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'Rebel' victory in rallying row

The political spat that threatened to disrupt rallying in the coming season has ended in uneasy accord, writes Declan Quigley.

Following a meeting in Portlaoise between representatives of affiliated motor clubs and the Motorsport Commission, the dissident Rallies Committee have won concessions on virtually all points of contention.

As a result, the 2009 Rallies Committee Chairman James Coleman and the other 'rebels' are back within the fold and are available for duty in 2010.

Outgoing Motorsport Ireland president John Naylor will not sit on the Rallies Committee this year and it has been agreed that outgoing presidents will not be eligible for committee positions for three years after the end of their term. As a result, rallying will be unaffected this season and the threat of cancellation to the first round of the Tarmac Series, February's Safety Direct Galway International, is now lifted.

BARRY KING has given himself a massive boost for the New Year by capturing the Babolat National Indoors Championship title for the first time, writes paddy hickey.

The top-seeded Dubliner made the breakthrough at David Lloyd Riverview on Thursday, when he put Georgia's Lazare Kukhalashvili, the No 2 seed, to the sword on a 6-4 6-4 scoreline in the men's singles final.

The 24-year-old right-hander has made creditable progress to 600 in the ATP singles world rankings, and he is intent on maintaining a notable upward curve.

Fed Cup player Rachael Dillon joined King on the winner's rostrum with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Amy Bowtell in the women's singles final. The two players were tied at 4-4 in the second set before Tennessee-based tennis scholarship student Dillon made the breakthrough on Bowtell's serve.

England must formulate plans both with and without Paul Collingwood for the third Test against South Africa at Newlands.

Middle-order batsman Collingwood is rated only "50-50" and his absence would almost certainly mean a debut for either Michael Carberry or Luke Wright.

A final fitness test will decide whether Collingwood takes the field tomorrow in a series England lead 1-0 with two to play after their innings victory in Durban.

Irish Independent