Noted sports attorney Dr. Emir Crowne will not be apologizing to the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) for comments he made about the commission in the days leading up to the anti-doping hearing involving Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams.

Guyana Amazon Warriors made it nine wins from nine in the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), thrashing Jamaica Tallawahs by 77 runs despite slumping to 8/4 at the start of their innings.

 The table-topping Warriors lost four wickets in four balls across the first two overs of the night – at one point both Oshane Thomas and Derval Green were on hat-tricks at the same time – with both Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran falling first ball while Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj made just 1 and 2 respectively.

Only two further wickets would fall in the rest of the innings though, as captain Shoaib Malik, first alongside Sherfane Rutherford and then Keemo Paul, engineered a superb recovery with an unbeaten 73 from 45 balls. With 156/6 on the board, it was over to the Warriors’ battery of spinners to work their magic, and they didn’t disappoint.

Chris Gayle became the third high-profile first-ball casualty when Chris Green breached his defences to give the Tallawahs’ run-chase its own dramatic early setback, and Imran Tahir was soon in on the act as well when Chadwick Walton picked out Green at long-on for just 8.

Glenn Phillips attempted a Malik-style recovery and did emulate the Warriors captain in going past 1000 career Hero CPL runs but there the comparison ended. He made 21 from 28 before also picking out Green at long-on to hand Hemraj a wicket.

By now the required rate had already got beyond 10 an over and, although Trevon Griffith did manage the unlikely feat of taking two boundaries from Chris Green’s final over – he still finished with 1/20 from his four – the Tallawahs were never able to get it back under control.

Qais Ahmad became the third bowler of the night to take two wickets in two balls when he had Dwayne Smith caught and bowled for 2 before bowling Imran Khan first ball. Unlike Thomas and Derval Green, though, he had no hat-trick opportunity as those wickets came from the final two balls of an impressive spell.

By now everything was going the Warriors’ way. Keemo Paul came into the attack and immediately had Liton Das caught at midwicket for 21 from his first ball and then Derval Green caught behind later in the over.

Imran Tahir had his third when Steven Jacobs was bowled aiming a huge legside heave at a googly, and fittingly it was Malik who had the last word, wrapping up a comprehensive victory with the final wicket as Zahir Khan holed out.

Another win for the Warriors should surprise nobody given the season they’re having, but it all looked a very long way away after eight balls of their innings. King was bowled by Thomas, before Hetmyer nibbled at a wide one to be caught behind from the very next ball. Derval Green then immediately had the ball swinging prodigiously to bowl Hemraj and pin Pooran leg-before in successive deliveries.

The Warriors’ recovery from such a nightmare start was kicked off by Rutherford. Having survived a huge lbw shout from the hat-trick ball, which pitched just outside leg stump, he hit three fours in four balls from Derval Green’s second over. After a double wicket maiden to start, his second over gave up 16.

Rutherford and Malik then opted for careful accumulation in a stand of 82 before Rutherford was caught in the deep off Imran Khan. Chris Green followed soon after, bowled by Zahir, and that was Malik’s cue to burst into life.

He suddenly started to find the boundary, and scored 38 of the 56 runs the Warriors piled on in the closing five overs of the innings.

A whopping 26 of those runs came in the 19th as Thomas had his figures mangled, 2/14 from three overs ballooning to 2/40 as his spell ended. Both Malik and Paul cleared the ropes, while Malik added two fours in an over that also featured a wide and a no-ball.

Derval Green gave up just seven from the final over, but by then the Warriors had wriggled off the hook and given their fearsome spin attack more than enough to work with.

Dr. Emir Crowne, who represented Briana Williams during her anti-doping hearing last month, is facing legal action from the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), who claim they have been defamed by the noted attorney.

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Tap ‘N’ Play are working together to bring fans the chance to collect Hero CPL Digicards. These cards can be downloaded using the Tap ‘N’ Play app where they can be saved and traded. Fans using the app can unlock special acheivements as the CPL progesses towards the knockout stages. 

Fans can play games to win in game coins to unlock cards or they can buy whole sets through the app. These collectable Digicards have been available for the ICC Cricket World Cup and the Big Bash in Australia.

Chris Watson, Hero CPL’s Head of Marketing, said: “We are always looking for innovative and engaging ways for our wonderful fans to get more involved in our tournament, and these Tap ‘N’Play cards are a great way for them to do that. It is a great app that allows fans the chance to collect really beautifully designed Digicards featuring their favourite players and we are delighted to have this new addition in 2019.”

Neil Armstong, Managing Director of Tap’N’Play, said: “Trading Cards have entertained sporting fans for decades and Tap’N’Play are really excited to work with the CPL to introduce fans to the new world of digital trading cards through our Tap’N’Play app.

