returned, he had to fight for the starting spot from sophomore forward Andre Wesson until he finally reclaimed it with a 13-point performance against Rutgers on Feb. 20 in his final home game as a Buckeye.The once-four-star prospect who came to Ohio State as the No. 72 prospect in the 2013 class would at times excite fans, but would frustrate them at other times.His final season has had a different feeling to it though. In past seasons, he has seemingly been a loose cannon that could function properly or backfire. There was no telling what to expect from Williams in a given night. In his final season, Williams has seemed more controlled. It seems that a player who has always been a wild card finally found his niche. His role was no longer someone who needed to carry the team on certain nights and try to knock down a shot every time he had his hands on the ball. Instead, he fit the role of a player who was free to find space when a player like redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop was double-covered and knock down an open 3 and play consistent defense. The overall numbers aren’t his best. His 8.2 points and 0.7 assists per game averages would both be the third best of his career and the two rebounds per game are 0.1 shy of last season’s average. His shot selectivity has shown improvement, however, with his 48.6 percent and 44 percent field goal and 3-point success rates both representing career-high marks. Though he does not try to be the backbone of the team anymore, there are still times he still can provide the Buckeyes with momentum.During the middle of the first half, Williams stole an attempted cross-court pass from junior center Mike Daum and took it up the court before eventually knocking down a 3. Forty-four seconds later, he raced from the corner to get under the basket and extend his team’s lead to 26-18. He later had his seven-point streak late in the second half to give the Buckeyes the lead and ice the win.Williams has steadily improved in his final season in scarlet and gray, even if the numbers don’t directly show it. He has battled through a lot, including the suspension, to get to the point where he set the Buckeyes up for another game in the NCAA Tournament.His time as a Buckeye is drawing to an end. As long as he can help it, the team will continue to play on and ensure his final season ends with a bang. There’s no telling what will happen when fifth-seeded Ohio State faces No. 4 Gonzaga, a team that beat the Buckeyes 86-59 earlier in the season. It could be the final game for Williams. So too could have been Thursday’s game against South Dakota State.But thanks to his late-game heroics against South Dakota State, he has bought himself at least 40 more minutes. read more

