Football League Expansion

YESTERDAY the Football League announced plans to expand the professional game in England to five divisions of 20 teams for the 2019-20 season.

This would see the number of professional ‘League Clubs’ rise from 92 to 100. Not since the creation of the Premier League in the 1992-93 season would English Football have seen such a change.

At the moment there are 20 teams in the Premier League and 24 each in the Championship, League One and League Two. The 72 non-Premier League sides play 46 league games per season. This would drop to 38 in a 20-team league, but, it would mean fewer mid-week games.

For this proposal to go ahead, 90-per-cent of the 72 teams must support it at the Football League’s A.G.M. (Annual General Meeting) in June 2017.

There have been 92 League Clubs since 1950.

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Why I’m glad Ukraine won Eurovision

THIS may not sit well with some, but I’m glad Ukraine’s 2016 Eurovision entry, 1944 by Jamala, won.

It’s so refreshing to see that, after hosts Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw spoofed Eurovision and its songs with Story of ESC and especially Love Love Peace Peace, that a song about the horrors of war and genocide triumphed over the more ‘traditional’ Eurovision topics.

I say this because Jamala’s lyrics were inspired by a real-life event: her great-grandmother’s deportation from the Crimean Peninsula by Stalin in 1944, and the resulting death of one of her children. Also, the use of the Crimean Tatar language gave the victims a voice once again and made my hairs stand on end.

1944 has made me realise I must learn more about this historical event, something no other Eurovision song has before.

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Leap Day 2016

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Pranav Dhanawade 1,009*

IT is a record I never thought I would see broken, and a score I was certain to be impossible.

When a 13-year-old A.E.J. Collins was left stranded on 628* for Clarke’s House against North Town House at Clifton College in late June 1899, he may have felt his record would last an eternity.

But now, almost 117 years later, Mumbai schoolboy Pranav Dhanawade, 15, has obliterated it.

Playing for KC Gandhi Higher Secondary School against Arya Gurukul in the HT Bhandari Cup, Dhanawade smashed 1,009 runs, yes, 1,009 RUNS, from 327 balls in 395-396 minutes. His knock included 127-129 boundaries and 59 sixes.

Pranav Dhanawade - 1,009*

Pranav Dhanawade – 1,009* (Pic: BBC News)

Dhanawade had already surpassed Collins’ mark on the first day of the two-day match, having scored an unbeaten 652 by stumps, his side 956-1.

KC Gandhi Higher Secondary School declared as Dhanawade reached four figures with a total of 1,465-3d.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Dhanawade said: “I have always been a big-hitter.

When I started I never thought about breaking the record. The focus was never that. I just played my natural game, which is to attack from the word go.

After reaching 300, my coach Harish Sharma told me to play on. I did not know of the world record, but we had the Indian record [P.P. Shaw’s 546] in mind.

All-time leading Test run-scorer Sachin Tendulkar, himself a product of the Mumbai School Cricket system, tweeted: “Congrats #PranavDhanawade on being the first ever to score 1000 runs in an innings. Well done and work hard. You need to scale new peaks.

Praise from Caesar is praise indeed.

Stats

  • 381 – the number of runs Dhanawade broke Collins’ record by.
  • 0 – the number of human beings who are alive now at the time of Collins’ (former) record-breaking match, 22nd-23rd-26th-27th-28th June 1899. The world’s oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, was born on 6th July 1899.
  • 546. 1,073. 1,331. – The scores at which wickets fell in KC Gandhi Higher Secondary School’s innings. That means partnerships of: 546 for the first wicket, 531 for the second and 254 for the third.

It is stunning to see this long-lasting record be bettered by such a margin. Let’s hope we see Dhanawade playing for his country in the near-future.

Scores of 500 or more in Cricket

Runs in Innings

Batsman

Match

Location

Season

1,009*

Pranav Dhanawade

KC Gandhi Higher Secondary School vs. Arya Gurukul

Union Cricket Academy

2015-16

628*

A.E.J. Collins

Clarke’s House vs. North Town House

Clifton College

1899

566

C.J. Eady

Break-o’-Day vs. Wellington

Hobart

1902

546

P.P. Shaw

St. Francis vs. Rizvi

Azad Maidan

2013-14

515

D.R. Havewalla

B.B & C.I Railways v St Xavier’s

Bombay

1933-34

506*

J.C. Sharp

Melbourne Grammar School vs. Geelong College

Melbourne

1914-15

502*

Chamanlal

Mohindra Coll, Patiala v Government Coll, Rupar

Patiala

1956-57

501*

B.C. Lara

Warwickshire vs. Durham

Birmingham

1994

Full match summary from Sky Sports

Pranav Dhanawade's 1,009* match summary

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My 2016 Predictions

Top-food-and-drink-trends-for-2016[1]HERE are 10 predictions I’ve made for 2016.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will become the highest-grossing movie of all-time and be the first film to take over $3bn at the worldwide box office. Bonus points to me if it breaks Gone with the Wind’s inflation adjusted record.

