For every three men hopping on a bike, just one woman does the same, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine, who collected data from the three largest bike-share programs in the United States — New York, Chicago and Boston — and mapped the gender balance in each. Although slightly more women check out a bike on weekends, overall, they still make up only 24.7 percent of riders.This gender gap isn’t unique to bike-share programs or these three cities. The most recent National Household Travel Survey shows that 24 percent of bike trips in 2009 were made by women. The national data also shows that women are slightly less likely to cycle now than they were in 2001; researchers found “the prevalence of any cycling declined signiﬁcantly for children (by 1.5 percent) and women (by 0.3 percent).” That needn’t be the case: In Germany, 49 percent of cyclists are women. In the Netherlands, that number is 55 percent.Readers were quick to offer explanations for the lack of female cyclers: In fact, most theories fell into one of two categories: fashion or fear.But what’s the evidence for each?For her master’s thesis in urban planning at the University of Washington, Anne Broache examined which influenced women’s decisions about cycling. In 2012, she surveyed 365 women in Seattle — where 28 percent of bike commuters are female, according to the city’s Department of Transportation — about fashion and road safety. One-third of the nondaily riders and one-fifth of daily riders reported general concerns about “grooming issues, bringing spare clothes, helmet hair, and arriving at destinations red-faced and sweaty.” But safety was “by far the leading concern for all riders” — 79 percent of the women cited “distracted driving” as the biggest barrier to them cycling.Although it didn’t ask about fashion, the 2010 Women’s Cycling Survey asked a lot more women about their cycling choices; it, too, found the No. 1 concern was “distracted driving,” which was cited by 73 percent of the 11,453 women questioned.But there’s more to personal safety than the risk of traffic accidents. As @anildash suggests (and Helen Pidd’s personal account on The Guardian’s Bike Blog illustrates), female cyclists might fear sexual assault and harassment. The Women’s Cycling Survey found that 13 percent of women said “stranger attacks” were a concern.And just as fear is a complex issue, so, too, is fashion. Lifestyle barriers affect women’s decision-making around cycling in ways more challenging than footwear or hem length. When the Bikes Belong Coalition surveyed almost 2,000 U.S. adults, they found that women were twice as likely as men to report an “inability to carry children or other passengers” as a factor that discouraged them from cycling. Convenient transport is important for moms, because they spend 3.7 minutes more per day than dads ferrying kids around.Finally, one more reason women aren’t getting on bikes can’t be captured by the fear or fashion explanations; like most lifestyle choices, cycling decisions are affected by wealth. And women earn less than men. As Clarissa Ersoz at the Bicycle Paper explains, “Even a reasonably priced bike is a significant up-front expense for disadvantaged households.” A 2001 report, “The Socioeconomics of Urban Travel,” found that households earning less than $20,000 were no more likely to use bicycles as a mode of transport than those earning $75,000 – $99,999.When it comes to the why of America’s cycling gender gap, the data suggests that fashion really isn’t front of mind for most women. Instead, road safety and practical lifestyle issues are the biggest obstacles to female riders. That makes it all the more disappointing that the recent bike-share data shows that rental systems have been unable to address those concerns.CORRECTION (June 18, 3:59 p.m.): An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that, according to “The Socioeconomics of Urban Travel,” 13.5 percent of households earning less than $20,000 used a bicycle as a mode of transport. The table in the report actually shows that 13.5 percent of all people who use a bicycle as a mode of transport live in households earning less than $20,000.
Former Auburn and Arkansas State running back Michael Dyer has landed at a junior college near his home in Little Rock, Arkansas, but football won’t be in his immediate future.The former offensive MVP of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game has enrolled at Arkansas Baptist College, but will be working towards an associate’s degree rather than playing football for the Buffaloes.The move is the latest for Dyer, who wore out his welcome at Auburn last fall before transferring to Arkansas State this past January and quickly running amiss with authorities there as well.Arkansas Baptist College president Dr. Fitzgerald Hill, a former San Jose State head football coach, confirmed the news during an interview with a local radio station.“There have been growing pains and bad decisions,” said Dyer’s uncle, Andre Dyer. “So much attention and so many influences from so many decisions. I just want him to be the young man he was when he left Little Rock.”Dyer was an immediate sensation at Auburn during the 2010 season, rushing for 1,093 yards and five touchdowns to help the Tigers claim the national championship. That total easily eclipsed Bo Jackson’s single-season freshman record of 892 yards set in 1982.Dyer followed up that initial success up by chewing up 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall, only to be suspended indefinitely by Auburn coach Gene Chizik for violating unspecified team rules prior to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.The first-team All-SEC pick soon followed former Tigers offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to Arkansas State, but the NCAA denied his request to be eligible right away to play for the Red Wolves.Malzahn, who had helped recruit Dyer to Auburn, later dismissed the running back from the team in late July following a traffic stop in March in which a gun and marijuana were found in his car.Dyer will be eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll play collegiately for anybody else.
Serena Williams is back on the court at Wimbledon, but there’s a big milestone her daughter just had that caused the first-time mom to sob.“She took her first steps… I was training and missed it. I cried,” Williams tweeted Saturday, July 7 of Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.The post was a simple one but it drew lots of responses from fans, including other moms who were in the same boat at the 23-time Grand Slam winner.“It doesn’t count until mommy sees it. Nothing counts until mommy sees it.”“She is practicing so you can see the real ones. ❤,” fellow celebrity mom Chrissy Teigen tweeted.“You didn’t miss it, mommy. You facilitated it. Your child still lives right there. Make those happy tears & I mean it.”“Ah, Serena. I’m with you there. I’m in Russia at a World Cup. I watched mine take her first steps on a video 😓. She’ll be proud of you when she grows up (I have to keep telling myself).”“I missed a bunch of firsts while I was at work. I hear ya, mama. It’s not easy. But our girls see us out there grinding + living our dreams and that’s got to mean something. Good luck in London — my daughter and I are both rooting for you! ❤”“I took my 1st child all the way to Israel on a trade mission. During a meeting, I heard cheering out in the waiting area … Yup, staff and husband and assorted strangers saw her 1st steps. It all turns out okay. #workingmomsrock.”This isn’t the first time Williams has been candid about tearful mommy moments. When it came time to start shedding the baby weight, Williams realized she was having a difficult time despite working out and following a vegan-only diet.“I feel like everyone says, ‘You’re so thin when you breastfeed,’” she told reporters at a Sunday press conference. “What I’ve learned through the experience — everybody is different, every person is different, every physical body is different. For my body, it didn’t work, no matter how much I worked out, no matter how much I did, it didn’t work for me.”So, Williams sat down, spoke to Olympia and got emotional.“I literally sat Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it,” she said. “I told her, ‘Look, I’m going to stop. Mommy has to do this.’ I cried a little bit, not as much as I thought I was. She was fine.”
