Stephen flies in to snatch victory

first_imgWe got off B1 20 minutes early under overcast skies and very wet conditions under foot which made for a slow day.  The course on the day was very swampy but the greens were fine.Back in the clubhouse after a sloshy round of 4 hours and 20 minutes we welcomed back world traveller and BA 777 captain, Stephen Cooper-Reade.  Stephen was the winner today with 33 points ahead of Mick O’Connor and Elias Magnusson.1st Stephen Cooper-Reade (20) 33pts2nd Mick O’Connor (24) 32pts3rd Elias Magnusson (21) 31ptsThursday, Oct. 11, Plutaluang – StablefordPlutaluang golf course’s East and South loop was the venue for today and we teed-off 35 minutes early under cloudy skies and humid conditions.  As we made the turn there were dark skies and distant thunder off towards Utapao air base that finally got us after we walked off the 16th green and we had torrential rain for 40 minutes.  So much for dry shoes!Back in the clubhouse after a 5 hour round it was welcome back to Kevin Dinan and congratulations to out winner for today, Niels Hansen, who led the field home with 37 points.1st Niels Hansen (14) 37pts2nd Kevin Dinan (25) 29pts3rd Elias Magnusson (21) 26pts4th Mikto Homma (17) 25ptsNote:  If you are looking for a game of golf in Pattaya, call Dave at 083 602 2117 or email  We also have Bjarne’s birthday competition coming up on Monday 5 November at Plutaluang with prizes and food back at the Cafe Kronborg.  Sign-up sheet goes up on Monday 22 October. PSC golf from Café KronborgMonday, Oct. 8, Crystal Bay – StablefordCrystal Bay B&C layout was the challenge today and after a 45 minute journey there through scattered showers, it seemed that we had to wake the staff up to check-in as we were the first brave souls to show up. last_img read more

