The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Houston Texans on Sunday, bringing their record to 6-2 — good for sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They also moved up two slots in our NFL Elo rankings; at the moment, their 1584 Elo rating ranks eighth among all NFL teams.But it wasn’t all good news for the Eagles on Sunday. The team’s starting quarterback, Nick Foles, suffered a “cracked” collarbone on the final play of the first quarter, necessitating an appearance by backup Mark Sanchez. While Sanchez played reasonably well in the victory, tossing a pair of touchdowns and posting a Total QBR of 53.4 (the NFL average for QBR is 50), there’s no small degree of trepidation among Eagles fans about the prospect of moving forward with Sanchez as the team’s starting QB for the next six to eight weeks.Anytime a team loses its starting quarterback, there’s a clear drop-off in performance. To quantify that decline, I went back and gathered data from every NFL game since 1978 in which a team was missing its regular starter at quarterback (defined as a QB who started at least 10 of 16 games for the team during the season). According to the Elo ratings going into those 1,585 games, which ostensibly assume the regular starter is playing, the starter-less teams should have expected to win 46 percent of the time. In actuality, they only won at a 37 percent clip.Essentially, a group of teams with an average pre-game Elo rating of 1478 played like they collectively deserved a 1419 rating. If the Eagles followed the same formula, we might surmise their “true” Elo rating without Foles would drop similarly to 1525, effectively making them the 18th-best team in football instead of the eighth-best.Making matters worse for Philadelphia, the numbers say that Foles is better than the typical starting quarterback — and that Sanchez is far worse. Since his NFL debut in 2012, Foles has been the sixth-most efficient passer in the league, according to adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A). Meanwhile, over the years in which Sanchez was the New York Jets’ starting quarterback (2009 to 2012), he posted the worst ANY/A in the NFL among QBs with 800 or more attempts.But when we look at the aforementioned dataset of backup-quarterback games since 1978, the post-game shift to a team’s Elo rating doesn’t bear any relationship to the disparity between the career ANY/A rates of the starter and the backup. In other words, the Eagles’ Elo rating is likely to decline with each successive game in which they are forced to start Sanchez instead of Foles, but it’s hard to say how much the difference between Foles’ career resume and Sanchez’s resume matters.Besides, there’s also evidence that Foles’s passing isn’t even the reason the Eagles have been winning this season. The team’s defense and special teams have been among the best in the NFL, while the team’s offense has underwhelmed. Although Foles’s numbers were otherworldly in 2013, his passing efficiency has been average at best in 2014 thus far, in no small part because the incredibly low interception rate he posted in 2013 has (predictably) regressed to the mean.There’s no question that the Eagles are worse off because of the injury to Foles, and it makes a material difference to their playoff odds going forward. But things may not be quite as dire for Philadelphia as they seem.
Archives: September 2019
LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers might be trailing the Golden State Warriors 3-2 in the NBA Finals. The Cavs might, as their Vegas odds suggest, have a mere 12 percent chance of winning the NBA championship. But according to just about every statistical measurement available, the self-proclaimed “best player in the world” is having a series for the ages.Build a bare-bones performance metric that simply adds a player’s points, rebounds and assists and then divides by the number of games the team played,1Using team games penalizes players who missed games — you can’t add value if you don’t play. and James’s 2015 finals ranks as the best of the past 30 years.Get more complex — using, say, a points above replacement (PAR) estimator based on the single-game version of Daniel Myers’s Box Plus/Minus2Which takes into account the location and strength of opponent for each game. — and James ranks sixth among all NBA Finals participants since 1985.3Despite not ranking in the top 25 in our bare-bones metric (and so not making the chart above), Magic Johnson’s 1988 finals performance places second in PAR per team game.So at either pole of the complexity spectrum, James has been the top player of these finals. (Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post and ESPN Insider’s Kevin Pelton came to similar conclusions using a few more metrics of varying intricacy.) And from a historical perspective, output of this level usually leads to winning the NBA Finals and the NBA Finals MVP: Every player near James’s combined total of points, rebounds and assists ended up garnering MVP honors.In a vacuum, then, James’s performance has been so historically strong that it would be a shame for him not to win the award.But on the other hand, if the Warriors win the series and the MVP goes to James, it will be the first time that a member of the losing team has received the honor since 1969, when Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers won in spite of the Boston Celtics’ championship. And, as Pelton notes, the culture of denying MVP honors to a nonchampion has grown in the intervening years, across all sports.In the NBA alone, nine players since 1985 have been the best player in their series by PAR through five games yet failed to win the MVP after their teams lost. (To a certain extent, this also speaks to what can happen between Games 5 and 7 of a series between closely matched teams.) In 2011, Dwyane Wade — then James’s teammate on the Miami Heat — outplayed Dirk Nowitzki to a greater extent than James has outplayed presumptive Warriors MVP candidate Stephen Curry4Andre Iguodala actually leads Golden State in PAR during the series. thus far yet still lost the award to the Dallas Mavericks star. So as great as James has been, it might not be enough to justify the award if Cleveland loses the series.There’s one more angle to think about, though, when it comes to James’s 2015 finals performance. It may be that all our stats and metrics simply break down when forced to consider the unparalleled burden that James has been forced to carry on this undermanned, undertalented Cavaliers squad. James’s 41.1 percent usage rate in this series is the largest of any finalist since 1985, breaking Michael Jordan’s mark of 39.6 percent for the Chicago Bulls against the Phoenix Suns in 1993. James is also logging an incredible 45.6 minutes per game, the eighth-most of any qualified5Minimum 140 minutes played in the series. finalist since 1985.As Tom Haberstroh wrote over the weekend, James’s physical workload during these finals has been termed “unfathomable” (among other things) by sports science experts. At the limits of human endurance and on-court influence — through his shooting and passing, James was involved in 70 of Cleveland’s 91 points in Game 5 — there may be no numbers that can do justice to how irreplaceable James has been for the Cavaliers in this series.They don’t necessarily give out awards for being completely and utterly essential to your team, of course. And, as always, “value” is in the eye of the beholder. But whether the Cavs win or lose, it’s not hard to imagine this series going down as a testament to James’s singular talent, stamina and durability. And if that doesn’t constitute “value,” I’m not sure what does.
Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Nov. 1 , 2016), we take a look at the World Series and wonder if the role of the closer has changed forever after the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians started deploying their closers as long relievers. Then, we chat about Russell Westbrook’s amazing start to the NBA season and ask if teams led by point guards can win championships. Finally, we talk about Tom Brady’s return from suspension, and Neil Paine explains why there’s a 50/50 chance Brady would have won a Super Bowl on every team in the NFL. Plus, a significant digit about the Oakland Raiders’ penalties.Links to what we discussed:Neil Paine says the Cubs’ comeback only gets harder from here.Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs says Cubs manager Joe Maddon Terry Francona’d Aroldis Chapman in Game 5 of the World Series.Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer writes that Russell Westbrook’s liberation tour is everything we wanted it to be.Neil Paine breaks down why Chris Paul has never gone far in the postseason.Neil also explains how Tom Brady’s return has made the Patriots that much better.Significant Digit: 23. That’s the number of times the Oakland Raiders were dinged for a penalty in their 30-24 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. That was the most penalties for one team in a single game since at least 1940 and the third-most penalty yards that any one team has racked up in a single game in that same span.Also, remember to check the Hot Takedown feed on Thursday for the fourth installment of our documentary series Ahead Of Their Time. The series looks at coaches and players who did something radical for their era and were later proven right by analytics. The new episode is about the two women who invented the double-handed backhand. You can find the previous three episodes here. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code FiveThirtyEight
Minimum 300 at-bats and 50 innings pitched in a single season.Source: Baseball-Reference.com DecadeMinorsMLB 1970s10 1960s70 1910s632 Two-way players in the minors and Major League Baseball, by decade Had it not been for an oblique injury last year, McKay likely would have been the first minor leaguer since Farmer to reach both 50 innings pitched and 300 at-bats. McKay pitched 78⅓ innings (2.41 ERA) and logged 192 at-bats (.727 OPS) last season combined in Rookie League, Single-A and High A. He dominated Double-A hitters this year, striking out 62 in 41⅔ innings with a 1.30 ERA, before being promoted to Triple-A, where he posted a 1.08 ERA in his first 25 innings.McKay actually improved his hitting at Triple-A as well, belting four homers in his first 49 at-bats to go along with a .951 OPS before being called up.A challenge in developing a two-way player is that one skill is often further ahead in development. McKay and Dodson are more advanced as pitchers, and some observers were already calling for the Rays to limit McKay to pitching this spring. The game has become more specialized over time, and few clubs have bothered to dig deeper into what is possible for hitting and pitching.Injury concerns have also contributed to the near-extinction of the two-way player. If you have a star bat like Ohtani’s, you might not want to risk losing at-bats to injury on the mound.As Angels manager Brad Ausmus said this spring, the key to two-way experiments may be “workload balance and getting enough preparation on each side of the baseball.” Rays officials also noted the challenge of finding enough reps in the day for maintaining hitting and pitching skills.But when you’re the front office of the Rays, competing in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox, you have to question everything. One question is this: just how effective and efficient is baseball training? Maybe there is enough time in the day to develop two-way players.In a study commissioned by the Chicago Cubs in 1938, sports psychologist Coleman Griffith concluded, only 48 minutes per day were spent on “effective” baseball practice while the other two hours and 47 minutes were wasted. (In the major leagues, players generally arrive at the ballpark four hours before first pitch.) While some practices have changed over the years, many have also remained the same, like coach-pitched, on-field batting practice that is far removed from game velocity and breaking balls. There could be an advantage found in rethinking how the baseball day is structured.Is there time for a player to practice both hitting and pitching skills in the same day? “There’s plenty of time,” McKay said.Technology advances are also perhaps helping players get better feedback in practice, allowing for smarter and fewer reps to reduce wear and tear. McKay said the Rays have monitored his heart rate during bullpens to see how his body was responding, as well as how his diet, hydration and workload should be altered. One adjustment the Rays made with McKay this season is that he does not play a position when he is in the lineup as a hitter — he has played some first base in the past — and he slots in at a DH instead.“One of the biggest challenges that comes with this is not just managing in-game workload but structuring practice sufficiently,” Bloom said. “Giving the player enough of a chance to get better at everything he needs to improve at and keep him healthy: That’s something we spent a lot of time thinking about, and we’re learning as we go. We’ve already learned a lot.”In college, Dodson would often play seven innings in center field before he was summoned to close out the game pitching the eighth and ninth innings. Last summer, in his first stint as a pro, he never pitched or hit in the same game. The Rays mapped out a schedule each week for him. “It was, honestly, a lot easier” than the college setup, Dodson said.6Dodson has landed on the injured list three times this season.Dodson’s potential path as a reliever/position player — he is also a switch-hitter — could become a route to a more common two-way player: the ultimate utility man.“Ohtani laid some groundwork, McKay laid some groundwork. I think I’m laying a little different ground work as a reliever,” Dodson said. “I think everything started as something nobody did.”Check out our latest MLB predictions. After the Tampa Bay Rays made Brendan McKay the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft, they brought him to Port Charlotte, Florida, site of their minor league and spring training operations, for a debriefing. McKay had received first-round grades as a hitter and pitcher at the University of Louisville, where he was the program’s first Golden Spikes Award winner. There was outside discussion about whether McKay should pitch or hit as a professional. But several Rays player-development officials had a different question for McKay: Did he think he could he do both?There have been similar debates over what to do with dual-talent, amateur players before, but those mostly centered on which path a player should choose. In 2001, Kent State star John Van Benschoten led Division I baseball in home runs with 31 and posted a 1.532 on-base plus slugging, yet the Pittsburgh Pirates had him focus on pitching after selecting him with the eighth overall pick in the draft.1Van Benschoten tore his labrum in 2005, which derailed his career. Selected just two picks before McKay in 2017, dual-talent Hunter Greene has already put away his bat at the request of the Cincinnati Reds.2Greene had Tommy John surgery this spring.What did McKay tell the Rays?