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Potter and Smith run cross country to reach Budapest

athletics

Beth Potter and Rosie Smith produced battling runs to book their places in Great Britain's team for next month's European Cross Country Championships in Budapest, writes Mark Woods.

Potter, who has linked up with Mick Woods, coach to fellow Scotland internationalist Steph Twell, opted to attack from the front in the trials in Liverpool's Sefton Park.

The Loughborough student was eventually the third Under-23 finisher home behind race winner Jess Coulson and Hannah Walker but booked her first GB vest since 2009, joining Smith who came third in the senior women category.

Louise Damen, who will head the women's team in Hungary, expects her junior colleagues to make a strong push for gold.

"The under-23 girls are so strong and it's great to see them step up," the London Olympian said. "When I found myself at the front it was unintentional and I decided to pull back a bit. I didn't feel too good on the second lap and got a bit detached but on the final lap I knew I had to use my marathon strength and I felt good."

Potter and Smith were among the five Scots to earn an automatic berth with Scott McDonald fifth in the men's Under-23 race, Rhona Auckland fourth in the Under-20 women's and Luke Traynor fifth in the Under-20 men's.

However, Derek Hawkins is likely to miss out when the squad is confirmed tomorrow after finishing outside the top six in a senior men's race won by Morpeth's Jonathan Taylor, who held off defending champion Andy Vernon in heavy conditions.

Central AC, paced by Ross Houston, will represent Britain in February's European Clubs Cup in Spain after taking the team title ahead of Belgrave and Swansea.

bobsleigh

Edinburgh's Gillian Cooke and Wiltshire's Paula Walker claimed another top-10 finish after finishing sixth in the latest round of the bobsleigh World Cup at Whistler in Canada, writes Lorin McDougall.

The Britons, sixth and ninth in the opening two races of the season, clocked the eighth-quickest time of 55.13sec on their first run.

They improved to 54.98 on their final attempt and their overall time of 1min 50.11sec was only 0.61 away from a bronze medal.

cricket

Kelburne have pulled off a signing coup by enlisting Saltires outcast Qasim Sheikh, writes William Dick.

A club spokesman said: "Qasim is a quality player with experience at the highest level so we're delighted to get him. He will stiffen our top order batting no end."

The 28-year-old left-hander came through the youth ranks at Clydesdale and went on to earn 27 caps for Scotland, scoring two centuries. However, he fell out of favour two years ago and earlier this year launched a scathing attack on Saltires coach Pete Steindl.

Sheikh is returning to the Scottish domestic scene after spending several seasons in the Yorkshire Central League. He is the only Scot to have scored a first-class century in Pakistani domestic cricket during a season with the Customs club.

curling

Murrayfield's Bruce Mouat suffered an agonising extra-ends defeat in the final of the Thun Junior Invitational in Switzerland last night, writes Lorin McDougall.

The young Scot won six games out of six en route to yesterday's final where he always trailed Swiss skip Andre Neuenschwander yet somehow managed to level at 4-4 before losing 5-4 at the third extra end.

hockey

Glynhill Kelburne's quest to retain their first division title was interrupted by a frozen pitch at Bellahouston and Grange took advantage, defeating Watsonians 6-1, to take over top spot in the Aberdeen Asset Management national league, writes Craig Madden.

Grange's lead of three points could be transient, the Paisley side have two games in hand against AMN Hillhead and Inverleith.

The Edinburgh side's victory was a personal triumph for Rob Barr who scored four set-piece goals.

PSL Clydesdale's attempt to gain a top-five spot was sunk when they lost 4-2 to a rapidly improving Grove Menzieshill outfit at Titwood.

Gavin Tomlinson gave the visitors a 2-1 half time lead through two penalty corner strikes, Clydesdale's reply came from Rory McCann after a Ciaran Crawford shot rebounded off a post.

Gavin Byers put the Taysiders into a 3-1 lead but the home side pulled a goal back through Steven McKnight from a set piece. However, the points were destined for Dundee when Tomlinson scored the fourth to complete his hat trick towards the end.

Inverleith lost ground when they went down 6-3 to Edinburgh University. Meanwhile, Western Wildcats' fixture with AAM Gordonians was abandoned because of a frozen pitch at Auchenhowie with the latter leading by a goal.

ice hockey

Braehead Clan misfired again last night when they lost 6-4 to Elite League strugglers Hull Stingrays, writes Nigel Duncan. The result completed a nightmare weekend for the Glasgow side as they crashed to their second defeat in 24 hours after losing 7-2 at home to second-placed Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.

Janis Ozolins was the architect of the Hull's sixth league victory with four assists and the two points lifts the Humberside club into eighth place ahead of Fife Flyers. Other marksmen for the home side included former Edinburgh forward Jason Silverthorn who claimed the game-winner after 1min 58sec of the final period.

Elsewhere, bottom-place Edinburgh Capitals pushed second-place Sheffield Steelers all the way at Murrayfield. The home side led 1-0 after the first session and 2-1 after the middle stanza to set up an exciting finish. The Yorkshire side claimed two goals in the final 20 minutes to secure a four-point weekend and take their winning run to five games and see off Capitals 3-2. The Scots have now lost their last five games.

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