The Indiana Pacers won two elimination games in the first round against Atlanta to extend their playoff run to the Eastern Conference finals. They are one more defeat from extinction, and this time the opponent is the two-time champion Miami Heat.Uh-oh.“He’s got to make a decision at some point in his life, that no matter what, we’re not going to lose this fight anymore,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said, likening the Pacers to the little brother in a big-brother-little-brother scenario. “We’re at that point.”The Heat, with LeBron James and Chris Bosh leading the way, put Indiana in its unenviable position, taking Game 3 of the series 102-90 Sunday to seize a commanding 3-1 series advantage. To wit: When holding a 3-1 lead, Miami is 8-0 in Game 5s over the past four postseasons.James had 32 points and 10 rebounds and Bosh had 25 as the Heat’s championship mettle shone through.“We got outplayed by the Heat,” Vogel said. “I wasn’t disappointed in our fight. I was disappointed in the result.”Game 5 is Wednesday in Indianapolis, which offers some solace to the Pacers. But not much.“We have a chance to play an NBA game on our home floor,” Indy forward David West said. “We are going to try to do something that’s very tough.”Miami made 19 more free throws than the Pacers and never seemed seriously threatened, even as Indiana hung relatively close unit the fourth quarter. It was then that Miami’s poise and experience made the difference.“We try to get better every single day, every single game,” James said. “When you do that and go out and play the type of game that you are capable of playing, you can be satisfied with the results. And that’s what we’ve built over the years.”
Monthly Archives: September 2019
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James is leaving home again and leaving behind something he says is more meaningful than any of his NBA championships.James, who this month ended his second stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers by signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, has opened a public school for challenged children in his hometown.The NBA great admitted to having “jitters” before the opening, an event he said is “going to be one of the greatest moments — if not the greatest — of my life.”NBA star and Akron native LeBron James and his mother Gloria James, right, pose with children participating in the LeBron James Family Foundation’s Wheels for Education “Time to Promise” School Year event at Canal Park during an Akron Aeros game in Akron, Ohio. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal via AP, File)The I Promise School initially will house 240 third- and fourth-graders. The Akron school will expand each year, adding second and fifth grades next year and will have students from grades 1-8 by 2022.James was to be at the school Monday to welcome students and make his first public comments since deciding to join the Lakers.James spent 11 seasons with the Cavs, winning a title in 2016 to end Cleveland’s 52-year drought without a pro sports championship. His departure ended a four-year run with the Cavs after he returned in 2014 following four seasons with the Miami Heat.Following his eighth straight appearance in the NBA Finals, James said he was still in “championship mode” as he headed into free agency. But he’s going to a Lakers team that missed the playoffs again last season and seems years away from competing for a title in the rugged Western Conference.James was also drawn to Los Angeles by the appeal of playing for one of the league’s most storied programs and the chance to work with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president and a player James idolized since he was a kid.James also chose Los Angeles in part because it represents the next chapter in his life. He already owns homes there and he has a film production company in the city.
Before the playoffs began, the citizens of Washington, D.C., probably thought the perpetually tantalizing Capitals had a real chance of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. The Caps had just secured their third Presidents’ Trophy1The award given to the team that earns the most points during the regular season in eight years, and they were the odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup. On paper at least, there were plenty of reasons to think it was finally going to be Washington’s year.Unfortunately for Washingtonians, a lot can change in three weeks. After squeaking past the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one, the Capitals now find themselves trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the playoffs for the third time in nine years. The 3-1 hole Washington faces against Pittsburgh this time around is daunting, and if the Caps have any hope for a comeback, it starts with recovering a few of their best regular-season weapons: shooting and stopping the puck with greater efficiency.Washington and Pittsburgh met in the second round twice before during the Alex Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby era, and on both occasions it ended badly for the Capitals. In 2009, the Penguins won a hard-fought, high-scoring series in seven games. The teams had been virtual equals during the regular season,2Their Simple Rating System (SRS) numbers were only 0.01 goals per game apart. and the series was either team’s to win, marked mainly by some pretty awful goaltending on both ends of the ice. Pittsburgh happened to score a few more goals in the end, and although Washington was disappointed to lose to their archrivals, it would be unfair to say the Caps choked.Washington’s second-round exit last season — again at the hands of the Penguins — was a different story, but not all that different. The series went just six games, and was defined by exquisite goaltending from both teams. But it was still a close affair: All but one of the games were decided by one goal. And although the standings and the metrics suggested that Washington was the best team in the NHL during the regular season, it wasn’t like Pittsburgh was a major underdog — they finished fourth in points and second in SRS, right behind Washington. The Capitals may have underperformed (and definitely shattered the hearts of everyone in D.C. for the umpteenth time), but they weren’t eliminated by some team that barely snuck into the playoffs, either.Of course, those aren’t the only times the Capitals have felt the sting of postseason disappointment. In 2009-10, they notched 121 points during the regular season — the second-most of any team since the 2004-05 lockout — on the strength of a dominant offense and solid goaltending before losing to a significantly worse (by almost any metric) Montreal Canadiens team in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve also been upset one other time as a 1-seed (2011) and two other times as a 3-seed (2008 and 2013). Add in the loss that might be coming this season, and the Caps will have lost nine of their 15 playoff series in the Ovechkin era.Washington isn’t done yet. But down three games to one against the Penguins, it’s time to hit the panic button in D.C. Even with their emotional overtime win in Game 3, followed by the news of Crosby’s untimely (and terrifying) head injury, the Capitals were unable to regain a grip on the series Wednesday night. If Washington is going to mount the improbable comeback, they’ll have to start playing their game again — and soon.For starters, the Capitals must remember how to shoot. Washington led the league with a shooting percentage of 10.5 percent during the regular season, but that number has dipped to 7.6 for the playoffs and just 6.3 in this series with Pittsburgh. Caps stars Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are capitalizing on their chances, but secondary scorers such as T.J. Oshie, Marcus Johansson and all-time playoff darling Justin Williams remain goalless for the series.And efficient shooting isn’t Washington’s only problem; they’re not getting great goaltending from the traditionally impenetrable Braden Holtby, either.In 12 games last postseason, Holtby recorded nine quality starts,3Hockey-Reference.com defines a “quality start” as one in which a goalie records a save percentage greater than or equal to the league average for the season. If a goalie faces 20 shots or fewer, he must record a comparatively lower 88.5 percent save percentage for the start to be considered “quality.” an excellent rate for the postseason. In 10 playoff games this year, he’s recorded just four quality starts. His career quality start percentage for the playoffs is 69; this season, that number is only 44.4Of Holtby’s 10 appearances, he only started nine of them. It’s hard to record quality starts if you can’t keep the puck out of the net, and Holtby hasn’t been very good at doing that this postseason. His save percentage for these playoffs is .909 — the lowest of his career by a wide margin — and a miserable .867 for the series against the Penguins.Save percentage is notoriously unstable, particularly in the small sample of the postseason. But this just adds to Washington’s snakebit legacy: Holtby came into the Pittsburgh series with the best playoff save percentage in the history of the NHL (among goalies with at least 20 career playoff appearances since the 1954-55 season),5He’s currently tied for first with former Boston Bruins netminder Tim Thomas. only to transform into a sieve against the Penguins.To be sure, it’s not all Washington’s — or Holtby’s — fault. Everything seems to be going right for Pittsburgh, too. Through four games, the Penguins are scoring on an insane 15.1 percent of the shots they’re taking — compare that to the 7.7 percent shooting mark they had in last year’s second-round matchup against Washington.6They also scored on 12.3 percent of their shots in the first round against Columbus. They’ve gotten multiple goals from both established stars (Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel) and playoff wunderkinds (Jake Guentzel) alike. Between the pipes, the experienced-but-mediocre Marc-Andre Fleury — whose career playoff save percentage of .909 barely cracks the top 60 among goalies who’ve played in at least 20 games, and who lost his job to a rookie last postseason (and therefore didn’t play a minute against the Capitals a year ago) — has saved 93.7 percent of the shots he’s faced so far.7In terms of save percentage, Fleury is having his best postseason of his career. Apparently, the Penguins just really enjoy beating the Capitals in the second round of the playoffs — each of the last two times they’ve done so, they’ve gone on to win the Stanley Cup.Earlier this year, I wrote that the Capitals were lucky because they’re good. Which is to say, they had the best PDO (shooting percentage plus save percentage) in the league not just because of fluke performances but also because their skaters have a proven knack for shooting the puck with great efficiency and their goalies had a great track record of stopping the puck. But hardly any of that has been on display against the Pens thus far. Maybe they were luckier than we thought all along.Either way, if the Capitals can’t relocate what made them great during the regular season, they’ll be trading their hockey bags for beach bags within the week.