Gary Matthews1974-78.287.280.279.283.285.014 Braggo Roth1916-20.286.285.283.287.291.011 Roy Campanella1951-55.325.269.312.207.318.315 According to Fangraphs, none of the 21,214 other qualifying five-year periods1Using a minimum of 350 plate appearances in each season and including overlapping periods for the same hitters. is even close. Journeyman outfielder Nori Aoki had a total movement of 9 points between 2012 and 2016, which comes in second but is still more than double Davis’s. And only one other hitter in history finished with the same average in three straight years — Mookie Wilson for the Mets, hitting exactly .276 from 1983 to 1985.2With an average of .279 in 1982 and .271 in 1981, Wilson’s total movement in the period was 11 points. Just 178 hitters have had the same rounded average in two consecutive seasons.To get a better sense of how bizarre Davis’s consistency is, consider FanGraphs’s finding that batting average does not even stabilize until 910 at-bats. (By “stabilize,” we mean getting to the point at which a player’s batting average is roughly halfway explained by his own skill, with the other half still owed to random variance.) Of course, batters never get 910 at-bats in a 162-game season, which is why batting average has typically been the bane of projection systems. Incredibly, a player’s current batting average is actually a poor predictor of his future batting average even in the same season, never mind from season to season.So wild swings are perfectly normal. The average movement for the entire sample is about 100 points in every five-year period. A perfect example of average variance in the category is Babe Ruth from 1930 to 1934, when he hit, consecutively, .359, .373, .341, .301 and .288.But in 2018, we are witnessing history in batting average on both sides of the spectrum. The exact opposite of Davis is Bryce Harper of the Nationals. He’s tied as the third most volatile hitter ever over a five-year period. Harper’s roller coaster ride in the statistic has taken him from .273 in 2014 to .330 in 2015, back to .243 in 2016 then up to .319 last season. This year, Harper is down to .214. That represents a total movement of 325 points. Harper was bested in extreme variance only by Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella, who had a 358-point swing from 1952 to 1956 and a 338-point swing from 1953 to 1957, and King Kelly of the Chicago White Stockings and Boston Beaneaters, who had a total movement of 331 points from 1883 to 1887. Kelly is also in the Hall of Fame, and Campanella was a three-time National League MVP, an award Harper won unanimously in 2015. Khris Davis2014-18.104.22.168.247.248.004 For players with a minimum 350 plate appearances each seasonSource: FanGraphs Fred Dunlap1881-85.325.280.326.412.270.319 Bryce Harper’s batting average is on a roller coasterMost total absolute movement from season to season in batting average over a five-year span in MLB history Khris Davis’s batting average is so consistent, it’s scaryLeast total absolute movement from season to season in batting average over a five-year span in MLB history Bryce Harper2014-18.273.330.243.319.214.325 For players with a minimum 350 plate appearances each seasonSource: FanGraphs Ben Zobrist2011-15.269.270.275.272.276.013 King Kelly1882-86.305.255.354.288.388.315 Sam Mertes1901-05.277.282.280.276.279.014 Mookie Wilson1981-85.271.279.276.276.276.011 spanYear 12345total Movement Bing Miller1925-29.319.322.325.329.331.012 Tony Fernandez1990-94.276.272.275.279.279.011 Pete Browning1887-91.402.313.256.373.317.319 Yearly Batting Average Roy Campanella1953-57.312.207.322.214.171.1248 George Scott1966-70.245.303.171.253.296.315 YEARLY Batting Average Pete Browning1886-90.340.402.313.256.373.325 Roy Campanella1952-56.269.312.207.318.219.358 King Kelly1883-87.255.354.288.388.322.331 Nori Aoki2012-16.288.286.285.287.283.009 The skeptics have been proven right so far this season in refusing to believe that Khris Davis’s batting average was permanently fixed at .247 by some supernatural force. After hitting exactly that in each of the past three seasons, Davis appears to have broken free of the .247 spell: He’s hitting .248.Baseball’s measure of hitting success has always been rounded to the third decimal. Technically, the Oakland Athletics outfielder has hit .2474489796, .2468468468 and .2473498233 respectively from 2015 to 2017, and this year his average is all the way up to .2484848485. In his only other year of at least 350 plate appearances (2014), he hit .2435129741, or .244. Regardless of how you round these numbers, they make Davis the most consistent hitter in baseball history over any five-year stretch. The total movement of his three-digit average — calculated by simply adding the absolute differences from season to season across five years — is just 4 points (that’s .004 in nonbaseball speak). And the average movement of his average is an absurdly low four-fifths of a point per season. SpanYear 12345TOTal Movement Nori Aoki2013-17.286.285.287.283.277.013 So a lack of consistency doesn’t imply that a hitter is bad — though you may not want to invest in him in your fantasy baseball leagues just on the basis of last season’s numbers. The people who “owned” Kelly when he hit .288 in 1885 between two years leading the National League in hitting with an average north of .350 doubtlessly took a bath in their hypothetical, old-timey roto leagues. Harper’s owners this year are echoing their pain, 133 years later.But Davis is Mr. Reliable. You expect .247 and he gives you .247 — or maybe .248. At worst, .244. Davis is a beacon of consistency in what’s otherwise a wilderness of batting average randomness.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
But the Question of Kobe has undeniably helped the analytics movement grow. Rather than pretending that basketball was baseball and settling on those initial narratives about supposedly inefficient star players, the second wave of basketball metrics tended to illuminate the first generation’s blind spots — namely, the dynamic aspects of the game, such as a player’s tangible on-court impact, how different skill sets complement one another and what value should be assigned to every bit of real estate on the floor. As a byproduct, the metrics came around again to the old-school realization that scoring workload matters — and few players in NBA history carried a bigger scoring burden than Bryant, particularly in his prime.Of course, some of the new stats co-signed longstanding doubts about Bryant’s game. Despite receiving 11 all-defensive team nods from 2000-01 to 2013-14, for instance, he was only in the 41st percentile of defenders by Real Plus-Minus over that timeframe. But others — such as his No. 4 overall ranking by offensive RPM in the same data set — confirmed that the true benefits of Kobe’s game were being masked by box score metrics wearing true-shooting blinders. Had today’s most cutting-edge metrics — like SportVU’s ability to track a shot’s difficulty (not just its efficiency) — existed during Bryant’s prime, we’d be able to interrogate questions like whether Kobe is the “best difficult-shot-maker” ever.In a lot of ways, we have Bryant to thank for the tools we have available to appreciate the full contribution of stars — like Russell Westbrook — who would have slipped through the cracks during that first wave of basketball analytics, because those tools were at least in part developed to make sense of Kobe.As the ink dries on this final, morbid chapter of Kobe’s career, even the most stats-savvy of analysts have to acknowledge Bryant’s all-time greatness. According to Value Over Replacement Player, a measure of total contribution that tries to emulate RPM for historical seasons,1For technical sticklers: VORP uses as its input Box Plus/Minus, which is premised on estimating a player’s RPM-style on-court effects in seasons before play-by-play data. Bryant ranks as the NBA’s 15th-best regular-season player since 1973-74 and its eighth-best in the playoffs, both of which track with the No. 12 all-time ranking he received in a recent ESPN poll of NBA experts.Those rankings are still probably not as high as many observers would place the Black Mamba. But they do represent a kind of compromise between the traditionalist viewpoint and the first wave of sabermetric assessments that harshly criticized Bryant for his relative lack of efficiency. Bryant’s game had its flaws, and he was certainly no Jordan, but he was a player of undeniable historical importance. His résumé speaks enough to the on-court portion of his legacy, but for statheads, Kobe’s career helps us track the evolution of basketball analytics over time, both in its reaction to his performance and its ability to capture the meaningfulness of that performance in the first place.Check out our latest NBA predictions. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed For a stathead such as myself, tracking Kobe’s career arc has been fascinating because it’s existed in near-perfect overlap with the lifespan of basketball analytics. When Bryant made his NBA debut, on Nov. 3, 1996, the field (if you could even call it that) was in an embryonic state. Dean Oliver and John Hollinger were proto-blogging in relative anonymity; the APBRmetrics forum — an early petri dish of smart basketball folks — wouldn’t even become a discussion group board for four-plus years; there was no Basketball-Reference.com, no Player Efficiency Rating, no Sloan Conference, no Nylon Calculus. Over the past 20 seasons, as Kobe’s career unfolded through its successes and growing pains, analytics did too, with the former serving as a touchstone — and lightning rod — for the latter.The stats were not always kind to Kobe, least of all in his perpetual, mythic struggle against Michael Jordan. Perhaps that comparison would have been less harsh in an earlier era, thanks to a similar ring count and a passing statistical resemblance, but the advanced metrics have consistently debunked the parallel. (They’ve essentially taken on the role of the old noodge at the bar or barbershop, reminding “kids these days” of their historical betters.) Kobe wasn’t nearly as efficient as Jordan, they’d remind; he’d likely never be as valuable no matter what the rings said. Likewise, the numbers always seemed to find some other contemporary upon whom to bestow the “Next Jordan” mantle, be it LeBron James or Dwyane Wade or even Tracy McGrady. As if chasing Jordan’s shadow wasn’t hard enough, the shadow seemed to be armed with the cold, compassionless weaponry of data.It didn’t help that hoops analytics went through its contrarian phase right around the time Kobe peaked. Every sabermetric movement has a period in which its sport’s sacred cows are officially on notice, and basketball’s came in the mid-2000s — known around these parts as the Hollinger Era — when Bryant embodied many bits of conventional basketball wisdom in need of rigorous auditing. Back then, it was fashionable to unearth the deep cuts, the guys like Carl Landry or Gerald Wallace or, uh, Landry Fields, who didn’t get as much play on SportsCenter but contributed efficiently within their roles. Obsessed with efficiency over context, many in the field downplayed the value of Kobe’s greatest skill — relentless, tireless scoring — and went so far as to suggest that an average player could have notched as many points if given the same number of opportunities. (Note: This is, and always was, insane.) Others raised more valid questions about Kobe’s reputation for clutch shooting and lock-down defense, and these cut more to the core of what fans wanted to know about him and players of his caliber. It was a crucial point for basketball stats; perhaps a fractious relationship between Kobe and stat-geekdom was simply the necessary collateral damage. By Neil Paine Kobe Bryant played his final game Wednesday and sent himself off in spectacular style by scoring 60 points (albeit on 50 shots from the floor). It was quintessential Kobe — grabbing the lead headline even on the night the Golden State Warriors set the all-time NBA record for single-season wins. Kobe could never fade quietly into retirement. Listen to our sports podcast, Hot Takedown, discuss the Warriors’ record-setting season. Embed Code
The strangest final acts of all-time great careers usually involve career-tarnishing performances in bizarre uniforms. You know the type: Johnny Unitas as a Charger, Patrick Ewing with the Magic, Wade Boggs as a Devil Ray, etc.Last year, erstwhile Seattle Mariners legend Ichiro Suzuki was foundering his way into that group. He hit 88 points below his previous career average, flashed even less power than usual and finished the season below the replacement level, with -0.8 WAR. Making matters worse, he did it all while wearing a Miami Marlins uniform, one of MLB’s ugliest get-ups since those Devil Rays unis were shoved into the back of the closet. Ichiro’s fate seemed as Boggsian as any great player in recent memory.But this season, Ichiro has flipped that narrative on its head. Instead of continuing his depressing slide into the abyss, he’s currently hitting .385, rarely striking out, drawing walks at a greater rate than ever and generally spraying line drives all over the field. According to FanGraphs, he already has more WAR this season (0.7) than in his previous two combined (-0.3). In fact, he’s on pace (for whatever that’s worth) to finish with one of the best twilight-of-career-with-a-weird-team seasons in major league history.To judge Ichiro against his counterparts from the past, I filtered every season ever1This goes all the way back to 1871. for players who were 35 or older (Ichiro is 42), had at least 50 career WAR (as of Tuesday, Ichiro had 57.5), and were playing for a team with whom they spent fewer than 10 percent of their career games (about 8 percent of Ichiro’s games have been with Miami). Here are the best of those seasons (with a minimum of 50 plate appearances) according to WAR per 600 plate appearances: 2011M. CameronMarlins381644.450.82.3 1982R. SmithGiants373984.464.75.3 1991W. RandolphBrewers365124.762.05.6 YEARPLAYERTEAMAGEPAWAR/600CAREER WAR% OF CAREER GAMES W/ TEAM 1893J. GlasscockPirates353145.460.18.8 2010J. ThomeTwins393405.368.67.0 1982J. MorganGiants385545.698.88.5 1972W. MaysMets412424.2149.84.5 2005K. LoftonPhillies384065.862.65.2 Ichiro has been so good this year that among the pantheon of old-guy seasons in bizarre uniforms, only Manny Ramirez’s wild post-trade-deadline Dodgers stint in 2008 was better. And hardly any of the other players on this list were remotely as old as Ichiro is now.(I’d like to point out a few other things from the table: First, Kenny Lofton makes the list twice, for both a stint with the Cubs that I do remember — he made the final out of the Bartman Game — and a Phillies season of which I have little recollection. Also, Ichiro isn’t the only active player on the list; Chase Utley has quietly been adding to his sneaky-great résumé while wearing unfamiliar Dodger duds this year. And, finally, let’s bury the idea that Willie Mays’s Mets tenure was a total blight on his record. Mays’s final season, 1973, wasn’t quite up to his usual Hall of Fame standards, but in 69 games as a Met the year before, he hit extremely well — 44 percent better than league average, according to FanGraphs. That performance checks in at No. 20 on our list above, so, contrary to popular opinion, Willie was no bum for most of his return stint in New York.)Anyway, in all fairness, there are legitimate reasons to doubt that Ichiro can continue playing so well as the season progresses. His batting average on balls in play is a sky-high .403, for instance, and although Ichiro’s no stranger to a strong BABIP (his career mark is .340, well above that of a typical player), he’s also no longer the speed merchant he once was — that BABIP seems due for a correction. But if Ichiro can keep shooting liners around Marlins Park, like he did during his four-hit game Monday, his 2016 season will probably still be good enough to cement a place among the best ever produced by aging superstars in peculiar locales.Andrew Flowers contributed research.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 2000W. ClarkCardinals361976.752.12.6 1896D. BrouthersPhillies382674.379.73.4 2011L. BerkmanCardinals355874.956.19.4 1892R. ConnorPhillies356865.586.07.8 1927T. CobbAthletics405744.4149.47.5 1930H. HeilmannReds355395.268.87.3 2016I. SuzukiMarlins426126.96.36.199 1946B. HermanBraves363014.855.13.9 2010J. EdmondsBrewers402406.064.53.6 2003K. LoftonCubs362365.362.62.7 2008M. RamirezDodgers362297.966.79.7% 2016C. UtleyDodgers371654.762.44.6 For players aged 35 or older with at least 50 career WAR, on teams with fewer than 10 percent of the player’s career games. Minimum 50 plate appearances (PA) with team in season. Stats as of May 24.Source: FanGraphs.com Great seasons in strange, strange uniforms
