Parkes keen to speed up for MotoGP

OPPORTUNITY: Hunter rider Broc Parkes gets accustomed with Phillip Island again ahead of this weekend’s Australian MotoGP. The 35-year-old was slowest in Friday’s opening two practice sessions after scoring a late call up to race for Tech 3 Yamaha. Qualifying takes place on Saturday followed by the main event on Sunday. Picture: APHunter rider Broc Parkes hopes to keep improvinghis speed in Australian MotoGP qualifying sessions at Phillip Island on Saturdayafter struggling inpractice.

The 35-year-old, who was a late call up to race Sunday’s main event (4pm) with Tech 3 Yamaha, was the slowest of 23 competitors around the circuit in both the morning and afternoon runs.

Parkes completed 38 laps in total on Friday andeventually cut0.902 seconds off his best performance, stopping the clock at one minute, 32.152 seconds (1’32.152).

He was 2.927s off pacesetterAleix Espargaro (1’29.225) with Marc Marquez (+0.005) next best and fellow Australian Jack Miller (+0.241) sixth overall only three weeks after breaking his leg in a training accident.

But in a promising sign ahead of Saturday’s final two practice sessions and qualifying, Parkes top speed on Friday went from 313.2 kmph to 324.7 kmph.

It has been a whirlwind experience this week for the nowEndurance World Championship regular, who last rode a one-off MotoGP two years ago and steered afull rookie season in 2014.

“The call-up for this opportunity came at the last minute as I was in Andorra and I asked for it on Friday [last week],” Parkes said post-practice on Friday.

“Then, I heard from [team founder] Hervé [Poncharal] the next day and so I jumped on the plane and got here [Australia] midweek.In all honesty, it was a bit of a struggle todayas I thought I would get on with the bike quicker.

“It hasnot been easy and I had a small crash in the afternoon, which caused us to lose some time at the end.

“Yet, up until then, we started to advance and I made progress. The best guys in the world are in this class and they have been on their bikes for a long time so to jump on the Yamaha and try to be competitive straight away is definitely not an easy task. However, it’s going well and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Parkes replacedJonas Folger, who returned home to his native Germany with illness before last weekend’s Japanese grand prix.It is believed Folger has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, ruling him out of upcoming races in Malaysia and Valencia.

Duncan ready to roar as Jets travel north

STRONG START: Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan dives full stretch to his left during a training drill at Ray Watt Oval. Picture: Sproule Sports FocusJACK Duncan remembers it like yesterday.

The then 18-year-old keeper had been called up from youth league to sit on the bench for the Jets’ clash against a red-hot Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium in round seven of the 2011-12 season.

Duncan wassoaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the ring-side seats, when the unthinkable happened.

ICYMI | Jack Duncan’s save on Sunday was something else! 💪 pic.twitter南京夜网/ifIur5mc2J

— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) October 16, 2017TweetFacebook Keeping up: Jack DuncanPictures: Jonathan Carroll, Max Mason-Hubers, Darren Pateman (AAP)“It was a good experience,” Duncan said of his unscripted debut.“It was my one game for the club during that time andI look back with good memories. Brisbane equalled the record for the most games undefeated in a row in Australian sport that day. It was a bit of a milestone. For myself it was the start of good things to come.”

Now back at the Jets with 35 games to his name and firmly established as the No.1, Duncan is looking forward to another crack at the Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

“We have made a good start to the season,” Duncan said.“We are taking it one game at a time, but to start with four points out of six, the vibe around the place is good. Itis positive and the way we are playing is positive as well.”

Duncan, 24, produced an early contender for save of the year–a spectacular finger-tip effort to deny an Adam Taggart-header–in the second half of the 2-all draw with Perth last Sunday.

Though disappointed to concede two goals, including an injury-time equaliser, there was little he could do to stop the quality finishing from Taggart.

“They came fromdifferent areas in the six-yard box,” Duncan said.“The first one was a little glance, the second one a good header. They went across me and you can’t do too much about them. As a team we have looked at how we can prevent players like that getting into good areas and tryingto stop the service before it comes in.We have to work on our desperation in the backthird. If you look at thegoals we conceded, maybe we weren’t desperate enough to get to the ball and clear it. That little bit of intensity.”

Jets coach Ernie Merrick believes he is developing into an exceptional goalkeeper.