The Golden State Warriors and their fans are (rightly) focused on celebrating a championship right now. But with their 105-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, the Warriors put the finishing touches on a run that was no ordinary title-winning season. The Warriors’ 2014-15 campaign should go down as one of the greatest single seasons in league history.Golden State’s journey started with the unrealized potential of previous years. The 2013 team overachieved under second-year head coach Mark Jackson, but an ousting in the first round of the 2014 playoffs and a lack of harmony between Jackson and management sent Golden State looking for new leadership going into this season. After Steve Kerr spurned the New York Knicks1In retrospect, an outstanding decision! to take the Warriors coaching job and the smoke cleared on the rest of the offseason’s transactions, our numbers said the Warriors had the most talented team in basketball.But our crystal ball didn’t foresee how dominant the Warriors would be. During the regular season, Golden State crushed their competition in a way that hadn’t been seen since the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. Golden State won 67 games, tied for the sixth-most in league history, and its schedule-adjusted points-per-game margin (as measured by Basketball-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System, also known as SRS) ranked seventh all-time. The team became just the fourth in NBA history to outperform the league average by 6 points of efficiency on one side of the ball — in the Warriors’ case, offense — and by 4 points on the other. Moreover, the team’s Elo rating at the end of the regular season was second only to that of the record-setting 1996 Bulls.After those 67 wins, though, there were lingering concerns about Golden State’s ability to win in the postseason.Unlike other dominating squads from the past, the Warriors were relative greenhorns on the postseason stage — in a sport in which playoff experience does seem to have a tangible effect. Their 288 dynasty points2A measure of playoff experience. over the preceding five seasons3Leading up to 2015. were the fewest ever by a team with an SRS of +8 or better and tied the 2014 Clippers for the second-fewest by a +6.5 SRS team. Out of the 95 historical teams with anywhere near as much regular-season success as the Warriors had in 2014-15, Golden State owned (at best) the fourth-worst postseason pedigree over the half-decade beforehand.Relatedly, while the Warriors dominated our power ratings all season long, their talent level was less proven than that of their stronger peers atop the all-time SRS list. For instance, while the aggregated multiyear Statistical Plus/Minus talent projection was an absurd +10.9 for members of the 1996 Bulls, +10.4 for the 1997 Bulls and +9.2 for the 1992 Bulls, Golden State’s +7.5 rating was more akin to the 2009 Cavaliers’ +7.1 mark. Simply put, the Warriors hadn’t been good enough for long enough to generate a higher talent rating, which might also suggest the potential for postseason regression.Not to mention that the Warriors also played a fast-paced, 3-point heavy style that traditionalists were still not convinced could win an NBA championship. While there’s little evidence that such a team is more prone to slumps, no team that led the league in pace had won a title since the 1972 Lakers, and no team had ever won after using more than 29 percent of their field-goal attempts on 3-pointers. The NBA’s conventional wisdom was that those types of teams couldn’t win a title because their supposedly gimmicky strengths would surely abandon them when the pressure was on.The Warriors hopefully put those myths to rest with a championship run that counts among the best of the past three decades. It wasn’t without its moments of concern. Golden State trailed 2 games to 1 against both Memphis and Cleveland. But on the whole, the Warriors’ postseason performance ranks eighth among champions since 1984 after accounting for their scoring margin, the SRS ratings of their opponents and the location and leverage index of each game:If we don’t adjust for leverage and therefore have the ability to measure playoff SRS going back to 1950, Golden State’s 2015 title run ranks 16th among all 66 NBA champions in that span. By that measure, the Warriors might not pass the 1971 Bucks or 1996 Bulls — both of whom followed up the two best regular seasons of all time by SRS with two of the three best playoff runs ever4The other belongs to the inconsistent 2001 Lakers. — on the list of best single-season teams ever, and it might even open up the door for the 1986 Celtics to slip ahead of them on the basis of a superior postseason performance.(Although, it’s worth noting that Golden State wrapped up the playoffs with the second-highest Elo rating on record and that they played in a league with nearly twice as many teams as Milwaukee did in 1971. But I digress.)Half the fun of these GOAT arguments is splitting hairs with different stats, but the most important thing to realize is that these Warriors firmly belong in that conversation. This might be the start of something even bigger for the franchise, or it could be a stand-alone championship. But for at least one season, we just witnessed a team that could legitimately be compared to Jordan’s Bulls, with hardly any hyperbole necessary.For fans of basketball history on this championship morning-after, that’s worth appreciating and celebrating.
YEARPLAYERR1R2R3R4WEEKENDTOTAL Spieth isn’t the first golfer to experience an unceremonious meltdown on Sunday at a major championship; YouTube is littered with the bones of players snatching ignominy from the jaws of victory. That doesn’t make it any less jarring to see a player as good as Spieth, leading by 5 midway through the Masters’ final round, fresh off of one of the greatest seasons at the majors in modern history last year, fall apart in such spectacular fashion. And that he was beaten by Danny Willett, who had just one career top-10 finish at a major before this week, made Spieth’s defeat all the more stunning.In measuring Spieth’s performance in majors last year, I used “major shares,” a statistic that estimates how many majors a player would have been expected to win given his scoring relative to the field average in past majors. Fractional “shares” of wins accumulate over time for good players; the number is nailed right around zero for the also-rans. Going into the Masters, Spieth had 1.48 career major shares,1A few notes, since I tweaked the methodology a bit since last season: Instead of using z-scores, I’m now basing major shares on a player’s strokes above the field average in a tournament. (Research by Daniel Myers shows that converting those to z-scores needlessly adds statistical noise to a player’s rating.) I also listed two versions of major shares last season — one that adjusts for other performances in the field, one that does not — and I’ve averaged those together here. the 10th-most of any active player; Willett, on the other hand, had 0.01 major shares. That difference, 1.47 major shares, was the 17th-biggest disparity in résumés between a major’s third-round leader and the player who eventually overtook him since 1958.2Out of the 139 instances in that span where the leader after three rounds didn’t go on to win the major. In other words, there have been less likely candidates to come from behind, but not many. 1987MastersBen Crenshaw1.84Larry Mize0.021.81 1965Jack Nicklaus+4.1+2.9+9.1+4.6+13.7+20.7 1967Gay Brewer+0.6+5.1+1.7+7.2+8.9+14.6 2016MastersJordan Spieth1.48Danny Willett0.011.47 1971MastersJack Nicklaus7.29Charles Coody0.097.20 1990Nick Faldo+1.1+0.9+6.6+4.2+10.8+12.8 1973Tommy Aaron+6.0-0.5+0.2+6.1+6.3+11.8 1993PGAGreg Norman2.92Paul Azinger0.482.43 The quality (or lack thereof) with which Spieth hit the ball at the 12th hole was shocking, but Willett’s weekend charge was also pretty historic. It took a combination of the two to generate a Green Jacket ceremony this awkward: 2006U.S.Phil Mickelson3.45Geoff Ogilvy0.033.43 1984BritishTom Watson5.33Seve Ballesteros2.053.28 Biggest major upsets since 1958 1996Nick Faldo+2.1+4.8+0.8+6.7+7.5+14.3 LEADER THROUGH 3 RDSEVENTUAL WINNER 1986Jack Nicklaus-0.6+1.3+2.0+7.0+9.0+9.7 Best weekend performances at Augusta, 1958-2016 1990MastersRaymond Floyd2.66Nick Faldo1.051.61 1987U.S.Tom Watson5.48Scott Simpson0.045.44 1994Jose Maria Olazabal-0.8+5.0+5.4+4.9+10.3+14.5 2013U.S.Phil Mickelson4.58Justin Rose0.244.34 Few sports offer as much potential for dramatic, heartbreaking collapse as golf. Jordan Spieth learned as much on Sunday: 1989MastersBen Crenshaw2.09Nick Faldo0.851.24 2010Phil Mickelson+3.9+1.5+5.6+4.9+10.5+16.0 SourceS: ESPN, Yahoo 2008BritishGreg Norman3.45P. Harrington0.343.12 1977BritishJack Nicklaus12.50Tom Watson0.8511.65 YEARPLAYERR1R2R3R4WEEKENDTOTAL 2016Danny Willett+2.3-0.3+3.7+5.7+9.4+11.5 2005Tiger Woods-1.2+6.2+7.2+2.2+9.4+14.4 Considering Spieth’s immense potential, the difference between the two golfers would likely have been even higher if Willett had pulled this upset later in Spieth’s career. Spieth is no Tiger Woods, but before Sunday, he’d developed a reputation for steadiness, particularly in majors. After he birdied the ninth hole on Sunday to go up 5 strokes, a third major — and second Green Jacket — in the span of 12 months seemed imminent. (Ken Pomeroy — who maintains a golf win probability feed on Twitter in addition to his indispensable college basketball stats site — gave Spieth a 92 percent chance of winning at that point.) Then, a pair of bogeys to give a few strokes back. Then, quadruple-bogey.But epic collapses such as Spieth’s are often accompanied by incredible comebacks. And for all the water-cooler chatter about Spieth’s disastrous final trip through Augusta’s back nine, Willett also had to play tremendous golf over the weekend, particularly on Sunday. In the final 36 holes of the tournament, Willett outplayed the field average by 9.4 strokes, the ninth-best weekend enjoyed by any Masters winner since 1958. And 5.7 of those strokes were gained against the field in Round 4 alone, representing the eighth-best final round performance by a winner since ’58. STROKES GAINED AGAINST FIELD 1985Bernhard Langer+1.2-1.3+6.0+4.8+10.8+10.6 Best Sundays at Augusta, 1958-2016 YEARMAJORPLAYERMAJOR SHARESPLAYERMAJOR SHARESDIFF 1983U.S.Tom Watson4.44Larry Nelson0.703.73 2016Danny Willett+2.3-0.3+3.7+5.7+9.4+11.5 1997Tiger Woods+3.7+5.8+7.2+4.2+11.5+21.0 1986PGAGreg Norman1.60Bob Tway0.021.58 STROKES GAINED AGAINST FIELD 1978Gary Player+1.2-0.4+3.1+8.2+11.3+12.1 1985MastersRaymond Floyd2.22Bernhard Langer0.251.97 2012U.S.Jim Furyk1.25Webb Simpson0.001.25 1978PGATom Watson1.78John Mahaffey0.531.25 1995U.S.Greg Norman3.23Corey Pavin0.242.99 1978Gary Player+1.2-0.4+3.1+8.2+11.3+12.1 2009BritishTom Watson5.98Stewart Cink0.375.61 2011Charl Schwartzel+2.0-0.5+4.1+5.7+9.8+11.3 1959Art Wall+0.8-1.6+1.8+7.4+9.2+8.4 2011Charl Schwartzel+2.0-0.5+4.1+5.7+9.8+11.3 1995Ben Crenshaw+0.7+3.5+2.3+5.3+7.7+11.9 2009PGATiger Woods10.85Y.E. Yang0.0010.85 1989Nick Faldo+5.3+1.3-2.9+6.7+3.8+10.3
Tonight’s NFC North showdown between Minnesota (2-2) and Chicago (1-3) will mark a potentially historic moment for the Bears as quarterback-of-the-future Mitch Trubisky will officially take the reins of the reeling franchise. But how much can we expect from the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft? Watch the video above to find out.
