Scotland upset the odds again in Dublin yesterday by drawing with a South Africa side ranked nine places above them in the world, to maintain their unbeaten record and guarantee second place in their pool, writes Craig Madden. It means that they will play India tomorrow in the quarter-finals, arguably the most important round of the tournament.
The first half was fairly uneventful with few chances made at either end, although Amy Gibson was still called upon to make a couple of routine early saves. Scotland's best chance, in 15 minutes, was created by Sarah Robertson and Ailsa Wyllie before the ball was fed to Sam Judge but the Edinburgh University striker fired straight at the goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Vikki Bunce won a penalty corner after waltzing past five defenders but the Irish goalkeeper made an excellent save to stop Nikki Kidd's powerful drag-flick. The lively Kidd later fired in crosses from both wings, but there were no Scottish takers in the circle.
The Scots might have taken the lead at the start of the second half, but Ali Bell's fierce reverse-stick shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. A few players spent time in the sin-bin as the game became fraught, and Gibson had to be lively a couple of times to keep the South African forwards at bay. At the other end, Robertson and Wyllie combined to send Bell through on her own, but her effort was smothered by the advancing goalkeeper.
The final chance fell to Scotland at their third penalty corner in the final minute; Becky Merchant, earning her 50th Scotland cap, combined with Nikki Lloyd on the left but Linda Clement deflected the cross just wide.
Gary McMillan, the 25-year-old Edinburgh light-middleweight, will contest a British title eliminator against Liverpool's Liam Smith on November 9 at Merseyside's Olympia Arena, writes Jim Black. It is a make-or-break fight against the undefeated Englishman who has a record of 11 wins and a single draw. McMillan, who has a 16-3-1 record, said: "This is my big chance and I can't afford to blow it. There's a lot at stake in what is the biggest fight of my career."
Mo Ahmed, the teenager who forced his way into the Carlton first XI with some fine performances in the second XI, upstaged Gordon Drummond, the Saltires captain, and batsman Preston Mommsen to win the players' player of the year award at the club, writes William Dick. Drummond was named bowler of the year and Mommsen the top batsman. Another teenager, Chayank Gosain, who also forced his way into the top team, was best young player. Carlton lost their national title in a rain-affected 2012 campaign but won the Murgitroyd T20 Cup for the fourth time in five years.
The Scot Andy Fenn will be aiming to maintain his solid end-of-season form when he lines up at Sparkassen-Munsterland-Giro road race in Germany, writes Colin Renton. The 22-year-old and his team-mate Gerald Ciolek have been named as Omega Pharma QuickStep's protected riders. While the team will look to set up Ciolek for the win on home territory, Fenn will be ready to challenge if his colleague falters.
n Adam Blythe, the 23-year-old Yorkshireman sprinted to victory for BMC Racingin yesterday's Binche-Tournai-Binche semi-classic road race in Belgium. He beat fellow sprinters Adrien Petit (Cofidis) and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) to record his second win of the season.
Jordan Krestanovich, the Braehead Clan playcaller, says he has "a plan" to counter his side's bogey team Edinburgh Capitals in Saturday's Elite League match at Murrayfield (6pm), writes Nigel Duncan.
Clan's last visit in the Challenge Cup resulted in a 4-3 overtime defeat, even though they outshot Capitals and hit back from 3-0 down with three goals in six third-period minutes, but they lost in the shootout. Krestanovich, a former National Hockey League draft pick, said: "We don't do well there and we've had problems. We've discussed it and we'll change that this weekend." Capitals will still be without Tomas Hiadlovsky, the goalkeeper who is banned; Fife-born Craig Holland will deputise again.
Edinburgh Monarchs hope to find out today whether their No.1 racer Craig Cook will be available for Friday's Premier League Play-off return against Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale, writes Nigel Duncan. The 25-year-old Cumbria-based rider crashed before reaching the first bend in his comeback at Scunthorpe on Sunday – Scorpions won 59-34 – having been out of action since mid-August with a broken wrist. Doctors believe he has a broken rib but John Campbell, Monarchs' co-promoter, said: "We're waiting to see what Craig says. He is a key member of our team and this is a difficult match."
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