12 Jan 2020

Today's sports news: what you need to know

7:19 pm on 12 January 2020

Latest - The New Zealand Breakers hopes of making the Australian National Basketball League play-offs have taken another hit after losing 95-85 to the Brisbane Bullets in Auckland.

NZ Breakers Scotty Hopson.

Scotty Hopson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Breakers led by three after the first quarter, but the visitors dropped 34 points in the next quarter to take a 49-39 lead at half time.

The Breakers cut the lead to five at three-quarter time, but Brisbane held on to take the win and keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

The Breakers had been on a five game winning streak until they lost to Cairns on Thursday.

They now have a nine and 12 record.

Tom Abercrombie and Sek Henry top scored for the Breakers with 17 points each.

The result means the Breakers remain sixth on the table and will probably need to win six of their last seven games to have any chance of making the top four.

Aces into play-offs

The Auckland Aces have qualified for the Super Smash T20 men's cricket play-offs after beating Wellington by six wickets at the Basin Reserve.

Aces Kyle Jamieson.

Aces bowler Kyle Jamieson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Aces chased down their target of 166 with two overs to spare.

Craig Cachopa top scored for Auckland with 66.

Auckland will now play either Otago or Wellington in the elimination final.

Meanwhile the Wellington Blaze went through round robin play in the women's competition unbeaten after a seven wicket win over the Auckland Hearts.

The Hearts will play Otago in the elimination final with the winner to meet Wellington in the grand final.

Wins for 49ers and Titans

Tevin Coleman rushed for two short touchdowns and with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leading the way, the San Francisco 49ers ground down the Minnesota Vikings to win their divisional playoff game 27-10.

San Francisco 49ers Safety Jimmie Ward.

49ers Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The victory sends the 49ers against the winner of tomorrow's Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks game in San Francisco for the National Football Conference title on Jan. 19. The Super Bowl is Feb. 2 in Miami.

The top-seeded 49ers never trailed, their aggressive defense holding the Vikings to 21 yards rushing and 147 total yards. They had only seven first downs.

Meanwhile Derrick Henry rushed for a franchise-postseason-record 195 yards on 30 carries and also passed for a touchdown, as the Tennessee Titans routed the host Baltimore Ravens 28-12 in the AFC divisional playoff round.

It was the second straight huge playoff performance for Henry, who has placed the sixth-seeded Titans (11-7) within one win of advancing to the Super Bowl. Tennessee will travel to face the winner of tomorrow's game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs in next weekend's AFC Championship game.


Grayson beaten in New York

The run of New Zealand squash player, Campbell Grayson has come to an end at the Tournament of Champion in New York's Grand Central Station at the hands of top 10 ranked, Simon Rosner of Germany.

The second round match ended with 2018 tournament champion, Rosner winning 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 in 37 minutes with Grayson keeping tabs on his opponent in the first game, but fading under the relentless pressure of his opponent in the later stages.

Countryman, Paul Coll the events fifth seed takes on Englishman Tom Richards in the third round tomorrow while Joelle King the women's tournament sixth seed plays Julianne Courtice (England) in her second round match.

Otago into play-offs

A brilliant unbeaten knock by Hamish Rutherford has propelled Otago into the playoffs in the national domestic men's Twenty20 competition.

Hamish Rutherford guided the Otago Volts to a record 249-3.

Hamish Rutherford Photo: Photosport

The Volts opener blasted 81 not out off 54 balls as the hosts cruised to a nine-wicket victory against Central Districts at the University of Otago Oval with 15 balls to spare on Saturday.

With the win, Otago moved into second in the standings and guaranteed them a place in Friday's Elimination final.

However, they could bypass that game and host the Grand Final instead if they beat Canterbury on Tuesday and Wellington lose to Auckland on Sunday.

Meanwhile the Otago women's side also clinched their place in the playoffs after claiming their fourth win in-a-row.

After overcoming an early wobble with the bat, the Sparks were able to chase down their modest target of 105 with almost three overs and seven wickets to spare against the Central Hinds.

The winner of the match was guaranteed to finish in third place, with runaway competition leaders Wellington and Auckland secure in first and second.

The Sparks head to Auckland's Eden Park Outer Oval for the Elimination Final on Thursday.

NZ biathlete shines in Switzerland

New Zealand team flagbearer Campbell Wright has produced an impressive performance to finish sixth in the 12.5 kilometre Biathlon at the Youth Winter Olympics.

The Hawea Flats athlete was hoping for a top 20 finish in the 99-strong field in Lausanne, Switzerland, but performed well beyond expectation.

New Zealand biathlete Campbell Wright.

