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Category: Weather

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London Marathon could be biggest ever despite heat worries

Organisers aim to break fundraising world record for 12th consecutive year as forecasters say race could be hottest everOrganisers of the London Marathon are hoping to break participation and fundraising records, despite predictions that Sunday’s race …

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Football League fixtures fall victim to snowy weather as freeze continues

Ipswich and Sheffield United make early postponementsSix League One games and most Scottish fixtures offTwelve of Saturday’s Football League fixtures have already been postponed as the freezing weather continues to bite. The non-league and Scottish pro…

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Billy Morgan snowboards in Essex after Winter Olympics bronze – video

Team GB’s Billy Morgan took to the streets of Essex after the ‘Beast from the East’ coated them in snow. The Olympian had not long returned from a successful trip to Pyeongchang, bringing home a bronze medal from the Games. Morgan performed tricks, spi…

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Billy Morgan snowboards in Essex after Winter Olympics bronze – video

Team GB’s Billy Morgan took to the streets of Essex after the ‘Beast from the East’ coated them in snow. The Olympian had not long returned from a successful trip to Pyeongchang, bringing home a bronze medal from the Games. Morgan performed tricks, spi…

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Mata may be a very good boy, but does he pay his taxes? | Brief letters

Freemasons in the police | Footballer of the Year | Drunk tanks | Storm DylanUrgent action is needed if the national spokesman for the Freemasons says they are a parallel organisation who “fit into” the police (Freemasons are blocking reform, says poli…

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Wimbledon attendance hits nine-year low as rain stops play

Crowds in opening week at All England Club failed to reach capacity on two consecutive days for first time in 12 years

Wimbledon attendance hit a nine-year low in its opening week as miserable weather deterred ticket holders from turning up.

The first four days of the tournament were attended by 155,845 tennis fans – the lowest turnout since 2007, when 148,986 attended.

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Loughborough football team photo with Barry Hines is a bit of football history | Letters

Barry Hines | Culture white paper | Lahore Pietà | Maskarade’s prize crossword | Storm Windy McWindface

Loughborough football alumni group has a photo that I love featuring not only Barry Hines, Bob Wilson and Dario Gradi but also Ted Powell (who helped shape the England U19 careers of the Nevilles, Butt, Scholes, Campbell etc), Keith Blunt (coached at Malmö), Alan Bradshaw (played at Crewe); the team was coached by Allen Wade and Charlie Hughes. Also, it was my father Dave Crane (pictured alongside Robbie Brightwell in another Loughborough photo), his roommate and fellow Yorkshireman, who gave him Animal Farm to read, and helped inspire Barry’s love of literature (Hines gave us a portrait of the forgotten game, 26 March).
Tim Crane
Lead member, Loughborough football alumni group

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After the flood, a small miracle on the pitch: Carlisle’s community spirit is reborn

Captain and players went to the aid of local people and that loyalty is now being repaid

When the devastation wrought by Storm Desmond as it rampaged through Cumbria last month began at last to ease, a communion also stirred among the rubble. It was the process of a much-loved football club deepening its bonds within its own community as it reached out to its stricken neighbours.

On Saturday, at Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United FC, people gathered to say thank you and to support their heroes in blue as they drew 1-1 with York City in their quest for promotion to the next level of the Football League. Some here had cheerfully billed this as “The Flood Derby”; York also having seen storm damage. It was Carlisle’s first game back at their home after it was almost wholly engulfed by the swollen waters of the river Eden early in December.

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Wimbledon 2015: feeling hot, hot, hot – in pictures!

With record-breaking temperatures across the UK, Guardian photographer Graeme Robertson checks out how the punters are dealing with the heat Continue reading…

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Wimbledon 2015: ball boy faints on tournament’s hottest ever day

Australian player Bernard Tomic criticises ‘heat rule’ as temperatures at All England Club soar to 35.7C

A ball boy was hospitalised and spectators and players struggled to cope with the hottest temperatures in Wimbledon history on Wednesday, as at least one senior player questioned why female competitors are allowed to take a break during very hot matches but male players are not.

Temperatures at the All England Club soared to 35.7C, more than the previous record of 34.6C set during the scorching summer of 1976.

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The 20 photographs of the week

The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne and celebration and heartache in Ukraine – the best photography in news, culture and sport from around the world this week Continue reading…

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Sandown set to race but Wetherby call early inspection for Saturday

• Channel 4 televised meeting must pass 2pm Friday check
• Catterick forced to call off fixture owing to frozen track

Abandonments are an issue once more for horse racing around Britain as the cold weather takes a grip but the week’s feature race-meeting at Sandown on Saturday is expected to survive. The south London track has been under frost covers since Wednesday and no formal inspection is planned by its clerk, Andrew Cooper.