“The colour and atmosphere of the CPL is unrivalled in world cricket and we have hopefully designed the cards to reflect that unique Caribbean culture. Fans can collect all the cards of their favourite players and teams, and the special cards that are released to celebrate the milestones throughout the tournament. We hope the fans enjoy the experience.”

The MLB playoffs have begun as the Washington Nationals won a dramatic wild-card game over the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics convincingly.

Now the true drama begins.

Meanwhile, the NHL season started and another NFL star appears keen to change teams.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. MLB divisional round set

The best part of the baseball season is upon us as the divisional round matchups are set.

In the National League the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves will face off with the St. Louis Cardinals. In the American League the Houston Astros will deal with the Rays and the New York Yankees will be challenged by the Minnesota Twins.

All of these series have some sort of intrigue as the Yankees and Twins combined for more than 600 home runs, the Astros and Rays have two of the best pitching staffs in MLB, the Dodgers and Nationals match up supremely well and the Braves and Cardinals are two up-and-coming rosters looking to restore past glory.

The NLDS starts with two games on Thursday and will continue with two more on Friday. The ALDS starts on Friday.

 

2. Stefon Diggs wants out of Minnesota

Vikings wide receiver Diggs stirred up some rumours by skipping practice on Wednesday with no explanation given. Some speculated he wanted out, but that was all purely a guess.

That is until Diggs said on Thursday: "There's truth to all rumours. I won't get into that."

The Vikings are a disappointing 2-2 to start the year and Adam Thielen has already publicly criticised quarterback Kirk Cousins for his play. 

Maybe we should have seen this coming.

 

3. NHL regular season kicks off with two historic nights

The NHL kicked off its regular seasonon   Wednesday and one young gun shined again while a veteran just kept on doing what he does.

In the Toronto Maple Leafs' win over the Ottawa Senators, Auston Matthews scored twice, giving him a goal in his fourth straight season opener.

Alex Ovechkin netted in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 defeat of the defending champion St. Louis Blues. Ovechkin now has 11 goals in 15 season openers, which is the most among active NHL players.

Ovechkin is 41 goals away from 700 in his career. He would be just the eighth player to reach that mark.

 

4. California passes Fair Pay to Play Act

This is a big step in amateur sports in the US as California essentially made it legal for college athletes to be paid. As it stands now a player cannot be paid for anything and if they are they lose their amateur status and can be punished by being ruled ineligible for games.

But California's Fair Pay to Play Act made it legal in the state for players to profit off of use of their name, likeness and image. This is step one in college athletes being able to be paid, but it is something that remains illegal in the NCAA, which is the major governing body of college sports.

There is still a long way to go, but this could have a ripple effect that could either force the NCAA to change or result in the expulsion of players in California who do get paid for their likeness. A standoff has begun.

Sergino Dest will take time to consider his international future as he ponders a switch from the United States to his native Netherlands.

Ajax full-back Dest made his first two USA appearances in a pair of friendlies in September but was not included in the squad for this month's CONCACAF Nations League games against Cuba and Canada.

USA boss Gregg Berhalter confirmed he had held "positive" talks with the 18-year-old but Dest is not ready to commit to featuring in competitive matches, which would bind him to the nation he represented at several youth levels.

Netherlands have expressed interest, with Ronald Koeman said to have engaged the defender in discussions about a change of allegiance.

"I haven't decided yet on either one. I need more time," Dest told Fox Sports after Ajax's victory at Valencia in the Champions League.

"It's a decision I have to make for my entire life, so I want to handle it with care. I need to think carefully, that's why I left it alone this time.

"Hopefully I will have decided by next month but if I need more time I'll take it."

Dest, who was born and raised in the Dutch city of Almere, has been tipped to enjoy a bright future.

Erik ten Hag promoted him to the first team at Ajax this season and has handed the teenager 12 appearances in all competitions.

Barbados Tridents kept their hopes of a top-two 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) finish alive with a seven-wicket victory over their rivals and defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders.

Having restricted TKR to just 134/8, the Tridents got home on the back of Johnson Charles’ 47-ball 55 to leapfrog their opponents and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Hero CPL table.

The Knight Riders, without a win in their last five after starting the season with four straight victories, now need to beat the runaway leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final match of the league phase at Providence Stadium on Friday night to edge back above the Tridents and reclaim second place.

While both teams are safely through to the playoffs, second place is still a big prize. It brings a place in Qualifier 1 against the Warriors and two shots at a place in next weekend’s final. The team that misses out faces going straight to the Eliminator against the Patriots and no second chances.

