See more NBA predictions Oh, and don’t forgetOvechkin has the fastest stick in the league We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe NBA Things That Caught My EyeBad news, PhillyThe New England Patriots have participated in 37 playoff games since 2001, losing nine of them. That alone is absolutely insane. Here’s the stat that should give Philadelphia pause: The Patriots are 15-0 when they hadn’t played the competitor at some point over the course of the season, as is the case with the Eagles. [FiveThirtyEight]Waivered JagrJaromir Jagr, current NHL old guy and the second-highest point scorer of all time, has been placed on waivers by his latest team, the Calgary Flames, a move that may signal the end of the 45 year old’s NHL career. He is 34 games shy of Gordie Howe’s record for most games played. [ESPN]The reality behind “injury prone”A Football Outsiders analysis has put some serious numbers to the idea of being injury prone: looking at 8,585 player-seasons from 2009 to 2016, 40 percent of players who played in Week 1 went on to miss one or more games due to injury over the course of the season. However, that’s high compared to players who did not have any injuries in the previous two years, only 26 percent of which missed a game or more. [Football Outsiders]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Nobody’s undefeated in the OWLThe new Overwatch League, an esports attraction that just ended its third week, has shown the kind of parity that even the NFL can only dream of. Each of its 12 teams — even the powerhouses in London, Seoul and New York — have at least one win and only one team (Shanghai Dragons) are still at 0-6. Indeed, the most exciting story of the young league may be the Houston Outlaws swinging from league worst 0-2 to fourth-place 4-2 in just two weeks. [ESPN, ESPN, OWL]Golden Knights making the house loseThe Las Vegas Golden Knights are crushing it at home this season, and home just happens to be the only town in America where you can bet on the local team before walking to the arena. This means that not only are lots of people betting on Vegas — something like 10 to 15 times the typical NHL handle — but those gamblers are often winning. [ESPN]Big Number10 percentRoger Federer defeated Marin Cilic to win the Australian Open on Sunday, his 20th Grand Slam title. Here’s the cool part: Federer has now won 10 percent of all the men’s Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era since 1968. [ESPN]Predictions NFL All newsletters See more NFL predictions
1Patriots2017Titans77.2%Jaguars71.0%54.8%? The Patriots’ Super Bowl cakewalkThe teams with the easiest roads to the Super Bowl, based on how their opponents would have fared against a generic conference finalist 1990-2017 12Jaguars1999Dolphins74.1Titans58.343.2 14Bears2010Seahawks84.3Packers50.842.8 9Giants2000Eagles67.2Vikings66.044.3✓ 21Bills1990Dolphins64.4Raiders61.639.7✓ 2Eagles2004Vikings75.6Falcons72.254.6✓ 8Bills1993Raiders73.8Chiefs61.145.1✓ Generic Team’s Chances 18Seahawks2014Panthers70.5Packers57.540.5✓ 10Patriots2016Texans76.2Steelers56.943.4✓ 24Cowboys1995Eagles70.6Packers54.638.5✓ 4Patriots1996Steelers68.7Jaguars77.853.4✓ 15Saints2009Cardinals69.4Vikings60.942.3✓ 23Bills1991Chiefs62.4Broncos63.339.5✓ 6Packers2007Seahawks68.6Giants67.746.5 13Vikings1998Cardinals80.2Falcons53.743.1 20Patriots2012Texans64.7Ravens61.439.7 22Steelers2001Ravens61.9Patriots63.839.5 11Steelers1994Browns65.0Chargers66.643.3 Game No. 1Game No. 2 17Eagles2002Falcons70.9Buccaneers57.941.0 3Bears2006Seahawks74.6Saints72.754.2✓ On Sunday, the New England Patriots will make their 12th AFC Championship Game appearance under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and the legendary coach/QB combo will be gunning for a record eighth Super Bowl appearance together against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cut through all the drama, the speculation about Brady getting old and questions about the Pats’ defense, and it has been a pretty vintage championship-caliber season in Foxborough: another year, another seemingly effortless trip to the Super Bowl.They’ve had a little help, though. According to our Elo ratings, which estimate a team’s strength at any given moment, the Pats will have faced the easiest pair of opponents of any conference title-game participant with a first-round bye since 1990 (when the NFL established its current playoff structure). Given who they’ve played, it would have been much more surprising for New England to not make the Super Bowl than to return to it for a third time in four seasons.For one thing, the AFC was exceptionally weak this year. In inter-conference play during the