18-12-2018 The Spin | Big Bash’s flipping bats recall stories of cunning ploys with tossed coins

When you look closely at the ritual, it begins to seem odd that cricket lets blind luck and ‘dynamical bias’ play such a large partWhen he was 14, Persi Diaconis packed a fresh deck of cards and a spare pair of socks into a knapsack and ran away from home to become a magician’s assistant. He spent the next few years as an apprentice with Dai Vernon, whose sleight of hand was so smart, so sharp, he even beat Harry Houdini, who famously claimed he could pick any magic trick on the third go, until Vernon fooled him seven times in a row.They used to call Vernon “the Professor”, and now they do Diaconis, too. Because that is what he is. The Mary V Sunseri professor of statistics and mathematics, to be exact, at Stanford, where he has been continuing his lifelong study of chance and probability. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 England’s netballers set sights on new horizons after Spoty double

English netball walked away with two BBC prizes but attention swiftly turned from celebrations to plans for the futureThe day after the night before, and England Netball had already moved on from their unexpected triumph at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards.The Commonwealth gold medal-winning squad were named both Team of the Year and creators of the Greatest Moment of the Year, provoking scenes of celebration in the aisles at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena. The party did not last for long, though. Players were under strict instruction not to overdo the celebrations on Sunday night and, by Monday lunchtime, they were back at their training camp in Loughborough. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 'Just perfect': Jürgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool's victory over Manchester United – video

Two second-half goals from the substitute Xherdan Shaqiri gave Liverpool a 3-1 Premier League win over Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday as Jürgen Klopp's side regained top spot with a pulsating performance in the north-west derby. Liverpool back on top after Shaqiri double floors Manchester United Continue reading...

18-12-2018 José Mourinho sacked: Manchester United to appoint caretaker – live!

Mourinho dismissed with caretaker to be appointedZidane or Pochettino? Who will replace Mourinho?United’s new manager must get more from LukakuEmail Paul, tweet @campbellwpaul or comment below 4.32pm GMT Guess what the Fiver is about today? Related: The Fiver | Continuing a festive tradition of Christmastime bootings 4.28pm GMT That contract feels longer by the year.And David Moyes' Manchester United contract still has six months left to run pic.twitter.com/36pYbtvfwM Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Jose Mourinho: How Manchester United manager's season collapsed

BBC Sport looks at six factors which contributed to Jose Mourinho’s downfall at Man Utd, from the departure of his “brother” Rui Faria to his fall-out with Paul Pogba.

18-12-2018 Derby and Nottingham Forest share spoils in scrappy goalless draw

A blood and thunder East Midlands derby left neither side with much to cheer. Both were probably happy to settle for a point after a feisty game that was short of quality, with Derby moving up a place to fourth and Forest in seventh, a point outside the top six.Frank Lampard insisted the referee, Keith Stroud, had cost Derby victory after they were denied a penalty. Tom Lawrence appeared to be fouled in the area by Tendayi Darikwa midway through the first half but Stroud waved away the appeals. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 The Dozen: the weekend's best Premier League photos

Our picture editors select their favourite images from around the grounds Continue reading...

18-12-2018 London Irish to leave Madejski and share with Brentford at new stadium

• Brentford’s new west London ground will open in 2020• London Irish have played at Reading’s stadium for 18 yearsLondon Irish will play their home games at the new Brentford Community Stadium from 2020.The Championship leaders have reached an agreement with Brentford Football Club to play at the west London stadium, which is currently under construction and will have a capacity of 17,250. It is due to open in 2020. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Sports Personality of the Year 2018: Geraint Thomas wins Sports Personality of the Year 2018

Watch as Geraint Thomas is announced as the winner of BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

18-12-2018 How can a sport worth billions spend just a pittance on fighting racism? | Daniel Taylor