The final four women still alive who were born in the 19th Century: America’s Susannah Mushatt Jones (D.o.B.: 6th July 1899), Italy’s Emma Morano (D.o.B.: 29th November 1899), Jamaica’s Violet Brown (D.o.B.: 10th March 1900) and Japan’s Nabi Tajima (D.o.B.: 4th August 1900), will sadly pass away.

England will lose to Wales in Euro 2016 and be eliminated from the tournament via a penalty-shoot out. The competition will be won by France, the inspired and defiant host nation.

Calls for an independent Catalonia will become louder.

Puerto Rico will take a step closer to becoming the 51st State of America.

One of the following nations will win the Eurovision Song Contest: Australia, Italy or Ukraine.

Daniel Craig will leave the James Bond franchise.

The only thing the world won’t be talking about at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics will be the sport itself.

The Doomsday Clock will be moved forward to 11:58.

Hillary Clinton will become the first female President of the United States.

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Alternative F1 Championships

WITH the 2016 F1 season now underway, here’s my 2015 Alternative Championships.

1935-Style Drivers’ Championship.

Position

Driver

Points

Champion

Lewis Hamilton (44)

34

2

Nico Rosberg (6)

45

3

Sebastian Vettel (5)

55

4

Sergio Pérez (11)

75

5

Daniel Ricciardo (3)

77

6

Kimi Räikkönen (7)

80

7

Felipe Nasr (12)

80

8

Daniil Kvyat (26)

81

9

Valtteri Bottas (77)

81

10

Max Verstappen (33)

81

11

Felipe Massa (19)

82

12

Carlos Sainz, Jr. (55)

84

13

Marcus Ericsson (9)

84

14

Jenson Button (22)

87

15

Will Stevens (28)

90

16

Nico Hülkenberg (27)

91

17

Romain Grosjean (8)

92

18

Fernando Alonso (14)

93

19

Pastor Maldonado (13)

95

20

Roberto Merhi (98)

100

21

Alexander Rossi (53)

132

22

Kevin Magnussen (20)

152

Hamilton won this championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Par = 76.

1935-Style Constructors’ Championship.

Position

Constructor

Points

Champions

Mercedes

79

2

Ferrari

135

3

Red Bull

158

4

Williams

163

5

Sauber

164

6

Toro Rosso

165

7

Force India

166

8

Manor-Marussia

170

9

McLaren

180

10

Lotus

187

Par = 152.

Mercedes won this championship at the U.S. Grand Prix.

Rookies’ Championship.

Position

Driver

Points

Champion

Max Verstappen (33)

371

2

Felipe Nasr (12)

342

3

Carlos Sainz, Jr. (55)

262

4

Will Stevens (28)

184

5

Roberto Merhi (98)

171

6

Alexander Rossi (53)

66

Will Stevens couldn’t score points in Abu Dhabi as he competed in that race in 2014.

Max Verstappen won this championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Engines’ Championship.

Position

Engine Manufacturer

Points

Champions

Mercedes

445

2

Ferrari

357

3

Renault

297

4

Honda

183

Mercedes won this championship at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Nations’ Championship.

Position

Nation

Points

Champion

Germany

402

2

England

384

3

Finland

212

4

Brazil

167

5

Russia

137

6

Australia

133

7

Mexico

127

8

France

89

9

Netherlands

85

10

Spain

77

11

Venezuela

54

12

Sweden

39

13

America

2

14

Denmark

0

Germany won this championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Chase for the Championship.

Drivers who scored a podium finish in the first 15 Grand Prix qualified for the Chase for the Championship over the last four races.

Ten drivers qualified for the Chase and those in bold can still win this championship. The three lowest finishers (D.N.F.s included) in the U.S. Grand Prix will be eliminated, leaving seven drivers. Two more drivers will be eliminated in the same manner at the Mexican Grand Prix, leaving five, while two more drivers will be eliminated in the same manner at the Brazilian Grand Prix, leaving three. Of those three remaining drivers, the highest finisher at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will win this championship.

