Things That Caught My EyeWhat on earth did I just watchLast night Houston beat Los Angeles 13-12 at home in 10 innings in one of the most ridiculous baseball related experiences America has collectively endured. The FanGraphs win probability chart looks like an advanced Lunar Lander level on Atari. There were seven home runs in the game’s 5-hour, 17-minute runtime. The Astros outscored or tied five NFL teams this week. Based on average change in win probability alone, it was the second-best ever World Series game ever. [FiveThirtyEight]Alabama is No. 3…of all time. Alabama is at the top of the Associated Press college football poll this week for the 99th time. This puts them above Notre Dame and behind only Ohio State and Oklahoma in all-time appearances at #1. [ESPN]Ohio State gets a massive winNo. 6 ranked Ohio State had a come-from-behind victory over No. 2 ranked Penn State to win 39-38. They entered the fourth quarter down 35-20 with an abysmal chance at winning. Later, down by 5 and with just under two minutes left the Buckeyes scored a touchdown, a single play that raised their win probability by 34.2 percentage points, one of the biggest swings of the week. Following the win, we give Ohio State a 64 percent chance of winning the Big Ten conference and a 57 percent chance of making the playoff, while Penn State has a mere 3 percent chance of winning the conference and only a 13 percent chance of making the playoff. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]Maybe comparing your employees to prisoners isn’t super coolTexans owner Bob McNair made a comment that “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” during an NFL owners meeting in reference to recent player demonstrations against white supremacy. This ticked off his team mightily. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back D’Onta Foreman missed a practice Friday in response, and Sunday all but about 10 Texans players took a knee during the national anthem. [ESPN]Something’s up with the ballsPlayers have begun to flag that something is off with the balls this World Series. Gosh, I wonder what’s up. The regular season wrapped with the most home runs ever. The rate during that season — that insane, record-breaking season — of one homer every 27.1 at-bats. In this World Series through the first four games, there were 15 homers or one every 17.5 at-bats. That’s a crazy 35 percent improvement in the rate, which is huge. Then you think about last night: There were 7 home runs in 85 at bats, or 1 every 12.1 at-bats. Something’s up. [Sports Illustrated]Olympics could be a distractionYear three of the National Women’s Hockey League started up Saturday, and the league will balance new signings and partnerships with the challenge of running operations while the top talent in the league is off the ice elsewhere preparing for the 2018 Olympic games. [ESPN]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!Big Number19 touchdownsIt would appear that Houston has found its future in Deshaun Watson, who Sunday passed Kurt Warner with 19 touchdowns in his first seven games. His statline in Sunday’s loss to Seattle was outstanding, and on the season he’s got three games with four passing touchdowns. Houston is far from a favorite but also far from out of the hunt when it comes to the playoffs this year — 18 percent chance of making the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight — but finding a player like Watson could turn things around in years to come. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack: Every Single Message Sent on Sundayrob:Well well well NFL See more MLB predictions We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe waltjust looked at our predictions by the way and there’s a 19 percent chance the Browns go Defeated this seasonalways worth keeping an eye on that lovely numbergiven that we’re halfway thereNiners have a 9 percent chanceso actually a decent chance one of them goes defeated tbhPredictions MLB Oh, and don’t forgetWest Virginia had to put in the backup mascot on Saturday All newsletters See more NFL predictions
College football fans aren’t habituated to the rhythm of a playoff — at least not in the same way college basketball fans are before the NCAA tournament. But the games Saturday and the selection committee’s choices Sunday will determine the four teams that enter the first-ever college football playoff. FiveThirtyEight will be here throughout the weekend to update our forecast on which teams are most likely to make it.The math has become simpler after Oregon’s emphatic 51-13 victory Friday night against Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game. Instead of seven teams competing for four positions, there are now effectively five teams — Alabama, TCU, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor — competing for three slots, with Oregon having secured its position and Arizona out of the running.Nothing’s official yet, but in this case, our statistical model aligns with common sense. Oregon, No. 2 in the selection committee’s rankings entering the weekend, made the playoff in all 20,000 simulations that we ran Saturday morning. Arizona, which now has three losses, never did. Here are the latest numbers:For comparison’s sake, here’s our forecast before the Pac-12 championship:It’s become crowded at the top. No. 1-ranked Alabama is an 82 percent favorite to beat Missouri in the SEC championship, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). And the Crimson Tide are more likely than not to make the playoff even if they lose to Missouri.Third-ranked TCU probably won’t make the playoff if they lose to 2-9 Iowa State. But they’re 97 percent favorites to win the game, per FPI. Crazy things can happen in college football — but if the Cyclones win, it would be perhaps the most memorable college football upset since Appalachian State beat Michigan in 2007.For the time being, Oregon is the favorite to win the national championship, with a 37 percent chance of doing so. (Alabama may overtake the Ducks if they defeat Missouri, but Oregon’s dominance against Arizona is likely to impress FPI, as well as Vegas oddsmakers.)Oregon’s win is also modestly bad news for the teams ranked No. 5 and 6 entering the weekend, Ohio State and Baylor, because they now have one fewer opportunity to leapfrog other teams in the rankings. Ohio State’s probability of making the playoff dropped to about 30 percent from 35 percent after Oregon’s win; Baylor’s declined slightly, to about 16 percent from 18 percent.Still, Oregon’s gain came mostly at the expense of Arizona. The result wasn’t a total disaster for Ohio State and Baylor, in part because an Arizona win would have created a mess of its own. Arizona, No. 7 entering the weekend, would have had an argument for making the playoff if it beat Oregon. Oregon might have had an argument even with a loss.But Oregon won. Could the Ducks wind up with the No. 1 seed? They almost certainly will if Alabama loses to Missouri. Otherwise, they’ll probably stay at No. 2, according to the model. But the FiveThirtyEight model is calibrated based on a historical analysis of voting in the Coaches Poll. The playoff selection committee has been a bit more aggressive so far in promoting teams after dominant victories. Perhaps if Alabama wins clumsily against Missouri, the Ducks could overtake it. Either way, it was a happy Friday night in Eugene.
With only eight days remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, it’s time to check in on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. If you’re wondering how these numbers work, the short version is that all 30 NBA teams are ranked according to a projection of their true talent over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the methodology,1This week, we tweaked the simulation methodology to include the NBA’s official tie-breaking procedures. Before this week, we had been approximating tie breakers. see our introductory rankings post.The Eastern Conference playoff plot continues to thicken. Last Monday in this space, our model listed the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers with playoff probabilities of 76 percent and 50 percent, respectively, with the Brooklyn Nets (38 percent) and Boston Celtics (25 percent) likely to be on the outside looking in.Now, the tables have turned.The Celtics, aided by a 3-1 record over the past week (and an improved power rating), now sport a 57 percent playoff probability and more expected end-of-season wins than either Miami or Indiana. Likewise, the Nets leapfrogged the Pacers and Heat by an even greater margin after going 4-1 over the past week-plus. Brooklyn’s chances of making the playoffs are now nearly 77 percent, a radical departure from its 17 percent postseason probability of two weeks prior.And if Brooklyn and Boston are now in the driver’s seats for the final pair of Eastern Conference playoff berths, that means the Heat and Pacers are currently both underdogs to make the postseason. Miami has lost four straight games, and its power rating is down because several of its good RPM players (such as Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen) are listed as day-to-day with injuries. And for its part, Indiana went 2-2 on the week-plus, but even at .500, the Pacers lost ground to the surging Celtics and Nets.The Heat have things a bit better than the Pacers. They face an easier remaining schedule, and the league’s tie-breakers favor them in the event of a tie with Boston and/or Brooklyn, which accounts for Miami’s superior playoff odds despite a projected win tally identical to that of Indiana. But for each team, it’s a big reversal from where they stood just a week ago.So while there’s little time left in the schedule, the Eastern Conference playoff picture is no clearer than it’s been the past few weeks — the front-runners to get in are just different.
