The winners of these two matches will play each other on July 9 at 4 p.m. EDT. See our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.In DepthThe second- and third-lowest-scoring teams to make the quarterfinals of this World Cup square off against each other in Saturday’s early game (Belgium, with six goals, vs. Argentina, with seven), and then the lowest-scoring team (Costa Rica, with five goals) faces the highest-scoring side (the Netherlands, which has scored 12).Let’s look at Belgium vs. Argentina first.Since Argentina ignominiously exited the 2010 World Cup with a second consecutive quarterfinal loss to Germany, little Lionel Messi has been dominating the world of soccer like nothing we’ve seen in modern times.After scoring only one goal in both his previous World Cup tournaments combined, this year he’s taken the tournament by storm, scoring four goals (including a stoppage-time game-winner against Iran) in his first three matches, and recording the game-winning assist with just minutes remaining in the fourth.Stoking questions about whether it relies too much on Messi, however, the rest of his team has been awful on offense; Argentina’s other players have managed to put the same number of balls into their opponents’ nets (one) as those opponents have themselves (Bosnia’s own goal). Argentina’s shooting breaks down like so:Messi has scored on four of 16 shots (including converting three of 11 attempts from outside the penalty area).In the 18 shots set up by Messi (the highest number of chances created by any player going into the quarterfinals), Argentina has scored once (Angel di Maria’s game-winner against Switzerland).In the 46 shots Messi was not involved in, Argentina has scored only once, failing to score on all 42 attempts from outside the 6-yard box.Thus — despite having Messi, and despite Messi playing brilliantly — Argentina has only scored on 7.5 percent of its shot attempts, second-worst among quarterfinalists.Belgium, on the other hand, has seen six different players score. But that’s only six goals; even though Belgium has taken a tournament-leading 21 shots per game, the Red Devils have scored on only 7.2 percent of those shots, the worst of all quarterfinalists.Belgium has largely gotten by on excellent goalkeeping, with Thibaut Courtois allowing only two goals despite facing 13 shots on goal worth 4.84 expected goals (using ESPN/TruMedia’s Expected Goals model). His .22 “goals allowed below average” (GABA) per shot is the highest of remaining goalies (higher is better).Another team with good goalkeeping so far is Costa Rica, whose Keylor Navas has saved 14 of 16 shots on goal, with an average GABA of .21 per shot, good for second behind Courtois.Neither Costa Rica nor the Netherlands are what you’d call possession teams: Despite their impressive run, the Netherlands has held the ball just 44 percent of the time, and Costa Rica has held it 42 percent (the only other quarterfinalist with less than 50 percent possession was Colombia, with 46 percent). The flip side of playing this way is that these two teams also lead quarterfinalists in average pass distance (21.7 and 20.8 yards, respectively).But for the most part, Costa Rica seems badly overmatched. While they’ve shot a respectable 14.3 percent, that’s mostly because they’ve been unable to get shots at all — they’ve taken about nine shots per game, averaging only three on goal. Both those figures are by far the lowest of any remaining squad.The Netherlands, on the other hand, had one the most impressive runs into the quarterfinals. The Dutch faced the most difficult route (their opponents had an average Soccer Power Index rating of 80.0), but so far have the second-highest goal differential at +8.The Netherlands has been far superior on contested plays. When taking on defenders, the Flying Dutchmen have been successful a whopping 69 percent of the time. That compares to just 31 percent for Costa Rica. The Netherlands has won contested balls in the air at a 57 percent rate, compared to 36 percent for Costa Rica.In trying to find what, aside from good fortune and good goalkeeping, has driven Costa Rica’s gritty run (it’s scraped by against the second-hardest schedule), just about the only thing I could come up with was evidence of how well it’s run the offside trap. Costa Rica has drawn an enormous number of offsides calls: It’s pulled its opponents offsides 28 times (the next-most among quarterfinalists was 12, by Germany).Overall, our World Cup odds give Argentina a 14.9 percent chance of winning it all, the Netherlands an 11.8 percent chance, Belgium a 2.3 percent chance, and Costa Rica a 0.7 percent chance.YesterdayIn the first competitive match between France and Germany since the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup, Germany took the lead early with a headed goal by defender Mats Hummels. It was Hummels’s second goal of the World Cup, making him the first defender to score twice in this year’s tournament (he would get company later in the day). Both of Hummels’s goals have been headers, and both have been by assisted by Toni Kroos.For Germany, headers are nothing new: Over the past 50 years (as far back as ESPN Stats & Info’s data set goes), Germany has scored 37 headed goals in World Cup play, nearly twice as many as any other country (Italy has 19). Scoring first — by head or foot — has been Germany’s recipe for success in the World Cup, especially as of late. The Germans are 21-0-2 in their last 23 World Cup matches when scoring first, their last loss coming in the 1994 quarterfinals to Bulgaria.France, on the other hand, trailed for the first time at this year’s tournament, and still has never won in a World Cup match when trailing at halftime, losing all 11 times. Les Bleus made efforts to equalize, ending up with more shots (13) than Germany (8), and more chances created (10 to 7). But it was all for naught.In Friday’s second match, Brazil opened the scoring in the seventh minute, its fastest goal of the tournament. The goal came from a Neymar corner kick, his first assist of the tournament. It was Thiago Silva’s first career World Cup goal, and it was Brazil’s third goal from a corner, tied with France and Germany for the most in this World Cup.Brazil was in control for the remainder of the first half, completing seven of 15 passes into the attacking penalty area and creating seven total chances. Neymar created four chances, including the assist; Colombia, as a team, created two in the first half.Brazil extended its lead to 2-0 on defender David Luiz’s 34-yard free kick, the second-longest goal of the tournament. Luiz failed to score in his first 39 career international appearances, but he has found the back of the net in his last two. Brazil has now taken a two-goal lead in a World Cup match 49 times, and has won all 49.The breakout star in the tournament so far, Colombia’s James Rodriguez, converted a penalty to give his side hope; he scored in all five of his games in the tournament. It was his sixth goal, giving him a two-goal lead in the race for the Golden Boot. Colombia scored five goals combined in its last two World Cup appearances (1994 and 1998).Brazil and Germany’s semifinal meeting on Tuesday will, incredibly, mark only the second time these two countries have met at the World Cup. The other was the 2002 final, won by Brazil 2-0. — Jacob Nitzberg, senior statistics analyst, ESPNOff the PitchThe Netherlands and Costa Rica have been friends for a while. In fact, the Dutch were a big source of aid to the Costa Ricans until recently, when the latter ascended to middle-income status. The relationship has gradually shifted to focus more on trade and economic cooperation, but it’s still worth looking at the aid the Netherlands provided over the years.AidData reports that the Dutch sent about $362.5 million Costa Rica’s way between 1978 and 2010. The bulk allocation changed with time, and in the 1980s seemed to focus on industry growth, with $1 million going toward agriculture in 1981, $31 million toward imports to Costa Rica in 1984 and $7 million toward forestry in 1989. The ‘90s began a slow transition, with $17 million spent on multisector industry growth in 1994, $22 million on debt alleviation in 1996 and $21 million on general environmental protection in 1997. With this final pivot, it looks like Costa Rica found its stride — environmental protection continued to be the focus of Dutch aid through 2006, with a final peak of $17 million. Since then, Costa Rica’s tourism industry has boomed, and Dutch aid has all but completely ended.Further ReadingMohawks, Faux-hawks And Macklemores: The Top-Heavy Hairdos of the World CupThe World Cup USMNT Replacement Team Power RankingsStop Making Sense It’s Old Dutch Empire vs. Old Spanish Empire day, as Argentina (independent from Spain since 1816) takes on Belgium (independent from the Netherlands since 1830), and Costa Rica (independent from Spain since 1821) takes on the Netherlands itself.In BriefArgentina vs. Belgium: 12 p.m. EDTNetherlands vs. Costa Rica 4 p.m. EDT