Mens Basketball Ohio States seniors pull out win it needed to keep

Ohio State senior point guard C.J. Jackson (3) looks to pass the ball in the first half of the game against Indiana at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago on Mar. 14. Ohio State won 79-74. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorCHICAGO — With a little less than 33 minutes to go in the game, Ohio State appeared to be strolling through its first matchup in the Big Ten tournament.That final 7:10 made the Buckeyes’ victory against Indiana anything but a walk in the park.In a game that showed the highs and lows that Ohio State has endured throughout the season in one 40-minute span, the Buckeyes managed to come out on top with a 79-75 win despite being outscored 32-16 by the Hoosiers in that final 7:10.It is a win that will likely give Ohio State enough to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, and it is mostly thanks to a pair of seniors who weren’t ready to play their final game.Senior guard C.J. Jackson and redshirt senior guard Keyshawn Woods combined for 11 of the team’s 16 final points to keep Ohio State afloat during a barrage from Indiana’s offense, and finished with 35 of the team’s 79 points for the game.In a game that head coach Chris Holtmann called one of the best he’s seen from the redshirt senior guard, Woods said he had something extra to play for. “Definitely one of my better games as a Buckeye,” Woods said, “and I definitely wanted to play tomorrow.”The pair of seniors did find help from sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson, whose impact following a three-game suspension was immediately felt on both ends, with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.But down the stretch, Holtmann went to the players he knew wanted to win the most. He especially relied on his 23-year old fifth-year guard.“[Woods] was tremendous. I thought he was tremendous in every way,” Holtmann said. “I thought he’s looked, since the 10-minute mark of the Wisconsin game, like a guy that wasn’t ready to see his career over any time soon. And that’s what you hope in seniors.”Ohio State had the defensive strategy it needed to make this game a blowout: forcing Indiana, the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten, to 27 shots from deep, tying a season high.It was playing like a team that is worthy of making the NCAA Tournament. But then, up 20, it all nearly collapsed in the blink of an eye.The Buckeyes were still forcing deep shots, except the Hoosiers started making them. Indiana hit its final six 3-pointers down the stretch and 13 of its final 17 shots overall.While Ohio State held on for dear life on the defensive end in the midst of 13-0 and 7-0 runs that each occured down the stretch, it was Jackson who hit a 3 to end the first run, and Woods who hit a layup to end the second.The big shots didn’t stop there. With Indiana within single digits, Jackson inbounded a pass to Woods with two seconds on the shot clock. Woods hit the jumper with the shot clock expiring to bring Ohio State’s lead back to 10.Woods ended the night with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists on 9-of-13 shooting, the most he has scored in a game since Nov. 15 against Creighton. Jackson finished with 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half, five rebounds and five assists.The pair has not combined for that many points in any game this season.For Jackson, if the Buckeyes, with a matchup against top-seeded Michigan State and beyond still left to boost their resume, does make it back to the NCAA Tournament, it will be his second time there.But for Woods, it could be his first legitimate opportunity, after losing in an NCAA Tournament play-in game to Kansas State during his time at Wake Forest.Still, the redshirt senior guard is far from satisfied, knowing what it means if Ohio State can pull off an upset against the Spartans.“I hope we’re in,” Woods said. “But if we win tomorrow, I feel like we’re definitely in, we just gotta keep it going.”Both seniors may not have had the seasons they wanted. Jackson’s points per game and shooting percentage have declined from a season ago, and Woods is averaging the fewest points per game in his collegiate career.But for both players, they knew this could have been their final game with a loss to Indiana.For both players, it was that added motivation that could punch their ticket come Selection Sunday. read more

Parents need to stop kids bingeing on social media like junk food

first_imgChildren are in danger of seeing social media like sweeties and their online time like junk foodAnne Longfield Longfield said it was essential that parents understood the importance of balancing their children’s time online, just as they would their diets Launching a campaign to help parents manage their children’s internet use, she said it was essential that parents understood the importance of balancing their child’s time online, just as they would balance their diet.”Many children are using social media and the internet like sweets or junk food. Parents wouldn’t let their kids eat a double cheeseburger and fries every day, so they shouldn’t let them spend time online in an unhealthy way,” she said. “They have a responsibility as the providers of the smart phones, computers and iPads their children use, to step in now and make sure their children’s online lives are healthy.”We do think there is a role here for parents to step up, to stop waiting for others to come up with the solution, be that government or [social media] companies.”Her comments come after a report was published showing that kids in all age groups were spending even-longer periods of time online than before. According to media regulator Ofcom the internet has become the most popular media pastime for children in the last year, overtaking television. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Longfield said that her “digital five-a-day” campaign would help parents ensure that their children’s online interaction had a positive impact.“When phones, social media and games make us feel worried, stressed and out of control, it means we haven’t got the balance right. With your diet, you know that, because you don’t feel that good. It’s the same with social media,” she said in an interview with the Observer.“It’s something that every parent will talk about especially during school holidays – that children are in danger of seeing social media like sweeties, and their online time like junk food.”center_img It is now estimated that children aged five to 15 are spending 15 hours a week online, with 12 to 15-year-olds spending over 20 hours online a week.Longfield also urged social media providers, Facebook and Snapchat, to be as proactive as they can about creating a good place and a safe place for kids to be. Longfield said it was essential that parents understood the importance of balancing their children’s time online, just as they would their dietsCredit:Getty Images Parents need to stop their kids bingeing on social media “like junk food” during the summer holidays, the children’s commissioner has said.Anne Longfield has urged parents to “stop waiting for others to come up with a solution” after it was revealed that youngsters are spending more time online than ever before.last_img read more

