August 12, 2020

Melia makes successful return

first_imgAlan Freeman was the only golfer to play to his (dodgy?) handicap and took the top podium position by two clear shots.  We welcomed back Gordon Melia for the start of his annual visit, and he’s obviously been practicing back in the U.K. as he took second place on a count back ahead of Geoff Parker, who after a steady round suffered a disaster on the par 3 sixteenth hole when his ball plugged in an impossible lie in the bunker, resulting in a triple bogey.1st Alan Freeman (3) net 722nd Gordon Melia (17) net 743rd Geoff Parker (14) net 74Near Pins:  Colin Greig and Alan Freeman (2).Wednesday, Sept. 26, The Emerald – StablefordWe arrived at Emerald to find the car park almost deserted and the course eerily quiet – and it didn’t take long to find out why.  We last visited Emerald four weeks ago and the approaches to all the greens at that time had suffered severe water damage.  Unfortunately things haven’t improved, and in fact have even deteriorated, with the ground staff attempting to re-turf the approaches with some very dodgy turf.Gordon Melia – three second places in his first three games back.This popular course is now in the worst condition in recent memory, and there seems little chance that it can improve in the near future, so we’ll reluctantly have to take it off the schedule for a month or two.Predictably, the round progressed quickly and the first four-ball were back in the clubhouse in well under 4 hours, leaving ample time for refreshments in nearby Bang Chang.New boy Al Collinge managed to cope with the difficult conditions better than most and was the only golfer to better his handicap on the day to take the winner’s prize, also collecting the additional bonus of the second KPK food voucher. Gordon Melia came in second place for the second game in succession ahead of Alan Freeman.1st Al Collinge (15) 37pts2nd Gordon Melia (17) 36pts3rd Alan Freeman (3) 35ptsNear Pins:  Alan Freeman, Lee Butler, Gordon Melia and Tony Robbins.Friday, Sept. 28, Treasure Hill – StablefordProspects for the game looked bleak as we had breakfast at The Ranch, with continuous, drizzling rain outside, but a smaller group than normal decided to take the chance and set off to Treasure Hill.  The rain continued all the way up the 331, but miraculously stopped as we arrived at the course, and we tee’d off without delay under cool overcast skies.The weather improved as the round progressed and by the end we were playing in bright sunny conditions – such is the unpredictability of the weather in Amazing Thailand.The course was damp but in good shape, but there are continuous improvements taking place and today the surrounds of several greens were being re-turfed, but unlike at Emerald there was no major problem.  One has to wonder just how good this course is going to be in the future when all the works are eventually completed.Paul Smith rediscovered his scoring touch to win the honours on the day, beating Gordon Melia on a count back.  No doubt Gordon will be suffering nightmares over the weekend after managing to miss an 8 inch putt!1st Paul Smith (1) 35pts2nd Gordon Melia (17) 35pts3rd Dave Ashman (14) 34ptsNear Pins:  Dave Ashman, Geoff Parker, Gordon Melia and Paul Smith.Gerry Cooney won the September Golfer of the Month trophy for the second month running, even though he was absent for the final three games following his departure to the U.K. for further medical treatment on his shoulder – how good is he going to be when he gets that sorted out?  I guess we’ll find out when he returns in November.Note:  The Bunker Boys are a PSC affiliated golf society who now play out of The Ranch bar on Pattaya 3rd Road (in front of the fire station, and almost opposite the Buffalo Bar).  We play three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so if you enjoy a fun day out, and a friendly but competitive golf competition why not come and join us.We meet at The Ranch at 9 a.m. for breakfast and transportation, and new players are always welcome.  Contact Buff on 086 046 5091 or 080 605 5663 for all enquiries. You can find all the news, schedules and results on our website at http://www.bunkersociety.com. PSC golf Bunker Boys @ The RanchMonday, Sept. 24, Green Valley – MedalA slight delay as tee’d off behind two other local societies, and a longer round than we’ve become accustomed to recently, but still a pleasant day.  The course was in good shape and although we elected to play ‘pick, clean and place’, following overnight rain, it really wasn’t necessary. last_img read more

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12 year olds selected to represent Thailand at Football for Friendship…

first_imgIttipolchana Kaewsawad.Ittipolchana Kaewsawad and Preechayan Piyachati­wongs, 12 year old football enthusiasts from Bangkok, have been selected as Thailand’s representatives at the global Football For Friendship (F4F) social programme.  The F4F pro­gramme, supported by Gazprom and FIFA aims at developing youth football and a healthy lifestyle.  Thailand joins the programme for the first time and will participate alongside 210 other countries and regions.Preechayan Piyachatiwongs.Ittipolchana will join young footballers from around the world in Moscow in June 2018.  The children will be part of 32 international teams and play against each other in the Gazprom Football For Friendship international championship.  The friendly tournament aims to bring children together from around the world and celebrate the unifying spirit of football.Preechayan will act as the young journalist and report on all the local and global activities of the F4F pro­gramme as part of the international children’s press center.  He will also spread awareness on the Nine Values (friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour) of the F4F programme.The sixth season of the programme will conclude with a visit by the participating children to the opening ceremony and the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Speaking on the selection of the young ambassadors by the Football Association of Thailand, International Relations Officer Parkpoom Potivetgul said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Itti­polchana and Preechayan to build ties of friendship among children from around the world through the beautiful game of football. We wish our young ambassadors all the best and look forward to their contribution in promoting the key values of the programme, in Russia, as well as in Thailand.”last_img read more