As Herman Ouseley announces his impending retirement from Kick It Out after 25 years, a game that can gift Richard Scudamore £5m can surely fund the campaign properlyIt is probably a measure of the man – and the fact he would never draw attention to this himself – that I must confess that, until the last week, I did not realise Herman Ouseley had never received a penny in wages during all the years he has been at the forefront of football’s anti‑racism campaigning.He announced on Tuesday that he will be retiring from Kick It Out at the end of the season, when he will be 74, and it probably sums up the modern‑day sport that he will be lucky to receive a thank you from some of the clubs that decided a gold clock was clearly insufficient as a farewell gift for Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s chief executive, if the alternative was to parachute £5m into his account. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Wingate & Finchley fail to score in epic goalmouth scramble with Dulwich Hamlet – video

Some heroic defending on the Dulwich Hamlet line prevented Wingate & Finchley from scoring during an epic scramble when the two sides met in the FA Trophy. Wingate & Finchley eventually won 2-0. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

18-12-2018 What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Talking Horses: Arc £3m prize-money cuts start to bite at Southwell

The reduction in prize money is a response to the government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on FOBT machines in betting shops from £100 to £2The all-weather Flat card at Southwell on Tuesday afternoon has more runners per race than either of the jumps meetings at Catterick or Fakenham, but the lowest prize money per race by a long way, £7k on the Fibresand at the Midlands track versus £9k for Catterick and £10k at Fakenham. And it is a situation that can only get worse as the winter goes on after the Arena Racing Company (Arc), which operates four of the five all-weather venues, announced on Monday that it will cut its contribution to prize money by £3m in 2019. The reduction, Arc says, is a response to the government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on FOBT machines in betting shops from £100 to £2, a move which – according to the bookies – could lead to the closure of as many as 4,000 of the country’s 9,000 or so shops. This, in turn, would lead to a huge drop in the media rights payments to racecourse operators, which are calculated on a “per-shop” basis. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Mourinho v the media: the road to his Manchester United sacking – video

José Mourinho has been sacked by Manchester United after overseeing the club's worst start to a campaign for 28 years.The Portuguese coach was often criticised for the team's pragmatic playing style and his treatment of some players, leading to many tense exchanges during his meetings with the press.Mourinho started his two-year tenure at Old Trafford by winning two trophies – the League Cup and Europa League – but failed to win silverware in his second season before their dreadful start to his third campaignDavid Squires on ... José Mourinho's United exit Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Jose Mourinho sacked: Zidane, Simeone, Pochettino? Who could replace the Portuguese?

Man Utd fans voice their opinions on who they would like to replace Jose Mourinho, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino all cropping up.

18-12-2018 Pete Shelley's Tour de force, Miami's Miracle and Premier Passions | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features Paul Sherwen, NHL deflections and Dean Jones’s very bad idea1) It wasn’t always widely known, but Buzzcocks’ brilliant Pete Shelley, who died this past week, wrote the music for the iconic Channel 4 Tour de France theme, itself taken from within 1984 track Give It To Me. Another sad passing this week was Paul Sherwen. It’s well worth a listen to the Cycling Podcast’s tribute, while Sherwen recalls how he met his broadcasting partner Phil Liggett.2) The Miami Miracle! Obviously there’s already a Tecmo Super Bowl version out there. Gronk’s still stumbling. More laterals: here’s the Music City Miracle, which always features highly among some of the NFL’s most famous. There are more in college football, including … Miami (!) v Duke, Trinity v Millsaps and the classic: Cal v Stanford. Watch out for that band! More on The Play. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Jake Hesketh happily playing his part in Burton’s Carabao Cup adventure

On-loan midfielder hopes he can jog a few memories at Southampton when Burton visit Middlesbrough in the quarter-finals on TuesdayJust over two years ago Jake Hesketh was among the Southampton squad waiting at Ben Gurion airport, just outside Tel Aviv. It was the day after a 0-0 draw against Hapoel Beer Sheva in the Europa League and after an overnight stay there were understandably itchy feet. Barack Obama did not get the memo, though, with Air Force One arriving and Israel rolling out the red carpet.“We were stuck for a little bit while the US president was sat on the runway,” Hesketh says. “For about half an hour we were just looking out waiting for the plane to go. The game itself was a totally different atmosphere, a unique place. It was just a surreal couple of days. I remember all of the whistling; it was a very intimidating stadium to play in.” Continue reading...