Wat­son will be made to fight for vic­tory in the Bat­tle Tro­phy

The Herald - Herald Sport - - UPDATE - Pic­ture: Michel Euler/ AP

Craig Wat­son, the for­mer Bri­tish am­a­teur cham­pion, struck a blow last weekend for club play­ers in their late for­ties with vic­tory in the Craig­mil­lar Park Open and will seek to fol­low up by win­ning this weekend’s SGU Or­der of Merit event, the Bat­tle Tro­phy, writes Colin Far­quhar­son.

The 48-year-old East Ren­frew­shire player, a ca­reer am­a­teur, had to play only two rounds to win at the Ed­in­burgh venue last weekend af­ter high winds had made play im­pos­si­ble on Satur­day. How­ever, Wat­son is likely to have to play 72 holes at the Craig­head Links and that might prove to be a bridge too far.

Glen­bervie’s Graeme Robertson is holder of the Bat­tle Tro­phy, the name of which name is in­spired by the raised earth­work on the Craig­head course known as Dane’s Dyke, which is a fea­ture at the 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes.

There are three fig­ures on the solid sil­ver tro­phy which was com­mis­sioned and do­nate by a past club cap­tain and has a value of £10,000: a Vik­ing, rep­re­sent­ing man’s bat­tle against man; an 18th century golfer, rep­re­sent­ing man’s bat­tle against him­self; and a Lifeboat man, sig­ni­fy­ing the bat­tle with the el­e­ments.

Alexan­der Cul­ver­well, who won the event in 2011 when the

CY­CLING

Evan Oliphant, of Team Raleigh, and James McCallum (NFTO) will bid to re­peat pre­vi­ous suc­cesses when they line up for to­mor­row’s Drum­mond Tro­phy road race at Strathaven, writes Colin Renton. McCallum took the honours in the 2008 edi­tion and Oliphant em­u­lated that re­sult two years later in an event that is widely re­garded as the most lu­cra­tive on the do­mes­tic rac­ing pro­gramme. They will be joined in a 70-strong field for the 89-mile con­test by sev­eral com­peti­tors from south of the bor­der. Also look­ing to make an im­pres­sion will be a clutch of es­tab­lished Scot­tish in­ter­na­tion­als and Com­mon­wealth Games as­pi­rants in­clud­ing the cur­rent Scot­tish cham­pion Gary Hand (KTM Road and Trail.com). com­pe­ti­tion was switched from 36 holes to four rounds and be­came an SGU Or­der of Merit count­ing event, is also in the field. He is joined by Bradley Neil, the Blair­gowrie young­ster and was run­ner-up in the South African Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship ear­lier this year.

Other likely con­tenders in­clude Jack MacDon­ald (Kil­marnock Barassie and Stir­ling Univer­sity), win­ner of the Bri­tish Uni­ver­si­ties Cham­pi­onship over the Rafael Nadal lost 7-6, 6-4, to his fel­low Spa­niard David Fer­rer in the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters yes­ter­day. Nadal won the ti­tle eight years in a row be­fore his fi­nal de­feat by Novak Djokovic last year.

HOCKEY

Gor­don Shepherd, Scot­land women’s head coach, will give his new squad their first out­ing prior to the FIH Cham­pi­ons Chal­lenge in test matches against Wales, 13 places be­low Scot­land in the world rank­ings at No.29, at the Glas­gow Na­tional Hockey Cen­tre to­day and to­mor­row, writes Craig Mad­den. “Wales will be a fair test; they are im­prov­ing and will be com­pet­ing at the Com­mon­wealth Games,” said Shepherd. “I’m look­ing for the team to gel and for solid per­for­mances.”

The Scots have held the up­per hand against Wales since the last Com­mon­wealth Games in Delhi where the sides drew 1-1 but Scot­land claimed sev­enth place by win­ning a penalty shoot-out. Shepherd’s charges have Craig­head Links last year and Scott Bor­row­man (Dol­lar), a mem­ber of the Fife team which won the SGU Area Team Cham­pi­onship over Craig­head Links last year. The lat­ter also re­cently won in the Scot­tish Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons tour­na­ment at Leven and was joint third fin­ish be­hind Wat­son in the Craig­mil­lar Park Open. nKil­ma­colm’s Eilidh Briggs yes­ter­day jus­ti­fied her plus-3 hand­i­cap with some bril­liant since beaten Wales 1-0 in the 2011 Euro­pean Na­tions Cham­pi­onships and then 6-0 and 3-0 in the Celtic Cups of the same year and 2012.

The third game on Mon­day is la­belled as a de­vel­op­ment squad out­ing and will be an op­por­tu­nity for those not selected for the Cham­pi­ons Chal­lenge to stake a claim for Com­mon­wealth Games con­sid­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly as Shepherd stated that door re­mained opened for those who “showed up well” in games dur­ing April and May. nTwo Scots, the Grove Men­zieshill striker Ali Bell and Nikki Kidd who now plays for the English Pre­mier League side Can­ter­bury, have been omit­ted from the Great Bri­tain train­ing squad for the Road to Rio. It leaves three Scots in coach Ja­son Lee’s plans: the goal­keeper Amy Gibson who has yet to earn her first GB cap, Morag McLel­lan, the Milne Craig Cly­des­dale Western mid­fielder, and Read­ing’s Emily Maguire who won bronze in the 2012 Lon­don Olympics. Scots in the Great Bri­tain men’s squad are the de­fender Dan Coul­tas and mid­fielder Chris Gras­sick, both of whom play their club hockey in Eng­land.

SHINTY

Cup gi­ant killers Beauly will be hop­ing to add to their RBS Mac­Tavish Cup scalps to­day but know they will face a New­ton­more side hurt­ing from last weekend, writes Kenneth Stephen. The lower league out­fit pulled off the up­set of the cam­paign in the last round, de­feat­ing Pre­mier­ship Lochaber.

Beauly’s task may have been made harder by Lo­vat end­ing New­ton­more’s un­beaten run last Satur­day and mov­ing clear at the sum­mit of the Pre­mier­ship. Good news for the In­ver­ness-shire side is the re­turn from sus­pen­sion of their in­ter­na­tional full cen­tre Conor Cor­mack who was sent off against Lochaber. play to win the Ren­frew­shire Women’s Cham­pi­onship for a third time at Cochrane Cas­tle.

Briggs, the top seed and a Stir­ling Univer­sity PE stu­dent, beat Iona Stephen 6 and 4. Out in 34 to her op­po­nent’s 39, Briggs was four up at the turn, hav­ing birdied the fourth, fifth and eighth. She also won the nine with a par.

Stephen sank a long birdie putt at the 10th to get back to three down but Briggs won the 12th and 13th then fin­ished with a birdie two at the 14th.

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