2 Nov 2019

Today's sport news: what you need to know

7:00 pm on 2 November 2019

Latest - Black Caps captain Kane Williamson can resume bowling in international cricket after his action was found to be legal in an assessment that took place last month.

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson bowled just three overs in the first test in Galle but his action is under the microscope again.

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson bowled just three overs in the first test in Galle but his action is under the microscope again. Photo: Photosport

Williamson, who bowls off-spin, had been reported for a suspect bowling action during New Zealand's first test against Sri Lanka in Galle in August.

Following a test in an ICC-accredited bio-mechanics centre in Loughborough on October 11, it was found that the elbow extension for all his deliveries was within the permissible 15-degree level of tolerance under the ICC regulations.

This was the second time that Williamson's bowling action had come under scrutiny. He had previously been suspended from bowling in international cricket in July 2014.

Williamson is recovering from a hip injury that had forced him to pull out of the ongoing five-match Twenty20 series at home against England.

- Reuters

Black Sticks close in on Olympic berth

The Black Sticks men have edged a step close to next year's Tokyo Olympics with a 3-2 win over South Korea in Stratford.

Stephen Jenness scored a double for the Black Sticks

Stephen Jenness scored a double for the Black Sticks Photo: Photosport

The win means world No.9 New Zealand hold a useful advantage in the two-match series, with the overall winner earning a berth at the 2020 Games.

The omens were good early on for the Black Sticks, Stephen Jenness slotting home three minutes into the first spell.

Lee Namyong equalised for 16th-ranked South Korea late in the first quarter, but another Jenness strike early in the second was enough to give New Zealand a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Jang Jonghyun again equalised with a penalty strike in the third quarter, but Simon Child - back after a hip injury forced him out of game for two years - fired home the 52nd minute winner.

Game two is in Stratford on Sunday.

Futsal Whites on verge of a place at the World Cup

The Futsal Whites are just one step away from a place at a first ever World Cup after coming from behind to win a thrilling OFC Futsal Nations Cup semi-final 3-2 against Tahiti in Nouméa.

They will now meet defending champions the Solomon Islands in a blockbuster final this evening to decide which nation will represent Oceania at next year's FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania.

The Futsal Whites earned their chance to make history by producing a stunning second-half come back to edge past Tahiti and keep their maiden World Cup dream alive.

The French Polynesians started with plenty of intensity, racing into a two-goal lead inside the opening five minutes on the back of some clinical counter-attacking.

But the half-time break proved a game changer for the New Zealanders, who returned to the court a different outfit after the interval. With Dylan Manickum pulling the strings, the Futsal Whites turned the match around with three quick-fire goals during a frantic two-minute period.

Increased salaries for NWSL players

Clubs in North America's National Women's Soccer League will be allowed to boost salaries and pay premiums to top-end players to help them to attract the world's best talent.

CARY, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 27: Abby Erceg #6 of North Carolina Courage celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Chicago Red Stars 4-0 to win the 2019 NWSL Championship at WakeMed Soccer Park on October 27, 2019 in Cary, North Carolina.   Streeter Lecka/Getty Images/AFP

Abby Erceg holds the 2019 NWSL trophy aloft Photo: AFP

The nine clubs will each get an extra $US300,000 in allocation money next season to pay top players more than the maximum permitted salary if they meet certain criteria.

The NWSL's maximum salary next season will be $50,000, up 8.2% from 2019, while the minimum salary will rise 20.9% to $20,000. The limit each team can spend on players, excluding allocation money, rises 19.3% to $650,000.

Football Ferns defender Abby Erceg captained the North Carolina Courage to this year's NWSL title.

- Reuters

Curry has surgery on broken hand

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry has undergone surgery on his broken left hand and could miss more than three months of the NBA season.

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors grimaces after he was injured in the second half of their game against the Phoenix Suns at Chase Center on October 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California.

Photo: AFP

The Warriors have announced they will update Curry's status in three months, confirming Dr. Steven Shin performed the surgery earlier in the day in Los Angeles.

The timetable for his return potentially puts Curry back on the court around the time the NBA All-Star Game is scheduled to be played in Chicago.