One school of thinking about the MLB trade deadline, which passes at 4 p.m. Eastern time, is that teams should address their weaknesses and become more balanced in preparation for the stretch run. The notion, which we’ve taken as a given around these parts in the past, is that sacrificing in some area of strength (whether on offense, pitching or defense) to plug a weakness makes a team less vulnerable in the postseason. But is that true? Certainly teams should patch up their weaknesses if it doesn’t mean taking away from their strengths, but all else being equal, balance for its own sake may not necessarily help improve a team’s chances.It’s easy to look at a team’s offense/defense balance — defined as how closely matched a team’s run-scoring and run-prevention capabilities are. We can quantify the clubs most in need of it at the deadline this season by indexing each team’s (park-adjusted) runs scored and allowed per game against the league average. In the chart below, the teams in the bottom right-hand corner are the most balanced — they’re good at both scoring and preventing runs1In this case, a lower defensive index is better because it means a team allowed fewer runs. — but those in the adjacent quadrants have a weakness in one of the two categories. (Those in the top left are just bad at everything.) But to examine the broader question of whether balance helps a team, we need to see if our measure of balance — specifically, the absolute difference between a team’s index and the league average of 100 on both offense and defense — tracks meaningfully with a team’s future success after controlling for its overall talent level.To that end, I computed the same offensive and defensive indices as above for each team on July 31 of every season since 1986, when the trade deadline was permanently moved to that date (except this year, when the commish moved it to Aug. 1 because July 31 fell on a Sunday). As a first pass, I checked whether a change in a team’s balance correlated with improved play over the remainder of the regular season — and the relationship was practically non-existent.2In statistical parlance, the r between the change in a team’s balance from before the trade deadline to after and its change in winning percentage was 0.018. I then did the same thing but for eventual playoff teams only … and got the same result.3This time, the correlation was -0.009. Finally, I looked at whether a playoff-bound team’s balance had any real bearing on its World Series odds after controlling for its talent, and again, a team’s balance had no significant effect. (If anything, less balanced playoff teams have tended to win the World Series more often since 1986, though that finding is likely just noise.)In other words, balance isn’t something for a team to seek at the deadline — talent is. Teams should be wary about dealing from a strength to improve a weakness if it doesn’t leave them in a better overall place than where they started. Even under the bright lights, a run saved is still worth the same as a run scored, balance be damned.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
IN SportALL EVENTSShare of The Dutch do one thing very, very wellThe countries that have won the largest share of their medals in one sport at the Winter Olympics Among countries that won at least 10 medals in a single sport. Through Feb. 14, 2018 (South Korea time).Source: Sports-Reference.com SwitzerlandAlpine skiing20595013940.042.5 CroatiaAlpine skiing410411100.090.9 NetherlandsSpeedskating401144212195.4%94.2% FranceAlpine skiing15483311545.541.7 ChinaShort track930125375.056.6 The Summer Games’ one-sport specialistsThe countries that have won the largest share of their Summer Olympic medals in one sport At the Olympics in South Korea, highly populated countries such as the U.S. can contend in a broad range of sports, including skiing, hockey, skating and more. But smaller countries have a harder time producing world-class athletes in so many disciplines, so they often concentrate on just a few. Then there’s the Netherlands, which owns one event alone: speedskating.Through the end of competition Wednesday (South Korea time) at the Pyeongchang Games, 40 of the 42 gold medals Dutch competitors have won in any Winter Olympics had come in speedskating — not to be confused with speedskating’s more exciting half-brother, short-track speed skating, which the Olympics count as a separate discipline. Just seven of the nation’s 121 total Winter medals came in a sport other than speedskating, a measly 5.8 percent. At the previous Winter Olympics in 2014, the Dutch claimed 24 medals: 23 in speedskating and one, a bronze, in short track skating. Eight of their medals were gold.In sports, a country’s dominance often fades — look at Romania in Olympic gymnastics or U.S. men in tennis Grand Slams. But Dutch speedskaters have sustained their superiority. In the 2010 Olympics, they won eight medals: seven in speedskating and one, a gold, in snowboarding. They won nine in 2006, all in speedskating. So far this Olympics, they’ve already won nine speedskating medals,1Not counting their two on the short track, or the silver speedskating medal the country won on Thursday. including five golds. The most impressive Dutch medal so far in these games: a third consecutive gold in the 5,000 meter race for Sven Kramer, who is 31 years old. He is the first man to win three straight golds in the same Olympic speedskating event. He won this year’s race by nearly two seconds. JamaicaTrack & Field777898.7 Things weren’t always this way. Looking at all the medals ever given out in speedskating, the Dutch have captured 21 percent. This is impressive, but it’s short of other countries’ performances in other sports: Canada has won 31 percent of all curling medals, and the U.S. has won 29 percent of all snowboarding medals, for instance. But much of this has to do with the fact that speedskating has a long history at the Olympics, and the Netherlands has only reached its current level of dominance relatively recently. The Dutch won 13.1 percent of all speedskating medals between 1924 and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and all of those came after 1952. But since the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, the Netherlands has captured 36.6 percent of all podium spots.2Through the end of competition (Korea time) on Feb. 14, 2018. Medals South KoreaShort track2243275481.579.6 CountrySportIn sportTotalshare of total IndonesiaBadminton193063.3 MoroccoTrack & Field192382.6 Trinidad and TobagoTrack & Field151979.0 BahamasTrack & Field121485.7 CountrySportGoldTotalGoldsTOTALGoldsTotal The Dutch dominance is so complete that it inspires wacky theories. NBC’s Katie Couric was mocked for her recent statement that the Dutch are so good because they have a longstanding tradition of skating from place to place on frozen canals. The problem: Those canals freeze only a few times a year, if at all, and when people skate on them, it’s for recreation. Dutch skeedskaters are also rumored to have an ideal body type for the sport, but while the country’s racers are often tall, so are many of their opponents from other countries. Nor do the Dutch use a proprietary method to glide past other competitors: While many members of the team have spectacular form, which includes bending low and skating with force and precision, the technique isn’t a secret.The real cause, more than anything else, is dedication. Starting in childhood, Dutch skaters train with excellent instructors. The Dutch team’s skating equipment is the best in the world, too. For the Olympics in 2014, officials from the host city of Sochi went to the Netherlands to learn how to build a top-of-the-line racing rink. By the time they are ready to compete, Dutch stars have been skating in ideal conditions and learning how to peak in time for the biggest races.The ultimate proof of a country’s prowess in an Olympic event is sweeping all three medals. The Netherlands managed it earlier this week, when Dutch women took gold, silver and bronze in a 3,000 meter speedskating race. In another race, the 31-year-old Ireen Wust won her fifth career gold medal and 10th overall medal, a speedskating record. That victory was a surprise, as the silver medalist, Miho Takagi of Japan, was a strong favorite. Wust is the first Dutch athlete to win five gold medals.The only champions who beat out the Dutch in terms of winning all their medals in a single sport in either the Winter or Summer Games3Among countries that have won at least 10 medals in a single sport. are Ethiopia and Jamaica, who excel in track and field races. Ethiopia has 53 summer medals, all of them in track and field. Jamaica, famous for the record-holding sprinter Usain Bolt, has won 98.7 percent of its medals in track. The Dutch are next on the list, at 94.2 percent. Great BritainFigure skating515113345.545.5 Among countries that won at least 10 medals in a single sportSource: Sports-Reference.com AustriaAlpine skiing351156122157.452.0 KenyaTrack & Field9310093.0 EthiopiaTrack & Field5353100.0% FinlandCross-country ski20774316446.547.0 SlovakiaCanoeing182864.3 IranWrestling436863.2 TurkeyWrestling639566.3 SwedenCross-country ski31765515356.449.7 So, will the Dutch team’s rule ever end? This seems impossible now, especially given the relatively low levels of attention the sport gets in powerful countries like the U.S. But you never know. As the U.S. and many other countries have shown, Olympic dominance usually doesn’t last forever. Enjoy it, those of you from the Netherlands, while you can.