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Fitzgerald in sparkling form at Emerald

first_imgJomtien Golf with the IPGCMonday, August 26, Mountain Shadow – StablefordJomtien Golf, The Haven and the Pattaya Golf Society all unknowingly booked this same course here today but this did not cause a problem for any of our groups. There had been a few discussions over the previous few days as to what tees to play from here.  Our normal ruling has always been one tee from the back, so there was talk of playing from the whites for a change instead of the blues.  On the card the whites are 5,840 yards and the blues 6,280 but as we approached the first tee the marshall informed us that the majority of the blue tees had been moved forward to the white tee positions for the day, so we teed off from the blues once again!Rod Howett. The two divisional cut today was 4-17 in division 1 and 22+ in division 2 and in his last game before returning to Africa for four weeks, Paul Butler returned a winning score of 38 points to win division 1 ahead of Steve Richardson in second one point behind and Lindsay Phillips took third with 36.The Welsh boy, David Phillips, was the winner in division 2 with 34 points and Alan Bissell finished second 5 points behind after beating Rodney Howett on a 15/11 back nine count back.Near pins were won by Paul Butler, Lindsay Phillips, Roar Berger, David Phillips, Fred Temminck and Anna Marie Usher.In the ‘2’s in Division 1, Harry Vincenzi and Terry Madsen birdied the 5th and Paul Butler the 8th to share the pot, while Anna Marie Usher was the only winner in division 2 with a birdie on the 5th as well.Wednesday, August 28, The Emerald – StablefordThis was our first visit here for more than seven weeks due to the improvement work being done to the course and there were still cordoned off areas approaching the greens, some of which were marked GUR and some others not, but we played the nearest point of relief for a drop on these areas.Billy Fitzgerald topped the first division with 40 points; a full eight points ahead of Lindsay Phillips in second place who beat Ian Usher on a 15/14 back-nine count back.  These scores were remarkable today as all of the white tees had been taken back just in front of the blue markers.  The shortest par 3 today was 163 yards off the white tees and in the nearest the pins there were four prizes left unclaimed.Lindsay Phillips.In division two the cockney boy, Rod Howett, came in with 36 points to take first place, beating Countback Burnie by seven points, and in third place on 28 was Alan Bissell who beat David Phillips on a 17/15 back-nine count back after both came in with 28 points each.Near today went to Billy Fitzgerald (2), Terry Madsen and Paul Hartley.In the ‘2’s, Billy Fitzgerald birdied the 7th to win the division 1 pot and in division 2 there was a rollover to the following Wednesday.For the majority it was an enjoyable return here and we will be back in three weeks.  Today was bon voyage to Steve Richardson, back to Oz for a few months, have a good trip Steve!Friday, August 30, Eastern Star – StablefordDespite heavy rain here on the Thursday, the course conditions today were almost perfect and the group was split into two flights with the cut coming at 5-17 and 19 plus.After a three month break in Ireland, there was a warm welcome return for Frank Kelly who took the top podium position in division 1 with 37 points.  Kari Kuparinen also returned today and still playing off 5 he came in second on 34 while Bill Bertram beat Tony Thorne on a 17/16 back-nine count back for third after they both finished on 33 points.Kari Kuparinen.Bristol Bob, a.k.a. Bob Poole, returned from China and in his first game for many months he took third place in division 2 with 32 points.  The organizer, sinking every putt on the green in one shot, finished second with 35 and the winner with 37 was Iain Walsh playing off 20 (and 19 next week!)Near pins went to Arthur Hancock, Kari Kuparinen, Terry Madsen, Tony Thorne, Bruce Gardner, Rod Howett and Sid Ottaway.Rod Howett secured sole possession of the ‘2’s pot in the second division after a 12ft putt on the 166 yard par-three 6th, while Arthur Hancock, Terry Madsen and Tony Thorne split the takings in division 1.Note:  Our Chiang Mai trip is fully confirmed now – departing on October 19-20 for one week with 3/4 rounds of golf there with a variety of accommodation preferences and the four golf courses still under review.  Please contact Glyn or Lyn or sign up at Siam Cats in Soi 5, Jomtien.last_img read more