OSU coach Thad Matta has never started 0-4 in the Big Ten. Credit: Tino Bovenzi | For The LanternThad Matta has not been in this situation before in his 13-year tenure at Ohio State. The Buckeyes currently sit at 0-3 in the Big Ten, 10-6 overall, and in danger of falling to 0-6 in conference play with its next three games against three of teams at the top of the conference standings.However, that didn’t stop redshirt junior guard Kam Williams from entering Wednesday’s press conference laughing and joking with freshman forward Andre Wesson.“There’s a lot of season left,” Williams said. “Just because we lost three games don’t mean I’m not going to have a smile on my face. We just got to keep playing.”OSU lost one of its leaders on the court last week in junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, who underwent surgery on Tuesday for a stress fracture to his shin. At 6-foot-7 and having a wingspan of more than 7 feet, Bates-Diop was a primary influence on the glass and in post defense. On offense, he was one of the primary scoring options for the Buckeyes. He averaged 9.7 points per game this season.OSU lost a narrow game to Purdue last week at home, 76-75. Then the Buckeyes went on the road to streaking Minnesota, losing by 10. Both Purdue and Minnesota are currently ranked in the top 25.In its three conference games, OSU has allowed an average of 76.3 points per game, compared to 63 during nonconference play. OSU has relied on its defense for most of the season to get stops when the offense struggles to execute in the half court. In those three Big Ten matchups thus far, OSU has been able to do that, but that’s after the team finds itself in a double-digit hole. OSU was down 15 at Illinois, 10 to Purdue and 18 at Minnesota.OSU coach Thad Matta said the biggest thing he’s after is seeing improvement from his players in the thinking component of the game. In a way to expedite that process, Matta estimated that he has had the team work on situational execution this year more than any of his years of coaching combined.“We got to stop putting ourselves in these positions,” Matta said. “We got to find a way not to dig ourselves in that hole, if at all possible.”WisconsinThe Wisconsin Badgers, led by seniors Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, and sophomore Ethan Happ host the Buckeyes in the Kohl Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Badgers were looked at as a possible Final Four team in the preseason. Since then, coach Greg Gard’s team has fluttered in a few games and looked dominant in others, including wins over Indiana and Syracuse. Wisconsin currently doesn’t own a win against a top-25 team. The Badgers return all five of their starters from the 2015-16 season. Seniors Vitto Brown and Hayes are both from northwest Ohio. Wisconsin is ranked 11th in the KenPom rankings and 17th in adjusted defense with an estimated 92.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.OSU ranks 85th in adjusted offense (points per 100 possessions).Hayes was named the Big Ten’s Preseason Player of the Year, but he isn’t alone in dominating on both ends of the court. Koenig, at point guard, averages 14 points per game, while Happ, last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, puts up 13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest.“They got inside, outside — just a solid basketball team, just in terms of, if you make a mistake, they will make you pay with a 3,” Matta said. “Then defensively, you gotta make shots up there.”Williams is OSU’s best 3-point threat on a team that ranks 244th in the country at shooting the ball from deep. He struggled against Minnesota, shooting 1 for 10 from the field. Matta said that he is not as worried as the fan base because of the tough stretch to start the conference slate. But make no mistake about it, it’s time to go for OSU.“We know once we get locked in, and once we get engaged and start doing things with force and aggression and have that attack mentality, we’re pretty tough to stop,” Williams said. “We just got to find a way to keep that going for a full game.”
In Ohio State’s loss to Southern Cal last night, the theme seemed to be missed opportunity.“Our kids prepared extremely hard and played extremely hard and we just didn’t come up with enough of the things you need to do to win a ball game like that,” coach Jim Tressel said. “You need to score more than five points in the second half and they came up with plays on that last drive when they needed to and so they go home with the spoils.”OSU led the game 15-10 late in the fourth quarter, but gave up a hard-earned touchdown and two-point conversion in the last minute of play.Despite bouncing back from an early interception thrown by Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State was unable to take advantage of their opportunities on offense to win the big game.Pyror vs. Barkley, who stood up in the pressure?Leading up to the game, there was a lot of talk about how USC’s freshman quarterback Matt Barkley was going to handle the pressure of the atmosphere in a stadium like the ‘Shoe. Turns out, it was a record-breaking crowd of 106,033 fans in Ohio Stadium and Barkley seemed to handle just fine.Pryor, on the other hand, really wasn’t playing his game last night. The sophomore, who played a significant amount of last year’s game in southern California, gave up a quick interception on the first drive, which USC returned for a touchdown to lead early.At halftime, Pryor had thrown for 123 yards, leading Barkley, who had thrown for 105 yards. But in the second half, Pryor was virtually shut down and added only 54 yards to Barkley’s 90.Pryor was 11 for 25 with one interception and one sack; Barkley was 15 for 31 with one interception and two sacks. Pryor really didn’t stand out against Barkley the way that a veteran should on his own turf.“I think those two young quarterbacks played against two good defenses and those few good defenses brought a lot of pressure and I’m sure that both of them will learn a lot from the experience and that was a tough ball game, especially if you were a quarterback,” Tressel said.Red zone deficientWhile Ohio State isn’t exactly red zone deficient, they certainly make it there, but they just can’t capitalize on position.The Buckeyes had more than half their points come from outside of the end zone, with two field goals from Aaron Pettrey and a safety half way through the third quarter.The Bucks also struggled getting first downs. They had five first downs in the first quarter and then only five more the rest of the game. The offense had terrible trouble converting on important plays. The Buckeyes were four of 13 for third-down conversions.“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities that the defense gave us,” said Jake Ballard, senior tight end and fourth Buckeye captain. “We just kept getting three and out. And you can’t do that when you get the ball.”Running game was missingIt has been no secret that USC has one of the deepest and most talented running back depth charts in college football, but with their performance last week, Dan Herron and Brandon Saine were expected to produce much more than they did last night.Herron carried the ball 18 times for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Saine carried the ball just once throughout the entire game, gaining two yrads. Pryor was OSU’s second highest rusher with a net gain of 36 yards on 10 carries. Kick returner Lamaar Thomas made a rare appearance in the backfield and ran for six yards in the fourth quarter.USC out-ran Ohio State 118 yards to 88.Defense stands strong despite lossOne positive that did come out of the game, was that the Ohio State defense really stepped up. The defensive line played an excellent game against the Trojans.“Our defense played extremely had and they came up with plays, they got us a turnover near mid-field and we didn’t cash in on it at all,” Tressel said. “They just kept playing, and I thought the punt unit did a great job of setting up good field position down in there and our defense made it ahrd for them to drive over the course of the game and they played hard, there’s no doubt.”The defensive tackles, captain Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger combined for six tackles and a tackle-for-loss of four yards. Linebackers Ross Homan, Brian Rolle and Austin Spitler combined for 22 tackles, while Devon Torrence and Cameron Heyward both added sacks to the defensive statistics.“I’m really just physically drained and I know this whole team is just physically drained,” said senior captain Kurt Coleman, who added five tackles of his own. “We worked so hard and it’s just toughâ€¦we knew the ball was going to be in our court and we had to stop them on that last drive and we knew that and it’s just tough, man, I don’t know, it’s tough.”How do we bounce back and win the Big Ten?With a loss under their belts, it is now critical for Ohio State to win their conference. With a big game on the road against Penn State, and several tough games at home, how are the Buckeyes going to get themselves ready to take on the Big Ten?Spitler said that this was obviously a tough loss for the Buckeyes but that they can’t let that get them down.“Have to bound back, tough, and understand that we played a heck of a team and we’ve got a bright future,” Spitler said.Coleman said that he personally, and the team, still have a lot to strive for in the rest of the season and that this loss doesn’t mean the end of their season.“The best thing about this is it’s a nonconference game and we still have things to strive for and things we want to accomplish in the season. We want to win the Big Ten, so we have to regroup and we have to rebound from this,” Coleman said. “We cannot let this affect us at all. So me, myself, and I know the senior are going to really get everybody’s focus back because Toledo’s going to be a tough opponent, so we have to just regroup and get back to the drawing board and get after it.”