Former OSU tight end Nick Vannett (81) celebrates after one of his 2 1st-half touchdowns during a game against Rutgers on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File photoOhio State continued its dominance of the 2016 NFL draft, as tight end Nick Vannett became the 10th Buckeye to be selected. Overall, Vannett is the 94th player picked, after his name was called by the Seahawks.This selection sets a new record, as the Buckeyes are the first program to have 10 selections in the opening trio of rounds of the draft.The Westerville, Ohio, native was used sparingly in the OSU offense throughout his tenure, producing 55 receptions for 585 yards and six touchdowns. After redshirting his freshman year, Vannett played throughout his remaining four years, totaling 53 games played.Although the production numbers were low compared to the rest of the offensive starters for OSU, many NFL scouts valued the 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end for his athleticism.During the 2014 championship run for the Scarlet and Gray, Vannett enjoyed his highest level of production, hauling in five touchdowns, as well as appearing in a career-high 15 games.It is worth noting that the predecessor to Vannett, former OSU tight end Jeff Heuerman, produced similar numbers (52 receptions, 792 yards, seven touchdowns) to those of Vannett and was selected by the Denver Broncos last year in the third round.Although his athleticism gives Vannett immense upside, there has been some concern over how effective he can be as a blocker, a skill tight ends in the spread offense aren’t called upon regularly to employ. With his large frame and proven strength for the position, the Seahawks will focus on developing Vannett as an establish blocker, while also benefiting from his versatility as a pass-catcher. With Jimmy Graham the primary tight end in Seattle, it seems as though it will take time before Vannett sees consistent playing time.
Former Ohio State shooting guard Katie Smith is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and set the record for points scored by either a man or woman in the Big Ten during her four-season collegiate career from 1992 to 1996. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsOne of the greatest players in Ohio State women’s basketball history, Katie Smith was selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.The three-time Olympic gold medalist set the record for points scored by either a man or woman in the Big Ten during her four-season collegiate career from 1992 to 1996. Smith was honored as the Big Ten Player of the Year her senior year. In her freshman season, she powered her team to a conference title and NCAA championship appearance.Smith played 15 season in the WNBA and two professionally for the Columbus Quest from 1996 to 1997. When she retired in 2013, she was the all-time women’s professional basketball leading scorer with 7,885 points. Smith was voted one of the 20 best and most-influential players in WNBA history in 2016. After her playing career ended, she was hired as an assistant coach by the New York Liberty. She became the team’s head coach Oct. 16.“She’s totally deserving of that honor and she should be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” Ohio State women’s basketball head coach Kevin McGuff said. “She’s an unbelievable player. She was an unbelievable player here. She’s a great coach now. I can’t wait to see all her success with the New York Liberty.”Smith was inducted into Ohio State’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. McGuff said she frequently makes trips to Columbus continues to stay in touch with the program.“I love the fact she comes around a lot, she stays connected to the program, which I love,” McGuff said. “She’s a great role model to the current players.”The 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame finalists were announced were Jan. 11. Inductees will be announced the night of Feb. 12 during the Louisville-Connecticut game. The class of 2018 will be introduced during the Final Four in Columbus, meaning Smith might have a homecoming if inducted.
Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop drives to the basket in the first half of Ohio State’s 74-62 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Credit: Jacob Myers | Managing Editor for ContentANN ARBOR, Mich. — Win out and No. 8 Ohio State had nothing to worry — it would be the Big Ten regular-season champion. After Thursday’s derailment at unranked Penn State, the two-loss Buckeyes had no breathing room in Sunday’s matchup at No. 22 Michigan.Now, the conference title at the end of an improbable regular season is no longer in their control.Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate scored 20 points and had a career-high 15 rebounds, but the offensive output wasn’t found from other players for the Buckeyes (22-7, 13-3 Big Ten) in their 74-62 loss to Michigan (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten). Michigan freshman Jordan Poole scored a surprising 15 points while Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led with 17 and Moritz Wagner added 12.“Losing up here to them, it hurts,” Tate said. “But at the end of the day, we still got two more Big Ten games to play and we just got to learn from it.”Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop scored 17 points, but struggled from the field, shooting 5-of-17. This is the second game in a row Bates-Diop had difficulty shooting, which has coincided with Ohio State’s issues from the field as well.The issues of ball movement and playing against a physical opponent resurfaced against Michigan in a game Ohio State seemingly had to have in order to win the conference title next week. Now the Buckeyes sit a game back of Michigan State and are reeling a bit coming into the end of the season.“I just think that we haven’t been the team that’s been more hungrier,” Tate said. “We could blame it on thinking that we had a two-game lead in the Big Ten, but I feel like teams have had us on our heels whereas in the past where we’ve won, we are the ones that have been the aggressors. We just got to get back to that.”The Buckeyes were on the track to do just that multiple times in the second half. When Michigan scored the first three points of the second half to take an eight-point lead, the Buckeyes went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 36-34. The Wolverines then grew their lead to nine after back-to-back layups with 10:40 remaining. Ohio State shrunk that to four with a layup from Tate and Bates-Diop’s second 3 of the game.Trailing 55-52 with 7:53 on the clock after a Tate-made free throw, Poole connected on his fourth 3 of the game from the right corner.Ohio State then went nearly six minutes — from 8:30 to 2:53 remaining — without a bucket.Out of the final media timeout, Michigan began to pull away from their rivals. Abdur-Rahman drilled a 3 from the top of the key and Wagner came down the floor on the next possession to complete a 3-point play that put the Wolverines up 68-55 with 2:12 remaining.The Wolverines led since seven minutes remained in the first half, but the Buckeyes were within striking distance until the final minutes. Only when they had their chance, they could never get over the hump.Junior point guard C.J. Jackson scored his lone points on a 3 in the first half and finished with zero assists, following his one-assist performance at Penn State. Ohio State recorded just eight assists on 24 field goals and committed 14 turnovers.Moving forward, Holtmann said he might use Tate and Bates-Diop to alleviate some pressure from primary ballhanders Jackson and redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich.“Obviously it was a concern coming into the season, not just our depth, but our ability to manage that,” Holtmann said. “We just have to challenge our guards to make better decisions in some of those situations. I’m confident they will. It’s not necessarily their strength, but I’m optimistic they will.”After both teams shot 41 percent in the first half, Michigan’s offense came to life with 56.5 percent shooting in the second frame, and its defense held Ohio State to 41.9 percent.Up Next:Ohio State returns to Columbus for its final home game against Rutgers at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Ohio State junior Lilli Piper rounds third base with the intent to score against Wright State on Sep. 24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternLilli Piper made it clear from the beginning: she wanted to play college basketball. That’s why when now-Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly recruited her to play softball at Miami (Ohio), where she was coaching at the time, Piper wasn’t interested. Kovach Schoenly backed off, as did many other softball coaches, when Piper instead began to pursue a collegiate career playing basketball. Even though she scaled back her of recruiting Piper, Kovach Schoenly was still recruiting the other girls on Piper’s travel team, so she continued to watch her play. “I had told her when I heard she was going to play basketball … ‘If you ever decide you want to play [softball], come find me because I would love to have you on my team,’” Kovach Schoenly said.After just one season playing both basketball and softball for Akron, Piper took Kovach Schoenly up on her offer.The now-junior shortstop Piper not only transferred schools, but she gave up basketball at Akron to pursue only softball at Ohio State.“She was willing to leave a pretty cushy thing at Akron, you know, you’re on a full ride and you get all of these things as a basketball player,” Kovach Schoenly said.Piper wasn’t exactly having a bad year at Akron, either. She played in 20 softball games — starting in 11 — for the Zips. She slashed .313/.327/.417 with a home run and two stolen bases.She also held her own in basketball, the sport she decided to leave. She appeared in 29 games, averaging 3.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game, and even had a 24-point, nine-rebound effort against Buffalo in the MAC semifinals.Despite the success as a two-sport athlete, Piper said playing softball full-time just began to feel like the right option. Her parents didn’t have any objections to the decision, either.“Both my parents voted for softball when I was growing up, so they really pushed that and I kind of went against it and I guess I had to find my own path back to softball,” Piper said.Attending Akron made a lot of sense for Piper at the beginning. It was close to home — Pipher is from Norton, Ohio — and she had been around the university a lot with her aunt, Kay Piper, who played both softball and volleyball there from 1982 to 1985.“Knowing that I played there and I think also she’d been around Akron U a lot because I used to take her to some of the games and stuff. I think she felt comfortable going there,” Kay Piper said.Kay’s number, 23, is one of only two retired numbers in program history, but Piper was still able to wear it for the year that she played at Akron. Seeing her wear that number was an “immense sense of pride,” Kay said. Although Piper’s decision to transfer to Ohio State was a risk, she was not leaving all comfort behind in Akron.A few of the people who played on Piper’s travel team were already playing at Ohio State, so Piper did not feel as though she was “jumping into a situation blind.”Piper quickly found her groove at Ohio State and has continued to thrive since she arrived. She sits among the Buckeyes’ leaders in nearly every offensive category through nine games this season with a .389/.421/.778 slash line and three homers, 12 RBIs, 10 runs scored and two stolen bases. In 2017, her first year with the Buckeyes, she led the team in all the categories, except stolen bases, where she was second, and was a second-team All-American.“Last year she came here and she made a name for herself. In one year to be All-American is so hard,” Kovach Schoenly said.Piper went into this season with a renewed confidence though, after she recently tried out for the USA Women’s National Team during Christmas break. She took part in the open tryout and was picked to go to the invitational tryout.“I just feel like I can’t be beat,” Piper said, “I’ve seen the best.”Piper is looking to continue to do what she said she does best this season: have fun and enjoy herself.“I just like to have a lot of fun,” Piper said. “At the end of the day this is just a game and yeah we take it, I mean this is our jobs at the end of the day but we might as well make it fun while we’re doing it.”
