ST JOHN’s, Antigua (CMC) – The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) yesterday confirmed the appointment of former Australia batsman Stuart Law as head coach of the men’s team on a two-year contract.The 48-year-old Law, a former Sri Lanka and Bangladesh head coach, will formally take up the post on February 15, just weeks before West Indies face England in a three-match one-day series in the Caribbean.Media reports last month had indicated Law had agreed a deal with the WICB.He fills the post made vacant by Phil Simmons who was axed five months after leading West Indies to the capture of the Twenty20 World Cup in India last April.We are delighted to welcome Stuart to West Indies Cricket. He comes at an exciting and critical time in the development of the West Indies men’s team, with the emergence of some outstanding young talent, as seen in the most recent Test series against Pakistan,” outgoing Director of Cricket, Richard Pybus said.“He has great experience and breadth of knowledge as a player and coach and his cross-cultural experience and winning attitude will be key assets in the development of the team.”Law played a single Test and 54 One-Day Internationals and also campaigned extensively for English counties Essex and Lancashire.Following his playing career he served in a number of coaching roles. He coached the Australia Under-19s, was head coach of state side Queensland Bulls and of Big Bash franchise Brisbane Heat.Last year he served as batting coach with the national side for the tour to Sri Lanka.Law said he was anxiously looking forward to his tenure with the Caribbean side.“I am excited at the opportunity to contribute to what I think is an interesting time for West Indies. I think this assignment has come at an important time of my career.”He is the third Australian to coach West Indies following on from Bennett King and John Dyson who both experienced troubled tenures.A WICB release said Law would be charged with gaining “improved team results while providing leadership to players and team management”.West Indies currently languish at number eight in the Test rankings and ninth in ODIs.Law is one of three top-level WICB appointments announced this month, with former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams named Director of Cricket and Englishman Johnny Grave replacing Michael Muirhead CEO.
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The setup: After a lopsided defeat at the hands of the No. 1 Oregon Ducks, the Trojans entered Saturday’s game against Arizona State wanting to redeem themselves and show that they still had something to play for.The story: In a season where the Trojans just couldn’t catch a break, Saturday was the night that the ball finally bounced their way when senior kicker Joe Houston nailed a 29-yard field goal to lift the Trojans to a 34-33 victory.“We never doubted him,” sophomore safety T.J. McDonald said. “He makes those kicks all the time in practice. He missed a couple and that’s a great job for him to respond. For the way he responded, we have the utmost respect for him.”The first half lacked scoring, but there was plenty of other excitement that came from USC’s defense, which looked alive and kept the Sun Devils’ offense in check, recording four sacks in the first half.The play of the defense and special teams kept the Trojans in the game until the offense finally got into a rhythm that would become evident in the second half.Wild third quarter: Arizona State drove down the field effortlessly to begin the third quarter, but one bad throw by Sun Devils quarterback Steven Threet allowed senior linebacker Malcolm Smith to pick off his errant pass and return it 74 yards for a touchdown.And just as it seemed the Trojans had momentum, the Sun Devils snatched it away, responding every time to silence the crowd and keep themselves in the game. Both teams traded scores until Sun Devils cornerback LeQuan Lewis took the kickoff 100 yards, cutting the Trojans lead to a single possession again, 29-21.That concluded the third quarter, but the Sun Devils would carry the momentum into the final quarter. Another interception return for a touchdown — this time, it was by Sun Devils cornerback Omar Bolden — cut the Trojans’ deficit again to a single score and it wasn’t too long before they seized the lead at 29-33 midway through the fourth quarter on a Threet pass to wide receiver Jamal Miles.Special teams: In the first half, McDonald had a hand in blocking one punt, and also deflected another. In the second half, the Trojans again gave their offense a chance to win when junior offensive tackle Tyron Smith blocked a crucial field goal in the fourth quarter that redshirt freshman cornerback Torin Harris returned for a two-point conversion. This ultimately set up the game-winning heroics for Houston.“Special teams … a lot of people don’t really get it, but it determines a lot of the outcome,” redshirt junior linebacker Chris Galippo said.Third time’s the charm: in an up-and-down game that saw the Trojans take a 15-point lead, give it up and then take it back, Houston redeemed himself with a game-winning 29-yard field goal. After missing two field goals earlier in the game, Houston managed to stay confident.“My team put me in the position to execute my job,” Houston said. “That kick was for my teammates.”After being on the wrong side of last-second kicks, the Trojans ended up being on the right side on Saturday.“All in all, after what we’ve gone through in the last four games prior to this … we’re just happy to get a win right now,” said USC coach Lane Kiffin. “I’m so pleased for our players and their effort.”
Portuguese esports agency BITZER has announced a €20,000 (£17,685) investment fund ‘to stimulate the Portuguese esports ecosystem’. João Duarte, YoungNetwork GroupIt has been stated that this fund will support existing Portuguese organisations, as well as ‘Portuguese line-ups that want to establish new companies and teams’. This fund will be available between 2017 and 2018.In an interesting move, BITZER Ventures will be investing exclusively in League of Legends and CS:GO teams. This support aims to improve the conditions of players and teams, improve the training of Portuguese players in these titles and finance entries and expenses that are involved in entering major tournaments. João Duarte, CEO of YoungNetwork Group, stated: “BITZER Ventures was planned for 2018 but given the feedback from the community, we feel that there are needs that urge to be fulfilled quickly, such as the support and recognition of Portuguese players. This is why we have anticipated the announcement of the fund.”In order to be considered it was mentioned in the press release that organisations should submit their project containing their objectives and strategy for the next 18 months. The BITZER team will then analyse this and decide which organisations or lineups will receive financial support. It’s no great secret that the Portuguese esports ecosystem lags behind many others in Europe and elsewhere. Sporting CP have a FIFA player via an arrangement with Qwatti Esports Agency, whilst S.L. Benfica recently invested in a company called gleetz. As for major teams and successful players from Portugal however, they’re few and far between. Esports Insider says: This is positive news for budding teams in Portugal though some in other titles such as Dota, Overwatch, Rocket League and so on may be dismayed at the decision to focus exclusively on CS:GO and League. Perhaps this is a test, and if all goes to plan this will be expanded. For now though, the race is on for teams in Portugal to prove they’re worthy of investment!