Queens brafitter Rigby Peller is stripped of royal title

first_imgThe Queen’s lingerie supplier, Rigby & Peller, has been stripped of  its royal warrant after the company’s former owner wrote a tell-all book about palace fittings.The upmarket lingerie firm held the warrant for 57 years, but lost its royal approval after June Kenton wrote a memoir about her work.The 82-year-old is known for transforming the brand into a world-leading retailer and her autobiography, Storm in D-Cup, goes into detail about fittings with the Queen, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. Since the incident, Mrs Kenton explained that it was never her intention to upset anyone. She said: “It is very sad for me that they didn’t like it and I’m finding that very difficult to accept. It’s horrible and a real shock. Rigby & Peller must now remove the royal coat of arms from any promotional material and shop signs.Mrs Kenton added that she had no regrets about writing the book, but had only wished to write down her life story as it was something she was extremely proud of.  June Kenton in Rigby & Peller “I never ever thought when I was writing the book that it would upset anyone. I’ve had the royal warrant for so long I never imagined that this would happen.”Mrs Kenton received a letter from the Lord Chamberlain last year stating that Rigby & Peller was to lose its royal warrant as a result of the autobiography. June Kenton published a tell-all book, Storm in a D-Cup Rigby & Peller has had its royal warrant removed after June Kenton’s tell all bookCredit:Clara Molden Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Rigby & Peller have a number of stores across LondonCredit:Andrew Crowley In the book Mrs Kenton wrote about fitting the Queen, explaining that she was half-dressed and that her corgis were often present. She also wrote about Princess Diana, saying she would accept posters showing models in lingerie and swimwear to give to princes William and Harry to display in their Eton studies.center_img The supplier now has seven shops – including its website – and its flagship store is in Knightsbridge, West London. The cost of a brassiere from Rigby & Peller’s ranges in price from £50 to £200 and has a whole host of famous clients, including Kim Kardashian, Margaret Thatcher, Gwyneth Paltrow and Joan Collins. A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: “In respect of Royal Warrants, we never comment on individual companies.” Rigby & Peller held a royal warrant for 57 years She added: “It is a personal tale and there is nothing in it which is upsetting, it’s a gentle book.”I can’t even begin to explain, I didn’t do it with the intention of upsetting anyone. I’m proud of my life and what I’ve achieved and I simply wanted to share that.”The luxury lingerie firm was founded in 1939 by Gita Peller and Bertha Rigby, before being sold to Mrs Kenton and her husband.Mrs Kenton’s first fitting for the Queen was at Buckingham Palace that same year. Rigby & Peller held a royal warrant for 57 yearsCredit:Clara Molden  Mrs Kenton bought Rigby & Peller with her husband in 1982, paying £20,000, but sold her stake for £8million 29 years later to Van de Velde. She did however stay on the firm’s board and continued to fit the Queen’s bras at Buckingham Palace.”I have never discussed anything of a personal nature with any of my clients, and I never would. The book doesn’t contain anything naughty,” she said”But it’s a fact I have done work for the Queen, there would be a gaping hole in my autobiography if I didn’t mention it.”I’m coming towards the end of my life, I’m 82, so it is what is it, there is nothing I can do.”Russell Tanguay, director of warrants at the Royal Warrant Holders Association, confirmed yesterday that the Knightsbridge-based retailer had lost its warrant.Mr Tanguay said companies are granted a window in which to remove the royal coat of arms, which is earned when a firm has supplied the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, or Prince Charles for five out of the last seven years. June Kenton published a tell-all book, Storm in a D-CupCredit:Clara Molden Rigby & Peller have a number of stores across Londonlast_img read more

