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Gadgets & Games

Child protection groups struggling to keep up with rate of technological change

January 31 2015

Child safety experts have warned that chat and messaging technology has “grown quicker than our ability to regulate”. The head of child online safety at the NSPCC contributed to the debate surrounding mobile apps following a recent Courier report. Claire Lilley called for tougher legislation in the wake of a court case involving a Tayside man, who sent “inappropriate” messages to a young girl 37 years his junior but was found not guilty of offences under Scottish communications law. A sheriff acknowledged “any parent would be concerned” by the messages, which contained reams of “emoticons” and “emoji” sent by the man pictorial representations of concepts and emotions. The bulk of the messages were sent using WhatsApp an unsecured network that Prime Minister David Cameron recently vowed to clamp down on. Ms Lilley’s comments came as the man who helped draw up the legislation regarding “grooming” expressed his concerns that sex offenders are using new technologies to befriend children. Ms Lilley told The Courier: “Sadly, predators are quick to exploit new technology to take advantage of young people, and keeping children safe online is now the biggest child protection challenge of this generation. “Alongside tough sanctions for those caught grooming, we need to educate our children about staying safe.” The chief executive of Childnet, Will Gardner, said things have moved on dramatically since he formed the UK internet safety charity to investigate the use of chat rooms. “We talk to children as young as three or four about the importance of telling someone if you get bothered online,” he said. Childnet launches Safer Internet Day on February 10.