The first College Football Playoff game ever played, Thursday’s Rose Bowl between the Oregon Ducks against the Florida State Seminoles, promised to be a classic featuring two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. Instead, it was a one-sided romp that saw Oregon outscore Florida State 41-7 in the second half en route to a 39-point victory.Plenty of observers enjoyed the schadenfreude of seeing Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston lose his first game as a college starter, particularly in light of Winston’s off-field comportment. But the blowout loss also amplified questions about whether Florida State should have been granted a playoff berth in the first place.Going into the playoff, there wasn’t much debate over the selection committee‘s top two teams, Alabama and Oregon, but there was plenty of controversy surrounding the admittance of Florida State and Ohio State over TCU and Baylor. In addition to the strange leapfrog Florida State and Ohio State made over TCU in the final edition of the committee’s rankings, a number of oddsmakers suggested both jilted Texas schools would be favored at a neutral field over either the Seminoles or Buckeyes.Some of that second-guessing looks silly after Ohio State beat Alabama in Thursday’s Sugar Bowl, earning a trip to face Oregon in the CFP’s championship game, hours after Baylor blew a 20-point 4th quarter lead against Michigan State to lose the Cotton Bowl. But in conjunction with TCU’s 39-point obliteration of Ole Miss (who placed ninth in the committee’s final rankings) in the Peach Bowl on Wednesday, Florida State’s humiliating loss to Oregon has, predictably, led to calls that TCU should have been in the playoff instead.Statistically, there’s something to that criticism. Going into the bowls, Florida State ranked tenth in ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) rating, which emphasizes per-drive scoring margin and downplays the theory that a team could have a knack for consistently winning close games, rather than just getting lucky. The Seminoles had been 13-0 before their meeting with Oregon, but the Seminoles’ point differential suggested they deserved a record more like 10-3 or even 9-4. The Seminoles’ year of living dangerously finally caught up with them.By contrast, TCU had ranked fifth in the FPI before the bowls, and currently sits at No. 4 behind Oregon, Alabama (who still rank second despite their loss), and Ohio State. Knowing what we know now, and using the historical distribution of actual point margins for a given prediction (based on an FPI-like Elo variant for seasons since the start of the BCS era), there’s a 98.2 percent probability that TCU’s point differential versus Oregon would have been closer than Florida State’s margin of defeat Thursday, and a 54 percent chance that TCU would cover the point spread if they were made a touchdown underdog against the Ducks.Then again, based on the pregame FPI ratings, Oregon’s 39-point win in the Rose Bowl also represented the 98th percentile of all possible outcomes for a game against Florida State at a neutral site. If they were to play again today, FPI’s current data says there’s a 96.6 percent probability the Seminoles would put forth a better showing the second time around.Hindsight is 20/20. So while it’s likely that TCU was, and is, a better team than Florida State, it was difficult at the time to argue for an undefeated Power 5 conference team to be left out of the playoff field, even if their record was out of step with their point differential.And even now, the gulf between the two teams isn’t as wide as it seems after TCU had a 99th percentile performance in the Peach Bowl and Florida State had a 2nd percentile performance in the Rose Bowl. FPI says TCU would be favored by about 4.5 points on a neutral field, meaning there’d still be roughly a 39 percent chance of a Florida State victory even after accounting for the events of the past few days.
If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Hot Takedown Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (June 9, 2015), we discuss whether LeBron James can continue to win NBA Finals games by himself, whether Serena Williams can set the record for most Grand Slams ever and what we’ve learned after the first batch of women’s World Cup games. Plus, a special Significant Digit — Nate Silver talks with 12-year-old Simon Bazelon (son of New York Times writer and Slate podcast host Emily Bazelon), who has some criticisms about FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Elo ratings.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss in this week’s show:Nate Silver takes on the adage, “Live by the three, die by the three.” It’s mostly not true.Neil Paine on the Cavs’ Game 2 win, in context.Williams is really, really clutch.Grantland assesses Williams’ remarkable career arc.We’re offering continually updated women’s World Cup predictions, and our latest model shows that Germany is slightly more likely to win than the U.S.Significant Digit: 11 championships. That’s the number Bill Russell’s Celtics won, in 13 years, but our Elo ratings still say they weren’t the most dominant dynasty of all time. Special guest Simon Bazelon (12 years old) debates Nate and presents his own data. Simon is the son of Emily Bazelon, who recently mentioned his analysis on Slate’s “Political Gabfest” podcast. Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed
As it turned out, all Marshawn Lynch received were eight days off from the champion Seattle Seahawks’ training camp. His holdout for a new contract will end Thursday, according to ESPN sources, with no new deal as part of his return.Seattle, though, is expected to add some financial concessions to his contract, sources indicated.Lynch, 28, is in the third year of a four-year, $30 million deal. He received $6 million of it in a signing bonus. Lynch will make $5 million in base salary this season and $5.5 million in 2015, but he wanted more money up front or more money guaranteed.He is the key cog in the offense that helped Seattle win this year’s Super Bowl. Not having Lynch ready and eager would be a setback for a team with aspirations for a repeat.Lynch showed up for minicamp in June to avoid a hefty fine, but made a stand with the start of training camp. He is subject to a $30,000 fine for each day of camp he misses. Lynch has accumulated nearly $500,000 in team fines for his holdout through Thursday, but it is unclear if the Seahawks will collect the fines or waive them.He has rushed for 4,051 yards (along with 39 touchdowns) on 901 carries. He has averaged 300 carries and 1,350 yards over the past three seasons.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the “Win Forecasts: American League East” chart mistakenly showed the win probabilities of the American League Central. The values for the American League East have since been updated (apologies to any Blue Jays fans who were filled with false despair). The ESPN Forecast panel released its first-ever set of Major League Baseball predictions last week, and the editors were kind enough to provide us with the raw voting data. FiveThirtyEight had just published an article about preseason predictions, so we were eager to dig into the panel’s results.With the raw votes from the panel’s more than 140 members, we can calculate each team’s odds of winning its division and each team’s chances of making the playoffs. We can also forecast a range for the number of wins each team is likely to end the season with. We can do all this based on the assumption that the ESPN Forecast is roughly as accurate as Las Vegas’ over/unders (meaning the root-mean-square error on these predictions will be about plus or minus nine wins).How can we make that assumption for a brand-new forecast? It would seem more than a bit hubristic. But the ESPN Forecast has a strong track record in basketball, for which it actually beat Vegas over a five-year span. In the absence of any additional information about the MLB forecast, a RMSE of 9 is not a bad prior, especially given that Sports Illustrated’s similar wisdom-of-a-crowd-of-experts method fared just as well as Vegas and computer models at picking teams’ divisional placements.
