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Irish jockey Gibbons banned for positive test, sample switch

(Reuters) – Irish jockey Graham Gibbons has been banned for two-and-a-half years after failing a drugs test and attempting to swap urine samples with another rider, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said on Thursday.

Gibbons, a leading all-weather circuit flat racing jockey, was among a group of riders selected for random testing at the Kempton meeting last December and tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

He was then caught attempting to swap urine samples with Callum Shepherd, who was not charged.

The Irishman had voluntarily not ridden since Dec. 9 and received a two-year ban by the disciplinary panel of the BHA due to the attempted urine switch and a six-month ban for the failed drugs test. The bans will run concurrently until June 8, 2019.

“Graham Gibbons, found in breach of Rule (D)65, received 6 months suspension from 9 Dec 2016 to 8 June 2017 inclusive,” the BHA said on their official Twitter account.

“Gibbons also found in breach of Rule (A)30 and receives a two-year suspension from 9 June 2017 until 8 June 2019 inclusive.”

The 35-year-old was on course to record 100 winners in a calendar year for the first time before the failed drugs test. He was previously banned from riding for 35 days after failing a breath test for alcohol in 2007.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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Prankster chef gave colleague hilariously pointless task to ‘teach him a lesson’ after he pulled a sickie

A prankster chef filmed a ‘gullible’ co-worker counting all 2,552 tiles in the kitchen so they could ‘get a quote for a new floor’.

Connor Owens crafted the hilarious revenge prank after Ryan Smedley, 19, called in sick for a shift last month.

When the 26-year-old discovered that Ryan allegedly went out partying with his friends later that night, Connor spent all day thinking how he could get back at him.

The chef came up with the idea of asking him to count all the tiles on the kitchen floor.

Hilarious footage shows the teenager moving backwards and forwards across the floor, visibly counting the tiles to himself – even having to peer under worktops to number the tiles below.

Ryan Smedley, 19, was asked to count all the floor tiles in the kitchen

Connor, from Houghton-le-spring, in Sunderland, said: “He was very embarrassed. He couldn’t look at me but he saw the funny side in the end. Everyone thinks it is hilarious.

“He has learnt his lesson now. I don’t think he would do that again. He is very gullible. We will definitely be pranking him again in the future.

“I was thinking all day about how I could get him back and that was the first thing that came to mind.

“I’ve seen a lot of pranks being held in the kitchen but I thought this was an original idea.

“We couldn’t stop laughing. There were three of us behind it. We told him afterwards that it was a prank. I asked him how many he got to and he said 2,552.

Connor Owens crafted the revenge after Ryan, 19, called in sick then allegedly went out

“I asked him, ‘you aren’t lying, are you?’ and he said, ‘I will go and double check if you want’.

“It was too cruel to make him do that but I bet if I asked him he would have done it again.”

Connor, who has worked in the kitchen for two years, has seen many practical jokes in the workspace before and admits he will be planning more hilarious pranks on the chef in the future.

Ryan, from Peterlee, in Sunderland, added: “I’ve had stuff like this happen before.

“I was annoyed at first but then I saw the funny side of it. I won’t be calling in sick any time soon.”

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Republicans move on tax reform; Fed officials see economic threats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans moved to hasten an overhaul of the U.S. tax code on Thursday, while Federal Reserve officials warned in rare public remarks that President Donald Trump’s tax plan could lead to inflation and unsustainable federal debt.

In a procedural step forward, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved by a 219-206 vote a fiscal 2018 spending blueprint to help advance an eventual tax bill. The blueprint contains a legislative tool that would let Republicans pass a tax bill by a simple majority vote in the Senate, where they hold 52 of 100 seats, allowing them to bypass Democrats.

Separately, the Senate Budget Committee approved its own budget resolution and sent it to the full Senate for a vote, expected after Oct 16.