Sudan’s women pursue soccer dream, challenging conservatives

first_imgLoading…Sponsored ContentThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The World7 Truly Incredible Facts About Black Holes7 Mind-Boggling Facts About Black HolesBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them The women’s soccer league has become a field of contention as Sudan grapples with the transition from three decades of authoritarian rule that espoused a strict interpretation of Islamic Shariah law. (AP Photo)Omdurman, Sudan (AP) — All her life, Elham Balatone wanted to play soccer — like her brothers, like the boys on her street. But in the Sudan where she grew up, women could be flogged for wearing pants, let alone soccer shorts. She heard all the reasons why she had to give up her dream. It’s a Muslim country; the uniform is inappropriate; the sport was meant for men. “There’s nothing in this world that I love more than soccer. Please let me play,” she says she told her family. For years, she and other women played largely in the shadows, sometimes on dirt pitches they cleaned themselves, often bouncing from one spot to another.The women finally took center stage when the world watched them play at a Khartoum stadium as the youth and sports minister and others celebrated Sudan’s new, officially recognized women’s soccer league. Balatone even had her family’s blessings.But it’s more than just a game. The women’s league became a field of contention as Sudan grapples with the transition from three decades of authoritarian rule that espoused a strict interpretation of Islamic Shariah law and, activists say, disenfranchised women in particular.Transitional authorities have taken some steps to roll back the legacy of ousted President Omar al-Bashir. In November, they overturned a notorious “public order” law that the prime minister said had been used as a “tool of exploitation, humiliation,” resulting in “atrocities” against women and youth. Rights defenders call it a step in the right direction, but say the fight is far from over.Some ultraconservatives, however, have been pushing back. Preacher AbdulHay Yousif and others have painted soccer as part of a battle for Sudan’s identity.“What religion, what Shariah, what manhood would allow a Muslim woman to appear before men … with her arms, legs and some of her thighs exposed and then run before them,” Yousif told worshippers in October, shortly after the league, made up of 20 teams, started.“By God, these people have not come … for economic development or social prosperity or scientific elevation. They have come to destroy religion and morals.”He also denounced the youth and sports minister, a woman, saying she “doesn’t believe in what we believe in” and is a follower of “an apostate” — comments that sparked a legal battle between him and the minister.A pro-Shariah group that backs Yousif urged preachers “to use their pulpits to make the truth victorious and to defend the constants of Shariah … and expose the government’s secularization plots.”Critics argue some conservatives are using an old playbook in Sudan: weaponizing stringent religious views to target political opponents, control women and thwart change.“Clearly this is part of an effort by Yousif to undermine the new government by stimulating a ‘moral panic’ regarding the subversion of gender roles. Partly it’s about his religious views, but it is predominantly a patriarchal form of gender politics,” said Willow Berridge, a lecturer in history at Newcastle University who has written about Sudanese Islamists.Yousif and his supporters “tend to occupy the most uncompromising end of the religious spectrum in Sudan.”The preacher’s diatribe has had little direct impact on the league. But Taghreed Awoda, an administrator with one of the teams, al-Difaa, and a feminist, said the showdown was part of a larger fight for change.“To have a women’s soccer league play in Sudan, this dismantles many of the main pillars underpinning the last regime,” she said.Under al-Bashir, laws like those restricting attire were inconsistently applied and disproportionately targeted the poor and less educated, as well as anti-regime activists, Awoda said. Women players were generally left alone if they kept a low profile, although one group was once briefly arrested, she said.Preparations for the league began more than a year ago in line with the objectives of the international soccer federation FIFA, said Mervat Hussein, head of the women’s soccer committee at the Sudan Football Association. The efforts accelerated after al-Bashir’s removal, she said. FIFA, which sets criteria for developing women’s soccer, says member associations have objectives to meet to obtain funding.In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 photo, Sudanese al-Difaa, in yellow, and al-Sumood women teams play in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, Sudan. (AP Photo)Women were at the forefront of the protests that eventually pushed the military to overthrow al-Bashir in April.Hala Al Karib, regional director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, said this should have translated into more rights, but many laws discriminating against women remain in place even after the public order law was reversed.She said some hardline Islamists are fighting for their interests after losing clout in al-Bashir’s fall, arguing their rhetoric finds little resonance. Women’s issues usually “get turned into bargaining chips” and risk being sacrificed to appease hardline groups, she said.In the midst of all the wrangling is the story of women who say they just want to play soccer.“These are people who have struggled, toiled and have pressed ahead in the face of so many attempts to destroy their talents,” said Amany Anas, a player for al-Tahadi team. “Now the moment has come when they can show people that women could play just like men.”Al-Difaa player Fatima Gadal said in the past players sometimes used their own money to buy balls and gear. At times, she skipped buying food to afford bus fare to go play. “We were very much so on the margins.”Some things are still austere. After a recent game in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, the al-Difaa team squeezed into a minibus with cracked windows, rusty interiors and not enough seats. The engine soon quit and team members pushed the bus, cheering when the engine restarted.The players hope official recognition will now result in more opportunities. Some families asked to enroll their daughters after they saw the league, said Anas.At the Omdurman game, the players picked up fans — men and women.One spectator, Akram Abdel-Aziz, said he didn’t expect to see women play soccer in Sudan.“It’s a lovely thing that I hope will continue. I love the courage of the women on the field,” he said. “I pray and I am a believer … and I can see that women are covered up and dressed modestly.”On the field, most players wear leggings under their shorts, but otherwise are in regular soccer kit, and many don’t cover their hair.Some are not convinced. After praying at the mosque where Yousif preaches, a woman who gave her name only as Balqis said she wouldn’t allow her daughters to follow in the players’ footsteps, stressing the need for modest attire.“We’re Muslim people and we love our Islam and how religious we are,” she said. Women sports were fine in closed areas, she said.The players say there’s no conflict between their faith and their sport.Gadal said she once heard men at the stadium saying women playing the game was “haram,” or religiously forbidden, and the players belonged at home. She ignored them.“I fast, I pray and I perform my Islamic duties. I see no problem,” she said, pointing out that numerous Muslim countries field women’s soccer teams.Balatone, who was raised in a conservative household that is “religious but not extremist,” said she once explained to her brother why she was so determined to play.She had already given up a lot. She had three passions: singing, soccer and English. She couldn’t afford college, she dropped singing because she was told it’s haram.“When it came to soccer, I said ‘Excuse me, I cannot let soccer go,’” she said. “We live and breathe soccer.”center_img She played anyway, wearing pants or putting on leggings underneath shorts.last_img read more

Stewart sails home at Riverside

first_img3rd Steve Baker (19) 37pts10 players for Silky Oak today including 3 of the ‘dream team’ making a rare Sunday appearance, but unfortunately the luck had left most of them.Kevin Mc Entee stepped up to the mark with a strong 39 points to win the day, beating Paul West by one as Steve Baker was a further point back in third after edging Steve Coghlan on count backMonday, July 31, Khao Kheow B & C – StablefordA Flight1st Steve Baker (19) 37pts2nd Stuart Brown (13) 36ptsB Flight1st Nick Odnoral (20) 38pts2nd Matt Cronin (20) 34ptsNear Pins: Alistar Gall, Steve Baker, Jim Reily, Mary GeogheaganLong Putts: Jim ReilyWe had a very good turnout of 17 players for Khao Kheow today and the course was in perfect condition.In A flight it was the wily old fox from Liverpool Steve Baker taking the win with 37 on the card, one ahead of Stuart Brown in second.All those hours spent on the range seem to be paying off for Nick Odnoral as he topped the B flight with 38 points while Matt Cronin was surprised to find that his 34 was good enough for the silver.Wednesday, August 2, Bangpakong Riverside – Stableford1st Stan Stewart (24) 46pts2nd Espen Kristofersen (29) 41pts3rd Tip Briney (24) 40ptsEveryone was looking forward to their favorite course in the area and they were not disappointed on this dayStan Stewart shot 47 points the last time he played this course and he proved it was no fluke as he coasted home this time with 46, and this despite losing a ball up a coconut tree.New comer Espen Kristofersen took second with 41 points while Tip Briney was third another point in arrears.The near pins were both claimed by Kevin Mc Entee while Barry Oats sank the longest putt.Friday, August 4, Crystal Bay C & B – Stableford1st Barry Oats (26) 43pts2nd Steve Smith (31) 36pts3rd Steve Baker (19) 35ptsJust 7 players today at Crystal Bay and with the course nearly empty we teed off right on time.Barry Oats, playing off the yellow tees, knew it was his day after scoring 11 points on the opening 4 holes.  His caddy could not believe it was the same Barry, no screams of anger, no club throwing, who was this imposter?  22 points on the front and 21 on the back nine led him to the top of the podium.Stan Smith had an up and down card but his 36 points were enough for second place and Steve Baker made the podium again with his 35.The Donkey claimed the only near pin of the day. Colin’s Bar Golf SocietySunday, July 30, – Silky Oak1st Kevin McEntee (6) 39pts2nd Paul West (16) 38ptslast_img read more

Lamborghini one-two caps spectacular Super Series weekend at Bira

first_imgNattavude Charoensukawattana was the winner in the Class 2 Race.The four cars pulled away from the rest of the field and held a titanic mini-battle for the lead for 10 laps until Phasin, who had already slipped down to third, tried to overtake Piti for second place and sent both cars spinning off the track.  Piti would recover and rejoin the race in a distant third position but Phasin’s Ferrari had sustained terminal damage in the collision and he was forced to limp back to the pits, his race over for the afternoon.The incident allowed Chonsawat to pull out a substantial lead over his team mate Indharasak and the two would remain in first and second positions to the checkered flag, Chonsawat winning by a margin of 8 seconds.  Despite suffering handling problems in his damaged Porsche, Piti was able to hold off the challenge of Suttiluck in the True Visions Lamborghini Gallardo for third, both finishing almost half a minute down on the winner.Chanomsawat stated after the race, “It is all worth the hard practice for the past month but I had to acquaint myself with the car since this is the first time on the Bira circuit and on Thursday the test driver missed the curve and damaged the car.  It wasn’t until Friday that the Lamborghini was fixed and I therefore only had one practice before qualification.”With Chanomsawat’s third place finish on Saturday and the one-two result on Sunday, it enabled Reiter Vattana Unity to pick up enough points to take the team title for the weekend.“Our results this week were satisfactory as I finished 3rd on the first day and managed to win today.  I am very happy but it is sad that my teammate crashed out in round 3 but we got maximum points today to allow us to take the team title,” added Chanomsawat.Cars and brollies line up on the starting grid.In other races held Sunday, Nattavude Charoensukawattana improved on his second place finish on Saturday to win Race 4 of the Super Series Class 2 event for Toyota Team Thailand while Kantasak Kusiri and S. Tin captured the Class A & B honours respectively in the Super 2000, and Kantadhee Kusiri and Komkrit L won Class B & C in the Super 1500 race.Chonsawat’s Lamborghini Gallardo (right) holds off the challenge of Piti Phiromphakdee’s Porsche 997 GT3R.The final race of the day saw a spectacular crash on the first corner in the Thailand Super Pickup championship that caused a 20 minute delay while officials cleared debris off the track.  When the reduced field finally got underway, the race was won by Vorapot for the Bridgestone-Sittipol-Isuzu team.Action from the Super 2000 race, Sunday, August 18.Rounds 5 & 6 of the Thailand Super Series are due to take place again at the Bira Circuit in Pattaya on Oct. 5-6 with the championship being concluded at the Bangsaen Speed Festival in December.  For more information, go to: Lathuras’ Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 pulls out onto the pit lane.Large crowds enjoyed the racing weekend in Pattaya. Chonsawat Asavahame and Indharasak Taechatheerasiri provided a first & second finish for Lamborghini and overall team honours for Reiter Vattana Unity Racing during an exciting Round 4 of the Thailand Super Series Class 1 event at Pattaya’s Bira Race Circuit last Sunday. Packed crowds attended the motor racing festival, held from August 16-18, and as well as stunning weather they were also provided with some memorable racing in the multitude of racing classes on show.  The main event was the 3rd and 4th rounds of the Super Series Class 1 championship which featured some of the fastest GT sports cars in the region.Chonsawat Asavahame (rear-center) holds up the champion’s trophy after winning Round 4 of the Thailand Super Series Class 1 at the Bira International Race Circuit in Pattaya, Sunday, August 18.Thai/Greek driver Phasin Lathuras won leg three on Saturday in his Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and was hoping for a repeat in Sunday’s race when he lined up in pole position on the grid.  Indeed Lathuras would speed into the first corner in first place after battling for road position with Piti Phiromphakdee’s Singha-A Motorsports Porsche 997 GT3R, both closely followed by the twin Lamborghini Gallardo LP600’s of Chonsawat and Indharasak.last_img read more

