Hart in Hampshire 'best place to live in UK'

Fleet Pond, FleetImage copyright Ian Paterson Image caption Hart in Hampshire, which is home to Fleet Pond, came top in the Halifax study

Hart in Hampshire is the best place to live in the UK, a study has found.

Scotland's Orkney Islands retained its second place position for a second year, while Rutland in the East Midlands came third.

The annual Halifax quality of life study looked at a range of factors including health, earnings, crime rates and life expectancy.

Women in Hart have the longest average life expectancy at 86.7 years, the report said.

Image copyright Bill Henderson Image caption Orkney was named the best place to live in Scotland, and second best in the UK

The district, centred on the town of Fleet, came top between 2011 and 2013[1] but was only in 26th position last year.

Halifax said it "rocketed" back to first place having scored well in the Office for National Statistics personal wellbeing survey[2].

Image copyright Kate Jewell Image caption Rutland in the East Midlands, which is home to Normanton Church at Rutland Water, was named third in the study

Last year's top scorer, Winchester in Hampshire[3], along with Wychavon in Worcestershire, Wokingham in Berkshire, Waverley in Surrey, Craven and Richmondshire in North Yorkshire, and Stratford-on-Avon in the West Midlands also feature in the top 10.

Employment rates, wellbeing and the weather were also taken into account.

Image copyright Jon Wornham Image caption Wychavon in Worcestershire, which is home to the town of Droitwich Spa and its barge canal which opened in 1771, was named fourth in the study after coming third last year Image copyright PA Image caption Last year's top scorer, Winchester in Hampshire, dropped to fifth place this year

At least nine in 10 Hart residents reported good or fairly good health and the area has the third longest life expectancy for men at 82.5 years, the report found.

Residents also enjoy 32.5 hours of sunshine per week, compared to the national average of 29.7 hours.

Image copyright Stehen McKay Image caption The market town of Wokingham in Berkshire came sixth in the report Image copyright Stefan Czapski Image caption Waverley in Surrey, which is home to the town of Godalming where the borough's headquarters are, was seventh on the list

However, the study found living in Hart comes at a price, with the average house price standing at £419,231, which is 8.8 times the average annual pre-tax local income.

The study said many areas in southern England scored strongly in categories including the labour markets and health, while northern areas tend to perform well on education and "benefit from more affordable properties with lower house prices to earnings"....

Image copyright Lakeland Ramblers Image caption Craven, which centres around the market town of Skipton, was eighth in the report Image copyright Ray Ellis Image caption Ninth in the study was Richmondshire, which covers a large northern area of the Yorkshire Dales including Arkengarthdale Image copyright Dominic Moore Image caption Stratford-on-Avon was number 10 in the poll

Top 20 places:

  1. Hart, Hampshire
  2. Orkney Islands, Scotland
  3. Rutland, East Midlands
  4. Wychavon, Worcestershire
  5. Winchester, Hampshire
  6. Wokingham, Berkshire
  7. Waverley, Surrey
  8. Craven, North Yorkshire
  9. Richmondshire, North Yorkshire
  10. Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire
  11. Uttlesford, Essex
  12. Ryedale, North Yorkshire
  13. Westminster, London
  14. South Oxfordshire
  15. St Albans, Hertfordshire
  16. Tonbridge and Malling, Kent
  17. East Hertfordshire
  18. City of London
  19. Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
  20. Rugby, Warwickshire

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Cross Country World Cup: Britain's Andrew Musgrave wins bronze in Italy

Andrew Musgrave
Andrew Musgrave competed at the Winter Olympics in 2010 and 2014

British skier Andrew Musgrave won bronze in the men's 15km freestyle at the Cross Country World Cup in Italy.

The 27-year-old was 11.5 seconds behind winner Simen Hegstad Krueger from Norway with France's Maurice Manificat second in Toblach.

His previous best World Cup placing this season was 13th in Norway earlier this month.

Musgrave is hoping to become Britain's first-ever cross-country medallist at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang....