“I think we’ll be OK,” Cooper said on Friday morning. “We had a very brief flurry of snowflakes at 4pm yesterday but that didn’t settle, so the next hurdle is tonight’s frost, which isn’t looking too severe by any means.

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Sandown set to race but Wetherby must pass Saturday inspection

• Channel 4 televised meeting must pass 8am check
• Catterick forced to call off fixture owing to frozen track

Abandonments are an issue once more for horse racing around Britain as the cold weather takes a grip but the week’s feature race-meeting at Sandown on Saturday is expected to survive. The south London track has been under frost covers since Wednesday and no formal inspection is planned by its clerk, Andrew Cooper.

“I think we’ll be OK,” Cooper said on Friday morning. “We had a very brief flurry of snowflakes at 4pm yesterday but that didn’t settle, so the next hurdle is tonight’s frost, which isn’t looking too severe by any means.

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Catterick and Chepstow weather worries as big freeze threatens racing

• Both tracks must pass early-morning Friday inspections
• Frost covers going down at Sandown for Saturday card

The race meetings at Catterick and Chepstow on Friday must pass early-morning inspections with the weather set to take a turn for even worse across the country over the weekend.

The threat of overnight snow and frost has forced Catterick officials to call an inspection at 8am. Ten millimetres of rainfall during the last 24 hours has been compounded by a light covering of snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Related: Talking Horses: Thursday’s best bets and lastest racing news

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Windsurfers battle stormy seas off Cornwall – video

Ten of the world’s best windsurfers battle huge waves and 80mph winds off the coast of Cornwall for Red Bull’s Storm Chase competition

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The 20 photographs of the week

The best photography in news, culture and sport from around the world this weekJim Powell

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Surrey residents wakeboard along country lanes – video

Extreme sports enthusiasts take full advantage of the flooded country lanes in Surrey with a spot of wakeboarding

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Surfers take on 18-metre waves of the black swell

Atlantic coastlines of Ireland, Cornwall, France and Portugal a surfers’s paradise after low pressure system stirs up huge waves

Professional surfers have flocked to the Atlantic coastlines of France, Cornwall, Ireland and Portugal to ride waves up to 18 metres high caused by a low pressure system dubbed “the black swell”.

South African big wave rider Grant “Twiggy” Baker was joined on Tuesday by Portuguese, French and American surfers at the Belharra break off the coast of south-west France, where they prepared to take on 15-metre (49ft) waves. The Met Office’s Seven Stones buoy off the tip of Cornwall recorded 9-metre swells on Tuesday morning, while the waves piling into Mullaghmore Head in County Sligo, Ireland, reached 12 metres on Monday, according to some reports.

The surf forecasting company Magic Seaweed said the remarkable conditions were caused by an area of 15-metre waves in the north Atlantic the size of the Iberian peninsula, and the extent and ferocity of the winds passing over the ocean surface was causing the powerful swells.

“We’ve had bigger systems than this, but what we don’t get is people wanting to ride them,” said Ed Temperley, Magic Seaweed’s editor. “Now we are seeing more desire to ride them and the wind is coming from the south which means that places like Mullaghmore Head are rideable.”

One of the Irish surfers, Neil Brittan, who rode 12-metre waves off the Sligo described the experience as exhilarating.

Thanks to frenetic activity on social networking sites, hundreds turned up at Mullaghmore to watch Brittan and others ride the waves as gust of winds of more than 100mph battered the coastline nearby.

He told the Guardian on Tuesday: “There were some hairy rides and there were a few where I went right down into the water. I can tell it was very dark down there yesterday. Down there was living repeatedly rabbit punched while diving in the deep.”

Brittan said he and his fellow surfers rushed to the Sligo coast because the worst of the storms were further south, battering the shorelines of counties Clare and Galway.

The surfer – who has been a big wave rider for eight years – said the waves were “really huge, some of the biggest I’ve seen”.

With the weather predicted to calm around Ireland over the next few days, Brittan said he was not too disappointed to be out of action for a while.

“To be honest I really need a rest after yesterday. We will keep our eyes on the forecast to see when the next big storms roll in and we will be out looking for the huge waves again,” he said.

