Sunday 22 April 2018

Meadow gears up for title defence

Stephanie Meadow launches the defence of her British Ladies Open Amateur title over the magnificent Jack Nicklaus-designed Machynys Peninsula course in South Wales today, writes CHRIS SMART.

And having become the first Northern Irish player for 33 years to hold aloft the coveted trophy at Carnoustie last June, the Alabama University accountancy student won't want to surrender it without a battle.

Meadow is aiming to become the first back-to-back winner of the crown since Louise Stahle in 2004-05.

The Maguire twins Leona and Lisa flopped badly at Carnoustie a year ago – Lisa missed the cut and Leona just scraped through and then was immediately eliminated – and they will be anxious to demonstrate their undoubted talent.

Lisburn's Paula Grant has made a promising start to the season and could make an impact, while Maria Dunne and Chloe Ryan – first and second respectively in the Irish Scratch Cup circuit – are also in the 144-strong field.

THE Dublin District Schoolboy League (DDSL) opened their SFAI Kennedy Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over West Waterford/East Cork at the University of Limerick, writes Bernard O'Neill.

Jamie Stokes, Mike Nzingo and Jamie Hamilton were on target for the defending champions.

The DDSL will now meet Kildare and South Dublin, who were beaten 2-0 by Kildare last night, today to decide who tops Group 5.

Elsewhere at UL, North Dublin impressed in a 5-0 victory over Roscommon in Group 2. Two-goal Jason Grouse, Darragh Nolan, Stephen Nolan and Jamie Hopkins hit the target.

Cork scored six against Sligo/Leitrim – Cian Leonard (2), Alec Byrne (2), Peter Callanan and an own-goal doing the damage. Meanwhile, Killarney FC ace Kasper Milinowski notched a second-half stunner to help Kerry beat West Cork 3-1.

South Africa's weakened bowling attack revived the Proteas' Champions Trophy hopes, running through Pakistan for 167 to clinch a 67-run win at Edgbaston.

The Pakistanis' second straight loss in Group B leaves them on the brink of elimination, with their flimsy batting line-up collapsing despite South Africa being without injured strike bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and protecting a meagre 234-9 on a good pitch.

Misbah ul-Haq (55) was the only batsman to provide any resistance as Ryan McLaren grabbed 4-19 and Chris Morris took 2-25 on his ODI debut.

Pakistan must now beat fierce rivals India on Saturday to have any chance of making the semi-finals.

The Proteas' chances suddenly look much rosier than they did a few days ago – particularly with Steyn back in the nets and potentially returning from a side strain in time for Friday's make-or-break match against the West Indies.

Irish Independent

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