Wrens fear loss of memorials to their fallen after church makes way

first_imgBut their history could be lost as church leaders plan to install a controversial Bible museum founded by a conservative American evangelical. For decades St Mary le Strand has been the official church of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, with memorials dedicated to the memory of lost friends. Two churchwardens have resigned over the plans for the 18th century… The church, which was the official home of the WRNS, also contains items associated with the service, including a Pascal candle, alms dish, and altar frontal. The partnership with the Museum of the Bible would involve the temporary removal and storage of the pews, along with the kneelers made by former Wrens in memory of lost servicewomen.last_img read more

Hampshire police hand investigation into Gosport hospital deaths to another force after

Sheila Gregory, Geoffrey Packman and Robert Wilson are among those who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital   Wall of SilenceMedical staff named in the inquiry into more than 600 deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital remained silent last night as questions mounted over their roles in the scandal.  The inquiry, led by the former bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, found that nursing staff first raised concerns nearly 30 years ago but their fears were “silenced” by management. When contacted by the Daily Telegraph doctors and nurses named in the damning independent report refused to comment on the suggestion that “institutionalised” prescribing practices at the hospital had cut short the lives of hundreds of elderly patients.Dr Jane Barton, the clinical assistant who the report said was responsible for the policies and her husband Timothy Barton, a retired naval commodore, had left their £700,000 property in the Hampshire town by the time the report was released on Wednesday. Neighbours suggested the couple had departed for the Balearic island of Menorca.  The chief constable added: “With new material being available to the panel, it is important that whichever force takes the lead has the right access to all of the information.”I have already instructed my force to prepare plans so that this can be handed over to a different lead force and I am also progressing discussions with national partners in this respect.”Robert Logan, whose father Robert Wilson died at Gosport hospital, welcomed the decision.He told The Telegraph: “They have finally shown a sense of realism and admitted they have lost the confidence of the public. Now the investigation needs to be taken over by a major force with a strong record of investigation.” Mr Wilson, 74, suffered a broken arm after he fell over after being startled by a dog while out with friends. Show more In the report, clinical assistant Dr Jane Barton was held responsible for the policies which led to the deaths of 656 patients. She was found guilty of “multiple instances of serious professional misconduct” by the General Medical Council in 2010 but was never prosecuted. Chief constable Pinkney apologised for the distress caused to the families and said: “The force has always acknowledged that the first two police investigations were not of a high quality. The report makes clear a view from the Panel that the third did not look widely enough.” The independent report, compiled by a panel led by the former bishop of Liverpool, revealed how nurses at Gosport who had voiced concerns to the Royal College of Nursing over the use of diamorphine – the clinical name for heroin – and syringe drivers at the hospital, were told in December 1991, at a meeting with senior management to address any concerns to Dr Barton herself, to the senior sister, Gillian Hamblin, or if they were still concerned, to Dr Robert Logan, a consultant geriatrician who visited the annex on certain days. The report concludes that concerned nurses were told “to keep any concerns within the ward rather than taking their concerns to others outside the hospital”.  Hundreds of deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital are to be investigated by a new force after Hampshire’s chief constable admitted its inquiries were not fit for purpose.Officers are to hand over future investigations to another constabulary after a damning report found that it had failed to properly examine multiple reports by families and whistleblowers that doctors were giving patients dangerously high levels of opioid drugs. Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said the force “cannot hide” from the “considerable damage to confidence” after the severe criticism it received in the report of the Gosport Independent Panel, which found that more than 650 people had had their lives cut short as a result of the prescribing regime at the hospital. Three police investigations between 1998 and 2010 did not result in any prosecutions and the police were criticised in the report for failing to properly consider pursuing charges against the hospital or individuals.  The announcement came after the health secretary said the “blame culture” in the NHS must end to prevent another scandal where whistleblowers are ignored. After three weeks in a hospital he was transferred to Gosport for rehabilitation and recuperation, but was wrongly assessed as a “terminal case” because he was also suffering from liver disease.He was put on diamorphine through a syringe pump and died on 18 October 1998, four days after being admitted.Jeremy Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The basic problem is that if you are a doctor or a nurse and you see something going wrong – even if you are perhaps responsible for a mistake yourself – the most important thing, the thing that families want if they are bereaved or if they have a tragedy, is to know that the NHS isn’t going to make that mistake again.”We make it much too hard for doctors and nurses to do that – they are worried that there will be litigation, they will go up in front of the GMC or NMC, the reputation of their unit – in some places they are worried they might get fired, so we do have to tackle that blame culture and turn that into a learning culture.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Dr Logan and Ms Hamblin both chose to remain silent, declining to comment when approached by the Telegraph on Thursday. Jean Dalton, the pharmacist who the inquiry heard “attended on the ward each Monday, reviewing all the drug charts and the drug stock”, also chose not to comment. The report revealed it had seen no evidence to suggest pharmacists had challenged the practice of prescribing “which would have been evident at the time”.  Sheila Gregory, Geoffrey Packman and Robert Wilson are among those who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital  Credit:PA The meeting, the report says, “had the effect of silencing the nurses’ concerns”.  Staff nurse Philip Beed was one of three nurses named in the report as having been “responsible for the administration of these drugs” in many cases, with one account describing the three nurses as having “knowingly and continuously administered diamorphone, haloperidal, midazolam and hyoscine” to one patient “when they should have recognised the fatal consequences of so doing”. Mr Beed also refused to comment when approached. When contacted for comment by telephone, Robert Barton, Dr Barton’s brother-in-law, said: “I have got absolutely nothing to say to you lot. I have never seen so much rubbish published in my whole life.” read more

MI6 conman Mark Acklom extradited to UK after years on the run

Acklom was arrested in Switzerland in June last year, after being found at a luxury apartment in Zurich where he had been living under a false name after more than two years on the run.He is accused of 12 offences of converting or removing criminal property and eight of fraud by false representation.According to police he posed as a Swiss banker and MI6 agent during a year-long relationship with Carolyn Woods.Acklom allegedly duped her into lending him her life savings for renovation work at a number of properties in Bath.Chief inspector Gary Haskins of Avon and Somerset Police said: “No matter where suspected criminals are in the world we will always do everything we can to track them down and bring them back to the UK to face justice.”This extradition would not have been possible without the support of all our law enforcement partners and I’m extremely grateful for their assistance in helping us bring Acklom home to answer some very serious charges.”Ian Cruxton, head of international operations for the NCA, said: “We have worked closely with our partners in Switzerland and Avon and Somerset Police to bring about this extradition and put Mark Acklom before the UK courts. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. One of Britain’s most wanted fugitives has been extradited from Switzerland to the UK.Alleged fraudster Mark Acklom, 45, is said to have fleeced a woman out of £850,000 in life savings after posing as an MI6 agent in a romance scam in 2012.Acklom was escorted to Bristol Airport from Geneva by specially trained officers on Friday, Avon and Somerset Police said.He is currently in police custody and due to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.A spokesman for the National Crime Agency (NCA) said they had worked closely with partners in Switzerland and Avon and Somerset Police to bring about the extradition and put Acklom before the British courts. “This case once again demonstrates our ability to track down fugitives wherever they may be.”The NCA’s international reach means there is no safe place to hide for individuals wanted in the UK.” Mark Acklom had been living in Geneva, SwitzerlandCredit:GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam A photo published by Sky News on Friday night showed Acklom getting off a plane in Bristol.Police said Acklom was named as one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives as part of Operation Captura, a multi-agency initiative involving the NCA and Crimestoppers to track down British fugitives abroad.A European Arrest Warrant was issued for Acklom in June 2016 and he was believed to be at large in Spain, having been released from a Spanish prison over a £200,000 property fraud.In May 2017 he was spotted in Geneva, where he was believed to have been with his family. Geneva, Switzerland read more