“I don’t see why I couldn’t do it at the next level,” McKay told FiveThirtyEight. “I think they were just as interested as I was.”McKay made his major league pitching debut on Saturday with six shutout innings before taking the first big league at-bats of his career as a designated hitter on Monday. And he isn’t the only player in the Rays organization to be asked that question. Even before Shohei Ohtani arrived last season in Anaheim and became the first player to log 300 at-bats and pitch 50 innings in a season since Babe Ruth in 1918 and 1919,3Ohtani returned to the field as a DH-only player in May. the Rays had already embraced their own domestic two-way player experiment.A month before the 2018 draft, a Rays scout asked Tanner Dodson, then an outfielder and pitcher for the University of California, if he was open to continuing as a two-way player if they selected him. He answered with an enthusiastic yes. The Rays are now experimenting with another two-way player this season in Triple-A: shortstop-pitcher Jake Cronenworth, who pitched in college for Michigan. He’s batting .333 in 276 at-bats and has hit 96 mph in 6⅓ scoreless innings, often working as an opener.McKay, Cronenworth and Dodson are the faces of the club’s latest unconventional approach: taking advantage of the two-way player in an era when it’s never been more needed. Pitching staffs have expanded and bullpens have taken on a record number of innings, so, getting two players for the price of one roster spot should have more appeal. Other clubs have also followed the Ohtani experiment to a degree,4The Pirates are experimenting with J.B. Shuck as a two-way player in Triple-A, Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen has accrued 10 plate appearances this season, and the Angels have other two-way players in their organization. but it’s the team that championed defensive shifts and the opener that is again at the forefront of asking what is possible.“A lot of our thought process was having some humility that we don’t necessarily know enough to shove [them] into a box one way or the other,” said Chaim Bloom, vice president of baseball operations for the Rays. “Baseball is such a hard game that I think the number of players that are going to be able to have sufficient skill to do this is still going to be small. But we’ve seen over time in this business that sometimes it takes someone going out and doing it to expand people’s definitions of what might be possible. So we may see that happen here.”It’s not just at the major league level where the two-way player had gone extinct. Before Ohtani, Mike Farmer was the last player in affiliated baseball to reach 50 innings and record 300 at-bats. That was in 1992 for the Phillies’ High-A club in Clearwater, Florida.5Farmer posted a 1.87 ERA in 53 innings and a .586 OPS in 303 at-bats. But two-way players were once common. Since 1900, there have been 682 minor-league seasons of at least 300 at-bats and 50 innings pitched, including 199 such seasons in the 1940s and 182 in the 1950s, according to data from Baseball-Reference.com. But the two-way player had largely vanished from the minors and all of professional baseball by the 1970s, aside from short-lived experiments like that of Brooks Kieschnick with the Milwaukee Brewers. 1930s830 1950s1820 1920s1110 2010s01 1990s10 2000s00 1980s10 1940s1990 1900s335
Adam Moore201026.340.2260.2 Jose Bautista201030.325.42199.9 Andruw Jones200831.350.2380.0 Tony Pena200827.299.1750.0 Alexi Casilla200723.354.2400.2 Carlos Ruiz201233.327.39698.4 Tyler Colvin201126.343.2130.0 Brandon Wood201025.300.1670.0 Travis Hafner200831.387.2700.0 Rob Brantly201324.347.2370.3 Jason Bartlett200930.325.39498.5 Josh Bard200628.311.39899.1 Chone Figgins201133.329.2320.1 PlayerYearAgeProj. wOBAActual wOBAPercentile Aaron Hill201230.309.38098.8 Tommy Manzella201027.339.2360.4 Garrett Atkins200627.339.41198.2 Mark Kotsay200732.333.2530.5 Luke Scott200628.316.43799.9 Brian Giles200938.346.2470.1 Brandon Moss201229.296.40299.8 Reid Brignac201125.320.2030.1 Clint Barmes200627.340.2510.6 Justin Morneau201130.367.2740.2 Carlos Quentin200826.334.41999.1 Ian Desmond201227.308.37598.2 Justin Morneau201029.358.43699.5 Jason Bay201234.331.2470.4 Jermaine Dye200632.338.42599.7 Nick Hundley201229.326.2090.0 Jim Thome201040.359.43098.8 Brent Lillibridge201128.297.37598.1 Mike Trout201221.330.42799.3 Magglio Ordonez200733.354.43599.4 Dioner Navarro201329.289.37298.8 Martin Maldonado201327.327.2280.4 Justin Ruggiano201230.311.40999.3 Chris Davis201327.337.41198.7 Mike Lamb200833.336.2530.6 Ryan Raburn201231.334.2190.0 Wily Mo Pena200826.350.2310.0 Scott Spiezio200634.301.37298.2 Pete Kozma201325.350.2390.2 Josh Hamilton201029.360.44199.4 Which baseball players have had the most surprisingly bad and surprisingly good seasons in recent years? I wondered about this while researching an article on whether spring training performance foreshadows regular-season production.I calculated the uncertainty in the Marcel forecasting system projection for batting wOBA — a measure of a hitter’s overall offensive production per plate appearance — based on the reliability of the forecast. This gives us a range of expected results and allows us to look at which players’ regular-season performances were the least likely going into the year. It’s a nice way of quantifying unexpectedly good and bad campaigns.First, the most surprising strong seasons in the dataset I used in my article, which extends back to 2006 (minimum 200 plate appearances): Adam Dunn201132.364.2690.1 Jose Bautista201131.359.43098.8 Mike Napoli201130.346.44499.9 Jacoby Ellsbury201128.337.41399.1 Adam Kennedy200731.335.2530.5 Jerry Hairston200832.290.38499.7 Ruben Tejada201324.321.2380.5 Ben Zobrist200928.311.41399.8 Ryan Raburn201332.305.38799.3 B.J. Upton201329.341.2600.4 Andy LaRoche200825.335.2320.5 Milton Bradley201032.372.2900.6 Melky Cabrera201228.326.39598.7 Carlos Gonzalez201025.342.41898.6 Jeff Francoeur201329.320.2350.3 Hanley Ramirez201330.346.44499.9 PlayerYearAgeProj. wOBAActual wOBAPercentile J.D. Drew201136.355.2750.6 Before the 2013 season, we would have expected there to be a 50 percent chance that Hanley Ramirez’s wOBA would be above .346. If you’d asked us what the odds were that Ramirez’s wOBA would reach or beat .444, we would have said practically zero — 0.1 percent, to be exact.The fact that Ramirez’s wOBA was .444 was an outcome in the 99.9th percentile of his preseason wOBA distribution.Flipping things around, here are the most disappointing seasons of the past eight years: Travis Hafner, if you’ll recall, had been one of the best hitters in baseball in the four years leading up to 2008, which was one of the big reasons why another statistical system for forecasting player performance, FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver’s PECOTA, called for the Cleveland Indians to win 91 games that year. Instead, the Indians went 81-81 as Hafner’s wOBA sunk to .270 — an outcome that seemed almost impossible (hence, the 0.0 percentile score).Keep in mind that this method is based on the Marcel reliability score, which essentially measures how much of a given projection is made up of the league mean and how much belongs to the player’s statistical record. It employs a generic age adjustment, but it does not look at similar players at similar ages, as Silver did with PECOTA.Hafner, Andruw Jones, Chone Figgins, Adam Dunn and others on the second list hit their early 30s and, rather than declining gradually, completely fell apart. Marcel has no way to determine whether players with certain tendencies or body types are more likely to completely crater, which would affect our confidence intervals. Cleaning up projections on the margins like that is one of the ways a system such as PECOTA is superior to Marcel, even though the returns diminish sharply with extra complexity.
