Scotland's women guaranteed themselves at least silver medals at the World Junior Championships in Ostersund, Sweden, with a 6-5 win over Czech Republic last night in their Page Play-off 1 v 2 game, a win that puts them directly into tomorrow's final, writes Mike Haggerty.
Hannah Fleming and her team soon carved out an advantage when they split the house early in the second end and the Czechs wrecked with their last stone on the way in, leaving Fleming with a simple draw for 3 and a 3-1 lead. After the Czechs blanked the third end, the Scots moved further ahead in the fourth, stealing a single shot but the Czechs closed up with 2 in the fifth.
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The Scots kept control in the second half, going into the 10th end one shot up, with last-stone advantage. A fine triple take-out and lie by second player Alice Spence cleared out the house, eventually allowing Fleming to hit and roll to blank the end and claim victory.
Fleming's team must wait for the result of this evening's semi-final between the Czechs and Sweden, who beat Russia by 6-5 in the Page 3 v 4 game, to find out who they will face in the final. Before that, Kyle Smith's Scotland men will play their Page Play-off game against Norway, trying to stay in the medal hunt too.
Imogen Bankier is convinced that she and Chris Adcock have made great strides in their partnership despite missing out on a place in the semi-finals at the Yonex All England Open, writes Jamie Holt.
They had every chance of reaching the podium at the NIA in Birmingham after beating the world champions and No.1 seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei then squeezing past the South Koreans Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na to reach the quarter-finals together at the All England Open for the first time, but the world silver medallists met their match in the form of the ninth seeds Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying, of Malaysia, who won 21-16, 15-21, 21-17.
It did their chances of securing the sole British spot at the Olympics this summer no harm, especially as their main rivals, Nathan Roberston and Jenny Wallwork of England, also lost, beaten 21-19, 14-21, 21-6 by Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir, the No.4 seeds from Indonesia. Robertson, a silver medal winner in 2004 in Athens, and Wallwork, are two places behind Bankier and Adcock at No.19 in the rankings.
Bankier said: "Our thoughts are still on qualifying but it's tough out there. We have shown this week we are good enough to get those results but it's a matter of taking it one game at a time. There are still a few more tournaments before qualifying finishes yet.
"We were disappointed to lose but they're a good pair and I feel we can go back and learn a few things and come back stronger. We are still both young and developing; we have been playing together for a relatively short time so we'll learn from this experience."
Scotland's hopes of winning the Men's Home International Series will come down to the wire today as they take on the holders England in their final match, writes Anne Dunwoodie.
England were 105-94 victors over pointless Ireland yesterday while Wales won a thriller 111-106 against the Scots but all is not lost and the title is still up for grabs. If the Scots beat England tonight, they could take the title, while Wales could also be champions if they beat Ireland, dependent on the winning margin.
The Scots seemed to be taking control against the hosts going into the last third of the match,as they held a nine-shot lead across the green at 63-54, only for Wales to chalk up 18 shots over the next two ends while the Scots only counted two. Wales thus led 72-65 and it was nip and tuck from there to the final bowl.
Despite only losing by a five-shot margin, the Scots only finished ahead on one rink, with Derek Oliver's team of Ronnie Duncan, Graham Robertson and Neil Speirs crushing Steve Harris 27-12, while three shots over the last two ends enabled Robert Grant to finish at 17-17 against Phil Rowlands.
Bradley Wiggins finished strongly to retain the overall lead after coming under pressure during yesterday's sixth stage of the Paris-Nice road race, writes Colin Renton. The Team Sky rider started the day with a six-second advantage in the general classification but Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) threatened to dispossess him after breaking away.
Although the Spaniard outsprinted Jens Voigt (RadioShack) to take the stage win, though, a late effort by the pursuers meant that Wiggins finished in the main bunch, 14 seconds down and clung to his slender margin at the top. The race continues with a 220km stage and concludes tomorrow with a short time trial which should ensure that Wiggins clinches the title, provided he finishes today unscathed.
n Edvald Boasson Hagen, of Norway, tightened Team Sky's grip on the European stage racing scene when he sprinted to victory in yesterday's third stage of the Tirenno-Adriatico in Italy. Hagen, whose colleague Mark Cavendish topped the podium the previous day, powered home ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas). The Australian Matt Goss (GreenEdge) still leads overall.
Finlay MacRae, the Scotland player, says Kinlochshiel will be happy to be written off again today after surprising Kingussie in their first match last weekend, writes Kenneth Stephen. He scored a hat-trick last week as the Premiership newcomers got off to a flier with a 5-3 win over Kings in Badenoch. Next up are Fort William, in what will be another tough task for Johnstone Gill's promoted outfit.
"We have known for some time we were good enough to compete at this level so we won't fear anyone," said MacRae. "We don't really know how far we can go so it is just a case of giving it our best every game. We know it will be another hard game but we will go in with confidence."
Bute, their fellow newcomers, have had their meeting with the champions Newtonmore in Rothesay switched to the Eilan because of flooding caused by a fallen tree.