Morgan's England place under threat
Published 30/01/2012 | 05:00
EOIN MORGAN is in danger of losing his place for England's third Test match against Pakistan this week after the Dublin-born batsman played his part in their calamitous defeat on Saturday in Dubai.
The left-hander arrived with England struggling at 33-3 in their chase of 144 and he lasted just two balls as an ugly shot saw him bowled by Abdur Rehman for a duck as the left-arm spinner claimed six wickets.
The Irishman is not the only one struggling for form with Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell also out of touch. England were skittled for just 72 to lose by 72 runs.
Legendary England batsman Geoffrey Boycott slammed the effort. "I've seen some poor performances in 25 years of playing and 23 years of commentating and that's as bad as I've seen," he said. "What a load of rubbish. You have to see it to believe it how poor it was."
League-leading Monkstown were held to a 2-2 draw by fast-improving Railway Union in an absorbing contest at Park Avenue.
The Leinster table-toppers were without Irish striker Gareth Watkins and defender David Cole, but their absence was scarcely noticed as 'Town raced into a 2-0 lead through Stephen Cole and Robbie McFarlane.
But Railway showed that a top-four slot is not beyond them as they staged a second-half rally. Karl Chapple pulled one back for the home side and then Richie Forrest put the equaliser through the guard of 'keeper Davy Fitzgerald with five minutes to spare.
Second-placed Pembroke Wanderers made up some ground as a penalty converted by Alan Sothern proved the winner against Fingal. And YMCA dropped points at Belfield where David Watkins' strike for UCD was cancelled out by Jamie Tobin.
UCD slumped to their first Leinster League defeat of the season as they were humbled 2-1 at Park Avenue by Railway Union.
The students made the brighter start and cashed in when Jamie Deacon pounced at a penalty corner.
But Railway came back, with scores from Julia O'Halloran and Isobel Joyce either side of the break. They continued to dominate, though chances that fell to Kate McKenna, O'Halloran and Sinead McDonnell all went unconverted.
Loreto remain in third spot after their fixture against Corinthians fell victim to frost, which rendered the pitch at Beaufort unplayable.
In far-from-freezing Johannesburg, Ireland face Belgium today in a Tri-Nations tournament that is providing useful match practice as they prepare to bid for Olympic qualification.
The Irish lost 1-0 on Saturday to hosts South Africa, whose goal came early in the game from the ever-prolific Pietie Coetzee.
DUBLIN THUNDER claimed the Senior Men's National Cup on Friday evening as they earned an 87-45 win over UCD Marian. 'MVP' Derrick Courtney played a huge part in the win, with a double-double which made the Thunder's inside presence count.
It was a bad weekend for Tralee Imperials, who lost all three of their National Cup final appearances on Saturday.
St Paul's of Killarney overcame their Kingdom rivals 51-36 to claim the Senior Women's National Cup, while DCU Mercy produced a phenomenal comeback to claim the Women's U-20 Cup, also at the expense of Imperials.
Brunell were crowned U-18 Women's National Cup champions in the opening game on Saturday after a 56-44 win over the Tralee side.
Maree retained the Basketball Ireland U-20 Men's National Cup trophy on Saturday after a comfortable 72-57 win over Killester.
And Templeogue retained the Basketball Ireland U-18 Men's National Cup on Saturday with an impressive 69-49 win over Maree.
Fermanagh crew Garry Jennings and Barry McNulty dominated the opening round of the Valvoline National Forestry Rally Championship, the Abbey Hotel event based in Donegal town. Their Impreza led from start to finish, opening up a lead of almost a minute over the Monaghan brother-and-sister pair of Stephen and Suzanne Wright during the 10 stages.
At Mondello Park, multiple Hewison champions Eddie Peterson and Eamonn Byrne took the top two places from an entry of 90 drivers in TDC's Multi Venue Autotest, with 12 seconds separating them at the end of 18 long tests.