The Commonwealth Games 1500 metres finalist, Hayley Ovens (Edinburgh Woollen Mill), was one of a number of Scots who profited from the latest British Milers' Club meetings at Wythenshaw, Manchester, chopping more than 13 seconds off her best 3000m time in finishing fourth in 9:14.88 on Saturday night.

Ovens, a contender for the European Cup place, lost out for the runners-up spot in a sprint finish after being forced to set the pace for the pursuing group when Yelena Burykina broke clear, the Russian going on to win in 8:55.73.

Morag MacLarty (Central), who is still only 17, set a personal best and World Youth Games qualifying time of 2:06.73 in sixth place in the 800, won by Jemma Simpson (Newquay) in 2:04.70.

Scottish champion Andrew Lemoncello (Fife) broke nine minutes for the first time in finishing eighth in the steeplechase in 8:55.71 and there was a fine run by 18-year-old Kris Berry (Corstorphine) who won the C 1500 in 3:50.11.

Rob Hooton (City of Edinburgh) was disappointed with his run in the A race, where he finished 13th in a season's best of 3:47.70 and Glen Stewart (Racing Club, Edinburgh) faded to ninth in the 3000 in 8:09.73 after staying with the leaders for the first four laps of a fast race won by Chris Thompson (Aldershot) in 7:54.45.


Sandra Watt and Kirsteen McEwan won through to the quarter-finals of the women's doubles at the Spanish International Championships in Madrid before losing out to 3/4 seeds Katrin Piotrowski and Carina Mette. The Germans won 15-7, 17-15. The Scots were never really in the first game and they lay 4-13 down in the second when they got their game together and fought back to force the game to a tie-break.


Edinburgh Diamond Devils retained their 100% record over Glasgow Stars this season with two big wins over their arch Northern Conference rivals at Cumbernauld yesterday. David Farr, Devils' back-up pitcher, was in top form in the first gamem which the visitors won 18-2 and Richard Zbikowski switched from his third base slot to pitch solidly in the second, which the Edinburgh side won 19-5.

Stars were unable to make up for the loss of No.1 pitcher Brad Jones, who is back in America for a month, but stand-ins Alex Paterson and Mike Devlin stuck to their task. Neil Selvester, Stars' catcher, was in fine form but the home side were unable to put any real pressure on Devils.


Robert Archibald, Scotland's NBA player, returns home to Dunfermline this week to carry out a promotional tour for the sport. Next Saturday the 6ft 11ins Memphis Grizzlies player will present the awards at the RAF Under-14 Inter-Area Tournament at Meadowbank, where he once led Dunfermline to victory in the Scottish junior cup.

Archibald, a 23-year-old former Queen Anne High schoolboy, represented Scotland as a junior but has still to play for the senior national team. He has, however, been named in Scotland's Commonwealth Games training squad and BasketballScotland are hopeful that he will be available should a qualifying tournament take place for the 2006 Games in Melbourne, when basketball is included for the first time.

lAyr Belmont scored a surprise double in the first half of the Strathclyde Cup finals when they defeated Glasgow in both junior and cadet events at Linwood Sports Centre on Saturday. Belmont won the junior final 72-54 and the cadet final 75-68. Glasgow Storm took the men's Consolation Cup beating Glenboig Bulls 103-84.


It's all change at the top of three of the four sections of the Cities and Counties Championships after some surprising fourth-round results. Only Northern Counties retained the top billing, beating City of Dundee at The Inverness to keep two points abreast of Bon Accord, who beat Perthshire at Newhills.

In the match of the day at Haddington, Edinburgh & Leith, who had to do without the services of internationalist Billy Mellors, sidelined due a broken ankle, suffered defeat as East Lothian came out on top in the east decider. Both teams went into the match undefeated but it was the Garden County side who claimed the spoils after sharing three winning rinks each and take over at the top of the section with the city team being pushed to second place.

Wigtownshire upset the apple cart in the south, knocking table-toppers Dumfriesshire off their perch and that defeat allowed Lanarkshire to take a three-point lead at the top after their win at Campsie over Dumbartonshire East. Defending champions Ayr County looked like contenders once again, roaring to a 20-2 (131-100) win. Dumbarton also lost out, relinquishing control of the west to Stirling West and drop to third.

lWest Lothian proved far too strong for Glasgow at Rutherglen yesterday, whitewashing their opponents 22-0 (149-97) to lift the U25 Cities and Counties Championship title for the second successive year, and putting their name on the trophy for a record fourth time since the event began in 1996.