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The lady takes the medal

first_imgJ.P Thomas (center) with Fred Alan & Steve.The Golf Club weekly reviewMonday, July 31, Silky Oak (white tees) – Monthly Medal1st J.P. Thomas (36) net 632nd Jimmy Dundon (19) net 66 T3rd Alan McKendry (12) net 73T3rd Fred Birch (14) net 73It was another Monday of uncertainty but we happily ended up at Silky Oaks for our medal comp for July.Alan McKendry and Fred Birch had to share a podium space but both were at the 73 net score mark.  Second place was 7 shots better, and won by Jim Dundon firing a fine 66 out there.  We can’t leave out the near pin and Steve Wentford took that prize here today.It was ladies day here and we had our very first lady winner for our Monthly Medal with Jareeporn Thomas shooting her best ever, a net 63.  J.P. as she is known, just started playing in the last year and is improving her game by the month.Tuesday, August 1, Mt. Shadow (white tees) – Stableford 1st Jimmy Dundon (19) 41pts2nd Koichi Takamoto (27) 29pts3rd Chris Bailey (14) 28ptsMountain Shadow is always a favourite, except for this time as we only had 1 group out today.  We didn’t even bother with a comp and just had a friendly, relaxed knock about for a change.  The course was in excellent condition, just as we had heard it would be.Thursday, August 3, Silky Oak (white tees) – StablefordT1st J.P. Thomas (37) 40ptsT1st Jimmy Dundon (19) 40pts3rd Steve Coughlan (36) 38ptsA massive four groups were out there today, wreaking havoc on those already overworked greenskeepers.Although he doesn’t remember it, Andy Leach got the Caddy Smile near pin and his playing partners verified he walked off with only a par.  Stevie Coughlan did well and turned in a 38 for third.It turned out a rematch from Monday as J.P. and Jimmy went shot for shot to end up tied at the magic 40 point mark. Well played (again) you two.Friday, August 4, Khao Kheow B & C (white tees) – Stableford1st Bob Catlow (18) 40pts2nd Renay Kippen (11) 35pts3rd David Ferris (16) 34ptsOne of the most popular and beautiful courses in Pattaya is Khao Kheow and it was the destination for a perfect round of quality golf.Dave Ferris made his usual podium appearance but this time only in third place.  Visitor Renay Klippen did him one point better and took second with 35.After 7 weeks of playing with The Golf Club, our Aussie mate Bob Catlow finally came good with a win and he did it in style with a big round of 40 points!  Bob will be back home by the time you read this but is planning to be back by early November for another session in Pattaya, the home of golf in Thailand!last_img read more

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Overtime

first_imgBILL NEAL:10—A “Super Bad” weekend in Pittsburgh to be sure!No.1—Pitt basketball team gets the ball handed to them by N.C. State.No. 2—The Pitt football team plays Santa Claus and gives Houston victory out of defeat.No. 3—The Penguins lost. That’s all I got on that.No. 4—Your Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t show up…period!last_img

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Penguins at a crossroads as Sullivan takes over

