15 Jan 2022

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:14 pm on 15 January 2022

Latest - Otago thump Auckland in Super Smash match

The Otago womens cricket team have easily beaten Auckland in today's SuperSmash T20 cricket game.

Suzie Bates of the Otago Sparks

Suzie Bates Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Auckland batted first but were restricted to just 106 for six in their 20 overs at Eden Park's outer oval.

Hayley Jenson was the best of the Otago bowlers, taking 3-21 in her four overs.

Otago's openers Polly Inglis and Suzie bates were untroubled in chasing down the target.

Inglis finished unbeaten on 61 and Bates 40 not out, as Otago won by ten wickets, with almost four overs to spare.


White Ferns captain is back in action in New Zealand.

Wellington cricketer Sophie Devine.


White Ferns captain Sophie Devine is making a return to T20 domestic cricket tomorrow after safely negotiating Covid-19 travel requirements.

Devine has returned across the Tasman from Australia where she captained the Perth Scorchers to their first Big Bash League title.

She will rejoin the unbeaten Wellington Blaze in their T20 Super Smash game against the bottom of the table Northern Brave in Whangarei, starting shortly after 10am tomorrow morning.

Devine will then switch her focus to the While Ferns international series against India starting on February 9, as part of the team's preparations for the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup hosted by New Zealand in March.

Blackcaps all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, who last played for the Black Caps in the first Test against Bangladesh at the Bay Oval, also returns to domestic cricket action in the T20 Super Smash for the Wellington Firebirds against Northern Brave in the men's game of the double-header in Whangarei.


Tennis legend diagnosed with cancer

Former world tennis number one Chris Evert has revelaed she's been diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer.

Chris Evert

Chris Evert Photo: Photosport

"I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others," the 67-year-old wrote on Twitter.

"I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan."

In an article on ESPN, Evert said a malignant tumor was discovered during a preventive hysterectomy early last month.

A second operation revealed that the cancer had been removed during the hysterectomy and had not spread. Following chemotherapy, her doctor said there was a better than a 90% chance the cancer would never return.

"I don't remember being that happy in years!" Evert said after getting the news from her doctor.


Lawson moves to Carlin for 2022

Red Bull junior team member Liam Lawson of New Zealand


Young New Zealand driver Liam Lawson is changing teams for this year's Formula 2 championship.

Lawson is moving from Hitech Grand Prix to Carlin where the Red Bull junior will join Williams Academy driver Logan Sargeant at the Surrey-based outfit.

Lawson - who drove for the Alpha Tauri Formula 1 team at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Young Driver test - made his first appearance for Carlin at the Formula 2 post-season tests, finishing four of the six sessions in the top 10.

The 19-year-old joins Carlin on the back of a successful rookie season in F2, which saw him win the opening race and take a further two podiums to finish ninth.

He also finished runner-up in the German Touring Car championship in 2021.

"I'm super excited for the new opportunity this year," said Lawson. "The pre-season test went really, really well. It was a completely different experience to what I've been used to. The whole team is really focused on the right things and all super motivated going into the season.

Meanwhile fellow Kiwi driver Marcus Armstrong is optimistic about his future despite his time in the Ferrari Driver Academy ending after five years with the team.

The FIA Formula 2 Championship race winner's departure was announced this week. Armstrong's 2022 plans are yet to be clarified, although he did take part in last month's F2 post-season test at Abu Dhabi. That outing came with Hitech Grand Prix, as opposed to DAMS, the team he raced for last year.


Brighton and Crystal Palace draw mid-table clash

Brighton got a deserved point in a 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace thanks to a late own goal by visiting defender Joachim Andersen in the Premier League

Palace looked like they had done enough to secure all three points, but Danish defender Anderson inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net three minutes from time.

Danny Welbeck almost snatched victory for Brighton late on but headed over as they settled for a point that moved them up to eighth in the standings on 28 points from 20 games, while Palace climbed to 11th on 24 having played a game more.

Meanwhile Arsenal have asked the Premier League to postpone Monday's north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur due to COVID-19 cases, injuries and some players participating at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Premier League said it will make a decision on the matter tomorrow. If the game is postponed, it will be the 21st league match to be called off this season.