Alex Hales showed some glimpses of his best form in a 54-run opening partnership with Charles, hitting six crisp fours and making 33 to get the Tridents well ahead of the required rate early. While the run-rate slowed after the Tridents had raced to 31/0 after the first three overs and though the chase going right into the final over might not have been exactly the plan, JP Duminy and Ashley Nurse held their nerve to collect the seven runs they needed from Kieron Pollard’s closing over without much alarm.

With wickets in hand, the Tridents always seemed to be in control of a relatively small chase. Although Hales chipped Mark Deyal to cover and Shakib Al Hasan was caught behind, the required rate was always in hand. By the time Chris Jordan yorked Charles for 55, the target was just 25 from 25 balls. Nurse and Duminy used 23 of those balls but got the job done.

The Tridents’ star bowlers Shakib Al Hasan, Harry Gurney and Hayden Walsh Jr were all once again impressive as the Knight Riders were restricted on a sluggish pitch.

Shakib bowled the opening over and ensured the Knight Riders’ experiment of sending in Jimmy Neesham as a pinch-hitting opener would not pay off. He made just a single before skying a slog-sweep to be caught and bowled.

Walsh Jr struck twice in quick succession to bag the key wickets of Colin Munro and Darren Bravo before Shakib returned to clean up Lendl Simmons, the mainstay of the TKR innings and the one TKR batsman to really come to grips with the pitch. He made 60 from 45 with three fours and four sixes with none of his team-mates able to pass 23.

Then it was over to Gurney, whose subtle changes of pace and control of line made him close to unhittable. He didn’t concede a single boundary in his four overs despite bowling both in the powerplay and then at the death. The Knight Riders scrambled just 14 runs from his four overs and lost Kieron Pollard to a slower ball and Denesh Ramdin lbw in the process.

Walsh Jr added a direct hit run out to his night’s work as Javon Searles fell for a duck, while Raymon Reifer got in the wickets column thanks to one of the stranger catches of the season as Duminy misjudged a Deyal hoik as it swirled high in the air and fumbled the catch only for Jonathan Carter to grab the rebound.

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is delighted to announce that FedEx Express is the Official Courier and Express Delivery service of its cricket tournament. During the three-year relationship, FedEx Express will be working with CPL to ensure the movement of the tournament equipment around the Caribbean as it takes stop in Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and Barbados.

In addition to the transportation services that FedEx Express provides to CPL, the company is adding to the fan experience, for those watching on TV, the “FedEx Fastest Deliveries.” A speed gun is added to the coverage this year, so viewers are able to see which of the world-class quick bowlers, who are part of the tournament, is top of the table in terms of pace.

Jamie Stewart, CPL’s Commercial Director, said: “Putting on the CPL’s tournament each year is an extremely challenging logistical exercise, involving continuous movement of players, officials, television equipment, event materials and many other items essential to the event. With nine event legs in six countries across five and a half weeks, the successful staging of the tournament requires enormous logistics planning.”

“Having FedEx Express, the world's largest express transportation company, support CPL is a tremendous boost for the tournament, and we look forward to drawing on their vast expertise to advise and support the event, as we strive to be as efficient as it can be. Having another truly global and category leading brand assisting is the best possible sign that the tournament is growing both in stature and success, and we look forward to a long and successful association,” added Jamie Stewart.

“FedEx Express is proud of its association with many internationally-renowned sporting leagues and we are excited to serve as the Official Courier and Express Delivery service of The Hero Caribbean Premier League,” said Rakesh Shalia, vice president of marketing and communications of FedEx Express. “This is a great way for us to reinforce our commitment to markets across the Caribbean.”

Former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes and Phil Simmons as well as current coach Floyd Reifer have been short-listed for the job as head coach of the West Indies Senior Cricket team.

Jamaican goal defender Jodi-Ann Ward has signed with the Collingwood Magpies for the 2020 season of the Suncorp Super Netball season.

Haile Selassie High School midfield player Akeem Reid was admitted to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) having been struck by lightning while walking from a football field along Spanish Town Road in Kingston on Tuesday afternoon.

Top shooters Kevin Cheung, Ryan Bramwell and Darrin Richards decisively won their respective divisions at the hotly contested Liguanea Cup Pistol Shooting Competition held at the Jamaica Rifle Association’s (JRA) headquarters in Kingston over the weekend.

Guyana Amazon Warriors extended their perfect 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign to eight wins from eight matches with a 19-run win over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders at the Queen’s Park Oval despite Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo briefly threatening to pull off an outrageous heist.

The Knight Riders appeared dead and buried at 91/4 with just six overs remaining and still needing 95 more to overhaul the Warriors 185/6. But Pollard and Bravo went on a ferocious six-hitting spree that almost dragged the unlikeliest of wins out of the fire for TKR.