first_imgPittsburgh Penguins’ Mike Sullivan stands behind Sidney Crosby (87) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Pittsburgh, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Mike Sullivan’s voice is unmistakable. Loud. Authoritative. Animated.And, the Pittsburgh Penguins hope, an alarm clock.One of the NHL’s marquee draws is in the midst of an identity crisis more than a third of the way into a season that began with typically high expectations, goals that at the moment appear impossibly out of reach. The Penguins aren’t scoring. They occasionally aren’t defending and _ perhaps most troubling _ the magic they once summoned so easily seems to have disappeared.“I think we’re bottom of the league in goals scored this year and I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t be, right?” forward Phil Kessel asked, only somewhat rhetorically.Pittsburgh’s 4-1 loss to Washington on Monday night in Sullivan’s debut dropped the Penguins to 15-11-3. They remain in a tie for ninth in the Eastern Conference and are 27th in goals per game despite ranking fifth in shots. The power play littered with All-Stars is 28th, ahead of only Calgary and Arizona. Not exactly the neighborhood Pittsburgh planned to be living in as the New Year approaches.Enter Sullivan, who spent a decade grinding out a career as a defensive-minded forward before getting into coaching. He now finds himself trying to get Pittsburgh’s highly capable, occasionally highly strung players working in unison.Nowhere are Pittsburgh’s struggles more evident than in Sidney Crosby’s prolonged funk. The two-time Hart Trophy winner is on pace for career lows in goals and points, and his team appears destined for a four-month battle just to reach the postseason let alone make a serious run at Stanley Cup to bookend the one he and fellow superstar Evgeni Malkin won in 2009 back when a dynasty seemed almost inevitable.It never happened thanks to a mix of injuries, bad luck and a handful of meek flameouts in the playoffs. The shine on one of hockey’s biggest success stories has dimmed. While the team has played to a full house for nearly eight years and counting, it’s one of the few constants for a franchise in flux.Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero, the coach and general manager who helped make the Penguins one of the league’s must-see attractions, are gone. Forward Pascal Dupuis, long the glue in a dressing room of diverse personalities, retired abruptly last week due to lingering health concerns surrounding the blood clotting issue that cut short his 2014-15 season. Defenseman Rob Scuderi, brought in more than two years ago to provide the blue line with some needed grit, became a pariah as his game deteriorated and was shipped off to Chicago on Monday night for Trevor Daley.Co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle are shopping the club, at least when the notoriously private Lemieux isn’t taking to Twitter to shoot down speculation of a rift between himself and Crosby.The day-to-day drama that seems to follow the Penguins wherever they go aside _ on Tuesday alone the Penguins said goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is out for a spell with a concussion and star-crossed forward Beau Bennett will miss at least a month with a shoulder injury _ the ever accessible Crosby allows “we have to be better.”Though general manager Jim Rutherford stressed “I certainly don’t think we’ve got a huge issue to fix here” when he fired Mike Johnston on Saturday after 18 largely ineffective months, he admitted he’s uncertain what kind of impact Sullivan will make.“We never know what a coaching change is going to do,” Rutherford said.Sullivan hit all the right notes during his first couple of days on the job, his heavy Boston accent echoing through the lower bowl of Consol Energy Center during his initial practice as he barked out drills, a stark departure from the thoughtful and decidedly more professorial Johnston.“We create an environment here that we inspire people to play,” he said. “That’s an energy that starts well before a puck drops. I want to create an environment here … where they want to come to the rink, where they want to work.”And if they don’t, Sullivan insists they will sit regardless of pedigree.“Those that play well will be rewarded with more play,” Sullivan said.If, that is, they play the right way. The Penguins led the league in scoring in 2012 and 2013 but have struggled to adjust as the NHL becomes more diluted due to an uptick in physical play that made open ice scarce. The power play is more vital than ever because of increasingly limited opportunities but Pittsburgh seems unable to shake the idea that every goal must be of the highlight-reel variety.“One of the things I am going to try and impress upon them is we can’t look for the perfect play,” Sullivan said.Sullivan would prefer the Penguins get the puck _ and themselves _ to the net as often as possible. It’s a message Johnston repeated constantly, one his players appeared to tune out. While Sullivan doesn’t believe Pittsburgh needs a massive overhaul, there are plenty of old habits he’d like to see kicked.Several of them were evident against Washington.While Penguins threw 45 shots at Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, few of them came from in close and rarely did Holtby have to deal with a black jersey in front of him as he searched for the puck. Malkin, who has easily been Pittsburgh’s best player outside of Fleury, ended one shift by lazily backhanding a centering pass instead of just sending the puck around the boards. The turnover led to a two-on-one the other way.It was an avoidable mistake, the kind Sullivan knows it’s his job to help eliminate. The last time Pittsburgh switched coaches during a season, three months later Bylsma was helping hoist the Stanley Cup. At this point, the Penguins will settle for a win at Boston on Wednesday.“We’ll focus on the process,” Sullivan said. “We’ll pull ourselves out of this.”The alarm is buzzing. It’s up to the Penguins to answer it.last_img read more

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Aliquippa 2016 state hoops title result of long, strong winning tradition