For our purposes, “general archival” included bits such as Simpson’s outtakes with Marcus Allen. “News archival” is news footage from the time period, like that of the Eula Love shooting in L.A. and footage of the trial. “Archival Interviews” include all interviews that weren’t filmed expressly for the documentary, like one with a young O.J. Simpson about his retirement from football to pursue acting. “Football highlights” are self-explanatory and “original Interviews” were filmed for the documentary.You can guess how much of the breakdown goes. Episode 1, for instance, spends 41 minutes on Simpson’s football career — no other episode lingers here for more than three minutes — because Simpson’s fame began on the field. At the same time, the episode focuses on the civil rights movement, particularly in Los Angeles, and Simpson’s separatist lifestyle as a superstar on USC’s campus, away from the movement. To capture moments such as this, we also broke the series down into thematic elements, including personal life, context, trial and football.Here, “personal life” included bits like Simpson’s friend, Joe Bell talking about his childhood. “Trial” consists of archival news footage and interviews from the Nicole Brown Simpson murder trial. Football consists of his highlights from USC and the NFL or interviews specific to his football career. There are nearly 34 minutes of contextual footage in Episode 1, such as race riots in Los Angeles or Simpson signing autographs on USC’s campus, to display the two contrasting worlds during the late ’60s.Episode 2 gives 44 minutes of cultural context, as Simpson’s superstar status blossoms while the relationship between blacks and the LAPD continue to deteriorate. You see his iconic Hertz and Chevy commercials against a contrasting image of the Rodney King beating. Simpson’s personal life also gets around 45 minutes of footage, displaying the rich and powerful friends he sought while he pursued a post-NFL career in Hollywood, and his violent, abusive and controlling relationship with Nicole Brown Simpson is introduced.Episode 3 begins with the murder scene of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. There are nearly 40 minutes of archival news footage and 20 minutes of general archival footage from the double murder and the ensuing trial. The Bronco chase is covered in this episode, as well as Simpson’s own friends saying he was guilty of the crime. This is the O.J. Simpson we are more used to witnessing.An hour and 21 minutes of Episode 4 is dedicated to the trial, the most footage of any kind of any episode from OJMIA. It had 45 minutes of news archival footage and 26 minutes of original interviews about the trial. There is no footage on Simpson’s personal or football life in this episode. Episode 5 gives us the least amount of cultural context — by now, the stage hasn’t just been set, it’s being cleared — with 30 minutes dedicated to his personal life and 45 minutes for Simpson’s civil trial and his robbery case in 2007.We’re used to seeing the post-murder trial O.J. Simpson — a broken-down, has-been felon the world presumes committed a pair of murders for which he was acquitted. A lot of things went into the story that took Simpson from stardom to prison, and OJMIA arranges those disparate pieces of the timeline in a way that, somehow, makes sense of them. By now you’ve heard about “O.J.: Made in America,” ESPN’s five-part documentary about O.J. Simpson’s life and alleged crimes, which wrangles a complex story set against a complex cultural backdrop. Part of what makes the documentary work is how widely each chapter varies from the previous one — the series tracks Simpson’s early life, his football stardom, the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, the trial that followed and its eventual aftermath. Each of these is its own sort of story, told its own sort of way using a mix of original interviews and archival footage. Episode to episode, that mix varies a great deal.We took a shot list provided by our colleagues at ESPN Films (we’re in the same division of the company) and broke it down into general archival, news archival, archival interviews, original interviews and football. VIDEO: An interview with director Ezra Edelman
Even after Eli Manning’s 200 consecutive regular-season NFL starts, quantifying his career is difficult.Manning is in his 14th season, and nearly every one has felt like a crossroads. Which quarterback would show up for the Giants: the one capable of winning two Super Bowl MVPs — or the one capable of leading the NFL in interceptions for three seasons?The answer was probably somewhere in between. Manning has been reliably, and historically, mediocre.Only 10 quarterbacks in NFL history have started at least 200 games, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, and the list is a who’s who of all-time legends: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Warren Moon and John Elway. And Eli Manning. And, OK, Vinny Testaverde — but still.Save Eli Manning and Testaverde, all have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or are virtually certain to be.What to expect from the Lions vs. Giants But this is why advanced statistics exist: to help isolate a player’s performance from that of his teammates’ (hello, defensive lines and David Tyree) and to compare his performances against those of his peers. That analysts at major outlets were still citing rings and wins to claim that Eli is better than Peyton as late as 2013 is proof that we still need to look deeper.A handful of high-leverage highlights can’t outweigh hundreds of games’ worth of mediocre play, not when we’re trying to pick the best of the best. But then, Eli Manning has never been one of the best.No, the most prolifically mediocre quarterback in NFL history is in a class all by himself.Check out our latest NFL predictions. All newsletters Among that group, Eli Manning ranks either last, or ahead of only Testaverde,1In Testaverde’s defense, he spent nearly a decade toiling away on some bad Buccaneers and Browns teams. in nearly every season-indexed rate stat: completion rate, yards per attempt, interception rate, passer rating, adjusted yards per attempt, net yards per attempt and adjusted net yards per attempt.But Manning is not just terrible at being great — he regularly tests the lower boundaries of even being good. He has finished among the top 10 in ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating just four times out of the 11 seasons for which QBR has been calculated; his average rank is a middling 16th. He has finished among the top 10 in passer rating just once in 12 starting campaigns, finishing an average of 18th. From 2004, when Manning entered the league, through Week 1 of 2017, he was in the bottom half of both season-indexed passer rating and season-indexed adjusted net yards per attempt2PFR’s Advanced Passing table contextualizes passing rate stats by indexing them to the league average over three seasons with the given season in the middle. 100 is average, higher is better. See the PFR Glossary for details. (among quarterbacks with at least 50 starts): We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe The truth is, the NFL’s eighth all-time leading passer has produced like a below-average starter across his entire career. That average contains some really low points, like his miserable 27-interception 2013 season, when he finished 35th in passer rating in a league with just 32 teams.But that is as close as Manning has come to truly poor play. That reliability — that no matter how much he teases us with flashes of greatness, he at least definitely won’t be bad — has prompted the Giants to lean on him for more than a decade. What’s more, he’s rewarded that trust: Tonight, Manning will make his 212th consecutive start, the longest active Ironman streak in the NFL — and third-longest in the history of the league.Above all, that may be Manning’s greatest skill: just being there. Since he took the starting quarterback job away from Kurt Warner in November 2004, the Giants have not had to worry about the position, allowing the team to devote resources and draft picks to other areas. By comparison, the Giants’ roommates, the Jets, have started 15 quarterbacks in this span. The Cleveland Browns have started 23.But considering that Eli will turn 37 in January, how much longer can the Giants expect this to last? Quarterbacks seldom hang on to starting jobs beyond age 35. Then again, elite quarterbacks have blown past this expiration date — especially in recent years. Brady and Brees combine for 78 years of life, and together, they threw for more than 800 passing yards when they faced off on Sunday. Favre, Moon and Eli’s brother Peyton all played some of their most efficient football very near the end of their starting career. So maybe Eli Manning will soon reach a never-before-seen level of performance?But even his best passing performance, in 2011, still couldn’t match up with the best of his peers’. He threw for 501 more yards than he ever had before or ever has since, but 543 fewer than Brees that season. Manning gained an impressive average of 8.4 yards per attempt, but Aaron Rodgers gained an average of 9.2. Manning’s passer rating in 2011, 92.9, was worlds away from the NFL-record 122.5 that Rodgers posted that season.Even if Manning finds another level sometime soon, he’ll still be several levels shy of Brady, Brees and Rodgers’ best.In some ways, Manning is a throwback: A high-risk, high-reward passer who is rarely efficient but sometimes makes big plays in big moments. A Joe Namath in an era when offensive innovations have made the average NFL quarterback better than Roger Staubach.3Hall of Famer Roger Staubach’s career average completion rate (57 percent), TD/INT ratio (1.4:1) and passer rating (83.4) were all below 2016 NFL team passing averages (63.0 percent, 1.9:1, 87.6).
