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Michael van Gerwen beats Josh Rock in Players Championship 7 final to win first ranking title of 2023 | Darts News



Michael van Gerwen scooped the £12,000 top prize as he claimed a first Players Championship win since April last year; the Dutchman defeated reigning World Youth Champion Josh Rock 8-4 in the final

Last Updated: 19/03/23 9:40pm

Michael van Gerwen defeated Josh Rock in the Players Championship 7 final on Sunday

Michael van Gerwen defeated Josh Rock in the Players Championship 7 final on Sunday

Michael van Gerwen picked up his first ranking title of 2023 by defeating Josh Rock 8-4 in Sunday’s Players Championship 7 final in Hildesheim.

World No 3 Van Gerwen began the ProTour double-header in Germany by scooping the £12,000 top prize for a first Players Championship win since April last year.

Other than at the UK Open a fortnight ago, where Van Gerwen finished as runner-up, he had not progressed past the quarter-finals in a ranking event this year.

The 33-year-old – the winner of three Cazoo Premier League nights so far in 2023 – defeated World Youth Champion Rock in the final to claim his first ranking triumph of the year.

“I had to work very hard,” admitted Van Gerwen. “I have six gears but I won it in fourth gear today.

“I wasn’t playing well most of the day, but the games where I had to play well – to beat Dirk [van Duijvenbode 6-4] in the quarter-finals I played really well there, and against Josh in the final – I did it.

“That gives you confidence and gives you pleasure but I wasn’t great today. Of course I want to play better but I did it whenever I had to do.”

Josh Rock defeated Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh and Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively Josh Rock defeated Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh and Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively

Josh Rock defeated Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively

Van Gerwen breezed past Jacques Labre, Keegan Brown, Martin Lukeman and Boris Krcmar for the loss of just seven legs to book his spot in the quarter-finals.

There, he produced his highest average of the day at 104.95 in a superb 6-4 win over Dutch rival Van Duijvenbode, before seeing off another former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks by a two-leg margin in the semi-finals.

In the final, reigning youth champion Rock took the opening leg before Van Gerwen won five of the next six to move 5-2 up.

Rock cut the gap to 5-4, but legs of 11 and 12 darts from the Dutchman pushed him further clear at 7-4 before he closed out the title.

Van Gerwen added: “They’re long days, very long days. At this stage in my life, every tournament I compete in I want to win and it gets harder.

“If you look at the floor tournaments nowadays, there’s no easy games any more, so I have to battle for every game, but overall I’m pleased with my win and that’s really important.

“A lot has changed, everyone can play a 100 average – that’s how good the tour is at the moment – so that’s why you need to get focused.”

It was runner-up Rock’s best run in a ranking event this year too by reaching the final, as the Northern Irishman sought to emulate his Players Championship 28 win of 2022.

The youngster produced three ton-plus averages on the day – against Luke Woodhouse, Brendan Dolan and Mario Vandenbogaerde – and saw off Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.


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Beth Mead not in England’s World Cup plans unless ‘miracle happens’, says Sarina Wiegman | Football News



England manager Sarina Wiegman expects Beth Mead to miss out on this summer’s World Cup, saying that unless a “miracle happens” she will not be in her plans for the tournament.

Mead, who claimed the Golden Boot and player of the tournament award when the Lionesses won the Euros last summer, has been sidelined by an ACL injury sustained in November.

Having named a 25-player squad for next month’s friendlies against Brazil and Australia, Wiegman told a press conference regarding Arsenal forward Mead: “I had a conversation with her, she’s doing well, she’s in her rehab, she’s doing good, but the World Cup is actually too early.

“So what we said is she’s not in our plans now, just really take the time to get back well. But if a miracle happens and she goes so fast, then we will reconsider it – but at this moment, I don’t expect that.”

It marks a shift from Wiegman, who said in early February that it was too early to plan for a World Cup without Mead in the squad. Wiegman was also reluctant to push Mead on her availability following the death of her mother.

“It’s a little early to say,” Wiegman said last month. “But I don’t want to push it.

Beth Mead won the Golden Boot as England won the Euros last summer under Sarina Wiegman

“She’s had so many things going on in her life that I don’t want to push it at this moment, and we’ll see how her recovery and rehab goes, and then we’ll sit down at a point, and that will be very shortly, and then we’ll look at the future a little bit.

“But I don’t want to look too much forward right now because she just comes from a very hard situation.”

Later in February, Mead told Sky Sports News that she was “ahead of schedule” in her recovery from a knee injury and has not ruled out a return at this summer’s World Cup.

She said: “Realistically next season is sensible – but I’m not sensible! The World Cup is obviously my motivation. I want to do my best to get to a World Cup.

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Speaking in February, Beth Mead says her mum’s passing has acted as further motivation in her recovery from injury as she targets a return at this summer’s World Cup

“If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be but it’s something for me to strive and reach towards.

“I’m ahead of schedule so far – I want to keep it that way. It’s a long injury and there are a lot of ups and downs.

“The rehab is going well. [I’m] 11 weeks post-op, counting down the days.

“It’s going very slowly but it’s been good for me to sit down and reflect to look back on the year we’ve had, the legacy that we’ve created as a women’s team.”

Hampton, Morgan earn recall for Brazil, Australia friendlies | Zelem, England miss out

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England manager Sarina Wiegman discusses her selection for the Lionesses squad and says there won’t much change between now and the World Cup

Sarina Wiegman has handed recalls to Hannah Hampton and Esme Morgan while uncapped Lucy Parker also returns to the fold as the Lionesses prepare for back-to-back fixtures against Brazil and World Cup co-hosts Australia in April.