Owen Murphy, at the Bundoran Surf Company, near Mullaghmore, said 20 surfers went out into 6-metre to 12-metre swells on Monday, towed into the waves by a dozen jet ski riders, including Nick Von Rupp, Portugal’s 2011 national champion. Andrew Cotton, one of the UK’s leading big wave riders, who has ridden what is considered to be one of the biggest waves ever in Portugal, was among the riders of the reef break.

“The waves were 20 to 30ft high and 20ft wide and they break really heavily,” he said. “You have to be a really good surfer. Often there is nowhere to go but inside the barrel.

“The biggest wave I’ve surfed in Portugal is bigger and there’s a lot of water, but it is quite ‘slopey’. The fear there is drowning; that you’ll get pushed very deep. Here it is almost like a round pipe. It is big, shallow and dangerous. The biggest fear is you fall and get slammed into rock.”

The swell has sparked a surf safari among some riders who have been searching out spots that would otherwise be far too calm to surf.

Stuart Campbell, the Woolacombe-based 2011 British champion, surfed in “double overhead” conditions at a sheltered spot near Lynmouth and said other surfers had sought out breaks as far up the Bristol channel as near to Minehead, where surfing is rarely possible.

“There has been a big upside to this storm for surfers,” he said. “A lot of guys have been exploring different spots. People are posting photos of waves [online] that have never been surfed before.”

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Wet weather disrupts football and racing fixtures

• FA Cup fixtures at Charlton and Crawley called off
• Racing at Wincanton and Taunton abandoned

The severe wet weather has disrupted sporting fixtures this weekend with FA Cup, Football League and Scottish Premiership matches postponed and racing at Wincanton and Taunton abandoned.

Charlton’s FA Cup third-round tie with Oxford United on Saturday was the first victim of the bad weather after being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. While Saturday’s second-round replay between Crawley Town and Bristol Rovers was also postponed for the same reason.

Matches postponed

FA Cup third round

Charlton v Oxford Utd – The match will now be played on Wednesday 8 January with a 7.45pm kick-off

FA Cup second-round replay

Crawley Town v Bristol Rovers – The match will now be played on Wednesday 8 January with a 7.45pm kick-off

League Two

Cheltenham v Chesterfield

Portsmouth v Accrington Stanley

The Skrill Premier

Forest Green v Salisbury

Welling v Braintree Town

Woking v Hereford

Scottish Premiership

Motherwell v Inverness CT

Racing fixtures abandoned

Wincanton and Taunton

Plumpton to undergo an inspection at 7am on Sunday before the track’s high-profile fixture on the same day.

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Wild weather poses threat to jumps racing but officials remain upbeat

• Sandown, Wincanton at risk of abandonment if rain persists
• ‘There are parts of the course I’ve never known as wet’

Horse racing officials are doing their best to maintain a brave outlook as Britain braces itself for the worst weather of the new year so far, with a combination of high tides, heavy rains and strong winds expected to cause flooding in parts of the country. Sandown racecourse at Esher in Surrey is described as “saturated” and officials there appear to be hoping that the forecast is incorrect if the track is to stage Saturday’s feature race-meeting.

“There are parts of the course I’ve never known quite as wet,” said Andrew Cooper, Sandown’s clerk of the course, on Friday morning. His track had taken more than five inches of rain since mid-December, even before the 9mm that fell on Thursday night, twice the amount that had been forecast.

Cooper plans to inspect the track at 7.30am on Saturday with the aim of making a final decision as to whether racing can go ahead. But he conceded that it may be necessary to consider abandonment on Friday afternoon “as we could see some gusty, squally showers this afternoon if the wind gets up.

“There could also be an organised spell of rain around on Saturday morning between 5am and 10am. We are hanging in there at the moment and just need help from the weather in the next 12 to 24-hour period. It’s only right and proper we give it every chance of getting it on and do our best to do so, but it’s going to be a close call.”

An inspection is planned for 7am at Wincanton, where there was 13mm of overnight rain to Friday morning. There is standing water on the chase track and another 6mm to come by one estimate but their clerk, Barry Johnson, showed surprising optimisim. “The way the track’s taken the rain today, I think we’ll be fine,” he said.

Turf racing is also scheduled on Saturday at Newcastle, where officials expect “no problems” if current forecasts are correct. There might even be action at Cork in Ireland, despite parts of the nearby city being flooded. “We missed out on the very heavy rain in Cork city and we are totally raceable today,” said a spokesman. “We were in a bad state earlier in the week, but the drainage on the course has worked very well.”

The outlook is not good for British jump racing beyond Saturday. Plumpton, due to race on Sunday, and Taunton, which has a card scheduled for Monday, report waterlogging. Both have arranged inspections for Saturday morning.

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