Struggling 35-year-olds mostly rebounded nicelyQuarterbacks who posted subpar numbers in their first five games during their age-35 season and how they fared in rest of that year, 1978-2017 Brett Favre2004GNB86.97.186.07.195.47.8 Ken Anderson1984CIN82.07.368.07.796.17.6 Matt Hasselbeck2010SEA83.36.974.86.472.37.0 Jim Hart1979STL70.66.949.05.759.06.0 Dan Fouts1986SD81.87.855.46.384.07.7 The Steelers may be 3-2, but the mood in Pittsburgh is dour. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a five-interception fiasco against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the latest and worst in a run of lukewarm performances this season. Plenty in Steeler nation are beginning to question whether the 35-year-old Roethlisberger has hit the wall. One of those people is the actual Ben Roethlisberger.The numbers are definitely not pretty, especially when compared to his career averages. That interception festival he hosted in Week 5 torched his passer rating, which has sunk to 75.8 and is way below his 94.1 career rating entering the season. More alarming than the spate of picks is that Roethlisberger’s yards per attempt, which for his career prior to this year stood at a near all-time-best 7.9, is a career-low 6.5 so far this season.But a closer look at the numbers shows there’s good reason to believe that this bad stretch is just that: a bad stretch. Here are the key reasons Steelers fans should still have hope — regardless of what Roethlisberger himself is saying or thinking.History is on his sideWe identified several quarterbacks who struggled in the first five games of their age-35 seasons when compared to what they did through age 34.1We looked at quarterbacks going back to 1978 to make sure all of them had played in the merged NFL for a decent amount of time. To qualify for the list, each quarterback needed to have a minimum of 125 pass attempts through five games. In almost every case, these QBs bounced back to something much closer to their established levels. To be sure, there’s some selection bias at play here — most of these quarterbacks are generally excellent, because erratic and unreliable passers do not usually last in the NFL until they are 35. CAREERGAMES 1-5GAMES 6-16 Jim Kelly1995BUF85.87.567.86.387.07.1 Trent Green2005KAN87.97.780.56.994.38.3 Drew Brees2014NOR95.37.591.87.299.67.7 PLAYERYEARTMRATING*YPA*RATINGYPARATINGYPA Ben Roethlisberger2017PIT94.17.975.86.5 *Through age-34 season.Minimum 125 passes in first five games, with a QB rating worse than career numbers prior to that season.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com Among the passers on this list, the average QB rating improved from 71.2 in the first five games to 86.0 for the remainder of the season. Their yards per attempt also rebounded, from a pedestrian 6.7 to a solid 7.4, on average. If Roethlisberger improves at the same rate, his passer rating for the rest of the year would be 88.4 and his yards per attempt would bounce up to 7.2. But Hall of Famers Dan Fouts and Jim Kelly beat those averages, so it’s certainly possible that Roethlisberger could outperform them as well.Roethlisberger is still doing Roethlisberger thingsWhile the box scores have been ugly, many of Roethlisberger’s underlying numbers have been typical for his career. His accuracy hasn’t declined significantly: Only 17.5 percent of his throws have been off target, which is only a shade worse than the 16.9 percent rate he posted in the regular season from 2014 to 2016. And on deep passes,2More than 10 yards. Roethlisberger has actually been a hair more accurate, 28.2 percent of his throws have been off target this year compared to 28.3 percent in the past three years.You would think that as Roethlisberger ages, he would start to lose his trademark ability to move outside the pocket on broken plays and find something down the field. But in a limited sample so far this year, he has still been effective when chased from the pocket — he has posted a 101.2 passer rating on just nine dropbacks in these situations this year compared with 124.2 on 93 dropbacks in the prior three seasons.One logical explanation for Roethlisberger’s poor start would be that something was amiss with his offensive line. Perhaps he’s under more pressure than usual? But in fact, the Steelers QB is tied with Oakland’s Derek Carr for the least pressured quarterback in the league this year — both have been under threat on just 15.1 percent of dropbacks. And that’s the way it has been for a while in Pittsburgh; Roethlisberger had the second-lowest pressure rate in the league (behind Peyton Manning) from 2014-16.So if Roethlisberger hasn’t suddenly become inaccurate and he’s not suddenly facing more pressure, the Steelers’ offensive problems may extend beyond the QB and O-line.Bell and Brown are not helping mattersThe real explanation for Roethlisberger’s poor start may be the decline in efficiency of his two top targets, wideout Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell.On Roethlisberger’s 62 targets to Brown this year, his passer rating has dropped to just 71, down from 112.2 on 480 targets in the past three years. And while it’s hard to tell from a passer rating whether the quarterback or receiver is more to blame, other stats provide some evidence that the 29-year-old Brown is not quite himself this year. According to the NFL, defenses are playing Brown much more tightly at the snap — his average cushion has declined from 5.2 to 4.5 yards, one of the lowest among all receivers. But he’s not making defensive backs pay by running by them, as his average separation is unchanged (2.9 yards).Bell’s receiving ability, meanwhile, is downright ordinary this year. The prior three years, Roethlisberger had 105 passer rating when throwing to Bell. This year, it’s 85.4. Bell is averaging 3.85 yards before contact and just 1.48 after. The prior three years, those figures were 6.64 and 2.20. It’s hard to blame Roethlisberger for Bell being unable to get open and make defenders miss.Bell’s ineffective performance so far has also meant that Roethlisberger can’t use him as a safety valve, which has crushed the QB’s stats against the blitz. In the past three seasons, Roethlisberger had a 96 rating on 381 dropbacks against blitzing defenses — mostly because the underneath pass to Bell was so effective. This year, his rating on those plays is down to 54.6, the lowest in the league.Sunday, Roethlisberger travels to Kansas City to face the unbeaten Chiefs, who have been winning more with offense than defense, which may mean his receivers will be able to find a little more space. And Roethlisberger’s attitude about his ability to perform has undergone a 180-degree turn. “They can question me. I don’t question myself,” he said, three days after his “Maybe I don’t have it anymore” interview. “I think you guys are much more panicked than we are.”And unless Roethlisberger is a huge outlier and suddenly craters at age 35, or Bell and Brown have completely lost their ability to be dominant receiving threats, it seems there actually is little reason for Steelers fans to panic.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed By Neil Paine and Kyle Wagner Embed Code Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On Thursday’s show (May 3, 2018), Neil and Kyle discuss Utah’s impressive win in Houston to even up the series, replay the Raptors’ terrible fourth quarter against the Cavs in Game 1 of their series, and touch on Stephen Curry’s return for the Golden State Warriors.The Lab will be back with another episode next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions, which are updated after every game.
Jermil Martin came to Ohio State as a defensive end. Seven carries, 75 yards and one touchdown later, the redshirt freshman has completed his transition from the Glenville High School defensive line to the Buckeye backfield. It took injuries to two OSU backs and a huge fourth quarter lead for Martin to finally get his chance to shine.“I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long,” Martin said. “I finally got it.”With 11-and-a-half minutes remaining in the Buckeyes’ 38-7 victory against Minnesota, Martin took a carry to the left side. After rumbling 39 yards, he had his first collegiate touchdown. Though his score meant virtually nothing for the outcome of the game, it was a moment Martin will never forget.“It felt good to score a touchdown,” Martin said. “It was a dream come true.”While many people were surprised to see Martin in the end zone Saturday, Martin said he knew he was ready for success.“Before I even got a chance to carry the ball, I try to visualize what I’m going to do,” Martin said. “I actually had a visualization that I was going to score, so that’s what I did.”Martin came into the game with only one carry for negative two yards on the season. But it was his hard work, he said, that earned him another opportunity to prove himself. “I’ve gotten a lot better,” Martin said. “I get better every day. I’ve been getting more reps in practice and hopefully it’s paying off.”Coach Jim Tressel has always preached the importance of having a deep stable of running backs on the roster. With Dan “Boom” Herron inactive Saturday because of an ankle injury, and Brandon Saine leaving the game with a head injury, Tressel had the chance to see just how deep his team was.Freshman Jordan Hall received the bulk of the carries following the injury to Saine, before being relieved late in the game by Martin. “You never have enough tailbacks because tailbacks take a pounding unlike any other position,” Tressel said. “We obviously weren’t excited about playing the second half without Brandon. Jordan stepped up and Jermil did a heck of a job.”Martin said when he saw that Saine was hurt, his immediate thoughts were with his injured backfield mate.“As soon as Brandon went down, I was like, ‘Dang, I hope he’s going to be okay so he can get back in the game,’” Martin said. “I feel like if I bump my teammates up, they’re going to do better.”But Martin had little time to worry about the injury, as he was quickly thrown into the fray. Fortunately for Martin, once given a chance, he did not disappoint.“It’s a very special day,” Martin said. “I can’t wait to get home with my family and celebrate.”