Curry, a two-time MVP, left Thursday's loss to the Phoenix Suns midway through the third quarter after landing hard on his hand on a drive into the lane that ended with a collision between Curry and Suns center Aron Baynes.

The Warriors have had a rash of major injuries to stars dating back to the NBA Finals in June.

In the past six games of consequence for the team, the Warriors have lost since-departed Kevin Durant (Achilles), Klay Thompson (left knee) and Curry (hand) to long-term injuries.

- Reuters

Top seed through to the last eight of the Women's Amateur Golf Championships

Women's top seed Darae Chung has put in two dominant displays of golf to progress through to the quarterfinals of the New Zealand Women's Amateur at a windy Remuera Golf Club in Auckland.

She's had a 3 & 2 victory over Eve Clarke to progress through to the round of 16, and then had a 7 & 6 win over Lizzie Neale to find herself in the last eight, and one of the favourites to take out the event.

Chung plays New Zealand representative Carmen Lim in a blockbuster quarterfinal this morning.

Luke Brown's aspirations of leaving the amateur scene on a high remain well and truly alive as he progresses through to the quarterfinals in the New Zealand Men's Amateur.

He's beaten fellow New Zealand representative Matt McLean 4 & 3 to advance to the round of 16 before beating up and coming star Jayden Ford 2 & 1.

Olympic marathons moved

Sapporo has been formally approved as host of the marathon events at next year's Summer Olympics with the reluctant consent of Tokyo's governor, ending a showdown between the Japanese capital and the IOC over where to stage the flagship event.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stunned many Games organisers last month by announcing that the marathon, one of the most prestigious events at any Olympics and one especially beloved in Japan, would be moved to the northern Japanese city of Sapporo to avoid the worst of Tokyo's summer heat.

The announcement enraged Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who said at the beginning of discussions with the IOC on Wednesday that she still wanted the marathon and race walk events to remain in the capital.

At the request of IOC delegation leader John Coates, representatives from the IOC, the 2020 organising committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and national government held talks on Friday aimed at reaching an amicable solution to what has become a very public spat.

Koike reiterated at the start of Friday's meeting there was no change in her feelings that the races should stay in Tokyo and that the IOC explanation still "wasn't sufficient."

"But on these points to make the Olympics a success we need to build a positive framework going forward," Koike said.

"I don't approve but the decision can't be avoided," she said. "It's a decision without agreement."

- Reuters

McGregor convicted of assault

Irish mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor has been convicted of assault for punching a man who refused a shot of whiskey from him in a Dublin pub in April and fined 1,000 euros.

Conor McGregor during the weigh-in.


The 31-year-old twice Ultimate Fighting Championship title-holder, offered a guilty plea and apologised to his victim in Dublin's District Court.

"What I did was very wrong. I would like to apologise again to the injured party... and assure you that nothing of this nature will happen again," said McGregor, dressed in a navy suit and tie.

McGregor's solicitor Michael Staines asked the court to give McGregor "one last chance" and said a criminal conviction could lead to a refusal of a visa to the United States and create "very severe difficulties" for McGregor's career.

McGregor, who declined to comment to the media after the hearing, last week announced plans to return to the UFC octagon in Las Vegas on Jan. 18 against an opponent he declined to name.

- Reuters

Aussie cricketers complete series sweep

Australia have completed a crushing 3-0 Twenty20 series clean sweep against Sri Lanka, the home side cruising to a comfortable seven-wicket win in game three at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

David Warner

David Warner Photo: Photosport

In warm conditions on Friday night, Australia made 3-145 after sending the visitors in and restricting them to 6-142 from their 20 overs.

Another half-century to player-of-the-match and series David Warner allowed Australia to clinch the win with 14 balls to spare in front of 28,568 fans.

Warner, who was not dismissed in three innings this series, was unbeaten on 57 off 50 balls, with four fours and a six.

On the back of his 100 in Adelaide and a 60 in Brisbane, Warner was the highest run-scorer in the series with 217.


