Scotland dominated the opening day's play in the Women's Home International Series in Bangor, crushing Jersey 151-90 and then Ireland 153-90 in the afternoon, writes Kathy May. The Scots, seeking a third successive title, showed their strength in depth by chalking up wins on 11 of the 12 rinks over their two matches, and the results leave them at the top of the table with four points and a massive +123 shots.
Wales, had a bye in the morning then beat Jersey 139-96 and are in second place on shots from Ireland. England, having cleaned up with four titles in the individual British Isles Championships the previous day, were brought crashing to earth with a 117-110 defeat by the Irish. Both teams finished with three winning rinks, but the home support roared their team to a strong finish and Sandra Baillie's rink scored 10 shots over the last four ends against Ellen Falkner to edge Ireland to an unexpected victory.
The Scots can win the title today when they complete their programme with ties against England and Wales before having a bye tomorrow, but they will take nothing for granted on tricky Ward Park greens.
n Women's British Isles Home International Series, Ward Park, Bangor, Northern Ireland
Scotland 151 Jersey 90 (L Stein 35 J Renouf 14, L Smith 28 K Bisson 9, M Letham 25 L Cole 13, C Brown 24 C Grimes 16, A Uttley 23 H Greechan 20, S Douglas 16 S Dingle 18)
Ireland 117 England 110 (D McCloy 26 P Strong 8, P Montgomery 23 A Monkhouse 11, S Baillie 25 E Falkner 18, C O'Gorman 14 S Gordon 30, J Dowds 14 W King 24, SJ Coleman 15 N Melmore 19)
Scotland 153 Ireland 90 (L Stein 31 D McCloy 6, L Baillie 29 SJ Coleman 17, M Letham 25 P Montgomery 15, L Smith 27 C O'Gorman 18, C Brown 21 S Baillie 18, A Uttley 20 J Dowds 16
Wales 139 Jersey 96 (K Pearce 22 C Grimes 9, J Wason 28 L Cole 11, W Price 22 S Dingle 21, I Jones 22 H Greechan 21, A Butten 7 J Renouf 12, C Hewlings 18 K Bisson 22)
TODAY 9.15: Scotland v England, Ireland v Wales. 2.30: Scotland v Wales, Jersey v England
Craig Wright last night believes he faces his toughest task as a coach when he picks the Scotland squad to do battle in the Under-19s World Cup, writes David Kelso. His squad heads to Australia later in the summer and the coach said: "It is going to be a big problem but it is a welcome one because it means we have strength in depth." Wright returns to playing today when he leads MCC against Scotland Lions at Ayr's Cambusdoon ground. He also captained MCC during their tour of Bermuda last year.
Renfrewshire are favourites to win the West Division Women's Inter-County Team Championship at Cardross GC today after chalking up their second victory, 7-2 over Lanarkshire, writes Colin Farquharson. Their strength in depth in the singles, led by Alyson McKechin (Elderslie) and the Briggs sisters from Kilmacolm, Megan and Eilidh, shone as they won the afternoon session 5-1. Ayrshire, last year's winners, suffered a second loss, 5½-3½ to Dunbartonshire and Argyll.
Midlothian, the Scottish and divisional champions, took a big step towards retaining the East title when they beat Fife 5½-3½, the other opening-day winners, at Turnhouse. It had looked as if Midlothian's reign was about to end when they lost the morning foursomes 3-0 but they recovered to win the singles 5½-½.
The four divisional winners will contest the Scottish finals at Montrose Links in September. Angus have already won the North Division.
Gordon Shepherd, Scotland women's head coach, has retained new caps Aileen Davis, Ali Howie, Nicki Lloyd, Sarah Robertson and Nicola Skrastin in his squad of 18 for the annual Celtic Cup in Lisburn next week, writes Craig Madden. All were in the 23-strong squad that played in the recent five-Test series against South Africa. Experience is provided by Linda Clement, Sam Judge, Holly Cram and Catriona Ralph, all of whom have more than 100 caps.
Shepherd is again unable to select Laura Bartlett, Emily Maguire, Vikki Bunce and goalkeeper Abi Walker who are still committed to their Great Britain duties. Also missing is Kat Cameron, who announced her retirement from international hockey last week, Leigh Fawcett who is injured and Amy Brodie who is unavailable. Nicki Cochrane, the Grove Menzieshill goalkeeper who performed well in her two matches against South Africa, also misses out as Shepherd wants to look at another outfield player and is relying on Amy Gibson only between the posts.
The reputation of Scotland's women on the international circuit is growing as demonstrated by China, ranked fifth in the world and current Olympic silver medallist, having requested two Tests prior to the London Games. They will be played at Wakefield's new pitch on July 20 and 22. "The games are too good an opportunity to miss," said Shepherd. "To play a team so highly ranked in the world and only a week out from competing in the Olympics, is great for us."
SQUAD. Scotland women (Celtic Cup, v Ireland & Wales, June 29-July 01) A Gibson, C Ralph, S McGilveray, M McLellan, A Howie, N Skrastin, H Cram (Milne Craig Western), K Marshall (Giffnock), B Merchant (Surbiton), A Davis (Clifton), N Kidd (Mannheimer), R Ward (VWS Dundee Wndrs), L Clement, A Wyllie, A Bell (Grove Menzieshill), S Judge, S Robertson (Edinburgh Uni), N Lloyd (Seven Oaks)
Scotland's David Carry will seek to clinch a place in Team GB for the Olympic Games in the second and final round of trials starting at the Ponds Forge Pool in Sheffield today, writes Elspeth Burnside. The 30-year-old hopes to join his fellow Scots Hannah Miley, Michael Jamieson, Robbie Renwick, Caitlin McClatchey and teenager Craig Benson who secured places during the first set of trials in London back in March.
Carry, the double Commonwealth Games medallist in 2006, competed in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 and was unlucky not to secure a third Olympics place in the first round. He was second to Renwick in the 400m freestyle and his time of 3:48.36 was just fractions of a second outside qualification. Tonight, he needs to record a time of 3:48.92 or better, and hope that no one else goes faster. Warrender's Lewis Smith, better known as a 400m medley man, has entered the 400m freestyle and is also bidding for the second vacant spot.
Stirling's Jak Scott is another Scottish hopeful. There is one place left in the 200m relay squad - and the 21-year-old who competed in last summer's World Championships in Shanghai was fifth fastest at the first round of trials.