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka was ruled out of Sunday's match after picking up a red card in Thursday's 0-0 draw at Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final first leg, while Cedric Soares, Bukayo Saka and Calum Chambers all sustained injuries.

Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are on international duty in Africa, while Norwegian Martin Odegaard has tested positive for COVID-19.


The Breakers have been beaten 89-78 by Melbourne United in their ANBL game in Hobart.

Peyton Siva of the Breakers.

Peyton Siva Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Melbourne were led by Chris Goulding who made history back in his childhood home state, becoming just the second current player to reach 5000 NBL points.

The Breakers led 39-38 at half-time, however, once Melbourne's shooting clicked in the second half they looked a different team.

For the Breakers, Peyton Siva continues to improve after an injury-interrupted start to his life in the NBL.

The 31-year-old import finished with 19 points, five assists and led the offence superbly.

Breakers coach Dan Shamir felt giving up 18 offensive boards while only collecting six themselves and 25 total rebounds for the night was pivotal in the end result.

Melbourne are 4th on the table and the Breakers last.

The Breakers play Sydney tomorrow.

Robinson second again

Queenstown skier Alice Robinson has finished in second place again a the European Cup Downhill event in France, mirroring yesterday's performance.

Alice Robinson of New Zealand in action.


It was the second time in the 20 year old's career that she has competed in a Downhill race, her first being yesterday on the same slope where she also finished in second.

Thanks to yesterday's result she was afforded an advantageous start position of bib #3 today.

Juliana Suter of Switzerland took the win again, just 0.46 seconds ahead of Robinson, with Esther Paslier of France third.

Robinson's favoured event is the more technical discipline of Giant Slalom, but this season she has started competing in the speed disciplines of Super-G, and now Downhill.

She is in action in a Super-G World Cup race in Austria on Sunday night.

Meanwhile Olympic bound Para skier Aaron Ewen has finished in seventh place at his debut World Para Snow Sports Championships Downhill race in Norway.

Proteas beat India

Keegan Petersen scored 82 as South Africa completed a seven-wicket victory in the third test and a 2-1 series win over world number one India on a spiteful Newlands pitch having chased down their challenging target of 212.

Keegan Petersen of South Africa celebrates

Keegan Petersen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It is just the fourth time in 133 years that a team has scored more than 200 in Cape Town to win, and follows on from South Africa's epic seven-wicket victory in Johannesburg in the second test when they needed 240 in the fourth innings.

Petersen, who was the leading scorer in the series with 276 runs, was the anchor for the home side on a difficult wicket for batting, but there were also important unbeaten contributions from Rassie van der Dussen (41) and Temba Bavuma (32) as they put on 57 for the fourth wicket.

The result means India are still in search of a first test series victory in South Africa having had high hopes when they won the opening match. The teams will now play three One-Day Internationals starting in Paarl on Wednesday.


Another big bat from CDG

Black Cap Colin de Grandhomme has continued his good form with the bat helping Northern beat Central by 19 runs in their Super Smash game at Bay Oval.

Following on from his Ford Trophy century during the week, de Grandhomme hit 86 as Northern posted 176/7.

Central were then restricted to 157/8.

Northern remain top of the men's standings.

Earlier in the battle of the bottom two teams in the women's competition, Central beat Northern by 4 wickets.

Stairmand continues to impress

Pre-event favourites Billy Stairmand and Paige Hareb have both advanced to today's finals at the National Surfing Championships in Westport.

Billy Stairmand at the 2022 New Zealand Surfing Championships held at Tauranga Bay, Westport.

Billy Stairmand Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Stairmand (Raglan) looked near unstoppable in his semi-final match up, surfing to a 17.50 point heat total with a blazing performance. Stairmand advanced alongside Taranaki surfer Daniel Farr in their semi-final, while Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) and Reuben Woods (Mnt) advanced out of the other semifinal.

Hareb continued to build momentum in the Open Women's Division with a comfortable heat win.