regular season, NFC teams went 41-23 against their AFC counterparts, which was the second-best record for one conference against the other in a season since 1990. (Only the 2004 season, in which the AFC went 44-20 against the NFC, saw a wider split.) As a result, the AFC playoff field contained only two teams with more than 10 regular-season wins, as opposed to five in the NFC. That meant a path was already forming for the top-seeded Pats to sail through to another Super Bowl.Then a few key upsets boosted New England’s advantage. First, the Tennessee Titans toppled the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card game, setting up a huge divisional-round mismatch at Gillette Stadium. According to Elo, the Pats were favored by 12, since Tennessee rated at 1499 — below the league average rating of 1505 — even after knocking off K.C. That made it the third-most lopsided divisional matchup since 1990, trailing only the Pats vs. the Tim Tebow Broncos in the 2011 season and Minnesota vs. Arizona in 1998. The Titans hung with the Pats for about a quarter, but New England eventually dropped 35 unanswered points on Tennessee and rolled to victory.The next day, another upset further cleared the way for New England. The Jaguars went into Heinz Field and took a quick 28-7 lead over the stunned Pittsburgh Steelers, then hung on for a 45-42 win. Elo had only given the Jags a 24 percent chance of winning — even lower than Tennessee’s chances at Kansas City — and it still only ranks Jacksonville as the 12th-best team in football, below five teams that were knocked out of the playoffs and three that didn’t even make it to the playoffs.Just like that, the two AFC teams Elo thought had the best chance of beating the Pats going into the playoffs — the Chiefs and the Steelers — were gone, and in their place were a below-average team and another that doesn’t rate much higher. According to Elo, New England is a 10-point favorite to beat Jacksonville, with an 81 percent chance of winning the Lamar Hunt Trophy yet again.If we multiply together the Patriots’ pregame odds of beating the Titans (85 percent) with that of the Jaguars (81 percent), we could say they had a staggering 69 percent chance of making the Super Bowl before they ever played a game. (This is assuming we’d somehow know that both of their opponents would pull off the upsets they did.) That’s easily the best number for any conference title-game participant since 1990.Of course, some of that is also because the Patriots are a very good team; they went into the playoffs with the sixth-best Elo of any Pats season since the Brady Era began in 2001. We shouldn’t penalize them for being so darned good that they created some of their own easy path. There’s an easy fix for this, though. We can swap out the Patriots’ Elo ratings for a generic rating of 1646, which represents the average for all conference title-game teams since 1990, and then recalculate the odds of reaching the Super Bowl against the opponents a team faced.For our generic NFL “final four” team, that requires multiplying together a 77 percent chance against the Titans and a 71 percent chance against the Jaguars, which gives a 55 percent Super Bowl probability. In other words, that number represents the relative ease of any good team making it through the Pats’ specific path to the Super Bowl — and it’s the easiest of any championship-game entrant since 1990. 7Patriots2011Broncos81.4Ravens57.046.4✓ 5Steelers1995Bills74.2Colts69.951.9✓ 16Eagles2003Packers59.9Panthers69.841.8 25Dolphins1992Chargers62.6Bills61.338.4 Note that the Pats’ situation this year — with several upsets leading to easier-than-expected playoff matchups — is a pretty common thread across all of these smooth-sailing runs from the past. Being lucky enough to face a low-seeded opponent in one or both conference playoff games is a major advantage, and it’s no coincidence that eight of the nine teams below New England on the list above went on to represent their conference in the Super Bowl.In these topsy-turvy AFC playoffs, that’s not exactly guaranteed for the Pats, despite their seemingly straightforward path to Minneapolis. Jacksonville was one of the most inconsistent teams in football this season, so it’s difficult to predict which version of the Jags will show up Sunday. If it’s the one that torched the Steelers for 45 points last weekend, New England’s relatively unimpressive defense could be in real trouble.But the odds are that Brady, Belichick and company will punch that return ticket to the Super Bowl. And if they do, they can be thankful that one of the softest playoff red carpets ever was rolled out in front of them. 19Redskins1991Falcons67.7Lions59.640.4✓ The generic team has an Elo rating of 1646, which is used to generate probabilities against each opponent.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com TeamSeasonOpponentWin %OpponentWin %Super Bowl %Made SB?
