Friday 24 November 2017

Hockey: Old boy Butler a threat to 'Garvey

National champions Lisnagarvey have a rendezvous with an old friend in Amsterdam this weekend.

The Lisburn lads have been drawn against the Antwerp Dragons tomorrow as the EuroHockey League enters the knockout phase.

Pulling the strings for the Belgians is wily former Irish international Stephen Butler, still a hugely influential player at the age of 33.

'Garvey have a couple of Irish veterans of their own in Brian Waring and Mark Raphael. But their kingpin these days is current international Timmy Cockram, who has the pace to unhinge any defence.

However, the Dragons are favourites to progress as Butler assisted them to bronze in last year's competition. The winners will play either Reading or Rotterdam in the quarter-finals.

Snooker

Former world champion Ken Doherty went out of the China Open at the first hurdle as as he was seen off 5-2 by Ricky Walden, while the home crowd also went home disappointed as Ding Junhui bowed out to Barry Hawkins.

Ding lost his first-round clash 5-3, doing well to at least rally from 4-0 down. There was further disappointment for home fans as Lyu Haotian went out, losing 5-2 to two-time world champion Mark Williams.

England's Mark Davis ground out a 5-3 success over Dechawat Poomjaeng, while Mark Selby laughed off the missed black that denied him a 147 maximum break and a £23,500 bonus in his thumping 5-1 win over Mark King.

Athletics

World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe is facing up to the very real possibility she may never compete again because of ongoing complications with her foot injury.

The 39-year-old pulled out of the 2012 Olympics shortly before the Games, despite having had specialist treatment in Germany in July.

Radcliffe underwent surgery in August when it emerged her foot problems were more serious than first thought and it was then she entertained the possibility of a future without competition.

However, she still had hopes of participating in a 10k, as well as the 2014 London Marathon, but now she knows she may never again compete.

"Targets have gone out of the window," Radcliffe said. "I'm in that limbo where I know and accept that realistically it may not be possible. But at the same time I have a little window of hope and I would rather be able to finish my career in a race."

Tennis

Maria Sharapova remains on track to win her first Miami title after a hard-fought win over Italy's Sara Errani.

The world No 2 struggled on serve with 14 double faults but came through 7-5 7-5 to reach the semi-finals at the Sony Open.

The Russian will face Jelena Jankovic or Roberta Vinci in the last four.

Irish Independent

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