PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):Test captain Jason Holder says the standard of regional pitches needs to be improved if teams are to produce more attractive cricket.The 24-year-old, also the Barbados Pride skipper, said that scores in the ongoing Regional Super50 had been low because pitches were slow and turning and not conducive to good strokeplay.”It’s been tough. Obviously, the scores are not what we’ve been accustomed to in one-day cricket, and I think that’s been due to the slow pitches,” Holder said.”I’ve found it very difficult so far batting in this tournament, in the middle overs especially, and trying to get the ball off the square. I think spinners are dominating it, and that’s because the ball has spun quite early and quite sharply.”I just think we need to work a little bit more on improving our pitches and … strokeplay, and the viewing of the cricket would be a lot better.”The highest total of the tournament has been Jamaica Scorpions’ 260 against minnows ICC Americas at the Sir Frank Worrell ground at St Augustine here in the second-round Group ‘A’ contest.In Group ‘B’ played in St Kitts, the highest total there was 255 by Guyana Jaguars in the final round when they chased down a competitive total set by Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners.Between both groups, there have been 14 totals under 200 runs, with four of these coming at Queen’s Park Oval, and Holder said that the par score at the tournament’s premier venue would be quite small.”It’s been a tough pitch. The games I’ve seen here and have played here have been tough going in terms of batting, so you have to be very sharp in the field in terms of restricting opposition under 200 runs. I think 200, 210 is probably a par score on this track.”The tournament is in its final stages. Barbados Pride clash with Windward Islands Volcanoes in the second semi-final today.
Where: Santa Clarita Sports Complex, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita Monday Health: Braille mobile van What: The Mobile Solutions Van from the Braille Institute will be available for the visually impaired. The van offers a wide variety of services for the visually impaired without the time or trouble of visiting the Braille Institute in Los Angeles. Services include the sale of assistive devices, library services registration, resource referrals and more. To meet with a low-vision consultant, you must make an appointment by calling John Taylor at the Senior Center at (661) 259-9444. When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Today Art Events: Meet the author: Ray Bradbury What: Come listen to Ray Bradbury discuss his book “Fahrenheit 451” and other topics. This event is part of The Big Read, a nationwide reading initiative designed not only to revive literary reading and restore reading to the center of American culture, but to encourage reading for pleasure and bring communities together to read and discuss one book. For information, call (661) 259-8942. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall Tuesday Health: Bereavement support group What: A grief support afternoon group open to all sponsored by Kaiser Permanente meets in the second floor conference room. There is no fee for attending. The groups are facilitated by trained bereavement volunteers provided by the Kaiser Permanente Hospice Department. For more caring support or information, please call the Bereavement Line at (818) 375-3528. Registration is not required. When: 4-5:30 p.m. Where: Santa Clarita Medical Offices, 27107 Tourney Road, Valencia Day Activities: Latino story time What: Hola, Amigos! Join us as we listen to rich Latino stories of our families. For information, call (661) 259-0750. When: 3:45 p.m. Where: Newhall Library, 22704 9th St., Newhall Wednesday Classes: Beginning Spanish What: This course is designed for the non-native speaker. Students will learn vocabulary related to family, school, community and introduction to the conjugation of verbs. This comprehensive and fun course will put the Spanish you learn into practice right away. Class fee is $38. For more info, call (661) 252-8852 or visit www.golden oakadultschool.com When: 7-9 p.m. Where: Valencia High School, 27801 Dickason Dr., Valencia Health: Truth about weight-loss surgery What: You’ve heard the hype, now hear the truth. More and more people are turning to weight-loss surgery to lose unwanted pounds. From gastric bypass to the lap-band, it seems like the key to losing weight is surgery. Or is it? Learn the facts about bariatric surgery from Dr. A Tovar, who presents, “Bariatric Surgery: Is it for you?” When: noon – 1 p.m. Where: Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia Thursday Meetings: All Valley LeTip What: The local All Valley LeTip Business Referral Group is a group of local professionals that is dedicated to helping its members grow their businesses. Our Business Referral Group meets every Thursday morning for breakfast at Marie Callendars on The Old Road. Meetings conclude by around 8:20 a.m. Come join us for a free breakfast and bring some business cards to pass around. There is no pressure to join, and we would love to meet you and learn more about your business. For information, call Lisa Eichman at (661) 297-3333 or Robert Mansour at (800) 799-7449. When: 7 a.m. Where: Marie Callendars Restaurant, 24201 The Old Road, Valencia Saturday Sports: Walking for Hope 5K and Convoy for Hope What: Circle of Hope’s third annual non-competitive fundraising walk, Walking for Hope 5K, to raise money for individuals with breast cancer who live, work or receive treatment in the SCV. Dogs welcome, must be on a leash at all times. The event includes a Convoy for Hope, a procession of big rigs that