As we move closer to the opening of NBA training camps two weeks from now, there will be plenty of intrigue around the top tier of franchises. At least eight teams1The Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Jazz, Warriors, Nuggets, Bucks and Sixers would be the teams on my initial list without much argument. have a real chance at an NBA title in what could be the most open race the league has seen in years.But somewhere in the next rung of teams — likely not title contenders, but competitive — is what may be the most-certain-to-be-interesting-no-matter-what team: the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pels enter a new era, looking nothing like before, with little to no sense of how good they, or No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, will be.While it’s fair to expect that it will take time for the Pelicans to take stock of what they have, don’t be surprised if New Orleans figures things out relatively quickly. Based on recent history, it’s not a longshot that they could reach the postseason in their first season without Anthony Davis.Put aside the fact that FiveThirtyEight’s projection model has the Pelicans as the eighth-most likely playoff team out West, with a 52 percent probability of reaching the postseason. That’s based on player projections. There’s also the simple math of how not-so-horrible teams2By not horrible, I’m referring to clubs that finished above the bottom four of the standings. have fared the past two decades after winning the lottery and landing the No. 1 pick.Remember, the Pelicans got lucky in landing the top overall pick. As a result, they’re a relatively good team as far as lottery winners go. Of the eight previous clubs to defy the odds and win the No. 1 pick without being a total cellar dweller,3We aren’t counting the Clippers, whose pick technically won the lottery in 2011 after posting the league’s eighth-worst mark. They had traded the rights to their pick to Cleveland beforehand, so Los Angeles’s lottery win led to the Cavs celebrating that night, en route to them drafting Kyrie Irving the following month. six saw considerable improvement, winning at least eight more games than they did the previous season. That sort of jump would be meaningful for New Orleans, which, with 33 wins last year, would find themselves at .500 or better. It’s also worth noting that the Pelicans’ 33 victories also rank as tied for the most among those lottery winners over the past two decades, which suggests they’ll be starting from a more favorable position than most. Lottery winners that didn’t have to go from rags to richesBefore-and-after win totals for clubs that won NBA draft lottery without finishing in the bottom four of the standings, since the year 2000 2019PelicansZion Williamson33—— 2000NetsKenyon Martin3126-5.0 2002RocketsYao Ming2843+15.0 2014CavaliersAndrew Wiggins3353+20.0 2010WizardsJohn Wall2623-3.0 2005BucksAndrew Bogut3040+10.0 YearTeamNo. 1 Draft PickWins BeforeWins AfterChange 2007BlazersGreg Oden3241+9.0 The Clippers technically won the lottery in 2011 with the NBA’s eighth-worst mark. But they had previously traded the rights to their pick to Cleveland, who ended up taking Kyrie Irving with the top pick that year.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 2006RaptorsAndrea Bargnani2747+20.0 2008BullsDerrick Rose3341+8.0 Of course, even among just these eight teams, there’s a fairly wide range of outcomes and some unique circumstances. Some of these clubs that made seismic leaps were highly unusual. Take the 2014 Cavs, for example: Yes, Cleveland improved by 20 victories year-over-year after winning the lotto. But a guy named LeBron James deciding to sign there that summer was pretty integral to that leap. So was Kevin Love, whom the Cavs dealt for after drafting No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins. (On the other hand, Toronto getting 20 games better in 2006-07 after drafting Andrea Bargnani is one that can’t be explained anywhere near as easily.) Simply put, other roster moves are obviously a key factor in whether a team can make a significant jump after landing the top pick.But the No. 1 pick matters too. The Pelicans would gladly take the same sort of early returns from Zion as the 2008 Bulls or 2002 Rockets got from Derrick Rose and Yao Ming, respectively: Stars with bona fide skills, who made immediate impacts before struggling with injuries years