Kit Shepard

CURRENT: Sports journalist working mainly with The Times

PAST: Rugby World, Reach PLC publications, Vavel

Love conquers all in Wrexham’s Disney+ tale

“You can stay here, guys, but you might end up in the documentary,” the director warned. A small crowd had gathered in Wrexham town centre because the Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, the group behind the Voices of the Valley albums, were shooting for the second series of Welcome to Wrexham. By early afternoon they had done more than ten takes for Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s popular Disney+ show. This was a special day in Wrexham as the club ended their 15-year exile from the Football Lea

Erling Haaland is costing us more than anyone in history, say bookmakers

Erling Haaland’s prolific goalscoring is costing bookmakers more than any other player in Premier League history. The Manchester City striker has scored 25 goals across his club’s 20 league matches and appears a certainty to break Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer’s record of 34 goals in a single Premier League season. His unprecedented exploits have already cost Betfred more than £1 million, while Sky Bet, Coral and Ladbrokes have also drastically altered odds in response to the Norway internation

From the archives: the day Althea Gibson became the first black player to win singles at Wimbledon

Before Serena, Venus, and even Arthur Ashe, there was Althea Gibson. On a scorching July afternoon in 1957, the daughter of South Carolina sharecroppers became the inaugural black player to win a Wimbledon singles title, and the first champion to receive the trophy from Queen Elizabeth II. “Shaking hands with the Queen of England was a long way from being forced to sit in the coloured section of a bus,” Gibson wrote in her autobiography the following year. Born in a land of legal segregation,

A complete guide to the Qatar World Cup 2022 groups

Fifa World Ranking 50 World Cup best Debut in finals Odds to win tournament 250/1 Coach Félix Sánchez (46 years old): There have been few more influential figures in Qatari football than Sánchez. Despite no playing career of note, he arrived in Qatar in 2006 with a strong reputation, having coached at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy for ten years. The Spaniard initially held a similar role in his adopted country, working at the Aspire Academy in Doha. He then took over Qatar’s under-19 sid

‘The San Siro was beautiful but I’d rather be in Barrow watching Orient go five points clear’

Amid rising train fares, late rail cancellations and traffic congestion, the 258 Leyton Orient fans who made the 600-mile round-trip to Barrow took quite the gamble. But it was a game worth seeing. Orient and Barrow were the top two going into the fixture, and the visitors’ 2-0 victory in deep Cumbria was their ninth in ten league games this campaign. It is the best ever start to a League Two season and they are five points clear at the top. “For 258 supporters to travel with the prices of tra

From the archives: Speed records fall at Monza in 1971 as F1 reaches its nirvana

The iconic corner of Formula One’s “Cathedral of Speed”. Three cars almost abreast, with another two in hot pursuit. Records shattered on an afternoon packed with overtaking. The closing moments of the 1971 Italian Grand Prix were car racing’s nirvana. The raw imagery of that scorching, late summer afternoon at Monza needs no statistics to justify its beauty, but the figures are spectacular. Peter Gethin, the BRM driver from Surrey, won the race by 0.01 seconds, ahead of Ronnie Peterson. The av

World Cup 2022: Key dates, fixtures and schedule for Qatar

The Fifa World Cup 2022 will be hosted in Qatar and contested by 32 nations. After more than a decade of allegations, arguments and animosity, the most scrutinised football tournament in history is about to begin. On the pitch, the World Cup remains the pinnacle of the sport and the stakes are as high as ever. When does the competition start? Can England win it? Why is there so much controversy? We answer all the important questions below. • Who will win the World Cup? Play our predictor • Wha

Postcards from the pyramid: Spurs loanee wins battle of the strikers at Portsmouth

Portsmouth and Peterborough United’s meeting was inevitably defined by strikers. Going into the League One encounter, both sides had scored a division-best 13 goals and deployed forwards with contrasting stories. The first 20 minutes at Fratton Park belonged to Jonson Clarke-Harris. Into his 12th season of EFL football with 101 goals in that time, the Peterborough captain overpowered Portsmouth’s defenders, made some deft touches and created the game’s first goal. However, the hosts gradually

From the archives: A handshake for the century in the United States in 1946

The handshake between Jackie Robinson and George Shuba is the antithesis of Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte’s full-time spat. Rather than a hotly contested flashpoint over trivial matters, this gesture was understated but became a tool to combat centuries of discrimination. The day was April 18, 1946, and Robinson, 27, was making his minor leagues debut for the Montreal Royals in an away game against the Jersey City Giants. Not for the last time in his fabled career, he was making history — the

Gertrude Ederle breaks new ground with Channel record in 1926

Clad in animal fat, paraffin-sealed motorcycle goggles and a two-piece swimsuit bereft of the modesty expected in 1926, Gertrude Ederle left Cap Gris-Nez in France with women’s sporting history at stake. Some 35 miles later, in the August twilight, the 19-year-old American broke new ground not for her gender, but her species. Ederle had become the sixth person to swim the Channel, joining five men, and did so in a record time of 14 hours and 39 minutes. No caveats, no qualifying statements on h