Wonderful Waterside

first_imgPeter LeNoury, J.P. Thomas and Alan McKendry.The Golf Club weekly reviewMonday, July 24, Silky Oak (white tees) – Stableford1st Peter LeNoury (15) 41ptsT2nd J.P. Thomas (36) 39pts T2nd Alan McKendry (12) 39ptsAs of this writing, Green Valley has now closed 9 holes so we are playing Silky Oak on Mondays until further notice. With just a month to go before RGV hosts a ladies pro event, we hope to see frantic work on the course for it to be ready on time.It was a cooler day than normal and the overcast skies gave us a nice break from the heat.  J.P. was firing on all cylinders and tied with Alan McKendry for second with 39 points.Peter LeNoury got the right course this time and an impressive 41 point round gave him the win for today.  He started strong with a front nine of 24 points and that included two three-putts!  Capt. Phil was on track for the Caddy Smile near pin and yes, he got the ‘2’.Wednesday, July 26, Siam Waterside (white tees) – Stableford1st Micky Beresford (20) 40ptsT2nd Mark Wood (11) 38ptsT2nd Scott Moore (21) 38ptsOur special treat this month took us to the fabulous Siam Waterside.  Wednesday is their Sports Day special so the all in rate was a reasonable 2,900 baht and well worth it.  The course was in perfect condition and is much more user friendly than the other Siam courses.Scott Moore is visiting us from Australia and playing well lately.  Thirty-eight on the card got Scotty a tie with Mark Wood for second place.  Mark had in interesting way of getting those points on the card and with all par-5 holes reached in regulation, Mark proceeded to bogey each and every one of them!  The other 14 holes were far more generous.It was Mark’s playing partner who cleaned up today and our mate Micky Beresford done good with 40 points for the win.Friday, July 28, Greenwood A&C (yellow tees) – Stableford1st Jim Dundon (18) 41pts2nd Richard Goodwyn (20) 39pts3rd Tony Moore (18) 36ptsThere is a new little shortcut to Greenwood now and it shaves off about 7 minutes from going down the 331 and making that tricky U-turn to enter the main gates.  The new route has you turning right in the direction of Pattavia (much safer) and a left turn 800 yards down puts you on the Greenwood property. They have even put up a small sign to let you know you are on the right track. If you use Google maps it will also show you the way.Ben Denham is one of the few scratch golfers in town and known to be a long hitter.  He is also quite handy with a 7-iron and Ben took our Caddy Smile near pin today.  Tony Moore had brother Scott on the podium on Wednesday but today was his turn and today 36 points got him third place.  We welcomed back Richard Goodwyn who returned from the States and hit the ground running with 39 points for second.Getting his land legs back is sailor Jimmy Dundon and he did it in fine form today with a big red 41 circled at the top of the scorecard.  Jim is with us for another couple of weeks so expect to see his name up there for a while.last_img read more

Caven alone runs hot

first_imgDivided into two flights at fifteen and under the top flight saw Al Griffiths post 32 points for third place, one behind runner up Paul Hubbard.  The winner was Jon Batty and his 34 points were worth so much more knowing he had returned to his favourite distraction, golf.In the second flight Murray Edwards found conditions suited him and he made third place with 34 points, edged out of second by John Chelo with 35.  The flight winner was newly returned Niall Caven and his 37 points was the round of the day and it was good to see someone was running hot on such a chilly day.Billy Shepley, Craig Thomas and Helene Lindberg all shared the ‘2’s pot whilst John O’Sullivan enjoyed a cold beer as the lucky non winner.  The Booby Bevy went to Greg McDonald for his low round of the day.And the caddies?  They were all there waiting for more than a hundred Thai golfers, who failed to show!  Boy, will they get a chilly reception next time their group shows up.Moriarty, all rhythm and bluesOn Wednesday 27th January the Pattaya Golf Society celebrated the first anniversary of its move to its new clubhouse at The Links with a visit to Burapha to play a stableford competition on the A and B nines, off the blue tees.  The day was clear enough but a chilly wind blew all day across the well presented course.The two flights were divided at sixteen and under and play got underway on time.  It was soon apparent that the day would be a challenging one as the long par fours seemed never ending in the wind and a ball landing on the soft fairways ran for less than expected.In the second flight scores were predictably low as three golfers shared first place, namely Niall Caven, Richard Dobson and Keith Melbourne with the latter making the podium for the second time in seven days, a rare event indeed!The top flight saw the advantage of long hitting with Russell Exley recording 36 points for third place, new member Andy Robinson taking second with 37 and solid New Jersey golfer Dave Moriarty lording things with an excellent 40 points.  His fairway shots were accurate and his putting was the secret, rarely missing a putt within twelve feet or so.  It was a prodigious effort off the blues.The ‘2’s pot was shared by Niall Caven, Gary Bolger, Jon Batty and Thai lady golfer Yarida Kabinpong and the Booby Bevy went to returning French golfer Olivier Tahoun after his customary returning low score.The day had indeed been a special one and despite one golfer’s rhythm off the blues next month will see the more generous white tees in play.A Smith special at EmeraldEmerald golf club was the venue for the Pattaya Golf Society’s first forty plus field this year, on Friday, 29th January.  The day was fine and (whisper it quietly) warm and breezy.  The format was stableford with the field divided into two flights at fifteen and under.In the second flight Larry Slattery shared second place with Phil “PJ” Mitchell on 36 points and the winner was Aussie Greg McDonald with 38 points, a PB with the PGS.The top flight saw John Holmes mark his return to Pattaya with 36 points, sharing second place with Wednesday’s winner Dave Moriarty.  The outstanding round of the day was that of new PGS Champion Chris Smith whose four birdies and only one bogey helped him to a gross 69, giving him 39 points, and all this off a handicap of 0.3.  Wow!  Chris is probably the nearest thing we have in Pattaya to a professional standard golfer.  The PGS would certainly like to meet his peer.The ‘2’s pot was shared by Craig Thomas, Niall Caven, Walter Orr and Chris Walsh and the non-winner’s beer draw was won by Keith Melbourne.  The Booby Bevy went to Terry Pipe for his low marking return round.Emerald has witnessed some fine golf over the years and today’s round by Chris Smith will certainly be up there with the best. Well done Chris. IPGC Pattaya Golf Society at The Links BarThe Pattaya Golf Society visited Greenwood on Monday 25th January to play a stableford competition on the C and A nines.  Warned of a possible lack of caddies a few days before, the group were offered the choice of playing without a caddy and pulling one’s own trolley or taking a discounted buggy.  Whichever the golfers chose all were unanimous that they would willingly accept the same deal again.The unusual start to the day was compounded by teeing off in a biting wind with the temperature hovering around eighteen degrees Celsius… and it never got better!  The group made good progress – probably the thoughts of the hot shower afterwards drove them on.Chris Smith.last_img read more