first_imgALIQUIPPA celebrates their 2nd straight WPIAL Class AA championship after they defeated Lincoln Park 49-45. (Photos by William McBride)HERSHEY, PA — A year ago this Spring, the Aliquippa High School boys basketball team lost the final game of what would’ve been the clinching game of the PIAA Class AA State title game. The gut-wrenching loss was the team’s only defeat of last season.Fast-forward to Sat., March 19, 2016 – many of those same Quips players from last year’s squad, were able to make amends and bring home the state title, miraculously in another undefeated season, going 30-0.In fact, during the past two school years – starting in the Fall of 2014 through Spring 2016, the Aliquippa boys football and basketball teams have won an unbelievable 86 games, with just two defeats.In that brief period the boys football and basketball teams have earned three Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Association League (WPIAL) titles and one Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) state crown.The 2015-16 football team was also undefeated, until losing in the final-game, PIAA 2A state championship match last December against Southern Columbia High of Catawissa, Pa. Interestingly, both football and hoop teams are largely comprised of the same players. Very talented young men, to say the least.Still, for a such a small former steel town which only has a population of about 9,000 inhabitants, it’s remarkable that this Pittsburgh outskirt can remain so athletically competitive, when each school year, the entire student body annually enrolls a minimal number of boys. Even though there’s such a very small pool of players to choose from, the talent and skill-base remains very high.Therefore, one has to wonder how and why such profound athletic prowess seems to occur at this small, urban, economically-challenged Beaver County school — year after year.In speaking with several long-term residents of the Aliquippa borough, it’s noted that school pride, especially athletic success is bred from the smallest tykes throughout their formative years.“It’s a never-lose attitude that starts before kids even reach Pop Warner leagues,” says Philip Billingslea, a WAMO-100 radio executive and native Quippian, whose father, Richard Billingslea, played on Aliquippa’s first unbeaten state basketball title team. That legendary squad defeated a tough York High School (63-51) for the 1949 PIAA crown at Philadelphia’s Palestra fieldhouse, according to a March 1980 Beaver County Times article by iconic sports writer Joe TronzoThe 1949 team, which enjoyed a 29-0 record, also starred Dr. Larry Frank, who would later become President of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Dr. Frank was also the first Black named as director of the NCAA and served as president of the South Western Athletic Conference (SWAC).It’s often stated that the ’49 team is the bedrock and foundation of what would become Aliquippa’s long-lasting sports success. That team also featured Dr. Mickey Zernich, Clarence Shaw, former Aliquippa high school principal Jerry Montini, and was coached by Sam Milanovich.But the current hoop squad was able to outdo their older counterparts by eclipsing the long-held undefeated mark, which stood 67 years, until March 19 when Coach Nick Lackovich’s 2015-16 squad copped the state crown by going undefeated and breaking the school record by defeating Philadelphia-based Mastery Charter North 68-49 at the Giant Center in Hershey – the same venue where the Quips lost a year ago.Naturally Coach Lackovich says he’s more than proud to have coached this year’s team. After losing in last year’s final game and losing an undefeated season to eventual champion Conwell-Egan also of Philly, Lackovich said his returning players were not marching to any special rallying cry throughout the year. “We knew we left some goals on the table last year, and we had a good nucleus returning to achieve our goals,” said the three-year head coach. Prior to Lackovich taking over the boy’s team’s reign, the team was coached by Bobby Williams, who suffered three consecutive losing seasons, said Lackovich.In Lackovich’s hire, the school retrieved a native son, who played three years in the Quip basketball program. Lackovich said he became a symbolic keystone, sharing the legacy and stories of past Aliquippa athletes with incoming youngsters. During Lackovich’s sophomore season, he played with seniors Donnie Gipson and Maron Clark. Gipson would enjoy a successful career at West Virginia University, and a lengthy pro career in Australia.When asked why and how the Quips program experiences such ongoing phenomenal success, Lackovich credits “community pride and an internal will to succeed, at all costs. Most of these players are (family) related or close friends. Even the younger ones in elementary school, they’re already groomed with an attitude that they should not lose – they’re brought-up to win. When the kids graduate, it’s a next-in-line attitude,” said Lackovich who played college ball at Blue Mountain Community College (Pendleton, Oregon) and NAIA powerhouse, Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth).Many Aliquippa athletes developed their skills at the now-demolished Jones School Playground. Tajuan “Ty” Law (with the ball) is shown in a pickup game, before becoming a star cornerback at Michigan and a three-time Super Bowl champ with the New England Patriots. (Special Courier Photo)Billingslea equates the success to the competitive games held at the city’s Jones School (Elementary School) playground. “That’s where it all began. Jones School was similar to ‘The Rucker’ in Harlem,” he said. The 15th Street Playground roundball court in Beaver Falls had a similar allure, attracting the best ball players from throughout Beaver County to Eastern Ohio. The Jones School property has since been razed and no longer exists.Dr. Anthony Mitchell, a professor of African and