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Ireland duo Ed Joyce and Tim Murtagh have announced their retirement from international T20 cricket with immediate effect. Press Association Sussex captain Joyce, who has the highest T20 batting average for his country – 30.84 in all games and 33.75 in internationals – made his decision to concentrate on the longer formats of the game with the nation eagerly anticipating Test cricket. The 36-year-old said: “With potentially more ODI’s in the next few years and the possibility of Test cricket in the near future as well, I feel like I’d be able to contribute more in these formats if I stop playing Twenty20. “Added to this is the emergence of exciting young batsman Andy Balbirnie, so I know the T20 team should be in good hands going forward.” Middlesex bowler Murtagh revealed he is calling it a day for similar reasons. The 33-year-old said: “I haven’t played much T20 cricket for Middlesex recently. There’s such a busy schedule these days, and with a lot of cricket coming up for Ireland and Middlesex, I’m now maybe at an age as a bowler where some formats of the game are having to take priority. “I’ve been hugely grateful to have been given the chance to play T20 international cricket for Ireland, and I’m certainly looking forward to hopefully playing many more games in the other formats.” Chairman of selectors Alan Lewis paid tribute to the pair and welcomed their continuing commitment to Irish cricket. He said: “It came as no surprise that Ed and Tim have announced their retirements from T20 international cricket. “Both players are the wrong side of 30, but the heartening piece for us is their total commitment to the longer formats and ultimately our desire to play Test cricket in the future. “Wise men make the right decisions at the right time and this is no different. I can’t speak highly enough of both. “They are hugely valuable to us in the longer formats and when you also consider their county commitments, their decision is fully understandable.” read more
THIS Saturday, the Annual Motocross event speeds off at the Mongrippa Hill ground in Bartica, as part of the town’s activities for the annual Regatta festivities.And, like the consistency of the Bartica Regatta that has been the annual marquee event in the town for decades, defending 125cc champions, BLB racing team, aims not only to defend their title but to be a force to reckon with for years to come.In a correspondence to the media, the Bartica-based racing team that consists of Andrew Wong with his 2018 KTM 125cc dirt bike, Bobby Rasul ( 2019 YZ Yamaha 125cc) and Stephen Vieira (2016 YZ Yamaha 125cc), noted confidence of a repeat of their impressive showing last year.At the 2018 Bartica Regatta Motocross event, Rasul and Vieira were tied for the champion biker accolade in the 125cc event after both of them notched up one win, one second and one third place finish in their three races while Wong won the third race.News from Team BLB indicates that their machines are in prime working condition while reports from Bartica has revealed that the Mongrippa Hill ground has all systems in place for keen rivalry amongst bikers from Georgetown, Essequibo and Bartica. read more
(BBC) – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen headed Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in second practice at the Styrian Grand Prix.The Dutchman pipped Bottas by just 0.043 seconds, with the Racing Points of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll third and fourth.Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo had a heavy crash at Turn Nine early in the session, and limped away from the car.World champion Lewis Hamilton was only sixth, unhappy with both the balance of his Mercedes and his fastest lap.Teams were trying harder than usual in the session as there is an outside chance of it defining the grid order if cars cannot run in the predicted rain today.That is still an unlikely scenario, however, as there are a number of potential solutions if qualifying is washed out.Verstappen was impressive on both short and long runs, beating Bottas on his qualifying simulation lap and then lapping at very similar pace when they switched to race preparation, despite being on the harder medium tyre with the Finn on the soft.F1 Breakdown: Jack Nicholls previews new Formula 1 seasonHamilton said: “It felt relatively normal but it was quite far off. There is a lot of work needed to do to find out why. I was feeling pretty good in P1 and at the start of P2 but then it started to drop off. It does seem the others are pretty quick or we have slowed down.”Racing Point’s pace was a further emphasis of their rise to become real contenders this season with a car that has been dubbed the ‘Pink Mercedes’ for its likeness to last year’s world championship-winning car.Perez was just 0.217secs off the outright pace, with Stroll his usual 0.3 secs or so behind his team-mate.McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fifth, ahead of Hamilton and the second Red Bull of Alexander Albon, who had two spins in the course of the day.Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris was eighth fastest, limiting his running because of some pain he was experiencing when braking. The Briton, who scored his maiden podium last weekend, was also handed a three-place grid penalty for overtaking while passing yellow caution flags in first practice.He said: “I’ve been struggling a bit physically with something; I don’t know what it is. It’s been pretty painful, particularly in the high-speed corners and when I’m braking – something in my chest or something. I don’t know where. I hit the brakes and the compression it spikes up massively.”Ricciardo said the crash was his mistake.“I’m OK,” he said. “I hit my knee on the steering column but it’s just a bit bruised. It went so quickly.“A little bit of wind and probably coming in with a little bit too much speed for the conditions.”Charles Leclerc was the fastest Ferrari in ninth place after trialling a new front wing and new floor, the first of a series of developments scheduled to come to the car, aimed at reducing the performance shortfall it suffered at the opening race of the season.He and team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who was 16th fastest after having his best lap deleted for exceeding track limits, said the upgrades were “positive” but that the team still needed to work out how to get the best out of them.This is the first time in F1 history that a circuit has hosted two races in a single season – this weekend’s event named after the region in which the Red Bull Ring is situated, following on from last Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix. read more