Tony Robbins aces Parichat International Golf Course Pattaya

first_imgWednesday, March 11th Eastern Star Stableford1st Dave Ashman (21) 34 points2nd Michael Brett (16) 33 points3rd Tony Robbins (19) 33 pointsNear pins Keith Norman, Roland Davison, & Michael Brett.Another visit to Eastern Star where once again the reception we received was frosty at best. Someone forgot to bring our PSC vouchers, none were available for purchase and definitely no compromise on green fees, it was just another case of take it or leave it. The course was in average condition, but difficult as always and not helped by a coastal breeze.Roland Davison with a sandy eagle at Eastern Star.Scoring was mediocre at best with Dave Ashman taking first place with a score of thirty-four. Dave is becoming a bit of a Quasimodo (a bell ringer) generously once again donating his winnings in a worthy cause quenching the thirst of all present with a cleansing ale, well done Dave. Second place went to Michael Brett on countback with thirty-three points relegating Tony Robbins to third. Shot of the day went to Roland Davison who on the fifth hole hit his bunker shot from about one hundred and forty yards out with a nine-iron straight into the hole for an eagle, pretty to watch.Friday, March 13th Parichat Stableford1st Keith Smithson (4) 37 points2nd Roland Davison (15) 34 points3rd Nigel Harrison (21) 34 pointsNear pins Barry Murnin, Roland Davison, & Tony Robbins (hole in one) 3rd Michael Brett (16) 35 pointsNear pins Takeshi Hakozaki, Barry Murnin, & Michael Brett.Our last visit to the Bangpakong Riverside Course was somewhat disappointing with the course in the poorest condition anyone could remember, but Monday it was back to its best again. The fairways were well grassed and green and the greens were a good speed and ran true, so it looks like it will now become a regular on our monthly playing schedule again. The air was still as we teed off but after a few holes, the usual breeze started to blow and conditions became a bit cooler. A very quiet course meant a quick round with no delays or holdups, just as golf should be played.Keith Norman proclaimed the course was the best he had played in the last few months and set about proving it with a very respectable round of thirty-eight points, a slip up on the last robbed him of forty points. Second went to Lance Conway-Jones a stroke back. Third should have gone to Garry Smith but for some reason, he failed to turn in his card so could not be counted thereby conceding third place to Michael Brett who again had a Barry Crocker with the putter and should have had forty points, a recurring theme. Promoted ContentbrainberriesThe Highest Paid Football Players In The Worldbrainberriesbrainberriesbrainberries6 Stunning Bridges You’ll Want To See With Your Own EyesbrainberriesbrainberriesbrainberriesEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show YoubrainberriesbrainberriesbrainberriesWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?brainberriesbrainberriesbrainberries8 Things To Expect If An Asteroid Hits Our Planetbrainberriesbrainberriesbrainberries6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A Dronebrainberriesbrainberries For the superstitious amongst us, Friday 13th is considered the unluckiest day of the year. So back at Woodys Bar we waited to see who could make the claim as the unluckiest player of the day. With hindsight, we should have had a special prize for the one with the best story. On the other hand perhaps not as it may have been too difficult to decide between bad luck and bad play. As it turned out we were all a bit unlucky as far as the condition of the course goes. It was in a poor state compared to our last visit a month ago. The fairways have turned brown, and the tee boxes had recently been heavily sanded, but the greens were good.It turned out to be a curious day in many ways. Our leader Jimmy Carr sported a new very short haircut and was barely recognisable. Jack Penny had a strange round, he sliced his drive on one hole onto an adjacent fairway, played a blind second shot over trees to within six inches of the pin and sank the birdie putt. That was not the only curious part of his game as he had thirty points with six wipes and two one-point holes, a real curate’s egg of a round.Tony Robbins got the second ace of his golf career, the last being some twenty years ago. Perhaps the unlucky prize should go to John Hughes who went home a week early and missed out on two free drinks at the bar, no doubt he will make up for it on his next visit.Freshly arrived via South Africa, Keith Smithson took first place with thirty-seven points. Roland Davison edged out Nigel Harrison on countback, both with thirty-four. Near pins to Barry Murnin, Roland Davison, (within a whisker of an ace) and of course Tony Robbins (with an ace). Tony Robbins got an ace at Parichat, the second of his golf career.Pattaya Sports Club Bunker Boys GolfMonday, March 9 Bangpakong Riverside Stableford1st Keith Norman (14) 38 points2nd Lance Conway-Jones (14) 37 pointslast_img read more

