ROME (AP):It’s judgement weekend in Serie A. League leaders Napoli take a two-point lead over Juventus into a highly anticipated clash of the top-two squads today. Then tomorrow, third-place Fiorentina host fourth-place Inter Milan, who are one point behind the Viola.Napoli and Juventus are on club record winning streaks.Napoli have won eight straight, while Juventus have 14 consecutive victories, and need three more to match the Serie A record of 17 established by Inter in 2006-07.Napoli beat Juventus 2-1 in September with goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain, but that was before the Turin club found its stride and was able to overcome the off season departures of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, and Carlos Tevez.Having joined Juventus on a €40 million transfer from Palermo in June, Paulo Dybala has developed into the Turin squad’s most dangerous weapon with 13 goals. And with only 15 goals conceded, Juventus have the best defence in Italy.With 24 goals in as many matches, Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain is having the season of his life. With 14 matches remaining, Higuain already has more goals than the 22 that Mauro Icardi and Toni led Serie A with last season.”My intention is to continue scoring,” Higuain said. “For me, and most important, to help the squad, which is aiming for something really big.”Napoli’s only two Serie A titles came in 1987 and 1990 when Diego Maradona was carrying the club.Also this weekend, it’s Lazio vs Hellas Verona; Carpi vs Roma; Empoli vs Frosinone; Chievo Verona vs Sassuolo; AC Milan vs Genoa; Palermo vs Torino; Sampdoria vs Atalanta; and Udinese vs Bologna.
Hawthorne under pressure at St Jago… Axe looms for veteran as Wolmer’s also parts company with entire staffFollowing the recent restructuring of the Wolmer’s Boys School track and field programme, another high profile high school coaching job is reportedly on the line.Christopher Harley is the first major casualty following last month’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, with the team’s uninspiring performances said to have upset several influential members of the school’s support.As a result, Harley, who took over as head coach in 2012, along with his entire coaching staff, was shown the door at the Heroes Circle – based school earlier this week.The Wolmer’s programme will reportedly be overseen by past student and patron Stephen Francis, who runs the powerful MVP Track Club.Harley may have some company soon, with sources telling The Gleaner that long-time St Jago High school boys team coach Danny Hawthorne may also soon find himself on the sidelines, with a large section of the Monk Street-based school’s past student body pushing for a new direction.Hawthorne, a veteran, who has guided the likes of Yohan Blake and Nickeal Ashmeade over the years is under immense pressure as he is, according to several sources, seen by some of the programme’s backers to be incapable of guiding the school to a championship.St Jago’s boys finished in fourth position at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, 112.5 points behind winners Calabar, with Wolmer’s – winners in 2010 under David Riley’s leadership, finished 10th this time around after managing 50 points.St Jago’s last boys’ title came in 1993.The Gleaner tried to get in contact with both coaches but was unsuccessful.