Trump and top Republicans in Congress hope to enact a package of tax cuts for corporations, small businesses and individuals before January, pledging that sharply lower taxes will boost U.S. economic growth, jobs and wages.

Wall Street rose on the steps taken, with major market indexes rising to record high closes again on Thursday as investors warmed to the notion that a sweeping tax overhaul could be in place by the first quarter.

“It sounds like they’re serious about drafting tax reform legislation and that gives everyone greater confidence that this might actually happen,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York. He predicted tax reform could lift economic growth and corporate earnings for 2019 and send the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX index above 3,000. The index on Thursday finished at 2,552.07.

But Federal Reserve officials questioned the rosy Republican scenario, saying that proposed tax cuts could deliver a short-term growth surge but also bring high inflation, burdensome government debt levels and an eventual return to sub-par economic growth.

Unless targeted to raise productivity and underlying potential, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said a tax cut could feed “unsustainable” growth that would ultimately be undone by asset price bubbles, inflation and possible recession.

Fed officials generally refrain from commenting on fiscal policy. But the Trump administration is proposing up to $6 trillion in personal and corporate tax cuts at a time when many economists feel the country does not need massive stimulus.


The procedural actions in Congress set the stage for a possible clash among Republicans that could delay consideration of a bill. While the House budget prohibits tax reform from adding to the deficit, the Senate’s version would allow tax legislation to lose $1.5 trillion in revenue over a decade. Republicans claim tax reform would reduce the deficit in years beyond a decade.

House and Senate Republicans must iron out their differences and approve the same budget resolution before it can provide Republicans the legislative advantage requiring only a simple majority vote in the Senate known as reconciliation.

The criticism from the Fed was only the latest to hit the Republican plan.

Democrats have assailed it as benefiting the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on the middle class and cutting spending on social programs, including the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs for senior citizens, the poor and the disabled.

Republican lawmakers are also questioning a proposal to help pay for tax cuts by eliminating popular tax deductions. Some Republican fiscal hawks have warned they will not back a tax reform package that adds to the deficit.

The Trump tax plan would add about $2.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, said the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, at a time when the national debt already exceeds $20 trillion.

“Where is all that money coming from?” Representative John Yarmuth, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, asked on the House floor. “If you’re listening to this and you’re not a millionaire, probably from you.”

In the Senate, Democrats sought to hamstring the Republican budget resolution with amendments that would prevent tax legislation from benefiting the wealthy, raising taxes on the middle class and adding to the deficit. But Republicans successfully turned aside the effort by voting the measures down.

Democrats also called for an end to reconciliation, the legislative procedure that would sideline them in a Senate vote.

Additional reporting by Howard Schneider in St Louis, Ann Saphir in Austin, Texas, and Herb Lash in New York; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Ranking the 10 best free transfers in Premier League history – will Mesut Ozil to Manchester United join the list?

If this summer just gone was all about the amounts of money that clubs were spending, then next summer could be all about how little they shell out.

Some big names are set to be available on frees next year , with Jose Mourinho reportedly plotting to take his former Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil to Manchester United upon the expiration of the German’s contract at Arsenal.

Should Ozil make the move it would create shockwaves around the division, but where would it come in a list of the top 10 Premier League freebies ever.

Could a move to Manchester be on?

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Well, judge for yourself.

10. Jay-Jay Okocha to Bolton, 2002

17. Bolton 1-1 Arsenal 20-12-2003
Okocha evades the Arsenal midfield

At a time when Bolton were establishing themselves as a home away from home for experienced, maverick superstars, Nigeria’s Okocha became the standard-bearer. He stayed in Lancashire for four years, captaining his side to the 2004 League Cup final, entertaining everyone along the way.

9. Ruud Gullit to Chelsea, 1995

What a man, what a kit

In many ways this was the transfer that changing everything at Chelsea, as the Blues began to establish themselves both as a glamorous destination for players and a force in London. Gullit arrived to play under Glenn Hoddle, but a year later he became player-manager, winning the FA Cup in 1997.