"The week started a bit iffy, I almost got knocked in my first heat" exclaimed Hareb. "Yesterday was better and today I guess I did what I had to do to make the final, but I'm still not happy with my performances yet" she added despite her comfortable victory.

Hareb advanced out of her semifnal with Raglan surfer Brie Bennett and they're joined by Ava Henderson (Chch) and Pia Rogers (WGM).

Al Attiyah wins another Dakar title

Qatar's Nasser Al Attiyah won the Dakar Rally for the fourth time in the car category while British motorcycle rider Sam Sunderland took his second title.

Al-Attiyah Nasser, Toyota, Dakar rally 2020.


Toyota factory driver Al Attiyah had led from the Jan. 1 start in Saudi Arabia and finished in Jeddah 27 minutes and 46 seconds ahead of France's nine times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb.

Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was third with the Overdrive Toyota team, his first podium finish in the event.

Al Attiyah won the Dakar when it was held in South America in 2011, 2015 and 2019 with Volkswagen, Mini and Toyota respectively.

He is now the joint-second most successful car driver in the history of the event, tied with Finland's four times winner Ari Vatanen and behind France's eight times winner Stephane Peterhansel who also won six times on a motorcycle.

GasGas rider Sunderland, who took his first title in South America in 2017, finished three minutes and 27 seconds ahead of Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla on a Honda. Austrian Matthias Walkner was third for KTM.

The Dakar Rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital but switched to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

One of motorsport's most dangerous and gruelling events, the rally moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and is now in its 44th edition.


Boyd suspended for comments about ref

Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd has been banned for two games for criticising a referee.

Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd.


The 63-year-old New Zealander was unhappy with the officiating of Adam Leal in his side's 30-6 defeat by Saracens on January 2nd.

He said Leal "didn't have enough nuts" after no yellow cards were shown to Sarries players during a series of scrums under their posts.

Boyd will miss the Champions Cup games against Ulster on Saturday and Racing 92 on 23 January.

Saints announced earlier this week that Boyd will step down from his job at the end of the season.

He will return to his native New Zealand, with Phil Dowson taking over, but will retain an advisory role with the club.

As well as the suspension, Boyd will also have to give two talks, one to Saints players and staff, and one to a local club or school about respecting match officials.


Senegal fail to impress

Pre-tournament favourites Senegal failed to impress again as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations, with the result all but ensuring both teams' progress to the knockout stages.

Senegal, heavily impacted by Covid-19 infections, share top spot in Group B on four points with West African rivals Guinea after both teams won their respective opening games.

With the top two in each group, plus the four best third-placed finishers to advance, four points is expected to be enough for a place in the last 16.

Senegal, however, have done little to live up to their tag as the team to beat at the tournament as they feel the impact of 10 absentees.

Morocco proved too strong for the Comoros Islands, winning 2-0 to stay top of Group C and ensure progress to the last 16 of the finals in Cameroon.


Change at Aston Martin

The Aston Martin Formula One team appointed former BMW Motorsport head Mike Krack as their new principal following the departure of Otmar Szafnauer.

Krack worked previously in Formula One with Swiss-based Sauber.

The move means he will work again with four times world champion Sebastian Vettel, who made his Formula One debut with BMW-Sauber in 2007 and races for Aston Martin along with Canadian Lance Stroll.

Mercedes-powered Aston Martin, owned by Stroll's billionaire father Lawrence, finished seventh last season but have big ambitions and are building a new factory while also hiring some top names from other teams.


Taylor joins Warriors

Former Gold Coast play maker Ash Taylor has been upgraded to a fulltime NRL contract for the Warriors' 2022 campaign.

The 26-year-old Queenslander was initially signed on a train and trial deal in October with a club top 30 option for 2022.

"We're excited to confirm Ash is staying with us. He has been a great addition since joining the club and has more than met our expectations," said Warriors general manager football Craig Hodges.

"He has added so much with his training ethic, enthusiasm and his all-round contribution."

Taylor makes the Warriors his third NRL club after one appearance for Brisbane in 2015 and 114 for Gold Coast from 2016-2021.

Taylor ended his Gold Coast career with 16 appearances in 2021 as the club made the finals for just the fourth time and the first since 2016.