Ohio State senior Nate Romans (7) swings at home plate in the Buckeyes’ home opener against the Lipscomb Bison on March 15, 2019 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternDespite the cold temperatures, the Ohio State baseball team heated up to end itsfive-game losing streak in its home opener. Ohio State (8-9) routed Lipscomb (9-7) 14-3. The bats came alive for the Buckeyes, producing 18 hits, a season-high, and two home runs. “I told [the team] after the game, ‘That’s us. That’s what we’re capable of. That’s what we can do,’” head coach Greg Beals said. The Buckeyes blew the game open with a seven-run fifth inning. Four of those runs were scored with two outs, and the lead was extended to 13-1. Freshman third baseman Zach Dezenzo erupted with two home runs in the game, his second and third of the year, adding three RBIs. “Both those pitches were up and out,” Dezenzo said. “Just tried to put a good swing on it and hit something hard.”Freshman pitcher Garrett Burhenn shined against a Lipscomb team that came into the game batting .297. Burhenn allowed three runs, one of which was earned, and two hits in six innings of work. “It feels really good to be back at home and being able to start our home series and set the tone for the weekend,” Burhenn said. “I feel like we all did a great job. It was a good team win.”Burhenn struck out five, while walking two. The solid pitching was continued by Ohio State redshirt senior Thomas Waning and junior Joe Gahm. The pair struck out three and allowed only one hit in two innings of relief. With two runners on via walk, Ohio State junior first baseman Conner Pohl opened the scoring with a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning, knocking in junior shortstop Noah West. Pohl would finish the game with three RBIs. West recorded his first two stolen bases of the season. The Buckeyes increased their season stolen base total from five to eight. Lipscomb came into the game with 25 stolen bases, but were unable to steal a bag in the series opener.Lipscomb senior pitcher Chris Kachmar would go on to struggle recording outs in an efficient fashion. He was pulled in the fourth inning after recording only nine outs on 93 pitches. Kachmar came into the game with a 3-0 record and seven walks allowed in four starts. The starter earned his first loss of the season and had an uncharacteristic four walks allowed in only three innings pitched. After a pair of singles by Ohio State junior right fielder Dominic Canzone and senior left fielder Brady Cherry and a walk to redshirt sophomore catcher Brent Todys, the bases were loaded in the third inning. A 10-pitch at bat to fifth-year senior designated hitter Nate Romans ended with a two-run, two-out single to right field to balloon the lead to 4-0. “I was just trying to fight, because I was down to two strikes both at bats. Just fighting off his good pitches and then put a good swing on it,” Romans said. Romans finished the game with three RBIs on two hits. The first hit surrendered by Burhenn came by way of a solo shot in the fifth inning over the left field wall. It was junior Lipscomb junior shortstop Brian Moore’s first home run of the season. Dezenzo hit his second home run of the day when he skied a two-run bomb over the right field fence in the fifth inning. After a triple by redshirt senior center fielder Ridge Winand, West hit him in with a one-out double to extend the lead to 9-1. The Bisons drew more blood in the sixth inning as sophomore outfielder Carson Wright brought in two runs on a two-out single to make the game 13-3. Winand scored his third run of the game on a wild pitch in the sixth inning to end the scoring for the Buckeyes. Burhenn moved to 3-1 on the year with the win. “I think we’re really confident in this home stretch here that we can get things turned around the right way,” Dezenzo said. The Buckeyes will play their second game against Lipscomb at 3:05 p.m. Saturday.
The Duke later joked he had felt a little underdressed compared to their traditional costumes, saying: “I was very impressed. Next time we should turn up in a bit more of a ceremonial costume.”The royal couple then spoke with local dignitaries, asking them about their roles in Victoria and praising the event and the “super clean” red carpet.The Duchess also shared her excitement at being there, saying: “Both of us love mountains and there seems to be a lot of them here. We can’t wait to explore. There is a lot to do in a short period of time.” The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George Credit:Chris Jackson/Getty Images Proclaiming their stay at Government House “perfect”, she answered questions about her children, disclosing they had been “super excited about the fact they were going to sleep on a plane”.Following speeches and a performance from the Victoria Children’s Choir, she accepted flowers from 13-year-old Victoria Foster, who had been chosen by charity Children’s Wish, asking her about her life and school.”She also talked a little bit about her children,” said Victoria. “She said she was hoping they were asleep right now.”Monique Girard, a 23-year-old full-time mother originally from South Africa, said the Duchess had offered her some advice for her six-month-old daughter, Scarlett, whom she was carrying in a sling. The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte Credit:Chris Jackson/Getty Images The Duchess of Cambridge watches first nation dancersCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA She told one first-time mother, who brought her six-month-old daughter along, that her job would “get better” as the little girl grew older.The family of four had arrived in Victoria just an hour earlier, before the Prince and Princess were tucked up safely in Government House so their parents could fulfil their official duties.The Duchess told one member of the public she wished she could have brought the children with her, saying Prince George in particular would have loved the bright lights all over the parliament buildings. “Let me caution you from my own experience: if they are anything like our kids, getting them back on the plane after a visit to the beautiful west coast will really be a challenge.”In his speech straight afterwards, the Duke said: “Catherine and I are delighted to be back in Canada. “When we were here last time, we had been married only three months. The warm welcome that you gave us at that important moment in our lives meant a lot to us, and we have never forgotten it. “That is why we are so pleased that George and Charlotte can be with us in Canada this time round, beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country.” They may be royalty, but it appears even Prince George and Princess Charlotte are not immune to the prospect of a little mischief.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spoken of their excited children during the first day of their tour to Canada, joking they hoped the youngsters were not “tearing up Government House” in their absence.The Duchess said they had been “super excited” about their trip on an aeroplane together, as she shared parenting advice with other mothers who had turned out to see the event. Aurora Vandall, a 36-year-old mother of a nine-month-old from Victoria, said she had spoken to the Duke to welcome him to Canada.”He said, ‘I hope the children aren’t tearing up Government House right now’,” she disclosed. “She asked me about Scarlett and how old she was. When I said six months, she said that after this stage it will get easier. It will get better.”It was so nice.” Loreen Topping added: “She [the duchess] told me she wished she had brought Prince George down tonight because he would have loved all the lights.” She later said they had enjoyed a “very good tea” before dropping off to sleep.The first official event of the Canadian royal tour was something of a family affair altogether.Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister, used his speech to highlight the family feel of the trip, the first overseas tour for the family as a foursome.”As any parent who has travelled with children knows, it’s a whole different experience when you bring your children with you,” he said, to cheers. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, kneels to talk to Prince George and the Duke of CambridgeCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA He also appeared to make reference to a 1998 visit, described as “Wills mania”, saying he had “very happy memories [of visiting] as a shy teenager”.”A few of you remember it too well, I think,” he laughed. The red carpet event saw the Duke and Duchess greet veterans, lay a wreath at the Cenotaph and enjoy a performance by the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, from the Songhees Nation, and Esquimalt Singers and Dancers, from the Esquimalt Nation. 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.