later. The Bulls were eight games better after drafting their future MVP, while Houston won 15 more games after taking Ming. Both players ended up with clubs that had at least one other building block, much like Williamson will have in Jrue Holiday, one of the league’s steadiest — if not most underrated — players.Aside from Williamson and Holiday, New Orleans also has the trio of young players — Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart — that came over in the Davis trade. It remains to be seen if any of them will become stars (Ingram had a torrid end of the season before being forced out with a blood clot in his right arm). But even if they don’t,4The lack of a surefire star is part of why the Lakers had to throw in three first-round picks. they still look like solid rotation players: Ball has shown to be one of the NBA’s better defending guards when healthy, Ingram has length and has flashed an elite level of scoring ability, while Hart is quietly one of the most sure-handed transition players in the sport.As far as other roster changes, David Griffin also brought in sharpshooter JJ Redick, who gives the club added spacing, and ex-Jazz big Derrick Favors to help on the glass and to give the team a rim protector without Davis.5Favors led the league last season in FiveThirtyEight’s new DRAYMOND rating, which grades defenders on how well they limit opposing shooting by crowding their space and limiting their openness.While it’s probably a bit soon to know what sort of team the Pelicans will be in light of all these changes, it seems a safe bet that coach Alvin Gentry’s uptempo mentality will continue with this group, particularly as the hyperathletic Williamson finds his way within the offense and the league. New Orleans was poor defensively last season, but the potential is arguably there for the club to become a top-10 group in the coming years, with what should be four plus defenders (Holiday, Ball, Williamson and Favors) and a fifth in Ingram who has the ability to be amazingly disruptive at times despite his slender build.But the truth is, we don’t know how it will look just yet, because of all the new pieces. All we know — with 20 nationally televised games on ESPN, TNT and ABC — is that we’ll have a lot of chances to watch it all come together for the Pelicans, and that judging off how teams like the Pelicans often do shortly after landing the top pick, maybe New Orleans will actually be worth the Zion-level hype.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
In the first week of last year’s season, the Ohio State women’s lacross team lost their leading goal-scorer to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Brittney Zerhusen was looking to improve upon a great sophomore season, but with a torn ACL those hopes ended. In her sophomore season she started all 18 games and recorded 36 goals.Zerhusen had her knee medically repaired and went through intensive rehab.The hardest thing for Zerhusen was getting back in shape. For three months she was unable to run or make any cuts.“It had been eight months [after the surgery] before I could play with the team,” Zerhusen said. She went on to say at first that she was very nervous when running full speed and making cuts.After playing with the team for a little bit, Zerhusen said she was able to play without thinking about her knee and if it would hold up.Women’s lacrosse trainer Kristen Bretz said Zerhusen was able to get back to being healthy because of her work ethic. Bretz said Zerhusen was a little ahead of schedule and now her knee is 100 percent healthy. “She did a great job rehabbing,” coach Sue Stimmel said.Zerhusen said it was bittersweet because she wasn’t able to play, but she was able to see the team do well. Although Zerhusen wasn’t able to play, she said she did benefit from her injury. “You’re always upset when someone gets hurt but it can be a great learning experience,” Stimmel said. She added that Zerhusen learned as much from watching as she would have learned from playing.Stimmel called Zerhusen’s injury “crushing” because they weren’t sure how they would do without their leading scorer. The Buckeyes went on without Zerhusen and had others step up and lead the team.Getting Zerhusen back will be an added weapon to the already loaded team. In the past two years the Buckeyes have had the American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Year.In the 2008-2009 campaign, Kelly Haggerty was a Tewaaraton Award semifinalist.Haggerty was fourth in points and seventh in overall scoring in the NCAA.“I think we will do outstanding with the depth that we have,” Zerhusen said.
