The Sport Matrix: Friday 20 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Semi-final to clash with top Prem game

Next month’s FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Reading will clash with Chelsea’s Premier League meeting with Manchester United. The Cup tie will kick off at 5.20pm on Saturday 18 April, live on BBC 1, with the league game starting 10 minutes later on Sky Sports. The second semi-final, between Aston Villa and Liverpool or Blackburn, will be played on Sunday 19 April from 3pm, live on BT Sport.

Warrington fall short at Saints

Super League leaders St Helens withstood a second-half  fightback from Warrington to prevail 32-24 last night. Saints, who scored five tries to Wolves’ four, led 18-6 at the break and  were 30-12 ahead of their opponents with 15 minutes to go. But the visitors rallied with late tries from Kevin Penny and Chris Hill. Travis Burns slotted home six goals for Saints.

Leeds look into Hardaker case

Leeds coach Brian McDermott has insisted the Rhinos will not sweep the Zak Hardaker affair “under the carpet”. Hardaker and team-mate Elliot Minchella were released without charge on Monday after helping police with their investigation into an assault on a student last month. The players were freed after agreeing to pay £200 compensation and issuing a written apology.

Ground-breaking Tabb quits circuit

Referee Michaela Tabb yesterday announced her decision to leave the World Snooker circuit. The 47-year-old (pictured with Ronnie O’Sullivan) was the first woman to referee at a world ranking tournament and led the way, too, as the first to do so in a final. The Scot has twice taken charge of the World Championship final at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, another first in 2009 and again in 2012. She joined the sport in 2001 following a similar role in the world of pool. A statement on read: “World Snooker would like to take the opportunity to thank Michaela for her contribution to World Snooker over the last 14 years, and wish her all the best with her future refereeing endeavours.”

Van Gaal to retire after United spell

Louis van Gaal says he will retire from football when his spell with Manchester United ends. Van Gaal has had a stellar career that has taken him from Holland to Spain, Germany and now England, where he is contracted with United until 2017. He told The Telegraph: “This is my last job. For sure. I have to pay attention to my kids, my grandchildren but also to my wife. They deserve it.”