Captain of Nigeria’s U19 Cricket team Sylvester Okpe believes the Junior Yellow Greens’ can match three-time champions Australia when both teams take to the Diamond Oval in Kimberly at the ongoing ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.The U19 cricket team emerged through two African qualifying tournaments unbeaten to become the first Nigerian side to qualify for a global cricket event.They are now set to make their debut on the global stage against the Aussies with the match bowling off at 9 am on Monday.Though Australia lost their opening game against Group B opponents the West Indies on Friday, they have incredible pedigree at this level with India the only country with more titles at this level.Okpe who also doubles as the vice-captain of the senior side understands the stature of Australia as a global cricket superpower but is unfazed.The captain of the Junior Yellow Greens believes that if they stick to the basics and perform the mundane tasks as well as they should, they would stand a very good chance against the Aussies.“Our expectations as a team is actually to go compete and show the world that we know how to play cricket do the little bits and if the little bits fall into place properly, the end game will speak for itself,” Okpe said ahead of the match.Download Audio“We know Australia are a good cricketing country and on paper they are really good, but we just want to go play to the best of our ability as a team and see what comes out of it.”Former champions England and the West Indies play each other in the group’s other game. Related
SPENCER, Iowa (Aug. 7) – Hunter Marriott has to have Clay County Fair Speedway on his list of favorite tracks.So does Kelly Shryock.Marriott led the last half of Monday’s Arnold Motor Supply Hawkeye Dirt Tour main event, earning $2,000 along with the IMCA Modified checkers. He’d also won the tour event at Spencer last year and now owns four career series victories.Shryock raced all the way back to finish second after exiting for the pits following an early caution and restarting at the back of the field. He’ll take a 12-point advantage over Joel Rust into the tour finale Wednesday at Buena Vista Raceway.Ryan Ruter, Mike Jergens and Tom Berry Jr. completed the top five. Ten states and Canada were represented by the Modified entries.Ruter drew the pole and led the first of 30 laps. Nick Meyer, making the quick transition from a Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod, was alongside and just ahead of Ruter when the second circuit was scored.A long green flag run finally ended with a caution on lap 14. Marriott drove from third to the lead on the higher line while Ruter shuffled Meyer to third.Three more cautions came out over the last half of the race but Marriott, already on the ballot for next year’s Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational, couldn’t be caught.Rust was late getting to the track Monday, missed his heat race and started last in his 10-car “B” feature. He ended in fourth, started 20th in the feature and ended a credible 10th.Other winners Monday at Spencer were Derek Green in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Doug Smith in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, Chad Lonneman in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Cory Peters in the Mach-1 Sport Compacts.The 26th annual Harris Clash is Tuesday at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City. The Aug. 9 Hawkeye Dirt Tour finale at Alta pays $1,000 to win, plus a bonus of $100 from IMCA for every HDT event that driver competed in this season.Both the gates and the grandstand at BVR open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are at 6:45 p.m. with racing to follow.Both the Harris Clash and the Arnold Motor Supply Hawkeye Dirt Tour event at BVR will be broadcast by IMCATV.Feature results – 1. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 2. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 3. Ryan Ruter, Clear Lake; 4. Mike Jergens, Plover; 5. Tom Berry Jr., Medford, Ore.; 6. Chris Mills, Sioux City; 7. Tim Ward, Harcourt; 8. Clay Money, Penokee, Kan.; 9. Nick Meyer, Whittemore; 10. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 11. Jacob Murray, Hartford; 12. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 13. Clayton Christensen, Spencer; 14. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 15. Tyler Limoges, Redwood Falls, Minn.; 16. Corey Bosma, Ocheyedan; 17. Chris Palsrok, Sibley; 18. Stacey Mills, Webb; 19. Cody Knecht, Whittemore; 20. Jim Mathieson, Sioux City; 21. Jay Noteboom, Hinton; 22. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 23. Kody Scholpp, Estevan, Sask.; 24. Kyle Strickler, Mooresville, N.C.; 25. Kevin Eder, Ashland, Wis.1st heat – 1. Abelson; 2. Ruter; 3. Berry; 4. Strickler; 5. Shryock; 6. Jason Fisher, Lakefield, Minn.; 7. Rick Stephan, South Sioux City, Neb.; 8. James Slawson, Spirit Lake.2nd heat – 1. Meyer; 2. Eder; 3. Chris Mills; 4. Brown; 5. Palsrok; 6. Scholpp; 7. Bosma; 8. Murray.3rd heat – 1. Money; 2. Stacey Mills; 3. Ward; 4. Derrick Barglof, Sioux Rapids; 5. Dotson; 6. Jergens; 7. Christensen; 8. Jason Briese, Cleghorn.4th heat – 1. Marriott; 2. Limoges; 3. Knecht; 4. Noteboom; 5. D.J. Shannon, Merced, Calif.; 6. Mathieson; 7. Josh Bonnstetter, Slayton, Minn.1st “B” feature – 1. Strickler; 2. Shryock; 3. Dotson; 4. Jergens; 5. Christensen; 6. Briese; 7. Fisher; 8. Slawson; 9. Stephan; 10. Barglof.2nd “B” feature – 1. Noteboom; 2. Brown; 3. Scholpp; 4. Rust; 5. Bosma; 6. Palsrok; 7. Bonnstetter; 8. Shannon; 9. Mathieson; 10. Murray.