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Football

Match report: Dundee 1 Queen of the South 1

March 24 2010

The Dundee FC board’s gamble in sacking Jocky Scott in order to halt the first division leaders’ form slide fails to bring an immediate return. Desperately needing a win over Queen of the South to keep their pursuers at arms length, the Dark Blues’ first match under Gordon Chisholm saw the new manager’s former club come from behind to force a draw, despite playing most of the evening a man down. And with second-placed Inverness beating Airdrie United 4-0, the Dark Blues’ cushion at the top has been reduced to a point. Gifted an early goal and with their opponents left short-handed, Dundee should have bagged the victory they required. But the nervousness — amongst players and fans alike — that characterised the latter stages of Scott’s reign remained in evidence. And, with buoyant fellow title hopefuls Ross County to be visited this weekend it is — as Sir Alex Ferguson once put it — squeaky bum time! “It’s disappointing to go one up against ten men then not win it,” admitted Chisholm. “I told the players at half-time that we needed another goal but it didn’t come. “At the start of the second half to be honest it seemed as if we were the 10 against 11. “One or two of the players looked nervy. There’s a wee lack of confidence but we’ve got to be bigger than that if we want to win a league.” The man who has taken over from Chisholm at Palmerston, at least until the end of the season, saluted his team’s performance. “Our boys had to dig deep after going down to 10 men for 75 minutes,” said Kenny Brannigan. “But they battled back well and deserve the point. I had to speak to the players after Chis left and they were aggrieved, saying the big man had left us when we still had a chance of going up. “Dundee is a massive club but they’re not doing too well. It’s a gamble and I’m not sure if I was in his shoes I would have done the same. “But he’s a top manager and I’m just surprised it has taken so long for someone to come in for him.” The Dark Blues, without first-choice keeper Rab Douglas owing to achilles and knee injuries and concussion victim Gary MacKenzie, also benched Ben Hutchinson to allow the return from suspension of Leigh Griffiths. And Griffiths it was who fired them in front on 16 minutes as Queens self-destructed. The visitors had threatened to add to Dundee’s woes when Willie McLaren’s cross from the left would surely have been turned in by Derek Holmes had it not arrived in the six-yard box just a little behind him. But the anxiety around Dens Park was eased when Griffiths intercepted Stephen McKenna’s poorly judged passback and had his progress halted by a tug from Marc McAusland. Referee Mike Tumilty could hardly do anything other than point to the spot, from where Griffiths notched his 20th goal of the season, and order off McAusland. Tumilty was reaching for his cards again before the break after David Lilley went through Griffiths from the back and the Dundee striker picked himself off the deck and angrily shoved the former Aberdeen defender. The ref showed both players yellow. Although the home side looked a little less tense after taking the lead they were by no means comfortably on top as short-handed Queens hinted on occasion that they were capable of snatching an equaliser. Shortly before the break the Doonhamers could well have levelled when Holmes’ overhead kick played Paul Burns in. Bob Malcolm saved the day with a powerful challenge which ensured Burns’ finish failed to trouble Bullock. But the equaliser was only delayed. Brian Kerr handled 35 yards out in a central position and up stepped Bob Harris to fire a wonderful free-kick over the wall and just inside Bullock’s left-hand upright. On-loan Andrew Shinnie might have restored Dundee’s lead when he rose unchallenged to meet an Eddie Malone cross. But he couldn’t quite get enough on the ball to threaten David Hutton’s charge. Long-distance efforts from Gary Harkins and substitute Richie Hart weren’t far off finding the target as the Dark Blues finally began to play with a sense of urgency. However, as time began to run away from them, so the crowd became increasingly edgy. And had substitute Sean O’Connor capitalised on an outstanding chance, edginess would have given way to anguish. With Dundee pushing for a winner Burns broke down the right and dragged the ball back into the path of O’Connor. But he miscued his finish and it bounced wide. Stoppage time saw drama at both ends. First David Weatherston nearly snatched it for the visitors with an shot that Bullock managed to beat away then Harkins forced Hutton to save on the line before referee Tumilty stunned everyone by pointing to the penalty spot again only, after being surrounded by irate Queens players, to consult linesman James Bee and give a corner instead. Chisholm commented, “To be honest I didn’t see the penalty incident, although I don’t know how a guy 30 yards away can overrule the man on the spot.” But Brannigan hailed Bee’s intervention. “When the ref gave the penalty at the end nobody could see what it was for,” he said. “It was brave from the linesman and credit to him for standing up to be counted and making sure the right decision was made.” In addition to red-carding McAusland and booking Griffiths and Lilley, Tumilty cautioned Dundee’s Malcolm and the Queens trio of McLaren, Harris and Jamie Adams. Attendance: 4508. Dundee: Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl (Hart 69), McKeown, Malcolm, Shinnie (Hutchinson 79), Kerr, Griffiths, McMenamin (Higgins 62), Harkins. Subs not used: Soutar, Cameron. Queen of the South: Hutton, McKenna, Lilley, Reid, Harris, McAusland, Holmes (O’Connor 67), Adams, Quinn (Weatherston 77), Burns, McLaren (Hamill 51). Subs not used: Fox, Scally. Referee: Mike Tumilty. Tumilty was reaching for his cards again before the break after David Lilley went through