THE Scottish dream team of Alex Marshall and Paul Foster scraped through to tomorrow’s pairs semi-finals at the World Indoor Bowls Championships in Great Yarmouth. Marshall and Foster have won 11 singles titles between them as well as three pairs victories together, but they were pushed to the limit by defending champions Jamie Chestney and Mark Dawes, winning 6- 3, 6- 6.
There was disappointment for fellow Scots Darren Burnett and Stewart Anderson, who suffered a shock first-round defeat to Australian qualifiers David Rankin and Kyle McIlroy, who won 6- 4, 3- 7, 2- 0.
FORMER Australia captain Steve Smith’s participation in the Ashes could be in doubt as he needs elbow surgery.
Smith’s 12-month ban following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal is set to end on March 28 and the 29-year-old could have found himself back in contention for the baggy green again ahead of the World Cup and the Ashes, which are both to be staged in England.
However, following the ligament problem in his right elbow which forced him to stop playing for the Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League, it remains to be seen how much recovery time the
29- year- old will now face.
Cricket Australia revealed Smith is set to undergo surgery on Tuesday, and is expected to be in a brace for around six weeks, followed by a period of rehabilitation. The 2019 World Cup opens with hosts England against South Africa at The Oval on May 30. Australia are scheduled to play their first group match against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma’s century was not enough to prevent Australia from bouncing back after their Test series defeat with an impressive 34-run win over India in the opening one-day international in Sydney.
ENGLAND’S Charley Hull held her nerve to claim a one- stroke victory at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi.
The 22- year- old from Kettering, the overnight leader, faced a battle with fellow English Solheim Cup player Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who dropped out of contention with t wo bogeys over the final three holes at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
Hull, ranked 24 in the world, had earlier seen her slender one-stroke advantage disappear following dropped shots at the third and the par-four 10th in the warm and breezy conditions. However, an eagle at the par-five next pulled her back and victory was secured when she chipped out of the bunker on the 18th, putting to save par and sign for a 69, eight under for the tournament.
Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord took second place after a round of 68, missing a birdie chance at the last.
GROVE Menzieshill marched into pole position in the Indoor First Division with a 7- 1 thumping of traditional rivals Inverleith, having earlier sent out an ominous warning with a 10- 2 rout of third- placed Grange.
They went on to complete a hat-trick of victories with a 9- 1 demolition of city rivals Dundee Wanderers.
Inverleith’s woe was completed when they went down 6-3 to Western Wildcats, having led 3-1 at the interval.
Menzieshill now lead the table by three points, Wildcats are second with Inverleith third.
IMPULSIVE Star shed his maiden tag over fences with a determined victory in the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Chase at Warwick.
Neil Mulholland’s charge was without a win after five previous outings over the larger obstacles, but had run some fine races in defeat, most notably finishing fourth in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March.
The eight-year-old was last seen chasing home Ok Corral – a winner earlier on the card – at Plumpton last month and was an 8-1 shot making his handicap debut under a light weight in this prestigious contest. Last year’s winner Milansbar led the way for much of the three- mile- five- furlong journey, but was a spent force racing down the back straight for the second time. Impulsive Star took the lead under Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Sam Waley- Cohen, carrying the colours of his father, Robert.
Calett Mad and Crosspark both threw down strong challenges in the home straight, but Mulholland’s charge dug deep and saw off the former by three and a quarter lengths. Mulholland, who also saddled the fourth-home Carole’s Destrier, said: “I’m delighted with him [Impulsive Star]. He had a nice little pipe-opener round Plumpton the other day and obviously the winner of that race won earlier on. We knew he’d improve for the run, he had a light weight on his back today and we felt he was on a nice mark. It all came together on the day.”
LIVINGSTON’S Elise Christie claimed a silver medal in the European Championship 1500m final in her first individual event since last February’s Winter Olympics.
The 28- year- old went quickest in the heats and semis but was pipped in the final by home favourite Suzanne Schulting, who finished 0.235secs clear with Russian Sofia Prosvirnova taking third place.
It was Christie’s 18th European medal and she will bid to make it 19 in today’s 1000m.