Glen Durrant wins maiden PDC title with Players Championship Four in Wigan

Glen Durrant sealed his first ever PDC title, beating World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-3 to win Players Championship Four in Wigan on Sunday.

The three-time Lakeside World Champion, who finished runner-up to Dave Chisnall at Players Championship Two in just his second day on the PDC circuit, scooped the £10,000 top prize after seeing off the young Belgian.

Durrant made his first televised appearance as a PDC professional, losing to Daryl Gurney when the Premier League roadshow hit Glasgow last Thursday.

  • Nine-dart MVG wins Players Championship

And the 48-year-old from Middlesbrough continued his dream start to life in the PDC as he beat Jamie Lewis, Richie Edhouse, Joe Cullen, Mensur Suljovic and youngster Bradley Brooks before averaging a colossal 109.3, as well as landing a 128 checkout in a high-class affair against Gerwyn Price, to reach the final.

Durrant made a dominant start in the final, racing into a 3-0 lead to immediately put Van den Berg on the back foot.

The pair traded 13 darters as the Belgian got a foothold in the game, with the final then going with throw for the next four legs.

A 12-dart break of throw from Durrant – the best leg of the final – was to follow as he landed his third 180, a 140 and 130 to set up a 51 checkout and move to within a leg of the title.

  • Best of the darts in Glasgow

He sealed a famous victory with a 76 checkout to round off a comprehensive 8-3 win.

Saturday’s winner Michael van Gerwen was on the receiving end of a 6-1 thumping at the hands of World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall.

Yes, and as another Twitterer pointed out, it marked his 8th loss of the past 5 years. He also lost 6-0 to Peter Wright in 2017.

The Players Championship action continues next weekend (February 23-24) with events Five and Six at the Barnsley Metrodome.

What comes next? Night Three – Thursday, February 21 at the 3Arena, Dublin

The Premier League heads to the 3Arena in Dublin on Thursday, February 21. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts

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Valerie Loureda makes short work of Colby Fletcher on her MMA debut

Valerie Loureda lived up to her billing on her Bellator MMA debut as the 20-year-old taekwondo black belt made short work of Colby Fletcher.

Loureda showcased her arsenal of weapons in the flyweight match-up before turning up the heat to dispatch her opponent with a TKO victory at 2:55 of the opening round at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

  • MVP outpoints Daley

“This is a moment I’ve been dreaming of since I was little girl,” an emotional Loureda said in her post-fight interview. “My whole life I dreamed of the moment I could have the platform to show my martial arts to the world.”

🧸 #Bellator216 @valerielouredaa pic.twitter.com/wqwHuVjJQY

Yaroslav Amosov stayed undefeated with a unanimous points decision over veteran Erick Silva.

The 25-year old Ukrainian was given a 29-27 and a pair of 29-28s to move 2-0 in Bellator.

Cheick Kongo battled his way to victory over former Bellator heavyweight champ Vitaly Minakov with a unanimous decision. The judges’ scores were 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s in favour of the 43-year old Paris native (30-10-2).

Mirko Cro Cop was also awarded a unanimous decision with revenge over Roy Nelson having lost to his opponent at UFC 137.

Cro Cop was awarded the fight 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s as the 44-year-old made it 7-0 in rematches.

  • MVP v Daley II in the UK?

“Roy is tough, a hard puncher,” Cro Cop said. “I will say it was more mentally hard for me than physically. It’s always hard to go into rematch when you lose the first fight.”

Sky Sports will be the only place in the UK and Ireland to watch the US, London and Dublin shows of the Bellator MMA 2019 tour.

Sky Sports fight dates announced:

  • Bellator 217: Gallagher vs. Graham – Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 – 3Arena – Dublin
  • Bellator 218: Sanchez vs. Grimshaw – Friday, March 22 – WinStar World Casino & Resort – Thackerville, OK, USA
  • Bellator 219: Koreshkov vs. Larkin – Friday, March 29 – Pechanga Resort Casino – Temecula, CA, USA
  • Bellator 220: MacDonald vs. Fitch – Saturday, April 27 – SAP Center – San Jose, CA, USA

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How quickly are Dublin progressing, and more GAA weekend talking points

Ahead of the weekend’s GAA action, we look at at the main talking points.

How quickly are Dublin progressing?

The biggest test of the Mattie Kenny era to date comes on Sunday afternoon, as Dublin travel to Galway. The Tribesmen will be eager to bounce back following their draw with Carlow, but there is no doubt that this is a bigger game for the visitors.