Michigan might be Kelly Kovach Schoenly’s alma mater, but the Ohio State softball coach isn’t pulling punches this weekend. “All I can say is I root for my team,” Schoenly said. “We will work hard as a unit to get a win for Ohio State. I worry about us.” For the first time as coach of the Buckeyes, Schoenly will face a place she once called home. While she was a star pitcher from 1991 to 1995 for Michigan under current coach Carol Hutchins, she insists her loyalties lie with the Scarlet and Gray as they stand to face the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Mich. “If you went to Ohio State and you’re not fired up to play Michigan, then you’re crazy,” Schoenly said. “We’re fired up about it.” No. 12 Michigan has been one of the best softball programs in the Big Ten and has been a national powerhouse since Hutchins took over in 1985. The Wolverines are the five-time defending Big Ten champions. And they haven’t lost to OSU since 2011. But the Buckeyes (21-11, 3-3), despite their underdog status, aren’t backing down. Buoyed by the confidence of three victories against ranked teams already this season, Schoenly and the Buckeyes are ready for the challenges Michigan presents, both offensively and defensively. “The challenges of the preseason have helped (us) tremendously,” Schoenly said. “We’ve seen quality hitters for the last two months and I think they won’t be intimidated by that.” And OSU freshman left fielder Cammi Prantl attested to the team’s belief that it has an extra incentive to win this weekend. “It’s Michigan,” Prantl said. “You always want to beat Michigan.” The desire to compile conference wins in Big Ten play is equally important for OSU. “We haven’t won against (Michigan) for the last two years,” said senior outfielder Alyson Mott. “There’s a little bit more incentive because it’s Michigan, but we have to not pump ourselves up too much and take it like just any other regular game.” After dropping two games last weekend against Purdue, OSU is looking to get back on the winning track as Big Ten play nears the halfway point. OSU begins the three-game series with the Wolverines Friday at 6 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Working on special teamsFreshman punter Cameron Johnston was named Big Ten special teams player of the week after planting all six of his punts inside Wisconsin’s 20-yard line.Meyer said he was pleased with the Australian’s performance against the Badgers, but that improvement is still needed.“I’ve graded him about a C- (through five games),” Meyer said. “His average hang time was just under four seconds, which is completely unacceptable.”The punter agreed with his head coach, despite having a 55-yard punt late in the game that gave the Badgers poor field position as they tried to tie the game.“It’s great to finally get out there and be able to finally have a really good game, but there’s still plenty of stuff to work on,” Johnston said. “But right now, that’s really good.”Coombs said the entire special teams unit must be efficient, not just the punter.“We want to cover kicks, we want to split the field and make sure the other team doesn’t return the ball,” Coombs said.The Buckeyes and Wildcats are set to face off Saturday at 8 p.m. at Ryan Field. Big Ten recognitionFor the third week in a row, an OSU player has been named Big Ten offensive or co-offensive player of the week. Earning the honor against the Badgers was junior quarterback Braxton Miller, following in the footsteps of redshirt-senior Kenny Guiton, who won the award while filling in for Miller the previous two weeks.Miller threw for 198 yards and four touchdowns against Wisconsin and added running 83 yards rushing on 22 carries.“I thought his preparation for the game was one of the best he’s had,” Meyer said of Miller. “His practice was one of the best he’s had as far as Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. I thought his accuracy on the deep ball was outstanding.”OSU’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Tom Herman was a little harder on the Buckeye signal caller.“Not great, he still made some mental mistakes that can be corrected in terms of some reads,” Herman said. “We’ve still got to do a better job of when he does decide to scramble of going vertically, not losing yards. It’s much easier to call second and eight than it is to call second and 14.”Herman mentioned how OSU would rather run the ball than throw it, saying “when we throw it, it’s because you have inhibited our ability to run it.” Prepping for the Wildcat defense is similar in that sense.“There’s a lot of different ways that you can say ‘let’s stop the run,’” Herman said. “How they decide to do it and how they have, at least on video, is a little bit different than Wisconsin, but I think that the commitment to stopping the run is not going to change.” Redshirt-senior safety Corey “Pitt” Brown (3) warms up before a game against Buffalo Aug. 31 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 40-20.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe Ohio State Buckeyes sport the nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games as they head into their first Big Ten road game of 2013.The Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0) are set to face an opponent whose record is also unblemished — the Northwestern Wildcats — and will be playing under the lights for the second week in a row.OSU coach Urban Meyer has faced Northwestern only once in his coaching career, winning a 43-42 thriller in 2001 while at Bowling Green. ESPN College GameDay will be in Evanston, Ill., for the game, and the Wildcats will have had an extra week to prepare, coming off a bye week. Who will replace Christian Bryant?Coming off a physical matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers, Meyer said the team is being careful this week in practice.“We had to be very cautious on how we operated (Sunday),” Meyer said. “I’m going to be very smart how we do Tuesday and Wednesday, because that’s usually very physical. Today (Monday) I’m getting a feel for how our guys are when they are going through the training room and treatment. It is what it is. It’s part of the season.”Meyer and his staff have the task of replacing senior safety Christian Bryant, who broke his left ankle late in the 31-24 win.Likely to replace Bryant is redshirt-senior safety Corey “Pitt” Brown, who Meyer said has a bit of advantage over other players like freshman Vonn Bell or redshirt-freshman Tyvis Powell because of his experience.Special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs agreed.“I think as we sit here (Monday) afternoon that “Pitt” Brown will go in there and play,” Coombs said. “I don’t know exactly the configuration of how all those guys are fit going into the week and some of that will be developed and discussed during practice.”
