Press Association Everton captain Phil Jagielka has no doubt the club are now in a relegation battle. When Jagielka was asked if he felt Everton were now in a relegation fight, the England centre-back – quoted by the Liverpool Echo – said: “Yeah, I think so. “With 10 games to go that is not where you want to be. “We still have that six point gap but we are not taking anything lightly. “We have some tough games coming up and we are not where we want to be so need to start winning sooner rather than later.” Everton fans have seen their team lose seven times in that 12-match sequence and some of those in attendance on Wednesday expressed their frustration by booing at the final whistle. That exasperation was also replicated on social media, with “#MartinezOut” trending on Twitter in the UK shortly after the game, but there were notably plenty of cheers of encouragement when the Toffees were 1-0 down at the interval. And the manager has emphasised how important he thinks the backing of the fans will be for Everton’s prospects during their remaining Premier League fixtures, in which, he says, the Merseyside outfit will “give their lives” to get as many points as possible. Pressure appears to be building, and Jagielka feels he and his team-mates must step things up to ease it. The Toffees, beaten 2-0 at Stoke on Wednesday to leave their record showing just one win in their last 12 Barclays Premier League games and none in their last five, are six points above the drop zone in 14th place with 10 more to play. Manager Roberto Martinez said after the match at the Britannia Stadium that his side are not too good to go down, but he was also keen to stress they were “not looking down” the table. “The fans were great (at the Britannia Stadium). It has been a difficult season to watch us because the performances have not been as good as last season (when Everton finished fifth in the Premier League),” the 32-year-old said. “They are going to vent their frustrations. It is normally the manager that gets it as he is head of the food chain. “But we as players know we need to buck our ideas up, start performing better and take pressure off him, pressure off ourselves and start getting some more points.” Stoke, whose goals came through a superb Victor Moses header in the 32nd minute and a rebound effort from substitute Mame Biram Diouf six minutes from time, are 14 points ahead of Everton with 42 on the board. They are up to eighth and look good to better their Premier League club records set last term of a ninth-placed finish and points total of 50. Wednesday’s result was their third win in a row and seventh in their last 11 league games. On such a roll, it seems in some ways a shame that they are not in action again until 10 days on from the Everton clash. But midfielder Charlie Adam feels it presents a good opportunity for the Stoke squad in terms of key players working their way back to fitness ahead of the reunion with former Potters boss Tony Pulis when they face West Brom away on March 14. “The break has come at good time, because we have a few niggling injuries,” Adam told Stoke City Player. “When you are playing well and you are winning, you want to play all the time. “But for us I think it is a good time – after the 10-day break hopefully Ryan Shawcross (back), Marc Muniesa (hamstring) and Stephen Ireland (calf) will be back. “It is important we get the right rest and prepare for West Brom, which will be a tough game.”
There was plenty of action at day two of the 2009 X-Blades National Touch League, with Opens and 20’s starting their campaigns, while teams in the other divisions fought for finals positions.In the Men’s Opens Division, the three frontrunners, Mets, Sharks and Rebels, got their campaigns off to a great start. Defending champions the Mets were too good for the Cobras, winning 6-3. The Rebels were too good for the Hornets, as were the Suns over North Queensland, with both teams winning by 8 touchdowns. In other results In round 2, 13 wasn’t an unlucky number with the three favourites all scoring 13 tries, each easily defeating their opponents. Other winners in round 2 were Rebels over Cyclones, Rustlers defeated the Eagles and Cobras beat the Suns.In round three, Mets continued their good form, beating Cyclones by 11 touchdowns. Barbarians were too strong for the ACT, winning 11-7. Scorpions defeated Rustlers by four, the Sharks beat the Eagles by seven, the Rebels overcame