Gordon Shedden, from Dalgety Bay, goes into the penultimate round of the British Touring Car championship at Silverstone today hoping that boost restrictions do not damage his title chances, writes Kenneth Stephen.
After two wins at Rockingham, he leads the series from his Honda team-mate Matt Neal by three points and is 32 ahead of Jason Plato. With only one round to go after this, his aim is simply to maintain a winning position going into the final round at Brands Hatch in a fortnight. "With the boost they've got, the S2000 cars will drive past us here," he said. "I think this will be the hardest weekend for us. It's a critical part of the season so it is far to say I am a little worried." Neal, last year's champion, added: "I think we could struggle to get into the top 10."
Pete Steindl, the Saltires coach, said that results are secondary as he looked forward to Scotland's 13-game trip to Potchfestroom, South Africa, writes William Dick. His main aim is to return with greater depth to his playing pool.
He will introduce five debutants during the month-long sojourn – four newly-qualified English-born players and Stoneywood-Dyce's Michael Leask – and said: "I will measure the success of the tour on whether we can say we have 22 players who are good enough to play for Scotland on any given day [when we return]. At the moment we probably only have about 15 and I know we have to increase that, in number and quality. It will be a great chance to see what the new players have to offer and how our established guys respond."
Leask, along with Sussex batsman Matt Machan and Richard Coughtrie, the Gloucestershire wicketkeeper, are likely to have their first taste of action in Tuesday's T20 games against Highveld Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders, but David Murphy of Northants and Leicestershire's Rob Taylor will not join the squad until later next week because of prior commitments. The Scots fly to Johannesburg today.
The Scot Callum Skinner has been rewarded for his win in the individual sprint at last week's British Track Championships with a place in the Great Britain squad for the European Track Championships in Lithuania later this month, writes Colin Renton. The 20-year-old is listed in a squad of four that also features Lewis Oliva, the Welshman Skinner beat by the narrowest of margins in the gold medal decider in Manchester. Matt Crampton will defend the keirin title he won in the Netherlands last year, and the fourth rider making the trip is the teenage sprinter Victoria Williamson.
David Bogie, the Scottish Rally champion, has retired his Mitsubishi Evo 9 and will tackle today's McRae Forest Stages rally in Perthshire in a new car, writes Kenneth Stephen. The Dumfries born driver became the first to lift 4 consecutive domestic titles when he won the Merrick Stages rally in the penultimate round of the series.
Having completed the feat, he decided time was up for the car that had steered him into the history books. Today he and co-driver Kevin Rae will use a Ford Escort Mk2 from Ireland, a car they have only tested once. "We had a good test run and I did enough miles to feel comfortable in the car, but it is all about finding traction," said the 25-year-old. "It's a completely different driving style to anything I've been used to and I've no expectations for the McRae. There is no pressure, it is just a case of getting out there and enjoying ourselves."
Today's finale in the Perthshire forests will decide second place in the Scottish championship, with Mike Faulkner and Euan Thorburn battling for that accolade.
Competitive action returns to the Clyde at Glasgow Green today when Clydesdale host their annual Scullers' Head of the River Race, writes Mike Haggerty. "Head" races are long-distance time-trial processions, with the crews starting one after the other to race the stop-watch as well as each other and the start order determined by last year's performance. They were originally designed as an alternative to the drudge of long-distance training which is the winter norm in the sport.
The 4km race is divided into two divisions, with the first starting at noon, for single scullers, and the second, for double sculls crews, starting at 2.30. Kevin Murty, of hosts Clydesdale is first through the start-line, with Stirling's Kevin Plank chasing him. Glasgow's Emma McDonald will be the first woman to start, although she will be challenged by a number of more experienced scullers going off further down the 79-strong field as new starters, including Sarah Williams of Edinburgh club St Andrew. In the second division, Stirling's Plank is joined by fellow former internationalist Willie Brown as the first double sculls crew through the line at the head of a strong double sculls field.
John Smilie, of Inveraray, became the lastest high-profile managerial departure when he announcing that today's match against Kingussie will be his last, writes Kenneth Stephen. He led Inveraray to the Camanachd Cup final in Oban this season only for the Argyll side to lose 6-5 to Kyles Athletic. After three seasons at the Winterton, he has decided to step down because of work commitments.
Garry Macpherson, who has been coaching at Inveraray, is likely to be asked to succeed Smilie but still has a playing career to consider. "I wouldn't see the club stuck but I'd need help during matches as I want to focus on my own game," said the former Scotland forward. "Things will be resolved at our agm in December."
Smilie follows in the footsteps of Peter MacIntyre at Fort William. He too decided he cannot sustain the hours needed to run operations at An Aird because of increased work pressures.
Kingussie, meanwhile, can finish the season in fourth place if they defeat Inveraray today but they only have four first-team players currently available.
Premier League. play-offs
EDINBURGH CAPITALS 48
SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 42
Edinburgh Monarchs, beaten at Scunthorpe at the weekend, came from behind to edge them out in the return at Armadale and open their Premier Play-off account, writes Nigel Duncan. Matthew Wethers, the captain, proved the match winner, claiming a second place in Heat 14 and winning Heat 15 to take his personal points tally to 11. Aaron Summers, the former Monarchs man who rides for Redcar Bears, was next best with 10.
Edinburgh held a narrow lead until Heat 11 when Gary Irving and Sam Masters brought the visitors level at 33-33 and then they edged ahead but Edinburgh saved the best to last with consecutive 5-1s. Tabaka took the checkered flag in Heat 14 with Wethers second and Wethers won the final heat with Summers second.
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