Arsenal are bidding to become the first team since Blackburn in 1884-86 to win the FA Cup in three straight years, and to extend its record-setting haul of FA Cup titles to 13. With his team having its best chance in years to win the Premier League, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger must decide whether to rotate his squad. Wenger said Thursday that Alexis Sanchez is not yet ready to return from a hamstring injury, but midfielder Mikel Arteta is available. Liverpool are in the middle of a gruelling schedule – it will be the team’s sixth game in 19 days – that is taking its toll on the squad. Manager Jurgen Klopp is without a senior centre back for the match, as Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure are all hurt, while attackers Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho are also injured. The match comes three days after a League Cup semi-final match at Stoke, and five days before a Premier League game against first-place Arsenal. Klopp could even make 11 changes to the team. “It will be a team that hasn’t played too often together,” Klopp said. “If this is a chance for Exeter, then they have to take it.” This will all be music to the ears of Exeter’s players, whose team is 16th in the 24-team League Two – a gap of 76 places to Liverpool in the English ladder. The last time Exeter reached this stage was in 2005, when they took Manchester United to a replay after a goalless draw at Old Trafford. MANCHESTER, England (AP): It’s a match that has all the ingredients of a classic FA Cup upset. An injury-hit, inconsistent and potentially jaded Premier League heavyweight making a 500-mile round trip to a team in the lower reaches of the fourth tier with a small ground, poor field, and a recent history of shocking a top side. Exeter’s home game against Liverpool today is the pick of the games in the third round of the FA Cup, when the giants of the Premier League join the teams from the lower leagues and non-league in the world’s oldest club knockout competition. As always, the search is on for a huge shock on one of the most exciting weekends in the English calendar and it could come at the 8,500-capacity St James’ Park, which – located in the south-west corner of England – is one of the most remote grounds in the country. THREE-PEAT GRUELLING SCHEDULE
The victory was a welcome boost for Scorpions following their disappointing defeat to title-holders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on Thursday, while ICC Americas slid to their second straight defeat, on the heels of their opening-round loss to Barbados Pride. The right-handed McCarthy held the Scorpions’ innings together after it threatened to stall at 61 for three in the 16th over when they lost captain John Campbell (3), fellow opener Trevon Griffith (15) and Devon Thomas (19) cheaply. He counted 11 fours and four sixes and shared a 105-run fourth-wicket stand with Lambert, whose 28 came from 51 balls and included two fours. McCarthy added a further 49 for the sixth wicket with Aldaine Thomas (15), before he was seventh out via the run-out route. In reply, ICC Americas lost captain Ruvindu Gunasekara to the first ball of the innings, but climbed back into the contest through a 42-run stand between Kumar and Steven Taylor (12). Once the stand was broken, however, the last nine Americas wickets tumbled for 34 runs as Jacobs scythed through the innings. AT QUEEN’S PARK OVAL: Trinidad and Tobago Red Force beat Barbados Pride by nine wickets. Scores: Barbados Pride 161 all out off 49.3 overs (Roston Chase 50; Jon Ross Jagessar 3-24). T&T Red Force 163 for one off 35.5 overs (Kjorn Ottley 80 not out, Kyle Hope 70 not out). WELCOME BOOST ST AUGUSTINE, Trinidad (CMC): Andre McCarthy struck his maiden regional one-day hundred and leg-spinner Damien Jacobs claimed a five-wicket haul as Jamaica Scorpions rebounded from their opening-round loss to crush ICC Americas by 184 runs here yesterday. Playing at the Frank Worrell Memorial Ground at the UWI Sport & Physical Education Centre, Scorpions piled up 260 for eight off their 50 overs, with the 28-year-old McCarthy hammering 118 from 119 deliveries. The only other frontline batsman to make it past 20, however, was former captain Tamar Lambert with 28, while Sheldon Cottrell chipped in with a cameo 29 batting at number seven. Fastman Jeremy Gordon was the best bowler with three for 32, while Muhammad Khan claimed two for 63. In their turn at the crease, the Americas never posed a serious challenge and slumped to 76 all out off 26.4 overs. Nitish Kumar top-scored with 42, but was the only batsman to pass 15, and only one of two to reach double figures, as Jacobs destroyed the innings with five for 22. Fast bowler Nicholas Gordon picked up two for 17.
