The Guardian: T20 Blast Final – Ben Cox wallops Worcestershire past Sussex to T20 Blast glory

Rapids chase down Sharks’ 157 with nine balls to spare
Cox smashes winning runs and finishes 46 not out

Given the day out had begun almost eight hours previously, it was a show of restraint that we were a full 15 minutes into the final before we saw the first conga line. A similarly disciplined Worcestershire bowling performance meant the Finals Day debutants were crowned champions of the Vitality Blast, chasing down Sussex’s 157 with nine balls to spare.

Continue reading The Guardian: T20 Blast Final – Ben Cox wallops Worcestershire past Sussex to T20 Blast glory

The Guardian: T20 Blast Final – Gathering of the unfashionable proving more popular than ever

Edgbaston will be full for a Finals Day that promises to show some of the game’s less heralded sides at their Twenty20 best

Surrey have already been crowned county champions, England have wrapped up a Test series victory over India and the football season is back in full flow. Now, three weeks after the Vitality Blast’s quarter-finals, Somerset, the Worcestershire Rapids, Lancashire Lightning and the Sussex Sharks descend on Birmingham on Saturday for Finals Day.

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The Guardian: Royal London final – Forty years of hurt, and Kent will still be dreaming

Hampshire 330-7; Kent 269. Hampshire win by 61 runs
Sam Billings scores 75 off 60 but four run-outs cost Kent

Forty years of hurt, and Kent will still be dreaming. While England’s footballers look to rectify 52 years without a trophy, Kent’s last one-day triumph was in 1978 and the wait continues. A Rilee Rossouw century, four run-outs and an unbeaten 75 by their former captain Sam Northeast denied Kent a title once more, with Hampshire ultimately easing to a 61-run victory.

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The Guardian: Hampshire stars face Kent’s home-grown underdogs in Royal London final

First Lord’s final between the sides since 1992
James Vince and Heino Kuhn have been prolific run-scorers

The human interest stories for Saturday’s Royal London One-Day Cup final are varied and many. Kent’s 42-year-old Darren Stevens will be negotiating the Lord’s slope in what is his 21st year of first-class cricket. The former Kent captain Sam Northeast, a Hampshire winter signing, will be going up against his restless successor Sam Billings, who, in a quiet season, has a point to prove.

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The Guardian: Australia begin new era with low-key win over Sussex at convivial Hove

Australia 277-9; Sussex 220 – Australia win by 57 runs
Marcus Stoinis’s steady hundred sets up victory

There are some sporting spectacles where crowds are attracted more for the occasion than the sport itself. This one-day tour match between Sussex and Australia, innocuous enough when the fixture was first scheduled, was one such occasion. Sometimes they are drawn to the presence of a great player, or one on the precipice of a major landmark. This match, however, was notable not for who was here but who was not.

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The Roar: Taking the Mickey – Pakistan’s perennial plot twist

A lot has been made of England’s transformation since their beleaguered 2015 World Cup campaign Down Under.

Back then, their 50-over tournament came to a fitting culmination as England scraped a win in a rain-ridden dead rubber against minnows Afghanistan. In effect, their revival started as all good English revivals do – drowning in a beer-swilled haze of good intentions.

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The Roar: The art of the deal – Cricket Australia’s pitch perfect or aggressive declaration?

Just days following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union last year, the Financial Times ran the ominous headline: “The UK has no trade negotiators”.

After decades of being part of one big – for some, too big – club, the UK now found itself on the other side of the table, only this time without the negotiators.

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The Guardian: Tyler Wright – a wave of change for sport’s gender pay gap?

The Australian surfer’s achievement this year remains a case of despite, not because, of the support female athletes receive, but her success may herald a wave of change

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The Guardian: More girls are now playing football than netball. And that’s a healthy competition

Gone are the days when a footy-loving girl was told to hang up her shorts for a netball skirt. But that doesn’t mean one sport is better than another

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The Age: The win that must change a nation

Women excel in so many sports yet investment and belief in female athletes lags behind. Jockey Michelle Payne’s win should be a game changer.

She’s only gone and won it. In a paradox like no other, Australian racing’s greatest prize has been won by a person on the field that the whole sport has for years contrived to belittle and objectify. Michelle Payne’s unlikely victory in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup fittingly caps a year of tremendous sporting achievement for Australia’s women. Now here’s to capitalising on it.