African-American Studies at Penn State University Greater Allegheny, was a former athlete at nearby Beaver Falls High School, where he played football and basketball in the competitive WPIAL Section 3 4A basketball region from 1971 to 1974. Mitchell, a Geneva College (Beaver Falls) graduate, credits Aliquippa’s football and baskeball programs for its “remarkable success.” He adds that he thinks last year’s (hoop) squad may have been more talented, but this year’s team “was unselfish and committed to winning the state. We’re very proud of them,” he adds.Alex Johnson, a 1971 prep star at North Braddock Scott High (now merged with Woodland Hills H.S.), competed as an all-star WPIAL player when Pittsburgh’s City League ruled Western Pa. basketball hoop success. Johnson played with the likes of Schenley legends Maurice Lucas, Ricky Coleman, Robert “Jeep” and his brother Nathan “Sonny” Lewis; Oscar Jackson Jr. (Beaver Falls), Jonathan Marshall (Clairton) and Ulice Payne Jr. of Ringgold High. Johnson says he too is impressed with what the Quips are doing in the modern era.“No matter what league or era you play in, to run the table like they (Aliquippa) did, is phenomenal. I’ll put it simply like this: special players do special things. This team is very special,” added Johnson, who also enjoyed a solid career as a swing-forward at Robert Morris University.Eddie Jefferies, former New Pittsburgh Courier, Sports Editor, asks the question, “How can this small town continue to win in football and basketball? And, it shows in the people in the stands, when you attend their games. It’s an attitude, almost like they expect to win. I’ve also seen that type of attitude in towns like Clairton and Duquesne,” Jefferies recalls the lore of teams like Midland’s ’65 PIAA champs with Simmie Hill and Norm Van Lier, and the ’71 Schenley squad of Maurice Lucas and Ricky Coleman. While this year’s Allderdice team helped revive Pittsburgh’s City League’s legacy, Jefferies calls the 2007 State title Schenley team of DeJuan Blair and David Kennedy as one of the City League’s greatest compilations ever.But Coach Lackovich feels the City League’s dominance of past eras was destroyed during the rise of gang activity in many of Pittsburgh’s inner-city neighborhoods. “It really impacted many of the talented players who apparently affected by the violent lifestyles there,” he says. Jefferies agrees. “City kids can’t even play outside anymore. There’s too many factions, primarily the safety factors. The Ozanam League (inner-city youth league) had a way of bringing city kids from different neighborhoods together, so they would develop lasting friendships and connections – no reasons to shoot one another,” said Jefferies who was inducted into the Pittsburgh All-Sports Hall of Fame last October.In Aliquippa, the names who helped shape the town’s legacy, read like a who’s who in WPIAL history. Several became top NFL draft choices and went onto professional sports success. Names like Jarrett “Jabbo” Durham, Josh Lay, Dwight “Juice” Kenner, Jesse “Ghost” Stewart, Myron “Quarters” Walker, Chris “Love” Peacock, Sherman McBride, John Thomas (retired Aliquippa Schools Superintendent), Mike Jackson, Raphael “Pudgy” Abercrombie, Maron Clark, Chad Calabria, Sean Gilbert, Chucky Fisher, Ty Law, Jonathan Baldwin, Darelle Revis, Victor Lay and Mike Ditka. Although the Dorsett family attended Hopewell High, the family lived in Aliquippa where Anthony “Hawk” Dorsett (Dallas Cowboys) and his older brothers Ernest, Tyrone and Keith groomed their gridiron skills. Younger sister Sheree Dorsett was a standout high school track star at Hopewell. Aliquippa natives Rushel Shell, a star running back at Pitt and West Virginia University and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, point guard for the University of Maryland’s girls basketball team also both starred at nearby Hopewell High.The recently-aired TV series “Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country” exposes the intensity of Aliquippa’s youth football program, in addition to how focused the young players are — even at early ages.The reality series, which appears on the Esquire TV network, also features youth football programs in Monaca, Ambridge, Beaver Falls and the Beaver Falls suburb, Blackhawk.Coach Lackovich says the TV program gives an authentic peer into intensity of Aliquippa’s players, coaches and parents and how serious a role they undertake in personally continuing the Quip’s winning tradition.Barry Cox, a Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame nominee, won two consecutive Beaver County scoring titles as a running back at Center High School (now Central Valley High). Cox recalls Aliquippa as typically his team’s toughest foe during his standout career. “They were always tough – at all positions.” Cox now “gives back” as associate director of the Homeboys Football Camp, a Beaver County-based youth football camp that facilitates player-development throughout the county for ages 7 to 17.Cox, a U.S. Army vet and social worker, recently served as a youth football coach in Beaver Falls, Hopewell and Aliquippa.He coached current Quips Kaezon Pugh, Jassir Jordan and Sheldon Jeter when they were pre-teens.“I’m not surprised these kids have become champions. It showed in their Pop Warner days. It’s a winning tradition you can’t teach – it’s embedded in them from day-one,” said Cox, who explained that because the Quips don’t have a junior high football program, players are expected to be prepared for high-school play immediately after leaving the youth ranks.“They plug ’em in and say ‘next man up.”(EDITOR’S NOTE: Opposite of the school’s major success in football and basketball, Coach Lackovich notes that they are not very successful in baseball play. He says it stems from players not having early chances to develop baseball skills as youths. There are no Little League baseball organizations around here, he says.)last_img read more