“Keepers don’t hit their peak until they are about 30,” Merrick said.

“He has a perfect build, is agile, is a good shotstopper and is competent in the air. The relationship he has with Glen Moss is almost unique. Glen is a 35-year-old who is still super fit and a national-team keeper. Glen has taken the attitude that ‘If I help Jack it will help the club and in turn help me’. I think that relationship has pushed Jack up to another level.”

Brisbane, led by former Serie-A striker Massimo Maccarone and recently arrived Frenchman AlecBautheac, pose a threat different to that of Glory.

“They have some good experienced player in Maccarone and FahidBen Khalfalla,” Duncan said.“We have looked at the strengths and weaknesses. We have analysed them but focused more on ourselves.”

The sweeping rule changes to keep kids playing cricket

What began as a pilot program to test modified cricket rules will become a nationwide revolution this summer as almost 65 per cent of Australian associations adopt the junior format shaping the sport’s future.

In what ex-Australian captain Greg Chappell describes as a critical direction junior cricket needs to take, 160 of the country’s 247 associations have opted to introduce radical rule changes for children in a bid to increase participation and player retention.

The majority of youngsters will pursue their craft under modified rules this summer as part of a staged roll out of the junior format concept, playing on shorter pitches with smaller equipment and alongside fewer teammates.

Last season’s pilot program, trialled across 15 associations, produced significant increases in boundaries struck, runs scored and wickets taken, and perhaps most crucially a reduction in the number of wides and no balls bowled.

“There are an inordinate number of kids that want to play our game and a lot of them we’ve scared off over the years because we’ve made the game too difficult,” Chappell said.

“We haven’t made it enough fun, we haven’t developed their passion early by giving them a memorable experience.

“The different formats are about compressing the game, increasing the number of moments that they’re involved in the game, handling the ball, bowling the ball, hitting the ball because that’s how you learn.

“It’s not about developing a technique, it’s about developing a love, developing a passion and the desire to want to get out there and keep trying to get better at it.”

Chappell knows first-hand just how many youngsters walk away from the sport. His son Jon, a talented cricketer in his own right, gave up the sport in favour of baseball in the 1990s.

A Cricket Australia roadshow four years ago asked fans across the country to outline their major concerns surrounding the sport and overwhelmingly, retention of players reared its head as a major issue.

Dr Ian Renshaw, father of Test opener Matthew and a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology in human movement and sports science, was enlisted and he began a comprehensive biomechanical testing exercise.

Two hundred children in each age group, including boys, girls, cricketers and non-cricketers were put through their paces and tested on how far they could hit, bowl and throw a ball.

Data collected helped form the basis of the junior format modifications which kick in at under-nine level where youngsters play on a pitch of 14m in length with up to eight children per team, and with a 30m boundary.

Those restrictions are slowly relaxed as juniors age before they move onto a full-length pitch at under-14s.

“For 150, 200 years, maybe 400 years, we’ve been playing cricket off one measurement which happens to be the old term for a length of measurement for a field,” Cricket NSW development manager Nail McDonald said.

“So 22 yards, 66 feet, one chain. It was determined by some pastor back in the 16th century.

“There were more runs scored, more action in the field [last summer]. Kids rotating [strike] quicker, games finished in two hours instead of three and a half hours.

“It seems to have been well received so far and this year will prove the point.

“We went really hard at filling the bucket and somewhere along the way, there’s people that drop off the journey.

“I know it happens in all sports and cricket’s no different. We’d like to think out of this that we haven’t got as many holes in the sieve moving forward.”

Australia is not alone in the take up of junior format cricket.

In June this year former Australian women’s captain Belinda Clark and CA manager in junior formats Harry Tinney crossed the Tasman and presented their case to the Kiwis.

New Zealand will roll out pilot programs of their own this summer, with a view to a 100 per cent take-up over the next few years.

Tinney hopes Australia will also hit 100 per cent participation in the coming years.

“That’s the aspiration, our hope is that it becomes junior cricket,” Tinney said.

“We’re allowing junior cricketers to progress through a staged model that allows them to perform the skills that they see on television and see when they watch elite cricketers. They can do that under a staged model as they progress towards what is the traditional adult game.

“It’s evidence based, tested, proven and combined with the community buy in and as a result we’ve had such a significant take-up.”