After three narrow losses last summer, the Sky Blues will be eager to deliver some results this spring ahead of the championship.

The Dubs have had a positive start to 2019, as the former Cuala supremo seemingly has an idea of his best 15. With the spine of the team settled, there is real competition for places in the forward line, with Donal Burke, Danny Sutcliffe , Oisin O’Rorke and Eamonn Dillon among those to impress thus far.

After victories over Carlow and Offaly, they are facing a step up in standard. Sunday provides the first real litmus test of 2019.

Can Cork get lift-off?

Cork host Clare on Saturday night, with the game taking place at Páirc Uí Rinn. While a league title was never top of the agenda for the Rebels facing into 2019, with young players being blooded into the side, they are the sole Division 1A team without any wins thus far in the campaign.

Add in the venue controversies. and John Meyler will want his side to avoid any pressure building when the Banner come to town on Saturday night.

Clare travel south with a spring in their step after their victory over Kilkenny, and Cork will need to significantly raise their game to dig out a result.

Will Limerick pass the latest test?

The reigning All-Ireland champions are going about their business just the right way. They encounter another significant test this weekend when they travel to Kilkenny.

John Kiely’s young side have admirably dealt with expectations up to this point, but face a step up on Sunday afternoon.

There’s nothing Brian Cody would like more than sending the All-Ireland champions home with their tails between their legs. The Cats will be gunning to bring down the Treaty, and playing Kilkenny in Nowlan Park remains one of the trickiest assignments in hurling.

Can Carlow maintain momentum?

Carlow were the story of round two of the Allianz Hurling League, as they held Galway at home. However, there’s no time to stand back and admire their achievements, as their trip to Waterford is coming down the tracks.

The Déise have been utterly dominant thus far, and with Laois and Offaly facing off this weekend, Carlow will know that they are far from safe from the clutches of a relegation play-off just yet.

Carlow showed they are at home at this level in their opening two games, after leading Dublin at half-time and drawing with Galway, but Waterford’s early-season form ensures Colm Bonnar’s charges will need to take another step up.

Will there be a shock in the club football semi-finals?

Anything other than Corofin and Dr Crokes wins would represent a major shock this weekend.

It’s odds-on that the 2017 and 2018 All-Ireland champions will face off in the decider, but there’s nothing like club GAA to provide a shock.

Mullinalaghta have defied expectations up to this point, overcoming Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster final. The Longford champions have earned the respect of the country so won’t be underestimated by the Killarney outfit. Nonetheless, the manner in which the Kerry champions returned to the All-Ireland series would suggest they will be hard to stop.

Similarly, Gaoth Dobhair’s historic Ulster title was an indication that they’re right at home at this level, but most are predicting that Corofin will be too strong.


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Top NASCAR drivers seek missing prize: Daytona 500 triumph

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Big 3 dominated the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series a year ago, but Kevin Harvick is the only one of the trio to win NASCAR’s most prestigious and chaotic race. 

Kyle Busch and Marin Truex Jr. – who along with Harvick combined to win 20 races in 2018 –  each will seek that first Daytona 500 trophy on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox) at Daytona International Speedway. Whether either break through to take the checkerd flag on the 2.5-mile oval are among some of the top storylines entering the official start of the 2019 NASCAR season. 

The feel-good story: Truex won the 2017 Cup title and finished second in the standings to Team Penske’s Joey Logano at the 2018 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His former team, Furniture Row Racing, shut down after the season, and Truex moved — along with his crew chief Cole Pearn — to Joe Gibbs Racing. 

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QUIZ: WWE Elimination Chamber – test your knowledge with our trivia challenge

How much do you know about the most punishing structure in WWE? It’s time to find out.

The Elimination Chamber has been a staple of the WWE calendar for several years since its debut in the early 2000s, acting as a pivotal plot point between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.

This year two titles will be at stake inside the chain and steel as Daniel Bryan puts the WWE championship on the line against five challengers and six female tag teams throw down for the newly-minted straps.

The event will also see Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman compete in a no-disqualification match and Finn Balor attempt to win the Intercontinental title from Bobby Lashley, who has Lio Rush as back-up in a handicap match.

The Miz and Shane McMahon defend their SmackDown tag titles against The Usos and Ronda Rousey‘s Raw championship is up for grabs in an alliterative battle with Ruby Riott.

You can watch the action unfold on Sky Sports Box Office from midnight so to warm up for the big event, here’s a trip down Elimination Chamber memory lane!

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Moeen Ali says England can win World Cup and secure legacy as country’s best ODI team

Moeen Ali believes World Cup glory this summer would ensure Eoin Morgan’s team go down as England’s best one-day side.

With the Test series in the West Indies wrapped up, all eyes are on limited-overs cricket for the next few months, starting with five ODIs in the Caribbean.

England go into the series top of the global rankings after revolutionising their approach to 50-over cricket over the past four years, and make no secret of the fact they fancy their chances of lifting the World Cup on home soil on July 14.

Live One-Day International Cricket

February 20, 2019, 2:30pm

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Three England teams have finished runners-up in the tournament – the classes of 1979, 1987 and 1992 – and Ali wants to go one better to seal the current squad’s legacy.

“We can say we were the best ODI side to play for England but without a trophy, it will be difficult to say that,” said the all-rounder.

“We have come close and we feel now is the time. We don’t feel we have to win it, it’s more ‘this is the time to win it’. We are an amazing side but we know this year is massive for us.”

Ali is one of eight Test players staying on for the one-day series – with a ninth, Adil Rashid, rejoining the tour after returning home to attend the birth of his second child.

Those involved know not to underestimate the Windies, who dealt out thrashings in Barbados and Antigua to land a 2-1 victory in the Wisden Trophy.

Moeen came out of the contest with more satisfaction than most, a disappointing return with the bat handsomely offset by 14 wickets at 23.85.

That took him to 177 Test scalps – fourth among England spinners, overtaking Monty Panesar and Tony Lock, and behind only Jim Laker, Graeme Swann and Derek Underwood.

Not long ago such a placing looked out of the 31-year-old’s grasp, after a challenging Ashes series in 2017/18 he was eventually dropped for the first time and missed six successive England matches.

Jack Leach made his debut in Christchurch; Dom Bess took the spin role in the two-match series against Pakistan, and Ali’s close friend Rashid was recalled from the red-ball wilderness to face India.

Since being recalled for the last two matches of that series he has flourished, with his combined haul from the recent Tests against Sri Lanka and Windies – 32 scalps in all – ahead of any team-mate.

“It hit me hard, well, it was disappointing,” Ali said. “I felt like they were looking for someone else. I did need that break at the time but it spurred me on and I still had the belief.

“Things happen for a reason. Maybe if I’d been picked versus Pakistan I wouldn’t have bowled well but I came back against India fresh, scoring runs and taking wickets, and I felt at the top of my game.

“I feel like I belong, people might think I don’t because they think I’m not a proper spinner but when you go past some of the greats, for me, I think ‘Maybe I am a good spinner. I must have done OK to get that many wickets’.”

With his role in the side finally settled, he has his sights set on adding another string to his bow – fielding at slip.

Ali pulled off a blinding one-handed catch at gully to dismiss John Campbell in St Lucia and replaced Jos Buttler in the cordon after the latter dropped a pair of chances.

“I want to be a guy who can field anywhere,” Ali said. “I field at slip for Worcestershire and I’d like to be in the cordon at some stage.”

Watch the first one-day international between Windies and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.30pm on Wednesday, February 20.

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GPA to seek seat at table of CCCC for GAA fixture planning

Gaelic Players Association CEO Paul Flynn says the players’ body is seeking a seat at the table of the CCCC for when fixtures are being set.

There is ongoing controversy surrounding scheduling of matches within the GAA, with various competitions overlapping at this time of year, including the Allianz Leagues, third level competitions as well as the All-Ireland club championships.

“There’s more need for all the bodies to be involved in the decision making,” said Flynn. “The fixtures is something that’s vitally important across the organisation.

“For us, it’s about who do we represent? We represent the inter county players.

“We want our voice heard with regards to fixtures and that’s the committee (CCCC) that decides it, so we feel we should have a seat at the table.”

Flynn feels that it’s not an impossible task to offer certainty for players:

“A couple of weeks ago I got sent every game I am going to have for Fingallians right up until the end of the year.

“Any of the games that are fixed we have them, and any of the games that are fixed for inter county I have them so it can be done.

“It’s up to County Boards with regard to club fixtures across the board to work hard to emulate some of the programmes. I know in Kildare it’s similar and across the board in counties they have done this and shared the fixtures.

“Each of the County Boards has to take responsibility for that aspect of it. More joined up thinking with regards to whether it be third level, colleges so forth.”

