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First-class counties to contest both the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy next season

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first class counties to contest both the county championship and bob willis trophy next season

A new-look domestic structure in 2021 will see two red-ball prizes at stake after the 18 first-class counties agreed to contest both the County Championship and the Bob Willis Trophy, which was held for the first time this season.

As expected, the county chairmen have approved a new 14-match conference system, with teams playing 10 games each in three seeded groups of six, then four more in three divisions based on their final placings in the group.

But Sportsmail has learned that the team finishing top of Division One after 14 matches will first be crowned county champions, and then play off against the runners-up over five days at Lord’s for the Bob Willis Trophy, won earlier this month by Essex.

Essex secured the Bob Willis Trophy this season after beating Somerset at Lord's

Essex secured the Bob Willis Trophy this season after beating Somerset at Lord’s

As things stand, the intention is to return to a two-divisional structure in time for the 2022 season, with 10 teams in the top tier and eight in the second – as would have been the case this summer had Covid-19 not intervened. 

But that still needs to be ratified by the counties, who will also consider the possibility of a one-day FA Cup-style knockout tournament.

One of the reasons for returning to the status quo for 2022 is because of fears among some counties – dubbed ‘conference sceptics’ by the new ECB chairman Ian Watmore – that the new system would be a ‘Trojan horse’ for a long-term solution to the perennial question of how best to configure the domestic season. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Inside Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodriguez’s loved up wedding-style party with beer and music

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inside cristiano ronaldo and georgina rodriguezs loved up wedding style party with beer and music

CRISTIANO RONALDO and Georgina Rodriguez have shown their love in a video of a wedding-style party with their close pals.

The Juventus ace, 35, revealed his engagement to Georgina during the summer as she showed-off her £615,000 sparkler.

Ronaldo and Georgina looked loved-up during their party last month

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Ronaldo and Georgina looked loved-up during their party last monthCredit: YouTube / MARCA
Rodriguez and Ronaldo appeared to throw a party in celebration of their engagement

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Rodriguez and Ronaldo appeared to throw a party in celebration of their engagementCredit: YouTube / MARCA
Ronaldo was in high spirits throughout the evening

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Ronaldo was in high spirits throughout the eveningCredit: YouTube / MARCA
Musicians performed for the crowd of around 20

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Musicians performed for the crowd of around 20Credit: YouTube / MARCA
Ronaldo and Rodriguez both shared footage of the party on their social media

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Ronaldo and Rodriguez both shared footage of the party on their social mediaCredit: YouTube / MARCA

And last month, the pair threw a lavish party, seemingly in celebration of their impending nuptials.

Ronaldo and his partner invited around 20 of their closest pals for the bash.

The group laughed and joked around one, long table as musicians performed in the background.

They drank and danced into the night on a sea of rose petals, with Ronaldo sipping from a wine glass.

He shared the four-minute video to his social media accounts.

The Portugal ace captioned the clip: “Life is better with the person you love.

“Enjoy every moment with love and happiness, Georgina.”

Georgina also shared the video to her followers, writing: “I will never stop falling in love with you, Cristiano.”

A host of musicians performed for Ronaldo and his guests at the bash

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A host of musicians performed for Ronaldo and his guests at the bashCredit: YouTube / MARCA
Ronaldo danced and sipped from a wine glass as the evening went on

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Ronaldo danced and sipped from a wine glass as the evening went onCredit: YouTube / MARCA
The guests were kept entertained by a number of different musicians

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The guests were kept entertained by a number of different musiciansCredit: YouTube / MARCA
The group of around 20 enjoyed food, drink, dancing and music at the bash

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The group of around 20 enjoyed food, drink, dancing and music at the bashCredit: YouTube / MARCA

Ronaldo and Georgina seemingly hired a videographer for the bash.

And they captured some incredible candid moments, with Ronaldo in stitches around the dinner table at one point.

The happy couple were seen smiling throughout as they enjoyed the end of a long summer, in which they travelled around the Med on their yacht.

However, the pair have since been forced to live in separate parts of their incredible home.

Ronaldo has now returned THREE positive tests for coronavirus, with the Juventus star self-isolating.

But the latest test has confirmed he will miss his side’s Champions League clash with Barcelona – and the chance to go up against old rival Lionel Messi.

Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for coronavirus and is OUT of Juventus’ clash with Barcelona

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz: UK start time, live stream FREE, TV channel, undercard and head-to-head

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GERVONTA DAVIS continues his quest to emulate his mentor and promoter Floyd Mayweather as he enters the ring against Leo Santa Cruz.

The battle takes place in San Antonio, Texas and a packed undercard also makes for fascinating viewing.

Gervonta Davis is back in action on Saturday night

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Gervonta Davis is back in action on Saturday night

What date and time is Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz?

  • Davis vs Santa Cruz takes place on Saturday, October 31 in the US.
  • The fight is taking place at Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
  • UK ring walk is expected at around 3am on Sunday, November 1.
  • There will be 11,500 fans inside the stadium.

What TV channel is Davis vs Santa Cruz on in the UK and the US and can I live stream it free?

  • Channel 5 will show the fight on free-to-air TV here in the UK.
  • Coverage begins at 2am GMT and runs through to 5am.
  • If you want to stream on these shores, you can watch at TVPlayer.com if you have a valid TV licence.
  • Showtime Sports are exclusively broadcasting the fight in the United States.
  • The fight will cost $74.99 in the USA.

How Mayweather compared with his protege Davis at the age of 25:

DD COMPOSITE TALE OF THE TAPE MAYWEATHER V DAVIS 2 comp

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Who is on the undercard?

  • Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz (WBA world lightweight title)
  • Mario Barrios vs Ryan Karl (super lightweight)
  • Regis Prograis vs Juan Heraldez (super lightweight)
  • Diego Magdaleno vs Isaac Cruz Gonzalez (lightweight)
  • Michel Rivera vs Ladarius Miller (lightweight)
  • Jerry Perez vs Joshua Zuniga (super featherweight)
  • Julian Rodarte vs Jose Morales (lightweight)
  • Kent Cruz vs Dieumerci Nzau (welterweight)
  • Anthony Cuba vs Leon Cavalli (lightweight)

What they said

Davis: “Floyd [Mayweather] has been there coaching me through what comes with having my first pay-per-view main event fight.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me and you have to live up to fighting on pay-per-view so you can fight on pay-per-view again.

“When I’m down or anything like that, he’s able to push me, because he’s been there before.

“There are things that only Floyd can tell me about because he has that experience.”

Santa Cruz: “We know we have a hard fight, I think the hardest fight in my career.

“We’re facing, you know, a hard-hitting fighter. You know, he’s got great skills and he’s, you know, being trained by the best ever, Floyd Mayweather.

“I know he’s gonna come with everything. So, you know, my determination is to go out there, beat Tank Davis, and I can say I beat one of the best, and I beat, you know, a fighter that’s been trained by Mayweather.

“So that, for me, that’s gonna be something really big, really great. I’m motivated in the gym. I wanna go out there and give the fans a great fight.”

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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MARTIN SAMUEL: Nobby Stiles was the everyman of England’s World Cup winning heroes

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martin samuel nobby stiles was the everyman of englands world cup winning heroes

Nobby Stiles’ father was an undertaker, and as a young man his son arrived to sign his first Manchester United contract in a hearse. Sadly but inevitably, he will leave the same way, a victim of the dementia that has stricken so many contemporaries.

‘You ended up belonging to everyone,’ Stiles once said, reflecting on a life spent as a member of England’s most celebrated XI. And, in many ways, more than any man in the team, he did.

Stiles was the everyman, the common denominator. He wasn’t the player who scored the hat-trick in a World Cup final, he wasn’t the captain, or the best technician. He didn’t play like a star, and most certainly did not look like one. 

Nobby Stiles didn't play or look like a star but he was adored as part of the 1966 England team

Nobby Stiles didn't play or look like a star but he was adored as part of the 1966 England team

Nobby Stiles didn’t play or look like a star but he was adored as part of the 1966 England team 

Stiles (second from left on back row) was the most relatable member of the England team that won their first and only World Cup after beating West Germany 4-2 back in 1966

Stiles (second from left on back row) was the most relatable member of the England team that won their first and only World Cup after beating West Germany 4-2 back in 1966

Stiles (second from left on back row) was the most relatable member of the England team that won their first and only World Cup after beating West Germany 4-2 back in 1966

‘A half-blind dwarf who was bombed by the Germans and run over by a trolley bus when he was one,’ was his self-penned description. Yet that is what made Stiles special. 

He was of the people, the most relatable member of a World Cup winning team, with his thinning hair, gap-toothed winning smile, his socks rolled down to his ankles. Even the name: Norbert. It is a matter for debate whether English football makes players like Stiles anymore; but it certainly doesn’t make Norberts.

Stiles didn’t look much like an athlete, either, but he was so much more than just the cold-blooded destroyer of popular legend. 

His job, most famously performed in 1966 against Eusebio, was to shut the opposition’s best player out of the game. Yet to do that, Stiles had to read it. And, if successful, he had to pick the pass, usually to Bobby Charlton, if he could be found. And it is testament to Stiles’ quick thinking that, more often than not, he could. 

Stiles (far right) was picked out by coach Sir Alf Ramsey (middle) as a world class player

Stiles (far right) was picked out by coach Sir Alf Ramsey (middle) as a world class player

Stiles (far right) was picked out by coach Sir Alf Ramsey (middle) as a world class player 

Stiles was in the Man United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup

Stiles was in the Man United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup

Stiles was in the Man United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup

Stiles was not just a hitman. He played in the heart of the action and knew the game well enough to lift this country’s only World Cup and its first European Cup, with Manchester United. No player could survive in that company armed with little more than a snarl. 

Sir Alf Ramsey told Sir Alex Ferguson that his 1966 team contained five genuinely world class players – and listed Stiles as one of them.

He took that intelligence into coaching, too. Not management, necessarily, because the clubs he steered were not of the highest quality. But he produced players. 

Among the tributes on Friday was one from Mark Lawrenson, arguably the finest centre-half from an era when Liverpool dominated. 

Lawrenson was signed by Bob Paisley, and also won titles with Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish. The coach he credited with making him a player at Preston, though, was Stiles. And those coaching smarts were sufficiently valued for Stiles to be part of Manchester United’s youth set-up from 1989 to 1993, the era that produced an exceptional batch of players. 

Stiles (middle) was so much more than just the cold-blooded destroyer of popular legend

Stiles (middle) was so much more than just the cold-blooded destroyer of popular legend

Stiles (middle) was so much more than just the cold-blooded destroyer of popular legend

Mark Lawrenson was among those to pay tribute on Friday and he picked out Stiles' influence as the biggest on his playing career during their time working together at Preston North End

Mark Lawrenson was among those to pay tribute on Friday and he picked out Stiles' influence as the biggest on his playing career during their time working together at Preston North End

Mark Lawrenson was among those to pay tribute on Friday and he picked out Stiles’ influence as the biggest on his playing career during their time working together at Preston North End

‘You taught us to fight for everything in that red shirt,’ wrote Gary Neville. 

David Beckham recalled Stiles’ wisdom carrying special weight as a World Cup winner. 

‘Your studs are your best friends out there,’ was the phrase Neville most clearly remembered. 

So he wasn’t Pep Guardiola. He was rightly respected by his young charges, though, whose indomitable spirit was also never in question.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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