Suns 9-4, and Cobras defeated Hornets by eight touchdowns. The end of day one sees the three Sydney sides, Mets, Rebels and Scorpions all equal first on the ladder.The Women’s Open Division started in round one with Mets, looking in ominous form, defeating Hornets 13-0. Rustlers had a strong win over Rebels, 7-0. The Suns beat the Eagles by nine touchdowns. Other winners in the first round included Cyclones, Cobras and Sharks.In round two, South Queensland had a big win, defeating Scorpions 11-1., while the Rustlers and the Mets overcame their opponents by nine touchdowns each. Cobras, Suns and Barbarians also had big victories. Round three started with the Mets still undefeated, with a five-touchdown win over Rebels. The Rustlers were too good for Cobras, while the Sharks beat the Suns 5-1. Cyclones were victorious over the Crusaders 7-6. The Hornets and the ACT played out a five-all draw, while the Barabarians easily overcame the Eagles 11-2. By the end of round three, the Mets, Sharks and Rustlers were all undefeated on 12 points each.In the Mixed Opens, Rebels started strongly, beating Cobras 8-0. Cyclones won in a close one, defeating Barbarians 7-6. Sharks were too strong for Eagles, winning by eight touchdowns. The Suns defeated the Sun Coast 8-4, while the Hornets overcame Crusaders by seven. In round two, Sharks defeated the Cyclones 9-4, Cobras did it easy against the Crusaders winning by 6 touchdowns, Suns and Sun Coast both beat their opponents 7-5, while the Mets and the Rebels drew 8 all.In round three, Eagles defeated Sun Coast 6-4, while the Suns defeated the Cyclones 7-5, and the Mets drew again, this time against the Hornets. The Suns undefeated run sees them on top of the ladder after day one.The Men’s and Women’s Opens also started on day two. In the Men’s 20’s, Mets defeated the Scorpions 5-2, Suns just beat the Rebels 2-1, Cyclones started off well defeating Cobras 6-4, while the Sun Coast defeated Sharks 6-0.Round two of the Men’s 20’s saw Mets continue their winning ways, defeating Sun Coast by one touchdown, Sharks posted their first win against the Suns, 7-4, Cyclones thumped the Rebels 10-2 and Scorpions defeated Cobras 9-6.In round three, the Cobras broke their duck, beating Suns 6-2, Cyclones kept on winning, defeating Sun Coast, as did the Mets, beating the Sharks. The Scorpions also beat the Rebels. At the end of the three rounds, Cyclones and Mets are undefeated on top of the ladder.In the Women’s 20’s division, round one saw the Cobras defeated the Sharks 3-1, Rebels posted double figures, winning 10-4, while the Suns kept the Hornets scoreless, winning 4-0. In round two, the Mets posted their first win, narrowly defeating the Hornets 5-4, Cobra beat Sunshine Coast 5-3 and Suns were too good for the Rebels, winning 7-5.In round three, Cobras beat the Mets 3-2, Hornets were kept scoreless again, this time by the Sharks, with the Sharks winning 3-0 and Suns defeated Sunshine Coast 6-2. Day two also signaled the start of the finals at the 2009 NTL. After six rounds of play in the Women’s 27’s, Cyclones sit on top of the ladder on 22 points, with local hopes the Eagles close behind on 20. Semi finals will be played on Day 3 before the Grand Final at 3pm.In the Men’s 30’s, day 3 brings the Semi finals featuring ACT against Canterbury and the Scorpions taking on local rivals Mets, with the Grand Final to be played at 5pm.In the Women’s 35’s, the semi’s will be played between South West Queensland against the Scorpions, while the Sharks will battle the Cobras, with their final to commence at 11am.In the Men’s 40’s, the first semi final will see Sharks versus Sharks, with the NZ team taking on SQBD. In the other semi, the Scorpions will take on the Cyclones. The final will start at 1pm.After the round games, Sharks sit on top of the ladder in the Men’s 45’s, four points clear of Suns. Semi finals will take place on Day three, before the Grand Final at 2pm that afternoon.Cobras are situated on top of the ladder in the Men’s 50’s on 12 points, two points ahead of Suns. Semi finals will see the Suns versus the Scorpions and Cobras against the Mets in their attempts to make the Grand Final, which will be played at 12pm.After six rounds in the Seniors Mixed, Wellington top the ladder on 20 points, followed by the Scorpions in 16. Just below these two teams are the Cobras and Rebels, both on 12 points. Semi finals will be played, before the Grand Final at 4pm.