The GPA are tabling a motion to Congress to have a seat at the CCCC, but only in regards to fixtures, and not in other functions of the committee such as disciplinary procedures.

“We have no vote,” he explained. “All we do is give that information and leave the room. We feel that when they are talking about fixtures, inter county games, it is very, very easy for us to be in there.

“But, also to be actually a decision maker and not just be in there and give feedback.

“We can leave again if they want to discuss other issues. That’s the purposes of it.

“I think if, from speaking to people within the GAA leadership team, broadly speaking it’s been received quite possibly, and hopefully that will be the case at Congress and we can get an opportunity to speak to people, around us explaining why we want to be there. It’s for no other reason other than to be part of the decision making process.”

“Joined-up thinking is important when it comes to fixtures.”

Flynn is eager to see change

Flynn also discussed the Club Players Association, and stated that the CPA’s aims are aligned with those of the GPA.

“We have met with them a number of times,” the Dublin footballer explained. “They have been pretty clear about what’s their mandate. It is to fix the fixtures. And if you look at our own congress motion it is aligned to fixing the fixtures.

“There are aspects where we are quite aligned. That seems to be their main mandate and they reckon once they fix the fixtures they can disband as such.

“Fixtures is one element of what we do and it falls under one are of representation.

“We have a breadth of work going on around player welfare and the player development elements too.

“Joined-up thinking is important when it comes to fixtures.”

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Joe Denly makes 69 as England extend lead over Windies to 330

Joe Denly pressed his claims for Ashes selection with a maiden Test fifty on day three of the third Test against Windies in St Lucia.

England’s No 3 reached the landmark from 73 balls with a sumptuous straight drive for four off Kemar Roach – only to snick Shannon Gabriel behind on the cut from the 99th ball he faced.

Gabriel should have had Denly dismissed for 12 but Shimron Hetmyer shelled a routine chance at slip and the batsman went on to share half-century stands with Keaton Jennings (23) and Joe Root (45no).

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February 11, 2019, 10:00pm

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England reached 207-3 by tea to extend their lead to 330, with skipper Root and his deputy Jos Buttler (37no) having put on an unbroken partnership of 60 – Buttler successfully overturning a caught-behind dismissal off Roston Chase on 35.

Rory Burns (10) was caught off Keemo Paul at square leg from the first ball of the day, while Jennings was bowled off his thigh pad by Alzarri Joseph to fall in unfortunate fashion.

Windies have also suffered an injury blow with Paul stretchered off after pulling up chasing a Denly cover drive, the hosts later confirming the 20-year-old had suffered a right quadricep issue.

Watch continued coverage of the third Test live on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) NOW! You can also follow over-by-over commentary and in-play clips on our rolling blog on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.

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Ladies football wrap: Galway and Donegal set the pace

Galway and Donegal are the early pace-setters in Division 1 of the Lidl Ladies National Football League after both sides maintained their perfect starts to the competition.

Tim Rabbitte’s side claimed a two-point away win in Monaghan, with the Leonard cousins, Tracey and Roisin, contributing all nine of their points, while Maxi Curran’s Donegal turned on the style with a 3-10 to 2-7 victory over Mayo in Convoy on Sunday.

As well as the Leonards, Galway had substitute Sarah Conneally to thanks for their win in Cloghan. Conneally’s goal in the second-half put Galway clear, although Leanne Maguire hit back for the home side to set up a grandstand finish.

But points were hard to come by on a tough afternoon for football and after they were tied 0-4 each at the interval, the flurry of scores did not arrive in the closing stages either. Roisin Leonard was off target with a late penalty, but Tracey slotted her sixth free late on to wrap up the win.

In Donegal, captain Karen Guthrie led the way again as her side fought hard to earn their second win as their strong finish shook off the challenge of Peter Leahy’s Mayo.

Guthrie’s 1-2 haul in the first 12 minutes saw Donegal lead by six points early on, but Mayo recovered from the loss of captain Niamh Kelly to the sin bin and her goal pulled them level at half-time 1-6 each.

Mayo briefly took the lead, but a 43rd minute goal from Ciara Grant and another one from Roisin Friel gave the home side the breathing space to seal victory – despite Rachel Kearns’ reply for Mayo.

After their losses last week, perhaps it was no shock to see TG4 All-Ireland finalists from 2018, Dublin and Cork, both claim their first wins of the 2019 League. Six-goal Dublin took their frustration out on Tipperary with a dominant 6-9 to 2-8 win at Ardfinnan, while Cork strolled to a 0-10 to 0-2 win over home side Westmeath.