Catcher Dan Burkhart was named to the 2010 Johnny Bench Award watch list. The award is given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher. Burkhart was the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year last season. He batted .354 last season and had 62 RBI. Burkhart has started hot this season, batting .435. He has thrown out 36 percent of attempted base stealers in his career.Freshman Amy Meier was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week this week after finishing in a tie for seventh at the Kinderlou Forest Challenge. She shot a 79 in the first round and a 70 in the second round, tying for the lowest score. Meier’s scores led the Buckeyes to finish as runner-ups in the 18-team field, which encompassed 11 top 30 teams. Meier is the first Buckeye to earn any weekly honor this season. Women’s volleyball recruit Kaitlyn Leary was named to the Sports Imports/Volleyball Magazine Girls Fab 50. The two-time state champion comes to Ohio State from Padua Franciscan High School in Parma, Ohio. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter was first-team All-State in 2008 and 2009. She has trained and competed with the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Training Team for two years in preparation for the competition in the Big Ten. Leary joins the Buckeye roster as the sixth player on the Fab 50 list.
The No. 24 Ohio State women’s basketball team is not the same team Michigan sent packing Dec. 30. A major difference is the presence of freshman center Ashley Adams, who stepped in for senior forward Sarah Schulze after she suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Buckeyes’ Jan. 16 win against Michigan State. “Ashley has been great,” Schulze said of the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week. “Me getting injured and her getting a chance to play might have been the best thing to happen to this team.” Coach Jim Foster agreed that Adams’ presence has been a driving force on the team. “She’s got a couple areas where she’s really far advanced for a young player,” he said after practice Wednesday. “She has some really, really solid habits that are invaluable.” Schulze described her new role on the team as emotional leader. “It’s been really different,” Schulze told The Lantern. “They can still hear me from the bench, though. I can still provide the team with motivation.” In tonight’s home rematch against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes look to make up for their 64-51 loss in Ann Arbor, Mich. Schulze said a quick start will be key for the Buckeyes tonight. “Before, they just clobbered us in the first 10 minutes,” she said. “If we just come out and set the tempo instead of being run over.” Junior guard Samantha Prahalis described OSU’s previous meeting with Michigan as “probably the worst game of the season” to the media Wednesday. “We just played terrible,” Prahalis said. “Now, we’re more in sync. We’re playing good defense.” Foster said he thinks the Buckeyes are a changed team and ready for Michigan. “We’re not the same team we played up there,” he said. “We’re playing more of a high-low game. Our guards’ defensive pressure is terrific.” Tonight’s game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Sophomore forward Jared Sullinger gets most of the publicity for the Ohio State basketball team, but even the preseason All-American and player of the year candidate needs a break. That’s when junior forward Evan Ravenel comes off the bench. Replacing a player like Sullinger is undoubtedly difficult, but Ravenel has made the most of his opportunities, especially during OSU’s first test of the season against No. 7 Florida. Ravenel logged 14 minutes during the Buckeyes’ 81-74 victory over the Gators and played a key role coming off the bench. He showed a range of offensive skills, connecting on a long two-point field goal and showing the athleticism to finish an alley-oop from sophomore guard Aaron Craft. In all, Ravenel made all three of his shot attempts and finished with seven points and one rebound. Sullinger said Ravenel’s performance was nothing surprising. “The usual,” Sullinger said. “That’s what he does in practice. That’s the way he plays. He played really well today. Going three-for-three, took a big-time charge and a big-time rebound. That’s what he does.” It hasn’t been an easy journey for Ravenel. The forward from Tampa, Fla., started his career at Boston College but transferred to OSU after his freshman season. Because of NCAA rules, Ravenel was forced to give up a year of eligibility and sit out last year’s season. Ravenel said he was excited to finally get back on the court. “I’ve been patiently waiting to get back out there,” Ravenel said. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot over the last year by working with guys like Jared, (former OSU forward Dallas Lauderdale) and (former OSU forward David Lighty). I’ve been real anxious to get in the game.” Ravenel is not a go-to player for the Buckeyes, but OSU coach Thad Matta said he still has an important part to play on the team. “I thought Ravenel came in and really gave us great minutes,” Matta said. “Evan understands he has a role to fulfill on this team. As long as he continues to embrace that role and gets easy buckets , gets the rebounds … that’s big for us.” Ravenel is currently in Matta’s rotation as the first or second player to enter the game off the bench along with sophomore guard Jordan Sibert. He said he doesn’t mind his current role and feels he has a meaningful impact on the game. “I feel I bring intensity off the bench,” Ravenel said. “I come in and play hard and work on our defensible principles and do everything I need to do … to back up Jared and (sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas).” The Buckeyes next face Jackson State on Friday at the Schottenstein center at 9 p.m.