Top two ranked players to meet in semi-finals at WTA season-decider

Karolina Pliskova edged a seesaw battle with Simona Halep in their final group match at the WTA Finals, downing the Romanian 6-0 2-6 6-4 to set up a semi-final with world number one Ashleigh Barty.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning the women's singles round robin match against Simona Halep of Romania at the WTA Finals Tennis Tournament in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, Nov. 1, 2019.

Karolina Pliskova Photo: AFP

"Today was a little bit tricky, I was up a set, then down a set and a break and I was just happy to find my way through and to never stop fighting and believing," said Pliskova.

Pliskova's win means she faces off against Australian Barty in a clash between the world's top two ranked players.

"We have played so many good matches and she's having a great year so it's going to be super tough," said Pliskova.

Earlier, defending champion Elina Svitolina confirmed her place in the semi-finals, where she will meet Belinda Bencic after a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (10) win over alternate Sofia Kenin that took two hours and 10 minutes to complete.

- Reuters

World Series champions to visit White House

The Washington Nationals will not have to travel far, or wait all that long, to visit the White House, as the World Series champions have a get-together planned with President Donald Trump on Monday (Tuesday NZT).

Manager Dave Martinez #4 of the Washington Nationals hoists the Commissioners Trophy after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas

Photo: AFP

Typically, teams wait until the following season when they are in Baltimore or Washington to visit the White House, but the logistics were not all that difficult for a team that plays a mere three miles away. A ceremony on the South Lawn is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. EST.

The White House visit will come after a parade to honor the champions on Saturday (Sunday NZT). The Nationals completed the seven-game World Series with a victory Wednesday at Houston. The road team won every game, the first time that has happened in World Series history.

Trump attended Game 5 of the series at Nationals Park, with boos filling the ballpark when he was shown on the video board.

Trump has also met with the 2017 champion Houston Astros and the 2018 champion Boston Red Sox, although a number of Red Sox players skipped that visit, including manager Alex Cora.

- Reuters

Arsenal captain's future remains in doubt

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said midfielder Granit Xhaka will not play in Sunday (NZT) morning's Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers and he also refused to confirm whether the Swiss will remain as club captain.

Granit Xhaka of Arsenal celebrates.


Xhaka reacted angrily when he was booed by home fans after being substituted during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.

On Thursday Xhaka released an emotional statement to defend his actions, which included storming off the pitch and down the tunnel. He said he had reached a "boiling point" following repeated threats from fans to his wife and daughter.

"The human, like everyone, feels. Xhaka's issues last week is one issue that needs time. He needs time to recover the normality in him," Emery told a news conference on Friday.

"He said sorry, he gave the apology to the supporters and to everybody. Now is the focus on the match.

"We were waiting on Monday and Tuesday (to sort out the captaincy). It is not in my mind that he will play tomorrow."

- Reuters

Sydney FC finds it goalscoring touch

Sparkling Sydney FC have found the goal touch which had eluded them in last week's A-League derby, with a crushing 4-1 home win over Newcastle at Leichhardt Oval.

As was the case against the Wanderers, the Sky Blues produced dazzling build-ups but their finishing on Friday night was far more clinical.

Both sides scored inside the first 10 minutes, with Milos Ninkovic netting for Sydney and Matt Millar for the Jets.

The game was locked at 1-1 shortly before halftime, but a slick Adam Le Fondre finish gave the Sky Blues the lead at the break.

They took little more than five minutes of the second half to increase their buffer with a Ryan McGowan shot deflecting off John Koutroumbis and Kosta Barbarouses added a fourth.


Brisbane coach celebrates his 350th NBL game

The Brisbane Bullets have revealed some backbone to deliver Andrej Lemanis a win in his 350th game as a NBL coach.

Slammed in recent times for their shoddy defence, the Bullets rediscovered some spirit on Friday night to sink Perth 87-78 at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.

The win levelled their season at three wins from six games but, more importantly, it was the manner of the victory that would have most pleased Lemanis.

Under-fire import Taylor Braun (12 points, four rebounds) produced his best game for Brisbane, while his teammates finally finished on the winning end on the glass, 42-38 against one of the strongest rebounding teams in the league.