Griffiths from the back and the Dundee striker picked himself off the deck and angrily shoved the former Aberdeen defender. The ref showed both players yellow. Although the home side looked a little less tense after taking the lead they were by no means comfortably on top as short-handed Queens hinted on occasion that they were capable of snatching an equaliser. Shortly before the break the Doonhamers could well have levelled when Holmes’ overhead kick played Paul Burns in. Bob Malcolm saved the day with a powerful challenge which ensured Burns’ finish failed to trouble Bullock. But the equaliser was only delayed. Brian Kerr handled 35 yards out in a central position and up stepped Bob Harris to fire a wonderful free-kick over the wall and just inside Bullock’s left-hand upright. On-loan Andrew Shinnie might have restored Dundee’s lead when he rose unchallenged to meet an Eddie Malone cross. But he couldn’t quite get enough on the ball to threaten David Hutton’s charge. Long-distance efforts from Gary Harkins and substitute Richie Hart weren’t far off finding the target as the Dark Blues finally began to play with a sense of urgency. However, as time began to run away from them, so the crowd became increasingly edgy. And had substitute Sean O’Connor capitalised on an outstanding chance, edginess would have given way to anguish. With Dundee pushing for a winner Burns broke down the right and dragged the ball back into the path of O’Connor. But he miscued his finish and it bounced wide. Stoppage time saw drama at both ends. First David Weatherston nearly snatched it for the visitors with an shot that Bullock managed to beat away then Harkins forced Hutton to save on the line before referee Tumilty stunned everyone by pointing to the penalty spot again only, after being surrounded by irate Queens players, to consult linesman James Bee and give a corner instead. Chisholm commented, “To be honest I didn’t see the penalty incident, although I don’t know how a guy 30 yards away can overrule the man on the spot.” But Brannigan hailed Bee’s intervention. “When the ref gave the penalty at the end nobody could see what it was for,” he said. “It was brave from the linesman and credit to him for standing up to be counted and making sure the right decision was made.” In addition to red-carding McAusland and booking Griffiths and Lilley, Tumilty cautioned Dundee’s Malcolm and the Queens trio of McLaren, Harris and Jamie Adams. Attendance: 4508. Dundee: Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl (Hart 69), McKeown, Malcolm, Shinnie (Hutchinson 79), Kerr, Griffiths, McMenamin (Higgins 62), Harkins. Subs not used: Soutar, Cameron. Queen of the South: Hutton, McKenna, Lilley, Reid, Harris, McAusland, Holmes (O’Connor 67), Adams, Quinn (Weatherston 77), Burns, McLaren (Hamill 51). Subs not used: Fox, Scally. Referee: Mike Tumilty. Tumilty was reaching for his cards again before the break after David Lilley went through Griffiths from the back and the Dundee striker picked himself off the deck and angrily shoved the former Aberdeen defender. The ref showed both players yellow. Although the home side looked a little less tense after taking the lead they were by no means comfortably on top as short-handed Queens hinted on occasion that they were capable of snatching an equaliser. Shortly before the break the Doonhamers could well have levelled when Holmes’ overhead kick played Paul Burns in. Bob Malcolm saved the day with a powerful challenge which ensured Burns’ finish failed to trouble Bullock. But the equaliser was only delayed. Brian Kerr handled 35 yards out in a central position and up stepped Bob Harris to fire a wonderful free-kick over the wall and just inside Bullock’s left-hand upright. On-loan Andrew Shinnie might have restored Dundee’s lead when he rose unchallenged to meet an Eddie Malone cross. But he couldn’t quite get enough on the ball to threaten David Hutton’s charge. Long-distance efforts from Gary Harkins and substitute Richie Hart weren’t far off finding the target as the Dark Blues finally began to play with a sense of urgency. However, as time began to run away from them, so the crowd became increasingly edgy. And had substitute Sean O’Connor capitalised on an outstanding chance, edginess would have given way to anguish. With Dundee pushing for a winner Burns broke down the right and dragged the ball back into the path of O’Connor. But he miscued his finish and it bounced wide. Stoppage time saw drama at both ends. First David Weatherston nearly snatched it for the visitors with an shot that Bullock managed to beat away then Harkins forced Hutton to save on the line before referee Tumilty stunned everyone by pointing to the penalty spot again only, after being surrounded by irate Queens players, to consult linesman James Bee and give a corner instead. Chisholm commented, “To be honest I didn’t see the penalty incident, although I don’t know how a guy 30 yards away can overrule the man on the spot.” But Brannigan hailed Bee’s intervention. “When the ref gave the penalty at the end nobody could see what it was for,” he said. “It was brave from the linesman and credit to him for standing up to be counted and making sure the right decision was made.” In addition to red-carding McAusland and booking Griffiths and Lilley, Tumilty cautioned Dundee’s Malcolm and the Queens trio of McLaren, Harris and Jamie Adams. Attendance: 4508. Dundee: Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl (Hart 69), McKeown, Malcolm, Shinnie (Hutchinson 79), Kerr, Griffiths, McMenamin (Higgins 62), Harkins. Subs not used: Soutar, Cameron. Queen of the South: Hutton, McKenna, Lilley, Reid, Harris, McAusland, Holmes (O’Connor 67), Adams, Quinn (Weatherston 77), Burns, McLaren (Hamill 51). Subs not used: Fox, Scally. Referee: Mike Tumilty.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit – a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Readers' letters