Get the name engraver ready — 11 former Buckeyes have been selected to join the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Four football players head the 2011 Hall of Fame class, two who starred on teams in the last 20 years and two more whose playing days were decades earlier. Offensive lineman Orlando Pace and defensive back Mike Doss played in the modern era, and will join Leo Raskowski and Bobby Watkins, who donned scarlet and gray from 1926–28 and 1952–54, respectively. Raskowski, a tackle for OSU, was a two-time All-American and a two-time All Big Ten selection. Watkins, a running back and four-year letterman for the Buckeyes, was one of the first African-American running backs in program history. Watkins led the Buckeyes in scoring during both the 1953 and 1954 campaigns, and helped lead the Buckeyes to the 1954 national championship. Pace, who played at OSU from 1994–96, started every game during the seasons between 1994–96 and was a two-time first-team American. Pace helped OSU to a 20–17 win over Arizona State in the 1997 Rose Bowl. Doss attended OSU from 1999–2002 and earned three first team All-American selections. Doss was also named Defensive MVP of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl where the Buckeyes claimed the consensus national championship. The class of 2011 also includes female rower Diana “Didi” Albrecht, men’s gymnast Raj Bhavsar, wrestler Mitch Clark, track and field athlete Katy Craig, pistol competitor Jessica Marshall, women’s golfer Kristen White and softball’s Stacy Roth. “The 11 members of this year’s class are another great addition to the athletics hall of fame,” senior associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator Miechelle Willis said. “We are proud of all they have accomplished in their respective sports as they join an impressive group of outstanding individuals who have set the bar high for Ohio State student-athletes.” The induction ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 9. Inductees will also be introduced on Sept. 10 at halftime of the OSU football game against Toledo at Ohio Stadium.
Senior defenseman Sara Schmitt (22) attempts a shot on goal during a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 5-3. Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s hockey team will try to put an end to its three-game losing streak as the Buckeyes prepare for a weekend series against the University of North Dakota.The Buckeyes (7-6-0, 5-5-0) hit the road this weekend to play UND (5-7-1, 3-6-1) in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association battle.Last weekend, the Buckeyes dropped two games to No. 2 Minnesota to extend their losing streak to three. OSU coach Nate Handrahan said despite the team’s inability to pull out a win in those three games, its energy and morale hasn’t changed.“We did a lot of good things inside those games against very good teams,” he said. “We need to make some adjustments but the players have done a good job of getting back to work.”One thing that Handrahan has consistently worked on this season with his team is specialty situations and special teams play. This weekend, all of that practice will be put to the test.So far this season, UND is undefeated when scoring on the power play.“Coach really stressed in practice this week, being active and knowing their personnel,” OSU senior forward Taylor Kuehl said. “They have a couple great shooters that can really hit one-timers. Coach stressed knowing who is on the ice.”Senior captain Sara Schmitt said, as a defensive player, killing the power play is something she has focused on personally.“Just working on blocking shots and reading the play,” Schmitt said. “We have to clear the puck whenever we have the chance.”UND coach Brian Idalski said that Schmitt is a key player for the Buckeyes both defensively and offensively.“Defensively (OSU is) very strong, the Schmitt girls are terrific. In fact one of them (Sara Schmitt) is leading the team in scoring,” Idalski said during a Wednesday press conference. “Very aggressive fore-check. They are going to work hard all over the ice, a lot of physical battles. It’s going to be a grind.”Schmitt’s sister — Kari — is also a senior defenseman for OSU.Even though the Buckeyes excel in their defensive play, Kuehl said there is still work to be done offensively.“We’ve struggled scoring goals. For offense we are still looking for production and chemistry between lines,” Kuehl said. “We’ve changed lines quite a bit this season and we are trying to find who works well together to create something specific, like aggressive lines or more skilled lines.”One thing UND is set to have to their advantage for the series is their home ice support. Attendance at UND women’s hockey games is ranked third this season, while OSU is ranked 20th, according to U.S. College Hockey Online. UND averages an attendance of more than 1,314 where OSU averages an attendance of around 300.Both Schmitt and Kuehl said that being seniors, they are use to stepping on the ice and having fans root against them. Kuehl said there is something about it that she actually likes.“I think its fun playing in an atmosphere with a bunch of fans against us,” Kuehl said. “It’s a goal of ours to take the energy from them, play our game and take the crowd from them.”The series between the teams is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at in Grand Forks, N.D. Friday’s game is set for an 8:07 p.m. start, with Saturday’s set to begin at 5:07 p.m.
OSU freshman forward Derek Funderburk (4) jumps over Walsh defenders during the Buckeyes exhibition match-up on Nov. 6. The Buckeyes won 85-67. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorLess than a week after Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann was hired, he suspended redshirt freshman forward Derek Funderburk for failure to meet team expectations, according to a press release.The release did not specify the length of the suspension.Funderburk was redshirted and did not play in the 2016-17 season. Ohio State has just nine players on scholarship on its current roster, including Funderburk.The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward is a native of Lakewood, Ohio, and played high school basketball for St. Edward before transferring to Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) for his senior season. He was the only four-star prospect in Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class.
Members of Ohio State women’s volleyball team celebrate a point scored against No. 2 Penn State on Oct. 6, 2017. The Buckeyes lost 3-2. Credit: Rebecca Farage | Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team had three tigers to tackle this past weekend as they faced the Princeton, Towson and Missouri Tigers. The Buckeyes defeated all three, recording three wins at the Towson Invitational on Friday and Saturday to bring their record to 8-1. Ohio State swept both Princeton (25-23, 25-20, 25-16) and Towson (25-23, 25-22, 25-18), bringing the team to four sweeps this season. The Buckeyes beat Missouri in four sets (21-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-20) on Saturday.Freshman outside hitter Mia Grunze hit .407 against Towson and maintained 12 kills for every match this weekend. Sophomore setter Becca Mauer knocked out 39 assists against Towson. Mauer played a key role in setting up the offense throughout the weekend with 10.86 assists/set. Sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder had 21 digs against Towson while sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte tallied four block assists. Freshman opposite hitter Vanja Bukilic had a .311 hitting percentage and averaged 4.00 kills per set on Saturday.Many personal records were hit during the Missouri match. Witte (13), Bukilic (13), Grunze (12) and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Jordan Fry (11) reached double figures in kills for the first time this season. The freshmen carried the team offensively against Princeton as they accounted for 59 percent of Ohio State kills. with Bukillic (12) and Grunze (11) each recording double-digit kills.Ohio State will be on the road again on Sept. 14 and 15 when the team heads to Dayton for the Flyer Invitational to face the Flyers, Evansville and Tennessee.