Both Siobhan Killeen and Lyndsey Davey scored two goals each for Dublin in a strong performance, while Nicole Owens and Carla Rowe also found the net for the defending Lidl NFL champions.

A goal from Tipp’s Roisin Daly meant Dublin’s half-time lead closed to 3-4 to 1-3, but as Bohan rolled through his unlimited subs – he used nine throughout – Dublin kept the pressure on. Davey and Killeen doubled their tallies after the break before Aisling Moloney hit the net for the home side, but it was a stroll to victory for Dublin.

And in Mullingar, Cork were never threatened as Orla Finn’s four points kept them clear of Westmeath as Ephie Fitzgerald’s side bossed this encounter.

Cork were 0-6 to 0-1 ahead at the break thanks to Niamh Cotter, Aine O’Sullivan and Finn, but Rachel Dillon’s point was all Westmeath could manage before the interval.

It did not get any better on the resumption and Cork raced into a nine-point lead before Maud Annie Foley kicked Westmeath’s second score at the death.

In Division 2, Armagh have already opened up a two-point lead at the top of the table thanks to their comprehensive win over Cavan at Clonmore on Sunday. Aimee Mackin hit a goal in each half for the Orchard girls, who were far too strong for their visitors in a 2-17 to 0-3 win.

Tyrone and Waterford are hot on Armagh’s heels though: last year’s TG4 IFC champions Tyrone earned their first win at home against Laois, who are bottom of the standings after their second loss. And Waterford’s draw in Tralee, secured thanks to Aileen Wall’s late goal, sees them maintain their good start to the competition, while Wexford and Clare had to be happy with a share of the spoils.

In Division 3, a late, late goal from Sheila Brady rocked Kildare and gave Roscommon their second win in a week and sees them pull clear at the top of the table, while Longford edged past Sligo. In the two games played as double headers with the men’s NFL games, Wicklow defeated Down at Aughrim, while Meath turned on the style and fired five goals past Offaly to take the honours at Páirc Tailteann.

And in the bottom tier Leitrim defeated Derry, Fermanagh rocked Antrim with a late goal at The Dub, Louth won well at home to Kilkenny, while Limerick lost out narrowly to Carlow at Askeeton.

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Paul George outguns James Harden as Oklahoma City Thunder rally past Houston Rockets

Paul George outgunned James Harden in a match-up of MVP candidates as the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 26-point deficit to escape with a 117-112 win at the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

George finished with a game-high 45 points plus 11 rebounds, torching the Houston defense with six three-pointers plus 15-for-18 free throws.

Game leaders

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Points: Paul George – 45
  • Assists: Russell Westbrook – 11
  • Rebounds: Russell Westbrook – 12

 

Houston Rockets

  • Points: James Harden – 42
  • Assists: Chris Paul – 9
  • Rebounds: Kenneth Faried – 12

George’s four free throws inside the final four seconds sealed the win after Russell Westbrook slipped through the defense to convert a layup and give the Thunder the lead for good at 113-112 with 26.9 seconds left.

Westbrook matched an NBA record set by Wilt Chamberlain with his ninth consecutive triple-double: 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Harden, meanwhile, totalled 42 points – his 29th consecutive game with at least 30 – but he missed a contested three-pointer after Westbrook pushed the Thunder ahead.

Chris Paul nearly posted a triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) in his strongest performance since his return from a hamstring injury.

The Thunder matched the Rockets’ 42-point second quarter with a 42-point third period, keyed by 7-for-12 three-point shooting and after committing just two turnovers in the first half, the Rockets had six in the third quarter and collapsed with 1-for-9 shooting from behind the arc.

Still, the Rockets led 86-79 before Thunder guard Dennis Schroder closed the frame with 11 consecutive points to pull Oklahoma City even at 90-90 entering the fourth.

Less than three minutes into the final frame, the Thunder led 98-92, and the Rockets were left scrambling.

Saturday’s results

Houston had earlier pushed their lead to 58-42 despite a mini-surge from Westbrook before landing what appeared to be a devastating blow: a 10-0 run that included three-pointers from Paul and Harden plus three Harden free throws.

But the Rockets were 12 of 24 from deep late in the first half, before missing five consecutive three-pointers to leave the door ajar for a comeback.

Live NBA: LA Lakers @ Philadelphia

February 10, 2019, 8:30pm

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