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Steelers defense playing important role in turnaround

first_imgPittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) runs after intercepting a pass by New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Don Wright)PITTSBURGH (AP) — Lawrence Timmons leapt into the air to snag an Eli Manning pass and Pittsburgh Steelers teammate James Harrison felt like he was in the middle of a flashback. For a moment it was the 2009 Super Bowl all over again, the one where Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half helped the Steelers to a victory over Arizona and a sixth Lombardi Trophy.Running after Timmons as Timmons raced down the left half in the second quarter against the New York Giants on Sunday, Harrison felt a twinge of deja vu before the reality set in.[pullquote]”I actually thought he was going to make it until I saw I was catching up with him and then I thought he wasn’t going to make it,” Harrison said with a laugh.[/pullquote]Hey, neither of them are kids anymore. The 30-year-old Timmons was eventually pushed out by New York running back Rashad Jennings after a 58-yard return . Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to give Pittsburgh an 11-point lead and the defense all the wiggle room it would need to end the Giants’ six-game winning streak with a clinical 24-14 victory .“(The interception) was the biggest play to that point,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “But, you know, you’re going to have big plays in big moments as we get into December football. That’s what it’s about. It’s about making those signature plays this time of year to get you out of the stadium. And that was a big one.”The type Pittsburgh’s rapidly improving defense is starting to make with regularity. Pushovers during a humbling four-game slide that took the swagger out of their 4-1 start, the Steelers are starting to do the pushing while ripping off decisive victories over Cleveland, Indianapolis and New York. Pittsburgh has given up just 30 points over its last 12 quarters — or five less than Dallas managed in a thrilling victory over the Steelers last month — and shown the kind of tenacity it lacked early in the season.While a soft spot in the schedule that included a trip to the winless Browns and the Andrew Luck-less Colts helped, so has the maturation of rookies Sean Davis, Artie Burns and Javon Hargrave and a pass rush revitalized by Harrison.The 38-year-old has five sacks in Pittsburgh’s last five games and even when he’s not getting to the quarterback, he’s making an impact. He bulled his way past New York’s Ereck Flowers on Sunday with Manning trying to throw out his own end zone, forcing Flowers to grab hold of Harrison’s No. 92 jersey . The ensuing flag resulted in a safety that provided Pittsburgh an early momentum boost it never really relinquished.It was just the first in a series of stands by the Steelers. In addition to the safety and Simmons’ pick, the Steelers stopped the Giants on downs early in the third quarter to briefly preserve at two-touchdown lead and Davis collected the first interception of his career when the second-round pick stepped in front of a fourth-down heave by Manning in the final quarter.While the safety allowed simply knocking the pass down would have been the smarter play, he didn’t exactly feel the need to apologize.“See ball, get ball,” Davis said. “Maybe next time (I’ll knock it down). I had to get my first one. I wasn’t going to drop that one.”It was simply the latest step in Davis’ evolution. He made a couple of key stops in the red zone against Indianapolis and is becoming an increasingly vital part of a secondary starting to play with some menace. Burns and Ross Cockrell kept Odell Beckham Jr. largely in check while the outcome was still in the balance, and Timmons’ pick was as much about defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s scheme as it was Timmons’ raw ability.“We kind of confused Eli,” inside linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “He thought we were in one thing and we were in another.”Effectively disguising things against Cleveland’s ever rotating stable of quarterbacks and Indianapolis backup Scott Tolzien is one thing. Doing it against a two-time Super Bowl champion is another.“I think it’s about the cohesion and the guys are gaining rhythm in that way, in terms of not only knowing what they’re doing, but knowing what’s going on around them,” Tomlin said. “I think that allows them to play harder and faster. And that’s what we need.”___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL,For a moment it was the 2009 Super Bowl all over again, the one where Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half helped the Steelers to a victory over Arizona and a sixth Lombardi Trophy.Running after Timmons as Timmons raced down the left half in the second quarter against the New York Giants on Sunday, Harrison felt a twinge of deja vu before the reality set in.[pullquote]”I actually thought he was going to make it until I saw I was catching up with him and then I thought he wasn’t going to make it,” Harrison said with a laugh.[/pullquote]Hey, neither of them are kids anymore. The 30-year-old Timmons was eventually pushed out by New York running back Rashad Jennings after a 58-yard return . Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to give Pittsburgh an 11-point lead and the defense all the wiggle room it would need to end the Giants’ six-game winning streak with a clinical 24-14 victory .“(The interception) was the biggest play to that point,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “But, you know, you’re going to have big plays in big moments as we get into December football. That’s what it’s about. It’s about making those signature plays this time of year to get you out of the stadium. And that was a big one.”The type Pittsburgh’s rapidly improving defense is starting to make with regularity. Pushovers during a humbling four-game slide that took the swagger out of their 4-1 start, the Steelers are starting to do the pushing while ripping off decisive victories over Cleveland, Indianapolis and New York. Pittsburgh has given up just 30 points over its last 12 quarters — or five less than Dallas managed in a thrilling victory over the Steelers last month — and shown the kind of tenacity it lacked early in the season.While a soft spot in the schedule that included a trip to the winless Browns and the Andrew Luck-less Colts helped, so has the maturation of rookies Sean Davis, Artie Burns and Javon Hargrave and a pass rush revitalized by Harrison.The 38-year-old has five sacks in Pittsburgh’s last five games and even when he’s not getting to the quarterback, he’s making an impact. He bulled his way past New York’s Ereck Flowers on Sunday with Manning trying to throw out his own end zone, forcing Flowers to grab hold of Harrison’s No. 92 jersey . The ensuing flag resulted in a safety that provided Pittsburgh an early momentum boost it never really relinquished.It was just the first in a series of stands by the Steelers. In addition to the safety and Simmons’ pick, the Steelers stopped the Giants on downs early in the third quarter to briefly preserve at two-touchdown lead and Davis collected the first interception of his career when the second-round pick stepped in front of a fourth-down heave by Manning in the final quarter.While the safety allowed simply knocking the pass down would have been the smarter play, he didn’t exactly feel the need to apologize.“See ball, get ball,” Davis said. “Maybe next time (I’ll knock it down). I had to get my first one. I wasn’t going to drop that one.”It was simply the latest step in Davis’ evolution. He made a couple of key stops in the red zone against Indianapolis and is becoming an increasingly vital part of a secondary starting to play with some menace. Burns and Ross Cockrell kept Odell Beckham Jr. largely in check while the outcome was still in the balance, and Timmons’ pick was as much about defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s scheme as it was Timmons’ raw ability.“We kind of confused Eli,” inside linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “He thought we were in one thing and we were in another.”Effectively disguising things against Cleveland’s ever rotating stable of quarterbacks and Indianapolis backup Scott Tolzien is one thing. Doing it against a two-time Super Bowl champion is another.“I think it’s about the cohesion and the guys are gaining rhythm in that way, in terms of not only knowing what they’re doing, but knowing what’s going on around them,” Tomlin said. “I think that allows them to play harder and faster. And that’s what we need.”___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