New Zealand biathlete Campbell Wright. Photo: Photosport/NZ Winter Games

Wright was hoping to go one better when he competed in the 7.5km biathlon on Tuesday and will also race in the cross country later in the Games.

The New Zealand curling team collected a close win over France to have two wins from two matches.

With scores tied at four-all going into the last end, the Kiwi quartet of Zoe Harman, Lucy Neilson, Hunter Walker and Will Becker held their cool.

All four curlers, who take on Turkey on Monday, are from the Maniototo Area in the South Island.

Meanwhile alpine skier Harrison Messenger competed in the slalom, placing 25th in a time of 36.25 seconds.

Tuatara bounce back over Blue Sox

New Zealand slugger Andrew Marck delivered a clutch single to drive in the winning runs in the top of the ninth as the Auckland Tuatara snatched a crucial 2-1 Australian Baseball League win over the Sydney Blue Sox on Saturday night.

Unable to get anything going offensively all night, the Tuatara rallied in the final inning to load the bases.

Johny Homza

Johny Homza Photo: Photosport

Kim Won-seok - the hero from the corresponding fixture in Auckland three weeks ago - struck out swinging and the Tuatara were down to their final out.

But as he has done all season, Marck stood tall and dropped a base hit into left field that scored lead-off runner Yonny Hernandez and catcher Jonny Homza to steal the lead.

Reliever Elliot Johnstone calmly got the final three outs for the save and ensured the Tuatara maintained a four-game lead atop the Northeast Division.

The two sides meet in the series finale on Sunday night, where new signing - former Major League pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng - will take to the mound for the first time.

New champs crowned at surf nationals

Two new champions have ushered in the decade at the National Surfing Championships completed in Dunedin on Saturday.

Piha's Elliot Paerata-Reid and Christchurch teenager Ava Henderson took out the coveted men's and women's Divisions at St Clair Beach in Dunedin.

Elliot Paerata-Reid celebrates his win in the Open Men's final at the 2020 NZ Surfing Championships at St Clair, Dunedin.

Elliot Paerata-Reid celebrates his win in the Open Men's final at the 2020 NZ Surfing Championships at St Clair, Dunedin. Photo: Derek Morrison/Photosport

Paerata-Reid, 23, brushed away his three previous finals losses to overcome seven-time and defending champion Billy Stairmand, of Raglan, in a see-saw battle.

Still just 14, Henderson was competing in her first final and became the second youngest winner of the women's title.

The Cantabrian ran away with the win over Piha's Gabrielle Paul, adding to her earlier title in the under-18 girls division.

St Clair Beach produced clean waves of up to 1.0m with offshore winds all day but the swell size decreased through the afternoon and the incoming tide turning the swell tap off.

All-star final set in ATP Cup

Rafael Nadal secured a come-back victory against Australia's Alex De Minaur at the ATP Cup in Sydney on Saturday, propelling Spain into the final of the inaugural event to play the Novak Djokovic-led Serbian team.

The world's top ranked player was ambushed early by the young Australian, who threatened to run away with the match, before the Spaniard recovered to win 4-6 7-5 6-1.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal. Photo: Photosport/Icon Sportswire

Earlier in the evening, Roberto Bautista Agut played a near flawless match to defeat a misfiring Nick Kyrgios 6-1 6-4, giving Spain an unassailable lead going into the doubles match.

In the other semi-final, Djokovic played strong tactical tennis to overcome the enigmatic Russian Daniil Medvedev, to secure Serbia's spot in the final.

The Serbian won the contest 6-1 5-7 6-4 after he found success pushing the 198cm tall Russian around the court, forcing Medvedev to constantly scrape shots off his shoe laces.

Earlier, Serbia's Dusan Lajovic beat his more highly ranked opponent, Russia's Karen Khachanov, giving Serbia an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the doubles match.

Spain will have an opportunity in Sunday's final against Serbia to confirm it has the world's best men's tennis team, having recently won the revamped Davis Cup and boasting two top 10 players in its ATP Cup side.

- Reuters

F1 sticks with same tyres

Formula One is likely to be more predictable this season after teams opted to stick with last year's tyre specification, according to Pirelli's racing head Mario Isola.

Lewis Hamilton in Singapore


The 10 teams voted unanimously last month to reject new tyres that the sport's sole supplier had been developing for 2020.

The sport is facing significant upheaval in 2021 with new regulations and teams were reluctant to devote more resources to modifying aerodynamics at a time when they were already stretched.

Isola said all the teams were now very familiar with the 2019 tyres and there would be no learning curve, as in the past, and nor should there be any struggle with the warmup phase.

Isola expected cars to be quicker due to continued development, probably in the range of 1-1.5 seconds a lap on past trends, and Pirelli would have to raise starting pressures as a consequence.

- Reuters