Freshman defenseman Drew Brevig (4) passes the puck during a game against Robert Morris Oct. 25 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 5-3.Credit: Julia Hider / Lantern photographerAfter opening the season on a three-game losing streak, the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team bounced back by sweeping Robert Morris over the weekend.The Buckeyes (2-3-0) traveled to Pittsburgh Saturday for the second of the two-game home-and-home series against the Colonials (0-4-1), and pulled out a 4-3 victory.Neither team managed to score until the second period, when the Buckeyes opened the gap to take a 4-0 lead after the first 40 minutes. Freshman forward Nick Schilkey tallied a goal 17 seconds into the stanza and junior defenseman Justin DaSilva raised the lead to 2-0 nearly a minute later. Freshman defenseman Drew Brevig added to the shutout with his first goal of the season at 13:03 with an assist from junior forward Max McCormick — his team-best fifth assist of the season.Capping the second period was a late goal by sophomore forward Tyler Lundey on the power play with 11 seconds left.The third period saw Robert Morris fall just short of a furious comeback. The Colonials cut the lead to 4-2 with two early goals at 2:23 and 4:07, and sophomore forward Zac Lynch narrowed the gap even more with a goal on the power play to make it a one-goal game with less than eight minutes to go. OSU managed to hold on for the remainder of the game, though, to clinch the victory.The first of the two-game series was played Friday in Columbus, and the Buckeyes finished on top, 5-3, after overcoming an early two-goal deficit. The victory was the first of coach Steve Rohlik’s career as a collegiate head coach.“We didn’t start out pretty tonight and we certainly have some things to work on, but what I liked about our team tonight is they weren’t going to let it (a loss) happen to them again,” Rohlik said during a press conference after the game Friday. “We have a good group. We bounced back and fought hard. Good teams find a way to win, and we did that tonight.”After trailing the Colonials by two goals early in the first period, the Buckeyes scored five straight to put a victory out of reach for Robert Morris.“I think it was that our guys just finally said, ‘Enough is enough’ and ‘Let’s get after it,’ and that was kind of the mentality on the bench, and the guys were ones talking like that,” Rohlik said.Among those who were being vocal was senior forward Travis Statchuk.“We took it upon ourselves to find a way to win tonight,” Statchuk said Friday. “Coach challenged us between periods and we went out there, stuck to our plan and got it done.”Robert Morris got a goal back during a power play in the third period, but it was not enough and the Buckeyes held on for the victory.Junior forward Nick Oddo said the team’s preparation to play more physically was a contributing factor to the win.“We’ve been working on that all week — driving the net, getting bodies around, second-chance opportunities — and it worked out for us tonight,” he said Friday after the win.The Buckeyes are slated to return to action Tuesday in a non-conference rematch against Bowling Green, who beat OSU 4-3 Oct. 15. The puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) evades the Detroit Lions’ Kyle Van Noy (95) during the second quarter in exhibition action on Aug. 9, 2014 at Ford Field in Detroit. Credit: Courtesy of TNSThe Cleveland Browns are taking their training camp south in August for a stop in Columbus.The team announced Thursday morning that the “Orange & Brown Scrimmage” will be held at Ohio Stadium on Aug. 7.“The intrasquad scrimmage is an important element of our preparation for the 2015 season,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said in a press release. “Ohio Stadium will provide a great atmosphere for our team to compete, and I’m confident our players and fans will enjoy the experience.”Pre-game activities are scheduled to begin three hours prior to the scrimmage with a fan fest at St. John Arena, featuring autographs, music, food and more.“We are excited to host the Browns and have them in Columbus,” OSU vice president and athletic director Gene Smith said in the release. “The Browns are a class organization, and it will be exciting for the citizens of Columbus to enjoy this experience.”The Browns currently feature two OSU alumni on their roster: safety Donte Whitner, who played at OSU from 2003-2005, and wide receiver Brian Hartline, who donned the scarlet and gray from 2006-2008.“It’s going to be huge for us,” Whitner said in the release. “It means a lot to me personally because I lived in Columbus, played for the Buckeyes and know what type of fan base is there for the Buckeyes and for the Cleveland Browns. It’ll be special.”After the 2015 OSU spring game broke the all-time spring game attendance record with 99,391 people packed in The Horseshoe, Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman said he hopes to see the same for a training camp event.“Our entire community is thrilled to host the Cleveland Browns in Columbus at the iconic Ohio Stadium,” Coleman said in the release. “This is an exciting opportunity for Columbus sports fans and we hope to set a new attendance record and continue to show the nation how great our sports community is.”The Browns took their scrimmage on the road last season as well, drawing over 20,000 fans to Akron’s InfoCision Stadium.There is no time listed yet for the game, but it is set to be played in the late afternoon, according to the release.Tickets are general admission and free to all attendees. Tickets for the public will be released June 20.
Ohio State then-junior catcher, now shortstop, Jalen Washington bats against Northwestern on March 26, 2016 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Lantern reporterComing off a weekend where runs were hard to come by, the Ohio State baseball team found their offense in North Carolina, winning the weekend series against the Campbell Camels (5-5) 2-1.The Buckeyes dropped the series opener, but their offense combined for 14 runs over the next two games and the bullpen proved reliable over the weekend as the team improved their record to 5-6. Junior center fielder Tre’ Gantt proved to be the most consistent bat for the Buckeyes, finishing the series 4 for 10 with four walks, a run scored and three runs batted in. The bullpen proved to be reliable for the Buckeyes as they combined for 10 innings pitched, allowing only four runs (three earned) on 10 hits, five walks while striking out 10.Game 1The Camels jumped on the Buckeyes early and held onto their lead late to secure the 7-2 victory in Game 1. The scoring began for the Camels in the first inning. With one out, Campbell strung together back-to-back hits to put runners on second and third for sophomore first baseman Jimmy Monaghan. Monaghan, then, lifted a sacrifice fly to the center fielder to give his club the early lead.The second inning was scoreless, but the Camels got their offense going again in the third inning. After a hit-by-pitch and double put runners on second and third with one out, junior right fielder Jeff Hahs singled up the middle to plate the second and third Camel runs of the evening. They scored again in the fourth inning, ending the evening for redshirt junior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer.But the Buckeyes would not be kept off the scoreboard for long. After sophomore third baseman Brady Cherry walked to lead off the top of the fifth inning, junior left fielder Tyler Cowles launched the 1-0 fastball over the left field fence, bringing the score to 4-2. The score stayed that way until the flood gates opened up in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Camels had the bases loaded with only one away when redshirt senior designated hitter Cole Hallum came up to the plate. He was hit by pitch, bringing in a run. Monaghan followed Hallum with his second sacrifice fly of the day, scoring the second run of the inning. Then Hahs rolled a ground ball to third base that was mishandled by Cherry, allowing the third run of the inning to score and bring the Camel lead to 7-2.This was another game of missed opportunities for the Buckeyes. Though they were walked a whopping 10 times and hit by a pitch in this game, they mustered only two hits in the game and left a total of 10 batters on base. OSU was 0-8 with runners in scoring position and 1-14 with runners on base. Game 2Coming off a disappointing offensive effort in Game 1, the Buckeyes were able to get the bats going early thanks to an early display of power, and ran away with a 7-1 victory. The game could not have started much better for OSU. After the leadoff hitter reached base via a four-pitch walk, senior shortstop Jalen Washington roped his first home run of the season to left field, putting the Buckeyes on top early, 2-0.Following a walk issued to the next batter, redshirt senior designated hitter Zach Ratcliff crushed the first pitch he saw for a home run to deep left field, putting the Buckeyes ahead 4-0. Back-to-back base hits followed the two home runs and chased Campbell redshirt junior starting pitcher Andrew Witczak from the game before he retired a single batter. The Buckeyes scored once more in the inning.The only score for the Camels came in the second inning when redshirt freshman left fielder Matthew Barefoot doubled down the left field line, bringing home the runner from first base.The Buckeyes scored in the top of the fourth inning on a bases-loaded walk and scored again in the top of the sixth inning on Ratcliff’s second home run of the game. Though Ratcliff’s bat undoubtedly helped propel OSU to the victory, redshirt senior