  1. Nico Rosberg (6) – Australian Grand Prix. Winner in Abu Dhabi.
  2. Lewis Hamilton (44) – Australian Grand Prix. Second in Abu Dhabi.
  3. Daniil Kvyat (26) – Hungarian Grand Prix. Tenth in Abu Dhabi.
  4. Daniel Ricciardo (3) – Hungarian Grand Prix. Eliminated in Brazil (11th).
  5. Sergio Pérez (11) – Russian Grand Prix. Eliminated in Brazil (12th).
  6. Sebastian Vettel (5) – Australian Grand Prix. Eliminated in Mexico (Ret, 18th).
  7. Kimi Räikkönen (7) – Bahrain Grand Prix. Eliminated in Mexico (Ret, 19th).
  8. Felipe Massa (19) – Austrian Grand Prix. Eliminated in U.S. (Ret, 17th).
  9. Romain Grosjean (8) – Belgian Grand Prix. Eliminated in U.S. (Ret, 18th).
  10. Valtteri Bottas (77) – Canadian Grand Prix. Eliminated in U.S. (Ret, 19th).

Drivers’ Laps Championship.

Position

Driver

Laps

1

Sebastian Vettel (5)

1,127

2

Sergio Pérez (11)

1,124

3

Lewis Hamilton (44)

1,120

4

Nico Rosberg (6)

1,100

5

Daniel Ricciardo (3)

1,080

6

Felipe Nasr (12)

1,070

7

Valtteri Bottas (77)

1,037

8

Daniil Kvyat (26)

1,027

9

Max Verstappen (33)

1,025

10

Felipe Massa (19)

1,010

11

Marcus Ericsson (9)

998

12

Kimi Räikkönen (7)

966

13

Carlos Sainz, Jr. (55)

957

14

Jenson Button (22)

926

15

Nico Hülkenberg (27)

901

16

Will Stevens (28)

871

17

Romain Grosjean (8)

857

18

Pastor Maldonado (13)

776

19

Fernando Alonso (14)

769

20

Roberto Merhi (98)

737

21

Alexander Rossi (53)

302

22

Kevin Magnussen (20)

0

Sebastian Vettel won this championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Constructors’ Laps Championship.

Position

Constructor

Laps

Champions

Mercedes

2,220

2

Red Bull

2,107

3

Ferrari

2,093

4

Sauber

2,068

5

Williams

2,047

6

Force India

2,025

7

Toro Rosso

1,982

8

Manor-Marussia

1,910

9

McLaren

1,695

10

Lotus

1,633

Mercedes won this championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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Australia returns to Eurovision

AUSTRALIA will return to the Eurovision Song Contest next year Stockholm.

esc_australia_logo[1]Unlike this year, Australia won’t be given a bye to the Grand Final. They will have to qualify via the Semis earlier in Eurovision Week to join the Big 5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom) and Sweden in the Grand Final on Saturday 14th May 2016. They’ll also only be able to vote in the Semi-Final they participate in this time around.

The 2015 contest in Vienna saw Australia participate for the first time to celebrate Eurovision’s 60th anniversary. Guy Sebastian’s Tonight Again received an impressive 196 points, earning Australia fifth place and 12 points from hosts Austria and winners Sweden.

No announcement has been made regarding who will represent Australia next year.

Opinion

Australia’s participation in Vienna was meant to be a one-off unless they won. But given that Australia has such a large Eurovision fanbase it seemed unfair to me at the time to only give them one shot at it.

What concerns me is what Jon Ola Sand, Eurovision’s Executive Supervisor, has said about more non-European nations taking part: “We strongly believe the Eurovision Song Contest has the potential to evolve organically into a truly global event. Australia’s continued participation is an exciting step in that direction. It remains to be seen what such an event may look like in the long run.

Now I’m all for having as many nations in Eurovision as possible, but can we please work on getting European nations who haven’t participated yet to participate. For example, Liechtenstein.

But if we are to have nations like Canada, China or New Zealand in future contests; I feel there should be a limit on two per year (one in each Semi) or give them their own separate qualifier.

As for Australia next year, it will be one tough act to follow.

Who Australia voted for in 2015

Points

Semi-Final 1

Semi-Final 2

Grand Final

12

Serbia

Sweden

Sweden

10

Russia

Latvia

Russia

8

Belgium

Norway

Italy

7

Georgia

Israel

Latvia

6

Greece

Cyprus

Belgium

5

Estonia

Slovenia

Serbia

4

Denmark

Lithuania

Norway

3

Macedonia

Malta GC

Estonia

2

Hungary

Azerbaijan

Israel

1

Romania

Poland

Georgia

Nations in Italics didn’t advance to the Final.

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