will kick off the walk. The Company Band will provide entertainment after the walk until 1 p.m. For information, call (661) 254-5218 or visit www.circleofhopeinc.org. When: Registration 8 a.m., walk begins 9:30 a.m. Where: Castaic Lake General: Celebrate Fahrenheit 451 What: The public is invited to attend these events related to One Book-One Santa Clarita’s Big Read of Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451. Noon: Canyon Theatre Guild staged reading; 1:30 p.m. book discussion; 2:40 p.m., essay contest winners announced; 3 p.m., Sam Weller, Ray Bradbury’s biographer; 4:30 p.m., SciFi author panel discussion featuring Larry Niven, Harry Turtledove and others; 6:15 p.m.,author signings. For information, visit www.thebigread-scv.org. When: noon-8 p.m. Where: Santa Clarita Community Center, 22421 Market Street, Newhall Clubs: Astronomy Day What: Astronomy Day will be celebrated with solar observation, exhibits, and lectures through the afternoon. Night viewing will include the moon, Saturn, nebula, and galaxies. Lots of learning and family fun for everyone. Visit www.LGSCV.org or call Steve at (661) 609-1739 for more information. When: 1-9 p.m. Where: Valencia Library, 23743 Valencia Blvd., Valencia Charity: Henry Mayo’s Casino Royale What: The community is invited to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s Casino Royale a fundraiser offering casino favorites including blackjack, craps and roulette. Funds raised benefit the hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Services. For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please call (661) 253-8082 or visit www.henrymayo.com. When: 8 p.m.-midnight Where: Sports Complex, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Top Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal will begin the season with renewed verve at the Malaysian Open World Tour Super 500 tournament which gets underway with the qualifiers here (Kuala Lumpur) Tuesday.World No 8 Srikanth endured a below-par season where he topped the BWF ranking for a brief period and also claimed the Commonwealth Games silver but failed to win a single title, following an unprecedented high of 2017.Though he couldn’t produce the goods in the international circuit, Kidambi Srikanth managed to keep a clean slate in the just-concluded Premier Badminton League (PBL) where he anchored his team to a title win on Sunday.The 25-year-old from Guntur will hope to continue his unbeaten run when he takes on Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus in his season-opener on Wednesday.Saina, on the other hand, has been one of the top achievers in 2018, claiming a second gold in the CWG and securing a bronze at the Asian Games and Asian Championship.She also reached the finals at Indonesia Masters, Denmark Open and Syed Modi International.The 28-year-old from Hyderabad, who recently married fellow shuttler P Kashyap, will also face a Hong Kong player in Deng Joy Xuan in her women’s singles first round.B Sai Praneeth, meanwhile, has decided to give the tournament a miss after featuring in the PBL for Bengaluru Raptors.Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will look for a positive start too when they face China’s Ou Xuanyi and Ren Xiangyu.In women’s doubles, CWG bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will meet Hong Kong’s Ng Tsz Yau and Yuen Sin Ying, while the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa square off against English pair of Ben Lane and Jessica Pugh.advertisementKashyap, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey will compete in the men’s singles qualifiers, while women shuttlers Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka and Rituparna Das will also play on Tuesday.Also Read | Never had a fight with Pullela Gopichand, says Saina NehwalAlso Read | Saina Nehwal accepts Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore challenge, tells her #5MinuteAur storyAlso Read | Cancer-stricken Lee Chong Wei resumes badminton training in Malaysia
Transport and Mining Minister, Lester ‘Mike’ Henry, signed three (3) agreements with Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company (JISCO) in Jiayuguan China this morning, which effectively finalizes the acquisition of ALPART by JISCO. These are the Establishment Agreement, the Fiscal Regime Agreement and the Agency and Land Use Agreement. These documents outline the agreements between the Government of Jamaica and JISCO, relating to its ownership, operation and build-out of the ALPART alumina works at Nain, St. Elizabeth.Minister Henry says, the signing of the three (3) agreements formally unlocks the inflow of at least and additional One Billion US dollars in investment and the creation another 800 direct and high paying jobs.Meanwhile, The Deputy Director, State-Owned Assets Supervision & Administration Commission of the Gansu Provincial Government, Che Hong, says the Government of China and the Government of China’s Gansu Province fully supports JISO’s acquisition of ALPART. He also says he is particularly pleased about the additional investments that JISCO would be making at ALPART, as they seek to further expand the relationship with the Jamaican Government and provide well needed investments for the growth and development of the Jamaican economy.Minister Henry and the delegation to China return to the island next week. Story Highlights Transport and Mining Minister, Lester ‘Mike’ Henry, signed three (3) agreements with Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company (JISCO) in Jiayuguan China this morning, which effectively finalizes the acquisition of ALPART by JISCO. These are the Establishment Agreement, the Fiscal Regime Agreement and the Agency and Land Use Agreement.
