Head coach Sam Bird feels Hertfordshire Mavericks have been unfairly penalised by the decision to replay the away match against Manchester Thunder. Gilbert Perreault Jersey . The top two sides in the Vitality Netball Superleague had originally met in Manchester on April 2, but after a leak in the roof at the Thunderdome had delayed the start of the match, officials then halted the action at the end of the first quarter due to safety concerns about the wet court, with hosts Manchester leading 14-9.The fixture has now been rescheduled for the evening of Monday April 25, meaning leaders Mavericks will again face second-placed Thunder, just a few days after Hertfordshires clash against reigning champions Surrey Storm. Thunder-Mavs ordered to replay Manchester Thunder and Hertfordshire Mavericks ordered to replay fixture Mavericks lost their appeal against the rescheduling of the match in Manchester, despite the leagues ruling that Thunder were unable to provide a safe playing surface. Hertfordshire coach Bird told Sky Sports: The appeal was basically about the date of which the game should be played and where it should be played.We were the non-offending team, but the actual effect of the decision was to penalise us, by requiring us to travel back up to Manchester to play a game, which was abandoned through no fault of our own. The tricky thing, and what people dont really understand, is because were still very amateur in truth in terms of our staff and personnel. This is a new date and people will now have to apply to take time off school, off college, off work. Some of our players will lose money. The Mavericks were willing to play the fixture at a neutral venue Youre looking at nearly an 18 hour trip from start to finish and my concern was were really struggling the next day. It also has an impact on our training and our process through to the semi-final.Thunder head coach Dan Ryan sympathised with Hertfordshires concerns, but believes the replay is the best outcome.I think player management at this time is always at the forefront of every coachs mind, Ryan told Sky Sports. Just like it is with us at Thunder.I can certainly understand Sam Birds concerns from a player welfare perspective for Mavericks, but it is just an unfortunate situation in terms of what happened a couple of weeks ago. Thunders Head Coach Dan Ryan has welcomed the ruling to replay the fixture I think for the integrity of the competition, the best outcome has come forward. To have the replay going ahead is the result that both franchises deserve to have I guess, and for the fans, who get to see the top two teams go head-to-head.Bird admitted Hertfordshire were willing to play at a neutral venue, but now must squeeze a double-header into their busy schedule.She said: The rules allow them to split the points if the game cannot be replayed and also we feel that they could have switched the fixture, so that Thunder came to us, or found a venue that would have been equal for both teams in terms of travel.They chose not to do that and whilst we still dont agree with that decision, we obviously have to respect it and move on. Also See: Thunder-Mavs replay ordered WATCH: Netball fitness drills Vitality Superleague fixtures TableDave Andreychuk Jersey . But back-up Peter Budaj has put up two wins and an overtime loss while starting three games in four nights since Price went down with a suspected groin injury. Chris Drury Jersey . The redshirt freshman finished the regular season with nearly 3,500 passing yards, and 35 touchdowns with another three on the ground while leading the Seminoles to the top of the BCS Rankings.The San Antonio Spurs fought off a valiant effort from the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal and will go for a 2-0 series lead Wednesday night when the two long-time rivals clash at AT&T Center. On Sunday afternoon, the Spurs trailed 81-71 with 7:45 to play, but closed the game on a 19-4 run. They finished with a 90-85 victory and a 10-game winning streak against their Texas neighbors. "Made some stops, that generates offense. We needed it," San Antonios All- Star guard Tony Parker said of the run. San Antonio couldnt buy a 3-pointer as Manu Ginobili was the only Spur to convert one in Game 1. He went 3-of-6 from 3-point range, but the Spurs went just 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) as a team. It shot a blistering 43.3 percent (42- of-97) from downtown in four games against Dallas this season. The difference on Sunday was Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. "We got killed on threes in the first four outings this year," Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "We stayed home a little more on 3-point shooters, but youve got to give them something, and Duncan in there is obviously still solid." Parker posted 21 points, six assists and four rebounds for the top-seeded Spurs, who finished with the NBAs best record at 62-20. Ginobili finished with 17 points and six rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard registered a double- double with 11 points and 10 boards. Devin Harris led Dallas with 19 points, followed by 11 apiece from Nowitzzki, Monta Ellis and Brandan Wright. Toni Lydman Jersey. Vince Carter chipped in 10 off the bench. The late-game run was sparked by, of course, Duncan. He banked in a turnaround and then put in a runner to begin the surge before Tiago Splitter tied the game at 81-81 with a layup with 4:54 remaining. Consecutive Parker baskets gave the Spurs their first lead since it was 50-49 when there was 8:14 left in the third. Wright split a pair of foul shots to pull Dallas within 86-82 with 2:05 on the clock, but it never got any closer. Splitter sunk two foul shots at the other end and the Mavericks missed three of their final four shots from the field. "Its obvious that we did a lot of great things," Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle told the teams website. "We built a lead, but 7 1/2 minutes is a long time in an NBA game and youve got to be able to sustain. Weve got to work on getting another lead in Game 2 and then closing." The Spurs received some good news on Tuesday when Gregg Popovich was named Coach of the Year. He became the third coach to earn the honor three times, joining Pat Riley and Don Nelson. "I feel very honored for a whole lot of reasons," said Popovich. "First, there were so many coaches that did such a great job this year. To be singled out is pretty humbling. "When you win an award, it comes down to the players. Theyve been unbelievable for me. Without their play, diligence and professionalism, I know this wouldnt happen." Game 3 will be Saturday evening in Dallas. ' ' '
