Matthews’ six-try haul earns place in student Lions squad
A tournament-best six-try haul at the Student Four Nations Championships at Scotstoun last weekend has catapulted Scotland’s Crawford Matthews into the English-dominated Great Britain Academic Lions squad for this summer’s tour of Australia, writes Kevin Ferrie.
The 19-year-old Hull player, who qualifies for Scotland through his Currie-born father and Greenock-born mother, is the first Scot since Barry Earl, of Edinburgh’s Napier University in 2006, to be selected for the GB Academic Lions. He scored four tries in Scotland’s opening day win against the Irish Students then one each against Wales and England.
“I feel immensely proud to be included in the Great Britain squad. This is not only an accolade for me, but for my Scotland team mates and my coaches at Hull FC,” said Matthews who has represented Scotland at U16, U18 and A international level. Playing in Australia has always been an aspiration of mine and the chance to do it as part of an international touring side is truly exciting.”
The British Basketball League champions Mersey Tigers are likely to lose their leading players this summer, regardless of the outcome of today’s BBL Play-off final against Sheffield Sharks, writes Mark Woods. The financially-troubled Liverpool side, who can complete a domestic treble with victory at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, have united in adversity with their entire squad forced to defer wage payments on a regular basis.
Despite a heavy loss to Sheffield in January’s cup final, Tony Garbelotto’s men rallied to secure both the league and BBL Trophy. The Tigers forward Andrew Thomson admits the end of season showpiece will inevitably serve as one last hurrah. “It’s a shame this team will be broken up this summer,” he said. “Being an all-British team is something special. We’ve been through a lot since the beginning of the season. It’s brought us together. And I think we’ll go out on a high in the final.”
Scotland’s David Millar, of Garmin, will go to the line for today’s penultimate stage of the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland, intent on challenging for a win and forcing his way up the general classification, writes Colin Renton. He finished in the main group on yesterday’s 166km third stage from Thierrens to Neuchatel, sharing the same time as Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who outsprinted Mikael Cherel (AG2R) and Tony Martin (HTCColumbia) to take the win.
Millar played down his chances in today’s 20.1km time trial: “My form is coming back and the time trial should suit me but I’ll have to beat the big favourite Tony Martin.” The overnight leader Pavel Brutt, of Katusha, also crossed the line in the bunch to retain the yellow jersey from Vinokourov by 32sec. Millar is in 22nd place, 1min 20sec down on Brutt.
Michael Smyth upstaged a host of Scotland caps to lead the home challenge after the opening round of the Lytham Trophy over the Royal Lytham links, writes Nick Rodger.
The Royal Troon member, pipped to the Ayrshire Strokeplay title in a play-off last weekend, posted a battling three-over 73 in tough conditions to share fifth, two shots behind Lancashire’s Jack Senior, who eased to the front with a one-over 71. Smyth, a quarter-finalist in last year’s Scottish championship, had been four-over at the turn but rallied with three birdies at 11, 13 and 14. Despite two more bogeys over the testing closing stretch, Smyth’s effort tucked him in among the leaders.
Royal Aberdeen’s Scott Larkin, runner-up in last year’s Northern Open on the Tartan Tour, opened with a 74 with Peter Latimer and Allyn Dick a shot further back on 75. Fraserburgh’s Kris Nicol, second at Lytham a year ago, had a 77 but Dunbar’s Alexander Culverwell, who won his first domestic order of merit title in the Battle Trophy at Crail a fortnight ago, came crashing to earth with an 86. Scottish champion Michael Stewart, one of the favourites this weekend, was a late withdrawal from the event with a wrist injury.
David Bogie hopes to extend his British Rally Championship lead today, with the legendary Jimmy McRae also contesting the Pirelli International rally, writes Kenneth Stephen. Bogie, from Dumfries, leads the series by two points from Elfyn Evans and the stage is set for a titanic battle between the front runners. At the other end of the age range, McRae makes his comeback in the Tuthill Porsche Challenge class on the same event. The five-time British champion and winner of the event in 1992 will be one of the favourites in the category. “The Pirelli Rally has fantastic stages; there’s a little bit of everything,” said McRae Sr, father of Alister and the late world champion, Colin.
Eddie Tembo, Glenurquhart’s Scotland international forward, is determined to help Glen halt Kyles’ charge to the top of the table today and atone for a black day at Tignabruaich last year, writes Kenneth Stephen. The Scotland man has been a key man as Glens have enjoyed a fine start to the campaign but they face their stiffest test so far against Kyles. When the sides met last year, the Drumnadrochit outfit were so short of players, they had to field their manager Jim Barr. “Kyles have always been a good side,” said Tembo, “but, towards the end of last season, we went there and lost 6-0. We only had 11 players and two guys who were second team but not regulars.”
The Scotland coach Simon Loftus has suffered a series of call-offs ahead of next week’s European C Championship finals in Andorra, writes Roddy Mackenzie. Chris Lamont, who played a big part in Scotland reaching the finals, has been recalled by the Great Britain squad after an impressive season for Belgian club side Menen. Paul Glissov, who has been playing in Germany, is also out because of a knee problem and Robin Meidzibrodzki is in China for his first world beach event of the year. “It is not ideal,” said Loftus. “Realistically, it will be nice to win a game or two as the preparation phase has been four weeks shorter than we had last year and getting all the players to practice has been near impossible.”
squad. Scotland (European C Ch’ships, Andorra) M Penny, S Hammond, J McHardy, B McGuigan (City of Edinburgh), S Edgar, C Giles (Kilmarnock Blaze), A Galloway, B O’Neill (City of Glasgow Ragazzi), C Green (Leeds Carnegie), R Isted (Malory Eagles), A Krawczyk (Glasgow Mets); N Collins (Dundee)
Crawford Matthews is the first Scot to earn selection for the Great Britain Academic Lions since 2006. The squad will tour Australia