Ohio State junior guard C.J. Jackson (3) calls for help in the first half of the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorBoth Ohio State (2-0) and Radford (1-1) seemingly tried its best to lose Sunday’s game with both teams piling up fouls and turnovers. But in the end, it was the Buckeyes who survived the sloppy play to beat the Highlanders 82-72. After the game, though the stat sheet showed a win for the Buckeyes, only one thing stood out to senior forward Jae’Sean Tate. “Turnovers,” he said. Ohio State committed 19 fouls and turned the ball over 15 times. Radford turned the ball over 15 times and committed 26 fouls.The Buckeyes’ improved discipline in the second half appeared to be the difference maker. After turning the ball over nine times in the first half and committing nine fouls, the Buckeyes posted just six turnovers and 10 fouls, respectively, in the second half. Radford, on the other hand, continued to run into foul trouble, tallying 13 fouls in the second half.The team looked much more disciplined for most of the second half, but head coach Chris Holtmann said he really was only going to focus on the negatives. For him, that was the entire first half. “I didn’t particularly care for the start, really the first half,” Holtmann said. “I just didn’t think we had quite the mindset we needed to have at times.”If there was any highlight for Ohio State, it came from guard C.J. Jackson, who finished the evening with 19 points, three assists and six rebounds. The night did not start out well for Jackson, however. The team’s lone point guard appeared to be trying to force too much to happen with the ball in his hands. He committed four turnovers, including one on an in bounds pass and another on a bounce pass from outside into the paint. But after sitting down on the bench and talking with assistant coach Ryan Pedon extensively, Jackson played with more energy. He knocked down a 3-point shot 30 seconds after returning to the game. Two minutes later, he added another 3 to his scoresheet, gathered a defensive rebound on the next Radford possession and knocked in a close-range jumper to add to the Buckeyes’ lead. “Once coach pulled him out, I went over to him like, ‘Look bro, there’s a lot of basketball to be played,’” Tate said. “Once he got out there and saw a couple shots going in and hit the singles like coach said, then he just took over the game — more aggressive, he found his rhythm and he made everybody around him better too.”With plenty of fouls and turnovers, the game began as a topsy-turvy matchup with five lead changes coming in the first 7:16 of play. The final lead change during that time span came when freshman forward Kaleb Wesson caught a pass a few feet from the basket, surveyed the court for an open Buckeye before sinking a mid-range jumper to put the Buckeyes on top 11-10. Ohio State led for the remainder of the game, however Radford kept it close. Senior Andrew Dakich turned over an inbounds pass leading 15-12 and Radford guard Carlik Jones tipped in his own missed shot to bring the game back to one point.From that moment, Ohio State outscored the Highlanders 29-20 the rest of the first half to extend its lead to 44-34, fueled predominantly by Jackson and redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, who combined for 16 points. Throughout the game, Bates-Diop was able to impose his will on the smaller Radford defense. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward finished the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double in as many games. He went 8-for-17 from the field, including 3-for-7 from beyond the arc, and made all three of his free-throw attempts. The size gap was apparent between the two teams from the start, but the Highlanders had a plan to minimize the impact the gap had. Radford played aggressive defensively, often deploying a full-court press on the Buckeyes. The HIghlanders also waited back on every in bounds pass, and often would wrap up the point guard taking the ball out. Still, there was only so much they could do. The Buckeyes dominated inside the paint, outscoring the Mountaineers 34-22 from inside.Holtmann attributed a bulk of the ability to score in the paint to the strong rebounding demonstrated by both Tate and Bates-Diop throughout the game.“Yeah those guys got, obviously JT and Keita both have a real nose for the ball,” Holtmann said. “I was pleased with their ability to go get it and I think they’re a really good offensive rebounding team, so that’s something we really hammered. And I think we did a pretty good job keeping them off the glass.”Coming out of the break at halftime, the Buckeyes came out playing much improved defense, preventing the Radford offense from getting much of anything going. Bates-Diop knocked down a 3-pointer just 20 seconds into the half, but after that, it took two minutes for another team to score. But 3 1/2 minutes into the half, the Buckeyes exploded out for a 12-1 run over the next 2:08, quickly extending their lead to 61-35.Ohio State struggled to find the net for some time after that, managing only 21 points over the remaining 14 minutes of the game. But it continued to play strong defense to limit the Highlanders. They only put up 27 points of their own to fall 82-72 to Ohio State.Ohio State will look to build on the 2-0 start to the Chris Holtmann-era at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Schottenstein Center when it hosts Texas Southern.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) throws the ball downfield in the third quarter of the Ohio State-Oregon State game on Sept. 1. Ohio State won 77-31. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorDwayne Haskins is no stranger to the big lights.In high school, the four-star prospect, according to 247Sports composite rankings, won back-to-back conference titles in Maryland’s Interstate Athletic Conference at Bullis School before committing to Ohio State.Then, in his redshirt freshman year for the Buckeyes, Haskins led Ohio State back with 17 unanswered points to defeat Michigan 31-20 when quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with an injury.Now with two collegiate starts, dominant victories in each, the redshirt sophomore quarterback faces his toughest challenge yet with No. 15 TCU.“I think they do a really good job,” Haskins said. “They’re a really experienced team, and we’re getting ready for them.”Haskins might be going into the biggest start of his Ohio State career, but in Wednesday’s interview, it seemed like any regular week.Though this will be his first time starting a primetime game or facing a ranked opponent, Haskins seemed incredibly calm about the entire situation.He said, regardless of the heightened pressure in the game, all he’s thinking about is how to win it.“I really haven’t thought about that,” Haskins said. “The biggest thing for me is to go win the game and that’s all I want to do.”So far this season, Haskins has proven to be calm and confident under center.In his first two collegiate starts, Haskins has completed 79.2 percent of his passes for 549 yards and nine touchdowns, with only one interception. This has, in part, led to the Ohio State offense averaging 64.5 points per game through its first two matchups.But, on Saturday night, in his third start, Haskins faces a TCU defense that has allowed only 9.5 points per game while holding opposing quarterbacks to the eighth-fewest passing yards per game in the NCAA.TCU head coach Gary Patterson has always held a defense-first approach, even in the offense-heavy Big 12 conference. Acting head coach Ryan Day complimented the depth that TCU’s defense holds against his inexperienced quarterback.“Coach Patterson has done a great job. They have all the answers,” Day said. “They make quick adjustments. They know exactly how you’re trying to attack them, so very, very talented group.”The Horned Frogs will give the Buckeyes their first real challenge, their first major opponent after handedly defeating Oregon State and Rutgers.But an outside viewer would never be able to tell that Haskins, a quarterback who just made his first two starts at Ohio State, is about to go up against one of the highest-ranked defenses in the nation on Saturday.Instead, Haskins said if anything rattles him, it’s his dogs, and maybe some school work.“Probably the biggest thing is homework,” Haskins said. “Having to take my dogs out and pick their, you now, stuff up, that gets me pretty riled up.”
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Pendergast was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday. He was also disqualified from driving for three years and will have to take an extended re-test. Pendergast, of Eltham, south east London, met at night in a car park with other enthusiasts to compare their modified cars at an industrial estate in Strood, Kent.Kent Police went to clear the group out after neighbours complained about the noise they were making, but moments after two of the officers got out their vehicles to speak with them, Pendergast was seen speeding and swerving towards them.The car then lost control and shot into the air, according to witnesses, before colliding with 15 bystanders.Detective Constable David Holmes, the investigating officer for this case, said: “While we accept that Pendergast did not set out to seriously injure people, his reckless and indefensible behaviour put a large amount of people at risk of harm. Pendergast, from Eltham, was speeding around an industrial estate in KentCredit:STIAN ALEXANDER Police said it was ‘extremely fortunate’ Pendergast didn’t kill someoneCredit:FERRARI PRESS AGENCY Forensic evidence suggests that the Mini was driving at 69mph in a 30 mph zone in the moments leading up to the collision. As he got to around 20 metres away from the spectators, he was travelling at at least 47mph.Gudrun Young, defending, said it was a one-off event which was very much out of character and that Pendergast has not got behind the wheel of a car since.She revealed the horserider had shown “profound and genuine remorse” and had been on anti-depressants since the accident.She told the court: “He is a serious, thoughtful, compassionate and hardworking individual who never deliberately hurt anyone.”This has had a deep and profound effect on him. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of his victims.”Pendergast pleaded guilty to four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of withholding information to obtain motor insurance, as he had also failed to inform his insurance company with details of modifications he had made to his car. A talented showjumper with ambitions to represent Great Britain has been jailed for dangerous driving after he smashed his car into 15 people. Harlee Pendergast, 18, lost control of a modified Mini One while doing 69mph in a 30mph zone and ploughed into a crowd of fellow car enthusiasts in September last year.He was jailed for 18 months and wept in the dock as he was sentenced.Four people were seriously injured in the incident, including one who became trapped under the car. “He made a conscious decision to speed through the estate performing dangerous manoeuvres and clearly did not have any consideration for the wellbeing of those around them.”It is extremely fortunate that those injured did not lose their lives that night.”