Then-sophomore outside hitter Reese Devilbiss hits the ball over the net during the finalset of No. 3 Ohio State’s match against No. 8 Penn State on Jan. 28, 2018 in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) to pick up their fifth win of the season. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Senior ReporterStruggling to build on recent offensive success, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team was inefficient, error-prone and out-blocked in a straight-set defeat to No. 11 Loyola Chicago Friday in Chicago. The loss brings the Buckeyes (8-17, 3-8 MIVA) closer to locking up the seventh seed in the conference tournament, while Loyola Chicago (16-7, 9-2 MIVA) remains entrenched in a battle for the top seed with No. 8 Lewis. The Buckeyes hit at a meager .144 clip on the night, managing 30 kills and five aces while the Ramblers’ hit .329 with 33 kills and eight aces. Of the 63 total kills, 30 came in the third and final set. The Buckeyes came out swinging in the third set, taking a 7-1 lead off of four kills by sophomore outside hitter Jake Hanes and three combined aces by senior setter Sanil Thomas and junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss. Two five-point runs helped Loyola Chicago back into the set, giving the Ramblers a 14-13 lead, but the Buckeyes used three kills and an attack error to tie the set at 17. The Ramblers took control down the stretch, using two kills by senior outside hitter Will Tischler and an ace by senior opposite hitter and setter Dane LeClair to open up a three-point margin before LeClair hammered home a final kill, ending the set 25-22, and giving Loyola Chicago the 3-0 match victory.Tischler led the Ramblers with 11 kills, adding an ace, four digs and two blocks. LeClair finished with six kills, two aces, 10 digs and three blocks. Hanes paced the Buckeyes with 17 kills, providing six digs in support. Defensively, redshirt senior libero Aaron Samarin led the team with 10 digs, also contributing three assists. Kills by LeClair and senior middle blocker Paul Narup and an ace by senior outside hitter Collin Mahan helped Loyola Chicago storm out to an early 6-2 lead. The Buckeyes used two kills and an ace by Devilbiss and three kills by Hanes to try to cut into the Ramblers’ lead to no avail, but Loyola Chicago led by eight at set point, 24-16. Backed against the wall, the Buckeyes mounted a comeback, rattling off five straight points courtesy of three Loyola Chicago errors and two Hanes kills to move within three before a kill by LeClair sealed a first set win for the Ramblers, 25-21. Loyola Chicago finished with 20 total errors, seven attack and 13 service, while Ohio State totaled 33 errors, 17 attack and 16 service. With the second set tied at nine, eight Ohio State errors helped the Ramblers go on a tear with three different scoring runs of three, five and five points, the last of which won them the set, 25-14. Despite just seven kills, Loyola Chicago used three kills and three blocks to dominate the second set. The Ramblers finished the match with eight blocks, while the Buckeyes did not record a block. Ohio State will face No. 8 Lewis at 8 p.m. Saturday in Romeoville, Illinois.
Initially the registry will only hold information about breast implant surgery.In the longer term it will be expanded to cover other cosmetic implants over time, such as buttock or calf implants.Health officials said the database would help to identify complications relating to any specific implants.Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, said: “We want the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world and anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure has the right to safe care.“The PIP breast implant scandal in 2010 affected thousands of people which is why we asked NHS Digital to develop a new register which will allow people to be traced swiftly if that is ever needed.” A new national register will log every breast implant operation in England to prevent a repeat of the scandal in which thousands of women received substandard devices.The registry will record the details of patients having cosmetic surgery, so they can be traced in the event of a product recall or other safety concern.Almost 50,000 women in the UK and some 400,000 worldwide received fraudulently manufactured silicone gel implants, sometimes using industrial grade silicone, before the situation was exposed in 2010.As the global scandal emerged, it became clear that poor record-keeping by some private clinics meant many women were unable to find out if they had the faulty implants.In other cases, women who had received the devices could not be contacted, because the providers who gave them the operations had done out of business. 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. The PIP implant scandal involved up to 50,000 British women Credit:Sebastien Nogier/AFP/Getty Images The registry is expected to record more than 20,000 cases of implant surgery annually. Reporting of data will be done by the provider.Explicit consent from patients will be required to add their details to the registry in addition to the usual consent for the surgical procedure.The Royal College of Surgeons welcomed the measure. Stephen Cannon, chairman of the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) which was set up to make cosmetic surgery safer, said: “The PIP breast implant scandal exposed the critical need for a national register to allow patients to be contacted without delay in the event of a product being recalled. “Thousands of women suffered anguish and extreme distress as they waited to find out whether or not they had been given PIP implants which contained industrial grade silicone. Some of the women are still suffering the side effects and have said that they wished they had never had the procedure. ““This register will help trace patients who have had implants and allow swift action to be taken if there are any concerns about patient safety, removing that level of uncertainty for patients. It will also allow surgeons and hospitals to identify any trends in complication rates from the data gathered, improving patient care.”
In the absence of Southern passengers, Victoria, one of London’s main commuter stations, was much quieter than usual on Tuesday morning.More than half of the departure boards on the main concourse displayed no journey information as the first day of the 48-hour strike hit morning rush-hour. Our inspectors are satisfied that, with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of workingIan Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways And Ian Prosser, the HM Chief Inspector of Railways, has ruled that the trains, which have run on Britain’s rail network for more than thirty years, are safe.In a letter to the Transport Select Committee, he said: “Trains with doors operated by drivers (known in the industry as Driver Only Operation) have been in operation in Great Britain for more than 30 years.”ORR has scrutinised this approach, and our inspectors are satisfied that, with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working.” Southern rail passengers have been abandoned by the Government. You deserve a better service. #SouthernRail pic.twitter.com/UV7lPFkpV2— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) December 13, 2016 Mr Grayling, who is a Southern Rail user himself, said: “People have said to me: ‘Can’t you step in and fix it?’. I wish I could. But I don’t have the power to order people back to work.”It is unfortunately a lawful strike – it’s not a strike I agree with, but I don’t have the power to require those staff to return to work.”Mr Grayling said he was not happy with the performance of the railways in general, but he could not deal with the problems until the Southern strikes ended.He said he had asked Southern’s owner, Govia Thameslink Railway, to attend fresh talks at the conciliation service Acas but Aslef had refused – a claim the union has denied.Aslef boss denies strikes are politically motivatedMick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, accused the Transport Secretary of being “less than honest on all counts”.He also referred to a speech made at a public meeting in Croydon earlier this year by a DfT official.”Earlier this year Peter Wilkinson, the £265,000 a year director of rail passenger services, said on a public platform that the aim of the DfT is to force train drivers – men and women he derisively referred to as ‘muppets’ – ‘out of my industry’.”Mr Wilkinson said he was determined to provoke industrial confrontation and, indeed, was looking forward to ‘punch-ups’ with trade unions.”The strikes this week are not, whatever Mr Grayling tries to suggest, politically motivated. We have a trade dispute with GTR/Southern, and only a poor government would seek to spin it any other way. I think their motives are clear.” Never seen E Croy station like this before. Shutters down, fences up. Totally silent. Weird weird weird. #southernstrike #southernFail pic.twitter.com/jQ1HMavRkQ— Kate Roady-Brooks (@Kate_Roadie) December 13, 2016 Meanwhile, it has emerged that shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald pledged to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with striking rail unions and claimed that roll-out of driver-only trains would lead to passengers being “dragged along” platforms.In comments reported by the staff magazine of Aslef, the train drivers’ union, Mr McDonald claimed that driver-only trains were a risk to passenger safety. Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, described the rail strike as a “deliberate act of militancy” and claimed he was warned of 10 years of industrial action the first time he met the leader of Aslef.But Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, accused Mr Grayling of being “less than honest on all counts”, adding: “We don’t want to inconvenience passengers nor do our members want to lose money, but we have been forced into this by an intransigent company that is not prepared to negotiate.” Signs warn passengers of disruption at New Cross Gate station in south east LondonCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Thanks #southernstrike #southernFail #southerntrains This is Brixton as a result. pic.twitter.com/TNVkKeI9i0— Chad Stevens (@Chad__Stevens) December 13, 2016 Cards and parcels could be delayed after staff at the UK’s 300 largest Post Offices – which handle 20 per cent of all post – announced a five-day strike which will last until Christmas Eve. It is the longest continuous strike in the 300 year history of the Post Office.Normally busy railway stations were deserted as passengers worked from home, took the day off or attempted to drive because of the huge disruption. Some of those who battled into work on alternative routes expressed their frustration on Twitter. True chaos this morning on rail network. Trams can’t ‘t safely fit any more people on and Wimbledon station closed off. #southernFail— Alex Bishop (@alexmbishop) December 13, 2016 A signal failure on the Victoria line at Brixton. Just what we didn’t need on day one of this week’s #southernstrike pic.twitter.com/TXdkdsyNG3— Fi Evans (@FiEvans) December 13, 2016 Trying to get into #Brixton tube station like @TfL pic.twitter.com/SCsyglmurI— James (@JamesDelamare) December 13, 2016 Shocking that Southern Railway haven’t supplied any alternative buses for us. How much money do they make? #southernFail #southernrail— Carl