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May 14, 2007 11:51 am
● CRICKET Andrew Strauss has been named England’s captain for Thursday’s opening test at Lord’s against the West Indies as Michael Vaughan has not recovered from a broken finger. The wicketkeeper debate appears to have finished, with Matt Prior selected ahead of Geraint Jones and Chris Read. Owais Shah provides cover should key batsman Kevin Pietersen fail to recover from a calf injury, while Liam Plunkett won the battle with Lancashire seamer James Anderson for the final seamer’s role in the squad, having impressed for Durham during the early stages of the season.
● ICE HOCKEY Rick Nash scored a pair of goals as Canada returned to ice hockey’s summit on Sunday, beating Finland 4-2 to capture a record 24th world title, reports Reuters in Moscow.
The victory capped a perfect championship for the Canadians, who muscled their way through the tournament with a 100 per cent record of 9-0.
Canada collected their third gold medal in five years to go one better than the 23 world titles won by Russia and the former Soviet Union.
A pair of first-period powerplay strikes from Columbus Blue Jackets’ Rick Nash and Carolina Hurricanes’ Eric Staal put the Finns in a hole from which they could never climb out.
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Colby Armstrong got his first of the championship midway through the second period to push Canada in front 3-0 before the Finns mounted a spirited fight back in the third.
But Canada wouldn’t be denied and netminder Cam Ward made 20 saves to preserve the gold medal.
● RUGBY Leicester have added the Guinness Premiership trophy to the EDF Energy Cup in their search for a historic treble with an emphatic win over Gloucester. The Tigers put next weekend’s Heineken Cup final against Wasps out of their minds to win 44-16, largely driven by their pack and by powerful wingers Alesana Tuilagi and Seru Rabeni. “It was a very good performance, there were some lovely tries, and to repeat that next week will be a massive challenge now,” said coach Pat Howard, who is to step down as Leicester coach at the end of the season.
● TENNIS Rafael Nadal became the first man to win three successive Rome Masters titles by beating Fernando Gonzalez on Sunday. Despite a marathon semi-final against Niklolay Davydenko, the Spaniard had enough in the tank to secure a 6-2 6-2 win. “It’s incredible,” said Nadal. “To win here for a third time is a dream. Fernando made far more mistakes than usual and I took advantage of that.”
Ana Ivanovic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets in the final of the German Open in Berlin.
● GOLF Lee Westwood survived a faltering finish to claim his first European Tour title in almost four years in the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia. The 34-year-old carded a final-round 67 at Aloha Golf Club for a 20 under-par total of 268, ahead of compatriot Phillip Archer (65) and Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson (66). The world number 63 led by five with eight holes to play, but dropped three shots in the next five, letting his rivals close, but he eventually holed from 40ft for par on the 18th to ensure he took the winner’s cheque for £113,612.
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