On Tuesday, The New York Times put out a wanted ad in search of a better basketball team for its Knicks beat writer, Scott Cacciola, to follow. (The Knicks, after a dreadful 5-32 start to the 2014-15 season, have begun selling off assets.)Well, I’m here to help. Certainly just about every other NBA team is more entertaining than the Knicks, and some have suggested Cacciola could even find better basketball overseas. But if he wants to stay close to home, there are also plenty of NBA teams with backup units superior to the Knicks.Using a minute-weighted average of ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus (RPM) for each player in games they didn’t start, here are the teams whose benches have added more wins above replacement (WAR) than New York’s entire team thus far in 2014-15 (these stats are from before the Knicks traded J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert):
OSU coach Urban Meyer embraces redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshon Lattimore (2) following the Buckeyes 30-23 overtime win over the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 15. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorWith the final week of the regular season now on the minds of the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Scarlet and Gray will enter the last game of the year still ranked at No. 2 in the College Football Playoff poll. Michigan, OSU’s opponent this Saturday, retained its No. 3 ranking as well.There was little shakeup in the top of the poll, as Alabama remained in the top spot for the fourth straight week. At No. 4, Clemson also held onto the final playoff spot available. Louisville, ranked at No. 5 last week, fell to No. 11 following a loss to Houston.At No. 5 and No. 6, the first two teams out of the playoffs, Washington and Wisconsin will both be looking to make a case in the conclusions of its respective seasons. Washington currently leads the Pac-12, and will need to beat Washington State for a title shot. A conference title could help solidify the Huskies as a playoff contender. Penn State, the current East Division leader in the Big Ten, moved to the No. 7 spot, and will be facing Michigan State in its final game. If OSU defeats Michigan this Saturday, and Penn State picks up a win, the Nittany Lions will be headed to Indianapolis for a chance at the Big Ten title.In the West Division, Wisconsin simply needs to beat Minnesota this weekend to reach the Big Ten title game. However, a loss to OSU earlier this season could spoil any playoff aspirations for the Badgers, regardless of a conference crown.The decision by the committee in regards to the fate of the potential Big Ten champion in the playoffs over potential one-loss teams such as OSU and Michigan will be made exactly a week from Tuesday. The Buckeyes will need a win over the Wolverines, and a little love from the playoff committee for a chance at another national title.
Led by the ground attack and saved by one timely miracle, Ohio State virtually controls its own destiny in the Leaders division after an upset-victory over No. 12 Wisconsin. With two losses in the Big Ten, and a game against Penn State down the road, OSU just completed its biggest obstacle on the road to a conference title. If the Buckeyes win out, and Penn State loses another game in addition to its meeting with OSU, the Scarlet and Gray will represent the Leaders division in the first Big Ten championship game. The electric atmosphere with sub-40 degree weather brought much needed life to Ohio Stadium to lift the Buckeyes over Wisconsin on homecoming night. In his second game back this season after a six-game suspension for various infractions, senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron proves his value to the largely one-sided Buckeye offense. Herron was suffering from a tweaked ankle through the entire game, but was able to pick up 160 yards on the ground. Along with junior running back Jordan Hall and freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes were able to pick up 268 yards on the ground. Which is nearly all the offense OSU had in the game. Miller threw for just 89 yards through the air. Forty yards coming on the game saving connection from Miller to freshman wide receiver Devin Smith. Wisconsin was not fooled by the run-oriented gameplan the Buckeyes came in with, but was not able to stop it. In OSU’s three previous Big Ten games this season, Miller only attempted 22 passes. Against Wisconsin on Saturday, Miller only attempted 12 passes, completing seven. Special teams were a roller coaster ride Saturday, highlighted by a blocked punt. In the third quarter, freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier broke through the Wisconsin line and was able to block Wisconsin’s Brad Nortman’s punt. Freshman linebacker Curtis Grant then jumped on the blocked punt on the 1-yard line that led to a touchdown from Hall. Hall proved to be an adventure returning punts for the Buckeyes. Hall fumbled twice returning punts, and lost a fumble once that led to a touchdown to keep the Badgers in the game. Later with a comeback from Wisconsin nearly completed, Hall returned the kickoff to the 48-yard line to set up the game winning touchdown pass. Hall finished the night with 9-yards on the ground and a touchdown. Miller finished the night with 99-yards on the ground and had two touchdowns on the ground and one through the air. The Buckeyes offense will be no surprise for upcoming opponents, as they will continue to run with their strengths behind the Scarlet and Gray offensive line. OSU will look for help from either Wisconsin or Nebraska to beat Penn State, and at that point, OSU controls its own destiny. OSU needs to worry about its schedule, and the blocks will fall into place for a Dec. 3 appearance in Indianapolis.
Ohio State men’s soccer’s first win of the 2012 season was doubly important – it also clinched its second consecutive Wolstein Classic championship.OSU (1-2-1) captured its first win against Davidson, 3-2, on Sunday in an overtime victory in the Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes drew with Coastal Carolina, 1-1, Friday to stay in the running for their second consecutive tournament title. The Buckeyes, also tournament hosts, rallied from 2-0 deficit to capture the tournament.“It’s awesome. It’s such a relief for us because we have been so close for so long,” said senior midfielder Austin McAnena. “I mean every single game we have been pretty unlucky at the end of games, and that last goal we got lucky and I think that can really turn our season around.”OSU coach John Bluem wasn’t too happy with how his team started in the beginning of the game, but was proud of the way his team finished.“It feels great. I thought we would already have won one by now,” Bluem said. “We lost some games we thought we could have won. Today was a game we thought we could win, and then we put ourselves in a really deep hole. Really proud of our players that they hung in there and got the win today.”With the Buckeyes down, 2-0, in the second half, things went from bad to worse, as sophomore midfielder Yianni Sarris was hit with a red card early in the period, and forced the Buckeyes to play with only 10 players on the field. Instead of the man-down scenario setting OSU back even more, it spurred the Buckeyes to a revival.“We all kind of looked at each other,” sophomore forward Kenny Cunningham said. “Let’s get it together; this is a turning point of our season. If we get this together, the whole season turns around.”Shortly after the red card, senior midfielder Sebastian Rivas scored the first goal for the Buckeye. Then freshman defender Alex Bujenovic tied the game up 2-2 with a free kick that forced overtime.In the 97th minute, Cunningham put Davidson away for good with a powerful, game winning shot.If the game had two different stories of the intensity level for the Buckeyes, McAnena said the penalty on Sarris ignited the team and brought them together.“I think it was just the intensity,” McAnena said. “We were a man down, and we really needed to pick it up. It was kind of our last stand, and when we were down 2-0, with Sarris on the bench, we just had to start attacking.”After the game, Bluem pointed out the issues with his team early in the season, but said he felt the team came together at the right time on Sunday.“I think one of the issues with the team through the first four games have been a little bit of selfishness,” Bluem said. “They got to start looking for each other rather than thinking about themselves, and I think they did that when we were a man down. They collectively came together and played harder for each other, so that is a good step.”As the team prepares for San Diego on Friday, there are other areas Bluem wants to correct within the team.“I think we need to be better defensively,” Bluem said. “We have allowed too many goals. Our goalkeeper has made some mistakes, as well as our back four, in allowing goals.”With the win, Cunningham said OSU no longer faces the pressure of taking its first victory.“It’s hard to explain, once you lose a couple of games in a row, it seems like impossible to win,” said Cunningham. “So getting out of this hole was really important for us, and for us to win our first game, it was really important.”