September 29: Labour leader’s stance could spell disaster

September 29 2012

Today’s letters to The Courier. Sir, – It is now 20 years since then Tory minister Peter Lilley at the Conservative Party conference attacked the ”something-for-nothing” culture, famously reciting: ”I’ve got a little list” of those in society who in his opinion were least deserving to receive UK government help and assistance. His comments provoked widespread outrage, disgust and parody from political opponents, religious leaders and the general public. Now, 20 years on and Johann Lamont the Labour Party’s leader in Scotland has also attacked the ”something-for-nothing” culture and she too has written her own ”I’ve got a little list” of those she considers to be least deserving of Scottish Government help and assistance. That list includes the police, students, those who need care, the young seeking work and apprenticeships, the old, the sick, the vulnerable and those who pay council tax. Those in the right-wing media have described Johann Lamont’s lurch to the right as ”brave”. Many others, including those in her own party, have been less than kind. In adopting Tory cuts Johann Lamont has been accused of abandoning her party’s recent policies, betraying its founding principles, its membership, those it represents, and has been criticised by Scottish political observers of deliberately aligning herself with coalition policies at Westminster in order to emphasise her unionist credentials. They say that those who choose to ignore history are fated to repeat it. Peter Lilley’s extreme right-wing views two decades ago help make the Tory party toxic and unelectable in Scotland. The danger for Labour in Scotland is to allow Johann Lamont to repeat that mistake in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014 and the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016. That would spell disaster for Labour. Malcolm McCandless.40 Muirfield Crescent,Dundee. An opportunity for cycle lanes Sir, – I am astonished by Johann Lamont’s threat to stop Scottish students being given free university education. This is not me being selfish but looking to Scotland’s future. I was funded through university over 60 years ago after my father died when I was 15 and my mother was terminally ill when I was a student. There was no way I could have paid my way through a degree then teacher training. But I like to think that the country’s investment in me paid off as I spent my working life educating the next generation. Labour’s new policy drives a coach and horses through their previous stance on educating those who can’t afford it themselves. In the period immediately after World War Two, the finances of Britain were pretty desperate too yet the government saw the importance of supporting students. This not a matter of mis-spending in hard times; it’s a matter of assuring the future of the country. Ian Gilbert.6 Robertson Crescent,Pitlochry. An opportunity for cycle lanes Sir, – I read Alan Richardson’s article, Signs positive for A9 upgrade (September 26), in The Courier with interest. What a fantastic opportunity to have good, high-quality Dutch-style cycle lanes between Perth and Inverness, incorporated with the road design. Will it happen, though? It would be fantastic if the Scottish Government have the foresight to grasp this truly forward-thinking opportunity. If they did the same with the new Forth crossing and all new road developments and upgrades, it could really promote and integrate cycling within an overall sustainable transport policy. Here’s hoping. Or rather than hoping, perhaps we should campaign? Gregor Macintyre.Scottish Director,JB Corrie & Co Ltd (Scotland),Signal Box Road, Blairgowrie. No need to bring it up Sir, – I feel that there is a bias to your reporting of the story, New chapter as couple to share parish (September 24). You are only writing and printing information from the disparate group plus letters written by them. I do not wish to detract from the hope that Rev Dr Francis Bridger and Rev Helen Bridger will bring to St Mary’s and Broughty Ferry, however, there was an omission from the article. The Rev Jonathan Bower was exonerated of all the concerns that were raised about him. Councillor Bidwell said we have drawn a line under what happened quite some while ago so where was the necessity to bring this up yet again without giving the full story? I also refute the comment made by Sally Carus that within the Church there is no homophobia. Mrs Fiona Jeffery.22 Gauldry Terrace,Broughty Ferry,Dundee. New broom Sir, – Just 24 hours after being appointed as the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland, an announcement is made that up to 3,000 support staff jobs could be lost following the merger of the eight police forces. Nothing like the new broom! John McDonald.14 Rosebery Court,Kirkcaldy.

Scotland

Police investigate human remains found in Argyll

January 10 2014

Police have launched an investigation after human remains were found in a rural area. The discovery was made near Arrochar in Argyll and Bute on Thursday. Police Scotland said that inquiries are at a very early stage and the remains will undergo further examination. The force said that there was nothing to suggest the discovery is connected to the death of missing book-keeper Suzanne Pilley, who disappeared in 2010. David Gilroy was convicted in March 2012 for the murder of Ms Pilley, his former lover and work colleague. The 38-year-old’s body has never been found.