Duke of Kent 83 involved in car crash with student in Brighton

Olivia Fellows’ care was written off after the collisionCredit:Facebook Olivia Fellows “As I put on the brakes, my car span towards the central reservation and smashed into it. I clipped the curb and buckled the wheel arch of my car.”The airbags went off and there was smoke coming from the engine.”I was in shock, completely stunned. My right arm was in agony from hitting the airbag. And I was in denial. I could see the mangled wreckage of my car and was trying to convince myself that it could be fixed.” He later wrote a letter to the crash victim,  Ellie Townsend, saying he had “failed to see the car coming” and blamed the bright winter sun that was low in the sky.He wished her a “speedy recovery from a very distressing experience” and said he felt “very contrite about the consequences.” “It sounds like the Duke should have stopped if he knew what had happened.“This could have been a very serious accident and the signs point to driving without due care and attention. This is when the standard of your driving is lower than that of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver.“The police need to investigate what happened and the Duke must be spoken to under caution. This is likely to involve the police attending his home, where he would have legal representation.The lawyer, who has been dubbed ‘Mr Loophole’ added: “In this country there are more older drivers on the road than ever. I have been an advocate of a mandatory eye test every two years for drivers over the age of 70. As it stands, we are reliant on a system where people report themselves.”The time has come for it to be made a legal requirement to visit a doctor who will test if your are fit or unfit to drive and report that to the DVLA.”The incident comes just months after Prince Philip rolled his Land Rover after a collision with a mother-of-two on the A149, near the Queen’s Sandringham estate.The Duke, 97, was pictured back at the wheel just two days later, not wearing a seatbelt, which was deemed “insensitive and inconsiderate” to the victims. It is not known if the Duke was aware that there had been an accident at the time of the collision.A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “A royal household vehicle was involved indirectly in a collision on June 2 in Sussex. All the relevant details have been passed to the police.”A spokesman for Sussex Police confirmed: “Police were called to a collision on the A27 at Firle around 8.30pm on Sunday 2 June. “A vehicle collided with the central reservation close to the junction with Lacys Hill, reportedly after avoiding colliding with another vehicle. No injuries were reported and enquiries are ongoing.” Solicitor Nick Freeman says that drivers over the age of 70 must have eye tests every two yearsCredit:Kirsty O’Connor/PA Nick Freeman, a lawyer who specialises in traffic and motoring offences told The Telegraph: “We are looking at three separate offences here. The first is driving without due care and attention, which can carry a penalty of 3-9 points and a discretionary ban.“The second, more serious charge is failing to stop, which carries between 5-10 points, a discretionary driving ban and a custodial sentence of up to 26 weeks.“Then there is failing to report an accident which also carries 5-10 penalty points, a discretionary driving ban and a custodial sentence of up to 26 weeks.“This is significant because if you have been involved in any way, you must stop and exchange particulars. Solicitor Nick Freeman arriving at court The Duke of Kent could face a police investigation after he was involved in a car crash with a student in Brighton.The 83-year-old cousin of the Queen was driving a Jaguar when he allegedly pulled out in front of Olivia Fellows’ Mini on the A27 on 2 June.The 21-year-old, neuroscience student at the University of Sussex told Mail Online she was driving at 60mph and crashed into the central reservation after she swerved to avoid him. “I saw the Jag to my left and it looked like he was going to go, then hesitated and changed his mind and went to go again,” she said.”He shot across the road. But it was so close that if I hadn’t emergency braked I would have gone straight into the middle of his car. read more

Dayhab clinics to offer new way to treat alcohol and drug addictions

The new chain of private centres, run by a former government advisor who helped Russell Brand come off heroin, says the method will offer therapy at a fraction of the cost of traditional residential programmes. The first unit, which will open in West London next month, follows warnings that those in their 50s are now most likely to be drinking at harmful levels, as millennials turn their back on such habits. Experts say a new network of “dayhab” centres will offer functioning alcoholics and drug addicts the chance to treat their problems by day, while living at home. The chain – called Help Me Stop – is adapted from a US model, which claims three in four participants remain abstinent, nine months… read more