Ohio State baseball is hoping it can lean on the leadership of an experienced squad featuring 15 upperclassmen in the 2013 season. After an up-and-down 2012 season where it went 33-27, OSU coach Greg Beals said the key to the team’s success will lie with the familiarity the players and coaches have with one another. “We believe we’ve developed a good understanding of each other and confidence in each other,” said Beals, who is 59-55 in his two-plus years at the helm in Columbus, said. “We know what to expect from each other and we really feel like that’s going to serve us well as we work our way through this season.” The Buckeyes will be without junior pitcher and first baseman Josh Dezse for at least the first two months of the season after he suffered a stress reaction in his lower back in early February. A key contributor last year, Dezse compiled a 2.86 ERA with seven saves as a pitcher, as well as hitting .306 with five home runs, 33 RBI and 31 runs scored at the plate. And as if losing Dezse was not enough, OSU opened the season by dropping two of its first three games over the weekend in Sarasota, Fla. Before earning its first win of the season against St. John’s 3-1 Sunday, OSU was blown out by Notre Dame, 13-3, Saturday and fell to Mercer University, 6-5 Friday. Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Brad Goldberg, who earned the Buckeyes’ lone victory, was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Monday after his strong outing against the Red Storm. Goldberg allowed only two hits and struck out seven over seven shutout innings. The last Buckeye to win a Big Ten weekly award was then-freshman outfielder Pat Porter with Freshman of the Week on April 9 last season. He has gotten his sophomore season off to a hot start as well, leading the team in batting average (.400), runs scored (4), total bases (7), slugging percentage (.700) and on-base percentage (.500). Porter is also tied for the team lead in hits with four. Although early in the season, OSU might need more production as a team if it wants to contend for a Big Ten title. In their first three games, the Buckeyes are only hitting .232 and have been outscored 20-11. Their pitchers have an ERA over five and they have committed six errors in the field. Beals said in order to get better as a team, the Buckeyes will need to improve in a couple of areas. “We need to improve our mental toughness in tight games. Sometimes we worry about losing a game instead of worrying about how we’re going to win the game,” he said. “That’s the one thing, and I just think we need to improve our consistency. We play very, very good at times and we struggle at times. Great teams are consistent.” OSU will travel to Port Charlotte, Fla., for the Snowbird Baseball Classic to play a pair of two-game series against South Dakota State Friday and Saturday and Mount Saint Mary Saturday and Sunday. OSU is scheduled to play the Jackrabbits Friday at 4 p.m.
Senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown (10) fields a punt during a game against Penn State Oct. 26 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 63-14.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorThe Ohio State football team looks to reverse the script from its recent shortcomings in West Lafayette, Ind., this weekend when it faces off against Purdue.The Buckeyes have recorded just one win their last four trips to Ross-Ade Stadium.OSU senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown said the Buckeyes held a meeting, organized by coach Urban Meyer, Wednesday to address avoiding another hiccup.“We have the leadership on this team to keep everybody focused, and go there and get the win,” Brown said. “We can play anywhere and be successful.”Meyer said Purdue (1-6, 0-3) is a better team than its record indicates.“I see a team that’s kind of searching for an identity, and I think they’ve kind of found it on defense,” Meyer said. “I think they’ve figured out who they are the last few weeks.”Meyer said his staff has had some difficulties preparing for Purdue because for the last two games, the Boilermakers have run a 3-4 defense instead of the 4-3 they began the season with. The Boilermakers are coming off a 14-0 loss at Michigan State Oct. 19.Coming off its largest Big Ten victory this season, a 63-14 home defeat of Penn State, OSU is again looking to impress voters. Currently, the Buckeyes rank fourth in the BCS standings and need some help if they hope to make it to the title game.“We set the bar pretty high with (last week), and now from here on out it should be nothing less than that every game,” Brown said.Redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby, whose play has been criticized this season, said he finally has the mental side of his game on track.“I just really had to just focus, and get back to how I approached the game last year. I think (during) the first half of the season, I was worried about too (many) other things than what my job was, and I forgot that doing my job is what got me here in the first place,” Roby said. “At corner, you got to just wait for the plays to come to you. You can’t go to the plays, because when you try to do that too much, that’s when you get beat.”Brown said being in the hunt for a national championship has driven his squad to a new level.“This team is much hungrier than any other team I’ve ever been on, and everybody’s so focused right now,” Brown said. “The way everybody’s preparing right now, I can tell that we’re going to finish strong like we expect to.”The Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) and Boilermakers are set for a noon kickoff Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.
Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (10) buys some time and eludes Indiana’s Keith Burrus (97) in the second quarter of a football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006 at the Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won the contest, 44-3. Credit: Courtesy of MCTOhio State has always been a perennial powerhouse when it comes to football, but the quarterback position historically has been one of vapidity and is infamous for being very uneventful until recent memory.It was three yards in a cloud of dust, Woody Hayes style, and play dominant defense that was the formula for success until one Troy Smith stepped on campus. The quarterback was asked to control the clock, not make any crucial mistakes and by all means try to not lose the game instead of going out and winning it (see Craig Krenzel). Smith ushered in a new brand of football never before seen at Ohio State that would forever change the landscape of college football in the Big Ten.Fast-forward to 2015, and you cannot watch a down without offenses being spread out with four- and five-receiver sets — but it wasn’t always this way. The Big Ten a mere eight years ago was embraced two tight end sets and a fullback leading the charge for a lead block on an iso run up the middle; that was the staple for the majority of offenses.Even the national championship team of 2002 followed “Tressel ball” to a tee, letting Maurice Clarett carry the load on offense and relying on a dominant defense that would send five players to the NFL.The changing of the guard came in 2004, when Tressel finally found a position for Smith at quarterback, where he was the backup to Justin Zwick. Previously as a redshirt freshman, Troy was seldom used, only earning playing time as a backup scat back and partially as a kick returner. Zwick was the more traditional one, standing 6’4’’ and operating from the pocket, while Smith was a dual threat who could easily beat defenses with either his arm or feet.Once Smith took over full time, he didn’t disappoint with his dazzling and uncanny ability to make plays within and out of the pocket. Standing at only 6’0’’, Smith lacked both ideal height and arm strength for the quarterback position. However, what he lacked in physical gifts he made up for with his competitiveness and intangibles. Smith’s heart, grit and will to win are what propelled him into the player we all remember.In big-time games when the pressure was on, no one in Buckeye history at the quarterback position was better than No. 10. Time and time again, he proved this with his play and performances in primetime action against worthy competition, including an incredible comeback against Michigan in 2005, another victory over the Wolverines the following year to secure a trip to the national championship game and a dominant performance against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl..Troy Smith’s impact and influence on modern Buckeye football is as apparent as can be. With the likes of Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and even Terrelle Pryor before them, all can point to one guy who paved the way and changed OSU football forever.Smith’s dual-threat capabilities ushered in a new era that is more spread out and wide open than ever before. Even under the helm of ultra-conservative Jim Tressel, he knew what was best was to surround Troy with four or five receivers in the gun and let him do his thing — which was to torch defenses with both his arm and legs.Fast-forward to 2015, and this is the same approach OSU coach Urban Meyer implements today, with a spread-out attack that allows multi-talented quarterbacks to flourish. The modern quarterbacks are all very different, with unique playing styles and even arguably more gifted and talented than Smith. However, none of them would be in the positions they are in without his grand influence.The homebred Cleveland Glenville High School product (same as Jones) is as influential a piece of Buckeye football history as any. He was a Wolverine killer and was even named Big Ten Player of the Decade, but most importantly his impact on the game changed the very philosophy in how we think of the game. Before it was three yards in a cloud of dust, now it’s play-action from the shotgun and throw a rope down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.With a bevy of hardware to his name and standout performances in big time games, including an undefeated record against the team up north, Troy is one of the best to ever strap on a chin strap for the Scarlet and Gray, and dare I say the very best quarterback in the history of Ohio State football.
Ohio State senior Jae’Sean Tate looks to pass in the first half of the Buckeyes’ 80-78 victory on the road at Indiana on Feb. 23. Credit: Jacob Myers | Managing Editor for ContentThe Ohio State men’s basketball team reached the end of the 2017-18 regular season that defied nearly all preseason expectations ranked as the No. 13 team in the final Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Buckeyes rose up three spots from their No. 16 spot in the poll last week. They finished the week with a 79-52 home win against Rutgers on Tuesday and a double-overtime win on the road against Indiana on Friday to wrap up the season.Ohio State is joined by No. 2 Michigan State, No. 8 Purdue and No. 15 Michigan.This is the first time since the 2013-14 season that Ohio State has finished the regular season as a ranked team, when the Buckeyes were the No. 24 team in the nation. Ohio State’s 24 wins are the most in the regular season since it won 25 games in the 2011-12 season. The Buckeyes are now headed to the Big Ten tournament as the No. 2 seed. They have a pair of byes and will not play a game until 6:30 p.m. Friday. Ohio State will face the winner of the Penn State vs. Northwestern matchup.
Lord Howe with his wife Elspeth and dogin 1994Credit:Rex Features The files revealed other changes were planned, totalling thousands of pounds in additional costs.They included curtains, a swivel desk chair and two lamp shades being added to the Chancellor’s study, at a cost of £800. “Not unnaturally, the Chancellor would like to proceed with at least some of this work. I am sorry to nag you about this – but time is slipping by,” he wrote.Mr Hall also appeared to be having difficulty getting other work approved, namely changing the telephone system in the Chancellor’s property.“I was dismayed to find that you had now been gone for a week’s leave, and that we had not had an opportunity of discussing my minute [about the telephone system],” Mr Hall wrote in a letter to Mr Uden in December 1979.“As I have mentioned to you more than once, the Chancellor is increasingly exercised about the lack of any action.”Finally, two days later, Mr Peterson addressed the concerns involving the work, apologising that the issues had been “so long outstanding”. “I was under the impression that the Prime Minister had had a word with the Chancellor,” he wrote. “If not, I am sure that she would wish to leave this to the Chancellor’s discretion, keeping in mind how sensitive expenditure of this kind can be.”In an interview with Amanda Ponsonby, Mrs Thatcher later remarked that she had been annoyed by the refurbishment, stating: “I can make do. Why should No. 11 have a bigger kitchen?” The Camerons later moved into the Number 11 flat and spent a further £25,000 redoing the kitchen (above) Credit:Press Assocation The first letter – sent on September 17, 1979, four months after the Conservative’s won the election – provided three estimates to Number 10 “to replace and modernise the kitchen entirely”, ranging from £2,400 to £6,400.Staff decided it would be best to go for a “middle” scheme, costing £4,150, despite admitting the most expensive was “the most desirable if the current economic climate had allowed it”.It was at this point where decisions came to halt with letters from Treasury staff seemingly becoming increasingly frustrated.Two days after the estimate was discussed, Martin Hall wrote to Clive Uden at No. 10 saying the Chancellor had instructed that the majority of the work in the property would not proceed “until we had a received a reply from No. 10 and the Chancellor had seen it”. 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. Show more Later, in his memoir, Lord Howe, who is best known for resigning from Mrs Thatcher’s cabinet in 1990, revealed Mr Healey had been the first person to ring him following his appointment and said his wife, Edna, had some advice for Lady Howe about the kitchen.“She urged Elspeth to insist, as a condition of our occupancy, that these features might be put right,” he wrote. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the kitchen of her flat at 10 Downing StreetCredit:PA Wire The Chancellor would like to proceed with at least some of this work. I am sorry to nag you about this – but time is slipping byMartin Hall He added later that Mrs Healey was “certainly right about the kitchen”, which had an “antiquated institutional-sized gas cooker and surely the first dishwashing machine ever made, which persistently leaked”.Now, files released at The National Archives in Kew, west London, have shown that despite Treasury staff keeping Number 10 in the loop about required changes, Mrs Thatcher was reluctant to get involved due to how “sensitive expenditure of this kind can be”. Most people would expect top government buildings to have state-of-the-art kitchens, complete with modern equipment to ensure a minister’s every need can be fulfilled at the push of a button.But newly released documents reveal Lord Howe of Aberavon had to battle with Margaret Thatcher in a bid to get the 11 Downing Street kitchen updated.Lord Howe moved into the property in 1979 after being appointed Chancellor – but files show that despite months of pleading by Treasury officials, the Prime Minister was reluctant to give permission for some of the work in the property to go ahead.He was determined to get the kitchen updated after being pre-warned about it by his defeated Labour predecessor Denis Healey, who, in an unexpected phone call, described the room as “positively antediluvian, [with] iron gas rings, antique sinks and somber décor”. In December that year, he wrote to Colin Peterson, also at No. 10, complaining that three months had passed but there had been no response – despite three follow-up telephone calls. Meanwhile, one member of staff questioned whether the telephone system should be louder because Lady Howe was “hard of hearing”. Lord Howe, who died last year, revealed later that it was his wife’s interior designer sister, Mary, who in the end “organised an attractive, not too elaborate kitchen/breakfast room, which looked straight down Downing Street”.But he confessed that during the 11 years of living in a government-provided house, his family was forced to think about how to “strike the right balance” by “maintaining a historic house, without incurring odium for living it up”.David Cameron later moved into the larger flat above No 11 Downing Street, spending a further £25,000 doing up the kitchen, which, during his time, included an American-style fridge freezer, modern hood cooker and £795 marble table. His Chancellor, George Osborne, instead lived in the smaller flat at No 10.