The Vegas Golden Knights are only halfway through their inaugural season, and they’ve already redefined what anyone thought was possible for an NHL expansion franchise. Against all odds, the Knights are currently 29-10-3 with 61 points, good for the best record in the Western Conference — and only 4 points shy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the best record in the entire league. It’s enough to make the Knights hockey’s greatest debut team ever, hands down.But that’s not all: Vegas is also lapping the field of expansion teams across every major pro sport. Even after adjusting for the way records are distributed in other sports, no other brand-new club in modern history came close to doing what the Knights have done so far. Expansion teams just aren’t supposed to have this kind of success this early.Constructed as a Frankenstein’s monster of unwanted parts from the rest of the league, a new club is usually very bad indeed. In a franchise’s first season, merely being “competitive” — code for losing but keeping things close most nights — is an admirable goal. And going into this season, there were plenty of people who had trouble seeing the Knights even reaching that modest level of success. Most outlets picked Vegas to finish either last or next-to-last in the Pacific Division.That was a reasonable expectation based on the past performance of first-year clubs. Our own analysis found that Vegas had dredged more talent out of the expansion-draft pool than normal — but that was just supposed to mean the Knights would exceed historical expectations. It didn’t mean we thought they’d make the playoffs, much less that they’d contend for the Stanley Cup.So far this season, however, Vegas has picked up 73 percent of the maximum number of points in its games and outscored its opponents by 0.7 goals per game. To compare those marks across NHL seasons, we converted them to z-scores, or the number of standard deviations they sat above or below league average. (This helps us account for changes in the league’s spread of talent over time and allows us to make comparisons between different sports — which will come in handy later.) In both categories, Vegas’s z-scores are easily the top marks for an NHL expansion team since the league blew up the Original Six and added six new teams in 1967-68:1Excluding the four World Hockey Association teams (the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets) that merged into the NHL in 1979. Although those teams held an expansion draft, they were also able to keep some of their existing players, and they had existed in the WHA since its founding, making them different from brand-new franchises starting from scratch. 1962Houston Colt .45’s-0.8-1.040.0-1.0 Vegas vs. NFL expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 51994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim-0.3-0.37 Vegas vs. NBA expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 12018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.28 1966Miami Dolphins-10.6-1.221.4-1.4 81968Los Angeles Kings-0.3-0.62 61968Minnesota North Stars46.6-0.40 1968Cincinnati Bengals-8.1-0.821.4-1.1 Vegas is destroying its NHL expansion competitorsBest z-scores (standard deviations relative to average) for point percentage and goals per game differential, NHL expansion teams (1968-2018) Vegas beats other sports’ expansion teams, tooHow the Vegas Golden Knights stack up against top expansion teams in each league by z-score* of winning percentage, 1961-2018 The Florida Panthers used to be the model for a successful NHL expansion team. Florida was more than merely competitive in 1993-94 — it finished one win shy of a .500 record and scored exactly as many goals as it allowed. Then, with the good core of talent they had picked up in the expansion draft, the Panthers made the Stanley Cup final three seasons into the franchise’s existence. Before Vegas came along, that was the gold standard for brand-new clubs: solid in the first year, outright good within a couple seasons. But the Knights’ debut has flipped those expectations on their head.(Yes, it should be noted that the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues made the Cup final in their first season. But that was solely because the NHL dropped all six of its new teams into the same division, the winner of which had to make the final. Every team in the new West division, which housed all the expansion clubs, had a negative goal differential during the regular season, but someone had to win it — and the Blues were that team. They were also swept by the mighty Montreal Canadiens when they played for the Cup.)2In fairness to St. Louis, it was as close a sweep as you’ll see; each game was decided by a single goal.Vegas’s season becomes even more impressive when you compare its z-scores to those of the top expansion teams from other sports. No modern MLB expansion club finished a season any better than the 70-win 1961 Los Angeles Angels; no debut NBA team ever topped the 33 wins of the 1967 Chicago Bulls; no NFL expansion team could beat the 7-9 Carolina Panthers from 1995. Hockey does tend to see its teams’ records more tightly bunched than in such sports as football and basketball, but even after adjusting for that with our z-scores, the Golden Knights’ current season blows away any would-be challenger from the NFL, NBA or MLB since the early 1960s: 1967Chicago Bulls-3.7-0.740.7-0.5 YEARTEAMPOINT %–Z-SCORE 41968St. Louis Blues-0.2-0.36 21994Florida Panthers+0.00.00 31968Philadelphia Flyers-0.1-0.15 Goal differential 71973Atlanta Flames-0.6-0.58 61968Pittsburgh Penguins-0.3-0.54 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 41968Los Angeles Kings48.7-0.16 YEARTEAMGPG DIFF.