News from Sporting Agenda

 

  • California dreaming on Pebble Beach

    The 119th US Open Golf Championships take place at California’s spectacular Pebble Beach course this weekend, with many of the usual suspects eying up the prize. With Tiger Woods once again a contender, following his imperious victory at the Augusta Masters in April, and Rory McIlroy seemingly hitting his straps having obliterated the field to land last week’s Canada Open, it is Brooks Koepka who seems to be the one to beat, as he goes in search of a record equalling hat-trick at this event, on the back of also having won the USPGA last month. Not to be overlooked, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson will all fancy their chances on this most testing and picturesque of courses. It has all the makings of an absolute belter.

  • Konta resurgence continues on the clay

    It looks like Johanna Konta has put her disappointing recent form firmly behind her, and has possibly even found herself a new favourite surface. Having first reached the final in Morocco and then, even more impressively, repeated the feat in Rome, she has now gone further in the French Open than any British woman since 1983, and all this having never previously even won a single match on the previously alien clay surface at Roland Garros. Having reached the heady heights of the semi-final, and playing the way she is, there is no reason she can’t go all the way, and at the same time become the first British winner at Roland Garros since 1976. It would signal a truly remarkable resurgence in form and bodes well for the upcoming grass court season, culminating in the All England Championships at Wimbledon in July.

  • England’s Lions and Lionesses roaring to go

    Following Liverpool’s victory over a slightly unfortunate Tottenham Hotspur to take their sixth European Cup, albeit without producing one of their better performances, international football now returns to the fore, as England’s women endeavour to win the Women’s FIFA World Cup, whilst the men compete in the final stages of the inaugural UEFA Nations League. The women go to France as one of the fancied teams to win the tournament, whilst the men head to Portugal to face the Netherlands in a semi-final which will see a number of Liverpool’s heroes up against each other, with a final against Ronaldo’s Portugal awaiting the winner. It should provide a stern but not insurmountable test for England’s youthful side.

  • Joshua’s heavyweight hopes

    Having been denied a shot at unification by Deontay Wilder’s decision to look elsewhere for an easier opponent, Anthony Joshua takes on Andy Ruiz jr at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Currently the holder of three of the four recognised world heavyweight belts, Joshua will be prepared to take on fellow Briton Tyson Fury next should Wilder remain an elusive target. Former champion Fury is due to fight in Las Vegas in mid-June, but a subsequent encounter with Joshua would be a very tasty prospect.

  • Double classics at Epsom

    This Saturday sees the 240th running of the Epsom Derby, Britain’s richest horse race and one of the world’s most famous and prestigious. As usual, the entries are dominated by Aidan O’Brien’s all conquering stable, led by Sir Dragonet, Broome and Anthony Van Dyck, which might attract support from Liverpool supporters looking for a good Champions League omen, whilst Andrew Balding and Hughie Morrison both have realistic claims with Bangkok and Telecaster respectively. Meanwhile, in Friday’s Oaks, O’Brien’s biggest challengers look to come from Willie Haggas and John Gosden’s entries. One racing certainty is that Epsom Downs always produces a spectacular occasion.

  • Final countdown in Europe

    Having finally completed the domestic season, with Aston Villa winning the final play-off to secure their place in next seasons’s Premier League, attention has switched this week to the English dominated European finals. With Chelsea comfortably seeing off Arsenal in Baku to take the Europa League, Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to make it a London double as they attempt to deny Liverpool a sixth Champions League crown in Madrid. Having staged remarkable semi-final comebacks to reach this stage, both sides welcome back crucial players from injury and will be brimming with confidence, giving the game a mouth-watering appeal.

  • Cricket takes centre stage

    With the ICC Cricket World Cup less than a week away, England will be hoping to justify their status as hot favourites to win the event, having been on an almost invincible run of form since the last tournament. On the back of a comfortable recent series win over Pakistan, the next few days sees a number of warm-up matches for the sides involved, before England and South Africa get things under way next week. With fingers crossed that the weather remains favourable, it promises to be a hugely exciting six weeks during what should be a momentous summer of cricket. More immediately, and as a prelude to the World Cup, Hampshire and Somerset will be battling it out at Lord’s this weekend in the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup, which should be a lively encounter.