WIN DEM WHEELZ, in association with Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), will pay homage to racehorse grooms at Caymanas Park on Saturday, April 23, with the Grooms’ Association Day race meet comprising 11 races. Details for Grooms’ Association Day were outlined by Andrew Azar, managing director of Win Dem Wheelz, as well as Cedric Stewart, chief executive officer of CTL and racing secretary Denzil Miller Jr at yesterday’s launch in the Trainers’ Room at Caymanas Park. To begin with, five veteran grooms will be honoured on the afternoon in recognition of their long and dedicated contribution to racing for 50 years. They are Headley Scott, popularly called ‘Scott Brady’, who groomed the second horse (Cardigan) to win on the opening day of Caymanas Park on August 22, 1959, and was a top groom with the legendary trainer Aston Commock back then; as well as Lenford Walker, Everald White, Fitzroy Tulloch and Roy Hamilton. The card will also feature the running of the Win Dem Wheelz Trophy over a mile for $180,000 claimers, this offering a total purse of $550,000 inclusive of $50,000 from the sponsor; the Grooms’ Association Trophy claiming $250,000 – $210,000, with a purse of $530,000; and, above all, the grade one renewal of the Legal Light Trophy over 1820 metres, with a purse o $1.2 million. According to Azar, grooms are “very special people to our industry and the unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to the daily care of the magnificent thoroughbred. On this special occasion, it is only fitting to mention the names of the five grooms who will be honoured”. Azar further stated that the first five grooms in each of the 11 races on the card would receive valuable product prizes and ultimately, the names of all grooms, who have horses on the programme will be placed in a raffle, and at the end of the meet, a lucky groom would receive a Ramco 250 Tiger motorcycle valued at $300,000, courtesy of Win Dem Wheelz. Azar was hailed by Trainers’ Association president Vin Edwards, United Trainers’ Association president Dale Murphy, and Grooms’ Asso- ciation president Fabian White for his generosity, social conscience, and unwavering support for racing, not only in his capacity as an outgoing deputy chairman of CTL, but through the support of his company. Vin Edwards said over a decade ago, he made representations for grooms to be included in the Hall of Fame, and although this was resisted initially, his persistent efforts paved the way for Vincent Blackwood to be the first groom to be so honoured some years ago. Edwards contends that divestment has never been successful in Jamaica, and he is sceptical that the pending divestment of racing will be beneficial to all stakeholders in racing. And finally, Edwards called for an investigation into the $750 million spent in the construction of the Jamaica Racing Commission /Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission building at 78C Hagley Park Road, which has become dysfunctional for the most part. -O.C.
Guyanese boxer Charwin Estwick pulled off the biggest upset of the Wray and Nephew 2016 Contender series on Wednesday night when he defeated American Daniel Powell by unanimous decision at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium.Judges Laurence Neufville and Lindell Allen scored the five round fight 49-46, while judge Eion Jardine had it 48-47.Because of his 11-0 record, which included nine victories by knockout or technical knockout, Powell was seen as the favourite to win, as Estwick went in with a record of only two previous fights, both of which he lost.At the weigh-in on Wednesday, however, Estwick, who had to take off weight to get to the 147-pound welterweight limit, declared, “I am not intimidated by his record because records do not win fights. Fighters do, and I am going to win this fight.”These words proved prophetic, as Estwick went on the attack from the opening bell, and his awkward southpaw stance clearly confused Powell, who never really got going. He was the better technical fighter, but it was Estwick who did the scoring, and the judges awarded him for his efforts.Estwick was busy right from the start, and threw a lot of punches to both the head and body. His work rate was impressive, but the cool, orthodox Powell gave the impression that it was just a matter of time before he took over. His jabs looked good and he scored primarily to the head, but it was Estwick who won the round.SUPERIOR WORKPowell was decisive at the start of the second round, and a good right hook to the head gave a glimpse of what he was capable of. He landed more punches in this round and took it comfortably, but Estwick came out blazing in the third round, and his superior work rate and quick flurries gave him the edge.Estwick also had a good fourth round, but in the fifth, he started to fade as Powell put pressure on him. Estwick suddenly seemed vulnerable, and it was at this stage of the fight that his defensive side was seen, and he was able to weather the storm to the final bell.With all the quarter-finalists in place, seeding of the top four boxers took place. American boxer Demarcus Coley was seeded at No. 1 and Caribbean boxers Tsetsi Davis, Richard Holmes and Ramel Lewis were seeded second, third and fourth, respectively. They then drew their opponents, and Lewis will meet Michael Gardener in the first quarter-final bout next week.In the two amateur bouts on the card, Sherine Williams from the St Thomas Boxing Club scored a technical knockout (injury) second-round victory over Nyoka Hewitt from the Stanley Couch gym. Hewitt injured her right knee and had to be assisted from the ring for medical attention. In the second bout, Fabian Tucker from Sugar Olympic gym scored a unanimous decision over Nico Yeyo from Stanley Couch gym.