Opponents of Mr Craig believe he is too old to run perhaps Britain’s best known private club, which has made literary history thanks to Fogg, hero of Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.There have even been grumblings – raised in one email seen by The Telegraph – about his wife Anne. Mrs Craig, a personal development coach, has been embroiled in her own row with a countess, who tried to take her to court over claims – which a judge ruled were “ill-founded” – that she had “poisoned” her daughter’s mind.The Reform, founded in 1836 as a bastion of liberalism, has attracted many of the great and the good, among them Sir Winston Churchill, who resigned his membership in 1913 in protest at the “blackballing” of a friend.In 1981 the club was the first of the traditional gentleman’s clubs to allow women members. When Phileas Fogg wagered £20,000 he could circumnavigate the globe in 80 days, he departed from the Reform Club in Pall Mall, London.Had he set off today, Jules Verne’s creation might not have bothered returning. The Telegraph can reveal that the Reform Club, whose honorary members include the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, is being torn apart by faction-fighting.The increasingly poisonous rows, amid claims of bullying, ageism and blackmail, have come to a head over plans to appoint a retired naval commander to run it. After the club lost two secretaries, effectively chief executives, in the past four years, attempts to appoint Rod Craig, 66, to the £80,000-a-year post have met fierce opposition. But one supporter of Mr Craig said he was disgusted. “It’s insane if people think he is too old. There are lots of rumours being spread and it’s nasty,” said the member, who declined to be named.Mr Craig, who is currently chief executive of the University Women’s Club, stepped down from a similar role at the Army and Navy Club amid fears for its financial future.One Reform member has circulated an article in the Army and Navy’s magazine confirming Mr Craig was taking “voluntary redundancy ahead of likely future restructuring of the club’s operations”.Emails circulating among Reform members have warned that Mr Craig’s appointment would be “disastrous”, although there is no evidence that would be the case .Mr Craig was unavailable for comment and the Reform Club declined to respond. I am not prepared to put up with this treatment any longer nor to preside over an organisation that is prepared to allow staff to be subjected to it with no prospect of protection or redressCrispin Morton It’s insane if people think he is too old. There are lots of rumours being spread and it’s nastySupporter of Rod Craig At the heart of the dispute is a battle for control of the club. The 15-strong general committee, which controls the Reform, is said to be split down the middle, with one faction supporting Mr Craig and the other against him.“It has got really nasty,” said one member opposed to Mr Craig’s appointment. “This is all to do with one group of people at the Reform who think the other group are s—- and vice versa. It is just factionalism. It’s as bad as a school playground. But we don’t think a 66-year-old retired Royal Navy commander is right for the job. We need someone a bit younger and forward-thinking.” Lord Balfe, a one-time Labour MEP who now sits as a Tory peer, is understood to have demanded an extraordinary general meeting in an attempt to block Mr Craig’s appointment, writing that it “risked dividing and damaging the Club”. Mr Craig’s predecessor, Crispin Morton, a management consultant and former Royal Naval officer who saw active service in the Falklands, made allegations before stepping down in May of staff being bullied and effectively blackmailed by members .“I am not prepared to put up with this treatment any longer nor to preside over an organisation that is prepared to allow staff to be subjected to it with no prospect of protection or redress,” he wrote in an email. The Reform Club’s grand interiorCredit:Alamy 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. Phileas Fogg, who set off from the Reform ClubCredit:Corbis Historical
Police officers stand outside the home of Thomas Mair after Jo Cox’s deathCredit:CRAIG BROUGH/Reuters On the day of the murder, Mr Mair walked to the centre of Birstall carrying a brown coat, which the prosecutor suggested may have been “to allow him to have the firearm drawn and ready to use without it being visible”.Mr Whittam said: “Thomas Mair’s intention was to kill [Mrs Cox] in what was a planned and pre-meditated murder for a political and/or ideological cause.”Mrs Cox was with her manager Fazila Aswat and senior case worker Sandra Major driving to Birstall library to hold a surgery from 1pm-2pm. Moments after they had got out of their car, the killer pounced.Shelly Morris, a care home worker who dialled 999 as the attack was going on, recalled hearing “a loud bang, like a popping sound, there was also a loud piercing scream”. She saw a man holding “what looked to be a large steak knife with a jagged blade” and saw him “swing the knife in a stabbing motion”. Mr Carter-Kenny was stabbed after going to Mrs Cox’s aid, the court heard.He was waiting in his car outside the library for his wife Doreen when he saw the MP being attacked.Mr Whittam said: “He saw Jo Cox, who he recognised, and he described the attack. He heard a bang and saw Jo Cox roll into the road and then he saw a man ‘shoving it – a knife – at her’.”He went to try and help. He was stabbed.”A local taxi driver, Rashid Hussain, saw what happened as he dropped off a fare.The court heard that when he challenged Mair, saying “leave her alone”, the defendant warned him: “You just go away, otherwise I’m gonna stab you.” He also alleges Mair said “Britain first” or similar.Another witness, Jack Foster, saw Mair shoot Mrs Cox and shout “Britain first” the court heard. Mr Foster then shouted “f****** leave her alone” but Mair shot the MP a second time, jurors were told. A gun that was presented in evidence during the trial of Thomas MairCredit:West Yorkshire Police/PA On June 16, Jo Cox was with her manager, Fazila Aswat, and her senior caseworker, Sandra Major.Ms Azwat drove the three to the surgery, due to be held from 1pm to 2pm, in a silver Vauxhall Astra and they arrived in Market Street and parked near the library. All three of them got out.The attack started at 12.52am, the court heard, and was captured in the distance by local council CCTV cameras.Mr Whittam said it was “a dynamic, fast moving and shocking incident”.He said: “It was a sustained attack with a firearm being fired and a dagger-like knife being used to inflict multiple stab wounds”. 2:12PM’She fought for a better world every day’: The tributes to Jo Cox The knife that was shown to the jury during the trial of Thomas Mair, accused of murdering Jo CoxCredit:West Yorkshire Police Jean and Gordon Leadbeater arrive at the Old BaileyCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty 4:01PMDesperate attempts to save Jo Cox’s life Mr Whittam told the court: “As she arrived, she was brutally murdered by one of her constituents, this defendant, Thomas Mair.”It was a cowardly attack by a man armed with a firearm and a knife. Jo cox was shot three times and suffered multiple stab wounds.”In the course of the attack, a 77-year-old man called Bernard Carter Kenny risked his life to save Ms Cox and was stabbed with the same knife used to stabbed Mrs Cox, the court heard. 1:52PMWho is murder trial defendant Thomas Mair, the volunteer gardener? As prosecutor Richard Whittam QC begins to open the Crown’s case, here’s a quick 90-second video to remind you of Jo Cox’s career: from Labour activist to a rising star of the party as MP for Batley and Spen. Ms Aswat repeatedly hit Mr Mair with her handbag, said Mr Whittam, but “was forced to retreat in fear of her own life being taken”. She heard him saying: “Britain first, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first.”Ms Major said that after Mrs Cox had been shot and stabbed, she “tried to get away from him” but was shot again. She heard the killer shout: “Make Britain independent.” Bernard Kenny, 77, was parked outside the library when he heard a bang.He got out of his car, intending to wrestle the attacker to the ground, but Mr Mair stabbed him once in the abdomen, it is claimed. Mr Kenny collapsed in the doorway of a nearby sandwich shop.He survived the attack. Another witness said Mr Mair walked away from the MP “only to return seconds later with a firearm”. Proceedings have now finished for the day.The trial continues and is expected to last two weeks. 2:59PMJo Cox’s killer also researched prominent Remain campaigner William Hague, jurors told The court heard of the desperate attempts to save Ms Cox’s life.Mr Whittam said: “Fazila Aswat tended her and pleaded with her to think of her children in a desperate bid to stimulate her so she could stay alive.” She was pronounced dead at 13.48pm.A post mortem showed Ms Cox had 15 different stab wounds, that had penetrated her heart, lungs, stomach and liver. She had three gunshot wounds, one to her lower chest and two to her head.Mair allegedly made off down the street after the murder. At around 13.10 he was seen by two policemen who shouted to stop and drop the bag he was carrying. The defendant eventually released the bag and raised his hands to shoulder height, saying: “It’s me.”Mair allegedly told the officers he had a knife in his pocket and had a firearm in his bag. A clear plastic bag of ammunition was found in his trouser pockets. When one of the police officers found what appeared to be a firearm, Mair said: “I am a political activist”. Eight men and four women were sworn in at the Old Bailey on Monday morning to hear the case.Trial judge Mr Justice Wilkie told them that the prosecution would outline the case at 2pm.He warned jurors not to do any research on the internet and only discuss the case when they were all together.He also asked them to avoid watching or reading anything about the case, which had already attracted considerable publicity.The trial is expected to last for up to three weeks. 