Sports Digest


A round-up of other sports news

Australia extend their lead over South Africa

CRICKET: Phillip Hughes powered to his second century of the match as Australia extended their lead over South Africa to 506 at the close on the third day of the second Test at Kingsmead yesterday.

Hughes advanced to 136 not out as Australia surged to 292 for three in their second innings. The opener, who hit his maiden Test ton in the first innings, became the youngest player to score a century in each innings of a Test at 20 years and 98 days old. West Indian George Headley was the former record-holder with 114 and 112 against England in Georgetown in 1930 aged 20 years and 297 days old.

Hughes and captain Ricky Ponting added 164 in just over three hours for the second wicket as Australia piled on the misery for the South African bowlers. Ponting became the second-highest Australian run-scorer when he reached 61 and 10,928 career runs to overtake his predecessor as captain, Steve Waugh. Alan Border is the top run-scorer with 11,174.

Contador lays down claim

CYCLING: Alberto Contador laid down a message to his Astana team-mate Lance Armstrong when he raced to a dominant victory on stage one of Paris-Nice yesterday, reports Shane Stokes.

The duo will be vying for team leadership in the Tour de France and while many feel that seven-time Tour winner Armstrong will be automatic team leader, Contador’s win shows that he may prove to be stronger.

He beat closest challenger Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) by seven seconds. Armstrong is not participating in the race.

Irish riders Daniel Martin (Garmin Slipstream) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) were 72nd and 74th respectively in the race against the clock, held in Amilly, near Paris.

Defending champions win Mayo rally

MOTOR SPORT: Defending champions Patrick Elliott/Paul Goodman (Subaru WRC) won the TF Royal Hotel Theatre Mayo Rally, the second round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship, reports Brian Foley. They finished six seconds ahead of Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru WRC).

Elliott now leads Maguire by four points in the championship which like last year is now literally a two-horse race. Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru WRC) took third place after they overtook the Opel Corsa S2000 car of Gareth MacHale/Barry Goodman on the closing stages, but Barrett is just not on the pace to seriously challenge the series leaders.

Elliott’s only incident in a trouble-free rally was a 360 degree spin on the fifth stage. Apart from loosing the front spoiler he was fortunate not to do some serious damage the Subaru.

Irish riders maintain good form

EQUESTRIAN: Irish riders maintained their good form in Florida over the weekend with Darragh Kerins and Night Train filling third place in Saturday’s FEI world cup Grand Prix behind the host nation’s McLain Ward and the 14-year-old mare Sapphire, reports Margie McLoone.

Kevin Babington also made it through to the six-horse jump-off round at the Palm Beach showgrounds in Wellington but Souvenir lowered one pole to slot into sixth.

In Spain, Cian O’Connor took Saturday’s 1.50m speed class on his own Splendour while in Arezzo Niall Talbot was quickest in the 1.40m jump-off competition on the 10-year-old mare Global IT Onisha.

At the Horse Sport Ireland/Guidam spring tour at Killossery Lodge Stud in Co Dublin 16-year-old Conor Drain returned to the top of the league table following his second victory in the series on Anthony Smyth’s Shanroe Penny.

Queen's fastest home at Erne

ROWING: The senior eight of Queen’s University surprised all-comers to be comfortably the fastest home at Erne head of the river on Saturday, reports Liam Gorman. Under new coach Mark Fangen-Hall, the Belfast university had a fine row and must now leap into contention as one of the top crews in the country – even though six of the crew are intermediates.

Three of the key contenders had ill-starred rows. Trinity, who were first off, misjudged their line, and UCD clashed with them and had their boat holed. The NUIG/Old Collegians eight also underperformed, finishing 14 seconds down on the winners.

In Dublin yesterday, delegates to the egm of the rowing union made major changes to the rules on status. The novice grade will not be open to the top rank of successful juniors and no rower can stay in the grade for more than three years; the intermediate grade is, however, given another tier; juniors will also move more quickly out of the junior B grade.