Friday 23 February 2018

In brief: Century sets up Bell for Test spot


Ian Bell hit an unbeaten 121 as England continued their smooth preparations for the Ashes series by taking control of their final warm-up match against Australia A in Hobart yesterday.

With the first Ashes test just a week away, Bell's masterful innings almost certainly secured his spot in Brisbane. Bell's century may be bad news for Eoin Morgan, unless England selectors decide to leave out either Alastair Cook or Jonathan Trott.

England were struggling on 137 for five in reply to the hosts' 230, but Bell added 198 with Paul Collingwood (74 not out) before stumps on the second day of the four-day match to lift the touring side to a healthy 335 for five.

Bell, who came to Australia uncertain of his place in the Test side, also made 61 against South Australia last week.


PAT ERRITY, for decades one of Wicklow's foremost amateur golfers, brilliantly clinched a first-class ticket to play on the European Seniors Tour in 2011, with a polished final round 66 at Q-School on Pestana's Pinta Course in Carvoeiro, Portugal yesterday.

Even when he landed himself in trouble, by hitting his ball out of bounds on the eighth, Errity was undeterred, holing-out brilliantly from 140 yards for a par four.

The European Club stalwart, who cut his teeth at Delgany, winning the Leinster Youths title in 1982, shared second place in the Algarve with Peter Dahlberg (68) of Sweden on four-under, five behind Tim Thelen (65) a PGA club pro from Texas.

Errity will turn professional in time to make his Tour debut when he turns 50 on March 21 next. He was one of six players to win full eligibility, with the next 10 receiving alternate status, including Claremorris-based Jimmy Heggarty, who shot a sweet 68.


CONOR NILAND displayed nerves of steel as he saved two match-points before sealing a quarter-final place in the ATP Challenger Tour event in Salzburg, Austria.

The Irish No 1 appeared to be heading for the exit when his opponent, Germany's 190-ranked Matthias Bachinger, had two break points at 4-5 and 15-40 in the third set. But 147-ranked Niland, the No 8 seed, bravely saved both points before going on to close out the contest on a 7-5 4-6 7-5 scoreline.


Hooker Josh Cowan's power-packed personal contribution of two tries couldn't gain Sandford Park any more than a replay in their Leinster Schools McMullen Senior Cup (Section A) quarter-final against Maynooth PP at Barnhall RFC yesterday.

Maynooth clawed their way back into contention with two penalties from wing Alex Birchall, before the same player converted lock Mark Donnellan's try in the 61st minute to leave the final score at 13-13.

Irish Independent

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