Online sports editor Ed Alexander casts an eye over some of the more obscure stories from the last week of sport
There’s never a moment’s rest in the world of sport. If the football isn’t dominating the headlines, then it’s almost certain you’ll be reading about goings-on in the NFL, PGA Tour, or World Athletics events.
With all the breaking news and rumours, juicy stories will invariably escape you’re attention, but we’re here to help.
Here’s a look at five sporting stories from the last seven days that you may well have missed.
From Live Island to London Lions
Admit it, you watch Love Island. For the most part, it’s a pretty poor excuse for television, though it’s also highly addictive. Last summer, the show introduced us to one of its most infectious personalities as British basketball player Ovie Soko entered the villa.
Having spent the last three years at Spanish club UCAM Murcia, the 28-year-old is back in Blighty – not Mallorca – after agreeing a transfer to London Lions, who are owned and coached by Vince Macaulay. As they say, Ovie is 100% Macaulay’s type on paper.
In a sport like boxing, mindset is everything. You don’t reach the top without unwavering confidence, which can often border on arrogance. It seems WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has crossed that divide, going from self-assured fighter to fully-fledged showman.
In the aftermath of his victory over Luis Ortiz on Saturday, the American proclaimed (as quoted by BBC): “I think I earned my respect to say I’m the hardest-hitting puncher in boxing history. Period.”
There are several boxing legends who’d probably contest Wilder’s claim, including one Mike Tyson. On his way to becoming undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the 109kg ball of muscle came up against 58 different opponents, beating 50 of them, and winning 44 of his fights by knockout. Wilder has a long, long way to go.
A Game of Two Halves
There were three tries and 21 points scored in the second-half of London Irish’s 45-31 victory over French side Bayonne in rugby union’s European Challenge Cup. Now, that would usually be viewed as pretty entertaining.
However, the teams crossed the whitewash on nine occasions between them during a madcap opening period. That means there was, on average, more than one try scored for every five minutes of play before the break. By contrast, the action after the restart was relatively dull.
Intriguingly, there were 11 different scorers at the Madejski Stadium as everyone looked to join in the fun and frolic.
From Villains to Heroes
We’re 13 games into the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, and newly-promoted Aston Villa have already bettered their wins tally from 2015/16, the year in which the Midlands outfit were last relegated from the top-flight.
Their 2-0 triumph at home to Newcastle United took the Villains to four victories for the season, one more than they managed four years back.
On top of that, Dean Smith’s men are a mere three points behind the total they posted at the end of that season, with the club’s current recruits amassing 14 so far this term. The doom and gloom is slowly starting to leave Villa Park.
Pride of Scotland
As someone who identifies as a Scotsman, it’s hard to say this, yet it must be said – Scottish sport is in a very dark place these days. The footballers are floundering, the rugby players got wrecked at the World Cup, and our prized possession Andy Murray has been hampered by injuries.
Fortunately, a glimmer of hope has emerged in the form of golfer Robert MacIntyre. The youngster is being talked about as a potential member of the 2020 Ryder Cup team following his performance on the European Tour, which earned him a much-coveted title, with MacIntyre named Rookie of the Year at the end of his debut season.
During his maiden campaign on the circuit, the pride of Scotland posted three runner-up finishes as he placed inside the top ten on seven occasions. If only he knew how to kick a football…