8. Esteban Cambiasso to Leicester, 2015

Esteban Cambiasso of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal
The beginning of the Leicester revolution?

He missed out on the fun stuff the following season, but in many ways Leicester’s signing of Argentina international and Champions League winner Cambiasso at the age of 35 in 2015 was a pre-cursor of what was the follow. The Foxes struggled that season, but after Cambiasso helped keep them up and won the club’s Player of the Year award, they went on to achieve immortality in 2015/16.

7. Jurgen Klinsmann to Tottenham (the second spell), 1997

Jurgen Klinsmann
Jurgen return to save Spurs

Although effectively a loan spell, Klinsmann’s return for a second spell at Spurs in 1997 was essentially a free transfer as he was never going to return to former club Sampdoria. He saw out his top level playing career with nine goals in 15 games, helping keep a side who were in real danger of relegation in Premier League.

6. Gary McAllister to Liverpool, 2001

Now that was a kit

Gerard Houllier’s shock signing of veteran McAllister – who seemed to be seeing out a fine career at Coventry – in the summer of 2000 stunned everybody, but the Scot proved to be a crucial older head in a young squad that went on to win the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League.

5. Gianluca Vialli to Chelsea, 1996

Cheer up, Luca

Following on from the Gullit blueprint, Chelsea brought in the experienced Italian forward Vialli in the summer of 1996 as the new player-manager took hold. He was a fine addition, and found the net regularly before he too made a successful transition to the play-manager hotseat.

4. Brad Friedel to Blackburn, 2000

He could score them as well as keep them out

Liverpool have had their ups and downs with goalkeepers in the Premier League era, but they let the most consistent go to Blackburn on a free in 2000. He played 287 league games for Rovers over the next eight years.

3. Michael Ballack to Chelsea, 2006

Ballack wasn’t shy of picking up trophies

A serial winner in Germany, Ballack arrived at Chelsea in 2006 after the Blues had won back-to-back Premier League titles. It’d take him until his final one of four seasons to pick up one of those, but he did amass three FA Cups, the League Cup and a Champions League runners-up medal.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United, 2016

Zlatan arrived, and trophies followed

It was only a year – although it has now been extended to a second – but Manchester United’s capture of Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer seemed to raise standards around the whole club. He helped United to both the League Cup and Europa League, and he’ll be back for more this season.

1. Sol Campbell to Arsenal, 2001

Big Sol comes in at No. 1

Sorry Spurs fans, but for give the No. 1 spot to Sol Campbell for his switch across North London in 2001, which earns extra bonus points for being incredibly antagonistic. Campbell would win two league titles and two FA Cups with the Gunners, while Spurs fans never forgave him.

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Would Mesut Ozil to Manchester United be the greatest free transfer in Premier League history?


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Scientists have found a way of creating electricity from this bodily fluid – and it could soon be used to power our phones

Upset about those astronomical autumn energy bills? Well, cry all you like because scientists have discovered a way to generate electricity from your tears.

Researchers from Ireland’s University of Limerick have found that crystals of lysozyme – a chemical produced each time we blub – develop a charge when squashed.

It’s a process known as piezoelectricity (which, we’ll admit, sounds more like a method for cooking a 12in pepperoni stuffed crust) and it’s long been used to similar effect on materials like quartz.

Indeed, it’s compressing quartz that help your mobile phone to vibrate, a fact which could come in handy in your next pub quiz.

But now boffins say the efficiency of lysozyme crystals could prove a close rival – the main difference being that, as a biological material, it could be used in innovative ways in the world of medical implants.

And while that’s very worthy and everything, we at the Dave Desk can’t help wondering if the next time we’re crying laughing at an episode of Taskmaster, or weeping in the kitchen over a peeled onion, that such technological breakthroughs couldn’t be put to slightly more self-serving uses?

Charging up out new iPhone 8 , for example, because we’re still all sobbing at the cost of it.