It says, loudly:They believe in second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph, in what they saw in his college performances before drafting him in the 2018 third round, what they’ve seen in training since and what they observed when he took over for a little more than a half in Sunday’s loss to Seattle.They expect star QB Ben Roethlisberger to recover at a reasonable pace from elbow surgery that will cost him the remainder of the 2019 season. He’ll have two years remaining on his contract then. If Rudolph excels, they can decide how they want to address the future.They know their defense has been a wreck, particularly in the middle of the field, and Fitzpatrick has excelled in his short time in the league as a slot corner and safety.Most important, they have not surrendered on the 2019 season and believe what remains is salvageable, despite an 0-2 start and the absence of a quarterback who has seen them through 144 wins and two Super Bowl titles since 2004.MORE: Fitzpatrick trade grades for Steelers, DolphinsIt’s a declaration of intent by the Steelers that they refuse to surrender on the season, despite a horrific start in every respect: too many injuries, too many defeats, too few reasons to be optimistic. They perceive no cause at all for surrender.”We feel comfortable with the team we’ve assembled,” coach Mike Tomlin said at his weekly Tuesday press conference. “Obviously, we’ve dealt with some circumstances that will force us to adjust and play a certain style that puts us in position to win. Our level of expectations in terms of our performance will not change, and has not changed.”It is our job to keep this train rolling. … If anything, from a competitor’s standpoint, it energizes me and us. We’re excited about balling up our fists and fighting, and fighting together.”Tomlin said Fitzpatrick will immediately move into the free safety position vacated by an injury to veteran Sean Davis, who was placed on injured reserve. As Fitzpatrick gains familiarity with the Steelers’ approach, however, he also might be deployed as a slot corner, where he last season was regarded as one of the most effective in the league. Trading away a first-round pick can give off the scent of a desperate management team trying to remain relevant by selling the future. In this case, though there is no certainty the trade will be a smash, they have risked little of their future and wheedled some financial flexibility under the salary cap. Because the Dolphins paid his signing bonus, the Steelers get three years of Fitzpatrick at an average annual salary of $1.9 million. There also is an option for a fifth year, in 2022. They would have control of their 2020 pick only a smidge longer, and Fitzpatrick is a proven NFL player, not someone who might struggle with the transition from college.He might struggle with the transition to the Steelers, though, and that’s where this becomes a discussion.There are a few scenarios in which this trade becomes disastrous:1. Rudolph proves not to be a worthy successor at quarterback and Roethlisberger’s recovery does not facilitate his return to the field next September, meaning the Steelers will have blown a chance to find a QB with a high 2020 first-rounder.2. The pieces in place this autumn fail so spectacularly that the Steelers find themselves slotted into one of the prime draft positions — say top five — in 2020.3. The deficiencies in the Steelers’ defensive backfield’s schemes and/or training have the same deleterious effect on Fitzpatrick as on safeties Terrell Edmunds and Davis or an army of drafted cornerbacks, most notably 2016 first-rounder Artie Burns.That last one is the most important factor. The current Steelers have given no one a reason to be confident they can make Fitzpatrick a stellar component of an elite unit.MORE: Steelers’ Rudolph pick now seems shrewd at worst, genius at bestThere is a saying in coaching: “It’s not the Xs and the Os, it’s the Jimmies and the Joes.” But if a Minkah flops, joining all the Jimmies and Joes drafted and undeveloped by the Steelers over more than a decade, the cause will be obvious.The Steelers haven’t drafted a long-term starter at corner since William Gay in 2007. They haven’t selected a reliable safety since Troy Polamalu in 2003.With Fitzpatrick stepping into the free safety position, though, three of the team’s four regular DBs will have been acquired from other organizations and had some measure of success elsewhere. In his third season with the team, corner Joe Haden has been very good. First-year corner Steven Nelson, a free agent signed away from the Chiefs, has been adequate at least.Through two games, however, the Steelers do not have a single interception. With two passes defensed, they rank last in the league. Neither stat is an anomaly. They were 28th in interceptions last season and 14th in passes defensed. None of this is a surprise, because their defensive backs almost never are near the ball.Fitzpatrick had nine PDs last season; among the Steelers, only Haden topped that. So it is up to defensive coordinator Keith Butler to put his secondary into positions where they can more commonly disrupt opponents’ passing attacks. If Fitzpatrick does not make a difference, if the nature of Butler’s schemes does more to vex him than the opposition, we’ll know for certain where the issue rests. The Steelers made official early Tuesday morning what the unofficial reports flooding the media late Monday made real for those who follow the league: Pittsburgh traded its 2020 first-round draft choice to Miami in exchange for young defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, a revolutionary transaction for a franchise known for its orthodoxy.It was a deal that made several profound statements at once, about what the Steelers think of themselves and their immediate future. WEEK 3 NFL PICKS: Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsWhile the Ravens were dazzling at 2-0 but claiming only the Dolphins and Cardinals as victims, the Steelers were stuck opening against the reigning Super Bowl champion and a near-perennial playoff team. Their horrid defensive performances must be attributed, at least in part, to the challenge of facing QBs Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.The issues at the back end of the Pittsburgh D, though, were not invented by those two stars. It’s an old problem with a potentially new solution.