Mr Winslow urged the authorities to take a tougher line on terror suspects. Stuart Murray, the stepfather of another victim, 29-year-old Martyn Hett, also paid tribute to a life taken far too soon.”I’ve only just realised how many people thought so highly of him, how many lives he touched,” he said. “To have achieved all that in a short space of time. All that love you leave behind is just priceless.” The teenager added: “You taught me to ‘believe’ in myself and to do my best. I will make you proud mum, I promise. I love you soooo much, more than anything and always will.”Paying his own tribute Mrs Lees’ husband Anthony said: “Lisa you are my beautiful, gorgeous wife. You are my life, my soulmate, my best friend. I love you so much and always will. Life will never be the same again. My heart has been ripped apart.” Their words were echoed in the overwhelming grief felt by dozens of families who lost loved ones at Abedi’s hands.Loved ones such as Kelly Brewster, who had just put down a deposit on a new house, had been trying for a baby and was the happiest people had known her when she was killed.Her partner, Ian Winslow told of his agony at losing the woman he thought he was going to spend his life with.”I just want to kiss her again”, he said. “I just want to hold Kelly and kiss her again. I miss her so much. We had all of these amazing plans together, and now all that has gone.” Fr John Paul MacKinnon, Barra’s parish priest, said: “People are in a daze. We are just a small island and the world has somehow come to our little island and it is suddenly at the centre of the world now.”Laura’s parents described her as a “funny and witty young girl who excels at everything she does”.They added: ”Our hearts and minds have been with Eilidh’s family since we heard their news.” Martyn Hett’s family paid tribute to him Grande – whose fans had been so excited to see her perform on Monday night – has said her “heart, prayers and deepest condolences” are with the victims of the bombing, adding that she will return to the city for a benefit concert. Mrs Lees graduated last year from university and before that had won an award for her work with children with complex mental health issues. Her mother, Elson Hunter, said: “You achieved such a lot in your life. You were an inspiration to all and should have had a great life ahead of you.” Miss Brewster, a 32-year-old insurance assessor, is thought to have died shielding her niece, Holly Booth, from the blast.She had taken Holly, 12, to the concert with her sister Claire and they were leaving when Adebi struck. Holly survived with two broken legs and Claire is recovering with a broken jaw. Mr Winslow, 36, said his daughter from a previous relationship, Phoebe, who is just seven, kissed their TV screen when she saw Miss Brewster’s face appear during a new report.Earlier on the day of the concert he had put a deposit down on a house and texted Miss Brewster pictures of the property.He said: “She told me it looked like her dream house. She really was the happiest she has ever been.” Lisa Lees was with her friend Alison Howe, who was also killedCredit:PA Eilidh MacLeod was 14 years-oldCredit:PA / GMP Kelly BrewsterCredit: Chantelle Garrity/PA At about 8pm, she texted him back and said ‘love you’.When he heard about the attack later that evening he rushed from their home in Sheffield, along with Kelly’s parents and other relatives, to Manchester to try and search for Miss Brewster, Claire and Holly.At the Etihad Stadium – which had been set up as a information centre for missing persons – they were told there were two adults and two children who had survived but had not yet been identified.“We were desperately hoping that one of the adults would be Kelly,” said Mr Winslow. “But this went down to one adult and then they said it wasn’t Kelly – we were then told that she had passed away. Everyone is absolutely devastated.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “These people are monsters to target innocent children and adults at a concert,” he said. “The person who did it was known to the authorities and they should take more robust action.”The reverberations from the blast set off by Adebi were also felt 400 miles away on the Scottish Isle of Barra, home to 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod, who travelled to Manchester for a birthday treat.She was killed and her school friend Laura McIntyre, 15, is critically ill in hospital having staggered from the scene “badly burned, blinded and with a broken leg”. Lisa Lees and Alison Howe were from Royton, Oldham, where a vigil was heldCredit:Lindsey Parnaby /AFP The daughter of a woman killed while she waited to pick her up from the concert attacked by an Islamist terrorist has described her as “the best mum in the universe and the bestest friend that I could ask for”. Lisa Lees and her friend Alison Howe had gone to collect their 15-year-old daughters India and Darcie from the Ariana Grande concert and were in the foyer of the Manchester Arena when Salman Abedi set off his devastating home-made bomb last Monday night, killing both women.Now India has paid a poignant tribute to her mother, a tutor at a college in her home town of Oldham.“You always cheered me up when I was upset and have always been there for me. You have the most beautiful smile and most caring eyes,” said India. “You are loved by everyone. I will forever miss our girly days out and talking to you about everything.”
Families could save nearly £3,000 if they are prepared to take a road trip at the start of their summer holiday, thanks to the savings available at certain regional airports.Admittedly, it would require a road trip on the return leg, too, but should a couple and two children from London opt to drive (or take a train) to Glasgow International for a flight to Faro, Portugal, rather than Heathrow, the savings could be as great as £2,740 – a cost of £2,941 down to £201 – a difference of 1363 per cent.London Heathrow to Glasgow InternationalDistance: 406 milesTime: 6 hours 30 minutes Holiday flight saving: £2,740 to Faro, based on a family of four flyingWhat to see on the way: The Lake District “These sky-high price differences beggar belief and show how holidaymakers can unwittingly pay out extortionate sums if they happen to live near the wrong airport,” said Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX.“Families travelling during the already expensive summer holidays will be disheartened to learn that this is yet another way in which they wind up paying through the nose.”“While it might seem extreme to travel a long distance to find the cheaper flight, it might save families a great deal of money in the long run. And these figures show that even choosing an airport a fairly short distance away could result in big savings.” The savings from such road trips were calculated in an investigation by currency analysts FairFX, which looked at variations in the cost of flights to the same destination from different British airports.It found eye-watering discrepancies, with Glasgow and Edinburgh both emerging as good value starting points for flights to some of Europe’s most popular summer holiday destinations. Families wanting to take advantage of this could even squeeze in a Scottish vacation as part of their trip.Newcastle Airport to Glasgow InternationalDistance: 155 milesTime: 2 hours 50 minutes Holiday flight saving: £749 to Paphos, based on a family of four flyingWhat to see on the way: Gretna Green Other stark differences included a 650 per cent increase from £181 to £1,358 for the cost of flights to Palma, Majorca, from Glasgow and Bournemouth respectively. Another family could save some £1,308 flying from Glasgow Prestwick to Arrecife, Lanzarote, rather than from Belfast International, or £749 by choosing Glasgow International Airport over Newcastle when flying to Paphos, Cyprus. Glasgow and Newcastle airports are just three-hour’s drive apart.East Midlands Airport to Birmingham AirportDistance: 38 milesTime: 50 minutes Holiday flight saving: £504 to Palma, based on a family of four flyingWhat to see on the way: National Memorial ArboretumEasier savings were found in the Midlands, where choosing Birmingham over East Midlands Airport, just 38 miles apart, could save a family more than £500 on flights to Majorca.
A 2013 inquest heard the 6ft 7in soldier nicknamed ‘High Tower’ by his comrades had been struck while in a field where soldiers ate their lunch, away from the firing.The inquest heard evidence that the placing of a target meant a machine gunner had fired over land, rather than out to sea, at the 5,900 acre training area.Ranger Maguire is believed to have been killed in by a machine gun bullet fired from around 0.6 miles away.After the inquest, which returned a verdict of unlawful killing, his family paid tribute to “a dearly loved son and brother”.They said: “We are pleased the inquest heard that Mike was a very well-liked member of his battalion, who served in difficult conditions in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.”It makes it all the more ironic that he should lose his life on a training exercise in Wales.”The most recent Ministry of Defence figures show 141 soldiers, sailors and airmen have died on training or exercises since 2000. Fifteen of those fatalities were live fire deaths.Commanders say the need to make training realistic and challenging means it is impossible to remove all risk.A recent internal defence safety review into the life fire death of another soldier heard he was shot dead during a night time exercise when a comrade mistook him for a target. Pte Conor McPherson from 3rd Bn, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed at Otterburn, Northumberland in August 2016.CORRECTION: Lt Col Richard Bell and CSgt Stuart Pankhurst are not charged with manslaughter, as this article originally reported, but with the disciplinary offence of negligently performing a duty. We apologise for the error and we are happy to set the record straight. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. An Army officer has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter of a soldier killed on a training exercise by a stray shot fired from more than 1,000 yards away.Ranger Michael Maguire of 1st Bn The Royal Irish Regiment, was allegedly waiting in an administration area at a South Wales firing range when he was shot in the head.Capt Jonathan Price, who was running the May 2012 training exercise at Castlemartin Training Area, Pembrokeshire, faces a manslaughter charge over the incident.Two other soldiers, Lt Col Richard Bell and CSgt Stuart Pankhurst, who dealt with health and safety on the exercise have been charged with negligently performing a duty.The exercise had seen troops fire live rounds at both static and pop-up targets.Assistant Judge Advocate General Alan Large told Bulford Military Court, Wilts, the three would face trial in May next year.”The next hearing in this case will be on January 26, and we will work towards a trial in May.”It has been a long time for both the family of the deceased and the defendants and so I hope we have no more delays.”Ranger Maguire, 21 and from County Cork, Ireland, joined the battalion in May 2010 and had completed a tour of Afghanistan.
Their relationship blossomed over home cooked meals, and Prince Harry popped the question over a roast chicken supper.What better way for Meghan Markle to be welcomed into the business of the Royal Family, then, than with her first official gift: an apron.Ms Markle has made her debut on the annual list of gifts received by members of the Royal Family, with an apron presented to the Duke of Cambridge to pass on by a member of the public.The Duke had been making a solo visit to Finland in November, while his brother and future sister-in-law celebrated their engagement in London.The gift list offers scant details on the present, noting just that it was from an “individual” and was received by the Duke “on behalf of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle”. Prince Harry’s list of gifts, however, records a set of his’n’hers accessories for the couple, presented by a wellwisher and including: “Two jackets, two leather holdall bags, two leather belt-bags, two leather zipped pouches, two leather passport holders, four leather wristbands, two ice hockey pucks, two baseball caps, two t-shirts and two sports polo shirts.” Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who bonded over home-cooked mealsCredit:PA The Cambridge family on tour of Poland and GermanyCredit:Newsgroup UK In a long list of presents, Prince George and Princess Charlotte received 17 soft toys, two lollipops, three toy trains, a toy pram, three dresses, two pairs of socks and a dreamcatcher.Official gifts can be worn and used, but are not considered the personal property of the Royal recipient.The Royals do not pay tax on them, can eat any food they are given and pass perishable official gifts with a value less than £150 to charity or staff.Gifts cannot be sold or exchanged and eventually become part of the Royal Collection, which is held in trust by the Queen for her successors and the nation.The rules on official presents were tightened following the Peat inquiry in 2003 into the sale of royal gifts and the running of St James’s Palace. A bugle, presented by The Rifles, was also accepted.The Queen received glittery baubles for her Christmas tree, a purple fleece dog bed for her corgis and and the Union Flag from Major Tim Peake’s spacesuit. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. It is the first time Ms Markle has been named on the audit, following an altogether more circumspect entry, in September, while Prince Harry was in Toronto for the Invictus Games.Then, as the couple were not engaged, Ms Markle spent the trip apart from the Prince in public, save for one appearance together at the tennis and a relaxed moment in a private box at the closing ceremony. The Queen and Duke of EdinburghCredit:Matt Holyoak Ms Markle, who has previously spoken about her love of vegan leather, has not yet been spotted in public with any of the gifts.Among presents received by other members of the Royal Family were armfuls of items for Prince George and Princess Charlotte, including 59 presents from their week-long visit to Poland and Germany.Even the Duchess of Cambridge’s third baby, due in April, was not left out, with the family taking home three “soft toy baby’s sleep aids” in preparation for the newborn.The Duke of Edinburgh was given several gifts he may be able to make use of in retirement, from a travel backgammon set by luxury brand Smythson and some whisky from his Duke of Edinburgh Award team. She was also given an ostrich egg decorated with Maasai beadwork as a 91st birthday present from the Kenyan president, a decoration containing Enigma machine paper from GCHQ, and copies of love letters between Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenburg and King Alfonso XIII of Spain between 1905-6 from the Spanish Royal Family. Prince William in Finland, where he was given an apron to pass to Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleCredit: Heikki Saukkomaa
The National Trust has been criticised by a former charities minister for handing its staff an inflation busting-pay rise – weeks after justifying a large hike in membership fees for millions of members by saying the extra money will be spent on conservation.National Trust workers voted to accept a 4.5 per cent pay offer, described by Prospect, their union, as a “ground-breaking” deal.Prospect said it had also agreed to hold further talks about creating a comprehensive “well-being strategy” for the Trust’s staff. Some 8,270 Trust staff will get a pay rise of up 4.5 per cent.The news came just weeks after the National Trust announced that it would increase fees for its six million members from March 1 by as much as 6.5 per cent, more than twice inflation of 2.5 per cent.Members over the age of 26 now pay £4.20 a year more, as individual membership rose to £69, while family membership went up £5.40 to £120 a year from March 1. At the time of the announcement in January, the Trust issued a long statement justifying the increase by saying it would help to fund its biggest ever programme of conservation repairs, maintenance and improvements. No mention was made of the pay talks.Rob Wilson, a former Tory MP who was Charities minister from 2014 to 2017, said the Trust should have been upfront about the salary talks so members could decide whether to renew.He told The Daily Telegraph: “The reputation of charities is going through a pretty torrid time at the moment, so it is essential they are as transparent as possible to maintain the trust of the public. “When making increases in membership fees, it would be sensible for the sake of openness for the National Trust to declare all significant new costs that are relevant to the rise. “Having received all the information members can then decide whether to renew or not.”Justifying the rise in January, Sharon Pickford, the trust’s membership director, said the money would go “directly into caring for the 300 historic properties, 778 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland” – and making no mention of the possible pay rise.She added: “We are a charity, we don’t receive any direct Government funding and our conservation costs are increasing. We need help from our members to look after these amazing places. Last year, we spent the equivalent of more than £2 million a week on conservation work.“This included helping to fund big projects such as finishing the 30 year restoration and conservation of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, the continuing restoration of Knole in Kent and repairing the roof at the Vyne in Hampshire; plus restoring the famous gardens at Stowe in Buckinghamshire and Standen in West Sussex.“But it’s not just the big projects we need to fund; money raised through membership also helps fund improvements to facilities – such as car parks, cafes and delivering a programme of events for visitors.”The National Trust said the total pay reward, costing the charity £7.8million, was “entirely covered through productivity gains as well as commercial operations and retail”.A spokesman said the £12million raised by the March 1 membership fee increase would be “directed towards conservation and visitor experience, in which we will be spending an additional £22m this year”.The 4.5 per cent pay rise for staff was divided into a 2.5 per cent performance relates pay award and a 2 per cent statutory increase.Tina Lewis, Director of People and Legal Services at the National Trust, said that a “bigger proportion” of the pay rise will go on lower paid staff.She added: “To ensure we retain, recruit and reward great employees, we need to pay our people a competitive salary which reflects the current market rates.”