Sports digest

Thu, Sep 13, 2012, 01:00

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Flannery to answer Ireland's call

WOMEN'S HOCKEY:Uncapped Galway woman Brenda Flannery was the surprise inclusion in the Irish women’s panel for the upcoming world ranking Champions Challenge I in Belfield that gets underway on September 29th.

Subject to a late fitness test, she has been brought in to bolster the midfield options as the unavailability of centurions Emma Clarke and Shirley McCay as well as Lizzie Colvin has left interim coach Denis Pritchard light on options in the area.

Flannery steps up after a year on the outskirts of the central preparation programme and is one of six UCD players to be called into the 18-player selection.

Among them are fellow students Katie Mullan and Nicola Gray, who are retained after their involvement in recent series against Wales and the Scots.

That trio are the newcomers to world level tournament play, though Leah Ewart or Clare native Naomi Carroll could step into the breach should either Flannery or former UCC woman Áine Connery fail pre-event fitness tests.

Davis match set to be investigated

SNOOKER:A match involving six-times world champion Steve Davis and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is at the centre of an investigation into betting patterns by snooker’s world governing body.

It is understood the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association does not believe Davis has breached rules. The players were competing in the third round of the Players Tour Championship.

“The WPBSA have become aware of unusual betting patterns on a match that took place during PTC3 at the South West Snooker Academy on Saturday, September 8th, 2012 between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Steve Davis,” said a statement from the governing body.

The WPBSA has been made aware that the odds on Asian betting exchanges moved considerably in the hours before the match.

It currently has limited information and while it is seeking more details about the betting patterns, it has not begun a formal inquiry at this stage. From around an 8-11 odds-on favourite, the odds for the Thai player, ranked 79th in the world, drifted to 11-8 against by the time the game had begun.

McLaughlin shows aggressive streak to earn stage award

CYCLING:Having earned the most aggressive rider award on yesterday’s fourth stage, Ronan McLaughlin aims to keep attacking until Sunday’s finale. The An Post Grant Thornton Seán Kelly rider is also chasing selection for the Elite road race world championships, to join Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin.

McLaughlin was one of six who clipped away early into the 156km stage from Carlisle to Blackpool to build a lead of almost seven minutes. With 15kms to go McLaughlin dragged Dan Craven (IG Sigma Sport) clear and while they were caught in the final 10km, he surged briefly clear 4km from the line. He was 24th on the stage, 38 seconds behind the winner and leader Mark Cavendish (Sky), and is best of the Irish in the same position overall.

Karla Boddy of High Wycombe CC took her second consecutive stage win in the An Post Rás na mBan yesterday, winning a nine-woman sprint to the line in Sneem. Leader Kamilla Vallin (Reelight-Bike Toyz) was third and maintains a six second lead over Lydia Boylan (Ireland).

SHANE STOKES

England delay squad as Pietersen row rumbles on

CRICKET:England have shelved plans to announce their squad for the Test tour of India today, as discussions over Kevin Pietersen’s future continue.

Team director Andy Flower had previously stated that he wanted the touring party finalised before flying to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20 but, while selection discussions are at an advanced stage, the planned announcement has been delayed until at least Tuesday.

Reports yesterday indicated a call has already been made to go without Pietersen, but it is understood the door has not been closed just yet.

Eoin Morgan, dropped from the Test side earlier this year after a troubled run of his own, appears certain to make the squad after being awarded one of 10 full central contracts.

All-clear given for Ballindenisk International Horse Trials

EQUESTRIAN:All horses forward for the CCI classes at the Ballindenisk International Horse Trials passed yesterday’s first horse inspection at the Co Cork event.

Two days of dressage starts at 10am. First up in the CCI** class is Ireland’s Karen Gray with Ordinary Diamond, while in the CCI*** competition, Britain’s Ben McClumpha will be first to come before the ground jury at 1.15pm. Armagh’s Jayne Doherty kicks off the CCI* programme on Crack N Touch.

In the CIC classes, action in the three-star class gets under way this afternoon at three o’clock when Captain Geoff Curran is first into the arena on Bolabaun, while the two-star competitors all ride their tests tomorrow, starting at 1pm.

Also starting today is the inaugural running of the Irish Breeders Classic, a showjumping competition confined to five and six-year-old horses which were foaled in Ireland. Taking place at Barnadown outside Gorey, the Classic runs over four days, with qualifiers today and tomorrow, after which the top 30 horses will go through to the Grand Final on Sunday.

– MARGIE McLOONE

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