MANCHESTER, England - Mario Balotelli sparked a dramatic fightback by Liverpool and Chelsea needed a late own goal to edge past plucky fourth-tier opposition as the two Premier League giants squeezed into the League Cup quarterfinals. Blazers Jerseys 2021 .Late goals settled four of the five last-16 matches on Tuesday — and two were scored at Anfield as Liverpool came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1.Balotelli, criticized in recent weeks for a string of below-par displays, inspired the comeback by coming off the bench to score an 86th-minute equalizer before Dejan Lovren headed in the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.Finally! Balotelli said on Twitter after scoring his first goal in six weeks and only his second for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan in August.A patched-up Chelsea lineup looked like being taken to extra time by Shrewsbury, a team 71 places below it in English footballs pyramid, only for Jermaine Grandison to head into his own net after 81 minutes to seal a 2-1 win for the Premier League leaders.Didier Drogba had given Chelsea the lead in the 48th, with the 36-year-old striker scoring for the third straight game and just two days after netting at Manchester United in the Premier League.It was a difficult pitch and difficult weather, said Drogba, one of four Chelsea starters who also began the 1-1 draw against United. They were a fantastic team and opponent — they showed why they deserve to be here tonight.West Bromwich Albions decision to field a virtual reserve team against second-tier Bournemouth backfired in a 2-1 loss for the upset of the round.Derby and Sheffield United, who play in the second and third tiers respectively, also advanced on Tuesday.Manchester City and Tottenham are among those looking to reach the last eight on Wednesday.Balotelli started on the bench against Swansea but was thrown on by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the 79th minute after Marvin Emnes volleyed the visitors into the lead. Within seven minutes, Balotelli guided home a cross from Fabio Borini to equalize.Swansea defender Federico Fernandez was shown a red card in the second minute of injury time for a foul on Philippe Coutinho, who provided the cross from a free kick that Lovren headed in at the back post for a last-gasp winner.Chelsea remained unbeaten in all competitions this season — and reached the last eight of the League Cup for the fourth straight season — but only after surviving a scare against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.Drogba has starred in the absence of injured fellow strikers Loic Remy and Diego Costa, scoring against Maribor in the Champions League last week, at Old Trafford on Sunday and again against Shrewsbury when he swept home a left-footed finish from Mohamed Salahs pass.Shrewsbury equalized in the 77th minute through Andy Mangan but was on level terms for just four minutes, as substitute Willians teasing cross was diverted in by Grandison.I was ready for extra time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.There was late drama, too, at Bournemouth, which reached the quarterfinals for the first time thanks to Callum Wilsons 86th-minute strike. West Brom had equalized just a minute earlier from an own goal.By scoring five times in 20 minutes, Derby came from 2-0 down to beat Fulham 5-2 away in a match between two League Championship teams. Sheffield United beat fellow third-tier side MK Dons 2-1. Rod Strickland Jersey .A. Happ capped a challenging season with one of his best efforts of the year. Cliff Robinson Jersey . -- Having already fallen behind because of the NFL lockout, Blaine Gabbert couldnt afford a lengthy holdout.HOUSTON -- Jadeveon Clowney was on the field with the Houston Texans as they opened camp on Saturday. But the No. 1 overall pick in this years draft was limited as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia. Clowney, who had surgery on June 12, participated in the majority of the drills as Houston started camp with a 2 1/2-hour practice on Saturday morning. But he was held out of 11 on 11 drills late in the workout. The first workout was open to the public and fans cheered as Clowney trotted onto the field for the start of practice. Others squealed and yelled his name as he walked off of it and he flashed a big smile before first taking a second to pull his flowing dreadlocks, which were drenched in sweat from the workout, away from his face. He said hes feeling better, but isnt 100 per cent yet. Despite that Clowney didnt appear to be slowed by the injury and moved around well during practice. He said its up to the trainers if hell be able to take part in drills when the Texans move from shorts and shells to full pads in a few days. "Im just taking it one day at a time," Clowney said. "Im just letting the trainers take it one day at a time and try to come back and get back for the first game." The Texans open the preseason on Aug. 9 at Arizona. Coach Bill OBrien said hell let the trainers decide how much Clowney will do and when. "Weve got the best when it comes to that," OBrien said. "We do that and these guys are edgy, they want to get going, but its a long season. So we bring them back at their pace. When theyre ready to go, theyll go." The 6-foot-5, 266-pound former South Carolina standout is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker in defensive co-ordinator Romeo Crennels systemm and believes the transition is going well. Gary Trent Jersey . "Im feeling very comfortable, but Ive still got a lot of work to do," Clowney said. "Just keep getting better and better each day." Hell pair with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to beef up Houstons already solid pass rush. Clowney had 130 tackles, 24 sacks, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures in a three-year career at South Carolina. He also caused a school-record nine fumbles and deflected seven passes. The 21-year-old also set a South Carolina record with 13 sacks in 2012. Watt said hes eager to see how Clowney and the rest of Houstons rookies perform in camp. "Training camp is a good time for rookies to get their feet wet," Watt said. "Once we finally put the pads on, it will be a good opportunity to see how they perform in a situation like that. So it will be exciting." Clowneys still soaking in the fact that he now gets to play with people he watched over the past several years. "Its very exciting," he said. "It was exciting the first time I got out here with the guys I looked up to coming into the NFL -- J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph, D.J. (Swearinger), guys like that on my team I just I looked up to before I got here. So now that Im here with them, its even better." Clowney missed Houstons three-day minicamp because of his surgery, but got going early by participating in Houstons off-season workouts leading up to that camp. He feels as if that helped him improve since he was drafted in May. "Im a lot better than where I was," he said. "Ive learned a lot of the playbook already. Coach already said that we look good out there, so weve just got to keep pushing." ' ' '