Stage 1

Age: Under 11 Pitch length: 16m Players per team: 7 Overs per team: 20 (max) Boundary: 40m Ball size: 125-142g

Stage 2

Age: Under 13 Pitch length: 18m Players per team: 9 Overs per team: 30 (max) Boundary: 45m Ball size: 142g

Stage 3

Age: Under 14-19 Pitch length: 20m Players per team: 11 Overs per team: 40 (max) Boundary: 50m Ball size: 156g (male) 142g (female)

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Five times earthlings have been hit by falling meteorites

STARGAZER’S DELIGHT: This week is a great time to look to the skies for meteor showers and fireballs. Picture: John Schumack.The cloudy conditions could obscurea stunning astronomical event in the early hours of the morning on Saturday –a meteor shower called the Orionids, which were expected to undergo its peak event on this weekend.

But even if the weather would not cooperate, Hunter stargazer David Reneke said the Orionids will still be visible over the next few days.

“The golden rule with these things is patience,” Mr Reneke said.

“It’llhappen when you least expect it.”

The night sky for the rest of this month is looking good with no harsh moonlight towash out our after dinner skies.

It’s a great target for the novice telescope owner aswell because it’s just so easy to find stars and star clusters.

“Generally, [the Orionids]is a good shower for beginners with estimates of around 30 meteorsper hour,”Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine said.

“As with allshowers, the best time for viewing will be from around midnight until an hour beforesunrise.”

The shower is centred around the constellation Orion.

“From any Aussie backyard justlook for the familiar shape of the ‘Saucepan’ and watch below the three stars thatmake up the bottom of the pan.

Now, just to spice things up a little, there’s a second lesser known shower happeningafterwards.

The Taurids are a long duration meteor shower visible throughout springand peaking during the first week of November.

They have been described as beingbright, slow moving and with the occasional colourful fireball.

So, what exactly are meteor showers?They are the tail ends of comets.

As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit.

If earth travels through this stream, we see a meteor shower.

Meteor showers arenamed by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall.

“They’re called ‘shooting stars’ but that’s incorrect,” Mr Reneke said. “Stars don’t fall outof the sky, they’re simply small bits of iron rock.”

Has anyone ever been hit by ameteorite? You bet!

1954: An Alabama housewife was sleeping on her couch whena small meteor that crashed through the roof struck her on the hip.1992: Alarge meteor exploded over the eastern United States with pieces punchinga hole clear through the boot of a woman’s car. Her old and rather run down bombinstantly became a collector’s item and later sold for $200,000June, 1994: Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 1.4kilogram meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and endedup in the back seat. Martin suffered a broken finger while his wife was uninjured.1860: In Ohio, a horse reportedly died after being struck by a meteor.1911:A dogwas reportedly killed in Egypt.“Being clobbered by a meteor is still an extremely remote possibility,” Mr Reneke said.

Perth racing fans gear up for a new-look Ascot carnival

The good times for Perth racing fans are just a gallop away, and this year’s Ascot racing carnival is shaping up as one of the most prestigious yet.

Saturday’s meet at WA’s home of racing jumpstarts a series of exciting meets through spring and summer until the Perth Cup – which is back on January 1 – and there’s plenty for racegoers to kick their heels up about, with a new Pavilion Bar and Fashion on the Fields.

For racing enthusiasts, the TABtouch Masters is the big drawcard, featuring three million-dollar, Group 1 races over three consecutive Saturdays from November 25 to December 9 – the Railway Stakes, Winterbottom Stakes and Kingston Town Classic.

Either side of the three-week thoroughbred bonanza are eight Saturday meets featuring quality race days, stand-out social highlights such as Irish Day and Champion Fillies, and of course the Melbourne Cup on November 7.

Local charity Breast Cancer Care WA is bringing its own brand of fashion, food and fun for its annual Spring Day at the Races charity fundraiser on Champion Fillies Day, November 18.

Guests can gorge on canapes and premium beverages for $160 in the air-conditioned comforts a VIP suite on the first floor of the grandstand, where you have access to every amenity you need and won’t miss a moment of the trackside action.

The event was a sell-out last year, so spring into action if you want to nab a ticket.

For more information or to purchase your ticket, click here.

To get the rundown on the Ascot Racing Carnival, click here.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.