Read More

The Dave Desk of science that’s not that hard

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Wisconsin teen in Slenderman stabbing case pleads guilty

(Reuters) – One of two Wisconsin girls who said they stabbed a classmate to satisfy the fictitious horror character Slenderman pleaded guilty to attempted homicide on Thursday and was committed to a state mental hospital, her lawyer said.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren found Morgan Geyser, 15, not responsible due to mental illness, said Anthony Cotton, a lawyer for Geyser.

Geyser agreed on Friday to plead guilty to avoid prison time, court documents showed. Geyser will not be held criminally liable and will instead remain at the state mental hospital where she has received treatment for about two years, according to another attorney for Geyser.

“We’re thankful that the district attorney’s office evaluated the case and agreed to a resolution that’s fair for everyone involved,” Cotton said in a Thursday phone interview.

The Waukesha County Circuit Courts jury on Sept. 15 found the other suspect, Anissa Weier, 15, was mentally ill during the May 2014 stabbing and was not responsible for her actions. Weier was sent to a state mental hospital, where she can seek a conditional release in July 2020, local media reported.

Geyser and Weier were charged with attempted first-degree homicide for the attack after a sleepover with their classmate in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb. All three girls were 12 at the time.

Weier and Geyser lured the victim into the woods and stabbed her 19 times with a kitchen knife to impress Slenderman, a tall, thin, creepy fictional bogeyman they insisted was real, a criminal complaint said.

The character originated in 2009 as a meme, or a virally transmitted cultural symbol, in an online forum.

The victim survived the attack.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; editing by Diane Craft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Chelsea news: Claude Makelele delivers exciting verdict on Alvaro Morata

Claude Makelele delivers exciting verdict on Chelsea summer signing
Former Chelsea and France midfielder Claude Makelele has praised Alvaro Morata (Picture: Getty)

Claude Makelele has heaped praise on Alvaro Morata, insisting he is in no doubt that the Chelsea summer signing will continue his fine goalscoring record.

Antonio Conte signed Morata from Real Madrid in July after missing out on Belgian talisman Romelu Lukaku, who joined rivals Manchester United.

England 1 Slovenia 0: Harry Kane secures World Cup place, but England need to get a grip

Morata endured a difficult start to his career at Stamford Bridge and missed a penalty in the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal in August.

But the 24-year-old has adapted quickly to his new surroundings, scoring seven goals for the Blues including a superb hat-trick against Stoke City last month.

‘He’s a good player, strong player, competitor and international,’ Chelsea legend Makelele told Sky Sports.

Claude Makelele delivers exciting verdict on Chelsea summer signing
Morata has impressed following his high-profile move from Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

‘This is the top level. He was at the best team in the world Real Madrid, he scored goals there. He’s gone to Juventus, he scored goals there. Of course he will score goals at Chelsea.’

Morata pulled up with a hamstring injury during Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City but will be ‘very happy’ in west London playing under Conte, according to Makelele.

‘It’s tough in the Premier League, very tough,’ the former France midfielder added. ‘I think he understands the Premier League.

‘He understands also where he’s going to play, you want to give him more balls. I think he’s going to be happy at Chelsea, for sure.’

Conte’s side face bottom-placed Crystal Palace on October 14 following the conclusion of the international break but Morata is a major doubt for the trip.

Four days later the reigning champions welcome Serie A outfit Rome to Stamford Bridge for their third Champions League group game.

MORE: Oscar reveals he has one regret about leaving Chelsea for China

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Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down – and wants her 12p back

Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down - and wants her 12p back
A purse was found behind a radiator during a refurbishment at the Ritz nightclub in Manchester (Picture: Ross Parry)

A woman who lost her purse behind a radiator at the Ritz nightclub in Manchester 30 years ago has been discovered.

Sarah Dale’s belongings were found stuck behind a radiator by workmen who are carrying refurbishment of the club.