Twice-capped Aston Villa goalkeeper Hampton returns for the first time since last summer’s Euros triumph.

Manchester City defender Morgan won her three senior caps last October and November, while fellow defender Parker, of West Ham, is the only uncapped member of the 25-player squad.

Dropping out from February’s selection are the injured Emily Ramsey along with Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie Zelem and Ebony Salmon.

Chelsea forward Fran Kirby continues to be absent as she recovers from a knee injury, while Bethany England also misses out despite scoring six goals since joining Tottenham from Chelsea in January.

England squad in full

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Sandy MacIver, Ellie Roebuck, Hannah Hampton

Defenders: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Niamh Charles, Alex Greenwood, Maya Le Tissier, Esme Morgan, Lucy Parker, Leah Williamson

Midfielders: Laura Coombs, Jordan Nobbs, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Keira Walsh

Forwards: Rachel Daly, Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly, Jess Park, Alessia Russo, Katie Robinson

What is the World Cup schedule?

The group stage will begin on July 20 and run over a two-week period finishing on August 3 and see group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.

The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.

The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.

A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.

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Rangers vs Celtic: Police investigating alleged Craig McPherson headbutt towards Fran Alonso in SWPL match | Football News



Rangers coach Craig McPherson is being investigated by police over an alleged headbutt on Celtic Women boss Fran Alonso.

The incident took place after Monday’s Old Firm match, live on Sky Sports, as McPherson approached Alonso on the pitch at Broadwood Stadium.

Rangers are also investigating the incident, while the Scottish FA’s compliance officer is set to look into the matter too.

A Celtic spokesperson added: “Clearly this is a hugely concerning incident, falling well below any acceptable standard.

“We understand the matter is now being investigated and it will be up to all relevant authorities to take any appropriate action.”

Police Scotland’s spokesperson said: “We have received a report regarding an incident at Broadwood Stadium on the evening of Monday, March 27, 2023. Enquiries to establish any criminality are at an early stage.”

‘I was called a little rat’

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Highlights of Rangers against Celtic from the Scottish Women’s Premier League

Rangers looked set to secure a vital victory at Broadwood until Caitlin Hayes’ 99th minute equaliser ensured the rivals would share the points.

Alonso, who has previously worked under Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino at Everton and Southampton respectively, told Sky Sports he was called a “little rat” as the footage was shown to him after the match.

The 46-year-old Spaniard said: “I don’t know. You can see there, somebody pushed me from behind. I never talked to (McPherson) the whole game.

“It’s obviously disappointing to concede a goal in the last minute, I totally get it. But I don’t know.

“I was called a ‘little rat’, I don’t know why.”

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Rangers forward Brogan Hay scored after miscommunication between Celtic pair Kelly Clark and Pamela Tajonar

When asked about the incident after the match, Rangers head coach Malky Thomson told Sky Sports: “Without me seeing it at all, I don’t know that I can comment on it.

“If that’s the case, then there will be an investigation and we’ll obviously look at it.”

Former Morton and Falkirk midfielder McPherson, 52, had spells as assistant manager at Morton and Dumbarton before joining up with Thompson in the summer of 2021.

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Caitlin Hayes scored in the 99th minute with the last kick of the game to equalise against Rangers in the SWPL

The 1-1 draw – in the first SWPL league game televised live by Sky Sports – ensured Celtic and Rangers remained second and third, respectively.

Glasgow City are top of the table, eight points clear of Alonso’s side, with nine matches to play this season.

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Anthony Joshua says he will retire from boxing if he loses to Jermaine Franklin | ‘I’m not here to battle people’ | Boxing News



Anthony Joshua says he will retire from boxing if he loses against Jermaine Franklin on Saturday at the O2 Arena.

The two-time world champion is making his return to the ring this weekend to face the American heavyweight after successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua will be looking to win his first professional fight since December 2020 but has admitted he will step away from boxing if he loses a third successive bout.

“I will. I will retire if I lose. I’m not here to battle people. If people want me to retire I will retire,” he told MailOnline.

“I’m not going to fight if people don’t want me too. It’s not even about the money. It’s about the competitor in you. That’s what’s important.

“It [pressure] comes with the business and it comes with the territory, I know that.

“I know when I am retired, I am gonna be chilling. I’m gonna be thinking f**k everyone. I am done.

“You lot put so much pressure on me so when I am done, the chains are going to be gone. I am going to be laughing and loving life.”

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Anthony Joshua should retire if he is beaten by Jermaine Franklin, while Tyson Fury ‘didn’t believe’ he could defeat Oleksandr Usyk, says Johnny Nelson

Nelson expects Joshua to ‘get it done’

Former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson expects Joshua to beat Franklin but thinks the 33-year-old should retire if he loses.

“I’d expect Anthony Joshua to get it done. But Jermaine Franklin is 29 years old, (has had) 22 fights, won 21, stopped 14 of his opponents and in his last fight against Dillian Whyte people say he should have won. But that’s questionable,” he said.

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Anthony Joshua discusses his thoughts on his showdown with Jermaine Franklin and his training regime going into the fight.

“My big question is this: Anthony Joshua, after losing two fights on the bounce, has had to relook at his confidence to think ‘who am I, do I belong here, do I want this?’

“For Anthony Joshua that’s everything. Because he’s had to go through a bit of turmoil, mentally, emotionally and come to terms with the fact that he’s no longer the best fighter, officially, in the world.

“He’s got to get in the queue again like everybody else. If Anthony Joshua loses, he jacks it in. If he doesn’t jack it, he should jack it. Because it’s a hard mountain to climb.

“Especially when you’ve had the success and the heights that he’s had. So he can’t afford to lose. That’s a must. Then from that, it’s confidence building.”

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