starting pitcher Jake Post had his best start of the season and was a major factor in the Buckeyes 7-1 victory. He allowed only one run on five hits and one walk in six innings of work. He also struck out a career-high eight batters in the game.Game 3OSU benefitted from a wild second inning and managed to stave off a late comeback attempt from the Camels to secure the series victory in a 7-6 win on Sunday.The Buckeyes got things started in the top of the second inning thanks to some erratic pitching from Campbell freshman starting pitcher Ryan Kirk. A pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded up the bases with two outs for OSU sophomore catcher Jacob Barnwell. The first pitch was mishandled by the catcher, allowing Ratcliff to score from third. A wild pitch after that scored the second run of the inning. Barnwell then reached on an infield single that scored another run for OSU. A single from junior center and the third walk of the inning loaded the bases again. Then the second passed ball of the inning allowed Barnwell to cross the plate, bringing the OSU lead up to 4-0.The Camels scored once in the bottom of the second and again in the bottom of the third to draw within two, but the Buckeyes scored in the top of the fourth to bring the score to 5-2.The Camels came back in a big way in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, junior second baseman Christian Jones roped a double down the right field line to knot the game up at five.With the game now tied and not having scored in the past three innings, the Buckeyes needed a spark to regain the lead. Cowles led off the inning with a single and redshirt senior Shea Murray came in to pinch run. A sacrifice bunt with a throwing error and a single loaded up the bases with no outs for Gantt. Gantt flew out to right field, scoring Murray from third. Washington followed the sacrifice fly with a single that tacked one more on to bring the score to 7-5.The Camels mounted a comeback in the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run from Barefoot to get the inning started off. Two more runners would reach base, but junior relief pitcher Seth Kinker stranded them both to escape the eighth with the lead. OSU heads back down to Florida for a three-game series against Florida Gulf Coast beginning this Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore sprinter Kendall Sheffield (middle) competes in the 60m with teammates Nick Gray (right) and senior Zack Bazile (left) during a meet in the French Field House on Feb. 16. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State men’s track and field team is striving to win its first indoor Big Ten championship in 25 years while the women’s team is trying to capture its first title since 2015 this weekend in Geneva, Ohio.The 14-team meet has nationally recognized talent with 31 of the 34 events already having a qualifier for the NCAA national championship meet. “We’re capable, we’re ranked highly. We’ve got to show up, it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t show up,” director of track and field Karen Dennis said regarding both teams.Men’s previewNo. 19 Ohio State has some of the fastest times of any team in the conference, which is why it could dominate the 60-meter dash. Redshirt sophomore Kendall Sheffield is coming off a school-record-breaking 6.63 seconds performance last week, which is the fastest time in the Big Ten this season.“We haven’t had one [sprinter] as dominant appearing [in the event] as Kendall,” Dennis said.Junior Nick Gray has the second-fastest time in the Big Ten at 6.66 seconds, and senior Zack Bazile is third (6.68). Freshman Eric Harrison is tied for the sixth-fastest time at 6.73 seconds. Earlier this year, Bazile made the farthest long jump in the country at 8.13 meters.Senior Nick Demaline has recorded the highest mark of any Big Ten athlete in shot put, reaching a distance of 19.88 meters.In the 200-meter dash, Gray has the second-fastest time in the Big Ten at 20.92 seconds. He will run against Penn State freshman Terrance Laird, who lead the conference with a time of 20.79 seconds. Ohio State has a chance to score big in pole vault. Senior Cole Gorski currently has the second-highest jump in the Big Ten at 5.47 meters. Along with Gorski, junior Coty Cobb set a personal record last week with a jump of 5.42 meters, good for the third-highest in the Big Ten. In the 800-meter run, sophomore Alexander Lomong has the third-fastest time in the Big Ten at 1:49 minutes. This time was set last week at the Buckeye Tune-up. His toughest challenger will come against Penn State junior Isaiah Harris, who ran a time of 1:47 minutes.Women’s previewJunior Sade Olatoye returns to the Big Ten championship to repeat her 2017 performance in which she finished first in shot put and weight throw. Minnesota’s Kaitlyn Long is the top competitor for Olatoye to surpass in weight throw.Olatoye has prepared for the meet by working on her form and technical skills, specifically working on her entry. Over the past couple of weeks, she has been working on getting her right foot turned on her first spin along with getting the ball in better position for her third spin.Even if Olatoye beats Long, Minnesota could still outscore Ohio State in the weight throw, since it has four other people expected to score in event.“This is not a time for us to be nervous, it’s a time for us to show up,” Olatoye said.
Royal Marines veterans rally at Parliament in support of BlackmanCredit:Dinendra Haria/Rex Sgt Alexander Blackman was given a life sentence and told he must serve at least eight years in prisonCredit:Andrew Parsons/PA Blackman’s wife, Claire, told the Telegraph she and her husband were now “cautiously optimistic”.She said: “It needs a little bit of time to sink in, but we are both delighted and incredibly grateful that the CCRC has given Al this chance.”It’s just the first step. We have got a long way to go and we can’t afford to be carried away, but we are cautiously optimistic.”Lawyers for the 42-year-old former sergeant hailed the move as a “very significant” step and announced they would immediately mount a bail application to try to have him home by Christmas.Jonathan Goldberg QC, leading Blackman’s legal team, said the odds had now turned in has favour, with nearly three quarters of cases reaching this stage eventually being quashed.The CCRC decision follows a high-profile campaign by Blackman’s wife, Claire, and supporters who argue he should have faced a manslaughter charge because of the strain and appalling conditions he endured before the September 2011 incident in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. 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. New evidence relating to Blackman’s mental health at the time and the fact that an alternative verdict of unlawful manslaughter was not available during the trial means the case will return to the Court Martial Appeal Court.David James Smith, lead CCRC commissioner on the case, said the body had looked a Blackman’s case “in minute detail” after being given 1,100 pages of new evidence and legal argument.He said: “After a thorough investigation we have concluded that there are new issues – principally relating to Mr Blackman’s state of mind at the time of the shooting – which in our view raise a real possibility that an appeal against conviction would now succeed.”On that basis we are sending the case back to the Court Martial Appeal Court so that a fresh appeal can be heard.”Blackman has already served more than three years in prison and his legal team believe if an appeal reduces his conviction to manslaughter, he will be freed immediately.Mr Goldberg said: “Of course, we still have a long road ahead, but there are strong grounds for optimism that Sgt Blackman will have his murder conviction quashed. The odds have turned in our favour, as 73 per cent of all such referrals by the CCRC succeed.“I fear the legal profession will not find itself covered in glory by the end of this saga.“We will now mount a bail application as soon as possible, in the hope of getting him released before Christmas.”Blackman was given a life sentence and told he must serve at least eight years in prison after a 2013 court martial where he was identified only as “Marine A”.Helmet camera footage showed him shooting the gravely injured insurgent fighter in the chest at point blank range, before quoting Shakespeare. He then turned to his patrol and told them to keep quiet because he had broken the Geneva Convention.Blackman, of 42 Commando, told his trial he believed the unnamed Taliban fighter was already dead when he shot him in the chest.Two other marines were acquitted of murder at the same court martial.Blackman was dismissed in disgrace after his conviction and told he had “betrayed your Corps and all British service personnel who have served in Afghanistan, and you have tarnished their reputation”.Blackman’s appeal is now expected to be heard in the middle of next year.A Ministry of Defence Spokesman said: “We will continue to co-operate fully with any legal process involving Sergeant Blackman’s case.” A Royal Marine serving a life sentence for murdering a Taliban captive has a “real possibility” his conviction will be quashed, an independent review has found after examining new evidence.The legal body which examines possible miscarriages of justice has given Alexander Blackman the right to appeal his conviction after it spent a year studying his case.Investigators at the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) ruled the case should be heard again because of new evidence about Blackman’s mental health and concerns his court martial had no option to hand down a lesser manslaughter verdict.