Do you know Elizabeth Sarah Dale? The handbag she lost 30 years ago has been found

Inside there was a library card, bank details and 12p in cash.

The club want to re-unite the bag with their owner who turns out to be a lawyer living 200 miles away in South London.

She said that she’d been contacted by friends who had seen the appeal including one who said she owed her £5 from that night.

Sarah Dale, 51, is now a CPS lawyer and was found by MailOnline’s Nick Fagge. She told him: ‘It’s me! It’s a nice story and now I want my 12p back!’

Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down - and wants her 12p back
Sarah Dale is now a CPS lawyer living in South London (Picture: Linkedin)
Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down - and wants her 12p back
She may go by the name of Sarah Dale, but on official documents she was Elizabeth (Picture: Ross Parry)

She said that she was disappointed that her library card and residents’ association cards were in there because that’s not rock ‘n’ roll.

She said: ‘We went there quite a few times, but I don’t remember that night. You’d think I would remember something like having my wallet taken, but I don’t. I have no recollection of it at all.’

McDonald’s customers ‘offered cocaine alongside their food’

She added: ‘It doesn’t surprise me that there was only 12p in it though, I was a hard up student in those days! I was on a tight budget of something like £10 a week. If there was only a few pence left I must have lost it at the end of the night.’

The wallet held a Cheshire Libraries and Museums card, a University of Manchester Whitworth Park Residents’ Association card from 1985/86, a Midland Bank cheque card, and a payslip.

Chris Mann, bar manager at the Ritz, said: ‘We were clearing out the other day because we’re having a refurb in the offices, and it had fallen down the back of a radiator – it must have been lodged there since god knows when.

Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down - and wants her 12p back
She has links to the Warrington area (Picture: Ross Parry)
Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down - and wants her 12p back
The club wants to reunite the items with their owner (Picture: Ross Parry)

‘Inside, it has a library card, an old Midland Bank cash cheque card, about 12p in change, a hand-written invoice, a payslip with the name of the company she worked for and a photographic student ID with an address in Thelwall.

‘She would maybe have been about 18 or 19 back then, so she might be in her early 50s now.

‘It’s coming up to our 90th birthday but this wallet has been here for about 30 years, so we just figured it might be nice to reunite it with its owner.

‘We want to have a chat with them to find out more about what they were doing in the Ritz and whether they actually remember it.’


Woman who lost purse in club in 80s is tracked down - and wants her 12p back
It was found behind a radiator at the Ritz nightclub in Manchester (Picture: Ross Parry)


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Russian hackers stole U.S. cyber secrets from NSA: media reports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russian government-backed hackers stole highly classified U.S. cyber secrets in 2015 from the National Security Agency after a contractor put information on his home computer, two newspapers reported on Thursday.

As reported first by The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, the theft included information on penetrating foreign computer networks and protecting against cyber attacks and is likely to be viewed as one of the most significant security breaches to date.

In a later story, The Washington Post said the employee had worked at the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit for elite hackers before he was fired in 2015.

The NSA declined to comment, citing agency policy “never to comment on our affiliates or personnel issues.” Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.

If confirmed, the hack would mark the latest in a series of breaches of classified data from the secretive intelligence agency, including the 2013 leaks of data on classified U.S. surveillance programs by contractor Edward Snowden.

Another contractor, Harold Martin, is awaiting trial on charges that he took classified NSA material home. The Washington Post reported that Martin was not involved in the newly disclosed case.

Republican U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement responding to the Journal report that, if true, the details were alarming.

”The NSA needs to get its head out of the sand and solve its contractor problem,“ Sasse said. ”Russia is a clear adversary in cyberspace and we can’t afford these self-inflicted injuries.”

Tensions are already high in Washington over U.S. allegations of a surge in hacking of American targets by Russians, including the targeting of state election agencies and the hacking of Democratic Party computers in a bid to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in favor of Republican Donald Trump.