Melissa Schaub is going to need to make some more room on her trophy shelf.The Ohio State women’s tennis coach was named the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year by the ITA on Tuesday.Schaub led her team to a 32-3 overall record in 2017, with the team’s season ending in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship in a 4-3 loss to No. 7 Stanford. Those 32 wins represent a program record for most wins in a season in a year that also set records for longest win streak (18), home wins (17) and shutouts (23).Her squad went undefeated (11-0) in the Big Ten, winning both the conference regular-season and tournament championship for the second straight season.This latest award comes after she was named ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. She had also been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year this season, marking the third straight season she has been honored with the title.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer gives his opening remarks at 2017 Big Ten Media Day. Credit: Jacob Myers | Managing EditorWhile Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer probably wished the conversation at the 2018 Big Ten Media Days could have stayed focused on just football, Meyer found himself answering questions pertaining to the firing of wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith.Smith was fired after his ex-wife filed a domestic violence civil protection order, sparking an investigation into his past that dug up previous allegations of domestic violence against his wife.Meyer said in his introductory press conference Tuesday he knew about Smith’s prior allegations. He said it came back to him that “what was reported wasn’t actually what happened,” in reference to the 2009 allegation that Smith threw a woman into a bathroom wall, according to a Gainesville, Florida, police report.“Whenever you get an accusation, contact your superior, you find out what happened and you let the people do their jobs, and then you let, I guess, the legal course run its course and find out,” Meyer said. “We met with them, there were no charges, everything was dropped. There was a very young couple, and I saw a very talented coach, and we moved forward.”Meyer also was asked about a 2015 incident where Smith was arrested for felonious assault and domestic violence in Powell, Ohio. Meyer previously said there was “nothing” to the validity of the incident, but clarified he wouldn’t know.“I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there. I was never told about anything,” Meyer said. “The first I heard about that was last night.”Pro-style Haskins versus Martell’s intangiblesMeyer said earlier in the day that redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins is the quarterback in front, but that redshirt freshman Tate Martell has done well.At the podium, Meyer commended Martell for his willingness to win at all costs.“The greatest compliment and the most common denominator of every great player I’ve ever coached is competitive spirit … I see that in Tate Martell,” Meyer said. “I see a guy that refuses to lose, and that’s very appealing to a coaching staff.”On the other end, Meyer was asked about how to handle a pro-style quarterback, instead of the likes of dual-threat quarterbacks like J.T. Barrett and Tim Tebow, who Meyer coached at Florida.Meyer said the offense molds to the best quarterback on the team, and that he holds plenty of experience with a pro-style offense.“We take the best available player, we won three national titles, two have been with drop-back quarterbacks, pro-style quarterbacks, Chris Leak and Cardale Jones,” Meyer said. “We go after the best player that has the intangibles of competitives and toughness and leadership and we build it around what we can do.”More praise for Dre’Mont JonesAfter saying redshirt junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones had the best spring of anyone following the Spring Game, Meyer doubled down on his excitement for Jones, who was named to the 2018 Bronko Nagurski watch list for the best defensive players in college football on Tuesday.“He’s a grown man and I can’t wait,” Meyer said. “He’s one of our best players, if not, after spring ball, what I saw in spring practice, that’s hard to say he wasn’t one of the top one or two players on the team.”Jones was a third-team All Big Ten member in 2017 and is one of three defensive linemen who started all 12 games in his freshman season for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson will be inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in Columbus on May 22. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAfter four years playing under Ohio State head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson, one memory sticks out in Sanil Thomas’ mind: the pregame speech before the 2016 National Championship. A freshman at the time, Thomas had spent most of his first season as a Buckeye backing up star junior setter Christy Blough, who had totalled 1,232 assists during the 2016 season and would finish his career with 4,280 assists, ranking him No. 5 in program history for the category. In the biggest match for the Buckeyes since the 2011 National Championship, it was unlikely Thomas would see the floor, except for the occasional substitution to serve. Nevertheless, Hanson’s pregame speech was special for Thomas. “Honestly, I don’t even remember the exact theme of the speech or whatever it was, but I just know I was ready to play,” Thomas said. “And I wasn’t even playing. I was on the bench, and I was just fired up.” Hanson is known for his passion for the game of volleyball. This summer, he’ll be recognized for that dedication in front of a hometown crowd. On May 22, Hanson will be inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in Columbus, among a group of 25 other volleyball legends. He’ll be honored with the Donald S. Shondell All-Time Great Coach Award in the contemporary division. Hanson is already a two-time Hall of Fame inductee — the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. He’s served as the head coach for the men’s volleyball team at Ohio State for 35 seasons starting in 1985, winning three national championships and accruing only five losing seasons during that span. His teams have won 702 of their 1,042 matches for a .674 winning percentage, including a 63-5 stretch over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, which featured the longest winning streak in Ohio State history for a head-to-head sport. Prior to his coaching career, which includes five years at the University of Wyoming and a year at Ball State, Hanson played at Kellogg Community College under head coach Mick Haley. Hanson said Haley was one of his earliest influences as both a player and a future coach. “[He] influenced me a lot about how to compete,” Hanson said. “You just needed to compete hard. You needed to get in there and grind for points and challenge the guys across the net … Mick was a very competitive individual, and I think I had that in me, but he kind of kept challenging us to bring that out.” In college, Haley was a setter under Ball State coach Donald Shondell, the legendary coach, who the award Hanson is being given is associated with. Hanson first got his start in volleyball after his father got him and a few other boys at their local church to start a middle-school league in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. “It just was a sport that resonated with me for some reason. I had played other sports,” Hanson said. “We formed a group of kids that stayed together, and it just grew from there, and three of us went to college together and just started playing, and so, lo and behold, here I am.” Tim Embaugh, who has been by Hanson’s side for the past 28 seasons as an assistant coach, said Hanson’s coaching influence extends beyond the collegiate level. Embaugh said Hanson has participated with multiple USA programs, including volunteering during the Atlanta Olympics, coaching the World University Games teams and participating with the youth and junior national teams.“He’s got a long history of not just college volleyball, but also USA Volleyball,” Embaugh said. Hanson has served as an assistant coach for various U.S. national team events from 1986-89 and 1994-95, including the National Sports Festival, the Olympic Sports Festival and the National Elite Junior Training Camp. He also served as head coach for the U.S. in the Olympic Sports Festival in 1989, the Junior Continental Championships in 2012 and the Men’s U-21 World Championship in 2013.Hanson said he puts a lot of value in learning from coaches and players around the world. “There’s good volleyball played around the world,” Hanson said. “Being exposed to other countries and other training methods and how they’re playing the game and the fact that they might train it differently, but they might train it very successfully, clearly expanded my vision and the way I looked at the game.” Hanson said this award, his third Hall of Fame induction, says more about the players and the teams he’s had at Ohio State than anything he’s accomplished himself. He praised the success of the program and what’s been achieved over the course of his tenure, but he avoids connecting himself to that success. Sanil Thomas does the opposite. “Being in the Hall of Fame once obviously is a feat in and of itself. To do it three times is something just surreal and something crazy,” Thomas said. “I think what you wouldn’t expect is the same — I would imagine, the same amount of passion he brought day one he brings that passion day — a lot; it’s a lot of days. That’s why he deserves this more than anyone.”