Alvarez homers, Pirates beat Blue Jays 8-7

first_imgPedro Alvarez, left, is congratulated by teammate Kang Jung-ho, after hitting a 3-run home run during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) – Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run shot and Korean rookie Jung Ho Kang connected for his first major league homer, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday in the exhibition opener for both teams.Alvarez’s drive came in the first inning off Aaron Sanchez after Gregory Polanco singled and Starling Marte reached on an error by new Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson.Sanchez, a candidate for the starting rotation, yielded four hits, five runs – two earned – and walked one in 1 1-3 innings.Alvarez added an RBI double in the fifth. The 2013 All-Star missed most of September last season with a stress fracture in his left foot and was left off Pittsburgh’s postseason roster. He batted .231 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in 122 games.“It was good to see,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s our first exhibition game, so we need to keep a dose of reality on everything we do. I love the way we came out swinging the bats aggressively. We were good within the strike zone with the barrel.”The Pirates bid $5 million for the rights to Kang, then signed him to a four-year, $11 million contract in January. The shortstop hit 40 homers in 117 games with the Nexus Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization last year.“I tried not to be nervous, but I enjoyed the game and enjoyed the little moment,” Kang said through a translator.STARTING TIMEPirates: Right-hander Casey Sadler tossed two no-hit innings, walking Edwin Encarnacion in the second. Sadler gave up nine earned runs in six games of relief as a rookie last season.Blue Jays: Sanchez threw 36 pitches. He said his objective was to work on his curveball and wasn’t concerned with the rocky start.“Being a starter, you’ve got to incorporate every single pitch,” Sanchez said. “I had a chance to put some guys away. One was a hit, but right where I need to be. This is the first game of spring training, so just build off that and it can only get better from there.”TRAINER’S ROOMPirates: First baseman Corey Hart will likely not make his spring debut until Monday after he cut his foot on a loose filter while getting into a hot tub on Sunday. Hart, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract as a free agent in December, received three stitches to close the wound.Right-hander Brandon Crumpton has been experiencing elbow discomfort since Saturday and will meet with Dr. James Andrews for an examination next week. The 26-year-old said he first noticed the problem while throwing batting practice.Blue Jays: Left-hander Johan Santana started his throwing program, playing catch with team medical trainer George Poulis in the outfield before the game. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner is in camp on a minor league deal. Santana has not pitched in the majors since August 2012 because of shoulder problems and a torn left Achilles tendon he sustained with Baltimore during extended spring training last June.FAMILIAR FACE, NEW PLACEThree-time All-Star catcher Russell Martin made his Blue Jays debut against his former club, going 1 for 3 with a single to left in the fifth. Martin spent the last two seasons with Pittsburgh, before signing a five-year, $82 million deal with Toronto in NovemberGOOD TO BE BACKVernon Wells is back with the Blue Jays until Thursday as a guest instructor to help mentor younger players. The three-time All-Star outfielder retired after last season, following a 15-year career with the Blue Jays, Angels and Yankees.Wells said he had interest from several teams to return to the majors in a reserve role, but he decided it was the time was right to step away to spend more time with his family and coach his sons in youth baseball.UP NEXTBlue Jays: Marcus Stroman makes his spring debut on Wednesday against the Pirates in Bradenton. The 23-year-old righty enjoyed a solid rookie campaign with Toronto last season, winning 11 games in 20 starts.last_img read more