3:21PMA loud bang… and then a piercing scream: Court hears how ‘sustained’ attack unfolded Mr Whittam told the court that Shelley Morris, a worker at the Priestly Care Home, said she heard “a loud bang…like a popping sound… There was also a loud piercing scream.”She looked over a wall at the Care Home and saw a man holding “what looked to be a large steak knife with a jagged blade” and saw him “swing the knife with a stabbing motion”.Ms Azwat said Mair approached Mrs Cox from behind and stabbed her before shooting her. During the attack, she hit the defendant several times with her handbag, before she retreated for fear of her life.Mr Whittam said: “During the course of the attack, she heard the defendant say ‘Britain First, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first.” Thomas Mair had lived locally in Birstall for many years and his internet usage and items found in his house suggested he “had strong political and ideological interests”, said prosecutor Richard Whittam QC.The evening before the attack, Mair was spotted in the library at about 5pm. He was a regular visitor to use the computers and logged onto the internet for about an hour.The court heard details of his internet searches in the weeks before the alleged murder.A month earlier, on May 17, Mair had accessed a Wikipedia page for the Occidental Observer, “a far right online publication that covers politics and society from a white nationalist and anti-Semitic perspective”, the court was told.On June 13, he had researched Jo Cox’s Wikipedia and Twitter pages, and researched William Hague, another prominent Yorkshire-based Remain campaigner, as well as Ian Gow, the last sitting MP to be murdered, jurors heard. Thomas Mair allegedly shot and stabbed MP in Birstall, near LeedsHe denies murder of 41-year-old mother of two days before EU voteJo Cox ‘cowardly’ killed outside constituency surgery, jurors toldOld Bailey prosecutor says ‘brutal’ murder was for ‘political cause’Mair allegedly said ‘Britain first’ while killing Remain supporterHe is also said to have researched Remainer William HagueLabour MP’s death prompted wave of grief from politiciansActress Tracy Brabin new Batley and Spen MP after by-electionA white supremacist carried out the “political” murder of Labour MP and Remain campaigner Jo Cox after conducting internet searches on fellow Remainer William Hague, and Ian Gow, an MP killed by the IRA, a court heard.Thomas Mair, 53, shouted “Britain first, this is for Britain” as he shot and stabbed the MP for Batley and Spen a week before the EU referendum, a jury at the Old Bailey in London was told.Mrs Cox tried desperately to defend herself as she was shot three times and stabbed 15 times in a “brutal” and “cowardly” pre-meditated attack. When Mr Mair was stopped by police 20 minutes later, he held up his hands and told them: “It’s me … I am a political activist,” it is claimed.Mr Mair denies murdering Mrs Cox on June 16 this year, as well as three other charges relating to the attack. Floral tributes and candles by a picture of Labour MP Jo Cox at a vigil in Parliament Square in London in JuneCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP Mrs Cox, 41, a mother-of two, was the first MP to be murdered since Mr Gow was assassinated by the IRA in 1990, and the first female MP to be killed.Her parents and sister were in court to hear terrible details of her death described to jurors by the prosecutor, Richard Whittam QC.He told the jury: “The circumstances of her death are shocking. It is important that you do not let emotion or sympathy affect your judgment in this case.”He said that on each of the three days leading up to the murder, Mr Mair had visited public libraries in Batley and in Birstall.There, he used computers to look up Mrs Cox’s Twitter page and a Wikipedia page about her, searched for Mr Hague – a fellow Remain campaigner from Yorkshire – and answers to the question: “Is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human’s head?”. Gardener Thomas Mair repeatedly shouted “Britain First” as he shot and stabbed Jo Cox a week before the EU referendum, the prosecutor said.Richard Whittam QC told jurors how mother of two Mrs Cox had supported the Remain campaign leading up to the referendum on June 23.Mr Whittam QC added: “During the course of the murder Thomas Mair was heard by a number of witnesses to say repeatedly ‘Britain First’.”The prosecutor told jurors: “The murder took place whilst she was performing her role as a Member of Parliament.”Thomas Mair’s intention was to kill her in what was a planned and pre-meditated murder for a political and/or ideological cause.” 2:04PMJo Cox’s parents pictured arriving at Old Bailey Mr Whittam said: “The defendant then stood above Jo Cox and discharged the firearm at close range, firstly towards her head and then towards her chest … he appears to have returned to make sure she was fatally wounded”.Jurors were shown pictures of the gun, a .22 Weihrauch rifle with the stock and most of its barrel removed.Mr Mair, of Birstall, West Yorkshire, denies murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a firearm and possession of a knife. The trial continues. 2:35PMAttacker repeatedly shouted ‘Britain First’ during pre-meditated murder for political cause, jurors told He also searched .22 ammunition, including answers to the question “is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human’s head?”On the eve of Ms Cox’s death, Mair had looked at web pages on far right politicians, members of the Klu Klux Klan and material about the Waffen SS, jurors were told. 2:27PMProsecutor: ‘She was brutally murdered by one of her constituents… it was a cowardly attack’ Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, begins opening the case for the prosecution, saying the circumstances of Jo Cox’s death are “shocking”.He tells Court Eight in the Old Bailey that the events took place in Market Street in Birstall, near Batley in Kirklees on Thursday, June 16.Mrs Cox was the 40-year-old MP for Batley and Spen. She was “well known as a hardworking MP and mother of two young children.”On June 16 she was due to hold a surgery in the library in Market Street, just off the Market Square, between 1pm to 2pm. 4:31PMEnd of day 1 Court artist sketch of Thomas Mair (back left) in the dock at the Old BaileyCredit:Elizabeth Cook/PA A jury has been sworn in for the trial of a man accused of the terror-related murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.Thomas Mair, 53, allegedly shot and stabbed the 41-year-old outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, on June 16.He is charged with Mrs Cox’s murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon – a dagger.Mair, from Birstall, is also charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Bernard Carter-Kenny on the same date. He denies all the charges against him. Labour’s Jo Cox after being elected as MP for Batley and SpenCredit:Julian Hughes Thomas Mair pictured in a court sketch flanked by security guards during a previous hearingCredit:Elizabeth Cook/PA 1:34PMProsecution set to outline case on Monday afternoon Thomas Mair, with a closely cropped hair and beard, wore a plain blue suit and dark tie as he sat in and listened to the four charges against him.He denies murder, having a firearm with intent, grievous bodily harm and possession of a dagger. Police outside a library in Birstall, West Yorkshire, where MP Jo Cox was holding a constituency meeting before she was attackedCredit:Ben Lack for The Telegraph 2:19PMVideo: Jo Cox’s path to the House of Commons 1:40PMWho was Labour MP Jo Cox? Jo Cox’s sister, mother and father arrive at court for the start of the trialCredit: i-Images The following day he looked up Nazi Party material, political prisoners, serial killers, the human liver and vertebral column and the crime of matricide, or killing one’s mother.While he was there, he asked a library worker: “Do you have to book an appointment to see Jo Cox?” On June 15, the day before the murder, he went to the library at Birstall, where Mrs Cox would be attacked, and carried out searches into the Ku Klux Klan and people murdered by them, material about Hitler’s Waffen SS, coffins, lying in repose, lying in state and pauper’s funerals.Mr Whittam told the jury: “You may think that it helps you to understand his apparent motive in deciding to carry out this murder.” 3:38PM’He went to try and help. He was stabbed’ 1:41PMVideo: How MPs paid tribute to Jo Cox in the House of Commons As we await the start of the trial, Jo Cox’s parents Jean and Gordon Leadbeater have been pictured arriving at the Old Bailey.The jury was sworn in this morning and we are expecting the trial to begin with the prosecution case opening after the lunch break in the next few minutes. Stay with us for updates. Police forensics officers arrive at the scene of Jo Cox’s death in JuneCredit:Ben Lack for The Telegraph 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.
