Scottish clubs are back in the elite EuroLeague with a vengeance, writes Craig Madden. Scotland were ranked 14th in Europe last season and had no teams in the competition for the first time since its inception in 2007 but, in the new table, they have climbed to eighth place and will have two teams next season.
It means that Glynhill Kelburne, the Scottish champions, return to the EuroLeague after a year out and runners-up Grange will also have a place after an absence of five years. The Scots' climb in the rankings is mainly the result of the Paisley side securing 10 points by finishing second in this year's lower European Club Champions Trophy in Lille, although Grange also made progress by winning the European Challenge I competition in Zagreb, although that event did not count for ranking points.
"This is great news, not just for Kelburne as a club but Scottish hockey in general; it puts us firmly back on the EuroHockey map," said Harry Coles, Kelburne's president. "The problem now is the lack of opportunity to prepare effectively as the start of the national league is delayed by the international programme.
"I would like to think that the Scottish Hockey Union management will recognise the importance of this event, the most prestigious club tournament in the world, and afford both clubs every assistance in their efforts to maintain the Scottish representation at the highest possible level in European club hockey."
Kelburne reached the knockout stages of the inaugural 2007/08 event and only lost to an extra-time goal to eventual winners Uhlenhorster from Germany after a 3-3 in normal time but the performances by Scottish clubs fell away after that and they dropped out completely last season. Grange made their only appearance in 2007 and lost 3-1 to Atletic Terrassa from Spain and 5-1 to Rotterdam.
n Italy have withdrawn their offer to host the FIH Champions Challenge at the end of September and Dublin, host city last year, has stepped in again. As a result, Italy will no longer participate and India, seventh in last year's event, are reinstated. As India are 13th in the world ranking, five places above Scotland, Gordon Shepherd's charges will again be the lowest ranked side in the competition. It was the case last year but they upset the odds by finishing third, beating Spain in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw.
The line-up comprises Australia, Belgium, United States, South African – all of whom will be at the London Olympics – along with India, Spain, hosts Ireland and Scotland.
Scotland's Kenta Gallagher produced an outstanding performance in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round at Mont Sainte-Anne in Canada, writes Colin Renton. Competing in the Under-23 category, the Inverness rider, who turned 20 last week, worked his way through the field to lie sixth at the halfway point. Though he slipped two places in the closing stages to finish eighth – the Dutchman Michiel Van Der Heijden and Gerhard Kerschbaumer of Italy edged ahead of him – the result shows he is making progress against international rivals. He is 17th overall with two rounds of competition left.
Paul Lawrie's flourishing Foundation is to have a new base after the former Open champion acquired the Aspire Golf Centre in his native Aberdeen, writes Nick Rodger. The facility, which boasts a nine-hole course, covered bays and short games areas, will now become known as the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre. The centre will also have a dedicated Paul Lawrie Academy to help develop junior golfers, while a number of teaching professionals will be recruited to encourage participation in the game at all levels.
n The Duke's, near St Andrews, will stage the 2014 European Amateur Championship. The 72-hole strokeplay contest, which rewards the winner with a place in the Open, was last held on Scottish soil at Nairn in 2003.
Ryan Campbell, the Canadian who won the Elite League club's Unsung Hero award last season, is to return to Braehead Clan for a third season, writes Nigel Duncan. He said: "I have loved my time in Glasgow and I really want us to win a title this year."
n Dumfries will host a Division 1 qualifier for the Women's Under-18 World Championship from October 29 to November 3 this year. Great Britain will face China, France, Kazakhstan, Italy and Slovakia for a place in the tournament in Switzerland in January.
Euan Burton was fifth in the Under-81kg event at the Czech European Cup in Prague, writes Roddy Mackenzie. The Edinburgh player had a notable win over the American Travis Steven, who will be fifth seed at the Olympics in London. Burton lost in the preliminary round to Laszlo Csoknyai, the eventual winner from Hungary, but fought back in the repechage and finished with wins in four of his six fights at the event. His fellow-Scot Connie Ramsey was fifth in the women's U57kg event and England's Sally Conway, who trains at Ratho, took bronze at U70kg.
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