Good week/Bad week: Best and worst from the sporting world in the past seven days

By Ben Hampshire | @BH92.   Last Updated: 31/03/14 11:59am

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Brendan Rodgers: Sitting pretty at the Premier League summit

Brendan Rodgers: Sitting pretty at the Premier League summit

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So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been numerous highs and deflating lows over the past seven days.

In a week when Liverpool usurped Chelsea at the Premier League summit, they head our crop of praiseworthy performers, while Daniel Ricciardo's Formula One season went from bad to worse in Malaysia.

England's litany of failings on the cricket field showed faint signs of recovery, before ultimately returning to losing ways and there was finally a sense of joy in the Worcester Warriors dressing room after their protracted search for victory came to an end.

Good Week

Could there be glory round the fields of Anfield Road in weeks to come?

Liverpool

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers briskly dismissed title talk on Sunday, despite a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham seeing them displace Chelsea at the Premier League summit.

"My thinking it is to prepare the team and perform well and if we do that we can continue to win games," said Liverpool coach Rodgers after victories over Sunderland and Spurs in the same week saw their winning run extended to eight games.

Liverpool players were left milking the post-match applause as a breath-taking roar reverberated around Anfield on Sunday afternoon, along with it came a heightened sense of belief.

Bookmakers retain Manchester City as odds-on favourites to claim the Premier League title, but Liverpool are on the crest of wave; and when they see their side performing with such confidence and flair, it is natural for Liverpool fans to believe they can win their next six, including games against City and Chelsea, and end up as champions for the first time in 24 years.

Worcester Warriors

Seldom has there been joy painted on the face of Dean Ryan as Worcester endured an agonising run of 22 successive league defeats; yet the beleaguered director of rugby had cause to claim "a lot of weird things go on in the final weekend of the season" after Josh Drauniniu's try secured the elusive victory they had so dearly craved.

Relief at last for Worcester as they bucked a 22-match losing streak

Prior to their trip to Kingston Park to face second-bottom Newcastle Falcons, the Warriors had lost all 17 matches this term, with hopes of Premiership survival fading by the week.

At last, Sunday brought a win for Worcester, and with it the slimmest of lifelines to give them hope that they can evade the drop.

After two weeks in which they have given away games at the death, it was their turn to find the moment of inspiration in the closing stages as they snatched a result that sees their fight rumble on.

St Helens

Much was said about St Helens' depleted squad as Super League's two unbeaten sides prepared to go toe-to-toe at Langtree Park on Friday night.

Injuries and suspensions robbed them of seven first team regulars, but a heroic show of bravery and sheer steadfastness ensured they retained their place at the Super League summit with victory over Leeds Rhinos.

It looked set to be a bad week, a dreadful week in fact, for the Saints as the sins of Kyle Amor and John Wilkin saw them handed one and two-match bans respectively, to further compound an injury-plagued start to the campaign.

Up against a near full-strength Leeds squad, St Helens may have lacked experience, but never endeavour as Jonny Lomax's kick picked out winger Tommy Makinson, who judged the bounce to perfection for the winning score as the hosts clinched a compelling encounter.

Steven Bowditch

Steven Bowditch endured a nervy finish to secure his first PGA Tour win and a dream Masters debut with a one-shot victory in the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.

Steven Bowditch: Lifted the Valero Texas Open title and earned a dream Masters debut in the process

Although his nearest competitors struggled to mount a charge on the final day, the Australian battled to a four-over 76 in difficult conditions to claim his maiden tour win.

Bowditch suffered a scare on the 17th as a supporter screamed at the top of his voice as the 30-year-old reach the top of his backswing; but he managed to stop and compose himself, yet when he did eventually get his drive away, it was wayward.

A bare lie in the dirt saved Bowditch as he managed to chip onto the green, where he two-putted to maintain a two stroke advantage as he teed off on the par five 18th.

Bad Week

Jose Mourinho argued with a Crystal Palace ball boy during Chelsea's defeat to Crystal Palace

Jose Mourinho

Chelsea's tenure at the Premier League summit came to an end this weekend as they slipped to defeat at Crystal Palace, while Liverpool cruised to victory over Tottenham.

The cause of Chelsea's downfall? A Crystal Palace ball boy, well partly according to Jose Mourinho, at least.

The Blues boss launched a scathing attack on the touchline junior, who he accused of slowing play down as Cesar Azpilicueta prepared to a take a throw-in, in a show of clear frustration as their title hopes suffered an unexpected and hefty blow at Selhurst Park.

Mourinho went on to hint at a strike-force clear out after his first ever defeat to a newly-promoted club handed the initiative to Liverpool and Manchester City as the title race rages on.

England Cricket Team

First, there was hope. Then came disappointment as England's turbulent week at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh ended in elimination.

Stuart Broad: Saw England crash out of the World Twenty20 and accumulated two fines himself in the process

Admittedly, expectations were riding so low ahead of the competition, anything short of embarrassing failure after their woeful winter in Australia could be seen as quiet relief.

When Alex Hales blitzed an unbeaten 116 to see England to victory over top-ranked T20 side Sri Lanka on Thursday, there was a glimmer of semi-final hope.

Despite Stuart Broad's public pronouncements of England's title credentials, the Three Lions never looked likely to challenge; and such was confirmed on Sunday as they fell three runs short of South Africa, who secured their own passage to the semi-finals in the penultimate round of Super 10 fixtures.

Peter Wright

Peter 'SnakeBite' Wright's dream start to his maiden Premier League Darts campaign was stunted this week as Michael van Gerwen usurped top-spot in an ill-tempered Dublin affair.

With the pantomime rivalry between the pair developing at a rate of knots, Van Gerwen and Wright locked horns in a top-of-the-table clash, which came close to stealing the headline act from Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.

Wright did his best to get under the skin of the defending champion, who was visibly riled by the newcomer's tactics.

It was Van Gerwen that had the final say, though, snatching victory in the deciding leg with a slick 128 checkout before the war of words continued into the post-match interviews.

Daniel Ricciardo

As debut seasons go, Daniel Ricciardo's start to life as a Red Bull racer is up there with the worst after he became the first victim of a double unsafe release penalty in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Two weeks after being disqualified from second place at his home Australian GP, Ricciardo was on course to finish fourth behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel at Sepang, only for his fortunes to nosedive once more when he was released from his final pitstop without his front-left wheel nut fully attached.

After stopping in the middle of the pitlane and being pushed back to the Red Bull pit so the team could secure the wheel, Ricciardo soon suffered a front-wing breakage on his return to the track and then a five-second stop-and-go penalty for Red Bull's pitstop infringement.

However, under new regulations introduced this season to clamp down hard on teams releasing cars unsafely, it was confirmed after the race that Ricciardo had also been hit with a ten-place grid penalty for the next grand prix in Bahrain.

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