16-02-2019 Chess: Guildford’s six-year 4NCL unbeaten run threatened by Manx

Surrey club’s record unbeaten run is threatened by the newcomers who have climbed rapidly from the third tierThe all-conquering Guildford team in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) are winning match after match but their manager is already planning well ahead to the showdown with a fresh and dangerous challenger at the final league weekend in early May.Guildford’s record unbeaten run, which stands at 70 wins and two draws stretching over more than six years, is threatened by promoted chesscom.Manx Liberty, whose squad is packed with seasoned grandmasters and bankrolled by a leading global chess website. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

16-02-2019 Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

16-02-2019 Valencia and Denis Cheryshev deal Celtic harrowing Europa League defeat

Valencia’s passage to the last 16 of the Europa League already seems secure. On a bruising night for Brendan Rodgers and Celtic, the Spanish side cantered towards a victory which should render next week at the Mestalla a formality.That Valencia have superior resource to Celtic is hardly breaking news. Nonetheless, a team normally so ebullient at home were curiously flat and error-ridden. Long before full time it had become a question of how many Valencia were of a mind to score. They settled for two, which barring an unforeseen collapse will prove sufficient. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 In defence of Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole has won more FA Cups than any player in history. Isn’t it time we appreciated his achievements?By Sean Cole for WSC, of the Guardian Sport NetworkAshley Cole played for Derby County in the Championship last weekend, his first appearance in English football for almost five years. The 38-year-old, who has felt curiously rootless and unloved throughout his career, says this will be his final stop before retirement. Of the much-vaunted, and subsequently derided, golden generation, Cole was arguably the only one to live up to his billing. For several years at Arsenal and Chelsea he made a compelling case for being the world’s best left-back. While Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney were all overhyped at times, Cole was under-appreciated.There are several reasons why this might be the case, but there are clear parallels between him and Raheem Sterling. Both are outstanding black footballers, raised in London, who were branded greedy and irresponsible from a young age. Neither would claim to be entirely blameless, but the negative attention they have received from sections of the press has been wildly disproportionate. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 The Spin | Sheer pace is sheer bliss though fast bowlers often blow hot and cold

Mark Wood’s Sunday spell in St Lucia was a refreshing reminder of how pace bowling turns a slow game into a fast oneThere are certain words that are crying out to have “sheer” in front of them. Sheer bliss. Sheer lunacy. Sheer pace.In cricket, sheer pace is sheer bliss, as long as it’s on your side. In St Lucia on Sunday evening England, who had been blown away in the first two Tests by a resurgent West Indies attack, finally produced a riposte. Mark Wood came on after 20 overs, when the game is inclined to nod off, and suddenly every delivery carried an electric charge. Bowling to Shai Hope, Wood beat the bat outside off stump with his first ball, and his second, and his third. The fourth was a bouncer, which Hope wisely ducked. The little box on the screen that clocks the bowler’s speed showed 145kph, or 90mph. A stiff breeze was helping, but then Wood, so often kept off the field by a dodgy ankle, deserved a fair wind. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Super League v NRL: is the northern hemisphere bridging the gap? | Aaron Bower

As Wigan take on the Roosters in the World Club Challenge, Super League needs to demonstrate the English game’s healthIt is said that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and never has that mantra been more applicable to a sporting event than in rugby league’s World Club Challenge. Of the 26 previous versions of the event to determine the best club side in the sport – dating back to the inaugural unofficial clash between Sydney and St Helens in 1976 – there have been more tweaks and changes than most league fans would care to remember.From the ill-fated, expanded 1997 edition, in which British clubs performed disastrously amid millions of dollars’ worth of losses, to the short-lived World Club Series of recent seasons, the format has never discovered its panacea. The purported disparity between the sport’s two elite competitions, Super League and the NRL, has long been cited as the reason why the competition has never properly taken off but, as Wigan prepare to host the Roosters on Sunday in the latest instalment, just how big is the gap between the two? Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Newport County: the inside story of a club that rose from the dead

Before the League Two side host Manchester City in the FA Cup we hear the remarkable tale from four people who know it bestAlthough Newport County went out of business in 1989, after being relegated from the Football League the previous season, the start of that decade was a golden era, notably the European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final against Carl Zeiss Jena in 1981.David Hando (Newport County AFC honorary president and former chairman): If we had goalline technology we’d have won that and played Benfica in the semi-final. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

16-02-2019 Harry Wilson: ‘Ian Rush phoned. I thought what do I call him? Ian? Rushy?’

The Liverpool winger, on loan at Derby, talks about that five-fingered goal celebration at Manchester United and his surprise Wales debut at 16In October 2013, Harry Wilson was having a lie-in, watching television in bed in academy digs in Eccleston, round the corner from Liverpool’s academy in Kirkby, when his phone rang again. He had already missed a couple of calls from an unknown number. “I don’t usually answer them but something told me to answer it, so I answered it and it was Ian Rush,” Wilson explains, smiling. “He was like: ‘Hiya Harry, it’s Ian Rush.’ I was like: ‘What do I call him? Do I call him Ian? Do I call him Rushy?’ I didn’t really know what to call him.” Related: FA Cup fifth round: 10 things to look out for this weekend Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Maurizio Sarri: I haven't spoken to Abramovich for three weeks – video

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri admitted he has not spoken with club owner Roman Abramovich since his side's record-breaking 6-0 loss to Manchester City – or for the weeks leading up to that result.The Italian has come under pressure after a string of poor results that has seen Chelsea slip to sixth in the league. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Qatar Open: Simona Halep beats Elina Svitolina to reach final

Simona Halep is through to the final of the Qatar Open where she will play Elise Mertens.

16-02-2019 Caster Semenya: South African government calls on world to fight against IAAF rule

South African Caster Semenya has been "targeted" by athletics' governing body, the IAAF, according to her country's sports minister

16-02-2019 FA Cup: Man City will suffer against League Two Newport County, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City will "suffer" against Newport County in Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round tie, says boss Pep Guardiola.

16-02-2019 Gazprom v Abu Dhabi: an alternative guide to the Champions League ties

Other states, hedge funds and a tax haven also feature in our look at how club owners and partners stack up in the last 16Schalke 04 Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Colin Kaepernick reaches settlement with NFL over kneeling protest fallout

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid settle collusion grievance with NFLParties have resolved grievances subject to confidentiality pactThe NFL and attorneys for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid jointly announced on Friday afternoon they have settled a complaint of collusion by the players, who claimed the league’s owners blackballed them because they had protested by kneeling during the pre-game playing of the national anthem. Related: Did the NFL manage to silence Colin Kaepernick's protest at the Super Bowl? Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, and final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that the cameraman struggled to track him through the air.Watching the footage you wonder if he might disappear into the yonder off the far side of the screen. In those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper in the world and almost unbeatable. The records were the least of it. He won five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four World Cups. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Ferrari hope new SF90 F1 car will end 10-year title drought

Ferrari's new F1 car is a "development of last year's, not a revolution" says team principal Mattia Binotto at its unveiling before the 2019 season.