In brief: Evans leads push for top

Lindie Naughton

BADMINTON: Irish No1 Scott Evans added his muscle to the Leinster badminton team which won two of its three matches in the English Intercounty League Premier B division last weekend.

Leinster, promoted last season, got the perfect start when they beat Lancashire 8-1 and then defeated Kent 9-1.

Against Hampshire in their final match, they went down narrowly 4-6. They lie second on the table, with two teams to be promoted to Premier A -- the top division in the competition. Next round of matches is in January.

Gilcreest bids to extend lead

SNOOKER: Navan snooker player Colm Gilcreest leads the list of entries for this weekend's RIBSA President's Cup ranking tournament in the Ivy Rooms, Carlow.

Gilcreest currently tops the rankings after winning the first tournament of the season. In second place is Kildare's Martin McCrudden, with TJ Dowling from Celbridge and New Institute's David Hogan taking up the next two places.

* NUI Maynooth is the venue on Monday for an exhibition match between Steve Davis and Denis Taylor, recreating Taylor's great 1985 World Championships win on a black ball.

Seconds separate Salmon trio

CANOEING: Only seconds separated the top three in last weekend's Leixlip to Lucan Junior wildwater race on the river Liffey. First home in eight minutes 44 seconds was Adam Sweeney. Iomhar MacGiola Phadraig was three seconds slower and Sean McCarthy three seconds slower again. All are members of Salmon Leap.

Next up on Sunday November 28 is a return after many years to Aughrim in Co Wicklow, assuming the water is high enough.

UCD set to host FIH Challenge

HOCKEY: Ireland will host next summer's Women's FIH Champions Challenge, a tournament for teams ranked between seven and 15 in the world. The Irish women's team, currently ranked 15th in the world, will face teams from New Zealand, Japan, Korea, India, USA, Spain and South Africa at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD.

Meanwhile, Dublin hockey club Railway Union will hold the EuroHockey Club Champion's Trophy next Easter at their Park Avenue headquarters. They will face Ukraine's MSC Sumchanka, Belgium's Royal Wellington and Italy's HF Libertas San Saba in the group stages of the competition.

Locally, two key matches in the Leinster women's top division tomorrow see champions Railway Union taking on Hermes at Park Avenue, and UCD facing Loreto at Belfield.

Aer Lingus spend break at No1

VOLLEYBALL: League action takes a break for the next few weeks with Aer Lingus riding high on top of the women's premiership. The defending champions remain unbeaten after comfortably disposing of Trinity last weekend.

In second place are DVC, who dropped the opening set in their match against arch-rivals Santry but recovered to win in four sets. UCD have moved into third place in the table after beating Naas Cobras.

Ballymum Patriots remain the only unbeaten side in the men's top division and have a game in hand. Tied at the top of the table are the Jets and Aer Lingus, both with a loss apiece after five matches. The Jets play the Patriots at the Alsaa on December 12 and face Aer Lingus a week later.

KARATE: Trinity Sports Hall in Ballymum is the venue on November 28th (12pm) for the Junior Light Contact Irish Championships organised by the Irish Karate Federation. Contact Ken on 085-7183139 for information.

TABLE TENNIS: Top players from all over the country will converge on Castlebar next weekend for the first Connacht Grand Prix. Among them are likely to be Irish champion John Murphy and top junior Paul McCreery.