They came up short, though, with Keemo Paul’s 19th over in which only singles came from the last five balls easing the Warriors’ fraying nerves before Tahir bowled Pollard for a sensational 71 from 38 balls with three balls to go and 21 still needed to at last finish the contest. The final winning margin of 19 runs also highlighted the significance of Romario Shepherd’s late cameo with the bat in the Warriors’ innings – he smashed 32* from 13, with two sixes and a four to finish it off as 25 came from Chris Jordan’s closing over.

Yet another win for the Warriors means they have now guaranteed themselves top spot in the regular season with two games to spare, while the Knight Riders still have work to do to secure their own place in the top two and the safety net of a place in Qualifier 1. One win from their two remaining games will do it.

Having muscled their way to 185/6 despite a troubling mid-innings wobble, the Warriors then strangled the Knight Riders top order through their battery of spinners.

Chris Green once again led the way, bowling his four overs off the reel at the top of the innings, removing the dangerous Colin Munro and Lendl Simmons, and returning figures of 2/18.

Imran Tahir did for Mark Deyal and Shoaib Malik had Denesh Ramdin caught in the deep off a slog-sweep to leave TKR reeling at 53/4.

Not even Pollard could rescue the Knight Riders from there, although he gave it a real crack. He shared a swashbuckling 125-run stand with Bravo, who himself cleared the ropes six times in a 46-ball 58 not out, but the required rate continued to climb throughout the partnership. Even when 57 runs were plundered in four overs from the 15th to the 18th.

Paul’s nerveless 19th over was ultimately key, and across the 40 overs the Warriors were deserving winners.

A 98-run second-wicket stand between Chrandrapaul Hemraj and Shimron Hetmyer then Shepherd’s late fireworks lifted the Warriors to their commanding total.

After the early loss of Brandon King, falling straight after taking Khary Pierre for 10 runs in two balls to start the third over, Hemraj took stock and then took charge.

Only 35/1 was on the board after the powerplay but the boundaries started to flow – for Hemraj in particular, who smashed four Hero Maximums and reached a 34-ball half-century with back-to-back fours off Jordan.

When Hemraj was caught behind off a wide Javon Searles yorker for 66, Hetmyer exploded into life in thrilling yet sadly for the Warriors all too brief fashion.

Searles’ next over started with the wicket of Nicholas Pooran and ended with that of Hetmyer slicing to Pierre at deep point. In between came 17 runs as Hetmyer flayed two fours and a gorgeous six carved high and handsome over backward point.

The failed attempt to repeat the dose saw Hetmyer depart the scene furious with himself and two short of a half-century.

The Warriors innings threatened to subside at that point in the face of some fine bowling from Ali Khan (1/23) in particular.

From 111/1 and 136/3, the Warriors found themselves 143/6 when Malik and Sherfane Rutherford fell to catches in the deep having added just a single between them.

But Shepherd ensured the Warriors would get up past not just 160 but also 180. He flayed a couple of early boundaries through the offside, but it was the two Hero Maximums and one-bounce four with which he finished the innings – 25 in all coming from Jordan’s closing over – that would ultimately take the Warriors out of Pollard and the Knight Riders’ reach.

Carlos Vela equalled an MLS record on Sunday as Real Salt Lake and New England Revolution booked their spots in the play-offs.

Vela equalled Josef Martinez's record for most goals in a season, taking his tally to 31 in Los Angeles FC's 1-1 draw with Minnesota United.

The Mexican star put LAFC ahead with a superb curling strike from inside the area in the 70th minute at Allianz Field.

However, Michael Boxall headed in an equaliser for Minnesota, who trail LAFC by 16 points in the Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake secured a play-off berth courtesy of a 2-1 victory at home to Houston Dynamo.

Corey Baird needed just 35 seconds to put RSL ahead, but Tomas Martinez cancelled out the opener.

However, Jefferson Savarino's fine strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area helped Real Salt Lake advance to the play-offs from the Western Conference.

New England moved through after a 2-0 win over New York City, who wrapped up top spot in the east.

Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou scored second-half goals for the Revolution.

Elsewhere, Bojan Krkic scored in Montreal Impact's 1-1 draw with defending champions Atlanta United and Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted his 29th goal of the season in LA Galaxy's 4-3 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps.

Jordan Morris' late winner saw Seattle Sounders edge San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men, Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers drew 2-2 and Colorado Rapids beat Dallas 3-0.

Chicago Fire and Toronto drew 2-2, Columbus Crew overcame Philadelphia Union 2-0, New York Red Bulls and DC United played out a 0-0 draw and Cincinnati drew 1-1 with Orlando City.

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