NOTTINGHAM, England, (CMC) – Reigning world champions Australia will hold no terrors for a confident West Indies, when the two teams clash at Trent Bridge in their second outings in the ICC World Cup here Thursday.The last time the two teams met in a One-Day International three years ago, West Indies went down by 58 runs in the final of a Tri-Nations Series in the Caribbean involving South Africa.West Indies also came off the worse in the last bilateral series six years ago Down Under, suffering a heavy 5-0 whitewash but head coach Floyd Reifer says West Indies would be taking a “fearless” approach to the upcoming contest.We are not worried about them, we’re just focussed on our game,” Reifer said here Monday.“We’re focussed on playing our brand of cricket. These set of guys are creating the brand of cricket they want to play which is an aggressive, smart, confident, fearless cricket and that’s the brand we’re continuing to play no matter what who is the opposition.”West Indies sent a strong warning to opposing teams when they crushed Pakistan in their opening game here last Friday. Bowling with pace and hostility, they bundled out the Asian side for 105 and then raced to their target inside 14 overs.Australia, meanwhile, chased down Afghanistan’s 208 in Bristol to make a comfortable start to their title defence last weekend.Reifer said despite the opening win, his side were remaining grounded, focussing more on their execution than thinking about results.“We’re taking it one game at a time. Like I said, we’re not under any pressure. We’re just enjoying our cricket and focussing on playing the brand of cricket that we want to play,” the former West Indies captain explained.“We’re focussing on restoring the pride in West Indies cricket so we have our reasons, we have our purpose for being here and we’re just taking it one game at a time. At the end of the day we’ll be there July 14 [in the final].”Reifer said West Indies’ performance against Pakistan had been a pleasing one, especially with the team producing a clinical effort in the bowling and fielding departments.“The performance was very good. What was really good about it is that the guys went out there and executed the plans,” he pointed out.“I thought we bowled aggressively, we stuck to our plans. The spell that (Andre) Russell bowled was the game-changing spell. I thought he bowled really fast and put the Pakistan batsmen on the back foot.“Oshane Thomas bowled some quick balls as well. He came in and kind of polished off the job but all in all it was a very good team performance.”He continued: “In the field as well, we fielded well. The guys had a lot of energy in the field, the attitude to the fielding was there and all in all I thought it was a very good performance by the team.”
THE Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Rose Hall Town Jammers registered a win each on the opening night of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) Lennox Blackmoore National Intermediate Championships, which is currently underway at the National Gymnasium.Only six bouts took place on Friday night, four of which were exhibition clashes.In the Intermediate bantamweight division, 18-year-old Andrey Bess defeated GDF’s Jermaine Grant, while in the lightweight clash GDF’s Jerimiah Jackman gained a walkover victory against the Jammer’s Kellon Williams.In the four exhibition bouts, 75% involved GDF boxers competing among themselves, while the other bout was between two Forgotten Youth Foundation (FYF) boxers. Five gyms, including defending champions GDF, FYF, Jammers, Pocket Rockets and Ricola are competing in the three-night event.Technical Director of the GBA, Terrence Poole, noted that some 33 boxers, two of whom are females, were scheduled to take the ring. The bout between Abiola Jackman and a Pocket Rocket Gym boxer would take place tonight as well as several of the male weight-division finals.Meanwhile Bess, who attends the New Amsterdam Technical Institute, was set to cheer on his gym mate Raphael Sebastian last night in another bantamweight bout, which could end with the two 18-year-old Berbice boxers reaching the final.According to president of the GBA, Steve Ninvalle, the association will next look to run off the National Open, as it prepares for its most difficult Caribbean Boxing Championships, scheduled for December 4-9 in Trinidad.Ninvalle said that the Open, scheduled for later this month, would be used to select a large national squad to be encamped for at least a month to stand a chance against boxers from powerhouse nations such as Cuba (who have produced several World and Olympic champions), Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.The four Latin American nations were invited to the event this year.
Somehow, 17 years after their first match and a 27th time facing each other in competition, Venus and Serena Williams have arguably never met with this much on the line — with history so squarely pinned atop the net between them.And that’s saying a lot: These are sisters who have made history with every stroke of the racket in a sport once ruled by tradition. They have become ingrained in not only the American sporting lexicon, but that of our global cultural fabric, as well.Tuesday, they’ll battle once more, as the U.S. Open’s top seed, world No. 1 and three-time defending champion Serena Williams takes on big sister Venus in the quarterfinals.Will Venus be the one to stop Serena’s quest for the calendar Grand Slam — all four majors in one year?“I don’t think anyone wants to be a spoiler,” Venus, 35, told reporters Sunday after her fourth-round win. “I think people love to see history being made. … But at the same time, you’re focused on winning your match even though the circumstances are really much different than you.”Not since Steffi Graf in 1988 has a tennis player — male or female — won the calendar Slam. American Maureen Connolly was the first woman to do it, back in 1953. Serena — amid her 21 career major titles –— has never put herself in that position. Until now.“I don’t really feel like if I win this tournament it’s going to make or break my career,” Serena, 33, said in her post-match news conference Sunday after defeating Madison Keys. “I look at it that way.”Any way you look at it, it’s Serena who leads the head-to-head series with Venus 15-11, including six of the last seven matches.But there is no player in the draw whom Serena respects — or perhaps fears — more.“I’m playing, for me, the best player in the tournament, and that’s never easy,” Serena said. “She’s beaten me so many times. She’s a player that knows how to win, knows how to beat me and knows my weaknesses better than anyone.” It’s a match that is hardest for the Williams family to watch.“It’s never easy,” said Isha Price, Venus’ and Serena’s sister. “I think they’re both happy to be in the place that they are. It’s toughest on my parents. It’s tough for us to watch, because you want the best for both of them.”The best would be more history for Serena, who has a 52-2 record in 2015, including the Australian and French Open titles, another Wimbledon win, an uninterrupted stay at No. 1 and no fully realized rival. Belinda Bencic, a teenager who shocked Serena three weeks ago in Toronto, was ousted in the third round here — by Venus.“They’re each other’s best friend. They love each other endlessly,” ESPN commentator Rennae Stubbs said. “They’re the same today with one another that they were 20 years ago. One of them is stopping the other from having a dream come true.” Some underestimate the dream of Venus, who in 2011 was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune deficiency, to still win Grand Slam tournaments. That’s what the seven-time major winner is after, even if her last Slam came in 2008. That year she beat Serena in the Wimbledon final, the last time in the sibling series that Venus won a Grand Slam match against her younger sister.“They both want to win,” said Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena’s coach. “You can love the person on the other side of the net, but if you are a real competitor — which they both are — on a tennis court you forget and you play.”Serena has been doing her best to forget all the talk this entire U.S. Open. The talk of the Grand Slam follows her everywhere she goes, and she has shrugged it off, time and time again.Sunday, she did the same.“I have to play Venus Williams next,” she said in a response to a question about going after the Slam. “I have to deal with that pressure first.” Although neither would want to acknowledge it, this could well be the last time the sisters meet in the U.S. Open — or anywhere.“We both know the draw, so we are both prepared to play each other,” Venus said. “It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does. Then we go. We go.”Should Venus go one better, should she beat Serena in the U.S. Open during little sister’s quest for the Grand Slam, would a loss to her make it any easier for Serena to swallow?Sort of.“I would rather lose to Venus as opposed to anyone else,” Serena confirmed. But then she added, “I, in general, don’t like to lose.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports