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Durham 275 for 8 (Harte 72, Poynter 50) v Nottinghamshire

A century partnership between Gareth Harte and Stuart Poynter was the highlight for Durham on the opening day of their Bob Willis Trophy match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Harte made 72 from 143 deliveries, with 10 fours, and Poynter scored 50 as the visitors reached 275 for 8 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. Matt Carter took 3 for 43 for the hosts, with Zak Chappell returning figures of 3 for 75.

Chappell took the first three wickets to fall in the match, removing Sean Dickson for 7 in his opening burst, pinning the former Kent batsman in his crease. After switching ends, the pace bowler then struck twice more, reducing Durham to 33 for 3. Scottish international Michael Jones edged low to Carter at first slip for a 20-ball duck, then David Bedingham made an unhappy return to his former city, edging to Ben Duckett at second slip for 4.

South African Bedingham spent last summer playing the latest of several spells for Plumtree Cricket Club in the Nottinghamshire Premier League, based just a few miles away from Trent Bridge.

Alex Lees battled his way to within 15 minutes of the lunch break but squandered his wicket on 31, chasing a widish delivery from Jake Ball and nicking behind.

Harte tickled Chappell away for successive boundaries to fine leg to bring up his fifty from 89 balls as the fifth-wicket partnership began to frustrate the home attack during the middle session. His stand with Poynter had reached 101 when home skipper Steven Mullaney made the breakthrough, wobbling one past the defences of Harte to knock back his off stump.

Poynter’s half-century came from 94 balls, with eight boundaries, but he failed to add to it as he edged Carter behind in the first over after tea.

Ned Eckersley and Paul Coughlin carried the score beyond 200 before both succumbed to Carter’s offspin. The Durham captain cut to backward point for 25 and former Notts man Coughlin popped one up into the hands of Hameed at short leg for 21.

With spin accounting for 40 of the first 90 overs Notts were able to take a second new ball at 5.05pm but were unable to make further inroads with it as Brydon Carse and Ben Raine survived until the close. Carse pulled Carter for the only six of the day and was undefeated on 35. The pair have so far added 48 for the ninth wicket to leave the day on an equal footing.

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One additional Badgers player, two staff members test positive for COVID-19

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The COVID-19 outbreak in the Wisconsin Badgers football program continues to grow.

The athletic department announced Thursday that one additional Badgers player and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 16 active COVID-19 cases in the program, including 15 positive tests since Oct. 24.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin canceled its Oct. 31 game against Nebraska after 12 people — six student athletes and six staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst — tested positive for the coronavirus.

All football activities have been paused for at least one week, slotting the team’s earliest possible return date at Nov. 4. Wisconsin’s next game on the schedule is Nov. 7 against Purdue at home. Based on CDC and Big Ten protocols, Chryst can potentially return to the Badgers in person on Nov. 7 following a 10-day quarantine period.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez received his results Thursday and tested negative for COVID-19.



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Terence Crawford next fight: Welterweight champ set to return in November against Kell Brook

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Terence Crawford is ready to return to the ring. After saying that he wouldn’t fight without a live gate unless he was compensated correctly at the onset of the global pandemic, Crawford will fight again on Nov. 14 against veteran contender Kell Brook on ESPN. 

Crawford was linked to some potentially exciting fights with Manny Pacquiao and Shawn Porter, which would seem to indicate some bridges finally crossed between Top Rank, who promotes Crawford, and PBC, who controls Pacquiao, Porter and the majority of the other top welterweights in boxing. Instead, the WBO welterweight champion will meet Brook, who has won three straight against lesser competition after being knocked out by Errol Spence and Gennadiy Golovkin in consecutive bouts.

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Crawford (36-0, 27 KO) is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but has run into issues in recent years with the top fighters being aligned with PBC and cutting into the most attractive possible matches. That left Crawford to display his talents against outgunned opponents Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Amir Khan in 2019 while rival and PBC fighter Spence Jr. had career-defining battles with Mikey Garcia and Porter.

A showdown with PBC-promoted Spence, who holds the WBC and IBF titles, is the long-discussed but seemingly unlikely biggest fight in the welterweight division. Potential bouts with PBC’s Pacquiao and Porter were supposed to serve as gateway bouts to making the Spence fight a reality, though Top Rank’s Bob Arum seemed more committed to the idea of Crawford vs. Brook, which was announced as a Crawford’s next fight during the ESPN broadcast of Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez.

Brook (39-2, 27 KO) is the former IBF welterweight champ. Returning to welterweight to defend his title, Brook was stopped in Round 11 by Spence. Three fights against middling competition between 2018 and 2020 lined Brook up to get another title shot, this time gunning for Crawford’s welterweight belt.



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Former CA chief James Sutherland heads multimillion-dollar deal to replace MyCricket

A company headed by two former Cricket Australia executives has won a multimillion-dollar contract to build a bespoke replacement for MyCricket, the much-criticised digital portal for community cricket in Australia.

PlayHQ, which boasts the former CA chief executive James Sutherland as chairman and the ex-CA manager of media rights and strategy, Sam Walch, as chief executive, had already picked up major contracts to run digital fixturing, scoring and administration of basketball and Australian football at community levels.

But the confirmation of the deal with CA, which will see PlayHQ provide the platform for cricket clubs and programs across the country to be, in the words of the head of community cricket Belinda Clark, “able to be run from a smartphone” and is believed to be worth more than A$5 million, will have a huge impact on the lives of around 300,000 club players registered with MyCricket across the country, plus many more junior and school program participants.

“This is a critical project for Australian cricket. We need to get the basics right first, and there is an immediate need to replace the legacy platform with a system that is modern and makes it easier to do all the tasks required to run local programs and competitions,” CA’s head of customer experience Kieran McMillan said. “Tens of thousands of volunteers give up their evenings and weekends for our sport, and we want to give them back some time to enjoy the best parts of getting involved in their club.

“Technology will play an increasingly important role in community sport and we have an opportunity to be leading the charge. Through the support of quality partners, the community can expect more digital innovation and increased functionality over time. Whether that be live streaming, or club management tools, or even micro-chips in balls – the products and services you will be able to access on your phone or laptop will make it easier to run the game and more enjoyable to play the game.”

Basketball provided the first means for PlayHQ to test out its capabilities, and early suggestions prior to the onset of Covid-19 were that its systems enabled faster and easier management of clubs and competitions, based in particular on a pilot program involving around 20 country basketball associations.

The AFL then announced a deal with Play HQ in June. Its head of states and game development, Sam Graham, described the project’s goals at the time as: “It’s about getting the admin done more quickly and easily, so there’s time to focus on the footy.”

Speaking about the cricket deal, Walch offered similar words. “PlayHQ’s vision is to provide a world class solution for the administration of grassroots sport, and to make it easier for volunteers, participants, parents, coaches and umpires to engage with the games they love.”

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