From the archives: The first postwar ‘British Empire Games’ takes place in 1950

‘We declare that we are all loyal subjects of his majesty the King,” it was proclaimed at the opening ceremony of the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland. Indeed, as the multi-sport festival began on New Zealand’s North Island, the only sensible conclusion seemed to be that the empire was thriving. There was the name itself: “Commonwealth” was only included in the title from 1954, and “British Empire” would survive until 1970. “Commonwealth Games” was adopted in 1978. There were the measurem

From the archives: English cricket fans get a first taste of Twenty20 Finals Day in 2003

The half-smiles, polite applause and chuckling at the streamers implied that English cricket was a little embarrassed by it all. The inaugural Twenty20 cup finals day, which followed a swift 12-day group stage of five matches each, was held on July 19, 2003, at a sold-out Trent Bridge. Once complete, the remains of the summer could be dedicated to longer and more serious formats. Today, the competition celebrates its 20th finals day — at Edgbaston — and nearly two decades of remarkable change.

FA Cup final bidding to rival Arsenal 1993 cup double drama

For nearly three decades, Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday shared a unique quirk of English knockout football. Never before or since had the same sides contested the League Cup and FA Cup finals in one campaign, as they did in 1992/93, until Liverpool and Chelsea repeated the feat this year. The duo are still in a bracket of their own. After Arsenal prevailed 2-1 in the 1993 League Cup final, the rematch ended 1-1. That meant an FA Cup final replay, the last of its kind, which the Gunners also e

How fast is your commute?

The London Underground has one distinct feature keeping speeds in check. It is a characteristic that Gareth Dennis, a track design engineer who has worked on projects across the UK, is very familiar with. “There are tight curves everywhere,” he says. “It’s a nightmare of a system, nothing’s straight.” The capital’s Tube routes were generally constructed to mirror the paths of the roads above them, therefore avoiding existing buildings. The result? Where there is a sudden bend in the road, th

Women's Six Nations: how dominant are England and France, and why?

The history of the Women’s Six Nations can be told in three tiers. At the top is England. The Red Roses have won 12 of the 20 tournaments contested since the competition expanded to six teams in 2002, including the last three iterations. Trailing them by a small margin is France. Les Bleues have won six of the remaining eight titles and are perennially England’s main rival. And the third tier houses everyone else. None of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy or Spain (who Italy replaced ahead of t

Roehampton and Fulham Juniors look for solutions after Azeem Rafiq case

Rohan Kapadia, director of cricket at Roehampton and Fulham Juniors, knows how Azeem Rafiq feels. A British Asian and one-time club cricketer in Middlesex in his early-20s, Kapadia, 39, learned first-hand that racism is ingrained into cricket. He said: “I hated the drinking culture. I hated the nicknames I got given. “It wasn’t a welcoming environment, at even the higher levels of club cricket. All of my friends who played first-class cricket have similar stories. “Sport takes the really rub

Keely Hodgkinson begins quest for quadruple in Birmingham

Last year brought an Olympic silver medal and a national 800m record but Keely Hodgkinson knows 2022 could be even bigger as she prepares for her first appearance of the season. The Atherton ace produced one of the moments of the Tokyo Games as she stormed from sixth to second on the final lap of a thrilling Olympic final, shattering Kelly Holmes’ record in the process. Now she has the not-so-small challenge of backing it up in a year featuring the World Championships, a home Commonwealth Game

Spurs finally hold United at bay with stoppage-time equaliser

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are just over a quarter of the way into their Women’s Super League seasons, but the late drama that concluded their encounter at The Hive yesterday could be viewed as season defining come the spring. With seconds of second-half stoppage time to play, Ria Percival’s free kick — way too far out for a shot to be considered — eluded everybody and snatched a point for Spurs, sparking joyous home celebrations. United, who had taken the lead courtesy of Alessia

Premiership play-offs race: How it stands with eight rounds to go

Premiership play-offs race: How it stands with eight rounds to go This season’s race for the Gallagher Premiership play-offs is one of the most exciting in recent memory. While Leicester Tigers are the league’s runaway leaders, the next eight teams are separated by just 12 points and the scrap to finish in the top four over the final eight rounds of the season is sure to be full of twists and turns. For the remainder of the season, each round of matches includes multiple games where play-off

Rainford-Brent calls for action over words to end racism in cricket – Sports Journalists’ Association

Ebony Rainford-Brent believes it is time for cricket to stop talking and take meaningful action to eradicate discrimination. Allegations of institutional racism, most notably by Azeem Rafiq towards Yorkshire, have tarnished the sport’s reputation in 2021. Rainford-Brent, the first black women’s cricketer to play for England, admitted at the SJA British Sports Awards that she was tired of only talking about change. She said: “I’m going to be honest, I’m a little bit exhausted by a lot of these
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