–Z-SCORE 1967New Orleans Saints-10.4-1.221.4-1.3 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 12018Vegas Golden Knights72.6%+1.73 81973Atlanta Flames41.7-0.57 Vegas vs. MLB expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 71968Pittsburgh Penguins45.3-0.57 1995Carolina Panthers-2.3-0.443.8-0.4 1993Colorado Rockies-1.3-2.141.4-1.2 1969Kansas City Royals-0.6-0.842.6-0.8 YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 51968St. Louis Blues47.3-0.32 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 1969Milwaukee Bucks-5.1-1.132.9-1.1 91971Buffalo Sabres40.4-0.65 1961Los Angeles Angels-0.3-0.343.5-0.7 101994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim42.3-0.76 1971Portland Trail Blazers-4.5-0.935.4-1.0 21994Florida Panthers49.4-0.06 Full-season statistics are used for all teams except Vegas.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 1990Minnesota Timberwolves-4.2-0.926.8-1.3 Point percentage YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 1961Minnesota Vikings-8.7-0.921.4-1.3 101971Buffalo Sabres-1.0-0.85 91971Vancouver Canucks-0.9-0.77 31968Philadelphia Flyers49.3-0.08 1968Seattle SuperSonics-6.5-1.328.0-1.3 1969Seattle Pilots-1.0-1.339.5-1.1 *Z-score is the number of standard deviations above/below average, relative to the overall league that season.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com One thing that jumps out is that many NHL expansion teams had better z-scores than the best expansion teams in the other sports. But why is it so much easier to build a strong NHL expansion team (relative to the league) than in the other Big Four North American sports? I don’t have a great explanation.Hockey is the sport with the least reliable individual stats — while scouts’ eye tests can be swayed by recency and other biases — so it may be that the caliber of players left available in the expansion draft is higher than in other sports. Or perhaps the outsize value of goaltending means one good pick between the pipes is enough to carry a team of talent-strapped skaters to respectability. Or maybe good coaching deserves more credit than it sometimes gets around the league. Whatever the reason, expansion teams have done better on ice in general, even before Vegas started to blow the doors off the league.We know that, in the NHL, it takes a lot of games to tell who’s good and who’s bad — which is why even a hot half-season can turn cold overnight. For Vegas, the heat has been generated by MVP-candidate seasons from the likes of William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault and a near Vezina-worthy performance from Marc-Andre Fleury — all players who were considered expendable as recently as seven months ago. Peeking under the hood, the Knights’ ratio of shots taken to shots allowed at even-strength is nothing special, even after adjusting for score effects and other factors. And let’s face it: Few teams can sustain this pace for an entire season: Of the 24 teams with at least 60 points in their first 42 games since 2005-06,3Excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. only one (last year’s Capitals) had a second-half point percentage as good as it did in the first half of the season.So it would be logical to assume that a second-half regression could be lurking around the corner for the Golden Knights. But the advanced stats don’t suggest that Vegas has been particularly lucky. In terms of expected goals (which measures where a team’s chances come from in addition to their volume), the Knights have the ninth-best ratio in the league.Regression or no regression, various projection systems consider the Knights all but a lock to make the playoffs, which would make Vegas the first expansion team to claim that honor since the 1968 season’s standings guaranteed that four new clubs would qualify. Even the in-town sportsbooks are paying attention to the possibility of playoff action in the desert: The Knights are currently tied for the second-best Stanley Cup odds of any team in the league.For an expansion team, all of this seemed unthinkable going into the season. New franchises aren’t supposed to be instant contenders. They’re supposed to struggle, to require years of building before achieving this kind of success. Vegas clearly doesn’t care about any of that. And now we have an entirely new yardstick with which to compare every other expansion club that comes along in the future, no matter the sport.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde admits they were fortunate to grab a 2-1 win at PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday nightThe Blaugrana secured qualification for the Champions League knockout stages and top spot in Group B with victory in Holland after goals from Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.Luuk de Jong did get a late goal for PSV, but the Dutch side were unfortunate after hitting the frame of Barcelona’s goal four times beforehand.The Catalan giants were repeatedly exposed at the back, which set up a tense ending with PSV’s Denzel Dumfries being denied an injury-time penalty appeal after Clement Lenglet’s awkward challenge.“We’re so happy to have mathematically topped the group,” Valverde told the club website.“And considering how much we have struggled away from home in recent years and found it hard to score goals.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“I’m especially pleased to have got two wins and a draw this year.”“PSV played well. They were very lively on the counter attack and the balls we lost meant they were able to get into dangerous positions and even hit the woodwork a few times.”“It was a hard place to play at” added Valverde. “But the more the game progressed the more chances we able to create.”Barcelona’s final Group B match will be at home to Tottenham on December 11.Meanwhile, they will now turn their focus to Sunday’s home game against Villarreal on Sunday in La Liga.