Lisa Ashton goes to the oche and the nuns go wild at the PDC World Darts

Ashton took the opening leg in style but her first visit to Alexandra Palace ended in defeatBy 6pm the fairground outside Ally Pally is just beginning to wind down, the ferris wheel has stopped going, the merry-go-round is slowing and there is a sign outside the grotto promising that Santa will be back again tomorrow. So, at that time of night, it’s little kids this way and big kids that, up the hill and on beyond the fair to the Great Hall for the opening night of the PDC World Championship. For a lot of people the trip is a winter tradition now, a little less solemn than the carol service at St Paul’s, a little less sobering than swimming in the Serpentine on Christmas morning.The Championship has junked one of its own old rituals. The walk-on girls are gone. The PDC chairman, Barry Hearn, says he was forced into it by the TV companies. “It’s out of my control,” he said. “We’re living in changing times – the PC brigade, the liberal brigade are out in strength.” Continue reading...

16-12-2018



The Breakdown | England’s dilemma: undermine Eddie Jones or risk scramble for a top coach

Looking for a successor could be a distraction in World Cup year but waiting could mean the talent is snaffled up and Wales and Ireland have already made their moveThe start of the World Cup is nine months away but countries are already thinking about their next coach. Wales are sorted, appointing Wayne Pivac in the summer knowing Warren Gatland would be off after his side’s final match in Japan, as are Ireland, with Andy Farrell to take over from Joe Schmidt.In New Zealand, Steve Hansen is due to announce this evening UK time as to whether he will seek a new contract after the World Cup. Rassie Erasmus has told South Africa he will not be carrying on after Japan, focusing on his director of rugby role instead. Australia’s Michael Cheika may not last that long after taking part in a performance review this month after the Wallabies’ worst year, in terms of results, for 60 years. A decision is expected before Christmas. Continue reading...

16-12-2018



'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

16-12-2018



What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

16-12-2018



Liverpool v Manchester United: Who made your combined XI?

Find out who made the team when BBC Sport readers picked a combined Liverpool and Manchester United XI.

16-12-2018



What ‘masculinity’ means when you’re gay, bi or trans …

We’re in the middle of a ‘genderquake’ where the qualities traditionally associated with men are changing daily. So how do three LGBT guys define manliness in 2018? By Joe StoneWhat does it mean to be a man? Right now, masculinity is under the microscope like never before. But one group that is used to navigating the tricky terrain of gender norms is the LGBT community. In a recent survey by Attitude, Britain’s best-selling gay magazine, 69% of readers admitted they’d been made to feel “less of a man” because they are gay, bisexual or queer. More troubling still, 41% said that at some point they themselves thought that they were less of a man too. Continue reading...

16-12-2018



Blog: ‘Why my fiancee and I are creating a new joint surname when we marry’

In his second weekly blog, Alexi Duggins explains how he’s making sure his upcoming marriage will be a genuine, equal partnershipIn two months’ time, I get married. It’s a big occasion for many reasons: I’ll be making a lifelong commitment to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, it’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever done, and it will also be the first time that my family have seen me cry in public since an ill-advised midnight screening of Ghostbusters II. Continue reading...

16-12-2018



Jamie George’s late try seals victory for Saracens over Cardiff Blues

• Cardiff 14-26 Saracens• Owen Farrell on form with two conversions and four penaltiesA year ago this weekend, Saracens slumped to their seventh successive defeat, a run so out of kilter with the norm it was like going back in time to find Henry VIII supping with the Pope. The Premiership champions arrived here nursing a 21-match unbeaten record stretching back to April Fool’s Day having put 51 points on the Blues six days before and won with a degree of comfort, doing no more than they had to on the wettest of afternoons.The Blues fought for 80 minutes rather than the 40 they had at Allianz Park, but Saracens know how to grind out victories. Trailing at half-time, as they had the previous weekend, they absorbed pressure, scored points on their few visits to their opponents’ 22 and, tellingly, survived the loss of the second row Will Skelton to the sin-bin after 62 minutes. Continue reading...

16-12-2018



Christian Eriksen’s late strike gives Tottenham win over Burnley

Last Tuesday, Tottenham played Barcelona in the Camp Nou for a place in the Champions League knockout stages. On Wednesday, they face Arsenal in a League Cup semi-final. A game against Burnley in front of a half-full Wembley, rain sheeting down and adding an extra chill to an already freezing Saturday, was always going to be what advertising types call a tough sell.Thank the lord then, for Christian Eriksen. For 90 minutes, it was the sort of grim afternoon that might lead everyone to question their life choices, the 0-0 scoreline to that point even less interesting than it might sound. Continue reading...

16-12-2018



Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

16-12-2018



Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

16-12-2018



World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

16-12-2018



Spurs, saves, Street Fighter and Atlanta United – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Lars Sivertsen to discuss Spurs and Liverpool squeaking through in the Champions League, easy but great saves, Italian strife, Atlanta United and Street FighterJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, which in combination with Inter’s draw with PSV was enough to see Mauricio Pochettino’s side qualify for the round of 16. Continue reading...

16-12-2018