Shakes (@CaptainShakes) December 13, 2016 An empty concourse at Brighton station on Tuesday morning as passengers stayed awayCredit:David McHugh/Brighton Pictures Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, said: “Rail companies are trying to modernise the way they work to give customers better, more punctual, more comfortable services, but hundreds of thousands of passengers are suffering needless disruption because of these strikes – despite independent expert evidence that safety isn’t at risk. Trains where drivers close the doors are safe.”The truth is that these strikes are not about safety, not about jobs and not about customer service.”How it got to this point via failed legal actionGTR lost a legal bid in the High Court last week to stop the drivers’ strikes, before also losing its appeal on Monday.Three judges in the Court of Appeal backed High Court judge Sir Michael Burton’s refusal to grant an injunction blocking what GTR called “unprecedented” strike action and argued would unlawfully restrict freedom of movement provisions under EU law.Lord Justice Elias, Lord Justice Lewison and Lord Justice Lloyd Jones also said they were not prepared to grant an injunction.Southern passengers have suffered months of disruption because of the Aslef dispute and a separate row with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union over changes to the role of guards, as well as staff shortages, staff sickness and other problems such as signal failures.Aslef is also planning a week-long strike from January 9.Southern: We strongly advise people not to travelCharles Horton, chief executive of Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, said he was “disappointed” at the Appeal Court’s decision and called for fresh talks at the conciliation service Acas.He said: “We strongly advise people not to travel. In addition, there will be severe disruption every day during the ongoing industrial action because of the union’s overtime ban.”We will now be asking Acas to convene urgent and immediate talks between GTR and Aslef.”Our aim is to find a resolution to their dispute so we can bring an end to the misery being suffered by the travelling public.”London Mayor: Southern passengers have been abandonedIn a video message posted on Twitter, mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged the Government to give TfL control of commuter lines like Southern, Southeastern and South West.Addressing commuters Mr Khan said: “You pay too much for delays, cancellations and disruption. You deserve a better service. Southern commuters have been abandoned by the Government. You’ve had months of chaos. But it doesn’t have to be like this.” Claims by union leaders that the Southern Rail strike crippling the journeys of hundreds of thousands of commuters is justified by safety concerns have been undermined by experts they cite.Southern Rail staff from the Aslef and RMT unions are carrying out a series of strikes over the roll-out of driver-only trains, which they claim are a risk to passenger safety.Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said on Radio 4 on Tuesday morning that the union had been told by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) that “we cannot rely upon the technology we are using” as he cited reasons for why the strike “isn’t about money – this is about safety”.On the day that striking train drivers brought the Southern network to a halt in the worst disruption for more than 20 years, it later emerged that a report by the RAIB earlier this month said: “We have found no evidence to suggest that driver only operated trains cannot be dispatched safely.” Trains parked at Selhurst depot in south London amid the strikeCredit:Kirsty O’Connor/PA Can’t even get on a bus to get to a train #southernstrike #southernfail #EastCroydon #commuterhell pic.twitter.com/GUvzdnUHzT— caro (@falsemonica) December 13, 2016 The mayor urged commuters to write to the Transport Secretary and the Prime Minister for TfL to have control – promising a “more frequent and more reliable” service “with fewer strikes” and “more affordable fares”.He added: “This is far more important than party politics. Together we can secure the decent and affordable commute that you deserve.”RMT union stands ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with AslefRMT general secretary Mick Cash said his union’s Southern drivers were standing “shoulder to shoulder” with their Aslef colleagues.”This strike action is wholly the responsibility of a Government and a company that have sought to bulldoze through changes that are ill-conceived, finance-led and fraught with danger,” he said.”RMT remembers only too well the words of top Government transport official Peter Wilkinson who told Southern passengers he wanted a punch-up with the unions, that train drivers were muppets and that he would starve our members back to work.”That was the top Government rail official making it clear he was hell-bent on confrontation and it is that position which has led us to today’s shutdown.”This morning Chris Grayling claimed again that the action on Southern is political – it isn’t, it’s about safe train operation for both passengers and staff alike.”The Transport Secretary wants to ask himself why the unions have been able to resolve disputes and reach agreements on Scotrail and elsewhere if our motivation is purely political.”Mr Grayling also claimed again that the RSSB is an independent safety body – it isn’t, it’s funded by the private train companies.”Mr Grayling claimed there is a campaign of unofficial action organised by the unions – there isn’t, and the evidence points to Southern sabotaging services to try and turn the blame on to the staff.”Transport Secretary’s letter to MPs about strikeChris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said he had avoided direct involvement in the bitter dispute at Southern Railway over driver-only trains because it would make the issue more political.In a letter to MPs, he said Southern had offered fresh talks at the conciliation Acas on Sunday, but the drivers’ union Aslef “didn’t turn up”. Union sources countered that no talks had been arranged.Mr Grayling said the dispute with Aslef, and a separate row with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union over the role of guards, were a battle between unions and management over new ways of working on the railways. He wrote:”My ministerial and official team and I have been working hard since we took over our jobs just under five months ago to try to find a way through this. But the unions appear to have little interest in resolving the dispute unless the management cave in totally to their demands.”These are not just to stop the current modernisation process, but to start reversing 30 years of working practice changes right across the country.”When I met the general secretary of Aslef soon after my appointment, with virtually his first breath he promised me ’10 years of industrial action’.”I have therefore believed it better to avoid direct ministerial involvement in negotiations during the autumn, as my involvement would make the issue even more political than it is.”I wish we were dealing with reasonable people on the union side. For all the shortcomings of the train operator – and there have been many – and the failures of the infrastructure – also many – it is difficult to resolve any of the other problems on this network while the union leadership seem hell bent on fomenting this dispute.” Commuters are planning a protest outside the Department for Transport on Thursday evening.’And so begins my four-hour journey to work’: Commuters vent anger on Twitter Our currency has tanked, our economic future uncertain at best + our government can’t even get people to work. #southernFail #picadillyline— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) December 13, 2016 Severe delays were also reported on the Piccadilly line while repairs are carried out.TfL said a shuttle train and rail replacement service would operate on some sections.Meanwhile… signal failures and broken-down freight train causes Greater Anglia chaosGreater Anglia trains has cancelled at least 30 trains on Tuesday morning, with many more delayed due to broken-down trains and signal failures.The train company has cancelled all services between Audley End and Newport Essex due to signal failures while a broken down freight train being moved at 3mph has blocked some lines between Ipswich and Manningtree.Disruption due to the freight train, which Greater Anglia said will take 2.5 hours to make an eight mile journey, is expected to be cleared by midday.There is also a broken down train meaning no services are operating between Sudbury and Marks Tey. Customers are being advised not to travel with disruption expected until midday. and so begins my 4 hour journey to work thanks a lot southern. #southernrail #southernFail— hannah (@haner_) December 13, 2016 @TfL @SadiqKhan are you actually JOKING? No trains so my route is a bus to Brixton to find there’s no tube? London = FAIL #done #overit pic.twitter.com/0zTFn2djoq— Roisin Kelly (@RoisinKelly20) December 13, 2016 Mick Whelan, the Aslef general secretaryCredit:REX/Shutterstock Mr Whelan added: “We regret the action we are taking today. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers nor do our members want to lose money, but we have been forced into this by an intransigent company that is not prepared to negotiate.”We are prepared to negotiate; that is how we struck a deal earlier this year with ScotRail which works for the company, the passengers and the staff. It can be done.”But Southern didn’t want to do a deal. Their definition of negotiations and talks is to sit down and tell us what they want to do. They should look the word up in the dictionary if they don’t understand.”It’s up to the company, and the Government, to be flexible and end the misery of commuters. The power is in their hands. Why won’t Chris Grayling tell Southern to do the right thing for once?”Aslef denied company claims that it had refused to attend peace talks over the weekend.Mr Whelan said Southern Railway had contacted him to suggest going to Acas late on Sunday, but Aslef said it would do so only if the company called off the court action. ‘Passengers advised not to travel’ – because going to work is a take it or leave it situation. 🙄 #southernFail— Christina (@runningiris) December 13, 2016 Chris Grayling, the Transport SecretaryCredit:Mark Thomas/REX/Shutterstock Chris Grayling refuses to rule out stripping Southern Rail of licenceTransport Secretary, Chris Grayling, refused to rule out both stripping Southern Rail of its licence and changing legislation to rule out similar strikes.Asked if he could change legislation in future, he said: “I think there’s a lot of things to think about after this strike.”Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he was also asked whether or not he would remove the licence from the beleaguered rail company.“There’s a variety of things to think through and I’m not going to set out options,” he said. Would-be travellers gazed at the boards, which were blank apart from a special notice urging them to check timetables for services. Staff confirmed that the Gatwick Express airport shuttle service was running every half an hour. It usually runs every 15 minutes. I’m struggling to see the difference in service @SouthernRailUK offers during their Strike action!