Dundee

National chemistry prize awarded to Dundee University professor

May 9 2016

A Dundee professor has won a prestigious award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. University of Dundee Professor David Lilley has been given then Khorana Prize in recognition of his research in chemistry and life science. Professor Lilley won the biannual prize for outstanding achievement award fat the chemistry and life science interface. He will receive £5000, a medal and a certificate. Professor Lilley said: “I am honoured to receive the Khorana Prize, and most grateful to the RSC for awarding this to me. I regard this as a recognition of the work of my laboratory as a whole. “I have a wonderfully talented group of postdoctoral colleagues who are incredibly productive and full of insight. It is a pleasure to work with them all, and I am happy that they can share in this recognition. “Lastly, I am especially pleased to receive an award in the name of Gobind Khorana, who was one of the most pioneering nucleic acid chemists of all time. I was lucky enough to know him a little.” Gobind Khorana was a Punjabi-born Nobel laureate whose work focussed on nucleic acids and proteins developed. Khorana received the Nobel Prize in 1968 in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. Like Khorana, a lot of Professor Lilley’s work has focussed on nucleic acids, known as DNA and RNA. Professor Lilley and his team study the junctions in DNA that repair damage, and the enzymes that recognise and process them. He also studies RNA molecules that act like enzymes to accelerate chemical reactions. These probably played a critical role in the evolution of life on the planet in the early stages, and they still perform some of modern cells’ most important reactions. Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners in our 175th anniversary year. “We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals, whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.” 47 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work. Professor Lilley is the current director of the Cancer Research UK Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group in the School of Life Sciences at the University.

Sport

Willey’s all-round efforts propel England to commanding warm-up win in Canberra

February 2 2018

David Willey starred with ball and bat as England tuned up for their T20 tri-series against Australia and New Zealand by demolishing a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra. The home side were billed as the PM’s strongest line-up in years, boasting 239 international caps between them, but were brushed aside by eight wickets as the tourists raced home with 44 balls remaining. Willey, having already taken three wickets, hammered England’s Ashes tormentor Nathan Lyon’s first five balls for six in the sixth over of the chase, falling just short of a maximum haul when he stroked the final delivery for four. The Yorkshire all-rounder has never batted higher than seven for England but has plenty of domestic experience at the top of the order and finished with 79 from 36 balls. With the hosts making just 136 for eight, Liam Dawson claiming three for 16, England hurried to victory at indecent pace. Having already flagged their intention to leave out Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan and Alex Hales due to fitness niggles, England added Jason Roy to the absentee list when he reported a stiff back. That led to Willey’s fortuitous promotion and a first appearance at senior level for 19-year-old Sam Curran, who joined elder brother Tom in the XI. Willey took care of new-ball duties and, in his second over, both openers. Peter Nevill played on attempting to drag a ball from a yard outside off and the dangerous Nic Maddinson top-edged an abortive pull to short fine-leg. Peter Handscomb, dropped after two Ashes Tests, used an exaggerated backlift and nimble footwork to strike 43 in quick time but lacked assistance. James Faulkner might have fitted the bill had he not been brilliantly caught by Sam Billings, who flicked the ball up as he teetered on the rope then leapt back into play as he gathered the catch. Dawson took the next three wickets with a pick’n’mix of dismissals – Kurtis Patterson caught and bowled, Handscomb bowled slog-sweeping and Daniel Hughes stumped. At 90 for six the guts had been pulled from the innings, though 42 from the last five overs at least tipped them towards respectability. James Vince got the chase going by smashing the final ball of Gurinder Sandhu’s first over for six, then Willey milked Lyon’s first visit for nine, with little hint of the brutality to come at their next meeting. The scoreboard had ticked along swiftly to 49 after five overs when Lyon returned and Willey unleashed. The first ball disappeared straight down the ground, the second over wide long-on and the next two climbing over long-off. By now even the home support were anticipating something special, cheering as Willey flogged the fifth ball on to the grass bank at mid-wicket then comically booing when he was only able to finish with four through the covers. Spinner Mitchell Swepson eventually dismissed both batsmen, Vince bowled for 26 and Willey held in the deep after adding another maximum to his collection. That left Dawid Malan (21 not out) and Eoin Morgan (8no) to seal the inevitable.

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