Last night the Mayor’s office announced the seven priority areas would be scrapped in light of the “deeply distressing and worrying failures”.The Met described the report as a “significant moment” for the force, the UK’s largest, and named a senior officer to coordinate child protection policing across the capital.HMIC said the hitherto lack of such a role had created an “indefensible absence of strategic oversight of this very important issue”.The report’s author, Matt Parr, said: “Far too many of the cases we looked at fell well short of expected standards and meant that victims weren’t protected, evidence was lost and offenders continued to pose a risk to children.”Investigators found that officers often were unaware of the presence of registered sex offenders in their borough, and that the Met’s IT system for storing information on those at risk of abuse was “fragmentary”.In one case, a 14-year-old girl disclosed she had been given alcohol and cigarettes before being sexually assaulted by a 30-year-old man she met online, but an officer was not assigned to investigate until 17 days later, during which time the man had continued to contact her.HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Thomas Winsor, said his team had found “inexcusably poor practice at every stage of a child’s interaction with the police.”The report comes weeks after a damning review found “numerous errors” in Scotland Yard’s Operation Midland probe into claims of a VIP paedophile ring.Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, who will now coordinate child-protection efforts, said: “We have re-thought how we go about our work to protect London’s most vulnerable.“As this report shows, there is still a lot of work to be done.“We have made significant changes already and we are committed to continuing to rise to this challenge.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Metropolitan Police is so obsessed with meeting targets on car thefts and burglaries it routinely fails to protect children from sexual exploitation, a report has found.A review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) revealed that three quarters of child abuse cases were handled inadequately or required improvement.The report identified “fundamental deficiencies” and a lack of overall leadership in a force preoccupied with tackling priorities set by the Mayor of London. Victims weren’t protected, evidence was lost and offenders continued to pose a risk to childrenMatt Parr, HMIC
A female police chief has been found guilty of gross misconduct after she humiliated another senior officer for getting a “boob job” despite high-profile character references in her defence. Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe was labelled “cruel” for telling Superintendent Sarah Jackson she was “silly, vain and frivolous” for getting breast implants, during a Senior Women in Policing conference last May.The disciplinary panel, sitting at Greater Manchester Police HQ, recommended the mother-of-three receive a written warning, rather than be dismissed from her £109,000-a-year job. It said a chief officer “with a weaker record” would have been recommended for dismissal. Sutcliffe was suspended from her £96,500 a year post at Greater Manchester PoliceCredit:CAVENDISH PRESS Had she been sacked, Ms Sutcliffe would have faced a pension shortfall of more than £500,000.Ms Sutcliffe, 47, who was the most senior female Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer at the time, verbally attacked her younger subordinate following a gala dinner at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel.She had been drinking wine when she confronted Supt Jackson and publicly condemned her for having a “tit job”.She then exposed her own breasts and said: “Look at these, look at these, these are the breasts of someone who has had three children. They are ugly but I don’t feel the need to pump myself full of silicone to get self-esteem.” Supt Sarah JacksonCredit:CAVENDISH PRESS The haranguing only concluded when Ms Sutcliffe told her colleague she was no longer going to support a further promotion for her.Ms Sutcliffe denied gross misconduct but admitted simple misconduct in failing to treat Ms Jackson with respect or courtesy and that she abused her position and authority.Ms Sutcliffe also acknowledged that her actions discredited the police service.Earlier in the hearing, Ms Sutcliffe’s counsel, John Beggs QC, told panel chair Rachel Crasnow QC, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor and independent member Alastair Cannon that she was still a “role model” to women despite the incident.He said the officer’s “stupid mistake” of getting too drunk did not demand dismissal because she was someone who could continue to make an “immensely positive contribution” to policing and service to the public.He said: “Assistant Chief Constable Sutcliffe remains a role model – a role model who is not perfect, who has human frailties. “Greater humility has been brought upon her. She will emerge as an even more impressive senior leader if you permit her to.”She is a strong leader. She is an inspirational and visionary leader.”He referred to a number of character references – including one from the BBC’s director of strategy and former Labour culture, media and sport secretary James Purnell.Mr Purnell wrote that Ms Sutcliffe “seems to me an important type of officer to retain in policing”. He said that while not “excusing or condoning” her reported behaviour, “the region’s police force would be poorer without her and a force for good would be lost”.Speaking upon the conclusion of the hearing, Ms Jackson, who is now a Superintendent with Cumbria Constabulary, said: “The entire incident, including the incorrect reports of my involvement in it, has been distressing for both me and my family.”Despite not initiating or encouraging the incident, I greatly regret that members of the public had to witness it and that the reputation of Greater Manchester Police has been damaged by it, as these are two things I care very deeply about. ACC Sutcliffe herself recognises I was not at fault and has apologised to me several times.“I have been a police officer for 21 years and I want to now concentrate on continuing to serve the public as I have done for the whole of my career.”It is believed that Ms Sutcliffe is the most senior officer to face a public disciplinary hearing since they were introduced by the Government last year.The panel’s recommendation will now be considered by Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling, who has the power to accept or reject the recommendations.With lower ranking officers the panel’s ruling would be final but in a case involving an Assistant Chief Constable, GMP will decide on a sanction. Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah SutcliffeCredit:Manchester Evening News Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The company told the New Zealand Herald: “Cadbury Oreo Easter eggs are ideal for Cadbury Oreo chocolate lovers who can now treat themselves in the lead-up to Easter””While they share a similar eating occasion, that’s where the similarities end. Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury Oreo Easter eggs are two very different tasting eggs.” It has been confirmed the company has rolled out Oreo Eggs, and small versions are already available in UK stores.A spokesperson for Cadbury has asked we include that the confections are “not Creme Eggs, or a new flavour of Creme Egg”, but that they are “Oreo Eggs”. However, they are being colloquially referred to as Creme Eggs and are very similar to the famous product, so we feel it is fair to refer to them as a “new flavour of Creme Egg”.A spokesperson for Cadbury told The Metro: “We are always innovating our product ranges and there are lots of exciting things to come from the Cadbury brand this year and beyond.”As part of our Easter range this year we have launched new Cadbury Dairy Milk Egg ‘n’ Spoon Oreo, which will be available alongside our existing Oreo Easter products including the Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Shell Egg and the Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Easter Egg Sharing Bag.” Instead of gloopy icing sugar, the eggs are packed with Oreo cream and crushed up biscuit.The packaging is different too; instead of the purple, red and yellow foil wrap Creme Eggs pleasingly nestle in during Easter, the Oreo version is packaged in a blue plastic cup to protect the egg from cracks or damage.Cadbury intend Easter snackers to purchase both, and have promised a different eating experience with the Oreo Creme Egg. 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. Christmas is over, which means retailers are already getting ready for Easter.Whereas some prefer to have a few high-end chocolates to savour, others prefer the headache-inducing sweetness of the humble Creme Egg.These little treats have been the topic of controversy of late, with some angry they changed the recipe to no longer feature Dairy Milk chocolate.However, some boycotting the sweet treat may soon stop now the new flavour has been released.