#southernFail #southernrail— Nick Cornes (@no1niknak) December 13, 2016 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. Worst disruption since strike in mid-1990sPassengers have suffered months of disruption in the ongoing Southern row, which is about who should open and close train doors. However, this is the the first strike by Aslef drivers.Charles Horton, chief executive of Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), confirmed there will be no services on strike days and “severe disruption” during an ongoing overtime ban.The shutdown of Southern’s services will be the worst disruption since the railways were hit by a lengthy strike by signal workers in the mid-1990s. Members of the drivers’ union, Aslef, mounted picket lines outside stations on Tuesday morning at the start of a 48-hour walkout in a dispute over driver-only trains. Another 24-hour strike is set for Friday.As many as 300,000 passengers normally travel on 2,242 Southern services every day during the week – including busy commuter routes from Sussex to London Victoria – but the company has told them there will be no trains on any route.The operator’s owners lost a legal bid to halt the walkout, which comes as Britain faces further Christmas strike chaos, as militant unions announced walkouts at the Post Office. RMT drivers on Southern will also be on strike, while the guards will launch a fresh 48-hour walkout from next Monday, and a three-day stoppage from New Year’s Eve.A Southern spokesman said: “We are sincerely sorry that Southern services are at a standstill today. These strikes are wholly unjustified and we must find a way forward.”We want to talk to Aslef’s leadership to try and find a way to resolve this dispute. We have invited them to meet and we hope we’ll be able to begin those talks soon.” Commuters await a South West Train at Clapham JunctionCredit:Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstock ‘Are you actually JOKING?’: Disruption on alternative routesCommuters travelling on alternative rail services from the south faced further delays when a signal failure at Brixton meant the Victoria line was suspended between the south London Underground station and Victoria.Initial delays were reported by Transport for London at around 6.30am before the service between the two stations was terminated at around 7.30am.Passengers spoke of their dismay on Twitter: Empty departure boards at London’s Victoria station on Tuesday morningCredit:Jemma Crew/PA My packed train this morning due #southernstrike #southernFail now trying to cripple other services!! @SouthernRailUK @nationalrailenq pic.twitter.com/Lq69VzxxLR— Hrohan (@HrohanJust4u) December 13, 2016 The Aslef journal quoted Mr McDonald as saying that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling “may not be bothered but he will be when the first passenger, with a bag trapped in the door, is dragged along the platform”.The RMT’s newsletter also quoted Mr McDonald as praising the strikers, who have brought misery to hundreds of thousands of commuters.He was reported to have told RMT members at a parliamentary rally: “It takes some guts to stand up for what you believe in and you have my utmost admiration. Labour stands shoulder to shoulder with the RMT in not being prepared to compromise over safety”. What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below. Crowds of commuters wait for unaffected Thameslink trains from BrightonCredit:David McHugh/Brighton Pictures
Women who drink two glasses of wine a night should be sent for scans by their GPs to check for cirrhosis, new NHS guidance says.The advice from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says around 2 million people are drinking at levels which put them at risk of potentially fatal disease.GPs are being told that men who drink three pints of beer a night, and women consuming two glasses of wine nightly are among those who should be sent for checks for scarring to the liver, also known as cirrhosis.Britain is the worst country in the western world for heavy drinking among professional women, with those with a good education twice as likely to be problem drinkers, research shows.Britain is the worst country in the western world for heavy drinking among professional women, with those with a good education twice as likely to be problem drinkers, research shows.But last night Nice was accused of needlessly frightening those who enjoyed a drink, in a “colossal waste of NHS resources,” with critics saying such checks were too indiscriminate.It follows a recent clampdowns on recommended safe limits for alcohol, amid warnings from the chief medical officer to “do as I do” and think about the risks of cancer before having a drink. He called on retailers to do more to help drinkers cut back, criticising discounts for those buying more than six bottles of wine at a time.“Clearly, some of us really do need to cut back, but we can’t just blame ordinary drinkers. Supermarkets need to take their share of responsibility too,” he said.Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs criticised the recommendations.“The average liver cirrhosis patients drinks vastly more than 35 units a week. Unnecessarily testing millions of people on the basis of an arbitrary target would be a colossal waste of NHS resources,” he said. One in five women in England who has been to university regularly drinks too much, the report found – compared with one in ten of those with lower levels of education.The research found that the link between high levels of education among women and hazardous drinking was stronger in this country than in any other.Mark Pearson, OECD head of health, said the trends reflected “the dark side of equality” with middle-class women risking their health as they adopted traditional male drinking habits. “There are chronic drinkers out there who would benefit from a liver test, but these people should be referred by their GP. The health service has a limited budget. It should target people who need help rather than indiscriminately those who do not.”Dave Roberts, director general of industry body, the Alcohol Information Partnership, said the advice was “confusing,” and at odds with the Government advice in using different thresholds for men and women.“The majority of people in the UK enjoy a drink in a convivial and moderate manner as part of a healthy lifestyle,” he said, with recent data showing the vast majority of men and women drink less than 14 units a week.The draft quality standard, out for consultation until February, also calls for all those diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to be regularly tested for advanced liver fibrosis – so they can be given help to prevent it developing into cirrhosis.Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of Nice said: “Many people with liver disease do not show symptoms until it is too late.“If it is tackled at an early stage, simple lifestyle changes or treatments can be enough for the liver to recover. Early diagnosis is vital, as is action to both prevent and halt the damage that drinking too much alcohol can do.Last year research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found Britain is the worst country in the western world for heavy drinking among professional women.The OECD research shows women in this country are twice as likely to be problem drinkers if they have a good education.Authors warned that Britain is one of the few countries in the world in which professional women appear to be drinking to keep up with men. 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. The new study says 13 pints of high strength cider can be bought for the price of a cinema ticketCredit:Eddie Mulholland Britain’s binge drinking levels are among the highest in the world, international research has found. Last year there were 7,974 deaths from liver disease in England and Wales, with a 49 per cent rise in diagnoses of cirrhosis in the last decade.In the past diagnosing cirrhosis meant liver biopsies, but advances in testing mean it can be tested much more easily, experts said.Dr Andrew Fowell, consultant hepatologist at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and specialist committee member, said:“Identifying people who are at risk of liver disease and offering them non-invasive testing to diagnose cirrhosis is key to ensuring they are given the treatment and support they need early enough to prevent serious complications.” The new Nice advice says men drinking more than 50 units of alcohol a week – or 22 pints of regular-strength beer should be offered the scans. Women drinking more than 35 units per week – which means two 175ml glasses of wine a night, will also be targeted by GPs.Watchdogs said earlier diagnosis of liver scarring would ensure patients receive treatment and support to manage their condition. But they said current access to the tests was varied, calling for far more to be done for those at risk of liver disease.Charities welcomed the recommendations which they said would give many people “pause for thought”.Liver disease is now the fifth largest cause of death in England and Wales, with almost 8,000 deaths annually, with cases of cirrhosis rising by almost 50 per cent in a decade.But critics said it went too far, suggesting the health lobby had become “victims of their own propaganda.”Earlier this year, the Government triggered controversy with new advice, which brought down recommended safe limits of alcohol, bringing men into line with women.The guidelines recommend a maximum 14 units a week – seven medium glasses of wine – for both men and women. Andrew Misell at Alcohol Concern, said: “This recommendation is going to give quite a few of us a pause for thought. We tend to think of liver disease as a problem for seriously heavy drinkers, but these figures – five bottles of wine a week for men, and three and a half for women – will match a lot of people’s consumption. The Coalition discussed introducing minimum unit prices for alcohol, but did not do so Credit:Christopher Pledger
He even requires a secretary to run his busy diary and he only gave up driving in 2004.It was Frankland who championed the view that an allergic reaction is due to a malfunctioning immune system.In doing so, he and his colleagues opened up the possibility of radical new treatments for lifelong sufferers by using small doses of an allergen to, in effect, retrain the errant immune system.He told The Telegraph some years ago about his encounter with Saddam Hussein.He said: “I got a call [in 1979] to see the new president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. They told me he had an allergy and he was being treated with various desensitising injections. But he wasn’t allergic at all; his problem was that he was smoking 40 cigarettes a day. “I heard some time later that he had had a disagreement with his secretary of state for health, so he took him outside and shot him. Maybe I was lucky.”During the Second World War, he joined the Royal Amy Medical Corps and was sent to Singapore. On arrival, he tossed a coin with a fellow medic to decide upon the institution where each would work. It was three days before Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941.Some two months later, on February 15, 1942, the Japanese swept into Singapore.His colleague, who had gone to the Alexandra Hospital to work, died there along with other staff in an orgy of killing by Japanese soldiers armed with bayonets.Frankland survived the invasion but endured ”three-and-a-half years of hell” in an internment camp on Blakang Mati Island (now Sentosa).He now has a non-paid consultancy role at Guy’s Hospital, where he researched peanut allergies. He continued to see patients as a private consultant into his late 90s. After all his hard work, he received his MBE, aged 103, in 2015. “I told him to stop and if he wouldn’t I would refuse to come and see him again. I don’t think anyone had spoken to him like that before. Dr Bill Frankland, who we caught up with around his 100th birthday five years ago, is a remarkable man.He’s been asked by Saddam Hussein for treatment, suffered as a prisoner of war and worked with Alexander Fleming, and is still going strong.Born in Sussex, the doctor is known as the ‘Grandfather of Allergy’, which is his specialism – he helped thousands every year by convincing the media to show pollen counts in weather forecasts.Dr Frankland has received two cards from the Queen for reaching such a grand old age, and still drinks alcohol, cheekily telling the Daily Mail: “No wine for me — I had too much to drink yesterday”.Britain’s oldest working doctor still contributes to journals and consults people about their allergies. 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. Credit:Martin Pope Dr William Frankland at Buckingham PalaceCredit:Eddie Mulholland