Ramsay’s brother-in-law Adam Hutcheson, 46, her sister Orlanda Butland, 45, and stepbrother Chris Hutcheson Jr, 37 were also charged Hutcheson, who denied the claims, branded Ramsay a fame-obsessed “monste”’ in return and sued him for unfair dismissal and unpaid wages.The fallout that ensued resulted in a string of high-profile legal cases being pursued by Ramsay against Mr Hutcheson, some of which were heard at the High Court.In the latest case, Mr Hutchinson stands accused of attempting to hack into the company’s computer system in 2011, in order to discover whether Ramsay had been circulating a picture of his alleged mistress, Sara Stewart, a former employee.Mr Hutchinson, his two sons and his daughter Orlanda Butland, 45, were later charged under Operation Tuleta, a probe launched by Scotland Yard to investigate alleged computer crime directed against celebrities. Ms Butland denies the charge and the prosecution have offered no evidence in relation to her case. Gordon Ramsay’s father-in-law has admitted he hacked into a company computer system owned by the celebrity chef in order to find a picture of his own alleged lover, a court heard on Tuesday. Chris Hutcheson, 68, pleaded guilty alongside his sons Adam Hutcheson, 46, and Chris Hutcheson Jnr, 45, after they were charged for attempting to gain access to private information held by the chef’s multi-million pound business, Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited.They now face up two years in prison – the maximum sentence that can be awarded to those found guilty of conspiring to cause a computer to access programmes and data without authority.Appearing before the Old Bailey, Mr Hutcheson’s admission comes more than seven years after Ramsay sacked him as his main business partner, amid allegations he had used the company’s finances to fund his serial womanising. Following the allegations of hacking, Tana, Mr Ramsay’s wife, sided with her husband and severed ties with her parents, whilst also discovering that her father had also been keeping a second family secret for three decades.Prosecuting, Dan Suter told a previous hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court how Mr Hutchinson’s dismissal in 2010 had “motivated” him to carry out the hack, which he is alleged to have planned through a series of email exchanges with his two sons.The prosecution said that Mr Hutchinson had been involved in civil litigation following his dismissal, and that the accused had been attempting to gain access to material that might prove useful during the legal proceedings.”At the time of the alleged conspiracy, Chris Hutcheson Snr had been dismissed by Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd. He has previously held a senior position with GRHL,” Mr Suter added.”The prosecution would say as a result of that dismissal he was motivated to access unlawfully the computer system.” The court also heard that Ms Stewart had complained of a breach in privacy in relation to a photograph of her, and that Mr Hutchinson had also been attempting to determine whether it had been passed on by Ramsay to a third party.”It was alleged by Sara Stewart there had been a breach of privacy in relation to a photograph that was taken. It was alleged that he had been sent that email in breach of an undertaking.”As a result of the alleged breach of privacy, it is then that the defendants tried to access the system, to determine whether Gordon Ramsay had then sent that picture on even further in breach of the undertaking.” Once Ramsay was alerted to the hack, he instructed an expert, who traced the IP addresses of the computers back to Mr Hutchinson and his children.Mr Suter added that a Metropolitan Police expert had reviewed the log files, and found that the defendants had allegedly made almost 2,000 unauthorised entries into the company accounts of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited.All the defendants were bailed after the judge at the Old Bailey agreed to the preparation of pre-sentence reports and said all sentencing options were open.He adjourned sentencing to June 2 at the same court. 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.
Research presented at the world’s biggest cancer conference in Chicago last June showed that women taking Ibrance with another common drug (an aromatase inhibitor) lived 10 months longer without their cancer getting worse as those given standard treatment.Typically, they enjoyed 24.8 months without their cancer progressing compared with 14.5 months for women on usual treatment. Some women had much better results.It has been hailed by oncologists as one of the most important advances in the past 20 years. Yet in February, Nice issued draft guidance rejecting the drug on cost grounds, causing uproar among charities and cancer experts.Following Nice’s rejection Breast Cancer Now called on Pfizer to explore every possible solution to ensure the drug is made available to NHS patients. 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. A drug company has bypassed the NHS funding watchdog to give thousands of breast cancer patients free treatment while the health service decides whether it will pay for the medication. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Pfizer said it will supply Ibrance (palbociclib) for up to five months to eligible women until a final decision is made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) on its use across the NHS.Around 2,400 women could benefit from the drug, which prolongs life by an average of 10 months. Pfizer has promised it will continue to supply the drug for free even if Nice rule that it is not cost-effective. The programme is expected to be open for a maximum of five months – closing six weeks after Nice issues final guidance on the drug, or on the 30th September 2017, whichever is earlier – with access being dependent on individual NHS Trusts signing up to the scheme. Ibrance is for women with hormone-positive, HER2 negative breast cancer that has spread around the body and which has previously not been treated. Fiona Hazell, Director of Policy and Engagement at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This is an unexpected lifeline for thousands of women living with this type of breast cancer. We are delighted that Pfizer have listened to our campaigners and have found a way to enable patients to access this first-in-class drug in the short term.“While only an interim measure, more than sixteen women every day could have their lives changed by this drug during this window.”Palbociclib can offer a large proportion of patients with incurable metastatic breast cancer significant extra time before their disease progresses – time that can be truly invaluable to them and their loved ones.”
“I think we can’t be certain that what we know now is any better than what we knew two weeks ago,” he said.The Tory peer said the tests focused on the core of the panel, which is sandwiched between aluminium plates, rather than the panel as a whole – including the metal skin.”On those panels they will fail because the thing that is being tested at the request of the experts isn’t the right thing to test,” he said. “We need to test the whole panel.” “The tests are not testing the fire safety of the panels, they are testing what the core of the panel is made from. That’s not what the test needs to be.” There is no suggestion that a deliberate decision was made to cut fire safety at Grenfell.The Times and BBC claim to have seen emails which they say suggest a focus on cost-cutting before the refurbishment of the west London block that cost £8.6million and was finished in May last year. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Local Government Association has claimed that fire safety tests on cladding from high-rise buildings are flawed and the Government needs to rethink its approach.Every cladding panel tested in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has failed, but Lord Porter of Spalding criticised the way the examinations were being carried out. Lord Porter said tests should also be carried out on the insulation material packed between buildings and the exterior cladding panels.”They are not testing the whole system anyway because we should be testing the insulation. There’s more than a good chance that the insulation is probably the main problem, if it’s the wrong kind of insulation.”He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m saying the Government needs to listen to a wider set of opinions and not just the experts they have got.”The experts, they may well be right, but we can’t have confidence in that because every single one has failed across the whole country.”There are 17 councils where failure has taken place, there are 27 registered social landlords where failures have taken place and they have only just started testing private properties and 12 of those have tested… it’s up north, down south, Labour councils, Lib Dem councils. Fireproof cladding at Grenfell Tower was downgraded to save money, it has been claimed.Consultants for the refurbishment of 24-storey block were placed under pressure to keep costs low, leaked emails reportedly show.The documents show that non-combustible zinc cladding, which was originally proposed, was changed to a cheaper aluminium version that had the same fire rating. The move is said to have saved £293,000.The exterior cladding, designed to improve the look of the tower and make it more energy efficient, has been blamed on contributing to the rapid spread of the fire that killed at least 80 people. 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.