Citing unidentified sources, both the Journal and the Post also reported that the contractor used antivirus software from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, the company whose products were banned from U.S. government networks last month because of suspicions they help the Kremlin conduct espionage.

Kaspersky Lab has strongly denied those allegations.

Russian government officials could have used flaws in Kaspersky software to hack into the machine in question, security experts told Reuters. They could also have intercepted traffic from the machine to Kaspersky computers.

Kaspersky said in a statement on Thursday that it found itself caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight.

“Kaspersky Lab has not been provided any evidence substantiating the company’s involvement in the alleged incident reported by the Wall Street Journal,” it said. “It is unfortunate that news coverage of unproven claims continue to perpetuate accusations about the company.”

The Department of Homeland Security on Sept. 13 banned Kaspersky products in federal networks, and the U.S. Senate approved a bill to ban them from use by the federal government, citing concerns the company may be a pawn of the Kremlin and poses a national security risk.

James Lewis, a cyber expert with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the report of the breach sounded credible, though he did not have firsthand information on what had transpired.

“The baffling parts are that he was able to get stuff out of the building and that he was using Kaspersky, despite where he worked,” Lewis said. He said that intelligence agencies have considered Kaspersky products to be a source of risk for years.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who led calls in Congress to purge Kaspersky Lab products from government networks, on Thursday called on the Trump administration to declassify information about threats posed by Kaspersky Lab.

“It’s a disservice to the public and our national security to continue withholding this information,” Shaheen said in a statement.

Reporting by Dustin Volz and Joseph Menn; Additional reporing by Warren Strobel, John Walcott, Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jim Finkle, Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool

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Patriots hold on to beat wasteful Buccaneers

(The Sports Xchange) – The New England Patriots recaptured their winning defensive formula early in Thursday’s game, then held on to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14 as the home side were hampered by three missed field-goal attempts by kicker Nick Folk.

New England (3-2), which allowed an NFL-high average of 456.8 yards in its first four games, stifled the Bucs (2-2) through three quarters at Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay rallied within striking distance on Jameis Winston’s red-hot fourth quarter, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Brate with 2:09 remaining.

The Bucs failed on their onside kick, however, and New England drove for a cushion score on Stephen Gostkowski’s 48-yard field goal — his fourth of the game — with 1:10 to play.

Tampa Bay had a final opportunity, driving to the Patriots 19-yard line with three seconds remaining before Winston threw an incompletion near the goal line on the game’s last play.

Folk’s struggles continued as he missed a 31-yard attempt with 5:36 remaining that would have trimmed the deficit to 16-10. He also failed to convert from 56 and 49 yards and has made only one field goal in his last six attempts.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 30-of-40 passes for 303 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Patriots also got field goals of 27, 23 and 45 yards from Gostkowski.

Oct 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers (98) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Winston completed 26-of-46 passes for 334 yards but went 14-of-21 for 225 yards in the fourth quarter alone.

New England committed 12 penalties for 108 yards but the Bucs had the game’s costliest misdemeanor.

Trailing 16-7 with third-and-goal from the Patriots three-yard line, Winston scored on a scramble but the play was negated by an illegal-use-of-hands penalty on offensive lineman Evan Smith.

Winston threw an incompletion from the 13, and Tampa Bay opted for Folk, who was wide left on his 31-yard attempt.

Utilising a pair of long scoring drives, New England led 13-7 at halftime.

The Patriots opened the scoring on Gostkowski’s 27-yard field goal, capping a 13-play, 89-yard drive, which began at their two-yard line after a 45-yard punt from the Bucs’ Bryan Anger.

Tampa Bay took a 7-3 lead with 8:26 remaining in the half, getting a one-yard touchdown run from Doug Martin, back in action after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

The Patriots regained their advantage 10-7 on Brady’s five-yard pass to Chris Hogan that completed a nine-play, 75-yard march. Gostkowski then tacked on a 23-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining in the half.

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