Overtime 9-16-15

first_imgBILL NEAL:10—Earth, Wind & Fire came and “Kept Your Head to the Sky.” George Benson came and took you back “On Broadway.” Aretha Franklin rolled into town on a “Pink Cadillac” and gave you all the “Respect” you could ask for and Smokey came and went and left you “‘Cruizin’” and Bootsie…well you know Bootsie! But none…and I mean none, did it better than the First Lady of Motown, Miss Diana Ross. Talk about “Stop in the Name of Love”…you had to stop…stop and reflect and be reminded of the super “Super Star” that was on stage. Motown icon, R&B legend, Ed Sullivan Show, “Lady Sings the Blues,” “Mahogany,” “The Wiz,” Berry Gordy’s woman and the owner of so many hits you would need two nights to perform them all. Miss Ross, you’re “Coming Out”…was fantastic!!!:09—Oh I know, it’s a sports column. Just shut up a minute. You’re just mad cause you weren’t at the show. Here’s some sports for ya. High school football is in. Go see your kids play and act like you got some sense…YOU AIN’T PLAYING MMMAAANNN!last_img read more

Observations from the Edge: Yinz really otta’ go see the Otters

first_imgErie Otters right wing Alex DeBrincat celebrates with teammates including Dylan Strome, at left, after scoring against the Mississauga Steelheads during the third period of their OHL hockey game at Erie Insurance Arena on Jan. 31, 2016. (ANDY COLWELL / ERIE TIMES-NEWS VIA AP)Every kid playing sports dreams of being in the spotlight someday.  They dream of being Crosby or Lemieux, Rothlisberger or Bradshaw, Clemente or McCutchen.  Hockey kids start the dream early (with supporting hockey moms), usually in mini and mites (ages 5-8), squirt, pee wee and bantam leagues (9-14), and on to juniors (16–20), or college.Hockey is infectious…a flowing constant of bodies, energy and shifting momentum.  Gliding, stopping, running, hopping, spinning and cruising on ice with a weird looking stick, while manipulating a frozen disk in your peripheral vision…is a bit awe-inspiring.Here in Pittsburgh, we’ve been blessed with the best…Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr (still playing in the NHL at 45), Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pierre LaRouche, Jean Pronovost, to name some.  That is to say…we are a tad spoiled.However, two hours north in Erie, you’ll find a brand of hockey where the best seat in the house cost the same as the worst one at PPG Arena.  At 1/3 the size, Erie Insurance Arena packs plenty punch and power.  Welcome to junior hockey and the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.  For junior players, this is a developmental league, a segue to college or the pros.As the name suggests, this league of 20 teams is made primarily (three from the U.S.) from cities in the Canadian province of Ontario, just across Lake Erie.  They have names like Oshawa, Kitchener, Mississauga, Saginaw and Guelph…and with nicknames like the Steelheads, Petes, 67’s and Frontenacs. (Yes, the Frontenacs…a name derived from Fort Frontenac, of Louis de Baude de Frontenac, governor of New France–now Kingston Ontario–if you must know).Some great players have played juniors rather than go the collegiate route. While Mario Lemieux played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (a sister league to the OHL), Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr played in the Ontario Hockey League, as did Penguins Andy Bathgate, Syl Apps, Ron Francis, Paul Coffey, Phil Bourque (a Frontenac) and Bob Errey.  So have other major players like Steve Yzerman (DET), Scott Stevens (NJ), Eric Lindros (PHI)…and current players such as Patrick Kane (CHI), Steven Stamkos (TB), John Tavares (NYI), and of course former Erie Otter, number one draft pick, Connor McDavid (EDM).McDavid resides in Edmonton, Alberta as the youngest captain (19 years old) in NHL history, running neck and neck for a scoring title with the best player in the land, Sidney Crosby.  That must say something about his skills but also about his development in juniors.  While he was “up ‘ere” in Erie, he set all kinds of rookie records (as a 15 year-old) for the Erie franchise and for the league.  His three years as an Otter was a conduit to developing those skills.  And players like Dylan Strome, Taylor and Darren Raddysh, and Alex DeBrincat are right behind him.Right wing Alex DeBrincat is setting records too. Recently, he tied the OHL record with a 19-game goal streak, scored 100 points for the third year in a row, scored 50 goals for the same period, and recorded over 300 career points for the league, And on a recent night, he became the American all-time OHL goal scoring leader.  He will be a rookie sensation somewhere in the Chicago Blackhawk’s system next year.  He just won the OHL scoring title with 127 points (and a +60 plus/minus). Right wing Taylor Raddysh has 108 points (and a +66).  As Penguin color commentator Bob Errey might say…sounds like a two-headed monster.Goalie Troy Timpano, who at one point in the season was 17-1 in goal, has finished the season at 36-8 with a 2.37 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.  He figures to loom large in the playoffs, with a solid tender behind him in Joseph Murdaca at 12-4.The Otters have gone deep into the playoff for the last three years, but have not clinched the OHL Robertson Cup.  One wonders that if you can’t win it with McDavid on your roster, can you do it at all?  This may be the year.   “We weren’t a very good team last year,” confesses head coach Kris Knoblauch.  ”You won 52 games last year” I gasped. “We didn’t have the players we have this year,” he noted.Knoblauch has this team playing consistently great hockey.  The Otts have just won the entire league with 103 points, 32 games above .500.  The playoffs start Thursday in Erie (Sarnia in the 1st round) so it’s time to get your ass “up ‘ere.”  That’s what Erites call Pittsburghers…”up ‘eres”…you know from… “hey yinz guys goin’ up ‘ere to Presque Ahll?”Knoblauch is a coach and coaches teach. In fact, Knoblauch was a substitute teacher in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, where he was content to live with his family in what he terms “paradise.” But a falling out with the junior team, Kootenay Ice of Cranbrook, British Columbia, that he was coaching, changed things.  That’s Erie’s good fortune, since they had not won a playoff series in nine years before coach Kris showed up five seasons ago.  Last year, they had their third consecutive 50+ win season…an OHL record… and then did it a fourth time in the season’s last game on Saturday.As I write this article over several games late in the season, the Otts have won them all, with scores of 9-1, 8-4, 9-4 …and this one, a 10-1 win, where center Dylan Strome became the Otters all time points leader with 309, as the Otts scored 8 goals in the second period…setting a franchise record on route to a 60-shot game outburst, tying their own record.  Four of the five top plus/minus players in the league this year are Otters.Like I said, they set records “up ‘ere” in Erie, Penn. This is some brand of hockey.The Otters actually started out in Niagara Falls, Ontario, as the Niagara Falls Thunder.  They moved to downtown Erie in 1996.  The game experience here is the same as in the NHL…lots of loud music, a goofy mascot (in this case, an upright Lake Erie otter who looks more like Goofy or Pluto), kiss cams, t-shirt toss, chuck the puck, human bowling, dance contests, free food…all intended to keep the family entertained.  It’s all about entertainment, is it not?Coach Knoblauch replaced Robbie Ftorek in 2012.  Ftorek, who has his name on the Stanley Cup twice and was head coach of the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins in his past life, was being replaced by a 33-year-old coach with just two years of experience in junior hockey.  Knoblauch didn’t seem intimidated.  After that first losing season, with a team he inherited from Ftorek, Knoblauch made some drastic changes, trading away talent for grit and character.  That helped support younger players who wanted to lead but had no support.  Goal production went from next to last in the league to first in one season.Side Note:  Mario Lemieux said the same thing (adding grit and character) when he hired GM Jim Rutherford, on a 3-year window to get a Penguin’s championship done.  Rutherford did it in two.“The players worked hard, bought in and played a system,” Knoblauch tells me in his thick western Canadian accent.  ”They wanted to win and it showed.  We went from 19 wins to 52…an OHL record.”Yeah, setting records you might say, is “That Thing You Do” in Erie, Penn.As for now, Knoblauch loves coaching in Erie.  He can’t see working for a better organization but admits, given the opportunity to go to the next level, he would like to have the chance.  AHL teams with coaching issues should take note.  He may also see himself as an NHL assistant coach in the near future.  But he asks himself this…”is it good for my family?  Is it an organization that plays hockey how I want it to be played?”Apparently, Erie is a place where they play hockey his way, which varies depending on the players he has to utilize.  With this group, they play a brand of hockey where they take chances–and consequently turn over the puck–relying on defense to bail them out. It helps to have Troy Timpano in net.GM Dave Brown and Knoblauch want players who “play hard with offensive capabilities but are responsible defensively,” says Knoblauch, “players who are responsible on and off the ice.  Team culture is important for team success.”I talked to DeBrincat, Strome, Raddysh and Timpano, whom when queried, all said “maturity” was their greatest development in juniors.  ”I didn’t ‘get it’ till late,” says coach Knoblauch, which kind of derailed his own pro career.  He didn’t get work hard consistently, eat right, work out, and such.  Ultimately it sent his hockey career in another direction…towards Erie.  ”You don’t know what you don’t know.”“Your face and your name are out there,” says Penguin color man and once a Penguin first round pick, Bob Errey, who played two years in the OHL in Peterborough for the Petes, on a line with hall-of-famer, Steve Yzerman. Errey then went on to play on a line with hall-of-famer Mario Lemieux, on their way to winning Stanley Cups in ’91 and ’92.“You’re not a normal person going to school,” continues Errey.  ”You’re kids, you develop as a person, being able to mature as quickly as you can.  You’re developing your mind.  There is a lot of pressure around you.”If there is pressure on these young Otters, you would never know it.  There is this easy comradery around them.  I think they’re a confident bunch.  And why not? They did have a dip in wins in the last 10 games, so they had to win the last two to get 50 for Knoblauch, which they did.  Yes, it’s that thing you do in Erie, Penn.Yinz really Otta’ go “up ‘ere” and see some Otter’s play-off hockey.Lee Kann is a media producer and a writer. Contact: shooting16bl@gmail.comlast_img read more

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