Cottrell’s all-round heroics help Scorpions sting PridePORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):Tail-ender Sheldon Cottrell smashed a brace of sixes at the death as Jamaica Scorpions escaped with a nervy two-wicket win over hapless Barbados Pride to post their second victory of the Regional Super50 here yesterday.With the game still very much an open contest with Scorpions tottering on 118 for eight at the start of the 33rd over in pursuit of 139 for victory, Cottrell twice cleared the ropes at the expense of debutant left-arm spinner Dane Currency, to ease the tension at Queen’s Park Oval.Man of the Match Cottrell, who ended on 16 not out, and Nikita Miller, seven not out, then calmly gathered the remaining nine runs in singles to clinch victory at the end of the 38th over.Cottrell had earlier claimed three for 18 with his left-arm pace, and leg-spinner Damien Jacobs, three for 38, as Pride were bundled out for 138 off 45.5 overs after opting to bat first.Captain Kevin Stoute hit 39 from 74 balls, but wicketkeeper Mario Rampersaud was the only other batsman to reach the 20s with exactly 20.In-form AndrÈ McCarthy then laid the foundation for the successful run chase with a top score of 49 from 76 balls, while Antiguan Devon Thomas chipped in with 33 from 65 deliveries.With the pair involved in a comfortable 84-run, third-wicket stand and Pride seemingly out of ideas, Scorpions appeared to be romping to an easy win.But experienced left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn turned the game on its head in a second spell which accounted for both batsmen and yielded four for 28 from 10 overs overall.His spell triggered a slide which saw six wickets fall for just 13 runs in the space of 42 balls, to give Pride a scent of an unlikely victory.Wickets continued to tumble until Cottrell arrived to strike two key blows and rescue the innings.AT ST PAUL’S SPORTS COMPLEX: Guyana Jaguars defeated Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners by six wickets in their Group B, third-round game in the Regional Super50 at St Paul’s Sports Complex here yesterday.Scores: MAROONERS 149 all out off 48.3 overs (Ryan Hinds 47; Veerasammy Permaul 4-22, Paul Wintz 3-21). JAGUARS 153 for four off 35 overs (Assad Fudadin 71; Vikash Mohan 2-25).SCOREBOARDPRIDE INNINGSD Smith c D Thomas b Gordon 1K Corbin lbw b Cottrell 0*K Stoute lbw b Campbell 39S Brooks st A Thomas b Miller 19J Carter c King b Campbell 18R Chase b Jacobs 2J Greaves b Jacobs 3+M Rampersaud b Cottrell 20A Nurse lbw b Jacobs 9S Benn not out 18D Currency b Cottrell 0Extras (lb4, w5) 9TOTAL (all out, 45.5 overs) 138Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-9, 3-36, 4-80, 5-82, 6-86, 7-89, 8-99, 9-138, 10-138.Bowling: Cottrell 4.5-1-18-3, Gordon 4-1-12-1, Miller 8-1-20-1, Jacobs 10-1-38-3 (w2), Campbell 10-0-32-2 (w3), Lambert 6-0-14-0.SCORPIONS’ INNINGST Griffith c Brooks b Nurse 4*J Campbell c Benn b Nurse 8D Thomas c wkp Rampersaud b Benn 33A McCarthy c Smith b Benn 49T Lambert c Smith b Benn 0B King lbw b Currency 8+A Thomas lbw b Benn 0N Miller not out 7D Jacobs run out 0S Cottrell not out 16Extras (w12, nb2) 14TOTAL (8 wkts, 38 overs) 139Did not bat: N GordonFall of wickets: 1-9, 2-21, 3-105, 4-107, 5-116, 6-116, 7-117, 8-118.Bowling: Nurse 6-0-35-2 (w8, nb2), Greaves 2-0-13-0 (w1), Currency 4-1-24-1 (w1), Benn 10-1-28-4 (w1), Chase 2-0-10-0 (w1), Smith 6-0-14-0, Carter 8-1-15-0.Result: Scorpions won by to wickets.Points: Scorpions 5, Pride 0.Man-of-the-Match: Sheldon Cottrell.Toss: Pride.Umpires: N Duguid, P Nero.
Local full-service communications company Flow announced in a release yesterday that it is a designated international broadcaster for the 2016 National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl. Flow Sports network will give local fans a special access to reports and updates from Super Bowl Week, including coverage of all the exciting events surrounding one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will compete in this year’s Super Bowl, which is set to take place in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday and will mark the 50th anniversary of the professional American football championship. “It is a great privilege to have an opportunity to participate in the biggest annual American sporting event,” said John Reid, president of Cable and Wireless’ consumer group. Our production team is thrilled to be on location, and it’s going to be a fun week for our customers, who will enjoy an in-depth and behind-the-scene Super Bowl experience,” said Reid. Cable and Wireless is the parent company for Flow. Presenter Syreeta Stracey and the Flow Sports team have been spending the entire week covering the build-up events, including Super Bowl opening media night; Super Bowl City; NFL Experience; and Party with A Purpose/Taste of The NFL. Viewers will also have access to interviews, insights, predictions, analysis, breaking news, plus a front-row seat to some of the host city’s most sizzling events leading up to the epic kick off.