Brideshead Revisited..Felicity Jones as Cordelia Flyte, Hayley Atwell as Julia Flyte, Emma Thompson as Lady Marchmain and Matthew Goode as Charles RyderCredit:Nicola Dove/Miramax Films Emma Thompson has revealed she almost quit the set of Brideshead Revisited because she felt a fellow actress was being pressured to be thin.Thompson did not name the woman she was referring to, but branded the pressure put on actresses as “evil” and said the problem is getting worse.The two-time Oscar-winner said she knew female stars who “simply don’t eat” as she spoke about anorexia in the film industry.Thompson, 57, said she once threatened to quit the 2008 British film Brideshead Revisited when a co-star was told to lose weight. The actress starred in the film, based on Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel, alongside Hayley Atwell, Sir Michael Gabon, Ben Wishaw and Felicity Jones.In an interview on Swedish chat show Skavlan, she said: “The anorexia – there are so many kids, girls and boys now, and actresses who are very, very thin, who are into their 30s, simply don’t eat.”There was a wonderful actress I was working with on something called Brideshead Revisited.”The producers said to her, ‘Will you lose some weight?’. She was absolutely exquisite.”I said to them, ‘If you speak to her about this again, on any level, I will leave this picture. You are never to do that’.”It’s evil, what’s happening, what’s going on out there, and it’s getting worse.”Thompson said one of the reasons she had never moved to Los Angeles was because she felt she was deemed “too fat” when she visited.”It is a strange place and I couldn’t live there,” she said. 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.
They are ever-reliable, unshowy and, much to the chagrin of their dedicated fans, rather unfashionable. But the geranium is set for a major comeback, it seems.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have selected white Mayflower and Dusky Cranesbill geraniums, grown in the Royal Parks nursery, to join the floral displays at their wedding on Saturday. Even the gardener in charge of growing the plants, along with countless others, does not know how they will end up on display after months of hard work in London’s Hyde Park.Nursery manager Mike Jones said he does not know where floral designer Philippa Craddock will use his flowers, so will be trying to spot them as he watches the wedding on TV.”We don’t know where they’re going to be, so we’ll be eagerly looking out ourselves to see where they are,” Mr Jones said. Branches of beech, birch and hornbeam will also be used in the decorations, with the locally sourced foliage coming from the gardens and parkland of The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park. The 36-year-old, from Bourn in Cambridgeshire, added: “We’re really excited. We work really hard to try and champion pollinators and support them because they’re in decline.” Asked if he felt under pressure, the 58-year-old from Leamington Spa said: “We do, because we really want it to be the best we can possibly do. It’s showcasing not only our growing of plants, but the Royal Parks in general.”It is thought the flowers – between 150 and 200 individual plants which are pollinator-friendly – will be incorporated into Ms Craddock’s displays in and around St George’s Chapel which will feature white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves. A bumblebee hovers over Dusky Cranesbill geranium plantsCredit:REUTERS Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The flowers that have been chosen are particularly pollinator-friendly flowers, which means they have a good store of nectarDr Alice Laughton Dr Laughton is also excited for another reason – she is getting married this Saturday too.”I like to think that all the wedding buzz is about my wedding so it’s been quite fun,” she said.Talking about the flowers at her own wedding, she said: “My parents actually have grown all my flowers, so they’ve grown native pollinator-friendly flowers as well.” Looking ahead to Saturday, Mr Jones said: “I shall be watching the wedding along with half the rest of the country I would imagine. Looking out for my plants.”Dr Alice Laughton, conservation manager at the Royal Parks, explained the importance of the flowers being pollinator-friendly, and what that might mean.”The flowers that have been chosen are particularly pollinator-friendly flowers, which means they have a good store of nectar so they provide a lot of food for pollinators that are attracted to the flowers. Mr Jones said geraniums “add a splash of colour”, adding: “They live for years so they will grow all summer, flower all summer, die down in the winter, and then come back again the following year, so very good value.”The gardener said they were ideal for “a relaxed look”. Asked if the flowers will be getting special treatment in the coming days, he said: “They’ll be getting a lot of TLC. We’ll be making sure they’re watered well, making sure they’re protected, and making sure that the flowers stay in the perfect condition for the day.”It’s only a few more days to go, so we want them to be absolutely pristine when they go.” “So on wedding day we might see some bees, some bumblebees, hoverflies, some butterflies, all important pollinators here in the UK,” she said. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement photographCredit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph
A maths graduate, who stabbed his “prodigiously gifted” girlfriend to death after she ended their three-year relationship, has been jailed for life.Joe Atkinson, 25, was “fuelled with jealousy” when he attacked Poppy Devey Waterhouse, 24, at their flat in Leeds in December last year.Poppy, who was a gifted mathematician, had ended their relationship weeks earlier and had been planning to move out of their flat.Leeds Crown Court heard on Friday how, in the early hours of December 14 last year, he burst into the flat they still shared on Richmond Hill in the city and used a kitchen knife to inflict more than 100 separate injuries all over her body.Forensic evidence showed that Poppy bravely tried to fight off her attacker, only to succumb to her injuries in the blood-stained hallway of her home. The Honourable Mr Justice Lavender told Atkinson: “Poppy Devey Waterhouse was a young woman with so much going for her.”She had earned a first class honours degree and was excelling in her chosen career. She had so many opportunities in her life, but you brought an end to that.”You put an end to it, and brought misery to the lives of her loved ones.”Claire Harris, from the CPS, said: “Poppy was bright and beautiful, with her whole future ahead of her. Atkinson cruelly and horrifically extinguished this promise.“After attacking Poppy in a vicious frenzy, Atkinson attempted to clean the scene and dispose of his clothes, only contacting the emergency services hours later. Atkinson initially claimed that he was acting in self-defence. This was a wicked, cowardly and self-serving lie.“Today he is beginning a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years and two months. I hope this sentence is of some comfort to Poppy’s grieving family and friends. Our thoughts remain with them.” “I now live my life with a split-screen, on one half I can see the now, and on the other half that horrific scene.” The pair had split up in October and were both seeing other people when Atkinson murdered her.The court heard that, a month before the “savage and brutal” attack, Atkinson had punched Miss Devey Waterhouse’s new boyfriend.On the night of the attack he had spent the evening at a Christmas party while she had stayed at home on the phone to her new boyfriend. After returning home, fuelled by jealousy, he burst into the flat and repeatedly stabbed her.Atkinson had initially denied murder, but changed his plea last week.Jason Pitter, prosecuting, said: “Poppy Devey Waterhouse was a prodigiously talented mathematician, who was described as brilliant and beautiful who, at the age of 24, had her whole life ahead of her.”It was a life cruelly taken away from her just before Christmas last year, because this defendant realised he was not going to be a part of this future.”As Poppy’s heartbroken family sat sobbing in the court, the prosecutor said: “He had armed himself with a kitchen knife and murdered Poppy in an unprovoked attack fuelled by jealousy.”In a powerful victim impact statement that was read out in court, Miss Devey Waterhouse’s mother, Julie Devey, said: “As a parent, my basic duty is to make sure that I keep my children safe. I failed, and I have to carry that failure with me at all times, wherever I go, whoever I am with, whatever I am doing.”She added: “I kept scraping my hands across the floorboards where she had been left screaming and dying.”I just wanted to scoop her up and save her. Joe Atkinson Poppy was a ‘prodigiously talented mathematician’ 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.
(Trinidad Guardian) Seventy-six-year-old Ramdevi Singh was stabbed once in the back of the neck, a wound which paralysed her before her killer/s used her pajama pants to strangle the remaining life out of her.Killed: Ramdevi SinghSpeaking with the T&T Guardian after completing her autopsy yesterday, pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov said Singh might have been chased by her attacker/s after they broke into her Imamshah Street, Chaguanas home Monday morning. Singh’s cause of death was a combination of the stabbing and the strangulation, Alexandrov said.“In death certificate I indicated that this was a ligature strangulation, combined with a stab wound to the upper cervical spinal cord. What I am trying to say, even if she survived she would have been paraplegic, which was unlikely,” Alexandrov said.Relatives of Singh said on Monday they had been lamenting the state of the country and reading the comments made by Broadbridge’s son Stephen just before being told of Singh’s murder. Police suspect Singh’s killing took place around 3.30 am but was only discovered around 9 am Monday morning.The retiree was the second woman killed during a home invasion. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedT&T woman brutally stabbed to death, attacker kills selfJanuary 25, 2017In “latest news”T&T man killed execution-styleSeptember 21, 2016In “Crime”T&T cops hunt female suspect in murder of Guyanese pastorOctober 17, 2018In “Crime”