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Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace

Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha celebrate
Crystal Palace's last away goals came in a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield under Sam Allardyce in April

Crystal Palace climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone as they outplayed Claude Puel's resurgent Leicester to seal a rare away win.

Christian Benteke cost Palace victory when he missed an injury-time penalty he was not supposed to take[1] last weekend, but the striker redeemed himself with a first-half header from Andros Townsend's cross - his first goal of the campaign.

Palace had failed to score in their past 10 league away games, but Roy Hodgson's organised and adventurous team added a second before the break when Benteke's strong run and pass set up Wilfried Zaha for a brilliant individual finish.

Leicester only tested goalkeeper Julian Speroni when they rallied in the second half - the Argentine reacting superbly to reach Riyad Mahrez's angled low drive with a strong palm.

And any potential comeback was hamstrung when Wilfred Ndidi was sent off on his birthday less than a minute after Vicente Iborra's header was correctly disallowed for a foul.

Ndidi - who turns 21 today - was shown a second yellow card for simulation in the penalty box with just under half an hour to play.

Palace had a much more legitimate penalty shout when Benteke was crumpled in the area by Marc Albrighton's sliding tackle from behind, but the referee waved away appeals for a chance to add extra gloss on an impressive away performance.

Bakary Sako eventually provided it - tucking away Ruben Loftus-Cheek's pass across goal to round off a 94th-minute counter-attack.

The Foxes, who so impressively dismantled Puel's former club Southampton in midweek,[2] remain eighth in the table, while Palace rise four places to 14th - though the teams below them are yet to play this weekend.

Palace finally find the net

Palace had taken 90 shots over 10 games without finding the net away from home in the league - their last away goals came in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield under Sam Allardyce in April.

It was the longest such run since 1949-50 - when Manchester City went 12 top-flight matches without scoring away - and was broken by Benteke, who himself had failed to score from 28 attempts in his past 13 matches.

In truth, as 10-man Leicester poured forward in the game's closing stages, Palace - and Benteke in particular - could easily have scored more than three.

Another Benteke header was kept out by an acrobatic Kasper Schmeichel star-jump save at the far post, and the Belgium striker also saw a shot diverted just wide by Wes Morgan's last-ditch block.

But in the end, it didn't even matter that Townsend shot horribly over the bar after another late counter.

Hodgson took over with Palace without a goal or a point from their opening five league matches, but his side are now eight games unbeaten having not lost since a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham on 5 November.

It is their best run in the English top flight since a series of 12 games without defeat was ended in October 1990.

Foxes fail to fire

Only Manchester City and Burnley had won more points than Leicester's tally of 17 from Puel's first eight matches in charge - and the Foxes went into his ninth game having won each of their past four.

But while Palace looked dangerous every time they went forward - Zaha, Townsend, Loftus-Cheek and Yohan Cabaye all conspiring around target man Benteke - Leicester were easily snuffed out by the away side's aggressive defence.

The isolated Jamie Vardy was far from his waspish best, while Mahrez - a spectator in the first half - lost the ball in midfield five minutes before half-time to spark the move with which Palace doubled their lead.

Zaha, who had already threatened with several promising runs, expertly took Benteke's pass in his stride, regained his balance, slid past the covering Ben Chilwell with a stepover and fired the ball past Schmeichel.

It was a brilliant goal, but few would have anticipated the gulf between Leicester's sluggish showing on Saturday and Wednesday's 4-1 victory at Southampton.

Man of the match - Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Since the start of last season, Wilfried Zaha has been directly involved in 20 Premier League goals, more than any other Crystal Palace player (11 goals, nine assists)

Unwelcome birthday cards - the stats

  • Roy Hodgson has never lost a competitive match against Leicester as a manager (P5 W4 D1 L0).
  • Ndidi became the fourth player to be sent off on his birthday in a Premier League game, after Dwight Gayle (17 October 2015 against West Ham), Gerry Taggart (18 October 1997 v West Ham) and Les Ferdinand (8 December 1993 against Liverpool).
  • Palace have kept three straight away clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time.
  • Since making his Premier League debut in September 2012, Benteke has scored 24 headed goals - only Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud (27) has netted more in the competition in this period.