A wintry blast of snow, hail and gales is set to hit the UK in the run-up to the May bank holiday weekend, according to forecasters.Temperatures will plummet tomorrow and are expected to remain unseasonably low until the middle of next month.The Met Office is predicting “heavy and wintry” showers and widespread overnight frosts from Tuesday next week, with northern parts of the UK the worst hit. Eleanor Bell, from The Weather Channel, said an easterly-moving area of low pressure, which is currently over Iceland, “will result a strong cold northerly plunge into north-west Europe in between the high and low pressure and as a result will pull temperatures below normal for the time of year”.”Temperatures will be around 2 to 5 degrees below normal for the time of year over the UK and 4 to 7 degrees below normal for northern mainland Europe,” she said.“A cold northerly flow will affect all areas mid-week with a sharp frost in sheltered areas. Further snow showers will affect northern areas, as well as the east coast and exposed western coastal areas.” However, this brought about an early start to the birch pollen season, which may now be tempered by the drop in temperatures, bringing hope of a respite for hay fever sufferers.The driest and brightest weather is expected to be in the west next week “probably spreading to the rest of the country” by the weekend, according to the Met Office. The gloriously warm start to spring has come to an endCredit:EPA Snow showers will affect northern areas, as well as the east coast and exposed western coastal areasEleanor Bell, The Weather Channel The Met Office said the risk of frost will continue into May, but that the early part of the month is likely to be drier than usual.Once the cold temperatures ease, around the middle of the month, temperatures are then predicted to be higher than average. Low pressure will bring a windy end to Sunday in Scotland, then it gets much colder for all next week as arctic air arrives. #WinterReturns pic.twitter.com/ML20XrMLmA— Met Office (@metoffice) April 21, 2017 Conditions are expected to dry out for the three-day break, but temperatures will only rise very gradually.The cold spell follows a gloriously warm early start to the spring, which saw heights of 25C. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A book which belonged to Alan TuringCredit:John Lawrence Mavis and Keith Batey met at Bletchley Park The main house at Bletchley Park as it is nowCredit: John Lawrence But these strict rules did not prevent lovers from different huts from developing relationships. On the contrary, Mr McKay said his research had found that the park’s directors fed blossoming romances in an effort to keep codebreakers happy and healthy. One famous couple who met there, Mavis Lever and Keith Batey, were even given a dedicated area of the canteen where they could canoodle. Ms Lever, who later became Mrs Batey when the couple married, was an accomplished linguist whose talent with the German language led her to work at Bletchley. At the age of just 19 she made a significant breakthrough, breaking into the Italian Naval Enigma system and uncovering a plan to attack a Royal Navy convoy. Mr McKay said: “I asked Keith and Mavis Batey, whose eyes met across the Enigma machine, whether the authorities were concerned about their romance, because they worked in different huts, were they worried there might be accidental crossover [of information]. “And Mrs Batey said actually no, the authorities did everything in their power to encourage the romance, to the extent of setting up special places in the canteen for them. “I think they felt that romance was a healthy thing, and it was fantastic to have that in such a pressurised environment. So while there was security there was also a very real understanding of human psychology and human needs. Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival, Sinclair McKay said that his interviews with the codebreakers who worked there revealed that the Buckinghamshire base had been a “hotbed of romance”. Mr McKay said the British female codebreakers were captivated by the American cryptographers who came to help dismantle Nazi Germany’s famous enigma code. “The cliches really are true – British women, and Bletchley’s women were no exception, were bowled over by the influx of American men,” he said. Mr McKay explained how tight security protocols meant each individual codebreaker had little sense of the wider context of their work. Bletchley’s most famous resident was Cambridge scholar Alan Turing, who was played by Benedict Cumberbatch in 2014 film the Imitation Game, which charts his team’s successful efforts to crack the “unbreakable” German enigma code. Cumberbatch was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal, but it may not have been wholly accurate, claimed Mr McKay. Turing was prosecuted for his homosexuality and killed himself at the age of 42, leaving us with a “melancholic” impression, he said.”What Cumberbatch didn’t quite pick up on was that at Bletchley, and just after Bletchley, Alan Turing had actually been quite a cheery soul. He was mischevious, he was funny, he had a laugh that was so irritating that it could make people leave the room,” he added. Mavis Batey pictured in 2011Credit:Andrew Crowley Alan Turing while at Sherborne school, aged 16 in 1928Credit:AFP “The romances would make your head spin – the park was stuffed with them”.At its peak around 10,000 people worked at Bletchley Park, 75 per cent of whom were women. Each “hut” did not communicate with those in other groups for fear of spreading information that could allow an individual to become too well-informed. They worked long hours, often throughout the night, but were encouraged to have an active social life and many enjoyed dancing and socialising during their time off. Mr Sinclair said another codebreaker, Sheila MacKenzie, a 19-year-old linguist from Scotland, “devoted some of her off-duty hours to Highland dancing, where she met hut six codebreaker Oliver Lawn. What followed was decades of happy marriage.”Bletchley gave many young women a voice at a time when it was hard for many women to be heard professionally.”While the park was a more egalitarian workplace than was usual, with young women able to challenge their older male colleagues, one group was dismayed to learn that they had been nicknamed Dilly’s Fillies, after the leader of their unit Dillwyn Knox. Bletchley Park’s codebreakers were actively encouraged to fall in love with each other because authorities thought it would help the war effort, a historian has revealed. The Second World War base has become legendary for its success at dismantling German and Japanese codes, which is thought to have shortened the war by two years and saved thousands of lives. But it was also “stuffed” with blossoming romances – which, far from being frowned upon, were encouraged by the park’s directors, according to a leading historian. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A red T-shirt by Topman has sparked a twitter storm by Liverpool fans over its design inadvertently referencing the Hillsborough Disaster.The red shirt has the words “Karma” down one sleeve and a large ’96’ on the back along with a rose and the words underneath: “What goes around comes back around.”The design is an apparent reference to a Bob Marley song dating from 1996, but since the £20 shirt went on sale online it has come to the attention of hundreds of Liverpool fans, incredulous at its design, who have taken to Twitter to express their disgust.The club’s supporters believe it links to the Hillsborough Disaster, which left 96 Liverpool fans dead after a crushing incident at the start of an FA Cup semi-final in April, 1989.Justice for the 96 @TheHoodedClaw66, tweeted: “So it’s a #BobMarley song and it’s managed to get through god knows how many people before it’s printed.”Just shows you how few people know about the biggest sporting disaster and cover up this country’s ever seen.” So it’s a #BobMarley song and it’s managed to get through god knows how many people before it’s printed. Just shows you how few people know about the biggest sporting disaster and cover up this country’s ever seen #Topman #Topshop pic.twitter.com/V3qPjRG1Il— Justice For The 96 (@TheHoodedClaw66) March 15, 2018 And Matt, @mattjs82, said on Twitter: “I don’t think it’s the @Topman design that’s the issue, Hillsborough wouldn’t have been in their thinking, it’s the brain dead people who will end up wearing it for the wrong reasons, and there will be people like that.” The red shirt has the words “Karma” down one sleeve and a large ’96’ on the back along with a rose and the words underneath: “What goes around comes back around.”Credit:www.topman.com Nick Murphy, @nickmurftweets, tweeted: “Please @Topman – take this off the shelf. An genuine mistake I’m sure but this is insulting and upsetting. £JFT96” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Topman have been approached for comment.