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. “I know every Sweet Beginnings bride and wedding supplier is thinking of her and her family.”Detectives and forensics specialists erected a white tent by the property, and the quiet cul-de-sac was cordoned off for most of the day.Neighbour April McMillan, 23, said: “I woke up at 4.30am this morning hearing a loud bang. I didn’t think anything of it because we’ve had roadworks around here and there’s been lots of bangs but this one was on its own. There are lots of police about. It’s very shocking, I can’t believe it.” The scene in Dexter Way, Gloucester, after the bodies were found Credit:Aaron Chown/PA A police officer and dog close to the scene in GloucesterCredit:Aaron Chown/PA A wedding planner and her young daughter have been found dead at their home in a suspected double murder, after neighbours reported hearing a “loud bang”.Laura Mortimer, 31, and her daughter Ella Dalby, 11, were declared dead at the scene in Dexter Way near the centre of Gloucester shortly before 5am on Sunday, by police responding to reports two people had been seriously injured.A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The Telegraph understands the suspect fled the scene and was arrested in a nearby park after intervention from a police negotiator following concerns he might harm himself.Online, friends paid tribute to the mother of three, whom they described as a “beautiful soul”, “someone to look up to” and “a true boss lady”. Sophie Mitchell wrote: “RIP Laura and your beautiful daughter. What an inspiration you were to us women!”It is understood the Ms Mortimer ran her own business, Sweet Beginnings, offering bespoke bridal gowns and wedding planning services. A wedding photographer based in Gloucestershire, who did not wish to be named, said: “Laura was a lovely lady with a kind word for everyone.”An inspiration to many people, not only personally but in the wedding industry too. She worked so hard to get where she did and was extremely well respected throughout Gloucestershire and beyond. Half a mile along the river Severn, a large area of the Westgate Boating Lake and Recreation area was also cordoned off by police.A local man interviewed there said officers had told him they were guarding the scene of the arrest.He said: “They told me they stopped him on the Westgate Bridge. He could have gone into the river or onto the rail track from that bridge.””A 28-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of the murder of the woman and the girl. He is still being questioned by officers,” a police spokesman said. “Forensic inquiries will be continuing and post-mortem examinations are due to take place in the coming days. “The family of the victims has asked for privacy at this time. We would like to thank the local community for their patience and assistance today.”Multi-agency meetings will be held over the coming days, with the aim of providing support to our communities, particularly young people.”
Watchdogs have warned of a “growing injustice” as they reveal for the first time the country’s black spots where patients are routinely denied access to decent NHS or social care.The Care Quality Commission today says social care has passed a “tipping point” in many parts of the country, leaving Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments under so much pressure that safety is compromised.Its report warns that patients are being denied care they need, with half of A&E departments failing, amid rising avoidable admissions of elderly patients who should have received help elsewhere.Inspectors said elderly hospital patients described being kept “ in a holding pen” with 40 other patients, as they waited for a place in a care home, or help in their own home.The watchdog said that in too many cases, pensioners struggled to get an appointment with a GP, leaving them to turn to emergency care or become so frail they had to be admitted to hospital.The report also shows that half of maternity units remain unsafe, despite repeated NHS pledges to improve standards of care for mothers and new babies.Inspectors said analysis from inspections of 30,000 services providing health and social care showed that access to care was increasingly dependent on where people live.“Two years ago, we warned that social care was ‘approaching a tipping point’ – as unmet need continues to rise, this tipping point has already been reached for some people who are not getting the care they need,” the report states.As evidence, the watchdog highlighted areas where the population has no decent local hospital, and worse than average standards in home care and residential homes.Services in Portsmouth, the Wirral, Isle of Wight and Kent were pinpointed as causing particular concern, with most hospitals found to be either inadequate or requiring improvement, with a lack of quality social care. Similar problems were found in Eastbourne, East Sussex and Salisbury, in Wiltshire. In many such cases, patients were being denied care because there was no good hospital within half an hour’s drive, the watchdog warned.And in a significant intervention, its chairman Peter Wyman warned that an extra £20bn promised to the NHS would end up being spent on patients who should never have ended up in hospital, if the Government did not make a “long-term funding settlement” for social care.It comes ahead of a green paper on social care, which the government is due to publish later this autumn, when it details how the NHS spending boost will be deployed.The report reveals swathes of the country which have almost no hospitals rated good or outstanding – with Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Norfolk, Wiltshire, Shropshire, North Yorks and most of Kent among the areas highlighted.It shows a sharp rise in rates of avoidable emergency admissions for older people between 2010/11 and 2016/17, with the highest increase – of 37 per cent – seen amongst those aged between 75 and 79.It also warns of a growing crisis in social care, with figures suggesting nine out of ten care homes will not have enough places by 2022 unless action is taken, and rising vacancy rates of staff.CQC also highlighted research showing that one in seven elderly people in need of care do not receive it at all – a rise of almost 20 per cent since 2015.The report said staff working at care providers providing poor care admitted they had felt “disgusted” by the standards of services on offer, but felt unable to talk about it until problems were highlighted.It warned that difficulties accessing GP care were fuelling the problems, with inadequate access to GPs out-of-hours in some areas, and public satisfaction with GPs the lowest it has been for 35 years.“Inadequate access to GPs can lead to people relying on emergency services or reaching the critical point where they cannot access suitable care in the community. Across our reviews, older people told us it could be difficult to access their GP. Access to primary care support out of hours was also critical, but we found that people’s access to this support varied, and in some areas was not adequate,” the report found.And it said too many mental health patients were being sent far from home for care- which was inappropriate in the “vast majority” of cases.Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said access to care had become a game of “Russian Roulette” with access to care now a matter of “pot luck”.“A good care service can make all the difference in the world for an older person in declining health and it’s wrong that they should have to play Russian Roulette with something so vital. Older people need to be confident they will get good care that meets their needs whether they live North or South, in the countryside or a major city.” Ian Trenholm, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: “This year’s State of Care highlights both the resilience and the potential vulnerability of a health and care system where most people receive good care, but where access to this care increasingly depends on where in the country you live and how well your local health system works together.”“The challenge for Parliament, national and local leaders and providers is to change the way services are funded, the way they work together and how and where people are cared for and supported. The alternative is a future in which care injustice will increase and where some people will be failed by the services that are meant to support them, with their health and quality of life suffering as result.”A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “It is testament to our hardworking, dedicated NHS and social care staff that the vast majority of patients continue to receive good, safe care and many parts of the NHS have improved since this time last year.“We want the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world – and this starts by ensuring every single patient in this country receives the highest quality of care, no matter where they live. This is backed by our long term plan to guarantee the future of the NHS with an extra £20.5 billion a year by 2023/24.” 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.
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. “Several roads were closed including St Christopher’s Road, Nook Lane and Hampson Place. They have since reopened.” A man is fighting for his life in hospital after he suffered serious head injuries when he was hit by his own car as it was being stolen in Greater Manchester.Two people have been arrested after the incident on Nook Lane in Ashton-under-Lyme.The emergency services were called shortly after 7.20pm on Friday to reports of a serious collision, and the 63-year-old – named locally as Stephen Bowers – was rushed to hospital with serious head injuries.According to reports, it is thought he was trying to clear his windscreen of frost when the alleged thieves struck. He remains in a critical condition.A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder later on Friday evening, and a 45-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. They remain in custody for questioning.Greater Manchester Police said: “The victim saw his car – a red Citroen C1, registration number MV18 OSB – being driven away on Rushmere. He tried to run after his car before it struck him on Nook Lane.”The offenders failed to stop and fled the scene, leaving the victim lay in the road.”A short time later, a red Citroen C1 – believed to be the car that was involved in this incident – was located by officers on Parry Walk off Diamond Street. Detective Inspector Benjamin Cottam, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “The man remains in a critical condition in hospital, and my thoughts are with him and his family at this truly awful time.”Although we now have two people in custody, this investigation is very much ongoing and I would urge anyone with information to please come forward to police if you haven’t done so already.”I’d like to appeal to anyone who saw the red Citroen C1 in the area at the time, or anyone with dashcam footage, to please get in touch with us as soon as you possibly can.”Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 9289 or 101 quoting incident number 363 of 15/02/2019, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. According to reports, it is thought he was trying to clear his windscreen of frost when the alleged thieves struckCredit:MEN MEDIA