Russell shines again MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC): West Indies all-rounder once again proved his worth for Sydney Thunder as they produced another strong performance to edge Melbourne Stars by a single run off the last ball in an electrifying Big Bash League encounter yesterday. Sent in at the MCG, Thunder rallied to 178 for six off their 20 overs behind opener Usman Khawaja’s brilliant unbeaten 109 off 70 balls. Russell smashed 22 off 16 balls to be the only other batsman to pass 20 and one of only three to reach double figures. Thunder were going nowhere at 59 for three in the ninth over when Khawaja anchored a series of partnerships to spark a revival. It was his exhilarating 53-run fifth-wicket stand off 29 balls with Russell that gave the innings real momentum. While he pummelled 12 fours and three sixes, the right-handed Russell chipped in with four boundaries before perishing in the 18th over, brilliantly caught by a leaping James Faulkner at long on off seamer John Hastings. In reply, Stars were propelled by Kevin Pietersen’s superb 76 off 42 balls with five fours and six sixes, while Faulkner made 45 not out from 36 deliveries with two fours. The hosts were cruising at 48 without loss before pacer Russell, who finished with two for 28 from his four overs, struck twice in the sixth over to remove both openers Marcus Stoinis (27) and Luke Wright (18) and halt their progress. In Sydney, there was no such fortune for West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy as his Hobart Hurricanes went down by 95 runs to Sydney Sixers. Sammy went wicketless in two overs, which cost 32 runs, as Sixers piled up 186 for seven and then made two from six deliveries as Hurricanes collapsed for 91. Taylor sparks, but Thunder lose BRISBANE, Australia (CMC): West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor extended her handsome run of form, but Sydney Thunder’s batting failed as they collapsed to a 14-run defeat to Brisbane Heat in the women’s Big Bash League here yesterday. Chasing 142 for victory at the Gabba, Thunder were held to 127 for nine off their 20 overs, with the right-handed Taylor top-scoring with 43 and Erin Osborne getting 31. Taylor faced 47 balls and struck three fours and a six, while Osborne counted two fours off 33 deliveries. Earlier, Jess Jonassen top-scored with 47 from 44 balls and captain Delissa Kimmince hit 29 from 27 balls, to help Heat up to 141 for eight off their 20 overs. Taylor proved economical with her off spin, taking one for 23 from her four overs.
‘Champs’ 2016 is now consigned to the history books. In some cases, it has unearthed, and in others, cemented a more than fair share of awesome talent. It never ceases to amaze how much is being done with so little. In this regard, Foster’s Fairplay, focusing on the future at the world level, will be looking in particular at two athletes, drawn from the many coming to mind. That the country is now the envy of the world in the area of sprints is impatient of debate. The recent feats of the Kingston College (KC) phenom, quarter-miler Akeem Bloomfield and sprinter Nigel Ellis out of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and described in knowledgeable quarters as the real deal only serves to drive home the point. Coming from a history-making 44.93 at last year’s world spectacle event, Bloomfield has his compass set beyond that stage. So confirmed coach Neil Harrison, who sees the World Junior Championships in July and a spot on the Rio Olympics team as the season’s chief objectives. Although no such crystal-ball glance is coming from Ellis’ camp, a wise coach must see the repeat 10 teens as a promise of things to come. Another point to be made here is that the cash-rich Bahrain trek has claimed a couple of the nation’s fast men who were understudying the Bolt, Blake, Powell top rung. Ellis, barring being steered in that direction, could ‘run in’ on one of the vacancies created. A few years ago, the highly respected track and field legendary disciplinarian and JAAA president, Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook, was hosting a top-ranked administrator in the business. Enthralled with the island’s outstanding global performances, the visitor requested to be taken to where “these fantastic athletes did their training”. The pride-ridden ‘Teddy’ headed for the North Street campus of his own KC. After about one hour of watching some of Jamaica’s most gifted young athletes, the seemingly impatient guest, with a flight to catch, asked if they could relocate to the spot, as previously requested. With no regard for his shortness of stature, Teddy drew himself to full height, made a two-handed, all encompassing sign and said, “You are standing on it”. Against this background and an ever-mushrooming storehouse of talent with less-than-adequate quality or quantity of proper facilities for preparation, a recent comment by the sport’s world governing boss is quite interesting. That Usain Bolt has rescued the sport has become almost a clichÈ at forums across the world. Well, Lord Coe is calling for “more Usain Bolts”. Once the suspicion that such call is a request for a lifeline to be thrown to a badly drug-tainted sport is accepted a way forward can be sought. Typically, what is not mentioned is the role played by the equally excellent, coach, Glen Mills, who has stage-managed the Bolt act. However, that is for a different story at another time. Having said all that, there can be but a single response to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president’s musings. There is a role here for Dr Warren Blake, local athletics’ top man. Picking up on the ‘more Bolts wanted’ comment, he should meet with the good upper house British parliamentarian and assist him and track and field to rise above the ongoing Russian drug debacle. Coe should be invited to assemble his IAAF executive in an initiative to afford Jamaica the infrastructure pivotal to enhance its already glorious product. The Coe remark could not have come at a more opportune time, with a new Government taking office. For a start, a synthetic track in every parish would be handy. A travelling cadre of talent scouts, fuelled by some of the current high-performance-oriented coaches, would also have to be slotted in. Much like Coe, the Jamaican president needs to turn a few things around. This would be a lasting legacy to his tenancy. Image cleaning is required both in Monaco and here, and Coe has left a door open. Enter, Dr. Blake. For Feedback, email firstname.lastname@example.org. FANTASTIC ATHLETES