Martin Rogers’ children have been training for triathlons since they were youngCredit:Jay Williams for The Telegraph “I prequalified last year as I was British champion, then Oscar and Tabby qualified and Charlotte missed out by one place because she was beaten by her little sister by eight seconds,” father of four Mr Rogers said. A British family are set to make history when all four of them compete for Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships at the same time.Dubbed Britain’s fittest family, the Rogers are set to put the Brownlee brothers in the shade when father Martin, 50, daughters Charlotte, 22, and Tabby, 21, and son Oscar, 17, head for the contest in Rotterdam.The fitness fanatics are following in their father’s footsteps, as Martin, a leisure centre manager, has competed for Great Britain seven times and last year won the British Championships.All three youngsters, from Somerset, have been training for triathlons since they were young and have worked in their father’s leisure centre as lifeguards, while pursuing sporting careers.Sibling rivalry has spurred the youngsters on and this year saw younger sister Tabby steal her elder sister’s place in the GB team after she beat her by eight seconds.Determined not to let the side down, Charlotte managed to turn her fortunes around and gained a last minute place in the GB team when she came second in the Redcar Triathlon. The father and siblings near their home in SomersetCredit:Jay Williams for The Telegraph “Her last chance to join us was Redcar just a few weeks ago and she came second and got a place. It was our goal at the start of the year to try and get GB places and to be going together means the world.”They are all very talented, I’m so proud of them. We are all very competitive, we will be competing with the best in the world and I know it will be hard but they are all so determined.”The girls are very close but very competitive and they are very similar in abilities so it will be a close run thing between them. There is quite a rivalry between them. Tabby is stronger are running and Charlotte at swimming so it will come down to the bike race.”The girls will be in the same race and their father and brother will be in different ones due to their age brackets.The races will take place in Rotterdam in September. Although Mr Rogers may have almost three decades of triathlons under his belt, his son says he usually beats him.Oscar added: “I just used to train with my dad when I was younger and ended up taking part. My dad and I are pretty equal now but I usually beat him.”When asked who might do best, Mr Rogers admitted: “Possibly Oscar edges us all out, he has the bragging rights in the household.” Mr Rogers said added: “I have been doing triathlons for 25 years, this will be my seventh time competing for GB.”The kids have all followed in my footsteps. They are sport mad and have all worked as lifeguards at the leisure entre. We try and train together when we can. My wife is the only one who doesn’t compete. She’s our support crew.” 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.
Aerial shots show no water in Bisham at premises including the sports centre, even though the map shows they floodedCredit:Mike Post 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. The light purple shows flooding in Bisham that locals say never happened Credit:Environment Agency Flood maps published by the Environment Agency are so inaccurate that they are significantly distorting house prices, homeowners have claimed.Bisham and Marlow flood warden Mike Post has been fighting since 2014 to have the maps redrawn after they showed whole rows of homes besieged with water, when none had been affected in the storms of that year or 2003.The map of the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire villages also currently includes details of a deluge in 2002 that never happened and places businesses and churches within the Thames flood zone, even though they remained dry.“This preposterously inaccurate map includes many, many features which demonstrably did not flood such as my own house and garden,” said Mr Post.“The map incorrectly shows whole swathes of Bisham and Marlow as being within the 2014 flood outline. The map has a whole area of fields underwater which was not the case.“In addition the 2003 flood outline is still in error, wrongly showing properties which did not flood whilst excluding properties which did.“A Government Agency publishing false information on historic flooding has serious consequences.“Property owners or potential purchasers will be misled about flooding history of a property with the possibility of significant distortion of property values.” The Environment Agency said the maps used to computer modelling to represent the ‘worst case scenario’ but has agreed to update the 2003 flooding data and said a review of laser-mapping data is underway to make sure the maps are accurate.An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Marlow has a long history of flooding, which is why we are working with local councils to build an £8 million flood scheme to protect hundreds of homes in the town.“We update our flood risk maps every three months with the best available data and use them as part of our planning – but final decisions about where we build new flood schemes are made with the local community, taking into account other potential sources of flooding.” When Mr Post contacted the Environment Agency in 2014 the organisation agreed to change the maps, claiming he had a ‘valid point.’He was also back by Theresa May’s office, as Bisham is part of the Prime Minister’s constituency. But despite admitting the error, nothing had altered when they were redrawn in 2015.The Environment Agency bases much of its data on laser-mapping, which uses aerial scans to record the topography of the area. However locals claim that the method does not paint an accurate picture of what happened on the ground.At a meeting of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Flood Liaison Group this week, residents of Wraysbury, Cookham and, Datchet in Berkshire also complained that their maps were grossly inaccurate. The area is home to Andrew Strauss, the former England cricket captain and television presented and naturalist Steve Backshall.Mr Post added: “It is quite clear that in the case of Bisham and Marlow, the Environment Agency is incapable of using Lidar technology effectively.“It is absolutely unacceptable for the Environment Agency to publish false information on flooding and to leave it in the public domain.“Can we be sure that the false historic flood information has not also been published with similar gross errors all over the country? The Historic Flood Map should be withdrawn immediately.” A picture showing the bottom of Mr Post’s lane at the peak of flooding. Water never reached his house Credit:Mike Post
A spokesman said: “Enquiries by officers from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command are ongoing.”Worboys was given an indeterminate prison sentence when he was convicted in 2009 and told he must serve a minimum eight years in jail. He was convicted of one rape, five sexual assaults and 12 charges of drugging women. “If his legal representative said it is not reasonable then that argument would normally go back to the original parole Board panel.”The Telegraph understands the original plan was for Worboys to live in a bail hostel in London where it was felt authorities could keep a closer watch on him, not least for his own protection.A Parole Board spokesman said: “The Parole Board is required to ensure all conditions are necessary and proportionate, while protecting the public and victims.”As a party to the parole process, all offenders have the legal right to make representations as to their licence conditions, but the ultimate decision rests with the Parole Board – which will always prioritise public protection.” John Worboys will be asked if he objects to wearing an electronic tag when he is eventually released from prison.Worboys, 60, dubbed the ‘black cab rapist’, was due to be freed at the end of last month after being granted parole. The Telegraph has learnt that the original conditions for Worboys’ release allowed him to live in London and without an electronic tag. The Parole Board judged him no longer a risk to the public at a hearing in December despite complaints that he drugged and sexually assaulted more than 100 women while working as a London taxi driver.Victims have now protested to the Parole Board about the terms of his release. They are demanding he is tagged and is banned from London where most of his victims live.But Worboys must be asked whether he objects before more stringent conditions can be put in place. His lawyers can contest tougher licencing on the basis that nothing about his circumstances have changed since the Parole Board first agreed them. John Worboys, in his days working as a stripper before becoming a black cab driver The hearing will pave the way for a full-blown legal review, probably within a fortnight. If the victims lose the case Worboys will then be eligible for release by the end of February, a month later than originally planned. Victims hoping to keep Worboys, a former stripper, in jail will hope that – should the judicial review fail – police and prosecutors can bring further charges against him.The solicitor for the two women bringing the review has passed details of five new victims to the Metropolitan Police. Harriet Wistrich, of law firm Birnberg Peirce, said: “We have passed five new cases on to the police which have never been investigated. We have also asked police to look at cases that were investigated at the time but not prosecuted with a view to new prosecutions.” Ms Wistrich added: “It’s incredibly brave of them. Obviously no one wants to really dig all this stuff up again. All these cases have striking similarities to the cases publicised.”The earliest of the fresh complaints dates back to 1999.Scotland Yard is already actively looking at one fresh allegation. A spokesman said the force could not comment on the extra cases referred by Ms Wistrich. Worboys’ black cab Worboys arriving in court in 2008 in handcuffsCredit:John Taylor A Parole Board source said: “Tagging was discussed initially but wasn’t on the original licence. They [victims] have gone for additional requests. Worboys will now be asked: ‘do you want to be tagged or would you be against being tagged’. Two victims have lodged a judicial review of the decision to release Worboys, one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders. The High Court is expected at a hearing on Wednesday February 7 to agree to disclose all material in the case.Lawyers for the two women will need to persuade the court that Worboys’ release was irrational because of the danger they insist he still poses.The parole Board is standing by its decision but will not contest the disclosure of documents that led to granting parole to Worboys. 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.
