GEELONG, Australia (CMC): West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, has promised a fightback from his team when they face off against Australia in the second Test match bowling off Boxing Day in Melbourne. The Windies lost the series-opener by a huge margin but have regrouped and will be looking to make amends in the second match, as they try to make up for their huge disappointing showing in Hobart last week. Simmons told reporters the Windies had reflected, analysed where they had gone wrong and were now anxious to show their quality. “The guys sat down and they know exactly what they have to do and they know that they’re capable of doing it. It’s not like it’s out of their league,” Simmons said. “I’m looking forward to this next one. You saw the way how Darren Bravo played in the first innings, with a well-compiled century and the way how Kraigg Brathwaite played in the second innings, he was solid and played strokes all around the wicket. That’s what we need more of – that kind of determination.” He was speaking at the Simonds Stadium in Geelong as West Indies held a training session yesterday afternoon, ahead of their two-day tour match against the Cricket Victoria XI starting Saturday. From here, they will take the one-hour drive to Melbourne to start preparation for the Boxing Day contest. Simmons said that both the batting and bowling departments needed to prove their worth. “The bowlers have been good in the last four or five Test matches – they weren’t good in the last one – and the batting has let us down quite a bit,” Simmons noted. “The batting is at the point that we need to prove that we are as good as we’re made out to be. They’re good players, we know they can play at this level and it’s up to them to come out now and show everybody that they’re back in good nick.”
PERTH, Australia (AP):Serena Williams withdrew from the Hopman Cup yesterday because of inflammation in her left knee, a setback in her preparations for the Australian Open.Williams has been replaced by Vicky Duval in the US team for the last Group A match against the Czech Republic today. Williams withdrew ahead of her season-opening match against Ukraine on Monday, with Duval filling in for her and retired in the second set against Australia’s Jarmila Wolfe on Tuesday.Hopman Cup organisers confirmed Williams’ withdrawal yesterday. The US team is 0-2 and cannot reach the final of the international mixed team competition at Perth Arena.Williams, who won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon and got within two victories of a season Grand Slam in 2015 before losing in the US Open semi-finals, had initially been confident of returning to action in Perth.”It’s not even a bump – just a really minor thing in the road and I’ll fly over it,” Williams said after retiring against Wolfe. “I just have some inflammation that’s been going away very slowly – it’s going away but it needs a little more time.”Mainly I was afraid to move and I need to get in the space where I’m not afraid to move. Maybe a day off or two will really make the world of difference.”Williams is expected to travel to Melbourne to continue preparations for the Australian Open, which begins on January 18.- AP
Excelsior High School’s Shanice Love has been dominant at the regional level.Now, she is celebrating her first title at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Associ-ation (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, after a record-breaking performance in the Class One girls discus event.The dominant Love landed the disc an amazing 52.73 metres to erase Tara-Sue Barnett’s 2013 mark of 51.16m.Davia Brown (Hydel High), 42.76m, was second, with St Jago’s Tracey-Ann Simms, 41.52m, taking third.”This is my last Champs and I really wanted to make my mark, and I did,” beamed Love.So with two events scored, Excelsior are out in front of the girls’ race with 15 points, one more than Hydel High (14), followed by St Jago (10), Wolmer’s (nine), Holmwood (seven), Vere Technical (seven), and Buff Bay High (six).Three finals are on for today’s third day of competition among the girls.Defending champion Natalliah Whyte has been a spectator for much of the season as she struggled with a prolonged injury. She was good enough for second place in her Class One 200m heat yesterday, clocking 24.18 to finish behind Holmwood’s Shanta Deer, 24.11.Holmwood’s Ashley Williams, 23.80, was quickest to the line in the heats, with Edwin Allen’s Patrice Moody joining her as the only two athletes to dip below 24 seconds, with a 23.82 win in her heat.St Jago’s Shaniel English was most impressive in the Class Two girls 200m heats, stopping the clock at 24.07 to win her heat with little trouble. Manchester’s Dazsay Freeman clocked 24.18 to win her heat, with Edwin Allen’s Kashieka Cameron also posting the same time in her heat.CLASSOFTHE FIELDHydel’s Gabrielle Matthews, 24.95, was the class of the field in the girls Class Four 200m heats, registering the fastest time as she advanced to today’s semi-final. Edwin Allen’s Bethany Bridge had the second-fastest time – 25.09; with her teammate, Salieci Myles, 25.34; Shantae Williams (St Jago), 25.42; RenÈe-Ashley Jackson, 25.71, also of St Jago; and Hydel’s Omelia Stanley, 25.97, also looked good in qualifying, with the winner expected to come from that bunch.Joanna Reid, the 200m-400m double champion from Class Four last year, was comfortable in winning her Class Four 200m heat, stopping the clock at 24.79. But she will be hard-pressed to win this event with the likes of Kevona Davis (Edwin Allen), who also booked her spot in the next round with a 24.61 win in her heat. Britany Anderson (Vere), 24.40, and Hydel’s Ashanti Moore, 24.72, also made progress.Excelsior’s Ackera Nugent, 24.97, is another one to watch in this event.Edwin Allen’s Cemore Donald has already gone 2:10.09 in the 800m and the defending champion was authoritative in winning her heat and topping all qualifiers into today’s Class Three girls 800m semi-final with a fine 2:16.91 clocking.Her schoolmate, Kayan Green, was also the best in her heat, winning in 2:19.17 with Holmwood’s Delverna Bromfield, 2:20.48 completing the top three qualifiers. Medal favourite Britney Brown (Manchester), 2:24.14 also booked safe passage with a comfortable win in her heat.In Class 2, Chrissani May (Holmwood), who had to play bridesmaid in both the 800m and 1500m at last year’s championships – with two silver medals to her name – was keen to show her intentions at the first chance, posting the fastest time 2:15.31, in yesterday’s 800m qualifiers. Hydel’s Shanique Masters (2:15.60) finish second in the heat and was also the second fastest qualifier, with Vere’s Britnie Dixon, May’s main rival for the gold, also winning her heat comfortably in 2:17.51.Other impressive qualifiers included another Holmwood girl, Brittney Campbell, 2:17.90, Spalding’s Kimone Campbell, 2:18.15, Kelly-Ann Downer (St Andrew), 2:16.76 and Albert Town’s Tasinia Mothersill, 2:17.59.Janell Fullerton, a bronze medal winner for Edwin Allen last year, is safely through to the final of the girls Class One shot put event. Fullerton, who now defends the colours of St Jago, posted 12.12m to lead all qualifiers in her preliminary flight. But it was Immaculate Conception High’s Kadian Clarke who was most impressive, with a 12.31m mark in her flight.Medal contender Latifah Smith (XLCR), barely made it through to the final with a 10.55m effort, while Holmwood’s Georgetta Samuels, 11.89m; STETHS’ Sahjay Stevens, 11.82m and Rashida Elliott, also from Holmwood, 11.50m, where the other impressive qualifiers.Jordan Temple’s (Immaculate), 4.95m, is the best distance among qualifiers to the Class Four girls long jump event, while St Andrew’s Davia Nichol registered 4.92m on her first attempt, with Zourie Smith, also from St Andrew High and another Immaculate student, Shantay Kellyman, both going into the finals with 4.85m efforts.