A former racing driver was killed in a freak fireball accident after rubbing his hands on his clothes as they were soaked in petrol and igniting the fuel with static, it is claimed.Great grandfather Fred Saunders, 84, sustained severe and fatal burns at his home while he was draining the tank of his camper van following a small petrol leak.During the work, Mr Saunders’ fleece jacket and trousers became covered in fuel.And it is understood his clothes then ignited through the static electricity caused when he tried to wipe his hands clean. His partner, Sue Read, 72, was able to put out the flames and call the emergency services who attended their home near Yeoford, Devon, at around 7.30pm on Sunday, April 16.Mr Saunders was treated at the scene before being flown to Southmead Hospital in Bristol but died at 3pm the following day.Mrs Read said her husband had enjoyed a Sunday at Hatherleigh Auto-Jumble and watching the Grand Prix racing on television before he started working on his vehicle.She said: “I had been watering the plants and was not observing.”I think I was aware of something. I have been trying to work it out and I cannot – it was just a blur.”He was working on a vehicle – his old camper van – and then whoosh! I just went numb – I turned into a transfixed rabbit in the head lights. I could not think. I just thought, ‘where is the water? Do I get water?’ Fred Saunders in his Crossle 15F at Snetterton race circuit in NorfolkCredit:SWNS.com “I called the emergency services. Everybody was so brilliant.”He was a lovely bloke. Kind, generous – and stubborn. There was a right way, wrong way and Fred’s way. He was a one off. A very, very practical man.”Lots of people are saying he was a legend.”He leaves behind three children, Dave, Leslie and Marion, six grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.Sue was full of praise for all those who had helped Fred, including the firefighters, paramedics, ambulance staff, police and the nurses at the hospital.She said: “Everyone was brilliant and they all deserve congratulations.”Mr Saunders’ daughter Marion Aubry added: “The treatment my father received was second-to-none. I cannot praise the hospital staff enough.”They ensured he was in no pain and were so caring and thoughtful.”Chris Aubry, Marion’s husband, said: “Fred was the former landlord of the Mare and Foal pub in Yeoford, but had also been a sailor, pilot, farmer and even kept Shire horses.”He was a former racing car driver competing in Formula 5000, Formula Vee and was Formula Vee Champion in 1969.”He previously told me ‘I have had a really good life and done pretty much everything’.”Fred was also a deep sea welder and appeared on the television programme “Salvage Squad”, as an expert guiding competitors.A full inquest is expected to be held at a later date. 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.
The authority is also concerned by the impact of seagull droppings on bathing water quality and increased reported of property damage.The orders would cover all of Thornton, Cleveleys and Fleetwood as well as all of Knott End.It is illegal to injure or kill gulls or destroy their nests as the birds are protected by law.Herring gulls were in “serious trouble” and on the conservation concern “red list” after a 74 per cent decline in their numbers since the 1970s.But in recent years UK coastal towns have reported increasing numbers have caused a crisis – with aggressive gulls swooping on pets and children. “When people finish eating outside as soon as they leave the table the gulls are down for the scraps, our staff are pretty sharp getting out there and getting it cleared up.”People shouldn’t be feeding them but I’m not sure how you go about fining people. Is there going to be a dedicated seagull patrol?” I hope the seagulls and gulls will fly off to a happier place where there will no PSPOsPatricia O’Connor A seagull attacks in CornwallCredit: Apex Now it is suggesting dragging seagull feeders into court and slap them with £100 fines via Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)But the idea of people spying on neighbours has left many at the popular English seaside towns uneasy.Resident Ian Gerrard, 64, fumed: “It feels wrong somehow to almost ‘recruit’ the public to do this. It could land people with disputes with their neighbours.” Jane Littlewood, from the Rossall Beach group, said: “If we were more respectful of where we lived and did not leave litter lying about and did not feed the gulls then I feel we could get on more harmoniously.”Under the proposals Wyre Council would ask members of the public to report individuals feeding the birds – so the culprits can be punished and fined.Their online consultation document says: “The council recognises that seagulls are a welcomed symbol of the British seaside.”However reported problems associated with seagulls are on the increase.”The council want to pursue controlled methods of dealing with the growing population through the introduction of a new Public Space Protection Order.”The authority says there has been an increase in the seagull population caused by larger broods and a lack of predators.The council says data shows there has been an increase in reported physical attacks on humans by seagulls and noise complaints from the birds. A seaside council has been accused of asking residents to spy and then snitch on any neighbours who feed seagulls.The famous “Golden Sands” Lancashire resorts of Fleetwood, Thornton and Cleveleys are “increasingly” being blighted by the flying pests.Wyre Council has recently reported a huge 600 per cent increase in dive-bombing gull attacks, with 47 incidents reported since April this year. While Patricia O’Connor wrote: “It seems a bit harsh using PSPOs (Public Space Protection Orders) fining people for feeding these birds.”The rise in the use of these PSPOs has raised public concern. I hope the seagulls and gulls will fly off to a happier place where there will no PSPOs.”Traders in Cleveleys are clear there is a problem but some are concerned by how fines could be administered. Martin Hunns, from the Carousel Diner, said: “There is a problem with seagulls but I don’t think it’s been as bad this year as it was last year. 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.
Adrian Buckle, head of research at UK Finance, told The Telegraph that the last year had seen a substantial uptake of contactless cards in the over-65 age bracket.“We see with the adoption of new payment methods, it tends to be younger people who will try things first, but equally once other people see something is being used, it is working well for people and it is bringing benefits in terms of saving time and being convenient and still being secure, they try it as well,” he said. “Even though it’s lagging behind the others, it is now over half of people in that age group using contactless,” he added.One key driver of contactless technology has been the introduction of contactless card payments for Tube journeys, Mr Buckle said. London Underground barriers have “provided a safe and familiar environment where people are already used to tapping a card and walking through,” he said. “When they’re at the till, it gives them a bit of extra confidence because they know what they’re doing and they know it’s going to work.” On Friday, Transport for London announced that more than half of ‘pay as you go’ journeys are made with contactless cards or mobile devices.The UK Payments Market report also found that while older shoppers regularly used contactless cards, they made up just 5 per cent of mobile banking payment users. Gareth Shaw, Which? Money Expert, said: “Clearly the way we shop and pay for services is changing but for millions of people in the UK cash still plays an essential role in their everyday lives. “With bank branch closures on the rise and the UK’s free-to-use ATM network under threat, it’s vital these people are still able to access the cash they need.” The contactless revolution has swept up pensioners to push the value of card payments above cash for the first time, new industry figures show.The number of over-65s embracing tap-and-go technology has soared, boosting card transactions to become Britain’s primary payment choiceAppearing to shrug off concerns over the security of PIN-free transactions, more than half of older shoppers now use contactless regularly, trade association statistics reveal.Debit card payments totalling 13.2 billion eclipsed the 13.1 billion payments made in cash in the United Kingdom last year, with supermarkets being the most popular place to use contactless technology.Cash is now the second most common form of payment and is predicted to make up just 36 per cent of transactions in ten years’ time. Between 2016 and 2017, contactless payments increased by 97 per cent. With a contactless card you don’t need to worry about remembering a PIN, you don’t need to get your specs out to be able to see a keypadMervyn Kohler, Age UK Tube journeys have made Londoners more accustomed to contactless payments, through practicing with an Oyster card.Credit:Anthony Devlin/PA Wire 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. The new report published by UK Finance shows that for the first time more than half of over-65s use contactless cards, compared to two-thirds of UK consumers at large.Mervyn Kohler, a spokesman for Age UK, said: “I think we’re looking at an older population which is deeply polarised between those that embrace new technologies and those that wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. “There are an awful lot of old people who would be petrified at the thought of a contactless card clocking up bills that they can’t actually remember, and if they’re living on a very tight budget that’s the last thing they would want.“On the other hand, with a contactless card you don’t need to worry about remembering a PIN, you don’t need to get your specs out to be able to see a keypad and manipulate your way around the keypad to enter your PIN when your fingers are nasty and arthritic, so I can see the plus side for people who are confident about using them.”