Jan Ullrich has written off his chances of success in next month's Centenary Tour de France. The German made his competitive comeback in the colours of Team Bianchi at Saturday's TEAG Hainleite after a three-week absence due to the financial difficulties of previous sponsor Coast and finished in a group 19 seconds down on race winner Enrico Poitschke (Team Wiesenhof).

Scottish teenager Alex Coutts failed to finish the 188.7 kilometre event. Afterwards, Ullrich said ''I can go into the Tour without pressure. I have given up any hope of winning, but I will fight hard every day. A stage win would be great.''


Euan Cameron fired a course-record 59 as he surged to victory in the Clober Pro-Am yesterday. The Dougalston professional coasted to the (pounds) 1010 first prize with his seven-under-par score, which shaved a shot of the previous best of 60 set by Deer Park's Brian Dunbar two years ago. Cameron rattled in five birdies and an eagle.


The Scotland coach, Mathias Ahrens, was forced into a restricted choice for the forthcoming four nations tournament against Egypt, Switzerland and France in Lille later this month due to Great Britain's Olympic demands.

The Western Wildcats' trio of Graham Moodie, David Mitchell and captain Vishal Marwaha, along with Dundee Wanderers' striker Niall Stott, would normally be regulars in Ahrens' selection process, but instead the four Scots have been picked for the Great Britain squad for Vancouver as part of the preparation programme for Athens.

In partial compensation for Ahrens, midfield playmaker Laurence Docherty will be available for the Lille tournament as he is part of Great Britain coach Mike Hamilton's core squad for the Olympic campaign and is therefore not required to go to Canada.

Consequently, Wildcats' sweeper Euan Miller along with James Burns, Grange captain Andy McBride and Kelburne's Alistair McDougall therefore get their chance to stake a claim for a place in the final squad bound for the European Nations Finals in Barcelona in September.

In addition Ahrens can also give senior experience to two members of the under-21 squad, Western defender Andrew Sewnauth and Kelburne's young striker Jonathan Christie.


Whether west or east coast, tricky conditions pervaded yesterday for Scottish events, as a dearth of breeze plagued proceedings. At Prestwick, the Bosun's Locker Dinghy Regatta suffered, too, at the hands of close, thundery weather. This, however, did not seem to affect Mark Plummer and Scott Graham of Helensburgh SC, as they stormed to a clean sweep of five firsts in the RS200 fleet, with Martin Grieve from Loch Lomond also showing well in the Laser Radial fleet with three wins and a second.

East Lothian Yacht Club in North Berwick experienced shifty breeze combined with a strong flood tide to challenge competitors at their regatta. The 31-strong Topper fleet was headed home by Strathclyde Loch's Robin Paris, while the strong Enterprise fleet victory went to Laurence Young from Tynemouth.


Frede Schott powered to 14 points as Edinburgh Monarchs edged Newcastle Diamonds 47-43 to record a confidence-boosting road win ahead of tonight's clash at Reading Racers. The Dane was at his imperious best and was given great back-up by newcomer Wayne Carter, who scored eight from reserve.

lJames Grieves once again proved Glasgow's hero last night by winning heat 15 to secure Tigers' fifth straight league win. The former Wolverhampton Wolves rider held off the outstanding Finn, Joonas Kylmakorpi, to claim the three points and bring his personal tally to 11 points. Kylmakorpi collected 17 points to continue his own purple patch during the club's northern tour.

Grieves said: "What a contrast from last year. We finished bottom of the table and now we have five straight wins and that's brilliant for the guys.''


Alan Mackin lost out in the final of the fourth tournament in the Turkish Futures Series in Belek, beaten 7-5, 6-3 by Sweden's Mattias Hellstrom. But the Paisley man, with a win on his card from two weeks ago, was overall winner of the series, beating Hellstrom into second place .


Catriona Morrison recovered from a poor swim to finish seventh in her first outing of the season at the Brno International Triathlon in the Czech Republic. After leaving the 1500m swim in second-last position, Morrison, whose start to her season has been held back by an injured foot, came though in the cycle and run stages to finish over three minutes down on Czech winner Lenka Radova in 2hr 10min 05sec.