What's next?

Leicester host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday (19:45 GMT kicxk-off), before a home Premier League game against Manchester United on 23 December (19:45).

Crystal Palace's next match is away at Swansea in a 15:00 kick-off in the Premier League on Saturday....


  1. ^ was not supposed to take (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ Southampton in midweek, (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Aberdeen 4-1 Hibernian - BBC Sport

Mackay-Steven shoots Aberdeen into a 2-0 lead at Pittodrie

Gary Mackay-Steven scored a hat-trick as Aberdeen swept hapless Hibernian aside at Pittodrie.

Graeme Shinnie swept in the opening goal on 11 minutes before a series of defensive blunders allowed Mackay-Steven to net twice before half-time.

Mackay-Steven then capped a great display with a smart curling finish.

Hibs, who had been unbeaten away from home in the league since March, grabbed a late consolation when an Anthony Stokes shot deflected in off Shinnie.

Aberdeen move into second place but will be overtaken on goal difference if Rangers are victorious later on Saturday.

The visitors remain in fourth spot, now nine points adrift of the Dons, having taken just one point from a disappointing run against the Premiership's top three.

Hibs boss Neil Lennon had spoken during the week of the "outstanding" football his side had been playing, claiming their quality was second only to leaders Celtic.

Aberdeen had perhaps attracted fewer plaudits than the top flight newcomers and, after a sluggish first few minutes, set about showing why they have been Scotland's second-best team for years now.

Everything about their opening goal underlined the classiness of a group that has become comfortable in its status as Celtic's most credible challengers.

Kenny McLean fired a diagonal ball from right to left, the advancing Mackay-Steven cushioned a first-time pass into the path of Shinnie who, arriving late in the box, side-footed the ball past Ofir Marciano.

Shinnie sweeps in the opening goal in a dominant Dons display

As impressive as the goal was, Lennon must wonder why his goalkeeper hadn't simply picked the ball up in the previous attack rather than clear for a throw-in.

That wasn't the end of Hibs' poor defensive decision-making and their inability to win decisive challenges was also a major factor in their downfall.

Mackay-Steven, not noted for his grit, broke through two Hibs defenders on the edge of the box and as he stumbled, managed to get his shot away to double Aberdeen's lead via Marciano's outstretched leg and the inside of the post.

Worse was to come before half-time as Efe Ambrose dithered in possession just inside his own half.Mackay-Steven, whose confidence was soaring, nipped in, sped away and beat Marciano with a calm finish.

If the Hibs manager had demanded a second-half reaction, he was to be disappointed.

Mackay-Steven curls in his third goal in a one-sided contest

None of his big players reached anything like their potential.John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch were no match for Shinnie and McLean, who bossed the midfield battle.

But this was Mackay-Steven's day and his best performance in an Aberdeen shirt was underlined as he completed his hat-trick.

Combining with Stevie May, the winger bore into the box and, with his right foot, lashed the ball in off the far post.

It was a triumphant moment for him and a fabulous display - the best of the season - by Aberdeen, who were unfortunate to have an Andrew Considine header ruled offside.

For Hibernian, there was late consolation as Stokes' shot took a massive deflection off Shinnie, which Lewis probably should still have been able to deal with.

It was only a slight blemish on a terrific afternoon for the home side, while Hibs - regardless of some good performances - have now won just one of their past six matches....

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Pint-sized Ashes: Australia pile on the punishment on day three

Australia captain Steve Smith hits a magnificent double century and Mitchell Marsh a huge hundred to demoralise England on the third day of the third Ashes Test in Perth.

MATCH REPORT:Smith humiliates England at the Waca[1]

Download the latest TMS podcast here[2]...

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