A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman added that two fire engines and 10 firefighters were responding to the incident which involved “a number of cars”. Eyewitness Warren Davies told Birmingham Live: “I saw a big ball of fire. It was coming from the three main cars.”I heard the popping of the tyres and windows and all the police turned up.”There’s a hole in the fence. I come here everyday and that fence has never been like that. It’s obviously been deliberate.”Police conducted a finger tip search of the area and searching under parked cars near the Category B men’s jail. 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. Police are hunting for two armed, masked men seen setting fire to up to ten vehicles at Birmingham Prison.The men were seen spraying liquid on the row of cars.When prison officers approached , one is said to have pulled out a gun and warned them to stay back.The men then lit the liquid, causing the cars to burst into flames, before escaping through a hole in a fence they made with an angle-grinder.Detective Constable James Farrell from West Midlands Police CID said: “Firearms officers were at the prison within minutes, but the offenders had already fled.“No-one has been injured, but prison staff were understandably alarmed by the incident.“The motive for the attack is unclear, but we are trawling CCTV to trace the car which made off from the scene.” We are responding to an incident on a car park outside Birmingham prison where several cars have been set on fire.There are no reported injuries.Two masked men, reportedly armed with a firearm, were seen to make off in a vehicle. More information to follow when we have it.— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) 7 August 2018
Karen Leonard, GMB national officer, said: “These stories from the frontline by GMB’s school staff members are truly disturbing” 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. Just over half said they had experienced violence at work, with more than 770 saying they were attacked every week.Other examples include staff having faeces thrown at them, being strangled by an eight year old, while several who have been punched, scratched, bitten or spat at. School crossing patrols reported motorists throwing eggs at them and even driving cars at them.One teaching assistant told how a pupil left the school premises and they “had to use positive handling to ensure their safety”.“This resulted in the parents reporting me to the police, even though I was trying to stop the child from running into a busy car park,” they said. “The child was 7 years old.”Karen Leonard, GMB national officer, said: “These stories from the frontline by GMB’s school staff members are truly disturbing.”They can face a litany of violence that would constitute criminal offences in other jobs. No-one should be physically threatened at work. Violence from parents in particular is completely inexcusable.”School support staff love their jobs, love the kids and want to carry on doing their best for the children.”All they ask is their school backs them up when it does happen – and takes the common-sense steps needed to protect them.” A teaching assistant lost her unborn baby after being kicked in the stomach by an unruly pupil, a survey by the GMB union has found.More than half of school support staff have suffered violence at work, with some threatened by parents, according to the poll of almost 4,800 school staff members.Other incidents include staff being stabbed, spat at, punched, bitten or having their hair cut off, said the union. The union’s survey revealed a catalogue of violent incidents involving children as young as eight. One teaching assistant said: “I was pregnant and a child kicked me really hard I nearly fell down. After that incident I started bleeding and lost my baby.”She said she then “fell into deep depression” adding that: “The school did nothing to support me. I went back to work after work once I recovered from miscarriage.”Another respondent told how: “I have had a child try to stab me in the neck with a pair of scissors”. One said they were “given concussion by a large 19 year old boy” who “punched [me] in the centre of the head”.
The sites typically then said the process had failed and the person had to ‘verify’ their Fortnite account was real by handing over various personal information.They often also promised children the chance to win a new smartphone or games console if they entered theirs or their parents’ details.Ch Insp Carroll added: “We say you have to listen to your instincts and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. So if you are being offered these V-Bucks for a discounted rate it is potentially someone looking to defraud you.”Since its release, Fortnite has become a huge hit with its free Battle Royale game, in which up to 100 people compete online in a last-man-standing shootout, especially popular.The game’s maker, Epic Games, recently revealed Fortnite now has more than 200 million players worldwide. The studio has previously warned players that online offers of free V-Bucks are not legitimate and not to participate in them.Facebook and YouTube have since removed all the scam pages and videos found by the Sunday Telegraph. Chief Inspector Paul Carroll, of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: “Clearly you expect there to be more purchases of Fortnite over the Christmas period, it’s the in thing for gamers. So it is certainly a time for parents to be vigilant and get their knowledge up to speed of what it entails.“You have always got to question requests for personal financial information.”Figures seen by the Sunday Telegraph showed that between May and November this year there had been 50 reports of fraud to the hotline involving Fortnite.This was a rise on previous figures released by the centre that showed there were 35 crimes reported between September last year, when the game was released, and April.The centre warned that many of the frauds came from children being tricked by scams on social media promisings free ways to get Fortnite’s in-game currency, called V-Bucks.V-Bucks can be bought with real money or earned playing the game and allow players to buy new items for their online Fortnite characters such as costumes, weapons or dance moves. A spokesman for YouTube said: “We use teams of highly trained content reviewers to determine whether videos violate our Community Guidelines and are committed to removing this offending content quickly.”Facebook declined to comment. The Sunday Telegraph found a number of Fortnite scam sites on Facebook and YouTube, which typically took people to a third-party website where they were told they could get free V-Bucks by simply entering their Fortnite account username. Children playing the world’s most popular computer game are being preyed on by criminals trying to extort money out of them, the police’s fraud arm has warned. Action Fraud has warned that scammers are using Fortnite, an online multiplayer “shoot em up” game with 125 million players worldwide, to trick young players into handing over their parents’ bank details.The fraud reporting centre, which is run by the City of London Police, said it had seen a more than 40 percent rise in crimes involving the hit video game, with victims losing on average £110 each time.Fortnite, which is certified as being suitable for children aged 12 and over, is set in a dystopian world where most of the Earth’s population has suddenly disappeared, living tough conditions and zombie-like creatures to roam the Earth. Players are among the remaining 2 per cent whose job it is to survive and return the earth to normal. The scam works by convincing players to leave the game and enter a third party website, where they can buy “free” online currency which they can use in the game to buy items like weapons and clothes. To “verify their account is real” players are asked to hand over bank details. Parents are now being urged to be vigilant in the run-up to Christmas and keep an eye on what their children are doing online. Fortnite has amassed more than 200 million players since it launched last yearCredit:Fortnite 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.