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Malkin keen to go to Olympics, hopes Pittsburgh will let him

first_imgMOSCOW (AP) — Evgeni Malkin wants to go to the Olympics next February and he hopes the Pittsburgh Penguins will allow him.Malkin told Russian sports daily Sovetsky Sport he was surprised by the NHL’s announcement Monday that it wouldn’t halt its season for players to go to South Korea. He says “there’s nothing good about this at all.”He also questions why talks didn’t continue for longer, pointing out that a final decision on the 2014 Olympics wasn’t reached until July 2013.If Malkin is allowed to go the Olympics by Pittsburgh, he could join fellow Russian star Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov, who have said they want to play in South Korea.,MOSCOW (AP) — Evgeni Malkin wants to go to the Olympics next February and he hopes the Pittsburgh Penguins will allow him.Malkin told Russian sports daily Sovetsky Sport he was surprised by the NHL’s announcement Monday that it wouldn’t halt its season for players to go to South Korea. He says “there’s nothing good about this at all.”He also questions why talks didn’t continue for longer, pointing out that a final decision on the 2014 Olympics wasn’t reached until July 2013.If Malkin is allowed to go the Olympics by Pittsburgh, he could join fellow Russian star Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov, who have said they want to play in South Korea. Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) and center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrate with their teammates after Crosby scored the winning goal during a shootout in an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers, Friday, March 31, 2017, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Penguins won 4-3. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)last_img read more

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The ‘Second Fiddles’ can either help or destroy the Pirates season (May 10, 2017)

first_imgLike us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier AUBREY BRUCEAs of May 10, The Pittsburgh Pirates were the sole inhabitants of last place in the fiery NL Central. However, at least for the moment anyway, you can put away your crying towels because although there are five teams that are members of the division, only 4 1/2 games  separate first place from last place. The competition and rivalry within the NL Central is tighter than a pair of O.J. Simpson gloves that don’t fit.This is a division where one or two games may represent a trip to the postseason or a long drawn out visit to the nearest furniture store to purchase a new couch from which the unsuccessful combatants can view the playoffs. There are no “gimmes” or giveaways.Last weekend, the Pirates had a three-game homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Pittsburgh won the first two games and were poised to take all three games, but ahh, the game of musical chair right fielders continued to be played by the Pirates with the same predictable and disastrous results.Pittsburgh Pirates’ John Jaso, second from left, works out with teammates at baseball spring training in Bradenton, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Pirates “utility man” John Jaso, was penciled in to start in right field for the Pirates for the final game of the series against Milwaukee and one could almost sense the Brewers licking their chops. Jaso is more of a natural catcher/first baseman than an outfielder. He looks very uncomfortable in right field. It may well represent a crapshoot if anything other than a routine fly ball is hit in his direction. There have been times when instead of charging a fly ball, Jaso retreats. There has also been an occasion or two that Jaso has retreated when he should have charged the ball. Not all of his actions have resulted in errors, but one cannot be comfortable with his play in the outfield.Why not, at least temporarily, move Josh Bell from first base to right field, and move Jaso to first base? During the Pirates series against the Yankees after the Pirates were defeated by the Yankees on April 22 (11-5 final), Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had this to say about the questionable defense of the Bucs. “I think our overall defense has got to tighten up…Jose Osuna started in right field Friday, and his error led to a run. John Jaso played there Saturday and found himself caught in between on a shallow liner.”Except for a few games, the defense and the offense of the Pirates have yet to put together a sequence of five or six games where they’ve scored at least four runs per game along with no self-defeating defensive blunders.The upcoming road trip will either be beautiful or brutal for the Pirates. The Pirates will return to PNC Park on May 16 after completing a seven-game west coast trip against the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Bucs will return to the Steel City, hanging somewhere around first place, or firmly mired in the basement.Only the “Second Fiddles” have temporary control of the team’s destiny.(Aubrey can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741. Follow him on Twitter @ultrascribe.)last_img read more

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